Friday, May 19, 2017

Game Thread: New York Yankees @ Tampa Bay Rays 5/19

The New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays are set to spend their weekends inside Tropicana Field playing three-games head-to-head with the first coming tonight. The Yankees will send Luis Severino to the mound tonight looking to keep his recent string of success going while the Rays will throw out and welcome Erasmo Ramirez to their starting rotation. The game will be played at 7:15 pm ET inside Tropicana Field and can be seen on WPIX Channel 11 and MLB TV. You can also follow along in your car and on the radio with WFAN.

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My Thoughts on the Hal Steinbrenner Interview

I am not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing but it is what it is right now. Hal Steinbrenner is not his father. He doesn’t have to have an interview after every Yankees loss, trade or interview and for the most part he pretty much stays out of the limelight like, in my opinion, an owner should. Just write the checks, pay the bills, bring in the players and shut the hell up. I’m sorry to be so brash but that’s just how I feel although when the owner does talk I do tend to listen. This week Steinbrenner spoke and here are my thoughts on his interview.

The Yankees are in first place in the American League East Division as we speak this morning and the first thing Steinbrenner was asked in his recent interview was whether the Yankees would be buyers, sellers or both at the July 31st trading deadline. Steinbrenner responded by saying that the Yankees “may” add but they will definitely not be selling this summer meaning New York may add a new starting pitcher in a couple months and we may see a new arm added to the bullpen or two but all signs point to us being stuck with Chris Carter for the remainder of the season. Darn.

Steinbrenner also reiterated his desire to get the team’s luxury tac payroll under $197 million next year, which with the injection of youth in recent years and the massive contracts of CC Sabathia and Alex Rodriguez coming off the books after the season seems to be attainable, so that the Yankees can cut their luxury tax penalty from 50% on every dollar to 20% on every dollar. Just in time to sign Bryce Harper, Manny Machado and possibly Clayton Kershaw thus starting the process all over again. Hey, one can dream can’t we?

I will also say I continue to be impressed with Steinbrenner’s knowledge (or poker face) regarding the Yankees farm system He has proven that he is either in tune with what’s going on down on the farm or is being briefed before every interview because he knows the names, he knows the affiliates and he really seems to know his stuff regarding Yankees prospects. Maybe he reads us and Pinstriped Prospects?

He’s still cheap though. Open up the purse strings brother! Have a great day everyone. 

Game Preview: New York Yankees @ Tampa Bay Rays 5/19

So if on a Friday night in the middle of May the New York Yankees make the trip down to Tropicana Field to take on the Tampa Bay Rays in the first of a three-game set and literally nobody is there to witness it, did it really happen? Well if history is any indicator of the future we are certainly about to find out as the Yankees begin a three-game weekend set at the Trop this weekend. In the first matchup of the weekend the Yankees will send Luis Severino to the mound to square off with Erasmo Ramirez for the Rays. Seriously though, no one goes to Tropicana Field. It’s ugly, it’s hard to get to and it’s in an absolutely congested area of St. Petersburgh. When is Tampa Bay going to get a new stadium or move to a new city in Florida? It is long overdue people.

Severino has done well this season with his command, control, deception and has limited his walks which has contributed to him potentially turning his season and career around as a starting pitcher. Severino has 47 strikeouts this season to just 10 walks in 42 innings pitched.

Ramirez will replace Blake Snell in the starting rotation after the Rays lefty was optioned back to Triple-A after his last start. Ramirez will be making his 13th appearance and second start of the season tonight inside The Trop and will be looking for his second victory of the season as well.

The game will be played at 7:10 pm ET inside Tropicana Field and can be seen on WPIX Channel 11 and MLB TV. You can also follow along with the game on the radio and in your cars by tuning into John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman’s broadcast on WFAN. Enjoy the game and Go Yankees!!

High and Inside…or maybe a little Outside…

Here is a random wish list for pitching targets leading up to the trading deadline.  I know that a couple of the names are untouchable.  I guess if I am going without restriction, I should place Clayton Kershaw at the top of the list.  Nevertheless, this is fantasyland so here’s my list.  All of these pitchers are right-handers which really wasn’t by design.  I wouldn’t even say that these are my top five choices.  They are, however, five pitchers that I feel could provide an upgrade.

YU DARVISH - Texas Rangers
Darvish is 30 and will be an unrestricted free agent this fall.  He is 4-2 with 2.76 ERA and 1.091 WHIP.  With Tommy John surgery in his recent past, he’ll carry the injury risk tag for the res t7 of his career.  Darvish is still one of the best pitchers in the AL.  I loved the guy when he came over from Japan and wished at the time the Yankees had been more aggressive in pursuit of him.  

It’s been said that Darvish could be the key to the team eventually signing Japanese superstar  and two-way ace Shohei Otani, referred to as the Japanese Babe Ruth.  

The downside to Darvish is his age (at this point of the Yankees rebuild and potential off-season cost to re-sign.  You’ll obviously have to pay quality prospects for the potential short-term rental assuming the Texas Rangers are even motivated to trade him at the deadline.

