Friday, June 22, 2018

Game Thread: New York Yankees @ Tampa Bay Rays 6/22

And just like that it is game time here inside Tropicana Field between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays. In the first game of this three-game weekend set the Yankees will send CC Sabathia to the mound to face off with Ryne Stanek for the Rays. The game will be played at 7:10 pm ET inside Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay and can be seen on WPIX Channel 11 and Fox Sports Sun. 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 on WFAN with the legendary duo of John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman.

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, don’t look now but Giancarlo is hot, and go Yankees!!

Meet a Prospect: Mitchell Robinson

With their 21st round pick, 637th overall, in the 2018 MLB First Year Players Draft the New York Yankees selected Mitchell Robinson, a third baseman out of the University of British Columbia. Robinson was previously drafted four years ago out of High School by the Miami Marlins in the 22nd round, but ultimately decided to head to college where he was a four-year senior. Let’s meet him. This is Meet a Prospect: The Mitchell Robinson Edition.

Robinson is a large guy down at third base standing 6’3” and weighing in at 200 lbs. Robinson is right-handed both in batting and throwing and he uses his big frame to generate a ton of power while at the dish. As a senior, Robinson posted an impressive .361 average with eight home runs and 54 RBI while taking more walks, 28, than he struck out, 27, all of the 2018 season.

Robinson has the potential to be a versatile player for the Yankees in their minor league system after playing third base, catcher and first base while at the University of British Columbia, with Florida International and at Central Arizona University. Robinson’s defensive versatility and polished college bat may see him fly through the Yankees system in a couple of years.

Mitchell has already signed with the club since the draft so let’s welcome him not only to the Yankees organization, but to the Yankees family as well. You can follow Mitchell Robinson on Twitter by following @mitchrobinson44.

Predicting the 2018 Trade Deadline: Joakim Soria

The Chicago White Sox are not going anywhere here in 2018 and when teams are struggling in the midst of a rebuild they tend to sign veteran players only to trade them at a later time. It happens all the time, and it will likely happen again this summer when the White Sox trade away closer Joakim Soria to a contending team in need of bullpen help. The Milwaukee Brewers will need bullpen help if they want to stave off the Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals making them a perfect match for a trade and for Soria’s services.

Milwaukee lost their closer Corey Knebel for a month due to an injury and while he has been solid since his return he is still sporting an ERA north of 4.00 this season. Having an inconsistent closer may win you some games in what many determined as a weak National League Central division here in 2018, but that will not win you many games in the postseason. Soria would give the Brewers the edge they need to not only reach the postseason, but to possibly advanced past the first round of the playoffs if they were to win their division.

Soria would come relatively cheap given that the White Sox are rebuilding in terms of prospects and will likely be atop the Brewers radar here in about a month. It is a foregone conclusion that Soria will be traded, and at this point it is also as close to 100% as you can get that the Brewers will look for bullpen help at the end of the game. Whether that search leads them to Soria, or another veteran closer, remains to be seen, but my money is on Soria pitching for Milwaukee before the end of the 2018 season and adding to his miniscule 2.0 innings pitched in the postseason throughout the 34-year old’s career.

Meet a Prospect: Alex Junior

With their 19th round pick, 577th overall, in the 2018 MLB First Year Players Draft the New York Yankees selected Alex Junior, an outfielder out of Tennessee Tech University. Alex reminds me a lot of Brett Gardner in a way, so let’s meet the man who suddenly has a huge comparison to live up to. This is Meet a Prospect: The Alex Junior Edition.

Junior stands just 5’10” and weighs in at just 188 lbs. which make the comparisons to Gardner obvious right away, but it isn’t just his size that leads me to believe that he plays the game like the Yankees current left fielder. Junior is also a speedy leadoff type hitter that slashed .326/.458/.494 in 250 at-bats this season as a redshirt junior. Junior also walked 49 times this season with only 50 strikeouts showing a patience and plate discipline that I also compare to Gardner’s approach at the plate. Junior also plays a good center field, the position that Gardner came up playing before shifting to left field when the team acquired Jacoby Ellsbury and Johnny Damon in recent years to play center.

Junior prioritizes getting on base as an important aspect of his game, which he explained in an interview with Baseball America before the Draft:


Alex has already signed with the club after the draft so let’s welcome him not only to the Yankees organization, but to the Yankees family as well. You can follow Alex on Twitter by following @JuniorCloud9.

Predicting the 2018 Trade Deadline: Mike Moustakas

"I am out of here!!"

Mike Moustakas has been about the only bright spot in the entire Kansas City Royals organization this season, at least as far as the Major League team is concerned. The team has struggled as a whole with the exception of Moustakas, who came back on a one-year deal after failing to find another suitable team to play for here in 2018 as a free agent this winter, and the Royals will undoubtedly cash in on his successes before this year’s July 31st trade deadline. There will be many teams interested in his services but ultimately, I believe it will be the Boston Red Sox, as much as that pains me to say, who will acquire the man they call “Moose Tacos.”

