Thursday, April 4, 2019

Yankees succeeded in a must needed win in Baltimore

                                                       (Photo credit: George King III/NY Post)
Yankees go on a 6-game road trip, first stop Baltimore. As the team struggled during its opening week at home just winning 2 of its first 6 games. It was time to start this road trip on a good note and get a win against the Baltimore Orioles.

(Photo Credit: YES Network/Twitter)

Paxton struggled in the 1st inning giving up 3 runs. He eventually settled down going 5.1 IP with 9 satrikeouts and giving up 4 earned runs in total. Yankees bullpen then took over with Kahnle, Britton & Chapman to close it.

Yankees offense did show up today, blasting 4 homeruns. Torres took charge of the day going 4-4 with 2 homeruns, which is his 3rd career multi-homerun game. Sanchez connected with his 3rd homerun of the season. Voit now has 8 hits at Camden Yards with 4 of them being homeruns as he blasts a 3-run shot in the 9th to had insurance runs.

Game Thread: New York Yankees @ Baltimore Orioles 4/4

Game seven of the 2019 season will showcase this year’s version of the New York Yankees out on the road for the first time this season. This afternoon in the Orioles home opener the Yankees will send James Paxton to the mound to face off with Alex Cobb for the Orioles. The game will be played at 3:05 pm ET inside Oriole Park at Camden Yards and can be seen on the YES Network locally, MASN in the Baltimore/DC area, and on MLB TV wherever you and your device are. You can also follow along with the game on WFAN with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman. Enjoy the game and go Yankees!!

What it Means to Be a Yankees Fan: Bryan Van Dusen

Yesterday evening before the game with the Blue Jays I personally tried to answer maybe one of the hardest questions I have ever been asked not only as a writer, but as a Yankees fan as well. What does being a Yankees fan mean to me? I mentioned in the article the fact that if you asked 100 different Yankees fans that same question that it was entirely possible that you would receive 100 different answers back, and I also stated that I sought out to prove that to be true leading to this post this morning. There’s one person I trust more than anyone when it comes to Yankees fandom, someone I have known for many years and someone who I started this blog with back in January of 2012. Bryan Van Dusen. What does Yankees fandom mean to Bryan? Keep reading.

What makes you a fan of the New York Yankees?

I don't remember a time in my life when I wasn't a Yankees fan. 

When I was 7 years old I was able to play organized baseball in my towns Pee Wee Baseball league. We were put on random teams, each named after various Major League teams. You're probably thinking "he was placed on the Yankees." Nope... I was on the Red Sox, and I was devastated. I wasn't devastated because I was on the team named after the Yankees hated rival. I didn't know the history of the Yankees and Red Sox at that point in my life. All I knew was that I wanted to be on the Yankees, but I wasn't. 

The fact is I don't remember how I became a Yankees fan. I don't remember the first game I saw. Perhaps it was because my father would watch Yankees games when I was an infant. Maybe it was the baby-size Yankees hat my dad got me. Or since I lived in New York (central... not the city), and really only had access to the Yankees and Mets, the chances were 50/50 that I would grow up a Yankees fan. On that note... thank God I'm not a Mets fan... yuck.

It may sound ridiculous and make you roll your eyes, but I honestly believe I was born into Yankee fandom. 

See, I was born shortly after 12:00am on October 19th, 1977. In case you don't know, hours before I was born the Yankees defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 6 of the World Series to win the championship. That was the same game in which Reggie Jackson hit three home runs, off of three pitches, and off of three different pitchers (Reggie walked in his first at bat of Game 6 but note that he hit a home run in his last at bat in Game 5 on the first pitch... also from a different pitcher).

In fact, simply calling me a Yankees "fan" is downplaying things. "Bryan Van Dusen" and "Yankees" go hand-in-hand. You can call me an Ohio State fan, you can call me Syracuse University fan, you can call me a San Francisco 49ers fan, etc. But when it comes to how I feel about the Yankees, and how they are a part of my life, simply calling me a "fan" is not enough. 

What is your earliest memory of the New York Yankees?

My first baseball glove. I don't mean the little ones I had, which were made of some type of plastic. You know, the ones no real player would ever think of using in a game. But my first real baseball glove made of leather (well, synthetic leather, but still...). 

While I saw the Yankees before that point, that glove is my clear memory involving the team. I'm sure you're wondering what they had to do with one another but remember that many pieces of sports equipment were signature models. Not necessarily what a player actually used, but something that an athlete allowed his name to be on. 

And whose name was on that baseball glove? Don Mattingly.

I don't remember exactly when I got it. Perhaps it was before joining that Pee Wee baseball team I mentioned earlier. But I was so proud of that glove. If only the greatness that was Donnie Baseball translated to me through that mitt. 

What is your fondest memory of the New York Yankees?

While I was born shortly after the Yankees won the World Series in 1977, I was 363 days old when they won the 1978 World Series, I was three years old when they lost the 1980 World Series, and I was four years old when they lost the World Series the following season, how many people truly remember things before they were five years old? 

