Saturday, September 16, 2017

Game Thread: New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles 9/16

And just like that ladies and gentleman it is time for baseball here in the Bronx between the New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles. For the third time in this series these two will square off head-to-head with Jordan Montgomery taking the ball for the Yankees and Jeremy Hellickson taking the ball for Baltimore. The game will be played at 4:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium 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. You know, if you’re into that sort of thing.

Follow us on twitter by following @GreedyStripes and enjoy the game. Need a win, get a win and bury those birds. Go Yankees!!

Prediction: Yankees win 11-6

Winning Gregoriusly...

Credit:  Getty Images
Yankees 8, Orioles 2...

Didi Gregorius was the man on the field and with the bat on Friday night as the Yankees took down the Baltimore Orioles for the second consecutive day. His brilliant defensive play and 4 RBI's helped Joe Girardi achieve his 900th  career victory as Yankees manager. Of course, it didn't hurt having the great Luis Severino on the mound.

Credit:  Frank Franklin II-Associated Press

The Yankees scored first with a run in the bottom of the 1st inning. Brett Gardner led off with a double to center. Gary Sanchez lined a one-out single to left, moving Gardy to third. A sacrifice fly to right by Didi Gregorius scored the speedy Gardner and the Yankees had the early 1-0 lead.

The Orioles got to Luis Severino in the top of the 2nd for really the only weakness in Sevy's start. Chris Davis took a two-out walk, and Wellington Castillo followed with a shot to the right field porch to put the O's in front, 2-1.

Chase Headley, starting at third base when Todd Frazier was scratched due to back stiffness, reached base to start the bottom of the 2nd with a bunt toward third. After Jacoby Ellsbury flied out to center, Matt Holliday lined a single to left, moving Headley to second. Greg Bird hit a grounder to first that was mishandled by Chris Davis (ball went through his legs into right field), allowing Bird to reach base. Headley scored and Holliday advanced to third. The game was tied at 2. The Yankees were unable to bring Holliday home when O's starter Gabriel Ynoa struck out both Brett Gardner and Aaron Judge to get out of the inning.

In the bottom of the 5th, Aaron Judge walked with one out. Buck Showalter went to the pen, replacing Ynoa with reliever Miguel Castro. With Gary Sanchez at bat, Judge stole second with a headfirst slide. El Gary subsequently grounded out with a short bouncer at the plate, but Didi Gregorius didn't miss the opportunity with a home run to right center to give the Yankees a 4-2 lead.  

Credit:  Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Greg Bird led off the bottom of the 7th inning with a walk. Brett Gardner hit a grounder between first and second but the O's were unable to force Bird or get a double play when second baseman Jonathan Schoop misplayed the ball (bounced off his glove). The runners were safe at first and second. Showalter pulled Castro and brought in Mychal Givens. Givens walked Judge to load the bases. Gary Sanchez hit a single to right, a fly ball that dropped in front of Mark Trumbo. Bird scored. Not that I am complaining but I thought it was a lazy defensive effort by Trumbo.  Oh well, the Yankees had increased their lead to 5-2. Showalter went to the pen again, this time bringing in former Yankees reliever Richard Bleier. Didi Gregorius hit his second sacrifice fly of the game, a fly to center, scoring Gardner who slid into home just under the great outfield throw. After Starlin Castro lined out to short, Chase Headley singled to right, scoring Judge. The throw in from the outfield easily tagged Sanchez out at third for the final out, but the Yankees had increased their lead to 7-2.

Luis Severino was cruising. He pitched as strongly in the 8th inning as he had earlier in the game, and he finished his day with three up, three down.  

Greg Bird added a run in the bottom of the 8th when he hit his 4th home run of the year, a solo shot to right into the second deck off Bleier. It was good to see Bird get good results even if the run was unnecessary at that point. Hopefully he's on the path to showing us the hitter he was in Spring Training. If he gets hot, the Yankees offense will be very hard to stop.

Credit:  Paul J Bereswill-NY Post

David Robertson took over for Severino in the top of the 9th. He started off by walking Manny Machado. A wild pitch allowed Machado to move to second. D-Rob was able to retire Jonathan Schoop and Trey Mancini, but another wild pitch moved Machado to third. But there he would stay as Mark Trumbo flied out to left to end the game. The Yankees win!