Why would the Red Sox need to go out and acquire Moustakas from the Kansas City Royals when the organization feels like they have their third baseman of the future already on the team in Rafael Devers? Recently Kansas City has allowed Moustakas to play some first base, albeit just in a pair of games, presumably as a showcase for the natural third baseman in trades. The Red Sox recently let go of a first baseman in Hanley Ramirez in order to not only avoid his 2019 option from triggering, but also to give Mitch Moreland some more at-bats at the position. Since the designation of assignment for Ramirez the Red Sox first baseman has struggled mightily giving the team a need at first.

Moustakas could fit the bill rotating between first base, third base and the designated hitter position for the Red Sox while giving the team a much-needed boost in offense. Moustakas is well on his way to another 30+ home run season and he could touch 40 home runs and 100 RBI if half his games were being played inside Fenway Park. This would not only be great for Moustakas as it would give him an opportunity to play in a pennant race as well as showcase his talents for teams on a grand stage before his impending free agency, but it would also be a huge upgrade for minimal prospects for the Red Sox because he is a rental.

Moustakas comes with a $15 million mutual option for the 2019 season with a $1 million buyout that the Red Sox could easily either buy out, or exercise for next season without blinking an eye. As much as it pains me to say this as a Yankees fan, I truly believe that Moustakas will be playing for the Boston Red Sox once the calendar turns to August 1, 2018.

High-Flying Yankees Invade Florida...

Photo Credit: AP (Bill Kostroun)
Another Series Win, check...

What a week! After splitting Monday’s quasi-double-header with the Nationals in Washington, D.C., the Yankees swept the resurgent Seattle Mariners in the Bronx.

The games against the Mariners couldn’t have been more exciting. After a fairly easy win on Tuesday night, Wednesday featured the Yankees' rally from a 0-5 deficit with a game tying two-run homer in the 8th inning by Gary Sanchez followed by Giancarlo Stanton’s dramatic two-out, two-strike walk-off home run in the bottom of the 9th. Yesterday, the Yankees used two first inning two-run dingers by Aaron Judge and Miguel Andujar to hold off the M’s for the series sweep.  

Photo Credit: AP (Bill Kostroun)

Honestly, I did not expect the Yankees to sweep the Seattle series. The Mariners entered the game 20 games above .500, and were hanging with the Houston Astros atop the AL  West. The M’s left NYC yesterday with a four-game losing streak and 3 1/2 games behind the Astros.  Not a fun week for them. Still, the Mariners are playing much better than people expected when their star player, former Yankee Robinson Cano, was injured and then subsequently suspended for 80 games due to suspected PED use. There's no doubt with a play or two here and there, the M's could have easily taken two of the three games.  

I didn’t really get Aaron Boone’s decision to bring in Chasen Shreve to relieve Jonathan Loaisiga during Wednesday’s game. Sure, Loaisiga created the fourth inning mess that had given the Mariners an early 1-0 lead and he departed the game with two outs and runners at first and second, but Shreve did him no favors by allowing a two-run single to Dee Gordon, with both runs charged to Loaisiga. When Shreve entered the game, it felt like it was a great opportunity for the M’s, not the Yankees, and it was. I do not trust the lefty and if there’s a spot in the bullpen that desperately needs an upgrade, it is Shreve. In a bullpen of stars, he is the weakest link.    

Fortunately, after Shreve allowed a couple more runs, Boone made the decision to bring in Jonathan Holder who has been the best reliever not named Dellin Betances in recent weeks. Holder held the M’s scoreless over 2 1/3 innings to set the stage for the late inning heroics by Sanchez and Stanton. For me, Holder’s performance was the key to winning the game. 

I don’t know if it (the dramatic 9th inning game-winning home run) was Giancarlo Stanton’s “signature moment” but it was certainly a huge one for the Yankees and their fans. Stanton benefited from a misplaced pitch but to his credit, he didn’t miss it. Seattle reliever Ryan Cook knew he had made a mistake almost as quickly as the ball had left his hand. Hopefully, for Stanton’s sake, it is a sign of great things to come at Yankee Stadium for the slugger who has been much better on the road than at home ala Sonny Gray.  

On a day when the Yankees used a walk-off home run by #27 to win a game, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders did the same when Zack Zehner, wearing #27, hit a 9th-inning two-run homer to beat the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, 5-3. Very ironic and coincidental.

Yesterday, the Yankees scored four runs on two homers in the first inning against Seattle’s James Paxton, and then had to hold on when Luis Severino did not have his best stuff. Sevy allowed a two-run homer in the second to Kyle Seager and was touched again for a run-scoring single in the sixth inning by former Yankee Ben Gamel to make it a one-run game. The bullpen trio of David Robertson, Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman kept Seattle off the board from there to deliver Sevy his 11th victory of the season and it almost certainly ensures the young right-hander will be part of the AL All-Star team next month.  

