Sunday, October 13, 2019

LOOK WHO’S DOMINANT NOW!

(Associated Press/Sue Ogrocki)
The first game of the ALCS is in the books, and what a performance we saw by the Yankees! The starter, the bullpen, the hitting, the defense – just about everything went the Yankees way tonight. Perhaps what makes it all the more gratifying is the way most coverage has focused on how dominant the Astros are expected to be in this series. How the Yankees had to win at least one game in Houston to have a chance. Yes, mathematically the Yankees had to win at least one game in Houston to win the series. But if you believed what you heard on TV and on the radio, you would have thought winning last night or tonight were both longshots. Well, you find out how dominant you are when you face another dominant team. Last night, the Houston Astros and their fans found out.

New York Yankees second baseman Gleyber Torres, left, and right fielder Aaron Judge celebrate after their win against the Houston Astros in Game 1.
(Associated Press/Matt Slocum)
After the first 3 innings, both Masahiro Tanaka and Zack Greinke had faced the minimum 9 batters. Both had given up a hit and benefited from a double play. Then Gleyber Torres lit it up; first with a double in the 4th scoring DJ Lemahieu from second. Then, he hit a solo homer in the 6th. followed by a 2-rbi single in the 7th. He finished them off with an infield dribbler to score Lemahieu from third.  Add to that solo home runs by Giancarlo Stanton and Gio Urshela, and the Yankees lived up to their hitting reputation with 7 runs on the board.

Torres, Tanaka lead Yankees over Astros 7-0 in ALCS opener
(Associated Press/Eric Gay)
When I look at the other side of my scorecard, it’s pretty clean. Tanaka went 6 innings and faced the minimum number of 18 batters. You probably heard the announcers talk about that repeatedly. What they didn’t mention as much was that by the end of the game, Yankees pitchers only faced 2 batters over the minimum. In other words, the domination continued up to the final out. There were a few other indicators of domination. Like the fact that the Astros had a runner on third for a grand total of one pitch! That was right after Gleyber Torres and Didi Gregorius let a Jose Altuve grounder roll through the infield for a “single” that put Michael Brantley on third. One pitch and one replay review later, and Alex Bregman had hit into an inning-ending double play. That's it.

(Associated Press/Eric Gay)
I cannot say enough about how well Masahiro Tanaka pitched. Unless you’re counting foul balls, Kyle Tucker’s single in the 3rd was not only the first hit, it was the first time in the game that a Houston hitter hit the ball out of the infield. That feat would only be repeated two more times, once when Brantley flied out to Stanton in left in the 4th and once when Yordan Alvarez flied out to Aaron Judge in right in the 5th. He had outstanding control, allowing only one hit, one walk, and only got to ball 3 with three hitters. Against an offense touted to score 20 runs per game, that was almost superhuman.

Torres, Tanaka lead Yankees over Astros 7-0 in ALCS opener
(Associated Press/Matt Slocum)
The big takeaway, especially for the Astros, is that if they thought that all they had to do was show up, they found out how good the Yankees are. Just like we’ve been hearing about how good Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole are and what it will take to beat them, the same goes both ways. Houston is going to have to work hard and they’ll need to catch a few breaks to beat the Yankees. Suffice to say, I expect most of the coverage today to be about whether Houston will recover from last night’s beating, whether the Yankees can keep the momentum going, and about how critical Verlander’s start is tonight. Personally, I think the Yankees are gonna sweep the series. But we’ll see. In any case, the ALCS is living up to its billing of being an awesome series. Let’s go Yankees!





--Ike Dimitriadis
BYB Contributor

Twitter: @KingAgamemnon 

Saturday, October 12, 2019

THE MAIN THING TO REMEMBER IS THE YANKEES ARE A GREAT TEAM!


The Astros are scary. But... the Yankees are damn good.  And that's the balance that we have to keep in perspective.  Now you can read all the sports writers that will analyze teams and runs and pitchers and who will be on and who will be off all you want.  It means nothing.

At the end of the day it comes down to how an athlete feels, if he can figure out the edge, if they have the confidence to come through in the clutch and if they can navigate properly.  You could have the best hitter at the plate with the bases loaded, but the pitcher on the mound that night, who perhaps hadn't been too good all season suddenly recognizes how to pitch to that big hitter... and then... whatever percentages and stats you have at that moment... can get ripped up and thrown out the window.


The Yankees are a great baseball team.  They have proven all year long that with challenges comes successes.  Each player contributes in some way. Each player works to lift another up. Think about all the injuries we've had.  It really wasn't a factor even though the sports writers had us written off early on.  It's been an incredible season.  A special one.

