Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Game Thread: New York Yankees vs. Toronto Blue Jays 5/3

Game time in the Bronx ladies and gentleman as the New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays will finish off their three-game set inside Yankee Stadium tonight. In the finale of the set the Yankees will send their veteran southpaw CC Sabathia to the mound looking to secure a victory and turn his recent struggles around while the Blue Jays will counter with Marcus Stroman. The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on the YES Network, ESPN and MLB TV while you can also follow along on the radio with WFAN.

You can also follow along with us and interact with us all season long by giving our Twitter account @GreedyStripes a follow. We’re almost at 5,000 followers!!! Enjoy the game and as always Go Yankees!!

The Yankees Offense vs. Marcus Stroman

Image result for matt holliday yankees

Here in just a couple more hours the New York Yankees will be faced with the task of facing off with one of the best young starters in the game right now in Marcus Stroman. Now in year’s past the Yankees offense has struggled against the right-hander but as we all know with the recent youth movement that these are not your parent’s Yankees. This is a whole new Yankees offense with a whole new set of rules so as an informational source only let’s take a look at what these Yankees bats have done throughout their careers against Stroman. 

Stay Classy Boston. Dammit.

The Boston Red Sox organization as a whole, especially lately and ever since the whole “Evil Empire” salt fest, is one of the better and one of the more classier organizations in all of Major League Baseball. Their fans, on the other hand, not so much at least in my opinion. Call it bias, which I fully admit to, call it some friendly jabbing, because I do respect a lot of people that follow the Red Sox including our friends over at Section 36, or call it a few bad apples ruining the bunch but class was nowhere to be found this week inside Fenway Park. The Baltimore Orioles were in town Monday night when, according to Jones, he was taunted racially by the Fenway faithful.

Jones stated that someone in the crowd threw a bag of peanuts at him on Monday and was reportedly called “the N-word a handful of times.” Jones, a black player, has said he has been heckled before for his race throughout his 12-season tenure with the Orioles but never like he had been on Monday. The Boston Red Sox officials stated that they confirmed the bag of peanuts was thrown at Jones and the fan was immediately ejected from the stadium.

Obviously I wasn’t there and many of us will never truly know what was said but I truly don’t feel like Jones is simply making this up, especially with the bag of peanuts being thrown at him. It’s not like Jones needs the attention or the notoriety and these two teams have become rivals of sorts in the past few weeks resulting in pitches being thrown at player’s heads and slides into second base that resulted in injuries to Dustin Pedroia. I truly believe something was said and it had to be said loud and repeated for Jones to hear and that upsets me.

Here we are in the year 2017 just days after ground broke for the Jackie Robinson Museum in New York and we are still, allegedly and reportedly, dealing with blatant and widespread racism here in our own game? This sickens me, and it would sicken me if it were in New York, Boston, Philadelphia or some small town in North Georgia. It is 2017 people, wake up and stay classy. Rant over. 

Game Preview: New York Yankees vs. Toronto Blue Jays 5/3

The New York Yankees and the Toronto Blue Jays will finish off their three-game set tonight in the Bronx with an interesting pitching matchup for us all. The future of Major League Baseball in Marcus Stroman takes the mound for the Blue Jays while the Yankees send out a member of the old guard in veteran left-hander CC Sabathia.

Sabathia’s 2017 season started off strong but he has taken a step back in his last two starts. In his last start the Orioles plated seven runs against him on nine hits limiting the lefty to just 5.2 innings pitched. In Sabathia’s last two starts he has a 0-1 record with a 9.28 ERA. This has to improve starting tonight.

Stroman has been spectacular this season and has been one of the few bright spots for Toronto’s pitching staff to date. Despite having just two wins to show for his efforts Stroman has allowed two runs or less in four of his five starts this season. Stroman’s struggles can be chalked up to a lack of run support from his offense, a trend that hopefully continues tonight in the Bronx.

The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium and can be seen on the YES Network locally, ESPN nationally and on MLB TV wherever you and your device are. You can also listen to the game and follow along with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman on WFAN. 

Your Classic Catch-22

I want to make sure this is perfectly clear... I love the youth movement.

