Wednesday, October 25, 2017

World Series Game Two Thread: Houston Astros @ Los Angeles Dodgers

Game time once gain in Los Angeles as the Los Angeles Dodgers are set to play host to the Houston Astros in Game Two of the 2017 World Series. Last night we all watched as two left-handed starters faced off head-to-head and tonight will be the battle of two veterans as Justin Verlander takes the ball for the Astros and Rich Hill takes the ball for the Dodgers. The game will be played at 8:00 pm ET and can be seen on FOX.

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

Prediction: Astros win 6-3

Yankees Postseason History Recap: Raul, You’re So Cool

“Raul, You’re so Cool!” Raul Ibanez spent just one season in a Yankees uniform, but it was enough to win the hearts and minds of a whole lot of Yankees fans. Ibanez didn’t hit for much in the average department during the regular season, but he could always be counted on for the clutch hit when the Yankees needed it and they needed it on October 8th, 2012.

The Yankees went into the ninth inning against the Baltimore Orioles trailing 2-1 to the Baltimore Orioles while the ALDS was tied at one-game each. The Yankees offense was struggling, and Alex Rodriguez was pinch hit for in the bottom of the ninth leaving many to question Joe Girardi and his binder. The questionable move ended up working out for the Yankees as Ibanez launched a home run into the right field seats at Yankee Stadium sending the game to extra innings.

The game remained tied until the 12th when Ibanez came back up to the plate and it was de ja vu all over again. Ibanez hit another home run to walk off against the Orioles and give the Yankees a 2-1 lead in the ALDS. Ibanez earned more than one pinstripe on this night. 

Yankees Postseason History Recap: Mr. November

You know I may be willing to admit that I may be a little bit of a homer and a little bit of a bias Yankees fan, sue me. I can hide that in my writing if I have to but when I am on the blog I let my passion and my fandom show so you have to excuse me when I say that Michael Kay is the best play-by-play announcer in the league. I love his voice, his knowledge and the way he and the crew over at the YES Network calls the game. I can’t help it. One call I will always remember is the call he made back in the World Series of 2001 after the clock struck midnight on November 1st.

Game 4 of the 2001 World Series was pushed back due to the September 11th terrorist attacks on the United States and for the first time in major League Baseball history a World Series game was played in the month of November. The Arizona Diamondbacks had closer Byung-Hyun Kim on the mound and the Yankees had Derek Jeter at the plate in a series that they trailed 2-1 in.

Jeter fought off eight pitches before hitting a home run on the ninth pitch to walk off and give the Yankees the lead. What did Michael Kay call Derek Sanderson Jeter after the home run? He called him “Mr. November.”

World Series Game Two Preview: Houston Astros @ Los Angeles Dodgers

The World Series is back tonight and is back in sunny California as the Los Angeles Dodgers play host to the Houston Astros in Game Two of the series. Last night we were all entertained by the amazing pitching matchup of two dominant left-handers in Dallas Keuchel and Clayton Kershaw and tonight another lefty and one right-hander take center stage. On the mound tonight for the Dodgers is the veteran left-hander Rich Hill while the Astros will counter with a veteran right-hander of their own in Justin Verlander. Runs, once again, should be hard to come by with these two savvy pitchers on the mound which is almost fitting in this National League environment, at least in my opinion.

Hill will be making his World Series debut tonight inside Dodger Stadium after pitching in the Independent League as recently as the 2015 season. What a comeback and what a story Rich Hill has been in recent years. Hill has not pitched more than five innings in either of his two postseason starts this season, but the lefty has limited damage allowing three runs on six hits combined in those two starts before handing it off to the Los Angeles bullpen.

Verlander was named the 2017 ALCS MVP for his pitching efforts against the New York Yankees and the right-hander will look to continue his success tonight and in the World Series. During the ALCS the Astros right-hander allowed just one earned run in 16 innings of work after having less than stellar stats against the Yankees throughout his career. That bodes well for Verlander who has not pitched well in the World Series through his career either to the tune of a 7.20 ERA in three World Series starts with the Detroit Tigers.

The game will be played at 8:00 pm ET inside Dodger Stadium and can be seen on FOX. As the sting from the Yankees losing in the ALCS wears off I find myself missing baseball more and more this season. I know I stated I would be boycotting this World Series… but damn… I miss baseball already and we are already facing months without it anyway in the offseason. I may cave, I don’t know. Stay tuned to find out, LOL.

End of Astros' Two-Game Winning Streak...

