Friday, April 13, 2018

Game Thread: New York Yankees @ Detroit Tigers 4/13

And just like that it is game time on this Friday the 13th between the New York Yankees and the Detroit Tigers. In the first of this three-game weekend set the Yankees will send out Jordan Montgomery taking CC Sabathia’s turn in the rotation while the Tigers will counter with former Houston Astros starter Mike Fiers. The game will be played at 7:10 pm ET inside Comerica Park and can be seen on the YES Network. You can also follow along with the game on MLB TV, the MLB At-Bat app and by tuning into the Yankees radio broadcast on WFAN.

Follow us on Twitter, @GreedyStripes, and “Like” us on Facebook, The Greedy Pinstripes, to keep up with us and the team all season long. Enjoy the game, Fiers you’re not in Houston anymore, and go Yankees!!

USA Today’s Weekly MLB Power Rankings

Another week down in the 2018 Major League Baseball season and the first set of weekly MLB Power Rankings brought to you by the USA Today here on the blog. I sorta, kinda, maybe missed the first set of power rankings that were released before the season and sorta, kinda, maybe every set released ever since. Work has been busy, and so has life. You have my apologies. Let me make up for it now, though, by getting on with this week’s set of rankings.

I won’t make you wait long for what you came here for, the ranking for the New York Yankees. The Yankees were ranked 7th overall this week by the publication, dropping two spots from last week and out of the Top 5. A tough week against the Baltimore Orioles will do that to a team I guess. Rounding out the rest of the American League East Division the Boston Red Sox are ranked 2nd overall while the Toronto Blue Jays (#17), the Baltimore Orioles (#20) and the Tampa Bay Rays (#29) fall behind the Yankees in succession.

The top five spots in the rankings belong to, in order, the Houston Astros, the Boston Red Sox, the Arizona Diamondbacks, some team that rhymes with New York Jets, and the Chicago Cubs. Meanwhile the five worst teams in the rankings, ranked from 26-30, are the Oakland Athletics, the San Diego Padres, the Cincinnati Reds, the Tampa Bay Rays and the Miami Derek Jeter’s.

The Pittsburgh Pirates had the biggest rise in the rankings this week climbing 12 slots from the 24th ranking to the #12 spot while the biggest fall went to the Los Angeles Dodgers who fell 11 slots all the way to the 13th spot overall after being ranked 2nd in last week’s rankings. Ouch.

For the complete list and write-ups associated with this set of power rankings head over to the USA Today Sports section and read it in its entirety. Thanks everyone. 

Sign Hanley Ramirez's Get Well Soon Card

Everyone sign Hanley Ramirez's "Get Well Soon" card below. Once we receive a few signatures I'll send it to him or something. Yeah.

A Yankees Day in the Life: Aaron Hicks

The New York Yankees starting center fielder is back, so why not check in with him and see what it is like to walk a mile or ten in his cleats shoes? I present to you on this lovely Friday the 13th afternoon, a Yankees day in the life of Aaron Hicks.

The Curse of the Billy Goat & Other Baseball Superstitions

If you’re a fan of Major League Baseball or if you’ve ever played baseball down from Little League all the way to the show chances are there is at least a little superstitious blood running through your body. I can remember wearing a red power rangers shirt under my jersey back in my early Little League years and the first time I did I went 3-4 and we won. So what did I do? I wore that same shirt under my jersey every single game until the superstition ran out. If you’re a fan of Major League Baseball you probably also believe in curses no matter what you say out loud. The Curse of the Bambino was a real thing, even if it was just in the heads of the Boston Red Sox fans and players, and until the Curse of the Billy Goat and other superstitions around baseball are broken by Cubs players and fans alike those traditions will remain a part of the game as well.

While the Cubs were looking to break the Curse of the Billy Goat every fall I wanted to take a look at some of the superstitions in baseball and some of the attempts to specifically end the curse surrounding Wrigley Field. Fans have tried to smuggle in goats into Wrigley Field and one local food company, Carnivore Inc., even went as far as to butcher a goat that lived 90 minutes south of Chicago to turn into sausage that would be served in the Chicago suburbs. Was it the thousands of Cubs fans eating a goat during the playoffs that reversed the Curse of the Billy Goat? Stay tuned, but I doubt it. I have a feeling it had more to do with Theo Epstein, a great farm system and a tad bit of luck.