I can't get enough of seeing this, and apparently neither can he.

In the past I've been all about winning, whether that meant top prospects like Jesus Montero were left to rot in the minors or not. As long as the Yankees had a shot I didn't care who was on the Active Roster. Just win, baby.

But everything changes. Sure, the Yankees and I still want to win, but at the same time we have an eye on the future. Not long ago Chris Carter would have been the starting first baseman coming out of Spring Training instead of Greg Bird. Instead of Jordan Montgomery winning a spot in the starting rotation the team would have signed some over-the-hill starter from the free agent scrap heap.

And another change is my attitude towards prospects. It took me longer than some, but I strongly believe the Yankees have a very bright future as long as they are patient. Which is why this season has been a bit concerning.

See, history has made it clear that winning is more important than anything in New York. So as long as the team is winning they aren't going to make any significant changes.

That means we're not going to see Gleyber Torres called up anytime soon. Especially when Starlin Castro is hitting .360/.402/.550, Chase Headley is batting .307/.402/.489, and Didi Gregorius is... well... healthy.

Nor are we going to see Clint Frazier wearing Yankee pinstripes, especially while Aaron Hicks is hitting .300/.419/.640, along with Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner, and Jacoby Ellsbury being healthy.

The starting pitcher with the highest ERA on the team at the moment is Masahiro Tanaka, and he's not about to be demoted. CC Sabathia has the next highest ERA, and he's not getting demoted either. Luis Severino has had three nice starts book-ended by a couple of bad ones, but the team is clearly giving him plenty of rope, so I don't see him being demoted anytime soon. Michael Pineda has done a good job since the Rays roughed him up in his first start of the season, and even if he struggles I highly doubt he loses his rotation spot. And Jordan Montgomery has been solid at the back of the rotation. That means the only way we're going to see somebody like Chance Adams get an opportunity in the big leagues is if somebody gets injured.

This is not the face of somebody that wishes ill will on anybody.

I'm not saying the Yankees can't win if Torres, Frazier, and Adams were to be big leaguers. Hell, I don't believe Chase Headley is going to continue hitting like he has (he's actually hit .200 over the last 9 games), and if he falters then Gleyber could very well be a better option at third base.

I don't believe Aaron Hicks is a .300 hitter that will sock 25 home runs with regular playing time, either. Not to mention that I'd rather see Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury play for somebody else. And just one of those three current Yankee outfielders going down could mean seeing Clint get the call.

Oh, and I certainly don't believe Severino will give up 2 ER over 7+ innings like he did in back-to-back-to-back starts last month. Luis Cessa's future is not in the Yankees' starting rotation. And since the Yankees don't seem keen on Adam Warren being a starter, I'd guess that Chance Adams gets a start or two should something in the rotation change.

So unless injuries happen (sadly injuries keep hitting those that we definitely don't want them to, such as Gary Sanchez), and as long as the team is winning, they aren't going to shake things up. What we're seeing is your classic catch-22.

No Room For Racial Injustice…

Credit:  Jim Davis/Globe Staff

The lead for my post today has to be in support of Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones.  He was subjected to thrown objects and racial taunts in Boston on Monday night.  As a Yankees fan, it would be easy to pick on the Red Sox fans but this is not isolated to Fenway Park.  There are small, narrow-minded people in every stadium, including Yankee Stadium.  There is no excuse for the racial slurs and unacceptable behavior anywhere.  

Boston Red Sox President Sam Kennedy issued the following statement:

"The Red Sox have zero tolerance for such inexcusable behavior, and our entire organization and our fans are sickened by the conduct of an ignorant few. Such conduct should be reported immediately to Red Sox security, and any spectator behaving in this manner forfeits his/her right to remain in the ballpark, and may be subject to further action. Our review of last night's events is ongoing.”

Granted, the Red Sox response was driven in large part by MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred but I thought the Red Sox said the right words.  The proof is in the pudding so now let’s see Red Sox security enforce those words.  But it doesn’t stop there.  Security for every MLB team needs to take similar action.  There simply cannot be any tolerance for this type of behavior regardless of geography.  I support the Yankees but I will never support racial inequality and injustice.  I do not support the uniform he wears, but I will always support Adam Jones…the player and the man.  

