Thursday, April 27, 2017

AFTER THE WIN, A WORRISOME WINCE

Photo: Getty Images
Aaron Judge homered like Superman and made a catch trying to fly like him. Luis Severino pitched a 7-inning beauty. Greg Bird drove in a crucial insurance run.

The opening game of the 2017 Red Sox series was memorable for its key contributions from the team's younger members.

I'm just hoping it doesn't become remembered for something worse.

Photo: Getty Images
As NJ.com's Brendan Kuty reported last night: "Chapman grabbed his left elbow immediately after he closed out the Yankees' 3-1 win over the Red Sox at Fenway Park on Wednesday.

The fireballing closer fanned Josh Rutledge with a 98-mph fastball and as catcher Austin Romine put a congratulatory arm around his shoulder, Chapman briefly clutched the crucial joint.

Afterward, however, Chapman said it was nothing.

"I feel fine," Chapman said, via team translator Marlon Abreu. "Thank God, I feel fine."

There seems to be reasons to worry, though.


Chapman, whose fastball had averaged 100 mph in seven outings this season, touched the century mark just once. Instead, it averaged 98.7 mph, according to Brooks Baseball. He also got just two swings and misses.

Chapman needed a season-high 33 pitches to get through the inning, in which he allowed a run and then put runners on the corners for Rutledge. Rutledge put a scare into the Yankees when he lifted a slider for a long fly to left field, but it stayed foul. On the next pitch, Chapman ended it.

Manager Joe Girardi said Chapman's recent lack of action could have been why the closer struggled. He had only pitched twice since April 17, his last appearance coming Saturday.

"He hasn't had a lot of work and that could have something to do with it," Girardi said.

Photo: Getty Images
Chapman didn't allow any excuses.

"I would not blame not throwing for a couple of days or blame the weather at all. It's just sometimes you're not as sharp. That's it," the 28-year-old said."

We've heard that one before.  I hope the team won't take his word for it and plans to scope his shoulder to be sure.



 --Barry Millman
BYB Writer
Twitter: @nyyankeefanfore





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SEVY WAS STELLAR. JUDGE IS A GOD!

(April 25, 2017 - Source: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images North America)
No way around it, last night was a foggy, weird Yankees-Red Sox game, but it was nice to see the kids dominate.  The win was nice... seeing the youngsters get opportunities and perform like we've been waiting for was truly delightful.

This is not a full game recap, this is just me saying I loved what I saw from Luis Severino and Aaron Judge.

(April 25, 2017 - Source: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images North America)
Luis Severino... 7 innings strong, allowed 3 hits and no runs.  He struck out 6 against a statistically better pitcher in Rick Porcello.

Photo: Getty Images
Aaron Judge, on his birthday, 1 for 3 with a home run and 2 RBIs. For Judge, it was his 7th dinger.

I need to smile... it's a wonderful thing folks. Not much more to say...

Oh yeah, there's this... Don't worry about .118 Greg Bird. He'll figure it out.  Every player is different. Slumps happen, and that's what is happening here.

Yanks win... the kids blossom.



BIG NEWS FOR BYB FRIENDS, THE BELLINGERS!

Just a quick note to pass along in this last full week of April baseball....because you can never have enough good news, right?

Photo: USA Today Sports / Picture of Cody Bellinger

Early in 2016 I was fortunate enough to meet Clay Bellinger. We talked about his time with the Yankees and his life now as a firefighter in the town I live in, you can read that in BYB's EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: CLAY BELLINGER.


I could tell how much he really enjoyed his time with the Yankees but the part that he loved talking about the most was definitely his son Cody Bellinger. Last year Cody was working his way quickly through the Dodger's minor league system, and now Cody has finally been called up and Clay is definitely a proud dad!


Cody is considered to be the Dodger's top prospect and future first baseman, but his versatility, talent and experience in the outfield makes him an even bigger reason why he is so important to the Dodgers. Right now the Dodgers have a lot of holes in their outfield to fill. Center fielder Joc Pederson is on the disabled list with a strained right groin and left fielder Franklin Gutierrez is on the DL with a left hamstring strain. Infielder Logan Forsythe is also sidelined by a broken right big toe....and that opens the door for Cody.

