Thursday, September 21, 2017

Looking Back at TGP’s 2017 Predictions: The World Series

The drought is over and the Cleveland Indians are your 2017 World Series Champions!! Short, sweet and to the point but that’s how I feel. The Indians are a young team, a deep team and an experienced team after taking the Chicago Cubs to the brink in seven games in the 2016 World Series. Behind the arms of Corey Kluber, Danny Salazar, Andrew Miller and others the Cleveland Indians are just going to be too tough for anyone to handle in my opinion this season.

Don’t get me wrong, the Washington Nationals are tough and they will let the Indians know that they have been in a fight but the bullpen for the Nats may be the difference maker. Without a true closer and without a deep and dominant bullpen that is capable of giving five-plus shutout innings of work on any given night I find it hard to believe that Bryce Harper and company will be able to keep up over a seven game series.

I think this series goes at least six games and may go seven games but at the end of the day I think the World Series championship goes back to Cleveland, finally. The Indians paid their dues last season as the watched Chicago celebrate breaking their curse and drought and now it’s time for redemption. Let me be the first to congratulate the 2017 Cleveland Indians on their World Series victory.

Looking Back at TGP’s 2017 Predictions: The Playoffs

This morning I revealed and recapped my 2017 MLB Division winning predictions that I made for the season started and since then I have gone on to showcase my predictions for all the major awards. Let’s circle back to those division winning predictions and what comes after those teams win their divisions, the postseason. Now these predictions are still just that, predictions, as the postseason doesn’t start for almost another two weeks but here they are regardless as I still feel good about my predictions.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

TGP 2017 MLB Predictions: The Playoffs

All predicted winners will be BOLDED

AL Wild Card Round
Toronto Blue Jays vs. New York Yankees

NL Wild Card Round 
New York Mets vs. St. Louis Cardinals

American League Division Series 
Cleveland Indians vs. New York Yankees
Boston Red Sox vs. Houston Astros

National League Division Series 
Chicago Cubs vs. St. Louis Cardinals
Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Washington Nationals

American League Championship Series
Cleveland Indians vs. Boston Red Sox

National League Championship Series
Chicago Cubs vs. Washington Nationals

Congratulations to the Washington Nationals and the Cleveland Indians on their successful 2017 seasons that both resulted in winning their pennants. Now onto the World Series!

So a Cleveland Indians and Washington Nationals World Series here in 2017 was my prediction, that’s a prediction I can get behind. Let’s see a drought finally end for one of these two teams. Which team will it be? Well that’s an entirely different set of predictions, now isn’t it?

Looking Back at TGP’s 2017 Predictions: Managers of the Year

How much does an MLB manager actually impact the game? I asked that same question below when this post was originally posted and yet I still don’t have a true or concrete answer to it so I’ll ask it again. Does anyone know? I know if you ask a Yankees fan every loss is on the back and decision making of Joe Girardi while every win is just the talent of the players outweighing the bad decision making of Girardi but I wanted to ask a broader spectrum. Does anyone have any thoughts? Leave them below as you check out my predictions on the 2017 AL and NL Manager of the Year Award winners.

TGP 2017 MLB Predictions: Managers of the Year

Some have argued that the actual impact and importance of a manager is as insignificant as it gets while others swear by the decision making of their favorite team's skipper. Those fans obviously have never had to deal with Joe Girardi and his magical all-knowing binder that has since turned into an iPad but regardless of whether the manger has a true impact or not the awards are given out every year so let's predict the winners. We can always have the debate of whether the manager actually has a bearing on the outcome of a game at another time, remind me. 

American League Manager of the Year: Terry Francona

I have real high hopes for the defending American League Champions this season because somehow I think the team is better than they were a year ago. Cleveland has a full season of Andrew Miller in their bullpen and they have added an absolute huge bat in Edwin Encarnacion to the middle of their lineup. All this should equate to more victories and more air time for the Indians and their manager. Plus, and not to say Francona is going to win it by default as he is an incredible manager, but no other managers really stand out to me aside from maybe AJ Hinch. Maybe. 

