In life we do not always get what we want. I wanted to take the three game series in Pittsburgh but it was not meant to be. Former Yankees starter Ivan Nova set the tone from the start of Sunday’s game when he struck out the side in the first inning en route to Pittsburgh’s 2-1 victory over the Yankees. The loss gave the series to the Pirates, 2 games to 1.
Give Nova credit, he pitched very well against his former club. He went seven strong innings, surrendering only four hits and one run. The one run came courtesy of a Jacoby Ellsbury home run in the seventh inning. For the season coming into the game, Nova had walked just three batters. He only walked one on Sunday but the batter was a guy who hadn’t picked up a bat since his high school days (Yankees pitcher Jordan Montgomery). For the game, Nova struck out seven, picking up his second win of the year.
The Yankees had their chances to win the game. They had a runner at third in the eighth with two outs, but Starlin Castro struck out. In the ninth, they loaded the bases but the game came down to light-hitting shortstop Pete Kozma, who had pinch run for Chris Carter the prior inning. After Aaron Hicks had struck out, Kozma came to bat with two outs, but grounded into a fielder’s choice to end the game. It’s unfortunate that Hicks was not able to come through as it placed the game in the hands of a career .221 hitter.
Kudos to Jordan Montgomery. After the game, he admitted that he didn’t have his best stuff. Loading the bases in the first inning with no outs, he escaped with only one run across home plate. He would go on to pitch six innings, allowing only two runs. Pirates were able to get seven hits off him. He walked two batters while striking out five. The two walks proved costly as both batters eventually scored (the only runs the Pirates would score in the game). Montgomery’s ability to throw a “quality game” despite not having his pitches speaks volumes about the heart of this pitcher. I am anxious and excited for his next start.
Even though the Yankees lost the series to the Pirates, they were in all three games and could have won either of the losses. As the younger guys gain more Major League experience and assuming the veterans continue to hit, the Yankees will begin to win these types of games with greater frequency. The bench is going to look much stronger soon when Didi Gregorius returns and Ronald Torreyes retakes his utility role from Kozma.
Sadly, Greg Bird was not able to get untracked in Pittsburgh. His 0-for-3 day dropped his batting average to .104. I still think he is very close so hopefully Fenway Park will ignite his bat. If not, we’ll probably start to see a few more Chris Carter starts at sprinkled in at first in the coming days.
I am glad that we’re headed back to American League parks so that Matt Holliday can knock the rust off and resume his role as the team’s designated hitter. His offensive capability is too great to be limited to pinch-hitting in National League cities.
The Yankees have today off and will begin a three game series in Boston tomorrow against the Red Sox. The Red Sox are coming off a 6-2 win over the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday that kept the Yankees 1 1/2 games behind the O’s in the AL East. The Red Sox (11-8) are just a 1/2 game behind the Yankees (11-7). The Orioles play this evening (at home against the Tampa Bay Rays) so they could extend their AL East lead to two games. Or going the ‘glass is half full’ route, drop back to only a one game lead.
The Yankees have a chance to make a statement in Boston. While they may or may not win the series, they need to prove that they can hang with the Red Sox. Boston won the head-to-head battle in 2016, 11 games to 8. The Red Sox swept the first season series last year (April 29th to May 1st). It would be great if the Yankees could return the favor. My primary goal for the series is three competitive games with the Yankee hitters attacking the strong Boston rotation. If they can get to the Boston bullpen early, I really like their chances. The last run through the Yankees starting rotation was mostly a collection of off-nights so hopefully this run through the rotation will yield superior results. So begins the Battle of the AL East…
Have a great Monday! Rest up and be ready to take charge on Tuesday!
Credit: Joe Sargent/Getty Images
What a difference a day makes!
Chris “All he does is hit home runs”¹ Carter made my Saturday a fun day after Friday night’s loss. Michael Pineda, like CC Sabathia the day before, did not have his best stuff and only lasted five innings. I had felt prior to the game that Pineda needed to be at his best with talented young right-hander Jameson Taillon on the mound for the Pittsburgh Pirates, but fortunately, the Yankees were able to get to Taillon (thanks Starlin!). The game was tied at 5 in the eighth when Chris Carter came to the plate to pinch hit for Dellin Betances. The inning had looked like it would be over quickly when the first two Yankee batters flied out (if Bird’s fly could have gone just a few more feet…). But an error by Pirates second baseman Adam Frazier allowed catcher Austin Romine to reach base and shortstop Ronald Torreyes followed with a single. Carter is paid to do one thing and against Pirates reliever Felipe Rivero, he did it. His beautiful swing was met with “it is high, it is far, it is gone!”. The Yankees had taken a commanding 8-5 lead.