Some other superstitions around baseball include Washington Nationals pitcher Sean Burnett putting a poker chip in his back pocket before taking the mound, Wade Boggs eating fried chicken before every start, Derek Holland watching scenes from “For the Love of the Game,” Jason Giambi and his gold thong he passed around the Yankees clubhouse, CC Sabathia keeps a picture of his children in his jersey while he pitches and so many other superstitions.

Players won’t step on the white line when entering or leaving the field, players won’t get a new hat or batting helmet if they are hitting well, no matter how disgusting they look. Roger Clemens would not take the mound without first rubbing the forehead of Babe Ruth in Monument Park, Phil Hughes doesn’t shave the day he is scheduled to pitch and so many more. Superstitions run rampant in Major League Baseball! Especially on Friday the 13th.

FYI, they Cubs did break the curse in case you missed it. I know you didn’t, but still. So did the Red Sox and their Curse of the Bambino, so I heard anyway. I'm still skeptical. What is your biggest superstition?

Wading for Gleyber...

 The Gleyber Torres Watch is on…

I’ve seen conflicting reports about the calculation of MLB Service Time. After earlier reports that today could be the day, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic clarified today is the first day that prospects not on the 40-man roster can be called up to ensure an extra year of control. According to Ken, players on the 40-man roster need to wait 20 days. So, the earliest Gleyber could show up for the Yankees would be next Thursday at home against the Toronto Blue Jays. Regardless of whether it is next week or in a couple of weeks, the Gleyber Torres Era will soon officially begin.

With no offense to Tyler Wade (since he currently has none), I am ready to move on from Wade as the team’s second baseman. I have no doubt Wade will be a legitimate big leaguer and he was fun to watch in Spring Training, but he has not done anything in the regular season to excite me. I know, he battled the flu and it’s been friggin’ cold in New York and Boston. But second base belongs to Gleyber. I’d rather take my lumps with Gleyber at the position than taking lumps for the future utility-man. 

Photo Credit: New York Post (Charles Wenzelberg) 

Through yesterday’s game, Gleyber Torres is the hottest hitter for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. His batting line is .370/.379/.556 with .935. He has one home run and six RBI’s in seven games. Sure, it’s early and these numbers are not sustainable nor do they automatically translate to potential MLB numbers. Nevertheless, this is a very talented young man (as we all know) who has mastered his current level. Onward and upward. Soon, young Grasshopper. He’s already snatched the pebble from his master’s hand.

Wade is easily the weakest hitter, right now, on the Yankees. His line is .097/.176/.161 with .338 OPS, no homers, and three RBI’s in 10 games. Like Gleyber’s numbers, these are not sustainable (in Wade’s case, they will get better). Between Torres and Wade, give me Gleyber every day. I am tired of Wading. It’s Gleyber’s Time.

Photo Credit: AP (Lynne Sladky) - The Future Star

Like the entire Yankees Universe, I was very disappointed to lose two of three games in Boston. I am convinced the Yankees are the better team, but right now, the Red Sox are playing better. The season is still very young. The Yankees have only played 13 of 162 games and they have 16 games remaining against the hated Red Sox. The season is not lost on Friday the 13th of April. 

I don’t really want to give a play-by-play of the brawl on Wednesday night, but after watching the replay of Tyler Austin sliding into second base (repeatedly, thanks to ESPN and others), I am firmly convinced Austin did not have the intent to harm. Yes, his foot caught Brock Holt’s leg but when you slow down the replay to say that Austin intentionally tried to take out Holt, it’s grossly unfair. The actual play happened very fast with no time to react. Austin was trying hard to get to second and his mind was more focused on the right foot sliding in. It’s unfortunate that Holt was unintentionally the recipient of cleats on his lower leg/ankle but it was a genuine baseball play with proper determination by Austin. 

Photo Credit: Boston Globe - Austin sliding into 2B

As much as I dislike Joe Kelly and how he baited Austin after hitting him with the pitch, Red Sox manager Alex Cora infuriated me the most with his ‘get back in your box’ gesture to Yankees third base coach Phil Nevin. Cora showed himself to be a punk.

Photo Credit: USA TODAY Sports (Kim Klement) - "Piece of S**t"

I was glad Gary Sanchez held back this time to avoid a potential suspension. His bat is starting to heat up so it’s not one we want or can afford to lose. Nice job by Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton for trying to control the situation. Those are definitely two guys that you’d want on your side in a bar room right. 