National League Manager of the Year: Bud Black

I truly believe the Colorado Rockies are going to be a force to be reckoned with in the National League West this season. I honestly wouldn't be surprised to see this team finish as high as second in the division and at least in the discussion for one of the final Wild Card spots in the league. For that reason I can see their manager Bud Black winning the National League Manager of the Year Award while Nolan Arenado, his third baseman, tears up the National League at the plate and in the field. 

Looking Back at TGP’s 2017 Predictions: The Most Valuable Players

If you can pick a Cy Young Award winner “easily” then shouldn’t you be able to pick the AL and NL Most Valuable Players pretty consistently as well? History would prove, especially on this site, which this is not the case for whatever reason. First and foremost there are generally just five starting pitchers per team and eight or nine position players hitting per team giving you basically twice as many players in the pool to choose from in the MVP discussion. Secondly you have to think that pitchers are just paid to win games and keep runs off the board, there isn’t a huge distinction between ground ball pitchers, fly ball pitchers, strikeout pitchers or pitchers who pitch to contact. That is not the case here on the MVP side of things as you can slug 40-50 home runs a season and win an MVP award, you can hit for contact and steal a ton of bases and win an MVP Award or you can be like Mike Trout and do a little bit of everything so damn well and win an MVP Award or two. Keep that in mind when crushing my hopes, dreams and opinions of myself after reading these predictions.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

TGP 2017 MLB Predictions: The MVP’s

Here we are finally, the big one. The Most Valuable Player Award in Major League Baseball is considered the highest honor an individual position player can achieve and there is only one for each league. Who wins it for the American League and the National League? Well my American League pick won’t shock many as it’s probably the consensus and the popular pick but that National League pick though… that one could turn some heads. I mean it shouldn’t but it still might anyway. Read on to see what and who I am talking about.

American League MVP: Mike Trout

There isn’t much explanation that needs to go into this one. Mike Trout is arguably the best player in the American League right now followed closely by the Boston Red Sox’s outfielder Mookie Betts, who I honestly considered putting here… but rivalries, and is fresh off winning the award in 2016. Trout is still young and shows no signs of breaking down or slowing up his game so I’m simply going to keep picking him until he gives me a reason not to. I know this isn’t the risqué pick by any means but sometimes the safe pick is the best pick because it’s a safe pick for a reason.

National League MVP: Nolan Arenado

Nolan Arenado has been one of the best young hitters and third baseman in the National League for a few seasons now but somehow there are still people out there that don’t know about him. Is that because he plays for a rebuilding team that’s west of the Mississippi River in the Colorado Rockies? Maybe but it certainly isn’t his production that’s doing it. Arenado, now just 25-years old, heads into 2017 fresh off his fourth straight Gold Glove Award at third base for Colorado as well as his second straight season in which he led the National League in home runs. The Rockies will live and die by the bat of Arenado next season and they will ride him all the way to an MVP Award and quite possibly an NL West Division crown or at the very least a trip to the postseason as a Wild Card. I didn’t predict they would but I won’t be the one to bet against them either. 

Paul Goldschmidt will likely win the National League MVP Award in 2017, as he should, while Giancarlo Stanton will draw some votes for the award as well as he chases down Roger Maris and his 61 home runs in a single season mark. In the American League there are a few candidates who could win the award including Jose Altuve of the Houston Astros although I don’t feel like Trout is a strong candidate at this time unfortunately.

Looking Back at TGP’s 2017 Predictions: Cy Young Award Winners

Predicting the Cy Young Award can be a bit easier and is probably one of the “easiest” predictions to make historically. There is always that group of pitchers that perennially dominant hitters while they are in their primes and two of those pitchers were picked in this set of predictions. While nothing is set in stone at this time it looks like I will likely get both of these predictions wrong but I feel like both of my picks will be in either the top two or three of the AL and NL Cy Young Award voting so I am okay with that. At least it wasn’t a total bomb like that Tyler Glasnow pick.