The Yankees would score a couple more times that inning, thanks in large part to another error by the Pirates, but the signature moment was the ninth inning even though the game was already out of reach for the Pirates. In what is becoming a typical day at the office, Aaron Judge got all of an Antonio Bastardo pitch to send the ball screaming 116 mph for a ‘no doubt about it’ home run. When all was said and done, the ball had traveled 457 feet. It is starting to feel like not a question of ‘if’ Judge can hit a ball 500 feet, but ‘when’. Five batters, including Matt Holliday, have hit longer home runs this year (a total of five feet separates the leaders) but it’s only a matter of time before Judge takes charge of the Statcast leaderboard.
Credit: Joe Sargent/Getty Images
The Yankees won the game, 11-5 . They head into today’s game with a chance to take the series against an old friend, Pirates starting pitcher Ivan Nova. Jordan Montgomery, wearing Nova’s old jersey number, will take the mound for the Yankees.
Despite the win, the Yankees failed to gain any ground on the Baltimore Orioles (12-4) who took another game from the Boston Red Sox. So, the Yankees remain 1 1/2 games out of first with an 11-6 record. I get the feeling that the Red Sox (10-8) will be playing like a wounded dog when the Yankees get to Fenway Park on Tuesday.
I was glad to see manager Joe Girardi put Aaron Hicks in Saturday’s lineup. He acknowledged that he needs to find ways to put Hicks’ hot bat into the game. But really, left field is the only viable solution. The $153 million man is actually producing in center (he’s still dead to me despite the .323 batting average) and Aaron Judge is becoming a marquee event in right. Despite Chris Carter’s home run, I still think first base should stay exclusively with Greg Bird. I know that he’s only hitting .111 after another 0-for-4 performance, but he seems to be hitting the ball well even if they are going for outs. It is only a matter of time before the balls start falling in (or leaving the park). I think he’s close to catching fire.
I always keep an eye on former Yankees to see how they are doing. I guess it is a Jay Buhner/Fred McGriff disorder, but I couldn’t help but feel bad for former Yankees prospect Rob Segedin. Traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the deal that originally brought Ronald Torreyes to New York, the third baseman recently got another call up to the Dodgers when they placed former Yankees pitcher Rich Hill on the DL. Two days later, Segedin was on the DL himself with a strained right big toe. The taste of the Major Leagues can be so elusive for many and it certainly is for the 28-year-old former Yankees third round draft pick.
Credit: David Crane/Southern California News Group
Have a great Sunday! Let’s hope this is another Fun Day!
¹A nod to Buddy Ryan’s infamous quote “All he does is catch touchdowns” in reference to Hall of Fame wide receiver Cris Carter.
Okay, it was not quite that bad. Still, it was a disappointing loss. It would have looked so much different if Greg Bird had homered in the third instead of pulling it foul. He had another chance to do damage in the fifth, but was unable to push any runs across (although he did reach on a fielding error which allowed Jacoby Ellsbury and Aaron Judge to score). He finished the night 0-for-4, dropping his batting average to .122. When he does start hitting, he’ll quickly become a fan favorite.
The Yankees lost to the Pittsburgh Pirates, 6-3, and fell 1 1/2 games behind the Baltimore Orioles. The O’s beat the Boston Red Sox, 2-0, behind a stellar pitching performance by Dylan Bundy. With the Red Sox loss, the Yankees maintained their slight hold on second place.
This was a winnable game. Even though it was an off-night for starter CC Sabathia, he kept the team in the game and lasted five innings. We cannot expect the vintage Sabathia every outing. He is, after all, a 36 year old who had to reinvent himself. This is not 2009 even if he lulled us into that thinking with his first couple of starts.