CARLOS CARRASCO - Cleveland Indians
Carrasco is also 30.  This is total fantasy as the Indians, a World Series caliber contender, are not going to part with a critical rotation piece.  There’s no doubt the Yankees have long held interest in Carrasco.  The right-hander is 4-2 this season with 2.60 ERA and 0.88 WHIP.  He’ll be an unrestricted free agent in 2021.

CHRIS ARCHER - Tampa Bay Rays
Archer is 28 and is a better fit age-wise.  But I think he’s untouchable for any AL team due to the heavy premium the Rays would attach to him to trade him inside the division.  But if the Yankees could get him, I would be ecstatic.  Archer is 3-2 this season with 3.70 ERA and 1.217 WHIP.  He will be an unrestricted free agent in 2022.  

JON GRAY - Colorado Rockies
If I could have my pick of any pitcher, it might be Gray.  I am convinced the 25-year-old Gray is an ace-in-the-making.  He’ll be held back from ever reaching his full potential as long as he calls the Mile High City his home.  In a very small body of work this season, Gray is 0-0 with 4.38 ERA and 1.459 WHIP.  He only pitched 12 1/3 innings before going on the disabled list with a stress fracture in his left foot.  Gray has begun his bullpen sessions and will soon be back on the active roster for Colorado.  He’ll be an unrestricted free agent in 2022.

Interestingly enough, Gray, like Pittsburgh’s Gerrit Cole, is a former Yankees draft pick.  The Yankees picked him in the 10th round of the 2011 MLB Draft.  He didn’t sign and was subsequently a number one pick for the Rockies the next year.  

VINCE VELASQUEZ - Philadelphia Phillies
The youngest pitcher on my list (24), Velasquez is 2-3 this year with 5.63 ERA and 1.38 WHIP.  Forget the stats, the guy has the potential to be a long term fixture in any team’s rotation.  He’ll be an unrestricted free agent in 2022.  

This isn’t meant to be a ranking of desired pitchers.  I am just randomly throwing out some names.  Granted, if any team’s first request is Gleyber Torres and is unwilling to budge, it’s discussion over.  But Clint Frazier I am not as attached to.  With Aaron Judge in the Majors with an assist by Aaron Hicks, and the promise of outfielder Dustin Fowler, I think the Yankees have the necessary ingredients for a good outfield now and for the next few years particularly considering a potential costly run at Bryce Harper in a couple of years when he hits the free agent market.  My favorite outfield prospect, Blake Rutherford, is further away but he’ll be a ready replacement when the time comes.  So, if I could package Frazier in a deal to bring a quality starting pitcher and maybe a dependable bullpen arm, I’d do it.  Pittsburgh’s Gerrit Cole and Tony Watson represent a combo that would be worth the inclusion of a top prospect.  And, no, Gerrit Cole is not Ivan Nova.

I am sure that we’ll be hearing many names ad nauseam over the next two months.  But regardless of what happens, it will be much better to be a buyer at the trading deadline than a seller if the team keeps playing well.  Exciting times in the Bronx.

The Yankees are hopeful that first baseman Greg Bird will be able to begin baseball activities next week.  That’s good news to hear.  Hopefully Bird has fully recovered and is ready to recapture the form he showed during Spring Training when he led the Grapefruit League in home runs.  Bird has already started light running so it should be a sign that the ankle bone bruise has healed.  I am looking forward to seeing what a healthy Bird can do.

The Yankees concluded their three-game stay in Kansas City with a loss, falling to the Royals 5-1.  I knew they were in trouble when Danny Duffy struck out the first three batters of the game.  Duffy threw a scoreless three-hitter over seven innings and recorded his first career double-digit strikeout total with ten.  The Yankees scored their only run against KC closer Kelvin Herrera in the ninth inning on a Didi Gregorius single.  

Jordan Montgomery (2-3) lasted five innings in taking the loss.  He allowed four hits, five runs and three walks (with 4 K’s). The killer was a three-run homer by Mike Moustakis in the fifth inning.  His replacement, Chad Green, was stellar in pitching the final three innings.  He only gave up a meaningless single in the sixth, a runner subsequently erased by double play.  He struck out six.  It’s not outside of the realm of possibility that Green could replace Montgomery in the rotation.  

Credit:  Elsa/Getty Images
The Yankees (24-14) maintained their lead in the AL East over the Baltimore Orioles (1 1/2 games) and Boston Red Sox (4 games) as all three teams lost on Thursday.  The Yankees did win the series, taking two of three, however, I always hate to see a loss on “Getaway Day” as that’s the game fresh on everyone’ mind for the flight to the next city.  