It is likely that Chris Sale of the Boston Red Sox will win the Cy Young Award here in 2017 leaving Kluber just behind a Red Sox pitcher for the second consecutive year, last season Rick Porcello of the Red Sox won the award with Kluber right on his heels. In the National League it looks like it will either be Max Scherzer of the Washington Nationals or Clayton Kershaw of the Dodgers taking home the awards. On most of the sabermetric sites and prediction sites that plug in stats and variables into a computer to garner a likelihood of winning the award type stat they have Scherzer winning the award but with two-or-three starts left for each pitcher it could go down to the wire. Stay tuned.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

TGP 2017 MLB Predictions: Cy Young Winners

If you’re a pitcher coming up as a kid in Little League, as a High School player, a college player or even as a professional in the minor leagues your ultimate goal is always to reach the Major Leagues and win a Cy Young Award. There’s only one per league every single season so most pitchers will never get that honor but in my opinion these two men from the Cleveland Indians and Los Angeles Dodgers respectively will reach that ultimate goal and have that ultimate honor bestowed upon them. Keep reading to find out who I’m talking about although I have a feeling by naming the teams that you already have an idea of who I am going to choose.

American League Cy Young Award: Corey Kluber

So I've already predicted that the Cleveland Indians would win the American League Central Division with the best record in the American League and I've already predicted that all those wins would equate into manager Terry Francona winning the AL Manager of the Year Award but who is going to carry the team to that over the course of a 162-game schedule? His name is Corey Kluber and he is an absolute animal on the mound. Kluber was one of the best starters last season, although he lost out on the award to 20+ game winner Rick Porcello of the Boston Red Sox, but he will not be denied in 2017 as he is set up to put up another strong campaign this season. 

National League Cy Young Award: Clayton Kershaw

I could go on and on about all the numerous reasons why Clayton Kershaw will once again find a way to get better and find a way to win another Cy Young Award for the National League but I have a better idea. Name a reason or two, and yes there are including his injury history as of late, of why he won't win the award at this point in his career. Leave them below in the comments section or drop us a line on Twitter by following @GreedyStripes. 

Just Another Game for the History Books...

Credit:  Noah K Murray-USA TODAY Sports
Yankees 11, Twins 3...

I don't know, the Minnesota Twins might want to consider forfeiting the Wild Card game. Seriously, the Yankees seem to have the Twins number as evidenced by the sweep of the most recent three-game series. I only hope that it continues into October assuming the Twins are successful in holding off the Los Angeles Angels for the second Wild Card spot.

For the first two innings, the game appeared to be a pitching duel between Yankees ace Luis Severino and the ancient Bartolo Colon. A few isolated hits but no serious threats. Then, in the top of the 3rd inning, the Twins came out charging. Kennys Vargas singled on a soft bouncer to short that Didi Gregorius  tried to barehand..unsuccessfully...with one out. Jason Castro followed with a single, a line drive to right. Runners at the corners.  Brian Dozier drew a walk and the bases were full. Joe Mauer, battling Sevy for 13 pitches, singled to right, scoring Vargas. After a trip to the mound by Yankees pitching coach Larry Rothschild (which never seems to work), Jorge Polanco lashed a single to right just past a running Greg Bird who nearly had the ball, Castro and Dozier scored. The Twins were up, 3-0. Severino evaded further trouble by retiring the next two batters.  

All I could think was, "We're going to let Bartolo Colon beat us? Really?". Fortunately, the Yankees heard me.  Greg Bird led off the bottom of the 3rd with a double to the right field wall, sliding into second just under the outfield throw. After Brett Gardner struck out, Aaron Judge hammered a Colon pitch over the wall in right for a two-run home run.  It was Judge's 45th of the year and his 100th RBI. Amazing. This was a guy who was almost beat out of a job by Aaron Hicks in Spring Training. 

Credit:  Bill Kostroun-AP

Gary Sanchez was up next and he delivered his 32nd home run with a shot to center in Monument Park. Drop the accolades for Judge and pick them up for Sanchez. 32 homers...the most ever for a Yankees catcher despite missing nearly a month of the season. More homers than Bill Dickey, Yogi Berra, Elston Howard, Thurman Munson and Jorge Posada accomplished in one season. Incredible. The game was tied.

Credit:  Bill Kostroun-AP

Luis Severino did not return for the 4th inning. 3 innings worked, 5 hits, 3 runs, a walk, and 3 K's on 71 pitches. He needed 46 pitches for the 3rd inning alone. A no decision that pushed his season ERA back over three (3.03).  