After a brief interview with Fox Sports HERE, it sounds like Cody was surprised to get the call but we aren't. Cody has progressed quickly through the system thanks to his hard work and recognizing his own areas of improvement, like changing his swing that Clay talked to us about last year. The season is till young but he has a .343BA with five home runs, four doubles, 15 RBIs and seven stolen bases in 18 games at Triple-A this year. He is also among the Pacific Coast League leaders in several offensive categories. Numbers like those are how you get a quick call up


Once the Dodgers get some of their regulars healthy again they are likely to send Cody back down....but I bet money he will be back up again this season. We did text message Clay Bellinger Tuesday night assuming the proud dad had to be in San Francisco for his son's big debut and sure enough, we got a text back thanking us and shortly after MLB Network had a quick story on Cody and we spotted the Bellinger family in the stands. What a cool moment!

Bellinger may not be a Yankee, but he and his whole family are now part of the BYB family and if you read us regularly you know how important that is to us. This isn't just a blog about baseball, it is much bigger than that. It's cool witnessing people that you meet in life achieve big things. So a big congratulations goes out to Cody and the Bellinger family! We look forward to watching you continue to do big things.




--Jeana Bellezza
BYB Managing Editor
Follow me on Twitter: @NYPrincessJ




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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

THE PRESSURE TEST

Image result for 2017 yankees
Photo credit: Rich Schultz/Getty Images
With all the commotion about the Baby Bombers and how good they look, they are about to walk into their biggest test so far this year. Look, anybody can look great on paper, and this team really does. You have to hand it to Brian Cashman and how he was able to protect the rookies in the farm system. Now they are in the next phase of their development, where they have to go out and demonstrate what they actually can do. Can the hitting and the pitching and the defense all come together, at least for three pressure games?

Photo credit: Seth Wenig/AP
When the season began, we knew this team had "stuff". Potential. Talent. Whatever you want to call it. It has become obvious that they like to play at Yankees Stadium, and not too many other places. I am interpreting that to mean that the kids are riding an emotional high of a home crowd cheering them on and they can translate that into wins. I interpret it that way also because I'm an optimist and that's the best story you can tell about them. Their road record is a little disconcerting. I know it’s only a couple of series. Still, it could be a troubling sign if they shut down when they hear boos or don't feel at home. They're young, so it could just be nothing.

Apr 23, 2017; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery (47) delivers a pitch against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports (Charles LeClaire)
Photo Credit: Charles LeClaire/USA TODAY Sports
Fenway Park is a beautiful place for a player to find out what you're made of as a Yankee. To say that they hate us there is an understatement. I've been there, with my Yankee t-shirt. I took a shoulder to the chest and had them run out of water as soon as I got to the front of the line. I can't say I've ever seen a Red Sox fan get that kind of treatment at the Stadium, but that's another topic for another story. The point is that it's a pressure cooker in that park. If you can master that environment, you've got the nerves of steel to handle playoffs or whatever else comes.

Image result for 2017 yankees

Keep your eye on Aaron Judge. That Home vs. Away stat breakdown is misleading. The Yankees played their first six games on the road, and Judge had a cold start. After a .133 batting average 5 games in, he has turned it around. His average is up to .279, his OPS is up at .983, his home runs are coming, and he is riding a 4-game hitting streak going into the Boston series. Austin Romine and Ronald Torreyes, the two big “subs”, are hitting .293 and .324 respectively. Chase Headley continues to be on a serious tear, batting .339 and reaching base safely in all but two of the Yankees’ first 18 games. Except for Judge, these guys are hitting well above expectations and even their career numbers. You hope it’s the effect of a winning mindset.