A close friend of mine, a Boston-area resident and die-hard Red Sox fan, posted this on Social Media yesterday:

“I'm baffled....why are so many Red Sox fans defending the deplorable behavior of the fans last night at Fenway who yelled racial slurs and threw things at Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles? This SHOULD be something we all agree on....there is no room for hate at Fenway.”

I am in 100% agreement with her words.  This type of behavior must stop now.

To Boston’s credit, Red Sox fans gave Adam Jones a much-deserved standing ovation during yesterday’s game.

Moving on to baseball, the Yankees made a couple of moves yesterday.  Greg Bird was placed on the 10-Day Disabled List.  The ankle he injured the last week of training camp has not sufficiently healed and may have contributed to the dreadful 6-for-60 start (.100 batting average) with 22 strikeouts.  Rob Refsnyder was recalled to take Bird’s roster spot and he’ll back up interim starting first baseman Chris Carter.  Also, Luis Cessa was demoted after one day in the Bronx.  He came up long enough to cover the innings that Luis Severino could not on Monday (allowing the rest of the bullpen to take a much needed night off).  Mission accomplished, and back to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.  Recalled in his place is lefty reliever Chasen Shreve.  Shreve has pitched very well this year whether for the Yankees or the RailRiders.  Prior to his demotion to AAA, he pitched three scoreless innings with two strikeouts.  At Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, he pitched 6 1/3 innings and allowed only one run.  He struck out twelve and walked none.  

The Yankees may get catcher Gary Sanchez back on Friday at Wrigley Field in Chicago.  

It’s possible that Jacoby Ellsbury could find his way to the DL (surprise, surprise…yeah, not really).  He has a bruised nerve in his left elbow.  The Yankees are going to give it a couple of days before making any decisions.  Oh well, it’s good opportunity for Aaron Hicks to get some regular playing time.  I personally could have come up with many better ways to spend $153 million a few years ago but the Yankees didn’t ask me.  

According to the Miami Herald, Jeb Bush has indicated Derek Jeter will run Baseball Operations if their purchase of the Miami Marlins comes to fruition.  With a lack of experience, it will be interesting, if the sale does go through, to see who Jeter hires or if he’ll retain Yankees Legend Don Mattingly as the team’s manager.  I’ve heard some speculate that Alex Rodriguez could be the eventual manager.  If it were me, one of the first telephone calls I would make to join my administration would be Yankees Vice President and Director of Amateur Scouting Damon Oppenheimer.  I could easily envision Oppenheimer as the team’s GM.  If not Oppenheimer, then former Yankees Assistant GM Kim Ng, currently Senior Vice President for Baseball Operations with Major League Baseball.  Rule Number One, surround yourself with people that are smarter than you.

In last night’s baseball action, where do we begin?  You can talk about Brett Gardner’s second multi-homer game in four days, Matt Holliday’s 3-for-4 night or another win by Masahiro Tanaka (4-1) as the Yankees stopped Toronto’s three-game winning streak with an 11-5 victory.  But really, the game came down to two words:  

Aaron Judge.

The Aaron Judge Show continues to dazzle live and TV audiences.  Judge started the day with a smashed TV in the outfield terrace during batting practice off a monster home run.  It was a sign of things to come as Judge matched Gardner’s two homer day and easily took the spotlight from the speedy Gardner.  With a homer by center fielder Aaron Hicks, the Yankees outfield produced five home runs.  It was the most home runs produced by a Yankees outfield trio since Mickey Mantle (2), Roger Maris (2) and Yogi Berra (1) did it on May 30, 1961 in a 12-3 victory over the Boston Red Sox.  Judge finished with four RBI’s while Gardner had three.

