Thursday, August 31, 2017

DON'T WORRY, WE GOT KRATZ!

Source: Rob Tringali/Getty Images North America
The Yankees have just signed Erik Kratz... a catcher... yup... we're good now.

Our guy Bryan Hoch writes:

"...they added catching depth prior to Thursday's waiver trade deadline by acquiring Erik Kratz from the Indians in exchange for cash considerations.



Kratz, 37, has appeared in parts of seven seasons for five Major League teams, primarily as a backup. He last appeared in the Majors in 2016 for the Pirates and batted .270/.359/.472 with 38 runs, 16 doubles, a triple, 13 home runs, 37 RBIs and 32 walks in 86 games at Triple-A Columbus this season."

So there you go.  There is literally nothing more for me to say about this.

Enjoy that.


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GLEYBER TORRES JUST SIGNED SOMEWHERE FASCINATING...


Quick note from Topps cards and something you will pretty much read on no other Yankees fan site.  The Yankees top prospect Gleyber Torres has signed with Topps Authentics! That's pretty cool. Here's the press release on that for all you hardcore memorabilia collectors out there...

"The Topps Company has added top, young prospect Gleyber Torres to its Topps Authentics lineup. The New York Yankees top prospect has signed an exclusive deal for autographed memorabilia with Topps Authentics.

Fans can learn more and order pieces HERE. Topps Authentics, the memorabilia arm of The Topps Company, will offer signed baseballs and bats by Torres, who is rated in the top three of all MLB prospects, on Topps.com.


 'I’m happy to be part of this big family,' said Torres, who has appeared on Topps’ Bowman line of baseball cards. 'I’m happy to be here and everything Topps has done for me.'
Look for Torres’ signed memorabilia on Topps.com


 Topps Authentics is also the exclusive home for signed memorabilia for MLB standouts Carlos Correa, Francisco Lindor, Luis Severino, prospect Mickey Moniak and more."

As you know, I love Topps cards, one of my favorite products and collectibles as a kid and I still collect Topps today. This is just a nice edition to this great company.

Great Nugget.






IF YOU WEREN'T WORRIED BEFORE, WORRY NOW. JUDGE IS HURT.

Source: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images North America
I was afraid of this. Aaron Judge is hurt and I knew there was more to the "It's not affecting me at all"  non-answer we got almost two weeks ago. 

I wanted to believe that Judge was okay but after seeing his shoulder all bandaged up in two different interviews and in a terrible slump I knew something was up. It was just too much of a coincidence. We asked last week PANIC TIME: IS JUDGE INJURED? and now we know he is. We said he needed a brief recess and he got one on Monday and Tuesday when he participated in no baseball activities. Joe Girardi thought about playing him in both games of Wednesday's doubleheader but sided against it and played him in game 2. The Yankees know there is something wrong here too....but they aren't going to admit it to us.

(Aug. 29, 2017 - Source: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images North America)
Judge hasn't given us any details on the shoulder, he says that not any one specific event caused the issue but now all of the sudden the Yankees are considering giving judge a cortisone shot, read that HERE. Heck, why not an MRI at this point? A slumping player walking around with a bandaged up shoulder sounds like a good enough reason, especially since he is such an important part of the team and the Yankees need the Aaron Judge from BEFORE the All-Star game back. That nice Wild Card lead the Yankees once had is gone....it's down to ONE game.

Photo: Getty Images
I'm so glad that Joe Girardi can downplay this shoulder injury and just say "there's been discussions" about the cortisone shot. He also says that since Judge "feels pretty good about it, so I feel pretty good about it. The couple days off probably could help that as much as the rest of his body." How can you feel "pretty good about it" when your star player is slumping and your lead for the Wild Card is gone? It's not time for sunshine and rainbows here. It's time for the cold hard truth and some real facts.

The Yankees can't afford to prance around this issue anymore. Hearing judge himself say
"I’ve got ice on my shoulders, my knees. I wish I could ice my whole body. I’ve got to ice it every day. The whole body is kind of beat up" tells me that the issue is not getting better. Sure, all players have fatigue by this point in the season. They are all dealing with some sort of ailment but the Yankees need to start addressing the issue and treating it....not just waiting for it to treat itself.

Photo: Getty Images
We need Judge back and productive to make this postseason push. I appreciate the Derek Jeter like aspect to his approach with his shoulder issue. He's not making excuses and he obviously won't let us know that his shoulder is in fact bothering him.....but it isn't solving the issue.

Rest will only go so far if this is a serious problem. It's time to act on it now before it's too late...



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





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THE YANKS & THE LONG, HARD SWALLOW

Photo Credit: David L. Pokress
OK, everyone. Take a long, hard swallow of the strongest beverage you can stomach and repeat after Jack...



Now that THAT'S out of the way, let's not dwell on what a kick in the gut getting swept by Cleveland was.  Or on how awful it felt watching our boys put it all together for their first back-to-back series wins in months only to give it all right back again and then some.

Or on how frustrating it was to see them drop three games further back in the division race in only half the time it took them to make up two and a half games on Boston -- the leader of the pack by 5.5 games now and their opponent for the next four games.

Photo: Getty Images
Another sweep and they'd be facing an almost  insurmountable 8.5 game deficit with 26 games left to play on September 4th.

For some perspective, a comeback of that dimension would require both a hotter winning pace by the Yankees the rest of the way than they displayed in the season's first half  AND a bigger choke from Boston than their record-setting 2011 tank job that saw them eviscerate a nine-game lead on September 1st by losing 20 of their remaining 27 games.

Photo: Getty Images
So for the Yankees, the looming four-game series is no longer a juicy opportunity to overtake their rival to the north. It's now a battle to remain in contention and avoid getting blown out of the race -- and they know it.

