Game 131: Greene v. Price

Tonight will be Shane Greene‘s second start against the Detroit Tigers – the first time in his brief Major League career that he has faced a return engagement with an opponent (unless you include his ugly mop-up appearance against the Red Sox in late April). This represents a significant challenge to many young pitchers, and while little can be discerned from a single start, it will be intriguing to see how the stout Tigers offense deals with Greene this time around and, even more importantly, how the rookie responds.

While you’re waiting for the game to begin, check out this terrific Q&A with Greene from this past weekend, wherein he shows an impressive amount of self-awareness.

New York Yankees Detroit Tigers
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF Ian Kinsler, 2B
Derek Jeter, SS Torii Hunter, RF
Martin Prado, 2B Miguel Cabrera, 1B
Mark Teixeira, 1B Victor Martinez, DH
Carlos Beltran, RF J.D. Martinez, LF
Brian McCann, DH Nick Castellanos, 3B
Chase Headley, 3B Alex Avila, C
Brett Gardner, LF Eugenio Suarez, SS
Francisco Cervelli, C Rajai Davis, RF
Shane Greene, SP David Price, SP
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Quick Hit: Yankees Sign Chris Young, and Tonight’s Lineup

As per Jon Heyman, the Yankees have signed outfielder Chris Young to a minor-league deal.

Long regarded as a fantastic platoon player due to his strong defense all over the outfield, legitimate power/speed combination, and strong production against southpaws (116 wRC+ against LHP, including a 131 wRC+ from 2010 through 2012), Young has struggled mightily over the last two years against pitchers of all shapes and sizes. He does provide a more proven right-handed bench option for the Yankees, however, and it would not be shocking if the team caught lightning in a bottle – and, worst-case scenario, the cost is nothing more than the league-minimum salary.

Here’s tonight’s lineup, courtesy of Rotowire:

CF – Jacoby Ellsbury
SS – Derek Jeter
2B – Martin Prado
1B – Mark Teixeira
RF – Carlos Beltran
DH – Brian McCann
3B – Chase Headley
LF – Brett Gardner
C – Francisco Cervelli

It’s interesting to see the slumping Brett Gardner slip in the lineup after being the team’s best hitter for the better part of the season … particularly as a certain someone continues to hold down the fort at the top of the lineup.…

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Quick Hit: The 2015 Rotation Doesn’t Have To Be Either/Or

Slow news/idea day leading up to tonight’s re-ignition of the win streak engine, but a post earlier today by Andrew Marchand caught my attention.  He published this article on the Yankees’ options for revamping their rotation next year, and while I agree with his basic idea that there are a lot of different options for them to consider, the implication that it’s an “either/or” scenario in terms of spending big money or rebuilding from within isn’t necessarily true and should not be the way the Yankees go about things.

Despite the odds being stacked against the Yankees to limit their financial advantage, they’re still the biggest, baddest dog in that yard when it comes to FA dollars.  There’s no reason for them not to play to that strength.  If they like the Scherzers or Lesters or Prices of the future free agent markets, then go get them.  Hopefully the lessons learned from the CC Sabathia deal(s) will help turn the next big one into a smarter one for them.  …

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Thoughts On The AZFL Selections

I missed this when it first came out yesterday, but the Yankees announced their MiL representatives for the 2014 Arizona Fall League season and it’s quite the group.  Via Josh Norris, the players selected were Aaron Judge, Greg Bird, Eric Jagielo, Tyler Austin, Caleb Cotham, Branden Pinder, and Alex Smith.  The pitching reps aren’t all that sexy, but that’s a top crop of hitting prospects.  Some random thoughts on the picks and what it means for each player.

- As far as Bird, Austin, and Cotham are concerned, this is a way to get back some of the at-bats and innings they lost due to injury this season.  Austin battled some wrist problems again and has hit .275/.336/.419 in 437 PA for Trenton.  Bird missed a lot of time early in the season as he worked back from his latest back issue.  He’s swung the bat well (.272/.374/.479) in 414 PA split 75/25 between High-A and Double-A.  …

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Wednesday Morning Food For Thought: The Little Things That Kill

Last night wasn’t fun.  There was a winning streak going, the team was feeling good, and they touched down in Detroit and reverted back to their usual ways and it all got stopped.  It felt like the Tigers dominated the game, yet they were only ahead by 2-3 runs for most of the time.  The Yankees let them have the game.  Once again, it was a combination of little things that killed their chances to win.