It’s hard to put a finger on any single reason for the loss. Bird’s slow start. Sabathia’s underwhelming performance. Chase Headley’s base running skills. Starlin Castro’s fielding. Aaron Judge’s six men left on base. It was just one of those nights. Shoulda, coulda, woulda…but it didn’t happen.
Oh well, today is a new day. Michael Pineda takes the mound against Pittsburgh’s talented young righthander, Jameson Taillon. Pineda will need to bring his ‘A’ game but if he has truly turned the corner, I am sure he will. With Baltimore and Boston looming next week, the Yankees cannot afford to stumble in the Steel City.
Let’s re-set this post’s image…
The Yankees need to figure out a way to get Aaron Hicks into the lineup. Limited to pinch hitting, he did single in the eighth last night. I hate rehashing why the Yankees should trade Brett Gardner, but I keep watching the San Francisco Giants and their troubles with left field. Their starting left fielder, Jarrett Parker, is out for a couple of months with a broken right clavicle. They signed Melvin Upton, Jr to a minors deal following his release by the Toronto Blue Jays, but he had surgery to repair a torn ligament in his thumb so he is down for a couple of months too. In last night’s loss to the Colorado Rockies, they were playing journeyman Chris Marrero who has struggled to find a home in the Majors for the last few years. Marrero did homer but he is only batting .152 (5-for-33). I’ve always thought Gardner would be a good fit in San Francisco. The Giants have the prospects for a match. The “reach for the sky” choice would be 23-year-old RHP Tyler Beede, but GM Brian Cashman would have to include more than Gardner to make it happen. Gardner would be easier to trade if he wasn’t hitting only .192. His bat will come around so when it does, Cashman should get Giants EVP-Baseball Operations Brian Sabean or GM Bobby Evans on the phone to strike a deal.
Credit: Getty Images
It’s good to see shortstop Didi Gregorius in rehab games. On Friday night, he was 2-for-3 with six innings of work for the High A Tampa Yankees. He’s on track to return to the Bronx the beginning of May. I am sure that he’s motivated to be back for the two game series in Cincinnati beginning on May 8th as the Reds are his original team. Of course, that’s also true for a certain flame-throwing closer as well as a YES Network announcer who proudly wore #21 in the Bronx for a few years.
Speaking of numbers, Rickey Henderson, Tino Martinez, and Robinson Cano should be very pleased to hear that their former MLB jersey has cracked the top 10 for most popular jerseys sold…thanks to Gary Sanchez. According to MLB.com, Sanchez has the ninth most popular jersey, ahead of the Los Angeles Angels star outfielder, Mike Trout. There were four Cubs, two Dodgers, two Giants, and no Red Sox in the Top 8.
Have a great Saturday! Yankees, just bring it! We want one for the win column!
“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”
The Baltimore Orioles and the Boston Red Sox both won Thursday, so the Yankees find themselves a 1/2 game behind the O’s this morning. All three teams have ten wins, although the Orioles, Yankees and Red Sox have four, five and six losses, respectively. Surprisingly, the Tampa Bay Rays have nine wins albeit with eight losses. The biggest surprise is the cellar dwelling Toronto Blue Jays at 3-12. It’s still very early with 147 games yet to be played for the Yankees but crucial games are on the horizon.
The AL East is the only division in baseball with at least four teams over .500 although just one game separates every team in the AL Central with just a single win needed to put the bottom of the division at .500. Again it’s early, but the AL East is one of the most competitive divisions in baseball at this point.
The next week will be a challenge for the new and improved Yankees. When they complete the current three game set in Pittsburgh, they’ll head to Boston for three games beginning on Tuesday. They are certain to face Red Sox ace Chris Sale who pitched yesterday and gave a performance that justified Boston’s decision to give up their best hitting and pitching prospects over the winter. Although he didn’t figure in the extra inning decision, he went eight innings, allowing no runs and four hits. Walking only one batter, he struck out thirteen. Unfortunately, he’s in prime shape for his next start.
After the Boston series, the Yankees return home to face the Baltimore Orioles. Not to look too far ahead, but these series are followed by the Toronto Blue Jays, the World Champion Chicago Cubs, and arguably baseball’s hottest team, the Houston Astros.
