Wednesday, October 4, 2017

NL Wild Card Game Thread: Colorado Rockies @ Arizona Diamondbacks

And just like that ladies and gentleman it is game time once again as the National League takes center stage tonight with the NL Wild Card Game. In tonight’s matchup between the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Colorado Rockies there will be no secrets, no new strategies or tricks and there will be no element of surprise. These two teams have faced off 19 times this season including ten times coming inside Chase Field where the game is about to kick off. This game will be closely played between these two teams and one mistake could be the difference between going on to face off with the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS and going home for the winter. The Diamondbacks will send Zack Greinke to the mound looking to punch Arizona’s ticket to the NLDS while Jon Gray will head to the mound for Colorado with similar plans for him and his Rockies teammates. The game will be played at 8:08 pm ET inside Chase Field and can be seen on TBS. Enjoy the game!

Prediction: Diamondbacks win 3-1

RF David Peralta (.293, 14, 57)
SS Ketel Marte (.260, 5, 18)
1B Paul Goldschmidt (.297, 36, 120, 94 BBs, .966 OPS)
LF J.D. Martinez (.303, 45, 104, 1.066 OPS)
3B Jake Lamb (.248, 30, 105)
CF A.J. Pollock (.266, 14, 49)
2B Daniel Descalso (.233, 10, 51)
C Jeff Mathis (.215, 2, 11)
Chris Iannetta (.254, 17, 43, .354 OBP)

Zack Greinke (17-7, 3.20, 215 Ks in 202 1/3 IP)

RH Fernando Rodney (5-4, 4.23, 39/45 saves)
RH Archie Bradley (3-3, 1.73, 79 Ks)
LH Andrew Chafin (1-0, 3.51)
LH Robbie Ray (15-5, 2.89, 218 Ks)
LH Patrick Corbin (14-13, 4.03)
RH Zack Godley (8-9, 3.37)
RH David Hernandez (2-1, 4.82)
RH Jimmie Sherfy (2-0, 0.00)

CF Charlie Blackmon (.331, 37 HRs, 104 RBIs, 14 triples, 14 SBs)
2B DJ LeMahieu (.310, 8, 64)
3B Nolan Arenado (.309, 37, 130)
RF Carlos Gonzalez (.262, 14, 57, 34 doubles)
SS Trevor Story (.239, 24, 82)
1B Mark Reynolds (.267, 30, 97)
LF Ian Desmond (.274, 7, 40)
C Jonathan Lucroy (.265, 6, 40)

Jon Gray (10-6, 3.67 ERA in 20 starts, 110 1/3 IP)

RH Greg Holland (3-6, 3.61 ERA, 41/45 saves)
LH Mike Dunn (5-1, 4.47)
LH Jake McGee (0-2, 3.61, 3 saves)
RH Scott Oberg (0-1, 4.94)
RH Pat Neshek (5-3, 1.59)
LH Chris Rusin (5-1, 2.65)

The Diamondbacks beat the Rockies 11 out of 19 times these two teams faced one another in 2017. These two teams split the ten games at Chase Field with five wins each though.

Colorado swept Arizona in the 2007 NLCS, the only other time these two teams have met in the postseason.

The Rockies offense has a collective .260 batting average with 15 home runs and 42 RBI career against Zack Greinke.

The Diamondbacks offense has a collective .295 batting average with two home runs and 11 RBI against Jon Gray.

Zack Greinke is 13-1 with a 2.87 ERA at home this season. Greinke is also 2-1 with a 3.41 ERA in five starts against the Rockies this season.

Gray has allowed three or fewer runs in 13 consecutive starts this season.

Fernando Rodney had six blown saves in 2017, two of them came against the Colorado Rockies. 

What Has the Rockies Offense Done Against Zack Greinke?

It wouldn’t be fair to just look at what the Diamondbacks offense has done against the Rockies starter Jon Gray and not also look at what the Colorado Rockies offense has done against Zack Greinke throughout their careers. Spoiler alert, at the end of this post I should post the “So you’re saying there’s a chance” meme because the often-dominant Greinke has been anything but dominant against the Rockies. Good, sure, but not so dominant. I’m shocked, how about you?

Thanks again to ESPN for the above stat line and stat sheet. 

What Has the Diamondbacks Offense Done Against Jon Gray?

The title says it all, what has the Arizona Diamondbacks done against the Colorado Rockies starter Jon Gray throughout their respective careers? Thanks to sites like ESPN and Baseball Reference that information is readily available, even if it means nothing in the grand scheme of things. The postseason is a second season but let’s take a look at the history between the Diamondbacks offense and Gray anyway, you know… for funsies. 

Thanks to ESPN for the above stat sheet. 