The Yankees (81-66) were unable to make up any ground on the Boston Red Sox and still trail by three games. It looked like the Yanks might move to within two games when the Tampa Bay Rays had a 5-2 lead in the top of the 9th with closer Alex Colome on the mound, but the Sox scored 3 runs to tie it and eventually won 13-6 in 15 innings. Although he was not the loser, it was a former Yankee on the mound (Chase Whitley) when Red Sox offense blew the flood gates open. The Yankees did increase their Wild Card lead over the Minnesota Twins to four games. The Twins lost a close 4-3 game to the Toronto Blue Jays. The Yanks have a six-game advantage over the third place WC team, the Los Angeles Angels.

Luis Severino is clearly the guy I want on the mound if the Yankees must settle for the Wild Card. He pitched eight strong innings, allowing only three hits and the two runs on the 2nd inning homer.  He walked one and struck out seven. As strong as he was pitching, he could have easily finished with a complete game.  But at 95 pitches and a six-run lead, it was better to let D-Rob close it out.  Sevy (13-6) lowered his season ERA to 2.93 with the performance. Nice job, Sevy!

Didi Gregorius was clearly the hitting star with the home run and 4 RBI's, but Chase Headley was 3-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored. He did record an out on one of those hits when he tried, unsuccessfully, to stretch a single to a double.  Gary Sanchez chipped in two hits and a RBI. Even though he didn't get a hit, Aaron Judge was still in the mix with two runs scored courtesy of the walks he took. Greg Bird, Brett Gardner and others...this was a great team win!

Credit:  Frank Franklin II-Associated Press

Odds & Ends...

Sadly, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders lost the Governor's Cup Finals to the Durham Bulls. The Rays' top farm team took the championship with a Game Four victory to win the series, three games to one. The RailRiders tried to claw back into the game but fell short, losing 6-4. Brady Lail was the starter and loser.  

Now that the RailRiders' season is over, I wonder if we'll see the addition of guys like Jake Cave and Miguel Andujar to the MLB roster. I really do not expect to see Chance Adams since the Yankees have no pressure to add him to the 40-man roster this year. Cave, on the other hand, must be protected or he'll most likely be lost in the Rule 5 Draft. Erik Kratz, I know you're batting 1.000 (2-for-2) but I think your taxi is here waiting for you. I hope you enjoyed the show.

Credit:  Jason Farmer, Staff Photographer/Times-Tribune

It was great season for the Yankees farm teams even if the top two clubs were unable to deliver championships. They are gaining the knowledge and experience that will help them deliver World Series championships for the big league team. The bigger picture.  

Have a great Saturday!  Let's take the series with a win today.  Go Yankees!

The Yankees and the Big Decisions Looming

The New York Yankees have built an amazing foundation for years to come here in 2017 and that team and foundation has far-exceeded any expectations put on the team this season, and it’s not even close. The 2018 season was always “the” season for the Yankees and with the 2018 season, either way, coming front and center in about a month for New York the team has a ton of big decisions looming. While we wait for the Orioles and Yankees game this afternoon let’s take a look at some of those potential big decisions and decipher how the Yankees will go about making those big decisions. Will we be talking about these decisions as the deciding factor in the 2018 World Series like many of the fans planned? Or will all be collectively back to screaming “Fire Cashman” even if he isn’t the GM of the team anymore when it all goes down?

CC Sabathia set to be a free agent and while many Yankees fans, myself included, have been counting down the days until the big left-hander hits free agency the craziest ideas are starting to pop up. Many are wondering if it would be in the Yankees best interest to bring back Sabathia on a one-year deal for insurance purposes and honestly, it’s a good idea if you ask me. If Sabathia’s knee finally gives out or if he pulls a Roger Clemens and “misremembers” how to pitch then a simply DFA or a Mark Teixeira or Alex Rodriguez type handout could easily be in order. This is all dependent on a lot of things but none of them bigger than the Masahiro Tanaka opt-out that’s looming, the Shohei Otani potential signing and the emergence and development of Chance Adams and others. If you ask me here on September 16 though I say give the big man a one-year deal worth $10 million or so.

