Series preview: Four-game set with the Indians starts tonight

Yanks vs CLE

Here’s hoping this series goes better than the last. Courtesy of Getty Images

The Yankees current winning ways started in Cleveland last week. New York has won six of its last seven, and hope to keep adding numbers to that ‘W’ column when the Indians start a four-game series at Yankee Stadium today.

Here’s a glance at each game in the series:

Thursday, August 20: RHP Ivan Nova vs. RHP Josh Tomlin

Nova has shown signs of improvement recently, having one real tough outing in his last five. For many of the Indians batters, this is their first look at Nova. The only Cleveland player with any amount of significant at-bats against him is Mike Aviles, and he has only had eight appearances against Nova.

Tomlin is making just his second start of the season. He’s gone through a series of injuries and rehab assignments in the last couple of years.

Matchup to watch:
Ryan Raburn vs. Nova: 3-for-5, 1.200 OPS.… Click here to read the rest

Half-Hearted Game Preview: 8/11

Luis Severino pitches today! That will be fun. Carlos Carrasco pitching for the Indians will surely not be fun, though.

Let’s think about this, regarding the Yankees’ offense. A-Rod is hitting .185 in August. Jacoby Ellsbury is under .200 since returning from the Disabled List. I have confidence in this changing, and I have the feeling you do as well – given how consistent Rodriguez was up to this point, and how good Ellsbury was last season, and before the DL.

Plus, Yankees starters are on an absolute tear this past week or so, and Severino pitched well enough his last time out to give you confidence that will continue. The Indians have been very weak at the plate. When it comes down to it, the offense should only need a few runs to put this one away.

Carrasco has actually been better on lefties this season (.222 vs .252 BAA) which might make you fearful, but here’s a split that’s way more lopsided: Carrasco’s BAA jumps from .180 to .304 at home versus on the road.… Click here to read the rest

2015 Minor League Preview

Though there is still snow that hasn’t quite melted away outside my window, like many of you, nothing says spring more to me than the start of baseball season. The Yankees got their first game of 2015 under their belt yesterday, and by the end of the week the Minor Leagues will have begun as well. With that in mind, here is a quick reminder of how the minor league affiliates ended last season, along with some of the prospects to watch.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders:
Last Year: For the second season in a row, the RailRiders ended with a lackluster 68-76 record. Despite this disappointing record, there were some positive signs, not the least of which was their offense. The RailRiders had the best team batting average in the International League and they owned team slash line of .273/.337/.413. Pitching was less successful for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, with their numbers putting them squarely in the middle of the pack.

Prospects to Watch: There are a few familiar faces in Scranton this season, including some intriguing prospects who should get a chance in the Bronx at some point.… Click here to read the rest

Previewing The Spring Training Roster Battles

Miller ST 2015

The new closer? Maybe, maybe not… Courtesy of the AP

The dust is still settling from yesterday’s Yoan Moncada decision, and to be perfectly honest I can’t figure out how I feel about it or how I should respond to it.  The Yankees’ entire process leading up to the decision and their explanation after the fact aren’t adding up to me, they have me in a mental pretzel, so I’m just going to back burner that for a second and move forward with normal Spring Training activity.

Roster battles are always one of the more fun ST storylines.  Something about the spirit of competition and the possibility of an unsung player performing well enough to earn himself a shot at the big time, it’s classic sports storytelling.  The Yankees don’t have a ton of really exciting roster battles on tap this spring, but there are a few that are worth following.  Here’s a quick roundup of the key ones to watch.… Click here to read the rest

Minor League Preview: Scranton RailRiders


Entering their second season as the “RailRiders,” Scranton looks to better their performance in 2013 when they went 68-76. With an interesting mix of veteran players and some intriguing prospects, the RailRiders have some strong players on both sides of the field. Of course, the RailRiders have already lost one of their big players for at least the next  as Austin Romine was called up when Mark Teixeira went to the DL.

The Scranton outfield will be a lot of fun to watch, as players like Zoilo Almonte, Ramon Flores, Adonis Garcia, Ronnier Mustelier, Antoan Richardson and Slade Heathcott will all have time patrolling the PNC Field outfield. Injury worries will always be at the forefront with Slade Heathcott, though the 2009 first round pick managed to play 103 games in 2013. The only other time he has played in more than 75 games was in 2010 with Charleston. He hit .261/.327/.411 in Trenton last year, but had surgery on his knee in the off season and will start this year in Extended Spring Training.… Click here to read the rest

Minor League Preview: Trenton Thunder

trentonThis year’s Trenton Thunder have a lot to live up to after they not only won the Eastern League Championship last year, but swept their way through the playoffs after winning the last nine games of the regular season. While Ramon Flores, Ali Castillo and Ben Gamel put together big offensive performances in the postseason, it was Trenton’s pitching that gave them success during the season, giving up the second least hits in the EL and the third least runs.

If there ever was a group to propel Trenton to a repeat Championship, this may be it.  As Brad mentioned yesterday, the top of the Thunder lineup will be Mason Williams, Rob Refsnyder, Rob Segedin and Gary Sanchez. That is a lineup that should give EL pitchers some nightmares. Sanchez, of course, has been at or near the top of most Yankee prospect lists the last couple years. He ended 2013 in Trenton, after playing most of the year in Tampa.… Click here to read the rest

Minor League Preview: Tampa Yankees


The Tampa Yankees had an abysmal 2013 season, finishing the first half of the season in the basement of the Florida State League North Division. They had a better second half, but still ended the year with a 58-78 record. While the Yankees were one of the more successful FSL teams in getting on base, they struggled to bring runs home and had very little power in their bats. Yankees pitchers put together the most strikeouts in the league, but they also owned the highest ERA. Their opening day roster boasts a few prospects who could help in those areas, though it remains to be seen whether it will be enough to get them to the FSL playoffs.

On the offensive end, Tampa fans will get to watch Greg Bird man first base. Bird had a very strong 2013 season with Charleston, hitting .288/.428/.511 with 20 homers, 36 doubles and 84 RBIs. If that isn’t enough to get you excited, Bird’s 107 walks were the most in the Minor Leagues last year.… Click here to read the rest

Minor League Preview: Charleston RiverDogs

charleston-riverdogs-logo-540x519After a mediocre season last year, the Charleston RiverDogs will look to rebound with a new and exciting crop of prospects in 2014. Behind strong performances by Greg Bird, Jake Cave and Rafael De Paula, the RiverDogs went 75-63, putting them in third place in the Southern Division of the Sally League and seven and a half games behind the Augusta GreenJackets. This year there will be plenty of new faces in Charleston looking to give RiverDogs fans a lot to cheer about as they work towards the majors, so here are a few to keep an eye on as the season gets underway. If that’s not enough of a reason to check out a game in Charleston, there is always the chance you might catch a glimpse of Bill Murray bringing some extra entertainment to the Park.

The RiverDogs will start the season with some intriguing prospects all over the field. Aaron Judge, one of the Yankees’ first round picks last year, will take his first professional swings in Charleston.… Click here to read the rest