Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Wednesday's Game Has Been Postponed...

Rain, Rain, Go Away, Come Again Another Day (but not Thursday)...

Unfortunately, the Yankees will have to stay in Baltimore an extra day.  Today's game against the Orioles has been postponed due to anticipated rain throughout the evening. The game has been re-scheduled for Thursday at 1:35 pm Eastern.  The day had been a scheduled day off for both teams, so now the Yankees will have to fly to Dallas/Fort Worth following tomorrow's game.  

This has been a tough week for sleep for the Bronx Bombers. A Sunday evening game in New York, late night/early morning travel to Baltimore, a day game on Monday, a win on Tuesday but a crushing rain-delayed defeat last night and now this. Tomorrow's weather forecast for Baltimore is currently sunny and 72 degrees for game time.  Hopefully the weather holds so that the game can start on time and get our guys to the airport as soon as possible. A getaway win would make the plane trip so much smoother and faster.

Odds & Ends...

Congratulations to the Rookie-Level GCL Yankees East for winning the first 2017 MiLB championship! The GCL Yankees East beat the GCL Nationals, 5-4, to win the best of three Gulf Coast League Championship series. The hitting star was 5'2" third baseman Jose Carrera (the Mini-Ronald Torreyes?) who hit a game-tying home run in the 7th inning after only hitting one during the regular season. The winning run was scored by SS Jose Devers, Rafael's cousin, on a run-scoring single by RF Jhon Moronta in the top of the 9th. The winning pitcher was Luis Rijo with 5 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.  He didn't allow any hits or walks and struck out seven.  

Luis Rijo / Credit:  Bryan Green via Pinstriped Prospects

The Yankees have placed RHP Adam Warren (lower back spasm) on the 10-day DL retroactive to September 3rd. On the bright side, the new and improved Adam Warren (a/k/a Chad Green) is just fine.

Brett Gardner has been named as the Yankees nominee for the 2017 Roberto Clemente Award. Nominees were chosen for each MLB team and the winner will be named during the World Series. The nominees were chosen as the players from each team who "exemplify the game of baseball, sportsmanship, community involvement and the individual's contribution to his team". It is the second consecutive year that Gardner has been selected as the Yankees nominee.  

Last year's Roberto Clemente Award winner was former Yankee and then New York Met Curtis Granderson, now of the Los Angeles Dodgers.  

Credit:  Charles Rex Arbogast-Associated Press

There will never be another Roberto Clemente, certainly one of the greatest baseball players of my lifetime...

Let's try this again tomorrow.  Have a good night!

Game Thread: New York Yankees @ Baltimore Orioles 9/6

Ladies and gentleman it is game time in Baltimore as the Orioles stay home one last time this series to play host to their AL East Division rivals in the New York Yankees. In the finale of this three-game set the Yankees will send Sonny Gray to the mound looking for his third win inside Yankees pinstripes while Kevin Gausman and company look to play the spoiler for one of their most bitter rivals for the Orioles tonight. The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET inside Oriole Park at Camden Yards and can be seen on the YES Network, MASN and MLB TV. You can also follow along in your cars and on the radio by tuning into the WFAN broadcast.

Follow us on Twitter by following @GreedyStripes and enjoy the game. Need a win, get a division win and take one step closer to the postseason. Keep the pressure on the Red Sox and most importantly, have fun. Go Yankees!

USA Today’s Weekly MLB Power Rankings

Another week of Major League Baseball down the drain here in 2017 and pretty soon we won’t have any baseball left to talk about. We as a fan base need to enjoy the good times while they are here and that includes these weekly MLB Power Rankings brought to you by the USA Today. After the Yankees took three-of-four from the Boston Red Sox over the weekend was that enough to propel them up the rankings? Keep reading to find out.

