Thursday, August 3, 2017

Game Thread: New York Yankees @ Cleveland Indians 8/3

The New York Yankees and Cleveland Indians are just about set to kick off their four-game set tonight in Cleveland with the debut for Sonny Gray in a Yankees uniform. That in itself is fun for any and all Yankees fans I would say. Facing Sonny Gray and looking to spoil his Yankees debut for the Indians tonight is Corey Kluber. The game will be played at 7:10 pm ET inside Progressive Field and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV. You can also follow along in your cars and on the radio by tuning into the WFAN broadcast with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman.

Follow us on Twitter by following @GreedyStripes and enjoy the game. Go Yankees!

Pinstriped Prospects Top 50 MiLB Midseason Prospects

I know I have said this a million times here on this blog but that is only because I have zero issue giving credit where credit is due and credit is definitely due to Robert Pimpsner and his entire staff over at Pinstriped Prospects. Those guys do a great job every single day with covering the various farm systems, affiliates and players from the New York Yankees and they are an excellent resource and source for all things Yankees prospects. They are definitely bookmarked on my Google Chrome and I fully suggest they should be on yours too so you don’t miss out on spectacular posts like their Top 50 MiLB Midseason Prospects list that was released this week. Check it out on Pinstriped

If you want to see the full write-up and full list from the guys over there then head to their site and check it out. They deserve the views and the clicks for all their hard work and I highly encourage you do so because there is so much information on this post alone. For the sake of this post though I am going to simply list PP’s Top 10 Yankees prospects for your informational purposes only. Enjoy and leave your thoughts and comments in the comments section below.

1.       Gleyber Torres
2.       Estevan Florial
3.       Clint Frazier
4.       Domingo Acevedo
5.       Chance Adams
6.       Tyler Wade
7.       Justus Sheffield
8.       Wilkerman Garcia
9.       Albert Abreu
10.   Thairo Estrada

I am not sure I could personally put Garcia, Abreu and Estrada above Clarke Schmidt (yes I get the Tommy John surgery concerns), Matt Sauer and Miguel Andujar but that is half the fun in these lists. Opinions and objectivity. Plus you all know how I feel about Tyler Wade so… 

The Ultimate Roster Decision: Luis Severino v Jordan Montgomery

The New York Yankees have enacted a six-man rotation that comes into fruition this week but according to manager Joe Girardi it will only be here for this turn through the rotation. Tonight the Yankees start Sonny Gray as we learned this morning in our “So it Seems” post and again in the game preview post that just went live a few hours ago while tomorrow Jaime Garcia makes his Yankees debut after coming over in a trade from the Minnesota Twins. Logistically the Yankees could make a six-man rotation work for the remainder of the season if they wanted to but the team seems against it at this point, at least publicly, leaving me to wonder which of the Yankees starters will be bounced from the starting rotation. You have to think that the rotation spots of Masahiro Tanaka and CC Sabathia are safe along with Garcia and Gray’s spots leaving the ultimate roster decision and battle for the Yankees. Who goes to the bullpen to be the long man for Joe Girardi? Is it Luis Severino or is it Jordan Montgomery?

Both pitchers have at least some experience pitching out of the bullpen and both pitchers are on expected innings limits as well so either starter could conceivably head down to the pen. Severino, just 23-years old, is expected to pitch around 200 innings this season if all goes well and is currently at 132.2 innings while Montgomery, 24-years old, is expected to pitch around 170 innings which is just 60 innings away from where he currently sits at 110.2 thus far this season. Using even numbers for simplicity sake and with these two kids averaging six innings per start from here on out that leaves Severino with just 11 starts remaining this season including the playoffs while Montgomery could conceivably only make 10 starts from here on out at this pace. That would likely leave both arms completely unavailable for the postseason, which is not what you want.

So the ultimate decision and position battle comes down to this. Which one heads to the pen and which one remains in the rotation? Honestly with the way Severino has pitched you have to think he remains in the rotation while Montgomery heads to the pen. That’s not to say Montgomery hasn’t pitched well because he has, Montgomery has been extremely solid in his first season as a starter at the MLB level, but Severino has been just flat out dominant. Severino was elected to the All-Star Game this season and not because of some fan vote but because he and his right arm earned it.

I truly doubt, and this is just using Joe Girardi’s past transgressions and decisions as an indicator for the future, the Yankees would use either men as a starter anyway in the postseason to be honest so it’s better to just get what the team can get out of them both now. Severino is the better starter in my opinion and should be used as such until he can’t be used as such any longer this season.