Are the Astros good? Of course they are.  Are they feared? Some would say they are.  But they are beatable... especially with this amazing Yankees team. Even Zack Greinke thinks so. The New York Daily News writes:


"'A lot of good hitters. It's tough to get good hitters out than not as good hitters,' Greinke said."


It's a simple statement, but a very true one. Hot, good hitters nag pitchers. It doesn't matter how good a pitcher is, good hitters find the holes and get on base. Good hitters beat the shift, hit for power.... you find a way to get one... even if it's a walk. That's the Yankees.

ESPN writes:

"The Yankees face the same challenge the Cardinals did in their Game 1 -- they're not facing the Astros' best or second-best starter, but if they lose, things could get ugly with Justin Verlander and Gerrit Cole lined up next. "

Maybe it gets ugly... maybe not. Both Astros pitchers are beatable.


Last time I checked Verlander got his tits lit up last start.  ESPN forgot to mention that.  Cole? His post season numbers are all over the map, from a 7.20 ERA with the Pirates in 2015 in the Wild Card game to a 6.00 ERA with the Astros in 2018 in the ALCS.


So far in this post season he has a 0.57 ERA with 2 wins.  Sure he's hot, but 2 things are going on here; We know he can fall into a bad rut... history tells us that.  Also... he hasn't faced the Yankees yet in the post season this year.  Those stats essentially mean nothing.

And let's talk about the Yankees.  The New York Post writes this:


"'Wow, I’ve never seen anything like Gleyber, especially at his age, 22, to be doing what he’s doing in the big leagues is something that’s unheard of,' Judge said Thursday at Yankee Stadium. 'When I was 22, I was playing in A-ball in Charleston, South Carolina, not nearly on as big a stage and facing the best arms in the biggest situations in the world.'”

That's a compliment to Torres from someone that knows him well. His teammate.  That's not a reporter... that's a pal.

The Ringer writes:


"To ask Severino, James Paxton, and Masahiro Tanaka to match Verlander and Cole pitch-for-pitch is to set them up to fail, but the whole idea behind assembling a bullpen as good as New York’s (or Tampa Bay’s for that matter) is to take pressure off the starters. 

Severino and Paxton in particular are power arms capable of working harder if they know from the start they’re only going to throw 70 or 80 pitches instead of 110, and establishing that as the game plan from the outset would allow Boone to minimize the weaknesses of his pitching staff.


Bookmakers have the Yankees as nearly 2-to-1 underdogs, which is an odd thing to say about a team that won 103 regular-season games, swept its first playoff series, and is, after all, the Yankees. But the Rays nearly pulled off a first-round upset using this particular formula, and the Yankees will maximize their chances of doing the same by learning from Tampa Bay’s experience."

A lot to unwrap there, but this is dead on.  The Yankees have a pen that is unstoppable. They need their starters to keep them in the game, but ultimately they can fall back onto what works best to shut the opponent down... the pen. No team has a better one.  Plus... let's not forget that you get to the Yankees pen, you will slow down in run making for the opponent, all the while allowing the Yankees hitters to do their job... knock in runs.

Roto Grinders writes:


"I like the Yankees as a +148 underdog to win this series. They’re the hotter team at this point in the season, making lightwork of a Minnesota Twins team that won 101 games. Meanwhile, the Astros struggled a bit with a 96 win Rays team that had the lowest payroll in baseball. Obviously, the Rays were no slouch, but I think most people were surprised to see the Yankees handle such an explosive Twins team with ease while the Astros struggled with a team that lacked star power. "


Another amazing point.  Yanks won't stop going hard against the Astros. In fact, they will continue to play hard, especially now that it's the ALCS.

In the end, there is one most important point and it's this... no one knows for sure what will happen in this ALCS.  It's bits and pieces of information to formulate a prediction about a playoff game. Predictions don't matter.

In the end... none of this actually matters. What matters is that the Yankees show up, feel good and are smart players.  For Houston and it's team... it's the same thing.  Many factors.... all of it out of the control of the fans.


Just have fun and watch.  Yes, the Yankees will lose a game or 2. The Astros will too.  But in the end, it's about who goes that extra mile to come out on top and make it to the World Series. A simple and obvious statement and sadly, that's all I can offer you.

Yes. the Astros are a good team... and scary.  But so are the New York Yankees.

And this is Bleeding Yankee Blue.  You know who I'm rooting for.

Go Yanks!


Friday, October 11, 2019

THE YANKS, THE 'STROS, HICKS & THE ALCS

It's happening, folks! After a bump in the road (the Rays waking up), the Astros finally move on to face the Yankees in the ALCS.

