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LADY AT THE BAT



I'm not Casey and this isn't Mudville.™ A mostly Yankees blog, created By Bernadette Pasley



Updated: 2018-01-18T07:14:32.156-05:00

 



Trade Breakdown: Chase Headley To The Padres

2017-12-13T05:44:26.479-05:00

Well, I guess if you can't deal Jacoby Ellsbury, you deal Chase Headley.

In case you missed it, Headley and pitcher Bryan Mitchell were traded to the San Diego Padres, for OF Jabari Blash (who will never play a single game in Yankee pinstripes). The Padres will pick up the remainder of Headley's salary ($13.5 million), and Mitchell will get a fresh start.

Will a fresh start do Mitchell any good? If you believe what Michael Kay said yesterday, it won't. Kay claims he has been told by pitchers in-the-know that Mitchell's problems stem from the fact that he is not athletic. When you are not athletic you can't repeat your delivery, apparently.

As for Headley, aside from the terrible slumps he subjected us to, there were also some good times, including the walk-off single he got in his very first game as a Yankee. But I will always remember the game, just this past season, when he lost his temper.

Click the link in the tweet below to view the VIDEO:


That blowup came shortly after the Players Tribune poll, in which fans were encouraged to choose walk-up music for their favorite players. The song chosen for Headley: White and Nerdy. He definitely wasn't acting white and nerdy that night!

So who's Headley's replacement? I would be fine with Todd Frazier getting a one-year deal. However, I doubt he'd settle for just one year. So, that leaves Miguel Andujar, and maybe Gleyber Torres or Ronald Torreyes.

No, I didn't forget Manny Machado. It's not happening, at least not this year. I can't believe the Orioles would be willing to trade Machado within the division! And it would cost too much. They're not getting away with offering low-level prospects like the ones they threw at the Marlins.

Watch. I'll be proven wrong, and Machado will be a Yankee by the end of the day today. Meh.




Giancarlo Stanton's Yankees Tenure Expected To Begin Today

2017-12-12T06:01:15.828-05:00

According to reports, Giancarlo Stanton is expected to be introduced as the newest Yankee today at the Winter Meetings in Orlando, Florida.

Upon first hearing about the deal, I was dead-set against it. Now, I am just against it. (I can live with it, though.) As I see it now, here are the pros and cons:

Pros
  • While the luxury tax is still an issue, the Yankees were able to finagle things to the point that they will be under it for the 2018 season. (Unless they make a deal before Opening Day that nixes it.)
  • The Yankees gave up next-to-nothing for Stanton. Also, Starlin Castro's departure opens the door for the team's top prospect, Gleyber Torres. If he has an out-of-this-world spring training, he'll be the Opening Day 2B.
  • All those home runs. Judge and Stanton in the same lineup. Mic drop.
  • Derek Jeter's mistake is the Yankees' windfall. Jeter is experiencing major growing pains in his role with the Marlins. Though I doubt he had a hand in every miss-step that has taken place since he came on board, it's on him nonetheless, since he is part owner and is running their baseball operations. About time The Captain received some bad karma.
Cons
  • Stanton's ten-year-deal! He is already 28 years old. Did the Yankees learn nothing from the A-Rod extension? They had better pray like the dickens that the guy opts out after 2020.
  • Stanton has been injury-prone throughout his career. Yes the injuries have been freak ones, but it's a con all the same.
  • With the acquisition, the Yankees outfield is now at least six-deep: Brett Gardner, Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Stanton, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Clint Frazier. Someone's got to go.
  • Good pitching always neutralizes power. Don't think other teams aren't already trying to come up with strategies to stop Judge and Stanton, although, I'm pretty sure one of those strategies is NOT this:
(image)

😛

Ellsbury, Don't Boy
Jon Heyman has tweeted that Jacoby Ellsbury, who holds a full no-trade clause, wants to remain with the team. He wants to win his CF job back, which has been given to Aaron Hicks. It's not happening. Things could get very contentious between Ellsbury and the team in the coming months, especially with Scott Boras' involvement. Stay tuned, Yankees Universe!




Ohtani Says No To Yankees As Boone Announcement Looms

2017-12-04T10:57:54.443-05:00

So, Shohei Ohtani doesn't want to sign with the Yankees. The rumors as to why vary:

  • He doesn't want to play for a big market team.
  • He wants to play on the West Coast.
  • He doesn't want to play on a team that already has a Japanese star.
  • He's chicken.
  • He's stupid.
  • He doesn't want to win.
Whichever reason you pick can be psychoanalyzed until kingdom come. Have at it, if you will. Just don't act like a jilted lover. You don't even know the guy. And he doesn't know you.

I don't mean to be so harsh, but the things I've seen on social media since GM Brian Cashman confirmed Ohtani's decision have made me embarrassed to be a Yankees fan. I won't go into them here. I'll just concentrate on what should be done moving forward.

Kevin Maitan, the former Braves prospect is likely high on the Yankees' list. However, it's more important to focus on the 2018 25-man roster, than to figure out how to spend international bonus pool money. That brings us to CC Sabathia. 

Sabathia should be more in play than he was before. But, anything more than a one-year deal is ridiculous. After that, there's the DH. Though Todd Frazier is great in the clubhouse, he's a decent hitter at best. I would rather the Yankees rotate the DH spot between players they already have on the roster. 

Brian Cashman has spoken to Scot Boras twice since the season ended, but on neither of those occasions was client Jacoby Ellsbury discussed. Please be lying Cash. Please.  Perhaps he's waiting for Ellsbury to make a move, like providing a list of landing spots. We'll see.

Aaron "Bleeping" Boone
Bleeping is right. This is my first chance to comment on this since the reports came out. What a crock! Well, as Richard Neer of WFAN said recently, you don't need experience to do important jobs these days; just look who's running the country.

Aaron's brother Bret's moronic comments about sexual harassment remind us all too well of the _____Grabber-In-Chief. While we can be sure he won't act like Trump, let's hope the new manager of the Yankees won't turn out to be like his older brother. 