Next week’s schedule represents the most difficult stretch the young Yankees have faced this year so it will be interesting to see how they respond. The Red Sox and Orioles begin a three game series tonight so on the bright side, they can beat each other up before the Yankees face them.
I am hopeful that Greg Bird’s bat starts coming around before the team gets to Boston. Aaron Judge has the “wow” factor with his behemoth home runs in games (and batting practice) but Bird remains the team’s best hitter (potentially) even if the stats don’t show it yet. I remain convinced he’ll soon be raising eyebrows with his hitting prowess but it would be nice if his offensive show could begin sooner rather than later. Maybe it’s waiting for him at Fenway Park.
Based on stats, Chase Headley is arguably the current best hitter with a .396 batting average. He’s off to a great start and admittedly, I didn’t see this coming. We’ll see if it is sustainable, but for now, he’s a vital part of the lineup. I wish I felt as good about Jacoby Ellsbury. Even though he is hitting .302, has stolen four bases and has been Joe Girardi’s clean up hitter of choice in recent games, he just doesn’t do it for me. Too often, and this is a very generalized statement without digging into the actual stats, it seems like he is underperforming in critical situations. I really have to wonder if an outfield of Aaron Hicks-Brett Gardner-Aaron Judge is better than Gardner-Ellsbury-Judge. The way Hicks is hitting right now, it is. Gardner is hitting worse than Ellsbury but this probably gets into a debate about who do you trust more.
Being in Pittsburgh tonight means that Matt Holliday’s bat takes a seat on the bench with no DH. This probably puts even more pressure to get Hicks into the lineup, especially with the pitchers taking at-bat’s. Both Gardy and Bird need to start mixing in a few hits.
Have a wonderful Friday! Let’s make this two in a row tonight!
The slump is over.
On a night the Yankees completed their seventh consecutive win (sixth straight at home for the first time since 1998), thanks largely to another good pitching performance by Michael Pineda, the star of the game, for me, was first baseman Greg Bird.
After Aaron Judge’s apparent home run in the second inning was ruled a triple due to fan interference, Bird smashed a ‘no-doubt-about-it’ 444 foot homer to right, scoring Judge. The Baseball Gods smiled. Mystique and Aura were alive and well, and dancing throughout the Stadium.
Bird was 3-for-3 for the game with two runs scored and the two RBI’s courtesy of the long homer. He raised his batting average by 100 points (from .038 to .138). It was a beautiful sight to see. Bird’s bat is instrumental to the long term success for the team so it was great to see the strong offensive explosion. Maybe he did take my slump-busting advice after all (reference to Mark Grace’s infamous slump buster quote).
A week ago Saturday, when the Yankees stood at 1-4, it was hard to be optimistic. Now, at 8-4 and just a half-game behind the AL East leading Baltimore Orioles, the glass is half full once again. If not for the Orioles (8-3 in one less game), the Yankees would be tied for the best record in all of Baseball.
Michael Pineda delivered a very solid pitching performance, allowing only two runs in seven innings of work. He did allow six hits (including Yadier Molina’s home run in the seventh) but he walked only one and struck out six. I was thinking to myself that the Yankees pitchers, excluding Masahiro Tanaka (so far), seem to be playing a game of ‘one-up-manship’. But then I came across a Jordan Montgomery quote. “Yeah, well every staff I’ve been a part of, (when we) get rolling like this, we’re all just trying to beat the last guy that were out there. Kind of one-up him, and one-up and then one-up.” Yep, he one-upped me. Now, if Masahiro Tanaka could join the One-Up Party.
Hats off to Ronald Torreyes. He was not my choice for starting shortstop when Didi Gregorius but the so-called “Toe” has been a great fill-in. He drove in two with a ground rule double in the eighth inning to push his team-leading season RBI total to ten (two more than the Aarons who both have eight). I am looking forward to the return of Gregorius, but Torreyes has impressed. He’s doing his best to ensure that Ruben Tejada never puts on the Yankee pinstripes at Yankee Stadium.