The Red Sox dropped one spot out of the Top 5 to the 6th position overall after the Yankees pummeled them over the weekend while New York also fell a spot to the #8 position. Tough crowd. The question the USA Today asked in their rankings post was whether Chad Green was the next closer. While I should probably make that another post for another day I’d just like to interject and say that I hope not. With a team that has David Robertson, Aroldis Chapman and Dellin Betances on it I am not sure how I feel about having Green as the closer. He has pitched well, don’t get me wrong, but the playoffs are what I have my eyes on and the playoffs are a whole new animal. I’m cautiously pessimistic, I can’t help it. It is in my nature.

The Top 5 consists of the Los Angeles Dodgers, duh, followed in order by the Houston Astros, the Cleveland Indians who rose a spot from last week, the Washington Nationals who fell a spot from last week and the Arizona Diamondbacks who won’t even win their own division. It is amazing what the Los Angeles Dodgers have done this season. The Cubs took the Yankees #7 position while the Colorado Rockies remained 9th overall in a stacked National League West Division.

Don’t look now but the Minnesota Twins are red hot as they jumped three spots this week to the #11 position. Here is an interesting note on the Twins while we are on the subject, Minnesota is the only team in the league with a winning record on the road and a losing record at home. Maybe winning the second Wild Card in the American League was in the plans all along. Meanwhile the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the team I chose to win the second Wild Card in the AL, tripped up against the Oakland Athletics and fell one spot to the #12 position.

Madison Bumgarner has as many home runs (3) as wins (3) as a starting pitcher this season and we wonder why the San Francisco Giants are 29th overall. 

Baby Bomber to Watch: Jose Mesa Jr.

The future is now in the Bronx as the Yankees are using the “out with the old and in with the new” method of rebuilding. Gone are old mainstays like Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira and in their places are Miguel Andujar, Todd Frazier temporarily and Greg Bird. The future is now in New York but the good news for the Bronx bombers it that future can be the future as well as the team has a deep and still has a great farm system after multiple trades before the July 31st trading deadline. One of those players that could be part of the next wave of Baby Bombers to take over the league is the son of a former MLB player and his name is Jose Mesa Jr.

Mesa was drafted as a relief pitcher by the Yankees back in 2014 after drafting him in the 24th round of the MLB Draft. Mesa has since switched to the starting pitching role after a down season in 2016 and has posted a 4-0 record with a 0.79 ERA with the Double-A Trenton Thunder after conquering High-A with the Tampa Yankees. Mesa has succeeded as a start due in large part to his control and command of his pitches. Mesa is striking out 10.8 batters per nine innings while walking just 3.4 batters per nine innings, both are drastic improvements from his numbers as a reliever.

Mesa has not garnered some of the attention that other pitchers have in the Yankees minor league system like Chance Adams but with numbers like the above it is hard to merely blink an eye or miss what Mesa has done in a short stint this season. If the Yankees can strike gold with Mesa like they have with many other pitchers who have gone from relief pitcher to starting pitcher the team will have a great problem on their hands, too many good arms and not enough innings to throw them all.

The Greedy Pinstripes did a “Meet a Prospect” on Jose Mesa back in 2014 when he was drafted and you can read that below. Maybe one day soon I can say I interviewed the son of a MLB pitcher who himself became a MLB pitcher of the same name. Jose Mesa. Look out for this one.

Game Preview: New York Yankees @ Baltimore Orioles 9/6

The New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles will finish off their three-game set tonight inside Oriole Park at Camden Yards with a matchup of two potential aces for each ball club. The Yankees will send Sonny Gray to the mound who will be looking for a little bit of run support behind him for once while the Orioles will counter with Kevin Gausman who hasn’t needed much run support lately to win. The calendar is now in September and the regular season games are running out making each decision, each run and each contest all the more important.

Gray hasn’t received much run support since joining the Yankees as we alluded to earlier which may have contributed to his 2-4 start in six starts for the Bombers. Gray hasn’t been his dominant self either though and especially wasn’t in his last start against the Red Sox where he gave up four runs in seven innings of work including three home runs.

Gausman has posted a 2.55 ERA with 16 strikeouts in his last 17.2 innings and has been especially solid for Baltimore down the stretch. Gausman did not factor in the decision in his last start, a 13-inning affair the Orioles finally won on Friday night, but pitched well overall for Baltimore in the contest.