Yankees To Pick New Manager From List Of Six

2017-12-01T09:09:47.133-05:00

The interviews are over. We will soon know who the new manager of the New York Yankees is.

Writer Ken Davidoff tweeted this morning that GM Brian Cashman will make his recommendation to the Steinbrenner family based on the six candidates he and his staff have interviewed this month:

Rob Thomson, most recently the Yankees' bench coach

Eric Wedge, former Indians and Mariners manager

Hensley Meulens, former elite Yankee prospect and current SF Giants coach

Aaron Boone, former Yankee and current ESPN analyst

Chris Woodward, former Met and current Dodgers coach

Carlos Beltran, former Yankee and current World Series Champion

Based on how all of this has gone down, it would appear to me (and many others) that Beltran is your man. The interviews were stopped after his. They waited until after Thanksgiving to interview him, which makes it look as if they were waiting for him to talk to his family.

Of course, there's the lack of experience, but there is so much more he has going for him: The respect he has from everyone currently on the Yankees roster; his mentoring of young Latino players; his mentoring of non-Latino players (Aaron Judge being the most prominent); and, his solid relationship with Cashman.

Then again, another strong candidate on the list (in my opinion) is Hensley Meulens.  He speaks five languages, including Spanish and Japanese, and with Cashman announcing the Yankees will be all in on Shohei Ohtani, I don't think Meulens will be eliminated from consideration anytime soon.

Wedge and Woodward don't stand a chance, and Rob Thomson would have been given the job the day after Girardi was ousted if they really wanted him. (Thomson probably sees the writing on the wall; he is set to interview for the bench coach job with the Phillies.)

Then there is Aaron Boone. I don't like this candidacy at all. It reeks of Old Boy Network or, maybe even a certain kind of privilege, if you know what I mean. Beltran has built relationships with the team that can help him do his job. What has Boone done, except hit that home run?

My choice would be Beltran, with Meulens second. Good luck, guys.




Judge Officially Honored, While Yankees Slowly Move Forward

2017-11-14T05:50:27.122-05:00

Only one question remained: would it be unanimous?

About two hours before the winner was announced, I saw a tweet which said Cody Bellinger was the unanimous winner of the NL Rookie of The Year Award, but that, while Aaron Judge had won the AL award, Andrew Benintendi had received two first-place votes. That really upset me, until I realized that the award being tweeted about was the one given out by the Internet Baseball Writers Association. The Internet. The IBBWA.

How silly of me. 😳

Aaron Judge is not only the first Yankees player since Derek Jeter to win the award, he is also the first Yankee since Derek Jeter to be the unanimous choice. Congratulations and, All Rise!

So, who will the now-reigning AL ROY have as his manager next year? Those who have interviewed for the position, so far, are Rob Thomson (eh) and Eric Wedge (ew). Those expected to interview are Jerry Hairston, Jr (hm) and Aaron Boone (hm). John Flaherty (zz) and David Cone (hm) want to be interviewed. The latest name to emerge is that of Hensley Muellens: hm.

Brian Cashman has played things close to the vest so far. He's at the GM meetings right now, and has, reportedly, only spoken on two topics: 1) On his radio show, Michael Kay said that, when asked whether the Yankees should trade for a catcher and move Gary Sanchez to DH, Cashman's answer was, quite forcefully, no. 2) According to a tweet, Cashman also said he expects Aaron Hicks to be a starting OF in 2018. (If true--and I have no reason to believe an un-verified account--does that mean Brett Gardner will be traded? Or, does it mean they will find someone to take Jacoby Ellsbury off their hands?)

We should learn more as the GM meetings progress, and more still at the Winter Meetings next month. Hot stove season is in full bloom. Enjoy it, Yankees Universe!




Cashman, Girardi Finally Talk After The Ouster

2017-11-06T14:50:24.081-05:00

Yankees GM Brian Cashman is finally making the media rounds after the team announced the ouster of Joe Girardi over a week ago. The beat writers, of course, are hot on Cashman's trail, who said some interesting things earlier today about his managerial search.

Here's one thing that's beyond interesting:
What? Wasn't the reason Girardi was fired was because he DID push back, and WANTED open discourse? Don't get me wrong, I do think it's time for a change of managers, but the reasons being given are making less and less sense.

And about all those candidates (20-25 according to Jon Heyman). It does sound like that is the case. So the decision not to bring Girardi back was a hastily-made one. There's obviously a real reason Girardi was ousted, but we don't know what it is, yet.

Girardi, himself, appears to be making the media rounds today as well. Dave Lennon tweeted that Girardi is pretty sure he'll be a broadcaster in 2018, but that he still wants to manage again, eventually. Lennon also tweeted that Girardi defended Gary Sanchez, saying the pitching staff had been difficult to catch.

Don't look for Girardi on the YES Network. FOX, who owns 80% of YES may take him, but I'll bet he ends up on MLB Network or ESPN. Good luck to him, and good luck to Cashman.




Yankees Off-Season Continues, In Earnest, This Weekend

2017-11-03T20:28:14.346-04:00

Today is the Houston Astros victory parade, the last vestige of the 2017 MLB season. For the Yankees, of course, their own vestige took place in that same Texas city a few weeks ago. Their off-season began then, and continues, in earnest, this weekend.

It will be a slow trek, however, until a new manager is hired. Indeed, if you believe what Jon Heyman believes, it will be even slower than that. According to one of his tweets, the candidate list has 20-25 names! That would mean the Yankees didn't know they weren't bringing Girardi back until the day they made the decision (practically). I cannot believe that was the case.

Heyman also wrote an article which included another incident that could have pushed the Yankees toward their decision: Dellin Betances and Gary Sanchez complained about Girardi to Brett Gardner and Todd Frazier, who in turn took those complaints directly to the skipper. I can see Sanchez doing it, but there's no way Betances wouldn't take any grievances directly to Joe Girardi. Betances is a native New Yorker, and I don't mean he's from the suburbs. He grew up in New York City, living in several inner city neighborhoods, including my own stomping grounds, the Lower East Side. There's no way he'd be too afraid to approach Girardi by himself.