Credit:  Kathy Willens/AP

Masahiro Tanaka was unable to match his last start in Boston and he failed to deliver a quality start but fortunately on this night it was not needed.  He needed to do enough to deliver the win and, thanks to the Yankees bats, he did his job.  He went 6 1/3 innings.  He allowed eight eights and four runs, striking out two.  Toronto got to Tanaka in the 7th inning when Steve Pearce homered and Devon Travis singled.  With one out, Clippard replaced Tanaka after the Travis at-bat, and was ineffective.  Although he got Chris Coghlan out, he gave up a single to Kevin Pillar and walked Joey Bats to load the bases.  Dellin Betances replaced Clippard, and balked to allow Travis to score (with the run charged to Tanaka).  Betances then walked Russell Martin to re-load the bases, which brought the tying run to the plate.  But Betances struck out Kendrys Morales to end the threat.  

Former Yankee Steve Pearce had two home runs for Toronto, both off Tanaka.  

With the win, the Yankees (16-9) moved back into a first place tie in the AL East with the Baltimore Orioles.  The O’s lost to the Red Sox, 5-2.  

On the downside, catcher Austin Romine left the game with a cramp in his right groin.  According to manager Joe Girardi, Romine was pulled from the game despite saying no at least three times.  Hopefully, Romine is better today and this doesn’t develop into something more serious that causes lost playing time.  Regardless of how Romine feels today, I’d guess that Kyle Higashioka will be the starting catcher for the final game of the three-game set with the Blue Jays.  The Yankees will play it conservatively and allow Romine sufficient rest to recover.  The impending return of #24 comes at a very good time.  

Have a great Wednesday!  Hopefully the Yankees can get over the hump and beat Marcus Stroman and the Blue Jays!

What if Jacoby Ellsbury’s Elbow is Seriously Injured?

Monday night the Yankees got a little bit of a scare in their game with the Toronto Blue Jays as Jacoby Ellsbury slammed into the center field wall after making a running catch in the Yankees 7-1 loss against Toronto. Two runs scored on the play and after the game Ellsbury told reporters that his left throwing elbow was sore and that he had iced the elbow after the game. Ellsbury did stay in the game after the catch in the sixth inning and finished the game but me being pessimistic at times I worry about whether his elbow is healthy and whether the Yankees should worry going forward so I got doing some research and Yankees fans, I’m no longer worried. Here’s why.

The Yankees youth movement is in full swing so if Ellsbury’s elbow injury is serious then that’s fine, let him take all the time he needs on the disabled list so that he can come back 100% healthy and effective. There’s no need to rush him back or play him hurt, especially when there is a certain someone who definitely looks like he has a future in the Bronx playing extremely well down in Triple-A with the Scranton/Wilkes Barre RailRiders. His name is Dustin Fowler.

Fowler is once again tearing the cover off the ball down on the farm for the Yankees and is also coming off a day to remember here on Sunday. Fowler had his first career five-hit game for the RailRiders en route to hitting for the cycle which included a walk-off home run in the 11th inning. As of the game on Sunday Fowler was slashing .293/.341/.573 in his first season in Triple-A with 47 total bases through his first 20 games. Fowler is once again proving he is done with the Minor Leagues aside from some minor seasoning and work and Fowler is really opening eyes inside the Yankees organization.

His combination of speed and defense are only highlighted by his stellar performance with the bat and his ceiling looks to be sky high right now for New York. Fowler does not own a 40 man roster spot currently but he is probably just one injury away from a Mason Williams DFA (designated for assignment) and a shuttle ride to the Bronx. If Ellsbury’s elbow injury is serious don’t fret Yankees fans. The future is now and the future in center field is named Dustin Fowler. 

This Day In New York Yankees History 5/3: Three Sac Flies in One Game

On this day in 1986 Don Mattingly hit three sacrifice flies in a 9-4 victory over the Texas Rangers. The Yankees first baseman and All Star is only the sixth player to ever have three sac flies in one game in major league history.

On this day in 1952 the Yankees traded Jackie Jensen and right handed pitcher Spec Shea to the Washington Senators for veteran outfielder Irv Noren. The Yankees felt the need to make the move after Joe DiMaggio retired and Mickey Mantle required a knee surgery that season. In 1958 Jensen would win the American League MVP award for the Boston Red Sox.

On this day in 1936 Joe DiMaggio finally makes his major league debut after his season was delayed due to a foot injury. The 21 year old rookie outfielder started off great with three hits, one of them a triple, and scored three runs in a Yankees 14-5 victory over the Browns.