Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Game Thread: New York Yankees @ Washington Nationals 5/15

And just like that it is game time here in the nation’s capital as the New York Yankees made the trip to Washington D.C. to face off with the Washington Nationals. In the opener of their quick two-game set the Yankees will send Masahiro Tanaka to the mound looking to keep the team hot while the Nats will counter with Gio Gonzalez who will look to slow down Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge and company. The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET pm ET inside Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. and can be seen on the YES Network. You can also follow along with the game on MLB TV, with the MLB At-Bat app and by tuning into the Yankees radio broadcast with the legendary duo of John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman 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, all we do is win, win, win, win, and go Yankees!!

Robinson Cano Banned 80 Games for Failed PED Test

Former New York Yankees second baseman and current Seattle Mariners second baseman Robinson Cano has been banned for 80 games by Major League Baseball after testing positive for a banned substance.

Cano's failed test was for a substance called Furosemide. A quick Google search of Furosemide and a trip to WebMD brings up the following:

Furosemide is used to reduce extra fluid in the body (edema) caused by conditions such as heart failureliver disease, and kidney disease. This can lessen symptoms such as shortness of breath and swelling in your arms, legs, and abdomen.
This drug is also used to treat high blood pressure. Lowering high blood pressure helps prevent strokes, heart attacks, and kidney problems.
Furosemide is a "water pill" (diuretic) that causes you to make more urine. This helps your body get rid of extra water and salt.

Kind of sounds like something you would take had you known a steroid test was coming, huh?

More to come as information becomes available. #BlameJayZ.

Press Release - Minor League Baseball and Satisfi Labs Partner to Enhance Fan Experience

Minor League Baseball and Satisfi Labs Partner to Enhance Fan Experience

Bilingual artificial intelligence solution amplifies league-wide multicultural initiative

ST. PETERSBURG, Florida — Minor League Baseball™ (MiLB™) today announced a new collaboration with Satisfi Labs, a leading artificial intelligence engagement platform, to create a bilingual customer service AI conversation platform for more than 30 MiLB teams. This unique partnership marks the first time a sports league will communicate with its fans in both English and Spanish by leveraging Satisfi Labs’ AI capabilities.

This new product solution will amplify MiLB’s national multicultural initiative “Es Divertido Ser Un Fan®” (It’s Fun to Be a Fan®”) and its new “Copa de la DiversiĆ³n™” (“Fun Cup™”) season-long event series specifically designed to embrace the culture and values that resonate most with participating teams’ local U.S. Hispanic/Latino communities. The interface will initially be made available to the participating “Copa” teams to support their respective fan engagement efforts.

The AI platform will operate within individual teams’ Facebook Messenger pages and serve to answer fans’ questions pertaining to aspects of the gameday experience such as ticketing, parking, and other common inquiries surrounding the venue, game, and teams, while providing unique answers based on the users’ locations. The platform’s bilingual capability allows each team to effectively connect and engage with their fans in the language of their choice to provide the right information, at the right place, in real-time.

“Our new partnership with Satisfi Labs reinforces our tech-infused strategy specifically designed to improve the fan experience any time they engage with MiLB,” said David Wright, Minor League Baseball Chief Marketing and Commercial Officer. “This cutting-edge technology will better our ability to understand the fan journey by providing a platform for our teams to engage a more diverse audience and turn data into intelligent action.”

“We’ve developed several unique platforms for brands across entertainment, retail, and sports, but this is the first tool we’ve created that can communicate as efficiently in Spanish as in English. We’re excited to expand our offerings in AI conversation platforms to the Hispanic community and support one of the largest sports leagues in the U.S. in its effort to better connect with all of its fans,” said Don White, CEO and Co-Founder of Satisfi Labs.

MiLB and Satisfi Labs plan to roll out an expanded AI conversation platform and league-wide fan engagement tool for the 2019 season.

USA Today’s Weekly MLB Power Rankings

Cue the music, “coming for that number one spot.” And the New York Yankees did just that this week as the USA Today released their newest set of weekly power rankings over on their site. The Boston Red Sox slipped to second as the Yankees went from a .500 ball club to the best team in baseball, according to these rankings, in just three weeks’ time. Imagine what will happen when the team gets a healthy Brandon Drury and Greg Bird back. The sky is the limit with this team, I have said that from day one.

The Red Sox slipped to second place while the Houston Astros (3rd), Arizona Diamondbacks (4th) and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (5th) round out the Top 5. The five worst teams in the league according to these rankings are the Kansas City Royals (26th), the Baltimore Orioles (27th), the Cincinnati Reds (28th), the Miami Marlins (29th) and the Chicago White Sox (30th).