I don't know about you, but I was rooting for the Astros so we could have an incredible series coming up. With a combined 210 wins in the regular season, these two teams are powerhouses.

Source: Bleacher Report

We're also getting a rematch of the 2017 ALCS where the Yanks dropped a 3-2 lead, allowing the Astros to go on and win the World Series against the Dodgers. (Would have loved a Yankees v. Dodgers World Series, shame.)


The Astros definitely showed their vulnerability in the past few games. If Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke can get smacked around by the Rays, imagine what our Yankees hitters can do to them.

"It's going to be a battle. They've got a great team," Alex Bregman said of the Yankees.

Source: New York Post

Thanks to our sweep, our guys are fully rested with Masahiro Tanaka and Luis Severino ready to go in Games 1 and 2. We can also activate CC Sabathia and Aaron Hicks for the series. So the team is looking in great shape, while the Astros will have less rest going into Saturday's game.

What do we need to do? Score quickly and get into the bullpen early. Since the Astros' aces, especially Gerrit Cole, aren't going to be ready to go until at least Game 3 giving us an edge.

"The Yankees are obviously a formidable squad, Cole said after the game when asked about facing the Yankees. "They've got a lot of talent, a boatload of talent. That's just how they've always made. They've very stoic, they grind out a lot of at-bats. It's going to be a tough matchup."I'm excited and I hope you are too! Let the battle begin.




--Missy O'Rourke
BYB Contributor
Twitter: @missy_orourke





LIKE I SAID, BRING ON THE ASTROS!

Photo Credit: (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
So now we now know that the Yankees will be facing the Houston Astros after they eliminated the Tampa Bay Rays in Game 5 last night. I felt like I saw this matchup coming for more than a month now, so I named my last piece on BYB THE YANKEES CRUSH THE TWINS - BRING ON THE ASTROS! Apparently a few friends and readers decided to take exception to my title and questioning why I would assume the Astros would win their Division Series. Obviously, you cannot assume the outcoming of any game or series. Just as obvious is the fact that if the Rays had won I would be writing a VERY different article. But, seriously?? I find it hard to imagine why anyone would NOT understand how high was the likelihood that the Astros would take it.


You cannot ignore the seismic effect that the Astros bring with Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, and Zack Greinke. You have three dominant starters, of which two are 20-game winners and the third an 18-game winner. They all have ERAs below 3 and WHIPs below 1 on the season. That’s what the Yankees are set to face starting tomorrow night. It’s a tall order, to be sure.

Photo Credit: CreditCreditWendell Cruz/USA Today Sports
If you listen to sports announcers and analysts, they are all talking about how with the Rays pushing the ALDS to 5 games, Gerrit Cole won’t be available until Game 3. The Yankees would face Cole in Games 3 and 7, Verlander in Games 2 and 6,  and Greinke in Games 1 and 5. That’s assuming they alk pitch on regular four days rest. To me, forcing game 5 just shifted the order of the starters. It's still the front three for two games each. Nevertheless, the Yankees still have some key advantages that I think will put them on top by the time the ALCS is over.

Photo Credit:  (Seth Wenig/AP)
The Yankees have done well against those three this season, all things considered. Historically, Verlander has struggled against the Yankees. We faced Verlander twice this season for a combined ERA of 4.15 and a combined WHIP of 1.154. Cole pitched against us once in April, throwing 7 innings and giving up 3 earned runs (ERA 3.86), 4 hits, and 2 walks (WHIP 1.000). Greinke faced the Yankees twice this year as a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks. He did well in his first outing and lasted 5 innings in his second, allowing 2 earned runs, 2 hits, and 3 walks.

Photo Credit: USA TODAY Sports (Noah K. Murray)
The point is these guys are hittable, and the Yankees have a track record to prove it. In the hysteria of their win last night, everyone is hyper-focused on the recent dominance of their starters. Memory of the power of the Yankees’ bats seems to have faded, at least for the time being. A few days ago they were covering how impossible it seems to be to keep the Yankees from scoring runs in bunches, and how the Yankees’ pitchers kept the team who set the single season team home run record from scoring.


One thing that everyone can agree on is that this ALCS is going to be epic. The two best teams in baseball are going to go head to head, and neither team is going to go down quietly. Whoever win will have earned it. My money is on the Yankees.












--Ike Dimitriadis
BYB Contributor
Twitter: @KingAgamemnon 

Thursday, October 10, 2019

PICK YOUR ALCS POISON: RAYS OR ASTROS?


Today is an important day, folks and I will definitely be glued to the television tonight. We will FINALLY get to see who the Yankees will take on for the ALCS. No matter who the Yankees play, it is going to be a tough series unlike what we saw against the Twins.