Credit:  Los Angeles Times: Wally Skalij
2017 World Series
Dodgers 3, Astros 1...
Dodgers lead Series, 1-0

Powered by the arm of Clayton Kershaw and the bat of Justin Turner, the Los Angeles Dodgers captured Game 1 of the World Series. It was a bittersweet game for Yankees fans as we were left to wonder what could have been. Nevertheless, the Yankees turn will be here soon enough. For now, it's about the Dodgers and Astros.

After Kershaw easily set down the Astros in the top of the 1st, Chris Taylor jumped on the first pitch from Astros starter Dallas Keuchel to send it 447 feet over the left field wall. The Dodgers led 1-0 on a very hot Los Angeles evening. It seems like every time I watch the Dodgers play, Taylor is coming up big.  He filled in for shortstop Corey Seager during the NLCS when Seager was left off the roster to recover from a lower back sprain. Back in center field, Taylor hit 21 home runs and drove in 72 RBI's in 140 games for the Dodgers this year, batting .288. It's incredible to think the Dodgers acquired Taylor from the Seattle Mariners in June 2016 for a pitcher (Zach Lee) who has been released two times since the trade.  

Credit:  Los Angeles Times:  Gina Ferazzi
The 1-0 score held up until the top of the 4th inning when Astros third baseman Alex Bregman took Kershaw deep with a solo shot to left leading off the inning. It was not as far as Taylor's blast but it still counts the same. It got Kershaw's attention...he responded by striking out the side.  Say what you will about Kershaw but he's arguably the best pitcher in baseball. He has not had great post-season success to add to his resume...until now. With Kershaw pitching as well as he did, the Astros didn't really have a chance.

With both starting pitchers still on the mound, the game stayed tied until the bottom of the 6th inning. The Dodgers recorded two quick outs when both Austin Barnes and Kershaw grounded out to shortstop Carlos Correa. But then Keuchel issued a two-out walk to aforementioned Chris Taylor. Justin Turner, the one-time Mets cast-off, strolled to the plate with long red hair and beard flowing. Dallas Keuchel tried to slip a 1-2 cutter past Turner. Boom! Over the wall in the left center and the Dodgers led, 3-1.  

Credit:  Los Angeles Times
Kershaw was done after seven innings, receiving congratulations and hugs from Manager Dave Roberts and others in the Dodgers dugout while the Dodgers were preparing to bat. It was a tremendous performance by the big Texan left-hander. He was never in trouble despite the game-tying home run in the 4th inning, limiting the Astros to three hits and one run. He struck out eleven batters and didn't walk anyone. A big game performance by the game's elite.  

Credit:  Los Angeles Times: Robert Gauthier
From there, it was time for the trusted Dodgers bullpen. Despite scoreless relief from Houston's Brad Peacock and Chris Devenski to hold Los Angeles in check, the two-run Dodgers lead was a canyon with Brandon Morrow and Kenley Jansen setting down the Astros in order for the final six outs. Jansen may have gotten a few dollars less than Aroldis Chapman last off-season when he re-signed with the Dodgers in free agency, but right now, it's Jansen and not Chapman that you would want for that big final out. He has been Mr Consistency all season long.  

This was a great win for the Dodgers and a wonderful way to start the World Series. The 2017 post-season has been punctuated by home field advantage which certainly works to the favor of the Dodgers.  

Former Yankee Rich Hill gets the Game 2 start tonight for the Dodgers. He'll be opposed by Houston's Justin Verlander. I look for the Dodgers to grab a two-game cushion before the series heads to Minute Maid Park in Houston. My prediction is Dodgers 7, Astros 4.  

Credit:  Stephen Dunn-Getty Images
Prior to yesterday's game, I was saddened to see that former Yankee Curtis Granderson was left off the World Series roster for the Dodgers. Based on performance, it was an easy decision for Dave Roberts. The Grandy Man was 1-for-15 in the post-season and he only hit .161 in 36 games for Los Angeles after being acquired from the New York Mets on August 19th (after that tremendous grand slam against the Yankees at Citi Field).  Still, it would have been nice to see Granderson, one of the game's classiest guys, on the roster after such a good career. The Dodgers made room for 12 pitchers on the World Series roster including oft-injured former Yank Brandon McCarthy which cost Grandy his spot.  

It was great to see Corey Seager back on the field after his absence in the NLCS. Kyle's brother is one of the game's best young talents and the Dodgers are clearly a better team with him in the lineup.  Seager will most likely see time at DH when the series shifts to Houston to limit the wear and tear on his back.  