Anyway, hiring a manager is job one this off-season for the New York Yankees. Probably 1A would be Masahiro Tanaka, and whether or not he will opt out. He must make his intentions known by tomorrow. I think he will opt out. After the post-season he had, he would be stupid not to. Of course, that means he will likely no longer be a Yankee. Is Shohei Otani on his way? Maybe not, since there appears to be a money dispute. I say forget about him and keep grooming kids like Chance Adams.

When/if Tanaka opts opt out, he will be eligible to receive the qualifying offer on Monday. This year it's $17.4 million. CC Sabathia is eligible too, but could they not offer it to him and sign him for less? The folks over at River Ave Blues seem to think so. (Todd Frazier is not eligible for the qualifying offer, since he was traded in mid-season.)

Aaron Judge will formerly be announced as an AL Rookie Of The Year finalist on Monday. Really, why not just give him the award then? He probably will be announced as an AL MVP finalist on the same day. Luis Severino could be named a finalist for the AL Cy Young Award as well.

Lots of exciting things on the off-season horizon. Get your popcorn ready!

Update: I was wrong. Now that Tanaka is staying, what's in store for CC Sabathia? The Yankees are not as desperate now.  There is really only one rotation spot open (barring injuries). We shall see what happens.




NY Yankees: Framework And Hunches For 2018

2017-10-26T13:41:08.658-04:00

As the Yankees season came to a screeching halt in Game 7 of the ALCS last Saturday, thoughts certainly steered away from the World Series to the Yankees plans for 2018. Regardless of what the many naysayers have said, this was a fun filled year, and the Yankees are loading up with great young ballplayers, like Judge, Sanchez, Gregorius, Bird, Severino and Green, with more on the way. So what do the Yankees need to be thinking about, now that the season and post season are over for them? I'd love to be a fly on the wall at the first meeting of Yankees brass concerning the near and long term future of the franchise. I can only guess what would be on the agenda, but here is my suggestion of a framework for these discussions. Yankees Off Season Framework For 2018Update- Since the Yankees have decided to not bring Joe Girardi back for the 2018 season, hiring a new manager will be the top priority, before considering the following:1. Win the whole (bleeping) thing Remember the movie Major League? Catcher Jake Taylor, played by Tom Berenger, had this exchange with a teammate at the end of a clubhouse meeting, where it was revealed the Indians owner  might release all it's players and move the team to Miami (It should be noted the movie was released prior to the debut of the Marlins franchise):Jake Taylor: Well then I guess there's only one thing left to do. Roger Dorn: What's that? Jake Taylor: Win the whole f****** thing. The Yankees, who came within one game of the 2017 World Series. now have that mandate. The rebuilding is over and the Yankees will be expected to win in 2018. Simple as that. Everything they do will be with thoughts of winning the championship in mind. Period. 2. The "Aroldis Rules" No, we're not revisiting the "Joba Rules," as this is something entirely different. Aroldis Chapman signed for a long term deal a year ago for lots of money. That signing clearly indicated there would be no turning back, and the Yankees would be "open for business" sooner or later, when it comes to adding those final pieces in building a championship. The Yankees took no interest in acquiring Chris Sale and Justin Verlander when they became available, but you just knew it was only a matter of time following the Chapman contract that the Yankees would add other parts to their roster designed to put the team over the top. The building through young talent will continue, but when the Yankees see that final piece to the puzzle, expect them to jump into the fray.3. Baby BombersBut even with the "Aroldis Rules" expect the Yankees to stay young and bring more youth forward. The ghost of NFL football coach George Allen will not be present. Allen was known in the 70's as a stickler for having a team full of veteran players. George Steinbrenner did much the same with the Yankees of the 80's. Youth will be served and the club will be built around youth, but a veteran the likes of  a Sale or a Verlander will be on the table sometime in the near future.4. Pitching is KingNever lose sight of this fact, Yankees. If they do, they lose. You've got to have quality starters and a bullpen to match. The Yankees of the  80's were destroyed on this point. It won't happen again. The major acquisition this winter or before the deadline next season will likely be a veteran stud pitcher.5. Pondering the Decisions AheadWill Tanaka opt out? Do you resign CC?  What about Todd Frazier and what impact if he is re-signed, have on Chase Headley's future? We will know no later than three days after the end of the World Series if Tanaka has opted out. Remember, pitching is king, and a Tanaka opt out might lead to a new contract for CC, but it could also lead to a blockbuster trade. For whom? I have no idea. Brian Cashman seems to do his best stuff undercover with an unexpected [...]



Disappointment But Pride After Game 7 ALCS Loss

2017-10-22T00:33:14.101-04:00

The disappointment is there. It certainly is. But what a season for the 2017 New York Yankees. I am never going to get tired of saying how proud I am of this team.

To come this far in a rebuilding year? Simply unheard of. And this team is only going to get better. As columnist Joel Sherman indicated recently, this 2017 team is the worst of all the ones in this new era. The organization is stacked, and you know the front office will make any other deals that need to be made to keep the team in the hunt in 2018.

Of course, nothing is guaranteed. Look at other teams who were in the position the Yankees are in now. You never know what could happen to derail things. But, now's not the time to think about all of that. It's about looking at how bright the future is.

The team itself is too bummed out to see that brightness at the moment. That's a good thing, apparently. Several former Yankees have mentioned how it motivated them to succeed in the following years. Take it and run with it, guys.

More to come on the end of the 2017 season later this week, along with a look at the upcoming off-season. 