The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET inside Oriole Park and Camden Yards and can be seen on the YES Network, MASN 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, need a win so get a win, and go Yankees!!!

Betances Fails The Late Night Show...

Credit:  Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Orioles 7, Yankees 6...

I've never been a big fan of Dellin Betances as closer and Tuesday night was Exhibit A.  I do not feel that he has the closer's mentality and his arm plays best in a prime setup role. His inability to throw strikes to Tim Beckham with two outs set up Manny Machado for the late night heroics with a dramatic two-run walk-off home run. I've felt all along that David Robertson should have been the interim closer but at this point, an argument could be made for the return of Aroldis Chapman.

In a game delayed by rain (game time was 9:15 pm Eastern), the Orioles scored first in the bottom of the first inning. Jonathan Schoop worked a two-out walk off Yankees starter CC Sabathia.  Adam Jones reached base on an infield single to third (a slow roller that hit the bag). During Trey Mancini's at-bat, a wild pitch by Sabathia that got away from Austin Romine allowed the runners to move up to second and third.  Mancini proceeded to hit a short dribbler to short. Didi Gregorius charged in to retrieve the ball but in the words of Michael Kay, he had to "eat it" when there was no play at either first or home. Schoop scored and the O's led 1-0.  

The Yankees erupted in the third inning against Orioles starter Jeremy Hellickson. Austin Romine led off with a single to left through the hole.  After Brett Gardner lined out to right, Aaron Judge walked and Starlin Castro was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Didi Gregorius lined a single to right which scored both Romine and Judge.  Judge slid in safely under the throw.  Matt Holliday walked to re-load the bases. The O's then pulled Hellickson and replaced him with former Yankee Richard Bleier. Greg Bird hit a sacrifice fly to center which scored Castro. An error by center fielder Adam Jones, he dropped the ball, allowed Bird to safely reach base and the bases were still loaded.  Todd Frazier grounded out softly to short with the only play the throw to first. Gregorius came home with the fourth run.  Jacoby Ellsbury was next and he singled up the middle to center to score Holliday and Bird. The Yankees were seemingly in control at 6-1.

Credit:  Patrick Semansky-Associated Press

Leading off the bottom of the 3rd, Manny Machado, the American League Player of the Month in August, gave a preview of coming attractions with his line drive home run to center.  The Yankees still led, 6-2, but it was statement by Machado that the game was not over.  

While the Yankees were struggling to get runners past second base, the O's added another run in the bottom of the 5th inning when Jonathan Schoop took Sabathia deep to left center for a solo homer.  

Sabathia pitched into the 6th inning but overstayed his welcome. Trey Mancini led off with a looper just over Todd Frazier's outreached glove for a single.  Mark Trumbo took advantage and blasted a two-run shot to left. It was a one-run game. After Chris Davis grounded out for the first out of the inning, the Yankees finally pulled Sabathia.  Tommy Kahnle took over and got the final two outs.

Girardi's formula was then to use David Robertson for the 7th and Aroldis Chapman for the 8th. Both men did their jobs. Each retiring the three batters they faced.  Unfortunately, after the big 3rd inning, the Yankees offense stalled. Their last chance came in the 8th when they had two men on base with only one out, but Aaron Judge struck out and Starlin Castro popped out to third in foul territory to strand the runners.

Fast-forward to the bottom of the 9th, Dellin Betances took over for Chapman and retired the first two batters. He needed just one more out which never came.  He couldn't throw strikes to Tim Beckham, walking him on a 3-1 count.  Manny Machado, swinging at a poorly placed high pitch from Betances, sent the ball over the wall in center field for the walk-off two-run home run.  

Credit:  Associated Press

The Yankees (74-64) lost ground to the Boston Red Sox. The Sox were trailing the Toronto Blue Jays 2-0 in the bottom of the 9th before tying the game and sending it into extra innings. They finally scored the walk-off run in the 19th inning to win the game and push the Yankees 3 1/2 games back. The Orioles moved back to 3 1/2 games behind the Yankees with the win.  The Los Angeles Angels leap-frogged the Minnesota Twins and trail the Yankees by 2 1/2 games in the Wild Card Standings. The Angels beat the Oakland A's, 8-7, in 10 innings, while the Twins fell to the Tampa Bay Rays, 2-1.