Credit:  Andrew Theodorakis-The NY Post

Chasen Shreve took over for Severino. Given Shreve's recent performances, I was feeling a little shell-shocked. But he retired the first batter he faced, Max Kepler, on a swinging strikeout. Eduardo Escobar followed by flying out to left on a ball that took Brett Gardner to the warning track. Whew! So far, so good. Then, he walked Kennys Vargas. Are you friggin' kidding me? Get that bum out of there! Nobody listened to me, so Shreve was able to pitch to the next batter, Jason Castro, who grounded out to second for the final out. Okay, Shreve, that wasn't bad. I feel better now...

The bottom of the 4th arrived and, man, so did the rejuvenated September 2017 Yankees. Well, Matt Holliday excluded. He started the inning with a pop out to first in foul territory. Jacoby Ellsbury, playing like a man who is worth $153 million, tripled to left (actually, it probably should have been an error on left fielder Eddie Rosario who didn't take a good route to the ball and it bounced out of his glove). Todd Frazier walked. Greg Bird doubled to the right field corner with Ellsbury scoring on the play and the Toddfather moving to third. The Yankees had their first lead of the game. Paul Molitor decided to make a pitching change and brought in Tyler Duffey to replace Colon. I was worried that our little rally was going to be short-fused. Silly me. Brett Gardner lined a single to center which scored Frazier. Bird moved to third. Aaron Judge struck out to briefly bring the return of my pessimism, but Gary Sanchez lightened my mood with a single to right, scoring Bird. Didi Gregorius was up next and he crushed a three-run homer to the second deck in right. It was Didi's 25th home run of the year, giving him the most for a Yankees shortstop in franchise history. After the hit, Didi turned around and apologized to Jason Castro for dropping the bat in front of him.  Class act by a very classy guy.

Credit:  Bill Kostroun-AP

The Yankees had scored 6 runs and now led 9-3. Starlin Castro grounded out to short to end the inning but I was okay with that.

Chasen Shreve did his job in the top of the 5th with no complaints or inner dialogue from me. In the bottom of the 5th, former Yankees farmhand Nik Turley took over for Tyler Duffey. Matt Holliday, deciding he wanted to join the party, started the Yankees half of the inning with a single to center. Jacoby Ellsbury drew a walk on four pitches. After a game delay when Todd Frazier hit a young fan with a foul ball, he flied out to center but Holliday tagged and moved to third. With Greg Bird at bat, Turley unleashed a wild pitch that got away from Jason Castro and Holliday came in to score. Ellsbury moved to second. Bird then singled on a grounder to first that the first baseman momentarily lost after stopping the ball to put runners at the corners.  It was another hit that probably should have been ruled an error. Brett Gardner was hit by a pitch in the back and the bases were loaded. That would be all for Turley and he was replaced by Michael Tonklin. Aaron Judge hit a fly to right, scoring Ellsbury. The Yankees were now up, 11-3.  Gary Sanchez singled to left to reload the bases, but Didi Gregorius struck out on a foul tip to end the inning.

Shreve returned with another solid inning in the 6th to help restore some of my confidence in the young Las Vegan left-hander. By the bottom of the 7th, both teams began making multiple substitutions. The Yanks rode the arms of Ben Heller and Domingo German to the finish.  Nice job by both but special mention for German.  He pitched two scoreless innings with no hits and a meaningless walk in the 9th.  He struck out a total of four Twins including Kennys Vargas to end the game.  The Yankees win!

The Yankees (85-67) increased their lead in the Wild Card standings to seven games over the Twins with 10 games to play. The Twins retained their 1 1/2 game lead over the Los Angeles Angels, who lost to the Cleveland Indians, 6-5.  The Boston Red Sox swept the Baltimore Orioles with a 9-0 win on Wednesday, so they remain three games in front of the Yankees.  The win clinched a post-season berth for the Red Sox.

Chasen Shreve (4-1), by virtue of Severino's early departure, got the win. Three Yankees had three hits (Gary Sanchez, Jacoby Ellsbury and Greg Bird) and two had three RBI's (Aaron Judge and Didi Gregorius).  Sanchez had two ribbies. Judge now has 101 RBIs, becoming the fourth Yankees rookie to reach the 100 RBI mark, joining Tony Lazzeri (1926), Joe DiMaggio (1936), and Hideki Matsui (2003). Judge also became the third rookie in MLB history and eighth player in Yankees history with 100 runs, 100 RBIs, and 100 walks. This was yet another great team victory.  Thumbs down, Everyone!  