Dodgers Await If Yankees Finish Off Astros

2017-10-20T06:38:25.018-04:00

Imagine we are back on February 20th of this year. If I had told you that day that the Yankees, in exactly eight months, would be one game away from the World Series, what would you have said? What would you have said to the same question on May 20th? How about on July 20th when it appeared the June Swoon might have taken the Yankees out of playoff contention? The Yanks were starting a series in Seattle July 20th and were 48-45 on the season. It didn't look great for making the playoffs at that time. So what can we say now that it is October 20th?Here we  are!!Okay, lets get the concerns regarding the Yankees opponent, the Houston Astros, out of the way first. While it's true any win by the Yankees, who lead the ALCS 3-2, would place them in the World Series against the newly crowned NL champion Dodgers, all the Astros need to do is win two games in a row at home. When was the last time that happened?Exactly. But make no mistake, the Yankees took apart the Astros in those three games in the Bronx, like it was the Yankees who won 101 games in the regular season and the Astros were the also-ran. The Yankees did it with pitching. Lots of great pitching from the first inning to the 9th. Both the rotation and bullpen dominated throughout the series. So here we are. If the Yankees can figure Justin Verlander out like they figured out Dallas Keuchel (who was gone after 4 2/3 innings with 4 runs allowed) then it may be over in six games. If the series goes seven then it's all hands on deck, especially for the Astros. Expect even Keuchel to make an appearance in Game 7 if there is need for a Game 7. In this day where pitch count is king, Keuchel might be good for say, thirty pitches?But first things first. Luis Severino gets the call tonight at Minute Maid Park against the Astros' Verlander. Verlander was magnificent in Houston in Game 2, and looks to duplicate that effort again tonight. That was the plan for Keuchel, too, but we know that didn't go as the Astros planned. If the Yankees lose tonight, then it is CC Sabathia for maybe five innings in Game 7, and a great bullpen to follow. The Astros will likely counter with an "all of the above" approach. Advantage Yankees, it would seem.In any case the World Series, possibly involving the Yankees is nearly here. I certainly didn't expect this to happen. The Cleveland Indians are already home doing their winter stuff, probably wondering what the heck happened, and soon it may be the Astros doing the same thing. As for me, I had fully expected to have my season summary and off season objectives article written and posted by now. That article will have to wait.   NotesDid you see that Gleybar Torres has resumed baseball activities, including hitting? Figure Torres for a healthy start at AAA next spring, with a possible mid season promotion. Already a good team, the Yankees will likely be all the better when Torres arrives. Several Yankees prospects are currently playing for Scottsdale in the Arizona Fall League. Among them are OF Esteven Floriel, IFs Thario Estrada and Kyle Holder, 1B/OF Billy McKinney and Ps Albert Abreu and Justus Sheffield. All of these Yankees farm hands have made notable contributions through the first nine games in Arizona. If the Yankees win the pennant they will meet the Dodgers for a record twelfth time in the World Series. The Yankees have met every National League team that has ever played in a World Series at least once, with two exceptions. One is the Rockies, who have played in one World Series. The other is the Astros who also have played in one World Series and are no longer in the National League. The closest the Yankees will get to playing the Astros deep in the post season is right now in the ALCS.I mentioned the pitching has been ex[...]



Yankees Take Game 5, Could Clinch Pennant Friday

2017-10-19T05:38:20.310-04:00

One win away from the World Series!

Never, in my wildest dreams, did I envision this. While I thought the Yankees would be competitive during the season, this was definitely not what I had in mind. And anyone reading this who says they did is a liar. Plain and simple.

What a pitching performance by Masahiro Tanaka. And how about Tommy Kahnle, who shut the door? Big time. Absolutely big time. Put all of that together with clutch hitting from the Baby Bombers, including Gary Sanchez's cake topping homer, and you have a 5-0 shutout against one of the best offenses in baseball.

Across the field, in the visitors' dugout, things must have been really tense. In fact, I'm convinced they absolutely were. The Astros played tight last night, no doubt about it. Their offense couldn't square anything up against Tanaka, and Dallas Keuchel was very pedestrian.

The Stadium crowd got to Keuchel. He all but said so in his postgame comments. But the Yankees seemed to change their approach against him, as well. It all worked out to 4R on 4H over 4.2IP. 

Speaking of the crowd, I think it has been the best part of the entire Yankee postseason. So many people blamed the New Yankee Stadium for the fact that it wasn't as loud as the Old Stadium. But, it wasn't the Stadium, after all. It wasn't even the fans. It was the team, and this season they set things right.

Is Luis Severino right? Last I heard he'd checked out fine the day after his injury scare in Game 2. Fingers crossed that he gives the team a good outing. Better yet, let's hope he pitches his team right into the World Series.

Travel day today, then back to the chase Friday. 👎




Yankees Take Game 4, ALCS Tied 2-2

2017-10-18T05:43:32.603-04:00

If the Houston Astros do any more celebrating this postseason, it won't be on the field at Yankee Stadium.

Down 4-0 in the seventh inning, it looked as if the Yankees would be facing Dallas Keuchel today carrying a 3-1 series deficit. They all played it off as not having that on their minds when the rally began, but how could it not be? 

All those terrible, stick-it-in-your-face celebrations that opposing teams put on, like the Dodgers jumping into the pool at Chase Field and, closer to home, the Diamondbacks playing Frank Sinatra after the 2001 World Series. (What is it with Chase Field?)  I just hope the Astros don't get a chance to do that at Minute Maid Park.

So many contributors to such an amazing comeback, but it's hard not to look at Aaron Judge as the one who started it off.  Aside from Starlin Castro, Judge is probably the next-most relieved that the Yankees came back and won the game. I was at work during his base-running gaffe, following the proceedings on Twitter, which wasn't fun, let me tell you. Based on that, I concluded that things were much, much worse than they actually were. He hit the home run just before I walked into my apartment, and that was all she wrote for the Houston Astros.

The Astros still had a 4-1 lead after the homer, and Lance McCullers, Jr had been cruising, yet AJ Hinch took him out. Why? It's not like the Astros bullpen is anything close to that of the Yankees. Well, I'm glad he made such a bonehead move. Keep it up, AJ!

The move of Austin Romine to C for Sonny Gray's start, slotting Gary Sanchez into the DH spot, proved genius. Gray pitched well, and Sanchez went 1-3 with a sac fly, driving in three runs. Romine must be Gray's personal catcher going forward.