Apr 7, 2017; Baltimore, MD, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Luis Severino (40) in the first inning at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. (Mitch Stringer/USA TODAY Sports)
Photo Credit: Mitch Stringer/USA TODAY Sports
The pitching is where we have seen the biggest difference between home and away games. At home, Yankee pitchers have an ERA of 2.33. On the road, it’s 4.08. That tells the story right there. I am paying close attention to Luis Severino, the starter for the first game against the Red Sox. A lot hangs in the balance on this kid’s ability to return to form. His first game was a clunker, and the last two he has shown much improvement. That said, he pitched those two games against the Rays and the White Sox. Boston is a much better team. Will he maintain his current trajectory? CC Sabathia, the starter in the second game, started out well in his first three starts and the last one was a dud. I have him at 50/50 on being able to give us a quality start.

Photo Credit: Andy Marlin/USA TODAY Sports
The bottom line is that this week is going to be a real test. Yes, they faced the Orioles and the Cardinals, two very competitive teams. If you’ve been a fan of the Yankees for any length of time, you know this series is always different. The kids are going to feel the weight of this series, and we’ll see what they’re made of. Like I said before, I’m an optimist.



--Ike Dimitriadis
BYB Contributor
Follow me on Twitter: @KingAgamemnon





JETER & MATTINGLY TO HAVE MORE IN COMMON THAN YANKEES


It's official, Derek Jeter is closer to being an owner of an MLB team than a player.  Just under three years since he retired from the game in which he has left a lasting impact, The Captain has set his eyes on the Miami Marlins and becoming their new owner.  According to the New York Times, "A group including Jeter and Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor and presidential candidate, has reached a tentative agreement to buy the Miami Marlins, according to two people briefed on the situation who requested anonymity because the deal is not official."  The agreement, according to The Miami Herald, includes a purchase price of $1.3 billion and the eager owner of superstar Derek Jeter, who has never been shy about his intention on buying a baseball franchise.

Source: Yahoo Sports

This means that not only with Jeter be an owner of the flailing major league team in Florida but a new boss for another iconic Yankee, Don Mattingly.  They will share in common not only working for the same team as a player, but now as leaders of the Miami Marlins.


“He’s always talked about it,” Mattingly told The Sun-Sentinel this month, referring to Jeter’s ownership aspirations. “I asked him if he wanted to coach and he’s like, ‘Never.’ I’m sure he’ll be good. Jeets pretty much seems to be good at everything he tries to do.”

Source: The Miami Herald

According to the Times, "The Marlins have been owned since 2002 by Jeffrey Loria, a New York art dealer with a fondness for former Yankees. Loria succeeded in getting a new ballpark built for the franchise in 2012, but the Marlins have been plagued by low attendance and distrust of the ownership by the team’s fans."  These two problem areas are something that Jeter-Bush group will have to tackle in order to reboot the Miami team in the eyes of its current and eventual/hopeful fans.  Jeter's humble beginnings pair very nicely with a brand-rebuild of the Marlins and our Captain is just the guy to make that happen.

Source: Sports Illustrated

According to the New York Post, "Bush and Jeter, who in his childhood dreamed of being the Yankees’ shortstop, must round up more financing to make the deal a go, multiple sources said." In addition, the Post reported that "typically, MLB wants a setup in which about 60 percent of the purchase price is paid immediately and no more than 40 percent is financed, but it is possible that for a team with financial troubles such as the Marlins, MLB could demand even more be paid initially."

Source: USA Today

Anyway you slice it, the purchase of the Marlins would be Jeter's second professional dream come true since retiring at the end of 2014, after a incredible 20-year career as a Yankee.  His first was starting The Player's Tribune, a hub for athletes' slice of life stories.  Now he could be the next owner of the Miami Marlins, who in theory don't compete against the Yankees except for some inter league games and of course, if both attained a ticket into the World Series.

Stay tuned as the sale talks continue, but if all goes well for Jeter, as it usually does for our #2, then he could be at the helm of the Marlins' ship on course for the next adventure of his MLB career.





--Suzie Pinstripe
BYB Managing Editor
Twitter: @suzieprof





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