Next Up: Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada...

The Yankees enjoy their final day off of the regular season today (barring any rainouts) before embarking on their last road trip with a quick three-game set north of the border starting Friday night. The Blue Jays, picked by many to finish as high as second in the AL East prior to the season, have successfully held off the Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays, for rights to the AL East Cellar although they'll need to keep losing to fend off the O's.  

It may be a down year for the Blue Jays but they always seem to play the Yankees very tough. Here are the scheduled pitching match-ups:

Yankees:  Masahiro Tanaka (12-11, 4.73 ERA)
Blue Jays:  Marco Estrada (9-8, 4.84 ERA)

Yankees:  Jordan Montgomery (8-7, 4.06 ERA)
Blue Jays:  Joe Biagini (3-11, 5.33 ERA)

Yankees:  Sonny Gray (9-11, 3.38 ERA)
Blue Jays:  Marcus Stroman (12-8, 3.01 ERA)

Marco Estrada, who had been due to become a free agent after the season, signed a one-year contract extension for $13 million this week. So, he'll be a happy man on Friday night.  

I really hope that the Yankees find the perfect combination of excellent pitching from Sonny Gray and run support on Sunday.

Odds & Ends...

The downside to Wednesday's victory was the injury of a young girl who was hit by the foul ball off the bat of Todd Frazier in the 5th inning.  The girl, a toddler, was attending the game with her grandparents.  She was apparently struck in the mouth. 

After the game, the Yankees released a short statement:  "The child who was struck with a batted ball today was given first aid at the ballpark and is receiving medical attention at an area hospital.  The federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, known as HIPAA, prevents the team from giving more information.  We will have no further comment at this time."  

Our prayers and well wishes to the young girl for a full and speedy recovery.

Credit:  Bill Kostroun-AP
Credit:  Abbie Parr-Getty Images
Joe Girardi said after the game that the little girl was "doing OK".  This was a wake up call for the Yankees organization to extend the netting to protect fans.

I do feel bad for the Twins fans. Many of them are fans of the Minnesota Vikings like me. The Vikings took one on the chin last Sunday when they were steamrolled by the Pittsburgh Steelers, 26-9, behind backup QB Case Keenum. So it has not been a great week for sports fans in and around Minneapolis/St Paul, MN.  But I certainly do not feel bad enough that I wanted the Twins to escape with a victory.  How sweep it is!  

Have a great Thursday!  It's a day off...let's enjoy!  Go Yankees!  

Looking Back at TGP’s 2017 Predictions: The Rookies of the Year

The Rookie of the Year Award is another tough one to predict before the beginning of a season because there are so many unknown variables to this thing. Will a team call up their top prospect in time to qualify or get enough games under his belt to surpass say a prospect on a rebuilding team who had the entire season to play? Will an injury thrust a player who was not expected to get a call up before the All-Star Break or September call ups thus giving this player a shot to make noise at the Major League level? So many variables, not enough answers so I feel like I bombed these predictions a bit, but not by all that much.

Aaron Judge will likely win the American League Rookie of the Year Award, and no I did not see him pushing 45-50 home runs at the end of his rookie campaign so you will have to excuse me for his omission, while Cody Bellinger, another guy who seemingly came out of nowhere with the power bat, will likely win it in the National League. Benintendi will likely finish second in the AL vote though giving me a little credibility while Tyler Glasnow…. Yeah let’s not talk about that.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

TGP 2017 MLB Predictions: Rookies of the Year

You guys and girls know me by now but if you don't then pay attention because I am about to give you a lesson. I love prospects. The prospect, no pun intended, of the future with these young guys just makes me want to be a fan not just for today and not just for tomorrow but for the foreseeable future as we all watch these guys grow. I can remember watching as the New York Yankees signed players like Gary Sanchez way back when and thinking something along the lines of "man I can't wait until he reaches the Major Leagues." Well fans of these two men are now in that situation where their favorite young guy is not only ready to reach the majors in 2017 but be the best rookie in all the land for a season. 