Keuchel vs Tanaka today. You know the drill, guys. 👎




Yankees Take Game 3, Trail ALCS 2-1

2017-10-17T05:42:05.053-04:00


1. Be competitive ✅

2. Don't get swept ✅

All of my demands have now been met. As far as I'm concerned, anything that happens from this point on is truly icing on the cake. House money.

Of course, having to face Dallas Keuchel after losing today would not be optimal. Ideally, the Yankees want to get the series back to Houston so that the Astros don't get to celebrate on the field in the Bronx.

But, one game at a time.

As for last night, CC Sabathia was Senor Stopper once again. He is now 10-0 with a 1.69 ERA following Yankee losses this season. Who'da thunkit? I hope the Yankees don't give him more than one year on any new deal, though.

While Aaron Judge continues to struggle, he made his trademark easier to see last night, homering and using his height to rob two Astros of base hits. I don't know if he'll ever cut down on his strikeouts, but he'll always be fun to watch when he has nights like that.

How about Todd Frazier having the time of his life? He has obviously enjoyed himself since the moment he entered the clubhouse back in July, and lately it has shown on the field. It's so much fun having a local boy make good on the big stage. In Todd we trust!

Can't say the same for the other local boy on the team. Many are speculating that Dellin Betances has pitched his way off the team, and could be moved in the off-season. I hate to say so, but I think that I might agree. What a shame.

Let's hope Sonny Gray follows CC's lead today. Go, Yankees!




Yankees Hope To Turn ALCS Around At Stadium Tonight

2017-10-16T07:38:25.050-04:00


These were my hopes for the Yankees in the ALCS:

Halfway there! The first two games of this series have definitely been competitive, both ending with final scores of 2-1, in favor of the Astros. To hold what might be the best offense in baseball to two runs is nothing short of amazing. Masahiro Tanaka and Luis Severino acquitted themselves very well and, so far so good for Sevy regarding the potential injury he suffered.

On the other hand, it looks as if Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander have destroyed the possibility of the Yankees winning this series. Stranger things have happened, but it's not looking good for the Baby Bombers and their veteran leadership. Even if they win the next three games at the Stadium, Dallas Keuchel will be waiting for them in Houston this weekend. (Although, might we see Keuchel if the Yankees win the next two?)

But not so fast. One game at a time.

A few more words on the first two games:

First, Aaron Judge. I can't find a word to describe his performance right now that doesn't sound like an understatement. He has been beyond painful to watch. However, I'd like to come to his defense. To the people who say he needs to learn how to hit good pitching, it wouldn't be good pitching if everyone could hit it. Good pitching stops good hitting.

Also, to compare a rookie's postseason K's to those in the entire careers of Hall Of Famers (Joe DiMaggio and Yogi Berra) is absolutely ridiculous. They're Hall Of Famers!!! 

Finally, stop comparing the guy to Jose Altuve. Voting has already taken place for the AL MVP. Postseason numbers do not count. If they did, why would there be any need for the ALCS and World Series MVPs?

Second (and this is the last one), Gary Sanchez. He caught a lot of grief after the end of Game 2. He admitted afterwards that he should have caught the ball. Good on him to man up like that. End of story, right? No, of course not, and do you know why? Because he's Gary Sanchez. People just love to dump on this guy. If he was anyone other than Sanchez, he would be excused.

It's a shame that, once you acquire a bad reputation (as Sanchez did as a minor leaguer), any mistake at all is grounds for your critics to call for your head.

Take a look at what former Yankees, and current Astros C Brian McCann had to say about Sanchez:


Interesting stuff.

Let's get on the board tonight. Go Yankees!




Possible Yankees Dynasty Ahead of Schedule

2017-10-13T06:30:35.599-04:00

I remember discussing baseball with a local Cubs fan, and the subject of the 27 championships won by the Yankees came up. Cubs Fan asked "How many times did the Yankees make the post season?"

My answer has always been that the Yankees have won 40 pennants.

'But haven't the Yankees been to the post season more than that?" Cubs Fan asked.

Well, yes, but to me and most Yankees fans, the post season only matters if a World Series is involved. I really don't know how many times the Yankees have been in the post season without an appearance in the World Series.
But, if you give me a minute.

I still feel the same way to this day. I remember the anguish at not winning in the ALCS in 1980, which followed a 103-game winning season. The Royals sweep of the Yankees that October made the Yankees post season meaningless and the entire 1980 season meaningless to me, for that matter.

Never would I purchase or wear in public a shirt that said "AL East Division Champions."  I only wanted to show off the trophy. Or save my money otherwise.

But regardless of the outcome of this year's playoffs, there is something special about  these 2017 Yankees that will stick with me forever--41st pennant and 28th championship, or not.

Possibly, it is the beginning of another dynasty in the Bronx.

The loss in 1980 was the official end of that 70's dynasty, which probably happened a year earlier with the tragic death of Thurman Munson. The Yankees were never the same for a long period. When the Yankees lost the World Series in the Arizona desert in 2001, another dynasty probably ended. Buster Olney  wrote a book on that series titled The Last Night of the Yankees Dynasty, a reminder that we have been here before. Sports Illustrated (SI) published a cover story in June 1965 showing Mickey Mantle looking exhausted, with the caption "New York Yankees: End of an Era." Great Yankees dynasties have come to an end a few times.

Somewhere else we have been before: the beginning of a new dynasty. This is where we might be, here in 2017.

Now the big question is can the Yankees pull off winning a championship this year? The defeat of the heavily favored Indians suggests something is up. The great run by Cleveland during the stretch of August and September rendered the Indians as the AL's best team.

And the Yankees beat them in comeback fashion three games to two.

Now the Astros are the next challenge. Let's be clear, like the Indians, the Astros are the better team going into the series. But the games still have to be played. And the Yankees found a way to dethrone the Indians. Can they do the same with Houston?

There is no telling what these Yankees might have in store for this series. Tune in tonight and enjoy the ride.




