Is Rico Noel Worth A Playoff Roster Spot?

It’s no secret how the New York Yankees score their runs. They’re second in the league in home runs, and that’s what they’re going to live and die on for the rest of the season. The narrative that they hit too many home runs is folly, but their overall team speed does hurt the Yankees, not their approaches at the plate.

You can argue that five Yankees — Alex Rodriguez, Brian McCann, Carlos Beltran, Chase Headley and Greg Bird — should be pinch run for in a big spot. Obviously, you can’t pinch run for all of them, but that’s a huge problem when the Yankees are trying to come back in games in later innings. If they’re down one run and one of those guys are on base it will most likely take two hits to score.

According to Baseball Reference, the Yankees take an extra base (more than one base on a single or more than two bases on a double) on 34 percent of their chances, which is 28th in MLB and one percent more than last place.… Click here to read the rest

About Last Night: Sabathia, Rodriguez and Heathcott, oh my!

New York Yankees' Slade Heathcott, center, celebrates his three-run home run off Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Brad Boxberger with Chris Young, left, and Brian McCann, right, during the ninth inning of a baseball game Monday, Sept. 14, 2015, in St. Petersburg, Fla.  (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

New York Yankees’ Slade Heathcott, center, celebrates his three-run home run off Tampa Bay Rays relief pitcher Brad Boxberger with Chris Young, left, and Brian McCann, right, during the ninth inning of a baseball game Monday, Sept. 14, 2015, in St. Petersburg, Fla. (AP Photo/Chris O’Meara)

How about that game by the Yankees last night?

You had a starting pitcher give a performance that was desperately needed both for himself, and for the team, and you had an offense that was stymied all night by the opposing starter, but was woken up late thanks to a clutch run scoring double by the oldest member of the team, and a game-winning, first-pitch three-run home run by one of the younger players with the least amount of MLB service time.

They were seconds away from a disastrous loss and instead, it became pandemonium in mere moments.

CC Sabathia and the much-needed good start

Sabathia came into last night’s game with a 5.16 ERA on the season and always had trouble in Tropicana Field in the past, but he picked things up there recently and thanks to last night’s start he has now a 1.74 ERA (4 ER – 20.2 IP), .233 BAA (16-73) in his last three starts there.… Click here to read the rest

Quick Hit: Jacoby Ellsbury Stinks

Were it not for Slade Heathcott‘s incredible timing, the big talking point from last night’s 9th inning would have been Jacoby Ellsbury and his potentially back-breaking GIDP.  On the first pitch from Brad Boxberger after Dustin Ackley singled to start the inning, Ellsbury rolled a grounder over to the first baseman to start a double play and clear the bases.  After a night of precious few offensive chances, Ellsbury took what looked like the last good one the Yankees would get and flushed it.

If you haven’t been playing close enough attention, Ellsbury has been doing a lot of that lately.  He’s slumping about as badly as anybody on the team has at any point this season, and it climaxed with that GIDP in the 9th.  Ellsbury wakes up this morning with a .254/.315/.354 batting line that is, quite simply, pathetic.  That .660 OPS is almost 30 points below Didi Gregorius‘ season line and a mere 3 ahead of everyone’s favorite Twitter punching bag Stephen Drew.  … Click here to read the rest

Game 143 Recap: Yankees 4 Rays 1

Heathcott HR vs TB

So many good faces in this picture. Courtesy of Getty Images

Best win of the season last night?  If not, top 3 at the absolute worst.  Things weren’t looking good for the Yankees heading into the late innings, but then Slade Heathcott bopped a 3-run home run in the top of the 9th to rip the game away from the Rays and hopefully breathe new life into the Yankees’ final 20-game stretch run.

The Yankees had faced Tampa starter Erasmo Ramirez twice before last night’s game and both times he held them at bay, allowing only 1 run in 11 innings pitched.  He bested that and the some last night, twirling 7.2 scoreless, 1-hit innings and holding the Yankee lineup without a hit until that final 8th inning.  He did walk 2 batters, but only 1 of them reached second base and was then double off to end the inning.  Ramirez retired 21 of the first 23 batters he faced going into the 8th and gave up his first hit of the game to Carlos Beltran to lead off that inning.  … Click here to read the rest

Game 143: Sabathia vs. Ramirez

Here’s your game thread for this evening. Tonight’s lineups are:

New York Yankees Tampa Bay Rays
Jacoby Ellsbury, CF Brandon Guyer, LF
Brett Gardner, LF Mikie Mahtook, RF
Alex Rodriguez, DH Evan Longoria, 3B
Brian McCann, C Logan Forsythe, 2B
Carlos Beltran, RF Asdrubal Cabrera, SS
Greg Bird, 1B Steven Souza Jr., DH
Chase Headley, 3B Richie Shaffer, 1B
Didi Gregorius, SS Kevin Kiermaier, CF
Brendan Ryan, 2B J.P. Arencibia, C
CC Sabathia, SP Erasmo Ramirez, SP

Enjoy the game!… Click here to read the rest

The 2015 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders

The RailRiders’ 2015 season ended on Friday night, a week earlier than they would have liked, as they lost three straight games to the Indianapolis Indians in the semifinals on the International League playoffs. Despite the disappointing ending, it was a strong year for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, who ended up with a 81-63 record (breaking their two year streak of going 68-76). For the tenth time in history (sixth as a Yankee affiliate), the RailRiders won the IL North Division title.

Scranton was a solid team on both sides the of the diamond, in large part to an array of top prospects put on their uniform at some point in 2015, but also thanks to some lesser known players. As a team, Scranton hit .271/.339/.389, giving them the highest average and on base percentage in the IL, and the fourth best slugging percentage. They did better than average when it came to pitch selection, striking out 979 times as a team, which was the fifth lowest total in the IL, while taking 480 walks – the fifth highest in the IL.… Click here to read the rest

Why I Am Quitting Daily Fantasy Baseball

Creative Commons license via flickr / DraftKings Andrew Atkinson

Creative Commons license via flickr / DraftKings Andrew Atkinson

I love playing daily fantasy baseball at Fanduel.com. The game that has rapidly evolved over the past few years is thrilling. I have always loved playing Texas Hold ‘Em poker, but moved to a city far away from the nearest decent casino. Daily fantasy baseball filled the game of skill game in my heart for a short period of time, made all the better by my love of baseball.

I am quitting daily fantasy baseball.

Why? I had long suspected that a great number of players on Fanduel were professional gamblers, but their true impact on the game stunned me this week. The best part about a game of skill is that the best players can win money. The house (Fanduel in my case) takes a rake and provides the infrastructure, but you are fundamentally competing against other people on the site. If you’re smarter and better than those people, you win money.… Click here to read the rest

About Yesterday Afternoon: #TANAK

Tanaka vs BAL III

The Yankees needed to win yesterday’s game to avoid falling 5 1/2 games behind the Blue Jays in the division race and to avoid an embarrassingly awful four-game sweep at home. Luckily they had Masahiro Tanaka on the mound, and while he didn’t last as long as he did in his last start against Toronto , he was just as great. Tanaka kept most of the power hitters off balance, and helped shut out the Blue Jays lineup for the first time since the All-Star Break.

In his last two starts against Toronto (16 innings pitched), Tanaka is 2-0. He has walked three batters, struck out 15, has held the potent Blue Jays lineup to a paltry .164 BA and he has not allowed a home run. That last one is important because that team likes the long ball and hits it often.

So how do you shut down a team with such a potent offense? You don’t allow them to feast on fastballs.… Click here to read the rest