The Yankees begin a three-game series in St Petersburg, Florida tonight against the Tampa Bay Rays (21-22).  Here are the scheduled pitching match-ups:

Yankees:  Luis Severino (2-2, 3.86 ERA)
Rays:  Erasmo Ramirez (2-0, 2.92 ERA)

Yankees:  Masahiro Tanaka (5-2, 5.80 ERA)
Rays:  Matt Andriese (3-1, 3.18 ERA)

Yankees:  CC Sabathia (3-2, 4.93 ERA)
Rays:  Chris Archer (3-2, 3.70 ERA)

Have a great Friday!  Hopefully Sevy finds a way to slay the Rays!

Will Curt Schilling Please Shut Up

As my very good friend and fellow owner of the site Bryan Van Dusen would say, Curt Schilling you’re a tool! Racism is still a thing here in the year 2017 and honestly it probably always will be. We can all hope for equality and try to do our part to grow towards it but there is always that one apple in the bunch that’s just going to ruin it for everyone. On top of that there’s always going to be that one that defends the rotten apple like an absolute freaking moron and that moron is named Curt Schilling.  

A few weeks back Adam Jones told reporters how he was heckled by a fan inside Boston’s Fenway Park with racial slurs and taunts prompting Boston to tighten security on the issue. Schilling, who is just an asshole in my opinion, has come out not once but now twice calling Jones a liar on the subject…. Like he has any reason to lie about this. 

Schilling was quoted as saying in an interview with the USA Today’s Bob Nightengale that “everybody is starving and hungry to sit in front of a camera and talk and be a social justice warrior.” Jones, in an interview with Yahoo Sports, pretty much said the same about Schilling’s need for attention saying “Schilling is over there with his ranks. He just wants an outlet. Somebody will take his call, take his rants. He can keep them for himself because he’s never experienced anything like I have.” Schilling responded to this and I am not even going to attempt to paraphrase or quote it in pieces. Here is the whole bit and frankly I hope it pisses you off as much as it pisses me off. 

“If he wants to maintain the lie he made here, that’s fine. No one denies racism exists, but when people like him lie about an incident and others just take him at his word, it perpetuates a mythical level of racism. And for some reason, it appears blacks believe only blacks can talk about racism and only whites can be racists. I promise you if some scumbag yelled the N-word at Adam Jones in Fenway, it would have been on Twitter, Facebook and every other social media site ASAP, like every other ‘incident.’ Not to mention the liberal Boston media would have broken its neck to identify the racist. But just taking him at his word means there are a bunch of white cowards and racists living here, because no one stood up to the guy. Adam has an agenda and one needs to only look at his past commentary on race and racism to see it. But see, when you question fake hate crimes in this day and age it somehow makes you a racist. If you use this use every word or none at all.” 

Curt Schilling…. Please shut up. You’re an ignorant asshole who just needs attention. What does Jones stand to gain by lying about this? He’s already one of the best and most recognizable faces in the sport. He doesn’t need friends, he doesn’t need attention and he damn sure doesn’t need the money. You do though and that’s why you’re going there. If people can’t see through that then all I have to say is shame on you both. And that’s my rant for the day. Enjoy the rest of your Friday. 

So it Seems it is Friday Once Again

Good morning world and Happy Friday. The weekend has arrived once again and even though it looked bleak about three or four days ago we made it just like we always do. This weekend is going to be a pretty boring weekend for me I think. I have to cut grass and weed eat while doing other odds and ends, grocery shopping and such, but other than that I don’t have too much planned. I’d like to go check out a bed on Sunday but we’ll see. Anyway I hope everyone has a great day and a great weekend. Especially you. Hey you.

The Yankees and Tampa Bay Rays will square off in a three-game set this weekend inside Tropicana Field. Luis Severino takes the ball tonight followed by the curious case of Masahiro Tanaka Saturday afternoon and CC Sabathia on Sunday. Enjoy and let’s hope we can talk about two or three more wins in the books come Monday.

Love you guys and girls. 

This Day in New York Yankees History 5/19: Orioles and Yankees Brawl over Crack Jack’s?

On this day in 2004 the Yankees spokesman Jason Zillo announced that Cracker Jack, baseball's most famous snack for over 100 years, will not be sold at Yankee Stadium anymore. Instead the Yankees will sell Crunch 'n Munch, a change that the Yankee Stadium fans rejected, because it "tastes better." Long story short that didn't last long and you shouldn't mess with baseball history, especially Cracker Jacks.

Also on this day in 1998 the Orioles Armando Benitez nails the Yankees Tino Martinez between the shoulder blades with a pitch and starts a brawl between the two clubs. This came after Benitez gave up a three run home run to Bernie Williams in that eight inning. Graeme Lloyd raced onto the field from the Yankees bullpen and punched Benitez in the face and Alan Mills bloodied Darryl Strawberry's face after he ended up in the Baltimore dugout going after Benitez.

Finally on this day in 1929 a 17 year old college sophomore and a 60 year old truck driver are trampled to death with another 75 fans injured when a violent storm causes the overcapacity bleacher crowd to run for cover at Yankee Stadium. The stampede happened in "Ruthville" and the game would be called with the Yankees ahead of the Red Sox 3-0 at the end of four and a half innings, an official game.