Yankees Shock Indians, Advance To ALCS

2017-10-12T05:43:17.536-04:00

WOW!

Where to start? So many story lines.

Didi Gregorius with the two home runs. Brett Gardner with the 12-pitch at-bat in the ninth. CC Sabathia coming full circle. David Robertson inducing the biggest double play of  the year, and Aroldis Chapman pitching like it was 2010. It all adds up to one thing: The New York Yankees win 5-2 and advance to the ALCS. 

But two things keep coming back to me. The first is all of the fallout from ALDS Game 2. Rumor had it that Joe Girardi would not be brought back if, after that debacle, the team failed to advance to the next round. I thought that was rubbish. The fact that he got them to Game 5 was enough for me to bring him back if I owned the team. In any case, we heard last night about the meeting he had with his players before Game 3, at the end of which Todd Frazier stood up and said, "We gotcha, skip." Then, last night after the win, The Toddfather said, "This one's for Joe."

The second thing, is that we can now stop all this talk about "recalibration." Anyone who does that is nothing but a wet blanket. Well, let's point the blame right where it should lie, at Michael Kay's feet. What a Negative Nellie. Just because they made those deadline deals means we can't have fun anymore? We have to look at the season as a disappointment because the Yankees didn't win the division? Stop it. Stop it, right now.

As for the Cleveland Indians, so much for Jay Bruce and Andrew Miller coming back to haunt the Yankees in this series.  Come on, the Yankees didn't need Bruce, and the Miller trade deserves patience (which, no one has).

On to Houston. Go Yankees!




Girardi Emotional After Yankees Force Game 5

2017-10-10T05:30:02.654-04:00

I was right! Luis Severino did pitch a good game.

That's certainly understating the obvious, isn't it? True, he wasn't as dominating as Masahiro Tanaka had been the previous game but, in a way, he was better. Sevy did just what an ace does. He bounced right back after throwing the rare clunker.

So the series is tied 2-2. Unbelievable. After all that has happened, after that terrible Game 2, we'll have a winner-take-all game in Cleveland tomorrow night. No one is happier about it, I'm willing to bet, than Joe Girardi. Emotions were flying high (at the 3:30 mark) during his postgame presser:

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"These guys picked me up." Ain't that the truth.

It'll be CC Sabathia vs Corey Kluber for all the marbles. Whatever happens, I am so proud of this team. Go get 'em, guys. Love ya!




Big Bird, Tanaka Time: Yankees Win Game 3

2017-10-09T06:58:23.550-04:00

Before this series began, I figured if the Yankees won one game it would count as a good showing.  Of course, I thought Friday's would be that game. After that loss, it became hard not to believe a series sweep wasn't staring down at the Yankees. It might have been, but the Yankees, to my pleasant surprise, stared right back.

Such great performances last night to stave off elimination: Masahiro Tanaka had a brilliant start. Gary Sanchez took his blocking skills to another level (an adequate level, to be honest). Aaron Judge preserved a scoreless tie by robbing Francisco Lindor of a 2-run homer. And then there was Greg Bird.

Bye, bye, Birdie! We had a lot of people saying that to Greg Bird during the season--and not because he had hit a home run. Most people thought he would never end up being a consistent player for the Yankees--at least, not this season. Greg Bird, himself, thought so, apparently, and that's all that matters. After all he has gone through, a night like last night's can't be sweeter.

So, what's next? Weather permitting, Game 4 will be played tonight at the Stadium. Trevor Bauer (on three days rest) vs Luis Severino (on extra rest). I don't usually make predictions about these things, and I won't now. But something tells me Sevy will pitch a good game. 

Go Yankees.




Rhythm Of The Night: Yankees Lose Game 2 After Girardi Blows It

2017-10-07T09:13:44.120-04:00

So, let's sum things up:

Homeplate umpire Dan Iassogna decides the Indian's Lonnie Chisenhall is hit-by-pitch.

Yankee Catcher Gary Sanchez tells Iassogna that it was actually a foul tip. Strike three.

Sanchez informs the Yankee Dugout (meaning, Joe Girardi.)

Joe Girardi does nothing. Heartbreak ensues.

Joe Girardi tells lies during his postgame presser.

I don't know. Maybe Girardi could have saved face if he had ended his explanation after blaming the 30-second rule. But, probably not. The magnitude of the game should have pushed him to go ahead and challenge the call, especially after Sanchez spoke out. 

And, what was that crap about the pitcher's rhythm? And the fact that he went on and on about it? He must have been trying to convince himself of such a cock-and-bull story, as well.  I mean, I thought he was an Evangelical Christian (EC). A family man. Well, considering what certain ECs are doing in our Nation's Capitol right now, Girardi lying is like stealing a grape from the local produce stand.

Is this a fire-able offense? Or, rather, grounds for not renewing his contract?  Absolutely not. This was NOT an elimination game. Had it been, the Yankees would be well within their right to not retain him. Yes, they're within their right, anyway, but it wouldn't be fair to Girardi, after the great season the team had.

Not all of Girardi's players agree with me, apparently. Specifically one Aroldis Chapman, according to his Instagram page. Actually, I'm not exactly sure that it was Chapman, himself, who "liked" that comment. I couldn't find the actual comment on Chapman's page, but if it is in English, are we sure that Chapman could read it? English is his second language, after all. Someone who handles his social media might have clicked on that heart. (But, if he can read English well, shouldn't it stand to reason that he could do more interviews without using an interpreter?)

An off-day today before the series resumes in the Bronx tomorrow night. Let's stay alive.




