Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-Getty Images
The Yankees and the Red Sox rekindle Baseball’s best rivalry tonight. The Yankees begin play two games ahead of the Red Sox in the division standings. Boston, the pre-season favorite to the win the AL East, has slowly been moving up the standings. They are 6-4 in their last 10 games, and have won two in a row.
The Red Sox are currently without the services of the gutsy Dustin Pedroia. Pedroia is on the DL with a left wrist sprain. He is not eligible to be activated until Friday. Boston is also without starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez as he went on the DL over the weekend with right knee subluxation (partial dislocation).
The Yankees will miss Chris Sale, who was the starter on Sunday in Boston’s 7-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles, this series. Boston’s talented young left-fielder Andrew Benintendi is starting to heat up. He had two home runs on Sunday to back Sale. He is currently batting .269/.342/.413 and has 7 HR and 30 RBI. He is second on the team with 8 stolen bases.
Credit: David Goldman-Associated Press
Jackie Bradley, Jr, after a horrific start is also coming around. Batting .269 with 7 HR and 24 RBI, he has a home run and 6 RBI’s in the last four games (5-for-13).
As Yankees manager Joe Girardi said over the weekend, it’s one big series after another right now. If the Yankees intend to be players in the AL East for the long haul this season, they need to make a statement. Since they’ve begun this rugged 13 consecutive game stretch against AL East opponents, the Yankees are 3-4. With the next 6 games at home against the Red Sox and Orioles, the Yankees can help themselves…or not.
The scheduled pitching match-ups for the Red Sox series are:
Red Sox: Drew Pomeranz (5-3, 4.24 ERA)
Yankees: Masahiro Tanaka (5-5, 6.34 ERA)
Red Sox: Rick Porcello (3-7, 4.24 ERA)
Yankees: CC Sabathia (6-2, 4.12 ERA)
Red Sox: David Price (1-0, 3.00 ERA)
Yankees: Michael Pineda (6-3, 3.76 ERA)
Better to Rent or to Buy…
The arguments have been made for why the Yankees should stick to plan and forego any expensive rentals for the mid-summer. I get the logic. Does it make sense to part with Justus Sheffield, Clint Frazier, or Jorge Mateo to bring someone in for a few months when the youngsters can be part of the impending “dynasty”?
Yet, when you hear Yankees General Partner/Co-Chairperson Hank Steinbrenner make comments like, “Oh yeah. We’re greedy. We want to win this year.”, you know that it’s possible common sense may take a backseat.
Speculation is starting to run rampant with third base possibilities. I’ve seen a few articles centered on Todd Frazer as a potential trade target. His pic with Derek Jeter as a child is a nice story but it doesn’t mean I want the guy on my team. Frazier had 40 home runs last year, but he only batted .225/.302/.464. He has gotten off to a much worst start this year with only 8 homers, 25 RBI’s and a line of .195/.306/.396. The 31-year-old probably represents a buy low candidate but I am not enthused. He is making $12 million this year and will be a free agent after the season is over. I’ve already jettisoned Frazier from a couple of fantasy baseball teams. If the Yankees could acquire for some names that I’ve never heard of and will never hear again, I could probably buy into giving it a try. Otherwise, I don’t want to lose good prospects for a guy who is flirting with the Mendoza line (and on the wrong side to boot).
If the Yankees have to make a move, I’d probably be more in favor of Mike Moustakas. Also a free agent at the end of the year, Moustakas is making $8.7 million this year with better numbers. He has 14 home runs and 29 RBI’s and is batting .255/.295/.510. Both Moustakas and Frazier had fielding percentages of .947 entering play yesterday. Moustakas is younger…he’ll be 29 in September.
It all boils down to cost. How much? If the Yankees can make moves to improve the team without sacrificing key talent, they should do it. If not, stand pat. The great thing about a top farm system is redundancy at certain positions. Thairo Estrada is doing a great job at AA-Trenton but he plays second base/shortstop. It is a position of strength for the Yankees with Gleyber Torres, Tyler Wade, Jorge Mateo and others. If trades could create opportunity for redundant players blocked in the system, I am not opposed to their inclusion in potential roster-enhancing moves.
This is a tough call. I recognize that the Yankees are building for something greater but I also know that when you have your opportunities for October baseball, you make the most of it. There does need to be a good short-term plan with long-term vision. If you get a ticket to the dance, you never know what can happen.
Odds & Ends…
Because of Sunday’s rainout, Chance Adams scheduled start for AAA-Scranton/Wilkes-Barre was pushed from Monday to today. Bryan Mitchell, Sunday’s scheduled starter, took the mound on Monday night in the RailRiders’ 6-3 win over the Rochester Red Wings. He didn’t figure in the decision as he only lasted 2 1/3 innings, giving up 3 hits and 2 runs. Domingo German, pitching in relief for the first time since 2012, gave a start-like relief performance in picking up the win. German limited the Red Wings to 5 hits and 1 run over 5 2/3 innings, while striking out 7. Ben Heller picked up his first save.
The RailRiders victory featured the first home run, a three-run shot, by super prospect Gleyber Torres. Torres was 3-for-3 with a walk, and he drove in 4 RBI’s.
Tyler Austin completed his rehab assignment and was re-assigned to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. It’s just a matter of time before Austin gets the call for the short trip to NYC. Rob Refsnyder offers better versatility with his ability to play second and third, in addition to first base and the outfield. But at some point, his bat needs to start producing. If not, the Yanks are better served by first baseman/OF Austin.
Have a great Tuesday! Hopefully we’ll see the “good” Tanaka later today. Go Yanks!
I expected a slowdown in Derek Jeter’s march to 3,000 hits but I didn’t anticipate a 15 day intermission until DJ can resume his hit parade. I had been hoping that he could reach the illustrious milestone against this weekend’s opponent, the Chicago Cubs, but it was not meant to be as DJ was placed on the DL after straining his right calf.
It will be interesting to see what Eduardo Nunez can do for the next couple of weeks as the starting shortstop. There is no chance that DJ is going to lose his job, but this is a great opportunity for Nunez to prove to the organization that he is capable replacement when the day does come for #2 to step down.
Paul J. Bereswill
What? Was Ed Figueroa unavailable?…
Thursday’s starting pitcher is who? It appears that Brian Gordon will be the starting pitcher for the Yankees on Thursday for the final game of their series with the Texas Rangers. Pardon me if I don’t have the slightest clue who Gordon is. He apparently opted out of his minor league contract with the Philadelphia Phillies to sign with New York. I am assuming that he knows this is just a one start audition as Bartolo Colon will hopefully be back. The 32 year old right-handed pitcher is a veteran of 15 minor league seasons.
Lehigh Valley IronPigs
Ironically, Gordon made the switch from position player to pitcher after the 2006 season with the help of then Astros special assistant, Nolan Ryan. Ryan, of course, is now the CEO and president of the team that Gordon will be facing on Thursday.
Sometimes the best trades are the ones never made, well, maybe not…
I wonder if the Kansas City Royals regret not trading Joakim Soria to the Yankees last year. Soria has had his share of challenges this year, including losing his job briefly to Aaron Crow. Meanwhile, the Royals are absolutely loaded with young talent as premier prospects Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas have burst on the scene with more stellar talent on the way. Add a few top Yankees prospects to the mix, and the Royals would clearly assert themselves as a contender for years to come. They opted to keep Soria, but their future is still very bright. It is just a question of how much brighter it could have been if they had been willing to part with the right pieces.
If this year has proven anything to me, it is that you cannot rely on any relievers from year to year. This year’s stud will be next year’s washout. Well, unless your name is Mariano Rivera…