I hate to say that I was nervous with a 9-2 lead in the top of the ninth inning but I gotta admit that Bryan Mitchell had me a little worried. The inning did not start well with a double by Eric Fryer. A wild pitch advanced Fryer to third, and Mitchell ended up walking the next batter (Jedd Gyorko) on four pitches. Randal Grichuk then hit a ball toward third which Torreyes made a great stop but then hurriedly threw the ball to second baseman Starlin Castro for a force out attempt. The throw was too low and Castro couldn’t come up with it, and Torreyes was charged with the throwing error. Fryer scored on the play. A home run at that point could have brought the score to 9-6 (too close for comfort). Fortunately, Mitchell settled down and got the next three batters out by strikeout and two fly balls, and it was game over.
I felt bad for Matt Holliday as he missed his second game with the lower back stiffness. So it wasn’t much of a reunion for Holliday with his old mates, and he finished the series with his Friday night performance (0-for-4, three strikeouts). Per Manager Joe Girardi, he was available to pinch-hit so hopefully that means he’ll be back in the saddle tonight against the Chicago White Sox. Of all the things I want to see with the Yankees, Jacoby Ellsbury as the clean-up hitter has not been one of them. Hopefully, Girardi is able to pencil in #17 for the clean-up spot tonight.
Playing the Chicago White Sox brings a few former Yankees back to the Bronx. Starting pitcher Jose Quintana, Closer David Robertson, relievers Tommy Kahnle and Anthony Swarzak, and outfielder Melky Cabrera. Friday night, in a 2-1 win over the Minnesota Twins, the White Sox made “Garcia” history when every starting outfielder was named Garcia. Willy in left, Leury in center, and Avisail in right. Quintana pitched on Saturday in a 6-0 loss to the Twins and will not be available this series. I’ve already read a few ‘trade for Quintana’ articles this morning. Stop it. Forget Quintana and move on with life.
Have an awesome Monday! Eight would be great!
I have to admit that I wasn’t a believer. I did not think that CC Sabathia could make the transformation from a young dominant power pitcher to a crafty veteran at the top end of a starting rotation. Weight issues, age, injuries, alcoholism…whatever the cause…I didn’t think he could do it. He has proved me wrong.
After Saturday’s 3-2 win over the St Louis Cardinals, Sabathia leads the team with a 2-0 mark, compiling a 1.47 ERA in 18 1/3 innings with 11 strikeouts. While the most dominant single game belongs to Michael Pineda, Sabathia has been the most dominant overall.
I had gotten to the point where I thought of Sabathia as a five inning starter. Yet, here he was on the mound on April 15, 2017 at 36 years of age, throwing 7 1/3 innings, allowing only three hits and one run with just one walk. He punched out six. THAT was not the Sabathia that we had come to expect in recent years.
I am so glad that he has been able to make the transformation. I don’t know if it is the time he has spent with Yankees legend Andy Pettitte but we tend to hear Pettitte’s name come up a lot in interviews with not only Sabathia but other pitchers when they talk about success. Pettitte’s annual visits to training camp for a few days always seem to have such a tremendous impact. I think Pettitte is an assistant on a high school coaching staff these days, but I would love for his return to New York as an eventual successor to Larry Rothschild.
At the beginning of the year, I felt it was obvious this would be Sabathia’s final year in Pinstripes. With the youth movement in full bloom, I didn’t see a future for Sabathia or a veteran’s salary in Team Hal’s budget for 2018. If Sabathia expects to make his 2017 salary ($25 million) next year, I still think it’s unlikely he returns. He’ll have to take a pay cut to stay and perhaps he will. But for now, I am just enjoying the ride. I love watching Sabathia’s accomplishments this year, and I know that he is a huge influence on the younger pitchers. If Sabathia, Pineda and Severino can continue pitching like their most recent starts, this is definitely a team that can outperform expectations in 2017. Of course, Greg Bird does need to start mixing in a hit or two.
I was reading an interview with Jordan Montgomery this morning. Or should I call him “Gumby”? I had to laugh when I saw him refer to the famous Serendipity 3 on 60th Street as “some dessert place”. Give him time. He’ll figure the City out. If he keeps pitching like we know he can, he’ll be here for a very long time.
With the inability of Matt Holliday to play on Saturday due to lower back stiffness, I hope this is not a sign of things to come. His final years with the Cardinals, while he was still playing in the field, came with significant DL stints. I had hoped the ‘DH-only’ role would help preserve his health. Hopefully, this is just an aberration and he’ll back with bat in hand shortly. The loss of Holliday did show the significance of having Chris Carter on the roster as Carter provided what proved to be the winning run in Saturday’s game with a run-scoring single in the sixth inning.