Indians Dominate But History On Yankees' Side

2017-10-06T06:40:09.750-04:00

The Yankees and Indians have a little history when it comes to playoff competition. Which brings to mind the opening lyrics from the Beatles' Sargent Pepper: "It was twenty years ago today....."Twenty years ago Thursday, the Cleveland Indians rallied from a 2-1 deficit on the scoreboard, and in games won, in the American League Division Series (ALDS). This was the night Sandy Alomar Jr. took Mariano Rivera deep to right in the 8th inning for a game tying opposite field home run. The Indians won the game with a run off Ramiro Mendoza in the 9th inning. The next night the Indians scored early off Andy Pettitte and sent the Yankees packing from the 1997 post season . Not to worry, despite the loss, the Yankees were defending World Champions from 1996 and, beginning in 1998, the Yankees reeled off three straight championships, narrowly missing a fourth straight championship in 2001. So despite the rough series loss twenty years ago, things turned out well overall and the Yankees became baseball's last dynasty to date.  Then, ten years ago, in 2007, the Yankees lost a similar division series, three games to one, to the Indians. Everyone remembers Joba Chamberlain and the "midges on the mound."  But  not all was lost when the Yankees met the Indians in the post season. On the way to 125 victories and the 1998 championship, the Yankees won the American League Championship Series (ALCS) in six games games, beating Cleveland. So here we are, Yankees fans,  twenty years after the first post season meeting with Cleveland, and ten years after Joba's battle with the midges. And the Yankees, series underdogs this year, showed they were overmatched by the defending AL Champion Indians in game one Thursday night. And the good news (for Cleveland) is that Indians ace Corey Kluber is all set to pitch in game two, weather permitting this afternoon.  The Yankees gave their fans little to cheer about, so we will leave it at that. In case you missed it, the Yankees lost 4-0. The Yankees of 2017 do not seem to be championship caliber on the level of Cleveland at this point, though the Indians need to win two more times to seal the deal. 'Nuff said. NotesCC Sabathia is a free agent following the season, so today's start may be the last of his Yankee career. Sunday the Yankees return home for what might also be Masahiro Tanaka's final Yankee start. Tanaka is not a free agent unless he says he is by opting out of his contract. Remember that Tanaka was brilliant in his last regular season outing, striking out a career high 15 in seven shutout innings. Remember, also, that Tanaka was terribly inconsistent throughout the season, though he pitched much better in the Bronx than on the road. Would somebody actually pay Tanaka more money than what remains on his Yankees contract? After this season, it doesn't seem likely, but you never know. We will find out soon enough. Back to the series. The Yankees are down one game to none and Cleveland still needs two more wins to finish off the series. Regardless of the outcome, I hope Brian Cashman and the Yankees brass are taking notes on what has made the Cleveland franchise successful. The Yankees appear to be on the doorstep of greatness themselves and an off season move or two, plus more player development from within might elevate this Yankees franchise to championship caliber. Not that it would bother any of us to have this Yankees team arrive there a little early.  [...]



Yankees Rally To Win Wild Card Game, Face Cleveland Next

2017-10-04T05:39:55.075-04:00

Everyone was scared, and for good reason. A one-game, winner take all, loser go home, elimination game that doesn't seem at all fair to a team that won 91 games. It wasn't fair but the Yankees did what a good team does. They won the AL Wild Card Game. Now it's on to Cleveland to face the Indians.

I'll be honest. I only tuned in for the top of the ninth inning. I simply did not have the stomach for that kind of a game. I guess I would have become sick if I had watched Luis Severino live. The bullpen certainly saved both his and the Yankees' bacon, which means several of them won't be available tomorrow night.  Well, actually, only Chad Green and David Robertson should be unavailable. I don't see why Tommy Kahnle and Aroldis Chapman shouldn't be. Don't forget about Adam Warren, and we might have to brace ourselves for an appearance by Dellin Betances.

Those fears of a Gary Sanchez passed ball allowing the winning run to score were kicked to the curb. Sanchez must have felt kicked there himself when he took a David Robertson pitch in the groin. First Headley last month, now The Kraken. Ha ha, take it easy guys!

As for the offense, only Starlin Castro, Jacoby Ellsbury and Todd Frazier were held hitless. Good showings by Sanchez, Greg Bird, Aaron Judge and, of course, Didi Gregorius with the 3-run shot to get the Yankees back into the game. As Michael Kay said often during the '90s, the Stadium was up for grabs.

So that's 13 straight playoff games that the Minnesota Twins have lost to the Yankees. Something tells me that streak might end whenever the two teams face each other again. The Twins are pretty good.

How about those fans, huh? Joe Girardi said the atmosphere reminded him of a college football game. Lots of loud cheering and no empty seats. During the post-game, Michael Kay said the Stadium actually shook after Judge's home run. I hadn't known whether it wasn't structurally possible for the new Stadium to shake, or if the crowds just hadn't been raucous enough. Probably a little bit of both.

Next up, the Cleveland Indians in the ALDS. Get a game in Cleveland, guys, then take it back to the Bronx.




Yankees Handle Regular Season Well, Netting Issue Not So Much

2017-10-02T07:30:07.153-04:00

I'll never get tired of hearing and saying, "This was supposed to be a rebuilding year." A regular season record of 91-71? What a rebuild!

Of course, it's still going on. The Yankees should only get better over the next two years. Prospects like Gleyber Torres, Chance Adams and Miguel Andujar have yet to really make their presence known, and a full season from Greg Bird could really put the team over the top.

Then, of course, there is this year's team MVP, Aaron Judge. I was listening to Sweeney Murti on WFAN late last night and, he really feels that most of Judge's problems in July and August stem from a shoulder injury. As we have seen in pictures and video footage, Judge's left shoulder was iced after the game throughout that time. Sweeney said Gary Sheffield told him he couldn't hit the ball to right-field while his own shoulder was bothering him, so Sweeney is convinced Judge did have a shoulder injury.

In any case, Aaron Judge is your 2017 AL Rookie of the Year and, perhaps, the AL MVP as well. Congratulations and "All Rise."

Netting Extension
Along with the announcement that the Yankees will extend the netting at the Stadium in time for the 2018 season, come the first public comments from the father of the little girl who was seriously injured when a foul ball hit her in the face. Geoffrey Jacobson gave horrifying details of his daughter's condition to the New York Times. He also was very critical of the team, bashing them for dragging their feet on the netting issue, and saying that, aside from Todd Frazier and an employee from the PR office, he had had no communication with anyone from the team.