Surprises? The Milwaukee Brewers are back in the Top 10 and climbing, so are the Atlanta Braves as well with a huge +56 run differential. Meanwhile the New York Mets and the Toronto Blue Jays are in a free fall out of contention and off the board. You have to think the biggest surprise though is the Los Angeles Dodgers who not only got swept by the Cincinnati Reds recently but have also fallen to 21st overall in the rankings. Will the Dodgers even make the postseason at this point?

The Cincinnati Reds are 6-0 to start the Matt Harvey era. Have a great day everyone.

Boston's Loss is Our Gain...

Photo Credit: Boston Herald (Christopher Evans)
Yankees Take Sole Possession of First Place…

The Yankees had the day off on Monday and captured sole possession of first place in the American League East while they are resting. Sweet. Credit to Oakland’s Sean Manaea, sporting Sonny Gray's old number, for keeping the Red Sox offense in check. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images (Maddie Meyer)

Rafael Devers got a seventh inning home run off Manaea and J.D. Martinez took the A’s bullpen deep, but after nine innings of play, Boston had one less run than Oakland. Too bad, so sad. Sucks to be Boston. Greatest start in Red Sox history and all they have to show for it is second place. Get used to it, RSN.

Now, the Yankees have to hold their thin ½ game AL East lead while playing one of the best teams in the National League. I know, the Washington Nationals currently trail both the Atlanta Braves and the Philadelphia Phillies, but there’s no doubt the Nats (24-18) will be firmly entrenched on top of the NL East by the time October rolls around. Atlanta is a nice story and of course no one is going to root against former Yankees bench coach (now Phillies bench coach) Rob Thomson but it is inevitable the Braves and Phillies will fall hard at some point.  

With the Yankees in the Nation’s Capital to face the Nationals, it brings the topic of Bryce Harper to the forefront. I like Giancarlo Stanton, don’t get me wrong, but realistically, given a choice, I’d prefer Harper. At the moment, there’s not a great difference in their stats.

Harper:  .236/.400/.543, .943 OPS, 13 HR, 30 RBI
Stanton:  .252/.339/.516, .855 OPS, 10 HR, 26 RBI

I feel that the best AL pitchers in October will expose the flaws in Stanton’s swing, whereas Harper seems to have the “it” quality for playoff superstardom. There are no stats to back up those assumptions on my part (total gut feelings) and honestly I am fine moving forward with Stanton for the long-term.  I am just saying that if I had my chance, I’d take the 25 year old Harper over the 28 year old Stanton and age has nothing to do with it. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images (Harry How)

The way the season is going for the Los Angeles Dodgers (16-24), they’ll be looking to make some impactful moves in the off-season. I am sure they’ll be big game hunting for Harper themselves, but if I was GM Brian Cashman, I’d find a way to move LA-native Stanton to Chavez Ravine and bring Harper to New York. 

I am not really trying to rip Stanton and I have not been dissatisfied with his short time in Pinstripes despite some struggles. I suppose it’s not outside of the realm of possibility the Yankees could feature an outfield of Aaron Judge, Harper and Stanton, but that would have been more likely under George Steinbrenner than Hal Steinbrenner. 

While I would want Harper on my team, the realist in me knows the off-season money will be better spent on the pitching staff. I think Patrick Corbin would make for a very nice lefty replacement for CC Sabathia. CC’s been a great Yankee, but the end of the line is near. The downside to spending big on pitching is the fragile overall health of top pitchers (case in point, Clayton Kershaw, who seems to enjoy the DL as much as Jacoby Ellsbury). The Yankees will face an ace that could have been theirs tomorrow evening when Max Scherzer takes the hill for the Nats against Sabathia. When Scherzer signed his free agent deal with the Nationals in January 2015, the Yankees had been one of the early favorites to sign the former Tiger ace. If George Steinbrenner was still alive, I am convinced Scherzer would have been a Yankee today.  

Perhaps the Yankees make a big pitching move in July. After a couple of promising starts, Sonny Gray Sucks! returned after his dismal performance against his former team last Friday night. I keep hoping that Gray can recapture the elite pitcher status he held while wearing green and gold but so far, he has seemed like just another guy that couldn’t handle New York. My feelings about Gray are starting to turn Javier Vazquez-like. I loved what Vazquez did as a member of the Montreal Expos, but his time in Pinstripes (both times) was very pedestrian.  Every start, I keep hoping Gray will prove me wrong. But we’re just a couple months shy of a year since his acquisition and I’ve not been impressed. During the recent A’s series, it was weird listening to veteran A’s beat reporter Susan Slusser talk about how great Gray pitched for Oakland.  We haven’t seen that guy.