By the time I really understood the game I only knew sadness. The Yankees would miss the playoffs year in and year out, even finishing under .500 a handful of times. My beloved Don Mattingly would garner American League Most Valuable Player votes, All Star game selections, Gold Gloves, but he didn't come close to winning a title. 

Hell, one of my earliest memories about Major League Baseball in general was watching the Mets win the World Series in 1986. I mean, at least they beat the Red Sox, but seeing the Mets celebrate a World Series championship wasn't a whole lot better.

I would read and hear about the great history of my beloved Yankees, but personally I was not able to feel it. Even in 1994, when the team looked like they would battle for a World Series title, the league went on strike. The following season was, up to that point, the best of my life, yet they lost to the Mariners in the AL Division series. But finally... on October 26th, 1996, it happened.

Mark Lemke popped a pitch from John Wetteland in foul territory down the third base line, where Charlie Hayes caught the final out of the World Series. I was in my sophomore year at the University of Dayton, and I remember running outside of my apartment screaming "WE'RE BACK, BABY!"

Strange, but I didn't scream "WE WON" or something like that. I screamed "WE'RE BACK". I guess I knew that that title was the start of what would be a dynasty, as the Yankees went on to win three more championships between 1998 and 2000. Not to mention going to the World Series in 2001 and 2003. And the Yankees would go on to be a powerhouse in Major League Baseball. Not necessarily championship material year in and year out, but they would always be there among the top. 

And here we sit today, quite possibly on the verge of another Yankees dynasty.

What do you think of when you see the interlocking NY of the Yankees?

My heart skips a beat. Seriously. I don't have kids, so I can't say for sure how it feels to watch them as a father, but I have a feeling it's sort of the same. A sense of pride, along with happiness and genuine love. Like I said... I'm not just a Yankees fan. The Yankees are a part of my life. That interlocking logo is a part of me. 

The Yankees Deserve Your Patience...

Photo Credit: Frank Franklin II/AP
Injury-riddled start does not end World Series aspirations…

The Yankees are 2-4 entering play today. The season-opening homestand against two of the AL’s worst teams didn’t exactly go according to plan.  The only saving grace is the Boston Red Sox have one more loss than the Yankees.  It’s disappointing but what are you going to do?  This ship will right itself.  I am certainly not going to declare this a lost season the first week in April.

I’ve said it before but I hate losing winnable games and that’s exactly what every one of those four losses have felt like. I don’t think anybody could have foreseen the rash of injuries that have hit the Yankees. I am certainly not going to join the ‘I wish we had signed Machado or Harper’ crowd or those who are still pining for Joe Girardi to return as Yankees manager. If the Yankees had signed Machado or Harper, who knows, they could have been hurt wearing the famed Pinstripes. I don’t think Girardi wins you more games than Aaron Boone. The Yankees turned that page and we’re not going back to Girardi regardless of what happens. There’s no doubt the Injured List is overflowing but this would have been impossible to predict regardless of any moves made by the Yankees Front Office during the past off-season.

Now is the time for the guys given opportunities to step up. Greg Bird, Clint Frazier, Tyler Wade, Mike Tauchman, and, later today, Thairo Estrada, your time is now. Not tomorrow, not next week. Now. If a few of these guys can play up to potential, the Yankees will be alright. I am comfortable with D.J. LeMahieu and his glove at third base. He was a minor league third baseman and in his limited sample size in the Bronx, he’s looked like a veteran at the position. With the unexpected injury to Troy Tulowitzki…I take that back, no injury with Tulo is unexpected…the inevitable injury, shortstop is in good hands with Gleyber Torres. The pressure is on Tyler Wade to perform at second. 

I am sure the Yankees see Luke Voit potential in Mike Tauchman but so far, the former Colorado Rockie looks like a 4A player. He may be great at Triple A but so far, like Tyler Wade, he has yet to prove it at the Major League level. Time to kick off the training wheels and let ‘er rip. They can establish their Major League careers right here, right now.  The dreams they’ve held since childhood are within their control. 

I have my thoughts about the ability of some of these guys to live up to the hype but it’s up to them to prove they belong here. There’s a reason most were touted as top prospects at one time or another. 

After one run through the starting rotation, and Masahiro Tanaka’s second start, I’ve been pleased with the quality of the starting pitching. Domingo German was great and Jonathan Loaisiga did a fine job yesterday in a limited appearance. The only forgettable performance was J.A. Happ but he’ll rebound.  We’re a couple of weeks away from the return of CC Sabathia and I am anxious to see how he performs but all in all, I like what we’re seeing from the rotation. It would be better with Luis Severino, but for now, the starting rotation is not the weak link. Sadly, I see no fit for Gio Gonzalez and fully expect him to either opt out on April 20th or decide to stay in Triple A to keep his arm fresh until somebody calls. It’s a little disappointing that a few of the losses have been bullpen failures but they haven’t exactly been given high run support.  Watching David Robertson blow a game yesterday for the Philadelphia Phillies against the Washington Nationals by walking in the winning run with the bases loaded shows things could be worse. I’d rather get beat throwing a hard fastball over the middle of the plate than letting the other team win on walks. I’ll gladly take my chances with Adam Ottavino in the fireman role previously held by D-Rob. 