Speaking of starting pitching and the Tanaka opt-out clause the Yankees have another big decision regarding that. Obviously the decision making process is all in Tanaka’s hands but the big decision for the Yankees comes if Tanaka decides to opt-out. Do the Yankees offer Tanaka a bigger, and presumably longer contract to come back to the Bronx? I would personally advise against that honestly but if history is any indicator of the future then the Yankees will at least entertain the idea. Will the team shift their focus to Shohei Otani instead? Honestly I think the team will be all-in, or as all-in as they can be, for Otani regardless of the Tanaka decision. Will the team simply plug the hole via free agency? I don’t see any slam dunks there and the Yankees will be trying to get under the luxury tax threshold anyway so I can’t see the team splurging for much if Tanaka were to opt-out and not come back. Could we be seeing the last of Tanaka in pinstripes? Stay tuned.

The final starting pitching decision for the Yankees this offseason will be the decision on what to do with Michael Pineda after a Tommy John surgery in July likely ended any chances of the right-hander pitching in 2018. The Yankees faced a similar situation with Nathan Eovaldi recently and let the flamethrower head to the Tampa Bay Rays but the team could conceivably sign Pineda to a two-year deal loaded down with incentives with the purpose of keeping him under contract for the 2019 season. With the roster crunch the Yankees have going on and all the young players the team has coming through the pipeline it seems unlikely that the Yankees would do so but Pineda has a talent and a right arm that is worth taking a chance on in my opinion. If I were a betting man though I’d say he will likely be wearing another uniform here in 2018 though and not the Yankees pinstripes.

I know I’m crazy and I know I’ll probably catch a lot of flak for this but I really, really want to bring back Todd Frazier for the 2018 season. Of course if Frazier is looking for an astronomical contract then my opinion would change but Frazier just doesn’t seem like that kind of player to me. Frazier, set to be a free agent at the end of the season, is a great clubhouse guy and he is versatile as hell. Now I know what many are thinking, what about Miguel Andujar? What about Gleyber Torres? Why would I want to block the third base position from either of those two players? First of all either of them making the Major League roster and contributing is a guarantee but New York has a backup plan if either or both of them do, first base. Frazier can be more than adequate at first base defensively and can also be counted on in the DH position as Matt Holliday hits free agency. I can see a young team like the Yankees will have in 2018 putting those thumbs down every time Frazier hits a home run or knocks in an RBI all year long next season.

Speaking of Matt Holliday the 37-year old slugger is likely seeing his final at-bats inside Yankees pinstripes as we sprint towards the end of the 2017 season. The signing of Holliday was great in theory and was working out marvelously until Holliday got hit with the Epstein-Barr virus that has seemingly and presumably zapped him of all his power and stamina. Holliday has served his purpose here in the Bronx both on the field and off the field as he worked with Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner and others and the Yankees need to realize that. Thank him for his services and wish him luck on his next stop and for the 2018 season.

Now I know what you’re thinking, why bring back Todd Frazier when you have somewhat of a mirror image of him already under contract in Chase Headley? Because Frazier is better, that’s why. Now all of this is contingent obviously on the contract demands of Frazier but if the Yankees can bring back the Toddfather then the team can immediately start looking for trade partners for Headley. According to the Yankees GM Brian Cashman the team discussed moving Headley last offseason and could presumably rehash some of those conversations with just one-year and $13 million remaining on the Headley contract in 2018. If not Headley can split time between first base, third base and DH until Gleyber Torres and/or Miguel Andujar is ready to take over the position at third base permanently.

Speaking of first base the final decision the Yankees have looming is what to do at first base. For the second consecutive season the Yankees “first baseman of the future” Greg Bird has not been able to stay on the field due to injuries leaving the Yankees not only scratching their heads, but frustrated. With so many options on the roster, albeit less than ideal and not natural options, for the first base position and a player hitting free agency that the Yankees really like in Eric Hosmer could we be seeing the end of Greg Bird? Could the Yankees package Bird and Headley, plus prospects, in a deal to fill a hole or to bring in more prospects after trading away quite a few in July and August this season? Honestly I think Hosmer will be too rich for the suddenly austerity-driven Yankees which only works in Bird’s favor but weirder things have happened here in the Bronx. Especially with a Steinbrenner running the show and writing the checks.