NL Wild Card Game Preview: Colorado Rockies @ Arizona Diamondbacks

Last night we watched as the Minnesota Twins and the New York Yankees fought it out in a one-game, do-or-die playoff game in the American League Wild Card Game and tonight it’s the National League’s turn to take center stage as the Arizona Diamondbacks play host to the Colorado Rockies. The winner travels to square off with the Los Angeles Dodgers while the loser goes home for a winter full of golf, working out and wondering what could have gone differently. In the start tonight the Diamondbacks will send Zack Greinke to the mound to face off with Jon Gray for the Rockies. These two teams have seen each other a bunch this season as both are members of the NL West Division so this one should be a highly contested matchup. I look forward to it.

Greinke was brought in as a free agent to start games like this for the Diamondbacks, especially after the Cy Young type season the right-hander had in 2017. Greinke heads into the start tonight with a career 3-3 record in the postseason along with a 3.55 ERA in nine postseason starts. Youth and aggression in Gray or experience in Greinke, who wins out tonight in the desert?

Gray has not allowed more than three runs in a start in any of his last 13 starts and brings that streak with him into Chase Field tonight in the postseason. During that span Gray has surrendered just 16 walks to his 80 strikeouts and will look to do more of the same tonight against a tough offense, but an offense that struggled a bit down the stretch. Most notably NL MVP candidate Paul Goldschmidt.

The game will be played at 8:08 pm ET inside Chase Field home of the Arizona Diamondbacks and can be seen on TBS. Follow us on Twitter by following @GreedyStripes to interact with us during the game and to stay up to date with us and the blog all throughout the 2017 MLB playoffs. Enjoy the game!

The Road from the Bronx to Cleveland...

Credit:  Frank Franklin II-AP
American League Wild Card Game
Yankees 8, Twins 4...

Eventually, the Minnesota Twins will find the answer for their struggles in the Bronx but this will not be one of those years. Admittedly, I was not feeling too good after Luis Severino had given up three runs on two homers in the opening inning and the Twins were threatening for more with only one out. But exit Severino and enter the stellar Yankees bullpen, plus a few timely home runs, and the Yankees found themselves with a date with the Indians in Cleveland for the American League Division Series.  

For Luis Severino, it was a game to forget. Whether it was his youth and/or his lack of post-season experience, he was overwhelmed and unable to find any of his pitches. He needs to have another talk with Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez, this time about life in October. It was a learning experience for the youngster and I am sure that he'll be stronger for it as we move forward.  

Credit:  John Munson-NJ Advance Media for

The Twins quickly took the lead when Brian Dozier led off the game with a home run that landed in the first row of the left field stands, bouncing off a fan's hands and back onto the field. Still, I thought that it was something that Sevy could overcome. He got the next batter, Joe Mauer, to pop up which Todd Frazier caught in foul territory for the first out. But then Sevy was unable to put away Jorge Polanco and walked him. Eddie Rosario hit a line drive to right that carried out, and it was 3-0 Twins. Manager Joe Girardi picked up the phone to get the bullpen ready. Eduardo Escobar singled to left center, and Max Kepler followed with a double to right, moving Escobar to third. Unfortunately, it was evident, by then, that Severino was not going to overcome the jitters. Girardi made the call to the bullpen and brought in Chad Green. Using Girardi's words, it's not what you want.  But the decision to go to Green paid off with two huge strikeouts of Byron Buxton and Jason Castro to hold the game to a three-run deficit. There's no question that the Twins could have easily escalated it to five runs or more. Holding the Twins to only three runs was tremendous, and the set the stage for the events to follow.

The game was billed as a battle of Dominican Republic pitchers. Ervin Santana, the Twins ace, was born about 70 miles away from Severino's hometown. Santana, carrying an 0-5 record in six starts at Yankee Stadium, had been asked how many wins he had at Yankee Stadium earlier this week and he responded that Tuesday would be one. Tuesday has passed and he's still looking for that first win.  

Handed a three-run lead, Santana walked Brett Gardner to start the bottom of the first inning. Aaron Judge  battled Santana before finally hitting a single to center to put runners at the corners. Gary Sanchez popped up to the catcher for the first out. It brought Didi Gregorius to the plate. Didi has been nothing short of spectacular this season and he came through in a big way. On a full count, he got a hold of a Santana pitch to deposit it into the right field seats. Suddenly, with a swing of the bat, the game was tied.  

After Chad Green easily retired the Twins in the top of the 2nd including two by strikeout, Brett Gardner hit a two-out solo homer into the second deck of the right field stands in the bottom of the inning to give the Yankees their first lead, 4-3.  

