Born in Dover, Delaware and raised in Danbury, Connecticut, Brad now resides in Wisconsin, where he regularly goes out of his way to remind Brewers fans that their team will never be as good as the Yankees. When he’s not writing for IIATMS, he likes to spend his time incorporating “Seinfeld” quotes into everyday conversation, critiquing WWE storylines, and drinking enough beer to be good at darts.

Author Archives: Brad Vietrogoski

Putting Together The Wild Card Game Roster

The Yankees are back in the playoffs.  That’s good news.  They only need 1 more win or 1 more Astros loss to secure home field advantage in the AL Wild Card game, which is also good news.  In addition to the decided advantage that will come with facing the Astros and Dallas Keuchel at Yankee Stadium, it also gives Joe a chance to rest a few guys over these final few regular season games in preparation for building his Wild Card game roster.  I’ve hesitated to write this post until I knew they were actually going to be in the game, but now that we know I can proceed.

The roster for the WC game goes back down to a standard 25-man, which the Yankees can load up however and with whoever they want because they will have the option of changing the roster again for the ALDS should they win.  In a 1-game, winner-take-all scenario, typical roster balance can be thrown out the window and I anticipate the Yankees will use 15 position players and 10 pitchers for this game.  …

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Game 159 Recap: Yankees 4 Red Sox 1

Yankees WC Celebration I

Yankees WC Celebration II

Yankees WC Celebration III

Yankees WC Celebration IV

There it is!  Now was that so hard?  The Yankees finally got to the 10,000 win plateau last night, beating the Red Sox 4-1 to salvage a game from this series and knock their AL Wild Card magic number down to 0.  The Yankees are going back to the postseason for the first time since 2012, and just like in 2012 they’ve got CC Sabathia to thank for it.

Sabathia took the ball last night and turned in another callback CC start.  It wasn’t the CC of 2012 or 2009 who could go for 7-8 innings and 125 pitches, but it was a good enough approximation and a reminder that this guy can still get it done.  CC put a man on in every inning and worked out of almost every jam.  He got Xander Bogaerts to ground into an inning-ending double play with 2 on and 1 out in the 3rd.  He got another double play to eliminate Travis Shaw‘s leadoff single in the 4th.  …

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Game 158 Recap: Red Sox 9 Yankees 5 (11 Innings)

Betances vs BOS

Courtesy of Getty Images

Full disclosure, I fell asleep last night when this game was 4-4.  And boy am I glad I did because this one didn’t end pretty.  The Yankees dropped their third straight to Boston, clawing back from an early 3-run deficit, briefly taking the lead in the later third of the game, and then watching their crumbling, leaky bullpen give it right and lose the game in extras.

The big story last night was Masahiro Tanaka‘s return.  Joe said he would be ready to throw 100 pitches and there were no restrictions on him, but Tanaka sure didn’t look that way to the naked eye.  To me, he looked like a guy who was pitching to protect his hamstring.  He didn’t throw a lot of fastballs, didn’t throw many hard ones when he did, and none of his offspeed pitches had their usual bite.  The Red Sox hitters squared him up a lot in the top of the 1st to create a 2-out rally, starting with Xander Bogaerts‘ single and ending with Travis Shaw‘s 3-run home run to right.…

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Quick Hit: The Reigniting Of Rob Refsnyder’s Existence

By all accounts, it sounds like Stephen Drew is done for the season with post-concussion symptoms.  I honestly can’t remember a play in the first half of September that would have given him a concussion, but that’s really here nor there.  His recent absence, combined with Brendan Ryan‘s general terribleness, has opened up some opportunities at second base in this final month as the Yankees try to lock up a playoff spot.

The greater opportunity has been seized by Dustin Ackley, who’s been swinging a hot bat since coming off the DL and has essentially taken over the “starting” second base job with Drew on the shelf.  The smaller opportunity has gone to Rob Refsnyder, the once future greatest second base prospect in the history of baseball and the recently forgotten man in the second base organizational depth chart.  It’s been a long, strange trip up and down the prospect hype curve for Refsnyder this year, but he’s getting a chance to contribute in important late-season games and he’s showing a few things that might bring a little luster back to his name and perceived future potential.…

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Game 157 Quick Recap: BOS 10 NYY 4

Pineda vs BOS III

Us too, Mike. Us too. Courtesy of Getty Images

Blech.  That was gross.  I’ve tried to be a calm, rational, steadying force through the ups and downs of this season, but the Yankees have played some bad baseball at the absolute worst time these last few games.  They aren’t pitching, they aren’t hitting, they aren’t fielding, and they got their butts kicked by the Red Sox again last night to put themselves in a 2-0 series hole and further delay the 10,000th win and clinching of the Wild Card.