So who are the Yankees going to play....the Rays or the Astros? Or maybe the better question here is...which team would you PREFER to play? There are a few things to consider.


If the Yankees play the Rays:

1. The Yankees get home field advantage for the best of seven series. The Yankees had an 8-1 record against the Rays at home this season. They also play well at home and had the third best home record this season behind only two other teams: the Astros and the Dodgers.

2. More importantly, the Yankees have had success against the Rays this season, they won 12 of 19 games against them. The Rays 12 losses to the Yankees were its most to a single opponent in any season in which it reached the postseason. The last time the Rays lost 12 games to a division rival was in 2013 against the Red Sox, who also beat them in that year's ALDS.

3. Yankees would avoid Rays big arms early on

Since Tyler Glasnow will start opposite Gerrit Cole his next turn in the rotation wouldn't be until game three. The Rays are not as likely to start Glasnow on short rest (unlike other teams) after he missed four months earlier this season due to a right forearm strain. That injury was in May of this season at Yankee stadium where he gave up three earned runs. Charlie Morton also may not be available in Game 1 either because there is a very good chance he will pitch in relief tonight considering tonight's "win or go home" finale. If he pitches tonight the Rays are likely to give him two days rest. Also important, two of Morton's worst starts during this season were against the Yankees in the Bronx where he gave up five runs in both games.


BUT If the Yankees play the Astros:

1. Redemption!
I'm still thinking about 2017. Fans are still thinking about 2017. Oh and Aaron Judge is still thinking about 2017 against the Astros, "Any year you're not the last man standing, the season is a fail. You can win every single game in the regular season, but if you lose in the postseason it doesn't matter. Each year, it left a bad taste in my mouth, especially Game 7 in Houston, never a good taste going into the offseason. But for a lot of guys, that keeps us hungry," read more HERE. It won't be easy, but if the Yankees play the Astros and play their best game they could be the winner this time.


2. Yankees would avoid Astros big arms early on

Cole is starting today, so we won't see him early on, his next time in the rotation would lineup for Game 3. Could the Astros push his start up? Maybe, but Cole has never pitched on short rest before. He's also never pitched in relief before so it is unlikely they would use him in relief in place of his bullpen day. Then there is Justin Verlander, who did pitch on short rest on Tuesday and had his worst start of the season. The Astros are highly unlikely to pitch him again on short rest. If you like stats like I do check out fangraph's latest piece HERE, it gives some very interesting insight considering Verlander on short rest and stats show his body likes pitching on schedule. There is still Zack Greinke of course who is a good pitcher, but Cole and Verlander are the more intimidating arms.

Hopefully the extra rest does the Yankees some good and at the same time, the extra playing time hurts our soon to be opponents. The ALCS won't be easy, both of these teams are very good but you have to pick one to play.

Pick your poison....do you want the Rays or the Astros? Comment and tell us why.






--Jeana Bellezza-Ochoa
BYB Managing Editor
Twitter: @nyprincessj

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

YANKEES FIRST

Source: NY Times

The best thing about this Yankee team is that they all work together to contribute to the greater goal.  Each player adds his own value, his own personality and his own talent.  It is about the team first and the individual second.  This mantra has served this team well and they are just warming up!

“The biggest thing is not only the talent, but just how guys genuinely care about each other,” Maybin said late Monday night as the party inside the Yankees clubhouse wound down following a 5-1 win over the Twins at Target Field that completed an ALDS sweep. “Guys every day coming in here, whether it’s on the field or off the field, checking on each other, caring about what’s going on in each other’s lives. I think that’s what makes it special, the bond off the field and it carries over on the field," reported the NY Post.

Source: Detroit News

Maybin is one of those guys that whether he is on the bench or asked to step in to a game situation, he contributes.  But it is more than just performance, it is the chemistry that is unique about this team.  “It’s a brotherhood here, it’s not just a group of guys. I think every day, guys are excited to show up to the field and play together and try to accomplish something special. This is a special group,” reported the Post.

Source: Corey Sipkin, NY Post

“All of us are ready to help if called upon,’’ Frazier said, more words of growth. “It’s obviously a situation, you know you’d rather be there. But if we are called upon, I think any one of us is ready to contribute,’’ reported the NY Post.


The Yankees have been through the mill this season. Between injuries, disappointing calls and schedule challenges, they have had to step up, reset and perform at a much higher level.  It has been team first always.  The Savages have prevailed despite the odds, despite the set backs and beyond the expectations in light of their multiple stints to the IL.  Team first have served them well so far and they are just getting started.



--Suzie Pinstripe
BYB Managing Editor
Twitter: @suzieprof





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