It was McCarthy being a tick off with his command.  It was McCann grounding into a double play to end the 1st inning 2 pitches after Jeter got on with a base hit.  It was Jeter going down looking with 2 on and 2 out in the 3rd and never once taking the bat off his shoulder.  It was Prado taking an 0-4 in the midst of a big hot streak.  It was nobody other than Ellsbury getting 1 extra-base hit.  It was Joe letting McCarthy come back out for the 7th.  …

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Game 130 Recap: DET 5 NYY 2

McCarthy vs DET II

Courtesy of the AP

What a bummer.  I was really looking forward to getting into this horse mask thing and now it’s over before it really got going.  That’s the biggest loss here tonight.  Not the ground in the Wild Card race or the ground to the team directly ahead of New York in the Wild Card race, but the loss of the horse mask mystique.

Brandon McCarthy‘s stuff has played up since coming over, but he was missing that sharpness to his game tonight and it showed in a variety of ways.  He gave up a couple of doubles to Torii Hunter and Miguel Cabrera, walked 2 batters and hit another in the 2nd and walked in the first Detroit run, and missed with a cutter with 2 outs in the 3rd to surrender a run-scoring hit.  There was going to be a night like tonight eventually for McCarthy.  Too bad it had to come tonight.

The lineup was doing exactly what they did last time against Porcello and getting plenty of hits off him.  …

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Game 130: A Return Date With The Tigers

The last time Brandon McCarthy faced the Detroit Tigers, he outpitched Max Scherzer to earn the W in a 2-1 victory.  The last time Rick Porcello faced the Yankees, he was the tough luck loser to Shane Greene in a 1-0 dual pitching gem 3 days later.  Since that unexpected series win in the first week of August, the Yankees lost 7 of 10 before rebounding with 5 straight horse mask-driven wins and the Tigers have sputtered along at 8-9.  They’re falling in the AL playoff race, trying to stay ahead of the Yanks in the battle for the second Wild Card spot, and looking to stop the bleeding back at home.

Mark Teixeira is back in the lineup tonight.  Brett Gardner is not.   Here are the other 8 fine gentlemen who’ll be joining Teix to support McCarthy:

1) Ellsbury- CF
2) Jeter- DH
3) McCann- C
4) Teix- 1B
5) Beltran- RF
6) Prado- 2B
7) Drew- SS
8) Headley- 3B
9) Ichiro- LF

First pitch is scheduled for a little after 7 PM, but it’s hot and humid in Detroit and there’s a good chance of showers and thunderstorms in the area.  …

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What to Watch For: Yankees vs Rick Porcello

The Yankees tonight begin a crucial three-game series against the Tigers, who are two games ahead of them in the Wild Card standings. Rick Porcello, who lost to the Yankees earlier this month, gets the ball in the series opener for Detroit.

The Tigers have three former Cy Young winners and the reigning league ERA champ in their (healthy) rotation, but that “other starter” – Rick Porcello – might be the most consistent pitcher on their staff this season.

Porcello owns a 3.10 ERA in 2014 and has seen that number drop each month, including a 2.53 ERA in August. He has yet to allow more than three runs in back-to-back starts this season and his three shutouts are tied for the most in baseball.

He held the Yankees to one run over seven innings in his only outing against them this year on August 7, a game the Yankees actually won 1-0 thanks to a more dominant effort by Shane Greene.…

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BREAKING NEWS: Shawn Kelley Is The Man

Forget what I said about the mysterious team meeting being the fuel for this current win streak fire.  It has nothing to do with that.  It’s all about Shawn Kelley wearing a horse mask.

“Last week, Kelley found himself ensnared in the spider web of Amazon.com when he came upon a horse head mask offered by a company called Accoutrements, which also peddles a pickle that yodels, bacon-flavored lip balm and an inflatable unicorn horn for cats. The horse head garnered more than 3,000 ratings and a 4½-star consensus. Kelley, a Yankees relief pitcher, needed no further convincing.

‘When I see those things, randomly in a crowd, it makes me laugh,’ he said. ‘So I figured I’ll do that, and it’ll make everyone laugh in the clubhouse.’”

Awesome.  Simply awesome.  Shawn Kelley just went up 100 life points in my book.  For somebody on the Yankees, the stuffiest baseball team in MLB, to think about and execute this idea, and for the team to allow it to happen is tremendous.  …

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