As for Greg Bird, he needs to figure this out soon. His 1-for-26 start is dreadful. I remain hopeful that he’ll work through the challenge and will start to hit like he did in Spring Training. He is too much of a professional hitter for the current sample to be representative of his ability going forward. No offense to Chris Carter, but I strongly prefer Bird at first in any scenario. I wish that Tyler Austin was closer to returning but he’s not an option for now and there’s no one else in the organization that would be superior to the current duo of Bird and Carter. Rob Refsnyder is only hitting .192 in AAA and Ji-Man Choi is not on the 40-man roster. Choi is batting .280 but he has only 2 RBI’s and no home runs.
I hate to be politically-incorrect, but the words of former Arizona Diamondback Mark Grace resonate in my ears when I think of Bird’s slump. “A slumpbuster is if a team’s in a slump, or if you personally are in a slump, you gotta find the fatest, gnarliest, grossest chick and you just gotta lay the wood to her. And when you do that, you’re just gonna have instant success. And it could also be called jumping on a grenade for the team.” Bird, just do it…take one for the team.
Have a great Sunday! Hopefully, it will be a sweeping success for the Yankees!
Where did the excitement of the new season go?…
The season began with so much optimism. The Yankees had the best Spring of any team in Major League Baseball (24-9-1) which was their best Grapefruit League performance since the 2009 World Championship year.
The Yankees may not be World Series contenders this year, but I expected more than a 1-3 start through four games. With 157 games to go, there’s still much baseball to be played. But it’s important to see the team gel with a winning mindset sooner rather than later. It’s not feasible or possible to win every game, but the attitude for expecting to win should be there. With a downward spiral, it’s too easy to get caught up in the losses and the negativity spreads like wildfire.
My concern this month is the schedule. It is not an easy path in April. With two more games to go in Baltimore, the Yankees will play a total of eleven games this month against the AL rival Orioles, Boston Red Sox and Tampa Bay Rays. The series against the Red Sox is at Fenway Park which isn’t exactly an inviting place for the Yankees (or their fans). The Yankees also play the St Louis Cardinals in inter-league play. Mike Matheny’s squad always comes to play. The Yankees really need to get on top of this, and pull out a few stretches of two or three consecutive wins.
Despite Friday’s loss to the Orioles, it was good to see Gary Sanchez connect for his first home run on the season. It is unrealistic to expect 20 home runs in 50 games again, but just getting the first one out of the way helps the mental approach to each at-bat.
Credit: Ron Sachs, The New York Post
Right now, the young trio of Sanchez, Aaron Judge and Greg Bird are all hitting below the Mendoza Line. Sanchez has the best batting average of the three (.167). Judge stands at .133, while Bird, with one hit in 16 at-bats, is a pathetic .063. You’d expect Judge to be the team’s strikeout leader (given Chris Carter is not an every day starter) but he trails Bird by two. It’s sad when the team’s best hitter is Chase Headley (7-for-15).
Collectively, as a team, the Yankees need to start hitting. The formula of a few hitters making contact with the majority of the bats being silent does not work. A few more pitching performances like the one CC Sabathia delivered in the second game of the season would also be nice. With no fifth starter needed until April 16th, the Yankees have cycled once through the rotation. Sabathia gave the only defined quality start. Tanaka’s start may have been the worst of his Yankees career. As we proceed into the second run through the rotation, much better results are expected and needed.
Losing is like negativity. It is very infectious. If the Yankees can start running out a few stretches of consecutive wins, they can change the attitudes and mindset of the team (and its fans).
Let’s see what the second week of the young season will bring…
Tommy John was a good Yankee but I am tired of hearing his name…
The Yankees received bad news regarding top pitching prospect James Kaprielian this week. He has been shut down and placed on the Minor League DL. He underwent a MRI on his pitching elbow (which include dye-contrast). The results have been shared with the Yankees team physician and Kaprielian will now head to Los Angeles to meet with noted Tommy John surgeon Neal S. ElAttrache, M.D. Dr. ElAttrache is the team physician for both the Los Angeles Dodgers and the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams. He also is on the Board of Directors for the famed Kerlan-Jobe Orthopedic Clinic which was co-founded by Dr. Frank Jobe, who pioneered Tommy John surgery.