MLB handed down suspensions and fines yesterday. Joe Kelly (six games) and Tyler Austin (five games) received suspensions. Both are expected to appeal. The fines included Phil Nevin, Alex (“Piece of S**t”) Cora, CC Sabathia, Dustin Pedroia, Xander Bogaerts, and Marco Hernandez. I do not know the amount of the fines but I appreciate Nevin and Sabathia for their roles in defending the Yankees. 

Photo Credit: AP (Winslow Townson) - Yankees coaches Marcus Thames and Phil Nevin

I wish the Yankees could have left Boston yesterday with a win. Admittedly, I am concerned about Sonny Gray. Unlike the opposing pitcher (Rick Porcello), Gray did not bring his “A” game. Or as Brendan Kuty of NJ Advance Media said, “Sonny is not grayt”. Time and again, Gray has proven he gets into trouble when he nibbles instead of attacks hitters. So there he was nibbling last night and the team paid for it with a loss. At least Aaron Judge broke up the no-hitter and Gary Sanchez ruined the shutout, but I would have preferred to win two of three from Boston. Or really just winning the game after the fight would have been the best case scenario.

I really thought this season would show the return of Gray to top of the rotation dominance. He has had time to adjust to life in the Bronx and he’s healthy. Yet, against Boston, it feels like we’re throwing Jose Contreras out there again.  He is 1-5 with a 5.97 ERA against the Red Sox, and 0-3 with a 7.13 ERA at Fenway Park.  He's dangerously encroaching into 'Sonny Gray Sucks' territory. I really hope warmer weather brings out the true Sonny Gray.  At the moment, I am deeply missing James Kaprielian, Jorge Mateo and Dustin Fowler. Gray has the power to change my line of thinking. Next start would be a great time to start in more ways than one. We know that Gray can pitch exceedingly well. He just needs to show it in Pinstripes.

Photo Credit: AP (Winslow Townson) - A Bad Shade of Gray

No game is ever easy but the Yankees need to take advantage of the next five games. They play three games in Detroit, starting tonight, and then return to the Bronx on Monday for a two-game set against Giancarlo Stanton’s old team, the Miami Marlins. Win these games. If the Yankees can get on a roll, they should have good momentum heading into the four-game series next Thursday with the Blue Jays. It is the start of a brutal stretch that includes the Blue Jays (currently the second place team in the AL East), the Minnesota Twins (co-leaders of the AL Central), the Los Angeles Angels (the AL West leaders), and the Houston Astros (the defending World Series champions). These games are immediately followed with match-ups against the Cleveland Indians (the other co-leaders of the AL Central) and the next showdown against the Boston Red Sox, this time at Yankee Stadium. We’ll have a very good idea about the strength and resolve of the 2018 Yankees by the final game against the Red Sox on Thursday, May 10th.

For the upcoming series starting tonight at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan against the Tigers, here are the scheduled pitching matchups:

Friday the 13th, 7:10 ET
Yankees:  Jordan Montgomery (0-0, 4.82 ERA)
Tigers:  Mike Fiers (1-0, 0.00 ERA)

Saturday, April 14th at 1:10 ET
Yankees:  TBA (expected to be Domingo German or Luis Cessa)
Tigers:  Francisco Liriano (1-1, 2.13 ERA)

Sunday, April 15th at 1:10 ET
Yankees:  Luis Severino (2-1, 3.50 ERA)
Tigers:  Matthew Boyd (0-1, 1.38 ERA)

The Yankees currently have two players in DFA limbo. Jace Peterson, who was designated to make room for Shane Robinson, and Robinson, who was DFA’d for the activation of Aaron Hicks. Neither player figures in future plans so regardless of whether they clear waivers and are sent outright to Triple A, traded away or handed their walking papers, we appreciate their brief contributions. Best of luck in their future endeavors.

I’ll borrow a few words from TGP’s Daniel Burch. We need a win; let’s get a win.

Go Yankees!

Game Preview: New York Yankees @ Detroit Tigers 4/13

The New York Yankees are out of Boston and heading to Detroit to begin a three-game weekend set with the Detroit Tigers this weekend inside Comerica Park. The Tigers are in the midst of a total rebuild giving the Yankees a huge advantage on paper, but if the Tampa Bay Rays and Baltimore Orioles have taught us anything this season thus far it is that the games are unfortunately not played on paper. They are played in real life, and in real life the Yankees have to put in the work in order to win. Given that task for the Yankees tonight is Jordan Montgomery taking CC Sabathia’s turn in the rotation while the Tigers give the ball to Mike Fiers. Should be a good one, let’s get to it.