Once the healthy regulars start hitting, the Yankees can and should get on a roll. I never really dreamed that New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom would have a home run this season before Aaron Judge. Let’s have hope the guys will hit because they will. Death, taxes, and monstrous Aaron Judge bombs.  You can count on it.    

Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
I am not sure what I think about Miguel Andujar’s desire to return this season. If he avoids surgery and attempts to return, he may be limited to DH duties since it is harder to throw than it is to bat. He was already a defensive liability without the labrum tear.  I’d hate to see him try to play this year, need surgery in the off-season and potentially impact his availability in 2020. I’d almost prefer the surgery now to resolve the problem so that we know he’ll be at full speed for next season. Although it’s not great to play Giancarlo Stanton in the field and risk potential injury, the best use of the DH role is an open rotation to keep guys fresh. 

To replace Troy Tulowitzki, I thought the Yankees would call up Gio Urshela to provide third base support for D.J. LeMahieu. The downside is Urshela is not on the 40-man roster so the Yankees would have needed to make room (either by moving someone to the 60-day Injured List or going the DFA route).  Instead, the Yankees will call up Thairo Estrada who is on the 40-man.  Estrada, 23, had been the starting shortstop for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders although his Triple A experience is extremely limited.  Personally, I’d love to see Estrada outperform Tyler Wade.  Well, I’d like to see Wade prove he belongs in the Big Leagues but I am not holding my breath. I’ve seen people suggesting the Yankees should make a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays to acquire Freddy Galvis or Brandon Drury. I wouldn’t be opposed to either player.  Galvis probably makes the most sense, but I liked Drury, despite the health issues, when he was here. I’ve even seen Ian Happ’s name mentioned. Happ is currently assigned to the Cubs’ top farm team in Iowa and can play multiple positions. I guess you can never have too many Happs on your team. But for now, let’s see what Estrada and Wade can do.  They might surprise a few people.    

Photo Credit: Jake Danna Stevens/The Citizens Voice
The Yankees hit the road today to face the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards in downtown Baltimore for the O’s Home Opener. After losing their first two series of the season, the Yankees need to take these three games at Inner Harbor or at least win two of three. The road doesn’t get any easier next week when the Yankees travel to South Texas to play the Houston Astros. They really need to build some momentum against the Orioles before playing a team they will face in October if all goes according to plan. James Paxton takes the ball today in the Road Grays. He’ll be opposed by Baltimore’s Alex Cobb who was supposed to get the Opening Day start at Yankee Stadium last week before getting pushed back.  Hopefully today is the day the Big Maple picks up the first of many Yankee wins. The Yankees will have a rare Friday off before resuming the series on Saturday and Sunday.

I am not ready to throw in the towel. Let’s give these Yankees a chance to overcome the early season injury woes. At least one of the replacement players will step up in a huge way, I am sure. This is still a very good team. Once we get into May and guys like Luis Severino, Dellin Betances, Aaron Hicks and Giancarlo Stanton are back, things will look much better. No reason to panic. Play today, win today. We’ll worry about Saturday on Saturday and there’s plenty of time to think about Houston after Sunday’s game.

As always, Go Yankees!

Game Preview: New York Yankees @ Baltimore Orioles 4/4

The New York Yankees have enjoyed the friendly confides of Yankee Stadium thus far this season, but the team will head out on the road for their first road game today in Baltimore. In the Orioles home opener this afternoon, the Yankees will send James Paxton to the mound to face off with Baltimore’s starter Alex Cobb. These are not games the Yankees can afford to give away, no matter how early in the season it is, so let’s get to it here in Baltimore.

Paxton was great in his first start of the season against the Orioles, but the Yankees offense could not score enough to get Big Maple the victory. The team will look to do much better this afternoon against Cobb and the Orioles. 

Cobb will make his season debut this afternoon for Baltimore after missing Opening Day with an injury that he sustained in his last start of spring training. 

The game will be played at 3:05 pm ET inside Oriole Park at Camden Yards and can be seen on the YES Network locally, MASN in the Baltimore/DC area, and on MLB TV wherever you and your device are. You can also follow along with the game on WFAN with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman. Enjoy the game and go Yankees!!

TGP Trivia and Fact of the Day for April 4th, 2019

Good morning Yankees family!

The New York Yankees pulled off a three-team trade to get Didi Gregorius from the Arizona Diamondbacks before the 2015 season with an eye on replacing a legend. Gregorius was the first man to play shortstop full-time for the Yankees after the retirement of the great Derek Sanderson Jeter.

And a special good morning to my beautiful and amazing wife. I am not me, without you, so I am forever grateful to have found you and to have you in my life. Thank you and I love you.

This Day in New York Yankees History 4/4: Happy Opening Day 2016

On this day in 1994 a total of 56,706 fans flocked to Opening Day at Yankee Stadium, the largest crowd ever at the House that Ruth Built. Jimmy Key would beat Kevin Brown and the Texas Rangers 5-3 in front of the record breaking crowd.

Also on this day in 1989 Tommy John tied a record on Opening Day by playing in his 26th season. The New York Yankees veteran would beat the Twins 4-2 on this day for his 287th win, putting him 19th overall at the time in career wins.