Credit: Los Angeles Times: Wally Skalij
Editor's Note:  This writer is pro-Dodgers.  

Odds & Ends...

The World Series means very quiet news for other MLB teams.  The only meaningful day for potential news will be Thursday since it is a travel day for the World Series teams.  

Yankees manager Joe Girardi made a one hour visit to Yankee Stadium yesterday which drew tremendous speculation on social media but no news from credible Yankees beat writers.  It's also being reported that the Houston Astros are looking at Yankees third base coach Joe Espada for the bench coach vacancy created when current bench coach Alex Cora accepted the managerial gig in Boston effective at the end of the World Series.    

I was glad to see former Cardinal great and one-time Yankees prospect Willie McGee added to the coaching staff for the St Louis Cardinals.  I can still remember feeling so underwhelmed when the Yankees traded McGee, a highly touted young prospect, to St Louis for the forgettable Bob Sykes in October 1981.  McGee went on to have a tremendous career for the Cardinals including the 1985 NL MVP Award.  He was elected to the Cardinals Hall of Fame in 2014.  His specific role on the coaching staff has yet to be announced.  

Have a wonderful Wednesday!  Their season may be over, but Go Yankees!

2018 Free Agency: Todd Frazier – Yay or Nay

The 2017 season is still going on for a select few teams, the Dodgers and the Astros, but unfortunately the Yankees and their focuses have shifted to off the field. The 2017 season for the New York Yankees is over and all eyes have now moved to the 2018 season and the long, dark and lonely offseason that comes in between. The Yankees have a select few that are hitting free agency this winter so over the next couple of days I wanted to not only interject what I think the Yankees should do with these select players but also I will go over what I think the Yankees will do, and they won’t always be one in the same. We will start with the Yankees third baseman that was acquired from the Chicago White Sox in a pre-July 31st trade deadline deal, Todd Frazier. Should the Yankees bring back The Toddfather for 2018 and do I think the Yankees will? Keep reading. 

I have been on record for about a month now of saying that I think the Yankees should bring back Frazier in 2018. In my opinion you cannot put a price on defense, clubhouse chemistry and you cannot quantify with a number the fact that Frazier actually wants to be in New York. We all grew up watching the hired mercenaries that seemingly didn’t care where they played as long as their paychecks didn’t bounce and it has been refreshing to see a player who actually wants to play in the Bronx. On top of that if you add to the fact that Frazier can play both third base and first base, both presumably a need for the Yankees as Frazier bats right-handed and Greg Bird is left-handed at first, and you have the recipe for one of those deals that just make too much sense to pass up. 

Like anything else this will come down to money and I think it will be the money that will keep the Yankees from bringing back Frazier. Frazier is hitting free agency for the first time in his career and will likely want to cash in more a maximum amount of years and dollars for his own security. Frazier is not to the point in his career where he is likely to give a hometown discount to the Yankees, or any teams, and who could blame him? Frazier has been on a team-friendly deal that the Chicago White Sox gave him and has done his time, now it’s his time to get paid and rewarded for his efforts as he should be.  

The Yankees would likely only want or “need” Frazier on a one-year deal with Miguel Andujar and Gleyber Torres knocking on the door to Yankee Stadium and I can’t fathom a scenario where Frazier is willing to sign that deal. Maybe, just maybe, the Yankees could offer him some DH time when one or both of the team’s young third baseman are ready and the team can convince Frazier to sign a three-or-four-year deal but even then, I can’t see the Yankees doing it as we stand here on October, 25. If the Yankees were able to trade Chase Headley sometime early on in this winter then my mind could and would change immediately but until then I just can’t see the Yankees splurging for Frazier. 

Frazier makes sense from a fan’s perspective, but he doesn’t make sense from a fiscal standpoint and at the end of the day Major League Baseball is a business, especially to men like Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner. I say yay on Frazier but the Yankees will likely say nay when it comes down to it this winter. Todd, we wish you well and thank you for your contributions here in the Bronx this season. Thank you. 

So it Seems… I Got a Little Cocky and a Little Bit Ahead of Myself

Good morning everyone. What a way to start the day huh? Me, Daniel Burch, admitting to being a little cocky and getting a little bit ahead of myself. Let me explain. I was on a roll during the postseason with my predictions and my writing here on the blog. I explained in full detail why I was not afraid of the Minnesota Twins in the AL Wild Card Game and the Yankees beat the Twins decisively to move on to the ALDS with the Cleveland Indians. Another series, another prediction and another post labeled “Why I’m not afraid of the Cleveland Indians in the Postseason.” Another victory against unlikely odds so why would I stop there? I continued my series with “Why I’m Not Afraid of the Houston Astros in the ALCS.” The stars aligned for this to be another great show and prediction by the self-proclaimed Yankees wizard as Justin Verlander took the mound against the Yankees with New York just one win away from the World Series. I took a chance and I didn’t wait for the Yankees to record those final 27 outs before advancing to the World Series, I went ahead and wrote my “Why I’m Not Afraid of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series” post like a moron.