So what will the Yankees do? Honestly I think the team brings Sabathia back for the 2018 season, the thought of the partially torn ulnar collateral ligament and a less-than-stellar 2017 campaign keeps Tanaka in pinstripes, the team makes a serious run at Otani but loses out to a National League team which allows him to hit every fifth day, and the team runs Bird back out there for Opening Day 2018. The Frazier and Headley situation will be an interesting one to watch but the Yankees will likely see Headley as a sunk cost, if they trade him the team will likely have to eat some of his salary after a couple down seasons in the Bronx, and let Frazier walk via free agency if I were to guess. Again though, weirder things have happened with a Steinbrenner running the show though so you will just have to stay tuned. 

Game Preview: New York Yankees vs. Baltimore Orioles 9/16

Good morning ladies and gentleman, well I guess it is technically afternoon but whatever, and welcome to Saturday baseball here in the Bronx. Unfortunately I will have to miss this game this afternoon because of the wedding I will be attending this afternoon but I will be there in spirit as the New York Yankees look to take down the Baltimore Orioles in the third game of this four-game set. This series was a matchup of two teams that were heading in completely opposite directions and that is seemingly how this series has gone with the Yankees beating up on the Orioles on Thursday night and looking to do so again throughout the weekend. I’d say I feel sorry for Baltimore right now because as a Yankees fan I’ve been in their position but maybe partly for that reason I don’t feel bad. Or maybe I’m just heartless. Stay tuned to find out which one it is!!! Enjoy the game.

Montgomery hasn’t been sharp since coming back as a September call up leaving the Yankees to wonder if the lefty has hit an innings wall. In Montgomery’s last start the Yankees southpaw lasted just 3.1 innings against the Texas Rangers allowing three runs on three hits extending his streak of starts where he has not completed at least five innings to three. Let’s snap that streak this afternoon in the Bronx, shall we?

Hellickson on the other hand had a great start last time out despite allowing two home runs in the start. Hellickson logged a quality start for Baltimore but needs to strikeout more batters if he wants to be effective going forward. Over Hellickson’s last five starts the right-hander has not struck out more than two batters in any start meaning the Yankees should make plenty of contact this afternoon in the Bronx. Let’s hope the wind is blowing out to right field this afternoon.

The game will be played at 4:05 pm ET inside Yankee Stadium 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. You can’t see all the thumbs down when the Yankees bash out a few more home runs but you can hear the amazing home run calls by the legendary Sterling when they happen, so there’s always that. Need a win, get a win and take another step towards October baseball at the Orioles expense. Win, win, win. Go Yankees!

So it Seems…. Becoming Baglio.

Good morning everyone. I hope everyone reading this on this beautiful Saturday morning is doing well. I am awake awfully early this morning for a Saturday but that is because today is becoming Baglio day. You’re confused, I know, so let me explain. My future sister in law, Kellie, is getting married today to a great man, Rob Baglio. Congratulations to them both and I couldn’t be happier for you both. Kellie, you will be the second most beautiful bride there ever was to take that majestic walk down that aisle, second only to your sister of course, and I hope for nothing but the best for you and for Rob not only today on your big day, but forever. I love you guys.

And my Kari, I love you. HEY YOU. 

This Day In New York Yankees History 9/16: Catfish Hunter Day

The New York Yankees have become known for the days they honor their current and former stars, players, and managers, and the Yankees did just that on this day in 1979 when they honored retiring closer Catfish Hunter. Hunter was surprisingly only 33 years old when the future Hall of Fame pitcher decided to hang up his cleats for good.

On the same day the Yankees got a glimpse into the future as a 20 year old rookie pitcher made his major league debut. His name was Dave Righetti.

Also on this day in 1948 Joe DiMaggio became only the 8th player in major league history to reach the 300 home run mark. DiMaggio joins Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Mel Ott, Jimmie Foxx, Rogers Hornsby, Chuck Klein, and Hank Greenberg in the 300 home run club.

Finally on this day in 1923 in a move that future owner George Steinbrenner would have made 23 year old shortstop Roger Peckinpaugh was hired to replace Frank Chance as the manager of the team. Peckinpaugh lasted a whole 20 games and went 10-10 for the 6th place Yankees squad.