Credit:  John Munson-NJ Advance Media for

However, with Green still pitching, the Twins charged right back in the top of the 3rd. Perhaps overstaying his welcome, the Twins loaded the bases when Jorge Polanco led off with a single to right and Green walked two of the next three hitters to load the bases with only one out. Despite two starters in the bullpen, Girardi pulled Green and brought in David Robertson. Byron Buxton grounded into a force out at second but Polanco scored on the play when the Yankees were unable to turn the double play to re-tie the game. D-Rob struck out Jason Castro to end the inning and prevent any further damage. That was a huge spot for D-Rob and he came up big holding the Twins to only one run when they could have easily scored more.

Credit:  John Munson-NJ Advance Media for

In the bottom of the 3rd, Ervin Santana was gone, replaced by young Twins starter Jose Berrios. Gary Sanchez led off the inning with a double to the left field wall.  When Berrios struck out the next two batters, it looked like he might be able to get out of the inning without Sanchez coming home to score. Greg Bird had other ideas as he lined a single to right bringing Sanchez around for the go-ahead run. 5-4, Yankees. Aaron Hicks singled on a soft grounder to third to put runners at the corners, but the Yankees couldn't capitalize when Jacoby Ellsbury, starting at DH over Chase Headley and Matt Holliday, popped out to third to end the inning.

The Twins made a defensive substitution in the bottom of the 4th inning. Byron Buxton, who had hit the wall to catch a Todd Frazier fly in the 2nd inning, was removed due to lingering effects of back tightness and replaced by New York native Zack Granite. With the Twins' best player, Miguel Sano, off the playoff roster dealing with his prior shin injury, losing Buxton, their next best great player was tough for the Twins.  Nothing against Granite, but he's not the player Buxton is. I hope that Buxton is okay and you never want to see a player leave through injury.  But that one hurt the Twins (no pun intended). Todd Frazier struck out for the first out but Brett Gardner followed with a single to left on a fly dropped in front of the left fielder. Aaron Judge stepped up (literally and figuratively) and hit one of his shorter home runs to left. I was unsure for a moment if it was a home run but the ball had indeed hit above the fence line before bouncing back on the field. Judge, showing the most emotion I've seen from him as he rounded first base, circled the bases to give the Yankees a 7-4 lead.  

David Robertson was still pitching in the 6th inning, making one of his longest appearances. Zack Granite led off with a single to right on a ball that got under Starlin Castro's glove. D-Rob struck out Jason Castro and Robbie Grossman for two outs, but that final out would prove elusive. With Brian Dozier at the plate, a wild pitch allowed Granite to easily move to second. Dozier subsequently walked to bring the tying run to the plate. Girardi signaled for the bullpen and brought in Tommy Kahnle to replace D-Rob. Joe Mauer hit a long fly to left and for a moment I couldn't tell if it was in or out when the TV crew switched cameras as the ball was falling. Fortunately, Brett Gardner made the catch on the warning track for the final out. Another huge spot with success for the Yankees.

Kahnle easily retired the Twins in the 7th inning. In the bottom of the inning with Twins reliever Trevor Hildenberger on the mound, Aaron Judge got things started by taking a walk. I thought it was an excellent at-bat for Judge as he avoided chasing any pitches. Gary Sanchez hit a ball through the hole on the left side into the outfield.  Judge advanced to third. The throw from the outfield sailed over the third baseman's head (they probably could have nailed Judge at third had the throw been accurate) so Sanchez was able to move to second. With no outs and two runners in scoring position, the Twins elected to intentionally walk Didi Gregorius. Great strategy to open up the potential for the double play or a force out at home, but it left no margin for error. Starlin Castro had the first crack at the potential scoring opportunity but he flied out to right. With Greg Bird up next, the Twins brought in reliever Taylor Rogers, a lefty, for an all-Denver, Colorado battle (Bird is from Aurora, CO while Rogers hails from Littleton, CO). Rogers won the battle when he struck out Bird for the second out. The Twins made another call to the bullpen and brought in Alan Busenitz to face former Twin Aaron Hicks. Busenitz couldn't throw strikes and walked A-A-Ron on four pitches to bring Judge home. The Yankees had increased their lead to 8-4. Jacoby Ellsbury flied out to leave the bases full, but the Yankees added an important insurance run.

Tommy Kahnle came back out for the 8th inning and retired the Twins in order. The Twins nearly had a base runner with one out but Zack Granite ran over first base without touching the bag on a grounder to first. Bird tossed the ball to Kahnle who dropped the ball but Starlin Castro alertly picked up the ball to tag Granite out before he could get back. I didn't expect to see Dellin Betances given his struggles in September so I was very glad to see Kahnle continuing to pitch very strongly to get the game into the 9th inning and into the hands of Aroldis Chapman. Chapman gave up a two-out single to Joe Mauer but the inning was never in doubt as Chapman easily shut down the Twins, striking out Jorge Polanco to end the game. The Yankees win!  