This is another game that the Yankees should have won. It would have been huge to win the first two games in Baltimore.  But it was not meant to be so hopefully the Yankees can rebound today. Rain is in the forecast throughout the evening so there's a strong possibility the game is called and pushed to Thursday. When the teams take the field, the Yankees must play like a team fighting for the post-season and avoid the mistakes that allow the opponent to capitalize. Moving Betances back to set up would be a start.

Odds & Ends...

Every time the Yankees add a player from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, I can't help but feel bad for RailRiders Manager Al Pedrique as his team prepares for its International League playoff series against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. But then again, the RailRiders can raid from the Double A Trenton Thunder as 2B Billy Fleming will attest. I guess talent rolls up hill. The latest RailRider to exit the team is 1B/OF Tyler Austin who was promoted to the big league club prior to yesterday's game.  It makes more sense for Austin to provide outfield corner support than either Tyler Wade or Ronald Torreyes. Austin had two home runs the other day in the RailRiders' regular season finale.

Luis Severino's post on The Player's Tribune website entitled My Journey to the Bronx is a great read. It makes you feel proud and excited to be a Yankees fan. I didn't realize how close he came to being a Colorado Rockie. I am glad it didn't happen and that the opportunity to play for his favorite childhood team came to fruition.

Have a great Wednesday! Let's grab a win today at Camden Yards before the team jumps on a plane bound for the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex! Go Yankees!

Checking in w/ the Traded Yankees Prospects in 2017

The New York Yankees made quite a few traded this past July 31st trading deadline that included some highly touted prospects inside their farm system. Let’s check back in with those prospects one last time and maybe gauge how these trades are going to work out for both teams going forward. Obviously it is way too early to tell on these trades involving prospects but this look can give us all hopefully a detailed first impression of the deals.

The Yankees acquire David Robertson, Tommy Kahnle and Todd Frazier.
The White Sox acquire Blake Rutherford, Ian Clarkin, Tito Polo and Tyler Clippard.

In the weeks leading up to the deal there were many scouts that had their doubts about Rutherford’s ability to hit for hard contact and power. Many wondered if the Yankees would be patient with Rutherford or trade him while his value was still high and we all obviously got the answer to that question with this deal. Rutherford has hit .228/.302/.272 with a 72 wRC+ since the trade as of the time of this writing and has still yet to hit for power or hard contact. He’s still young and was technically drafted out of High School, although he was a 19-year old player drafted out of High School, so the sky is still the limit on this kid but it seems as though the Yankees may have gotten the better end of that deal as of right now. Three years from now we could be talking about the worst trade in the Brian Cashman era. You can’t predict baseball.

Clarkin made two whole starts for his new team before a strained oblique landed the lefty in a familiar place, on the disabled list. Clarkin pitched a whole eight innings for the White Sox and pitched to a 6.04 FIP in an extremely small sample size. Different name, same story for Polo who has only managed 79 plate appearances for the White Sox before landing on the disabled list. Polo will represent the White Sox in the Arizona Fall League though because when he was healthy he did produce a .278/.342/.389 and 113 wRC+ batting line.

Finally the curious case of Tyler Clippard. Clippard was terrible in the Bronx, he rebuilt some of his stock with the White Sox and was ultimately flipped to the Houston Astros in a second trade this season. Since joining Houston, again at the time of this writing, Clippard has been back to his old ways posting a 7.71 ERA and 4.85 FIP with Houston but he may ultimately get a World Series ring out of it regardless so I doubt he’s too bothered by it. Clippard looks a lot like the pitcher we saw in New York and a lot less like the guy who had a 1.80 ERA with the Chicago White Sox.

The New York Yankees acquire Jaime Garcia and cash considerations.
The Minnesota Twins acquire Zack Littell and Dietrich Enns.