If I read the article correctly, it seemed to imply that the Yankees hurried out an announcement when they heard that Mr. Jacobson had been interviewed by the Times. What an embarrassment this front office is. Profits over safety. Yes, it's nothing new, but that doesn't mean I can't still be angry about it.

I'll try to post a Wild Card Game preview tomorrow. Enjoy the off-day, everyone.




Rays May Have Sealed Yankees' Postseason Fate

2017-09-29T06:11:57.384-04:00

Any hope of the Yankees catching the Red Sox probably went out the window in the 5th inning of Thursday night's game against the Rays at Yankee Stadium. The Red Sox magic number for clinching the AL East is down to ONE. That means the Astros, who blasted the Sox at Fenway on Thursday, must win  the three remaining games of the series this weekend. The Yankees welcome their toughest AL East opponent of 2017 to the Bronx this weekend, the Toronto Blue Jays, who hold a 9-7 season series advantage over the Yankees. If the Yankees win all three and the Sox lose three more to the Astros then it's Sox and Yankees Monday in the Bronx, Probable pitchers in the Toronto series are Tanaka, Garcia and Montgomery. So expect CC Sabathia against the Red Sox in the unlikely event of a tie on Sunday.  If the Yankees would then lose to Boston, then the Twins would see the Yank's Luis Severino. Severino appears to be the starter in the Minnesota game, regardless.  With Thursday's 9-6 loss the Yankees finish the season series with the Rays at 12-7. After Sonny Gray gave up a first inning solo home run, he seemed to settle in. The Yankees gave Gray a quick lead in the bottom of the first as Brett Gardner (career high 21st) and Aaron Judge (a whopping 51st) hit back to back home runs to start the inning. The Yankees and Gray were sailing along through four innings with a 4-1 lead when the roof caved in, The Rays planted a seven spot on Gray and reliever Jonathan Holder and never looked back.Greg Bird blasted his 9th home run and Aaron Hicks hit a pinch hit home run in the 9th inning, his 15th of the season. Imagine a healthy Bird and Hicks for an entire season in 2018. NotesOne more win this weekend and the Yankees will have 90 wins. One pre season projection had the Yankees in 4th place with a record of 80-82. Aaron Judge should be the unanimous choice for Rookie of the Year (ROY), and has moved back to the upper tier for AL MVP. Judge is hitting a respectable .284 with other incredible numbers such as 126 runs scored, 112 RBI's, 125 walks, an OBP of .421 and of course. the 51 home runs. Judge will be the 6th Yankees position player elected ROY. For the record, previous ROY winners were McDougald, Kubek, Tresh, Munson and Jeter.  Among them, Derek Jeter, in 1996, scored the most runs at 104. Tom Tresh in 1962 hit the most home runs (20) and had the most RBI's (93) of any Yankee awarded the Rookie of the Year. Gary Sanchez committed his 13th error of the season on a throw and allowed his 16th passed ball in the game Thursday, A young Thurman Munson committed just one error in 1971, and that was because Munson was charged with the error following a home plate collision where he may have, for a moment, lost consciousness. But in 1975 Munson committed 23 errors, mostly on throws. Munson never allowed more than 12 passed balls in a single season. Jorge Posada's worst numbers in a single season were 18 passed balls and 12 errors. Food for thought as Sanchez should reasonably be expected to improve his game over time. Hopefully in a week, we'll still be talking Yankees baseball and not be doing a wrap on the season and an off season preview. Regardless of when the post season ends, there will be plenty of positives in the 2017 summary, and the off season will be full of intrigue and anticipation. [...]



Yankees' Severino: From Bum To Ace In One Year

2017-09-28T05:42:14.048-04:00

No formal announcement's been made yet, but Luis Severino will likely start the Wild Card Game on Tuesday at Yankee Stadium. Last night was his final regular season start, and it was a beauty.

Sevy had some trouble settling in, but was able pull it together in time to virtually shut the Rays down. That is a good sign. No margin for error in an elimination game. 

After the game Sevy compared this season to his previous one, reminding everyone that, last year, they weren't even letting him start as the season progressed. Now, here he is primed to, hopefully, lead his team on a playoff run. 

Unlike tonight's starter Sonny Gray, Sevy usually had the run counter working for him this season. It was working last night with Aaron Judge's clutch two-run double in the fifth, and home runs by Starlin Castro, Greg Bird and Aaron Hicks in the sixth. I loved watching the little dugout press conference after each home run. Toe's camera? The best!

So now it's 3.0 games behind the Red Sox with four to play. A lot of mountains ahead. Probably can't move 'em, but no harm in trying.




Hicks, Monty Help Yankees Earn WC Home Field

2017-09-27T05:51:19.620-04:00

Imagine if Aaron Hicks had been healthy all season! Oh, well, what's done is done. But, what was done last night!

The Yankees have Hicks to thank for helping make sure the AL Wild Card Game will be at Yankee Stadium next Tuesday. His catch was easily the biggest of the year--by a Yankee.

I was walking home from work, so I didn't see it live. On my way home I usually pass a little wannabe sports bar. Last night when I passed it I peeked into the window, at the nearest TV, and saw that the Rays had the bases loaded. I was too far away to tell how many outs there were, but I knew it was only the first inning. Since my phone is a piece of crap, and since I didn't want to be seen staring into the window of a bar, I left, and spent the rest of the way home wondering how badly the damage would be in the inning, and whether or not Jordan Montgomery could limit it. 

Of course, he was able to limit it to one run, thanks to Hicks, who might be the best fourth outfielder in baseball. If the Yankees get past next Tuesday, Hicks will definitely play a big part going forward in the postseason. 

So far on this home stand, the Yankees have made up the ground they lost while in Toronto over the weekend. They are now 3.0 games behind the Red Sox with five to play. Don't count on it, Yankees Universe. But, if nothing else, the pressure will be kept on Boston, especially if the Astros, who come to Boston this weekend, still have a chance at best record. 

Press on, guys.