Credit:  John Munson-NJ Advance Media for

I am still not a fan of the single-game elimination but the Yankees persevered and head for Cleveland to face the Indians for Game 1 of the American League Division Series on Thursday. Now I can say that I am very joyous about the Yankees being in the post-season. It is so hard to be excited about a potential 'one and done' situation and I was very uneasy coming into the game. It didn't help when Luis Severino had nothing and gave the Twins the strong early lead.  You'd think that the Law of Averages would eventually tilt in Minnesota's favor given the Yankees long-standing history of dominance over the Twins. I was very pleased that Tuesday was not their night. They'll eventually get a key victory in the Bronx but it won't be this year.  

Credit:  John Munson-NJ Advance Media for

Congratulations to the New York Yankees for moving to the next round! I have very proud of this team and their accomplishments this year. They may not win the next round but the Yankees have shown the world their future is bright. This team has the potential to surprise but if not, there's no doubt this will be a stronger team when they take the field next season.  

Game Notes...

Chasen Shreve threw out the first pitch. The Las Vegas native symbolized representation for his home city after this week's senseless tragedy that claimed 58 lives and injured more than 500 people. There was a moment of silence observed for the victims.   

Credit:  Paul J Bereswill-NY Post

Earlier this season, Chase Headley took one near the family jewels. The same fate was bestowed upon Gary Sanchez when a foul ball hit the catcher where the sun doesn't shine causing Sanchez to roll on the ground in pain while David Robertson was still on the mound. Ouch! Fortunately, he was able to continue. That was a painful experience to watch. It would not have been fun to be the recipient.  

Have a great Wednesday! We have a day to enjoy and then the work begins on Thursday. Go Yankees!

Comparing Aaron Judge’s Rookie Season to Ichiro Suzuki’s

The New York Yankees far exceeded expectations here in 2017 and much of the team’s success hinged on their pitching and the bat of one man, Aaron Judge. In the early parts of the 2017 season New York had many hot hitters including Chase Headley but while many hitters came back down to Earth or continued to play to the back of their baseball cards Aaron Judge just kept hitting and hitting, and amazing people and amazing people. Judge had his struggles, no doubt about it, and Judge still strikes out far too much, in the world of sabermetrics though I am not sure many care at this point, but one thing is for certain. Aaron Judge is a scary man at the plate and his presence along with his 52 home runs this season may get him not only the Rookie of the Year Award in the American League but the MVP Award as well. The last man to win the Rookie of the Year Award and the MVP in the same season was Ichiro Suzuki, who wasn’t really a rookie after playing for so long in the Japanese League, so let’s compare Judge’s 2017 season to Ichiro’s 2001 season.

Ichiro – 2001 Stats:

Judge – 2017 Stats:
Standard Batting
As you can see these stats are almost impossible to compare. Ichiro made his living and made a name for himself as a slap hitter that used his speed and agility to his advantage while Judge simply hits bomb after bomb after bomb in a home stadium that has never been too friendly to right-handed hitters. Aaron Judge is never going to get 240+ hits in a season and is never going to flirt with a .350 batting average but Ichiro could never hit 50 home runs in a season either, as a rookie or not. Two different players with two different stat lines looking to win two different awards in the same season. Will it happen? Stay tuned, and of course good luck to Judge in both races!

Shout out to Baseball Reference for the stat sheets and tables. 

So it Seems... National League Wild Card

Good morning everyone and welcome to the day where the National League takes the mic for the National League Wild Card Game. The Arizona Diamondbacks will play host to the Colorado Rockies inside Chase Field tonight and despite this being a Yankees-themed blog we will have all the information you need to know before the game throughout the day. I have dreams of one day writing about more than just the Yankees and writing for more than just the blog so maybe this is a way to showcase that. If not, that's fine too. I just enjoy writing and I love baseball and I thank everyone who takes the time to read my stuff every single day. You are truly appreciated and The Greedy Pinstripes is nothing without you.

And I am nothing without you my beautiful, amazing Kari. Remember that and remember that I love you more and more every single day.

This Day In New York Yankees History 10/4:#TooManyDamnHRs

The 2009 New York Yankees squad could beat you just about any way they wanted. They had great defense, timely hitting, pitching, and the power to simply outslug you. The power was on full display on this day in 2009 on the last day of the season when Alex Rodriguez hit a three run home run to cap off a ten run sixth inning. Alex’s home run was the teams 243rd of the season, a new Yankees franchise record. A Rod went deep later in the inning as well with the bases loaded to finish the season with exactly 30 home runs and 100 RBI.

Also less notable marks for this day include Dave Righetti extending his major league record saves total for one season to 46 in a doubleheader sweep of the Red Sox in 1986, Hank Bauer extended his World Series hitting streak to 17 games on this day in 1958, and Mickey Mantle became only the fourth Yankee to ever hit a World Series grand slam on this day in 1953.