Did I jinx the Yankees? Is Michael Kay laughing at me right now for even suggesting that I jinxed the Yankees? Who knows but I hate to waste content so here is my pie in the face, my eating crow if you will, and my post about how I was not afraid of the Dodgers in the World Series that the Yankees never made it to. Insert foot in mouth and have a great day. Especially you. HEY YOU!! I loves you.

Oh, and remember before flooding me with hate mail. Most writers have stuff written in advance, especially if it cannot be dated quickly, and I am no different. If you can do better please send me an email at Daniel Burch 1102 at yahoo dot com. We are always looking for new writers. Thanks.

Why I’m Not Afraid of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series

Yeah, I am going there. Call me bold, call me dumb or call me crazy, I don’t care but I just don’t think you will be calling me a loser when the dust settles here in the 2017 World Series. Don’t get me wrong the Los Angeles Dodgers are a hell of a team, congrats once again to them for winning the National League pennant, and the Dodgers could very well knock off the Yankees and take home the crown… I just don’t think it will happen. I’m not psyched out by Clayton Kershaw, I’m not entirely worried about Kenley Jansen and I think this team can limit Cody Bellinger, Justin Turner and company over a seven-game series. I just do, and here is why.

The Los Angeles Dodgers have a great team and that great team is anchored by a great pitching staff but beating great pitching is nothing new to the Yankees this season. The New York Yankees have beaten Corey Kluber twice this postseason (sure, the record books state the team lost Game 2 of the ALDS but we all know the Yankees beat Kluber), Trevor Bauer once, Ervin Santana once, Dallas Keuchel once and Justin Verlander once. One could argue that Kluber has been just as good, if not better than Kershaw over the last three seasons or so which should give the Yankees some hope as they may have to face Kershaw three times in the upcoming World Series.  

Before the postseason began I ranked the 10 teams in the playoffs by their bullpen effectiveness and the Los Angeles Dodgers had the fourth best bullpen in the field, right behind the New York Yankees. The Dodgers bullpen has been great this postseason but there are definite holes in the pen that the Yankees can extort if the starters don’t give Los Angeles seven innings, something that won’t always happen given that the pitchers have to hit in the National League.  

The Dodgers will have home-field advantage here in this World Series after having the best record in the National League here in 2017 and the second-best record overall, second only to the Cleveland Indians. You know, that team the Yankees already eliminated this postseason despite the team winning 22 games in a row at one point during the regular season. The Dodgers are not unbeatable, and they are not unstoppable, their September record showed us that as the team faded down the stretch with a 12-17 record. The Yankees just have to do what the Yankees do, hit the ball, pitch well and win while having fun doing it.

The Dodgers will easily be the hardest test for the Yankees this postseason but let’s look at this playoff run for New York. Aside from the American League Wild Card Game the Yankees have been severe underdogs in both of their series and the team has not had home-field advantage in either of their series. Didn’t seem to slow down or stop the team then and it won’t here against the Dodgers. By the end of the series we’ll be comparing Todd Frazier to Thurman Munson and our team will once again be the “Damn Yankees.” The 28 World Series championship ring holding Damn Yankees, thank you very much.

This Day in New York Yankees History 10/25: 2009 Yankees Reach World Series

On this day in 2009 the Yankees would win their 40th American League pennant in their storied history with a victory over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. This will end a six year drought in the World Series for the Yankees as they would take on the Philadelphia Phillies in the 2009 Fall Classic. This would be the Yankees first World Series win since their victory over the Mets in the 2000 Subway World Series.

On this day in 2000 Mike Piazza, yes I know a member of the Mets, became the first player in World Series history to hit a home run in both Shea Stadium and Yankees Stadium. Piazza hit the home run off of Yankees starter Denny Neagle in a 3-2 Mets loss in Game 4.

On this day in 1939 Joe DiMaggio would win his first MVP award of his career. DiMaggio beat out Jimmy Foxx and Bob Feller easily for the American League award with 15 of the 24 first place votes. DiMaggio would also win the award in 1941 and 1947 as well.