I am not really trying to bash the Yankees today but it seems kind of like I have. Please accept my apology. They hold the best record in Major League Baseball and have a cohesive team that simply refuses to lose. Things haven’t gone perfectly but the same can be said for all other MLB teams. Some teams with playoff aspirations (like the Dodgers) probably wish they could take a mulligan and start the season over. The Yankees have no such thoughts.  28-12, .700 winning percentage, first place in the AL East, and of course the best record in MLB. They overcame the blistering 17-2 start by the Boston Red Sox. I think Yankees fans will gladly take the current state of MLB’s greatest franchise.  So, don’t mind me while I dream of what Bryce Harper might look like in Pinstripes.  It’s just a dream that will never come to fruition.

That’s fine.  Let’s go win a World Series.

Go Yankees!

Game Preview: New York Yankees @ Washington Nationals 5/15

Good morning everyone and welcome back to Yankees baseball as the New York Yankees make the trip to the nation’s capital to face off with Bryce Harper and the Washington Nationals. In the first of their two-game set this week the New York Yankees will send Masahiro Tanaka to the mound to face off with Gio Gonzalez for the Nats. Let’s get to it here in Washington.

Tanaka has not taken a loss in each of his last four outings pitching to a 2-0 record with 3 quality starts and a 3.38 ERA during that span. Tanaka will make his second career start against the Nationals tonight after earning the win with seven innings of the work back in June 2015.

Gonzalez has been sharp lately and has allowed just two earned runs in his last 18 innings pitched. Gonzalez has also struck out 21 batters during that span. Gonzalez has struggled against the Yankees in his career posting a 1-5 record with a 6.65 ERA in eight career starts. That’s before you mention how the right-handed heavy Yankees love left-handed starting pitching.

The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET pm ET inside Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. and can be seen on the YES Network. You can also follow along with the game on MLB TV, with the MLB At-Bat app and by tuning into the Yankees radio broadcast with the legendary duo of John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman on WFAN.

Enjoy the game, enjoy Bryce Harper’s potential audition for Brian Cashman and company, and go Yankees!!

Hello… Pitchers Having to Hit RANT

Good morning everyone and welcome back to Interleague Play. I know I probably make this rant every single year, but it is only because I feel so strongly about it. I can appreciate the fact that there is diversity in Major League Baseball between the American League and the National League, and I very much appreciate the differences in the leagues, but it doesn’t mean I have to like it when the Yankees head to a National League park. Why? Pitchers having to hit.

I can buy into the whole “strategy” and old-school feel of the game having a pitcher hit or bunt three-or-four times a night, the pinch-hitting aspects, moving runners over, and playing small ball… but, again, it doesn’t mean that I have to like it.

I cannot stand watching a pitcher that has no business swinging a bat, and a pitcher that likely hasn’t really swung a bat with any consistency since high school or college, having to go up at the Major League level and take swings. It is an injury risk, hello Chein-Ming Wang, and it just zaps any of the fun out of the inning in my opinion. I know it is just my opinion and some fans absolutely love seeing it, I just don’t personally.

So, to Masahiro Tanaka and especially to CC Sabathia this week in Washington… take it slow. Strike out or bunt if you have to, and for the love of everything good in this world make it out in one piece this week. Thanks in advance.

And to my Kari, 15 more days… I love you!!!

This Day in New York Yankees History 5/15: Ty Cobb Beats Up a Cripple

On this day in 1961 the George Steinbrenner owned Cleveland Pipers of the American Basketball League hired John McLendon Jr. as their head coach. McLendon would be the first African American to be named to a top leadership position in any major professional sport. McLendon was well respected in the college ranks as a coach but would leave the job midway through the 1961-1962 ABL season due to interference from the front office. Interference from the front office on a George Steinbrenner run team? Say it isn’t so.

Also on this day in 1941 Joe DiMaggio began his 56 game hitting streak, spoiler alert, with a hit against the White Sox Edgar Smith. DiMaggio would collect at least one hit in every single game until July 17. The streak would be ended in Cleveland with the help of a couple outstanding defensive plays at third base by Ken Keltner.

Finally on this day in 1912 Ty Cobb grew tired of listening to heckling by Yankee fans and jumped into the stands near the Tigers dugout at Hilltop Park and pummeled a handicapped fan. Otto Blotz was the man who could not defend himself against the "Georgia Peach" as he only had one hand. Class act right there.