The Yankees basically got Garcia for free in terms of dollars and cents but not in terms of prospects as the team had to part with a pair of minor league pitchers in the deal. Neither pitcher really fit in with the Yankees long term plans to be completely honest although Enns could have been a bullpen piece for the team going forward. Enns did make his MLB debut this season pitching 2.1 innings allowing two runs on five hits. Shortly after the rough outing in which he labored heavily through his two-plus innings Enns was placed on the disabled list with a should injury. Enns is currently pitching in minor league rehab games and could be a September call up for Minnesota.

Littell has pitched well for the Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts pitching to a 2.81 ERA and 3.51 FIP in seven starts. Littell does not fit the mold that the Yankees have seemingly fallen in love with since he is a soft-tossing left-hander but Littell has pitched well in every stop he has made throughout his minor league career so this one may be a hard loss to look back on in three-to-four years.

The New York Yankees acquire Sonny Gray.
The Oakland Athletics acquire Jorge Mateo, Dustin Fowler and James Kaprielian.

The big one, the trade that made the Yankees the Yankees again. The trade that sent three big prospects to the Athletics for right-handed pitcher Sonny Gray. Mateo was obviously the centerpiece of the deal and has hit .283/.328/.480 with two home runs for the Midland Rockhounds. Mateo is striking out at nearly a 23% clip but has played nice defense and has been a nice pickup for Oakland overall.

Both Fowler, knee, and Kaprielian, Tommy John surgery, have suffered season-ending injuries and will not play for Oakland this season. The A’s had their eyes on the future though when they made this deal while New York had their eyes on the present, 2018 and 2019. This deal could be one of those deals that ultimately work out equally as well for both teams given time. 

So it Seems… The Yankees Are Built for a Wild Card

Good morning everyone and welcome back to the blog. After a long weekend I did not want to get going this week but work had other plans for me unfortunately. Work is getting overwhelming and it is almost to the point where a change needs to be made not only for my happiness but for my health as well, but that’s another blog post for another day.

The Yankees made a bit of a statement this weekend and into this week taking three-of-four games against the Boston Red Sox and then coming out strong against another Wild Card contender in the Baltimore Orioles. The Yankees are still a longshot at being the American League East Division champions but after this strong play of late there is still a chance. I personally won’t be disappointed though if the Yankees ultimately have to settle for a Wild Card game and neither should you and I am prepared to tell you why.

The Yankees may be the best team built for a Wild Card type do-or-die game when you look at things on paper. The Yankees starting pitching has been fantastic overall and the team has the choice between Masahiro Tanaka or Luis Severino in their Wild-Card Game playoff while the bullpen has been equally is good, if not better. With everyone ready and rested the Yankees could easily get 5-6 innings out of their bullpen on any given night and those tend to be shutout innings as well.

The offense is good and can be explosive and the talent on this team tends to outweigh Joe Girardi’s bad decision making more times than not. The Yankees can put up 10 runs on any given night and in a one-game scenario that’s just hard to beat no matter who you are.

The Yankees are built for the long haul in my opinion and so are you and I my love. HEY YOU. I love you. Have a great day everyone. 

This Day In New York Yankees History 9/6: George Fires Gene Michael & Releases The Alou Brothers

George Steinbrenner bought the struggling New York Yankees franchise in 1973 for a meager $10 million and eventually turned the team into a perennial winner. Along the way George went through a lot of players, a ton of personnel, and more than his fair share of managers. On this day in 1981 The Boss made the "most agonizing" decision he ever made during his tenure as the Yankees owner when he fired manager Gene Michael and replaced him with Bob Lemon.

Michael announced in a press conference that he could no longer tolerate Steinbrenner's constant threats of dismissal which angered Steinbrenner. George demanded an apology and when Michael refused he was let go as the manager of the New York Yankees.

Also on this day in 1973 both of the Alou Brothers were released from the Yankees squad. Felipe Alou was sold to the Montreal Expos while Matty Alou was sent to the St. Louis Cardinals.