Also, and I only mention this because I saw it mentioned on Twitter, the idea of bouncing both men back and forth between the rotation and bullpen to limit and use both men to their full effectiveness sounds great on paper but it just won’t work. Many pitchers have shown an inability to do this both effectiveness wise and health wise. See Joba Chamberlain. Not everyone is Adam Warren and not everyone’s arm is built to do that. Whether a pitcher is built to do that or not should be found out later on in their careers in my opinion, not when both are 24-years old or younger. That kind of damage is forever and that is not a risk I am personally willing to advise for or take.

What say you? Who wins the ultimate decision battle in your eyes? Who heads to the bullpen and who heads to the starting rotation? Do the Yankees send Montgomery down to keep pitching as a starter since his option for the 2017 season has already been used? Leave them below in the comments sections and/or shoot us a tweet on Twitter by tweeting @GreedyStripes. Thank you and enjoy the rest of your Thursday. Sonny Gray is coming.

Game Preview: New York Yankees @ Cleveland Indians 8/3

The New York Yankees had a very successful home stand in the Bronx but now the team heads out on the road as they continue their push not only to the top of the American League East but to stay atop the division. Standing in their way over the next four days will be the Cleveland Indians who welcome the Bronx Bombers to town tonight and through the weekend. In the first game of the four-game series the Yankees will send Sonny Gray to the mound for the first time as a member of the team while the Indians will counter with Corey Kluber. Sonny Gray sporting his Yankees grays for the first time, anyone else feel something significant coming? Or is it just me?

Gray will make his Yankees debut tonight inside Progressive Field after being acquired for three prospects before the July 31st trade deadline. In Gray’s last start as a member of the Oakland Athletics the right-hander took the loss in Toronto after allowing four runs, none earned, in six innings of work. In Gray’s last six starts as a member of the A’s the right-hander posted a 4-2 record with a 1.37 ERA.

Kluber has been the Indians ace for a few seasons now and has been especially living up to the hype here in 2017. In Kluber's last three starts the right-hander has put up a 1-0 record with a 3.38 ERA and 38 K's. over 21.1 innings pitched.

The game will be played at 7:10 pm ET inside Progressive Field in Cleveland and can be seen on the YES Network and MLB TV. You can also follow along in your cars and on the radio by tuning into the WFAN broadcast with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman. Enjoy the game, see an old face in Andrew Miller (who was added to the disabled list) and always scream Go Yankees! It isn’t fandom, it’s a lifestyle choice. 

The Curious Case of Run-Scoring Aversion...

Credit:  Julie Jacobson-AP
Tigers 2, Yankees 0...

Wouldn’t you know it…Getaway Day with a plane waiting on the tarmac for a flight to Ohio and a lengthy rain delay to extend the wait to depart the Stadium.  I guess on the bright side, the Cleveland Indians had to wait for night game to be called because of rain in Boston before they could head home so both teams should be equally sleep-derived today when Sonny Gray makes his much anticipated debut for the Yankees.  

Credit:  Julie Jacobson-AP
With rain delays of over 4 1/2 hours, the end of the day was painful as the Yankees, behind a very lackluster offensive-performance (yes, it was very offensive), fell to the Tigers.  It was only their second shut out of the season.  

The game, originally scheduled to start at 2:30 pm Eastern, was delayed by rain.  

Fresh off the 14-strikeout performance, Masahiro Tanaka did not have quite the same pitches on Wednesday.  It was yet another game where the Yankees started off with a first inning deficit.  Ian Kinsler led off with a single to left, and advanced to second when Jim Adduci singled to center.  Before most fans could even get a sip of their first beer, Justin Upton doubled down the left field line, scoring Kinsler with the game’s first run.  From there, Tanaka settled down retiring the next three batters (two by strikeout).

Credit:  Elsa-Getty Images
Like Tuesday, the Yankees continued to struggle with runners in scoring position.  They had their first scoring opportunity in the bottom of the 2nd when Gary Sanchez was hit by a pitch to reach first base. Chase Headley lined a double to right to move Sanchez to third.  Todd Frazier was the suspect this time, with a fly out to end the inning.

A second great scoring opportunity presented itself in the bottom of the 3rd.  Both Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury hit one-out singles, with Gardner moving to third.  Aaron Judge had first crack at bringing one or both runners home but he struck out.  Ellsbury stole second during the at-bat to move into scoring position, representing the potential tying run.  Unfortunately, Gary Sanchez grounded out to end the threat.

The Tigers picked up their second run in the top of the 4th.  With two outs, Mikie Mahtook walked.  James McCann followed with a single to center which Jacoby Ellsbury mishandled (twice) for an error, allowing Mahtook to score from first.  McCann ended up on second but was left stranded when Andrew Romine (man, I wanted to type Austin) flied out to left.