American League Rookie of the Year: Andrew Benintendi

I think if you poll 100 sports writers, bloggers or journalists I think at last 90 of them will choose Andrew Benintendi of the Boston Red Sox as their American League Rookie of the Year Award winner. Benintendi is the real deal and showed that in a short stint with the club last season. The future is now for the Red Sox and the future is no for Benintendi inside Fenway Park as much as the Yankee fan in me hates to admit this. 

National League Rookie of the Year: Tyler Glasnow

Glasnow is one of those names we have been hearing about for what feels like forever now but the time is finally now for the 23-year old right-hander. Glasnow is not a finished product by any means as he continues to struggle with command and his walks but despite those struggles he has still found a way to absolutely dominate the Pirates minor league system. Tall pitchers, and Glasnow is 6'8", tend to take a little longer to put it all together, see fellow 6'8" right-hander Dellin Betances for a recent and Yankees-related example of this, and Glasnow has had a strong spring leading many to believe that this year is the year that he will do so. 

Looking Back at TGP’s 2017 Predictions: The Division Winners

I truly believe the hardest predictions of all the predictions are the division winners from every season. Who saw the Minnesota Twins playing as well as they have here in 2017? Who saw the Milwaukee Brewers fighting for a NL Central title? Who saw the New York Mets, the Toronto Blue Jays, the San Francisco Giants, the Pittsburgh Pirates and the St. Louis Cardinals to name a few struggling as bad as they have this season? Well for the most part, according to these predictions anyway, I did but who else did? I joke, a little, but I feel like I did pretty well here on this set of predictions all things considered. Also I remember all the ragging and the comments I got when I had the Yankees winning a Wild Card this season also, no hard feelings though. Here are the complete set of predictions and the write up from the post on April 1, 2017.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

TGP 2017 MLB Predictions: The Division Winners

Ladies and gentleman it’s the calm before the storm and the weekend before the 2017 MLB regular season kicks off. Sunday the New York Yankees will take their new right fielder Aaron Judge and their new first baseman Greg Bird and their new catcher Gary Sanchez and the rest of the baby bombers down to Tampa to begin a series with the Tampa Bay Rays inside Tropicana Field. Before the games actually count and mean something though I wanted to take a second to make my yearly predictions for the different awards, division winners and playoff contenders this year. We all know how well my predictions go so let’s just get the embarrassment over with, shall we?

American League:

AL East: Boston Red Sox
AL Central: Cleveland Indians
AL West: Houston Astros
Wild Card #1: Toronto Blue Jays
Wild Card #2: New York Yankees (homer alert)

National League:

NL East: Washington Nationals
NL Central: Chicago Cubs
NL West: Los Angeles Dodgers
Wild Card #1: New York Mets
Wild Card #2: St. Louis Cardinals

So it seems as if potentially I got all six division winners right and one of the Wild Card teams, that team being the New York Yankees. Again, I don’t think that’s half-bad if you ask me but that’s only if you ask me. Let’s ride this wave of good predictions and momentum into the next round of predictions!

So it Seems…. Predictions!

Good morning everyone and welcome back to So it Seems. I apologize for the lack of a post in this slot yesterday but there just aren’t enough hours in the day sometimes. Today with the Yankees taking an off day to travel to the Rogers Centre to take on the Toronto Blue Jays I wanted to take the opportunity and the down time to take a look back at my 2017 MLB Awards, division winners, playoffs and World Series predictions! As you know if you have been reading my work long enough I tend to do terribly at these pre-season predictions but they are all in fun and I can take an “L” with the best of them so let me have it below in the comments section. I won’t mind, I enjoy the banter.

And a special good morning to you my Kari. Hey you. I loves you. 

This Day in New York Yankees History 9/21: Goodbye to Yankee Stadium

The New York Yankees announced that 2008 would be the final season of the House that Ruth Built as a new billion dollar stadium was nearing completion across the street. Yankee Stadium III, or the House that Jeter Built, was set to be used for the 2009 season and on this day the Yankees said goodbye to the old stadium as they played their final game of the season in Yankee Stadium. The Yankees beat the Baltimore Orioles in the last game 7-3 with Julia Ruth Stevens, the daughter of Babe Ruth, throwing out the ceremonial first pitch. Derek Jeter and teammates stood on the mound after the game and bid farewell to Yankee Stadium in front of 54,610 fans in attendance.