Michael Pineda sucked last night.  Say whatever you want about limiting damage and keeping the game close and grinding through 6 innings, but 7 runs in 6 innings is bad and 6 of those runs coming in the first 7 batters of the game was brutal.  The Red Sox hitters were smoking balls off him and his 2-strike approach and execution stunk.  It would have been nice to get a solid Big Mike start ahead of Tanaka’s return.  …

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Game 156 Quick Recap: BOS 5 NYY 1

Nova vs BOS III

Homers always beat sac bunts. Courtesy of Getty Images

This game was all kinds of frustrating.  A “classic” Ivan Nova start, early chances not fully realized thanks both to bad hitting and bad decision making, and a disappearing offense in the later innings.  The Wild Card clincher and 10,00th win will wait another day.

Ivan Nova looked pretty good over the first few innings last night.  His sinker had great movement and he threw some good swing-and-miss curveballs.  He also worked around leadoff baserunners in the 1st and 2nd innings and 2 walks in the 3rd, so it wasn’t like he was in total control out there.  The baserunner bug finally bit him in the top of the 6th, when future AL batting champ Xander Bogaerts snuck a double down the third base line and Travis Shaw followed up with a 2-run home run to left.  It came on a dead middle first-pitch fastball, not a good pitch.  Jackie Bradley Jr.…

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Quick Hit: Severino’s Changing Approach?

In the recap this morning, I hinted at a potential change in Luis Severino’s approach over his last few starts.  He’s been much lower on strikeouts and higher on GB contact, and he made a comment about being more of a pitcher than a thrower before his last outing against Toronto in reference to that one bad outing earlier in the month.  It all adds up to a guy who’s starting to realize the differences between what does and doesn’t work when you go from Triple-A to the Majors and adjusting his approach accordingly.

A quick look at the differences in pitch usage provide some supporting evidence to this theory.  Here’s the breakdown of pitches over Severino’s first 8 Major League starts, courtesy of Texas Leaguers (Brooks hasn’t added their pitch data from yesterday’s start):

Severino Pitch Breakdown 8-9-15

TL reads more cutters and 2-seamers than Brooks, but it’s a real heavy dose of fastball-slider with a small side salad of changeups.  Compare that to his pitch usage in his last 2 starts:

Severino Pitch Breakdown Last 2 Starts 15

That’s a little more balanced.  …

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Game 155 Recap: Yankees 6 White Sox 1

Noel-Headley vs CHW

Rico Noel stuntin’ in his pinch runner shades. Courtesy of Getty Images

I said before I left for the weekend that the Yanks taking 3 of 4 against the White Sox would be great, and lo and behold that’s exactly what they went out and did.  They locked up the final win of the series with another strong team pitching performance and some late offensive insurance.

In typical 2015 Yankee fashion, they came out and scored quickly in the top of the 1st.  Jacoby Ellsbury leadoff walk, Brett Gardner and Carlos Beltran reaching on back-to-back Jose Abreu errors, Brian McCann sac fly.  I don’t even know if that counts as manufacturing runs because of the 2 errors, but I’ll take it.  Of course, in keeping with the “typical 2015 Yankee fashion” theme, they failed to add any more runs in that inning and went dormant through the next 4 innings despite creating plenty of opportunities against Chicago starter Erik Johnson.…

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Game 152 Recap: Yankees 3 White Sox 2

Beltran HR vs CHW

The no-doubt second half team MVP. Courtesy of Getty Images

With the disappointing Toronto series in the rearview, the Yankees needed to start winning games and fast against some lesser competition.  They did just that last night back at home, jumping out to an early lead against the Chicago White Sox and holding on for the win behind a strong team pitching performance.

Michael Pineda took the hill to start and believe it or not, he actually outpitched Chris Sale last night.  The White Sox singled off him a ton, even loading the bases with 2 outs in the 3rd inning, but never did any damage with them.  The only time they got to him was on Trayce Thompson‘s solo home run to lead off the top of the 6th.  Pineda’s fastball was lively and moving, his slider was sharp, and he gave his team a solid start.

Joe used a bit of an unconventional lineup against Sale, sitting Gardner, McCann, Bird, and Didi.  …

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