Credit:  Julie Jacobson-AP
The bottom of the 6th brought another failed scoring opportunity for the home team.  Aaron Judge opened with a single to left.  Gary Sanchez doubled to left as Judge moved to third.  Runners in scoring position with no outs.  Didi Gregorius popped out to the shortstop.  Matt Holliday hit a fly ball to center but it wasn’t deep enough for Judge to tag and score.  One more opportunity with Chase Headley, but he went down swinging.  More men left 90 feet away, suffering severe cases of "home" sickness.

Six innings and Masahiro Tanaka was done.  After the wobbly start, his final line was decent.  6.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 SO.  Also, he was successful in bringing his season ERA below five to 4.93.  Tommy Kahnle pitched a three-up, three-down 7th, however, the Yankees hit into three consecutive ground outs in the bottom of the inning.  Then, the second rain delay…

Credit:  Michael Noble Jr-AP
After the game resumed in the top of the 8th, Dellin Betances pitched an immaculate inning.  He struck out three Tigers on 9 pitches.  

Credit:  Elsa-Getty Images
In the bottom of the inning, Jacoby Ellsbury tried.  On a pitch that would have been Ball 4, Ellsbury hit a grounder to short but was able to beat it out.  A wild pitch from reliever Bruce Rondon that catcher James McCann was unable to handle allowed Ells to move to second.  Like the previous Yankees in scoring position for this game, he was left stranded when Rondon retired the next 3 batters.

Shane Greene, the newly appointed Tigers closer following the trading deadline deal that sent Justin Wilson to the Chicago Cubs, took the mound in the 9th and easily retired the Yankees for the 2-0 win.  A disappointing way to leave the Stadium for the road trip to Cleveland.

The Yankees (57-49) fell a game behind the Red Sox with the loss.  Boston's game with the Cleveland Indians was rained out and will be made up on Monday, August 14th (after the Red Sox complete a three-game series at Yankee Stadium).  The Tampa Bay Rays moved 2 1/2 games behind the Yankees with their 3-0 victory over the Houston Astros.  The Baltimore Orioles keep winning.  They won their fifth in a row, a 6-0 shutout of Kansas City Royals, and have moved 4 1/2 games behind the Yankees.  The Rays and Orioles defeat two of the best teams in the AL while the Yankees lose a series to one of its worst.  

Masahiro Tanaka (8-10) took the tough luck loss.  I am very concerned about Matt Holliday.  He has been a shell of his former self since returning from his viral infection.  His bat is hurting this offense.  Same with Todd Frazier.  Both hitters were hitless in four at-bats.  As a team, the Yankees left 20 men on base.  It's very hard to win this game when you can't push runs across the plate.

Credit:  Elsa-Getty Images
Next Up:  Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field, Cleveland, OH...

The Yankees are set to play a four-game series in Cleveland against the defending American League Champions.  The Tribe are returning from a road trip that just ended in Boston against the hated Red Sox.  

The scheduled pitching match-ups are:

Yankees:  Sonny Gray (6-5, 3.43 ERA)
Indians:  Corey Kluber (8-3, 2.90 ERA)

Yankees:  Jaime Garcia (5-7, 4.29 ERA)
Indians:  Trevor Bauer (9-8, 5.25 ERA)

Yankees:  Jordan Montgomery (7-6, 4.15 ERA)
Indians:  Danny Salazar (4-5, 4.63 ERA)

Yankees:  Luis Severino (8-4, 2.98 ERA)
Indians:  Mike Clevinger (5-4, 3.68 ERA)

Today's game starts off with a marquee pairing.  Luis Severino may be the staff ace, but Sonny Gray is the shiny new toy going against one of the AL's best in Corey Kluber.  It should be a fantastic game.  I just wish the Yankee bats were swinging a little better.

Credit:  Kathy Willens-AP
It's reunion time for Clint Frazier who makes his first trip to Cleveland as a Yankee.  Although he never played at the Major League level, it's still the organization he began his professional career.  He was Cleveland's top prospect along with outfielder Bradley Zimmer and the two are close friends.  Zimmer was called up earlier this season by the Indians and is hitting .282 with 8 home runs and 37 RBI's in 67 games.  I hope Frazier plays as well against the Indians as former Yankee Ben Gamel did against the Yankees a couple of weeks ago.

Credit:  Mark Podolski-The Times-Herald
Odds & Ends...

The Yankees will miss old friend Andrew Miller on their trip to Cleveland.  The Indians placed the versatile lefty on the 10-Day DL yesterday with right knee patella tendinitis. Another former Yankee, Boone Logan, is also on the DL for the Tribe.  Logan is most likely good buddies with Tommy Kahnle since they spent a few years together in the Colorado Rockies bullpen.  Good that we won't have to face Miller, but bad for the player.  All things considered, I'd prefer to see a happy and healthy Andrew Miller regardless of what uniform he currently wears.