If Kaprielian needs Tommy John surgery, it’s very possible that we won’t see him again until 2019. With CC Sabathia’s contract up at the end of the year, I had hoped that Kaprielian would be in position to compete for his rotation spot next Spring. Now, his career is in doubt. This is starting to feel like the Andrew Brackman situation. A pitcher with so much promise who was never able to overcome arm injuries, leading to his eventual release and exit from baseball.
With Kaprielian sidelined, the focus will shift to young pitching prospects like Jordan Montgomery, Chance Adams, and Justus Sheffield to lead the way for future rotation help.
I remain hopeful that Kaprielian receives the best possible medical opinion from Dr ElAttrache and if Tommy John surgery is the only answer, I wish him much success on the long journey to recovery and hope that the Major League dream is still within his grasp.
He said, she said…
This seems to be the week of fake news. Two separate reports were leaked, only to be quickly shot down by the Yankees. News reports spread quickly that Yankees prospect Clint Frazier had asked the Yankees to un-retire Mickey Mantle’s number. Both the team and the player quickly denied the reports and Frazier stated that he was only concerned with the front of the jersey and not the back of it. The story obviously got its start from somewhere, whether it was words take out of context or spoken in jest, but I do not believe that Frazier made the request.
The other report was that the Yankees have no intention of re-signing starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka should he decide to exercise the opt-out clause in his contract at the end of the year. Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner stated that no discussions have taken place. The Yankees would be foolish not to consider all their options, and re-signing Tanaka to a new longer term deal does represent risk. He’ll be 29 in November and the slight tear in his Ulnar Collateral Ligament (UCL) is not going to improve without eventual surgery.
Both stories sound like writers fishing for stories. Finding a shred of truth it and then embellishing it for the sake of sensationalism.
Bad trade rising…
The Yankees have made their share of bad trades over the years, but one that doesn’t get much recognition is the trade of infielder Eduardo Nunez to the Minnesota Twins three years ago yesterday. Nunez was subsequently traded to San Francisco and is now their starting third baseman (hitting .400, 8-for-20 so far this season). Meanwhile, the prospect that the Yankees received from the Twins for Nunez (23-year-old lefty Miguel Sulbaran), currently with AA Trenton, has been suspended for 25 games due to a drug policy violation.
Credit: Jessica Kovalcin
While it has not been reported what Sulbaran did to lead to the suspension, it’s safe to say that the Yankees would not make this trade if they had a chance to do it over again.
A memorable Opening Day…
In all my years as a baseball fan, I’ve never attended an Opening Day game. That changed yesterday when I saw the Colorado Rockies open Coors Field for the 2017 season against their division rival, the Los Angeles Dodgers. Although I am a Yankees fan, the Dodgers are my favorite National League team so I have to admit that I was wearing some Dodger blue yesterday.
But the day belonged to the Rockies and their young starting pitcher, Kyle Freeland, who made his Major League debut. Freeland, who was born and raised in Denver, delivered a very solid performance while picking up his first Major League victory. He went 6 innings, giving up only 4 hits and 1 run. He walked 2 and struck out 6. He was never on the ropes and seemed in command for the duration of the game. The Rockies won, 2-1, in a pitcher’s duel (with Hyun-Jin Ryu) which is not something you ever expect to see at Coors Field. The game’s only home run was delivered by backup catcher Dustin Garneau. The Dodgers starting lineup was missing two regulars (Corey Seager and Adrian Gonzalez) although both made their way into the game in later innings. But it wasn’t enough, and Freeland departed with the win.
Credit: The Denver Post
I remember seeing Jake Peavy make his Major League debut in San Diego years ago (against the Yankees) and it always stuck with me throughout Peavy’s career that I was there at the start. I guess I can now say that about Freeland too. Time will tell if he is as successful as Peavy.
Despite pulling for the Dodgers, it was a fun day in the Mile High city. The weather was uncharacteristically warm for this time of year (mid 70’s) and the stadium was energized by its fans. I expected to see more Dodger Blue but Purple was clearly the color of the day.