Photo Credit: AP (Bill Kostroun)

Thursday’s game also featured the first time that both Seattle’s Andrew Romine and his brother, Austin, started the same game.  It seems like that would have happened while Andrew was playing for the Detroit Tigers but it never did. Andrew started at shortstop for the Mariners and was 1-for-4 (seventh inning single; stranded at second) while Austin was 0-for-4, starting at catcher in place of Gary Sanchez. I loved the punch that Andrew threw at Austin while at the plate.  

Photo Credit: NY Post (Charles Wenzelberg)

With the Yankees  (50-22) in St Petersburg, Florida to face the Tampa Bay Rays for a weekend series, they enter play today with a two-game lead over the Boston Red Sox (50-26) in the AL East. The Red Sox averted a series sweep by the home team at Target Field in Minneapolis, MN yesterday when they beat the Twins, 9-2, but the two-game lead for the Yankees is the largest they’ve held this month. It’s incredible that both the Yankees and Red Sox are on a path for more than 100 wins and the Yankees have yet to play their best baseball. Yesterday was the first day of summer but it should be a very fun summer for the Yankees and their fans. Somewhere in other Major League cities, there are several talented players and/or pitchers that will soon find themselves on the roster of the greatest team in baseball. No offense to the All-Star Game, but the MLB trading deadline is THE event of July. We're buyers this year, boys...

The Brandon Drury Watch continues to yield fruit. On Thursday, Drury’s two-run single keyed a series win by the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders over the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. Drury played first base (second time this season) in the 3-1 win and made some good defensive plays.

A.J. Cole finally got to pitch Tuesday after 22 days as a spectator with a good seat for Yankees games, holding Seattle scoreless over the final two innings in the Yankees’ 7-2 win and now he’s on the 10-day DL. Bummer. Cole apparently suffered a neck strain prior to Wednesday’s game while playing catch. I guess that's better than landing on the DL after injuring yourself while pulling on your pants like Chicago Cubs closer Brandon Morrow. Luis Cessa, on a rehab assignment with the Double-A Trenton Thunder, was recalled to take Cole’s place. Pardon me if I am feeling a little underwhelmed.

Given the Yankees are back in Florida to play the Rays, it means more starts against "openers". Ryne Stanek opens tonight. He opened for the Rays last Saturday in New York when the Rays lost to the Yankees, 4-1. Stanek pitched an inning and a third before making way for a more extended stint by Ryan Yarbrough. I expect the same 1-2 formula tonight. Yarbrough hasn't pitched since Saturday's game, while Stanek pitched an inning of relief for Blake Snell on Tuesday night when the Rays snapped Houston's 12-game consecutive win streak. CC Sabathia will open, okay start, for the Yankees. The Rays (34-40) are currently tied for third place in the AL East with the Toronto Blue Jays, 17 games behind your favorite Pinstripers.

The Rays go with another opener on Saturday (Wilmer Font) against Sonny Gray. As a road game, I am looking for much better things from Gray. Sunday will feature the first legitimate starter for Tampa when the talented Blake Snell takes the hill. He'll face the ever-improving Domingo German in what should be a great pitcher's duel.  

A great time to be a Yankees fan. A great day for a Yankees win.

Go Yankees!

Game Preview: New York Yankees @ Tampa Bay Rays 6/22

Good morning Yankees family and welcome to the weekend, well almost anyway, and welcome to another three-game set between the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays. In the first of a three-game weekend set inside Tropicana Field the Yankees will send CC Sabathia to the mound to face off with Ryne Stanek for the Rays. This series has all the makings of another two of three victories for New York, so let’s get to it here in Tampa St. Pete.

Sabathia heads into this start fresh off the longest outing of his season when he logged 7.2 innings pitched against the Tampa Bay Rays in a loss on Sunday. Sabathia allowed three runs on 10 hits with 10 strikeouts but the Yankees offense did not support him in the loss. 

Stanek has made six starts in his short MLB career including his last start against the Houston Astros back on Monday night. Stanek faced just five batters on that night retiring them all on 11 pitches extending a streak of eight straight appearances since the beginning of June without allowing a run.

The game will be played at 7:10 pm ET inside Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay and can be seen on WPIX Channel 11 and Fox Sports Sun. 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 on WFAN with the legendary duo of John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman.

Enjoy the game, win another series, and go Yankees!!

Hello… UPDATED 2018 MLB Draft Tracker

The New York Yankees made 40 selections in the 2018 MLB First Year Players Draft so here is a quick update on who they drafted and whether they have signed with the organization or not. Enjoy!

And Kari, I may not have picked you first in my life but knowing what I know now I will pick you every time from here on out. I love you.

This Day In New York Yankees History 6/22: #TooManyDamnHomeRuns

On this day in 1941 the Yankees hit a home run for the 18th consecutive game setting a new major league record. Joe DiMaggio hit the historic home run in a 5-4 Yankees victory over the Detroit Tigers and extended his own hitting streak to 35 games.