Credit:  Getty Images
Have a great Thursday!  Let's hope for better things in C-Town as Sonny Gray takes the field for the first time as a friend...not a foe.  Go Yankees!

RANT: You Can’t Really Send Down Clint Frazier… Can You?

Okay so I teased with starting off the morning with a doom and gloom type post and I quickly turned things around but there’s something building inside of me that cannot be contained. I need to rant and personally I feel like I have a damn good reason to. The New York Yankees are expecting outfielder Aaron Hicks to be back from the disabled list as early as next week after starting a rehab assignment in Triple-A with the Scranton RailRiders  leaving the Yankees with an impending and very tough decision to make. Who goes down when Hicks returns from the disabled list, assuming everyone is healthy and intact between then and now? Is it a pitcher? The Yankees are already carrying 13 pitchers at the time of this writing, or will it be Clint Frazier? It can’t be Frazier, can it? I mean, it can’t be Frazier and if it is I have a feeling I might have to rage for a bit. Keep reading.

I get that this is a business and logistically it makes sense that Frazier would be the one to go down. Frazier is the low man on the hypothetical totem pole and he has a minor league option where many have not but the Yankees are in the heat of a pennant race right now. Would the Yankees not prefer to have their second best outfielder, albeit in a small sample size and second best outfielder according to OPS behind Aaron Judge, for that potential playoff push? Especially when the Yankees still have Jacoby Ellsbury on their active roster burning up a valuable spot and resources. You’re going to send down Frazier and keep Ellsbury? Yeah I can’t really justify this line of thinking in my head. I can’t.

I know it’s probably much easier said than done and I totally get that and probably agree with that, but still. It really just irks me to be involved in this youth movement from a fan’s perspective only to see a guy like Frazier go down, who just for the record has far exceeded expectations at the Major League level thus far to date, while someone like Ellsbury or even Chase Headley remain on the team. Phantom DL Ellsbury or Matt Holliday, do something. Just don’t send down Frazier. And I really don’t want to hear the load of crap about how the Yankees can’t move the Ellsbury contract. There’s been worse contracts moved with more money and years left on them than Ellsbury’s both in the month of July and in the month of August. Cashman can get it done, so do it.

I apologize for starting this Thursday off with a rant but I am just growing so sick and tired of seeing good, young players sent down to the minor leagues because they have options while mediocre or less-than-average players remaining on the team mooching playing time. This is a youth movement and a team trying to compete all bunched up into one huge ball of hard decisions but sending Frazier down shouldn’t be one of them in my opinion. 

So it Seems Gray Skies Are Upon Us Today

Good morning everyone. No, we are not starting off this beautiful day with a doom and gloom post so no worries. Gray skies are upon us today because newly acquired Sonny Gray makes his Yankees debut today against the Cleveland Indians. I think I speak for the entire Yankees fan base when I say “heck yeah!” Well most Yankees fans would use another word but we try to keep things PG here as much as possible. I personally cannot wait to see Gray don the pinstripes and take the Yankee Stadium mound. Color me excited!!

There’s no time for gray skies, down time or sadness. These are the best and most exciting times of our lives, whether we realize it or not. Take advantage and make every second count because the next second isn’t guaranteed. No one can predict the future so live in the now and live happy knowing that you are. No more tears, no more doubt, no more sadness and no more loneliness. Negative people and people who only want to be in your life when it is convenient or when it benefits them get pushed to the side. No time and no place for you. Be gone. In its place, perfection.

HEY YOU. I love you. Have a great day. 

This Day In New York Yankees History 8/3: The Thurman Munson Memorial

On this day in Yankees history yesterday we remembered the great Thurman Munson as he was killed flying an airplane near his home in Ohio. Today in 1979 well over 51,000 mourners attended a memorial service for Mr. Munson at Yankee Stadium.

Also on this day in 1998 the Yankees continued to show their dominance of the league as they routed the Oakland Athletics by the score of 14-1. A's pitcher Mike Oquist gave up all fourteen earned runs becoming the first pitcher in 22 years to give up that many runs in a single game. Oquist was left in to take one on the chin and protect the Athletics bullpen since the next day Oakland and New York had a double header planned.

Also on this day in 1967 the Yankees traded catcher Elston Howard to the Boston Red Sox for cash and two players to be named later. The two PTBNL were Peter Magrini and Ron Klimkowski, both pitchers.

Finally on this day in 1933 the Yankees were shutout for the first time in 309 games as the Athletics beat the Yankees 7-0. The last time the Yankees were shut out before this day was August 2, 1931.