Montgomery was not sharp in his last start against the Baltimore Orioles allowing a career-high 10 hits in 4.1 innings of work. Montgomery allowed four runs as well in a no-decision inside Yankee Stadium. This will mark the first time in his career that the young Yankees left-hander will face the Detroit Tigers. 

Fiers was great in his Tigers debut last weekend against the Chicago White Sox and will look to replicate that tonight for Detroit against the Bronx Bombers. In that start Fiera pitched six scoreless innings allowing just three hits with six strikeouts in the victory, all despite his velocity being 90 MPH or below in each of his pitches in the start.

The game will be played at 7:10 pm ET inside Comerica Park in Detroit and can be seen on the YES Network. You can also follow along using MLB TV, the MLB At-Bat app and by tuning into the Yankees radio broadcast on WFAN with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman.

Enjoy the game, don’t pitch to Miggy, and go Yankees!!

Hello… Friday the 13th

Good morning everyone and a Happy Friday the 13th to you all. Superstitions are real things in everyone’s lives whether they realize it or not, and those superstitions tend to really come to light in Major League Baseball. Tap the plate twice before getting ready to hit. Touch the brim of your cap, then adjust your sleeve, and then touch the tip of your cap before you throw a pitch. Slumping? Try a gold thong, it worked for Jason Giambi and Derek Jeter. Hitting well? Never change your underwear again, period. It is little things like this that make the game unique and that make the game special, at least in my eyes, so go out there today with confidence. Make sure your cell phone is fully charged, don’t go out to any campsites in the barren woods, and don’t go down any sewer drains after a balloon and you should be fine. Oh, and step on a crack. Your mom will be fine.

I hope everyone has a great day and enjoys their weekend. I know this is a special weekend for my lovely girlfriend, it is the last Saturday she has to work because of tax season! One more Saturday baby! I love you, and you ALMOST made it through!

P.S. Alex Cora is a piece of shit, and Tyler Austin is my hero. That is all. 

This Day In New York Yankees History 4/13: Nick Swisher the Pitcher

On this day in 2009 Nick Swisher was brought in as a relief pitcher throwing 22 pitches and allowing one hit and surrendering one walk in an inning of work. Swisher also struck out Gabe Kapler on a swinging strikeout and retired three consecutive batters to become the first positional player to pitch for the Yankees since Wade Boggs did it in 1997. Swisher volunteered to pitch an inning to save the bullpen in a 15-5 loss at Tampa Bay after Yankees starter Chien-Ming Wang only lasted one inning.
Also on this day in 2008 construction workers at the new Yankee Stadium dug up a tattered David Ortiz Boston Red Sox jersey in the concrete of the new ballpark. The jersey was auctioned off to raise money for the Jimmy Fund. The New York construction worker, obviously a Boston fan, put it there hoping to put a curse on the new stadium.

Also on this day in 2005 a near by pedestrian saved the life of eight year old Patrick McCarthy by preventing him from walking out into a Boston road and getting hit by a truck. The hero who prevented the accident put his arm out and said "Whoa, watch out buddy" and caught the boys attention since he was his favorite baseball player, Alex Rodriguez.

Also on this day in 1998 a beam fell at Yankee Stadium and forced two Yankees home games to be postponed and one to be played at the New York Mets Shea Stadium.

Also on this day in 1978 Roger Maris returned to Yankee Stadium for the first time since the team traded him to the St. Louis Cardinals in 1966. Maris came back to help former teammate Mickey Mantle hoist the World Series flag after a promise was made to Maris by Yankees owner George Steinbrenner to install sod and lights at a baseball field at Maris' children's school in Gainesville, Florida.

Also on this day in 1978 Reggie Jackson hit a home run in the first at bat of his season at Yankee Stadium. This is important because Reggie's final three at bats at Yankee Stadium in 1977 were home runs making this a fourth consecutive Yankee Stadium home run for Mr. October.

Also on this day in 1962 the Detroit Tigers pitcher Frank Lary pulled a muscle in his leg running out a triple, which he overcompensated with in his arm and ultimately injured himself and ended his career. This is Yankees news because Lary was always known as one of the original "Yankee Killers."

Finally on this day in 1939 Lou Gehrig, with apparent muscle loss around his shoulders, hit two home runs in an exhibition game against the Dodgers. These two home runs will be the last that the "Iron Horse" would ever hit in his major league career.