“At this point, you’re going to be able to say those are the most important games of the season because we won’t run into them and [because of] where we are in the standings,” said Joe Girardi, who's usually the master of painting smiley faces on fugly situations.

Photo: Getty Images
“The calendar’s going to flip to a new month here pretty soon and we’re running out of time to catch those guys,” added the eternal optimist Brett Gardner.

And speaking of "running out of time to catch,"  the league decision on the timing of suspension appeal hearings for the team's entire major league catching contingent should drop anytime now.

More good news on the way there too, no doubt.

When it comes though, just remember to swallow hard and repeat what Jack said -- unless you're not a drinker. Or prefer to simply hope for the best.

If that's the case, Jack's got another line tailor-made for you.








--Barry Millman
BYB Writer
Follow me on Twitter: @nyyankeefanfore





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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

RAINY DAY SLOWS DOWN YANKEES' PACE

Source: Mike Stobe/Getty Images

We are in it.  We are in the thick of it, actually.  And last night, Mother Nature put us right in pause. And normally I would say, "Good, we could use a breather."  But this time, the rain hurts us right in the middle of a pennant race, right in the middle of two first place teams.  And this was not the right breather we needed.


"With four games against the Red Sox starting Thursday night in The Bronx, the Yankees could have done without the constant shower that washed out a Tuesday evening tilt against the Indians.

Because the forecast called for rain deep into the night, the Indians-Yankees game was postponed late Tuesday afternoon and rescheduled as part of a straight doubleheader Wednesday when the clubs were scheduled for a matinee," reported the NY Post yesterday.

Source: Newsday

But as we all know, we cannot change what we cannot control.  It is out of our hands and that is exactly the sentiment our Skipper indicated in his comments after the game was canceled last night.  “It is what it is and you got to handle it,’’ said Joe Girardi, whose club split the only twin-bill it played this season July 16 against the Red Sox at Fenway Park. “We will be prepared for it. The day off today will help the guys, but they will be tired [Wednesday] but we will figure it out.’’

Source: Charles Wenzelberg

So we reboot and we hope our bullpen can stay fresh and focused for what will be minimally 18 innings of baseball later today.  Change is coming- either for the good or for the worse.  And the next six games will be very telling as our story continues to be written this 2017 season.



--Suzie Pinstripe
BYB Managing Editor
Follow me on Twitter: @suzieprof




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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

YANKEES HAVE EYES ON OTANI

Photo: Getty Images
He is known as the Japanese Babe Ruth, although I find that to be absolutely ridiculous. But the truth is, the kid can hit and pitch and is a totally awesome ballplayer.  We've been talking about 23 year old Shohei Otani for a few years now on BYB.  Now it looks like Brian Cashman wants to see the kid for himself.

Newsday writes of Cashman...

(Kyodo News | Associated Press)
"...general manager Brian Cashman is en route to Japan to get a firsthand look at Shohei Otani, 23, whom many consider the best hitter and pitcher in the country.

Like plenty of other teams, the Yankees have scouted Otani, who bats lefthanded and throws righthanded, and the reports have been glowing."



And yes, it's important to mention that several teams are looking at this kid.  This trip by Cashman is by no means a lock to get him.  It is a good thing that the Yanks are giving him a look though.

Stay tuned...



Monday, August 28, 2017

FROM FUTILITY TO FAVORITES... HERE COME THE YANKS!

2.5 games back. What a difference a week makes.

Photo: New York Daily News
Seven days ago when the Yankees were five games down in the division race and it felt like forever since they'd even sniffed back-to-back hits with runners in scoring position much less a winning series, I strongly urged my more dispirited brethren not to overlook the strategic vantage point of being prematurely left for dead by a division leader and some up-and-coming wild card chasers on hot streaks.

"The likelihood they could do better than they are now is still pretty good, and that prospect coupled with the possibility some other teams cool off a bit might just get them the October surprise nobody expected before the season started," I wrote. "...If they can bag themselves series wins against the Tigers, Mariners and Indians before they face Boston a final time and take them as well, this team could roll into September  fortified by fresh call ups and returning starters in a full-speed blitzkrieg on a division title."

(AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
Needless to say I took some razzing at the time for my optimistic Yankee-blue colored glasses view -- as have, I imagine, some of my like-minded BYB colleagues. But my optimism was actually rooted in long experience with both the unpredictable ebb and flow of  AL East races and the Yankees' own peculiar habit of pulling a Seabiscuit whenever it heads into the home stretch glimpsing the ass of a lead horse galloping away in front of them. Something just clicks and they always seem to find another gear.

Photo: NJ.com
And this past week, find another one they did as the offense finally woke up with a boom thanks to a couple of wounded warriors returning to the lineup and some deep rotation turns. The result: A pair of long overdue back-to-back series wins against the aforementioned Tigers and Mariners, a 4-2 record on the week and the end to a nauseating 0-for-11 streak in rubber games.

(AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
As NY's winning pace picked up speed, Boston's (not unexpectedly to this writer) skidded to a 2-5 mark, including a sweep at the hands of the .500 Orioles. (See my piece last Wednesday entitled YANKEES GOT BOSTON RIGHT WHERE WE WANT THEM for more on "this jungle of division cannibals where everyone who isn't in the race always tries extra hard to take down those who are.")

Photo: New York Daily News
All in all, a pretty positive start in the right direction. A series win against the Indians is next on my must-do list.

That's where things start to get really interesting.

If our boys manage to take two or more games from Cleveland, regardless how Boston does against Toronto, it's going to be damn hard to maintain this underdog advantage heading into the Labor Day weekend series against them-- and damn near impossible after that against anyone else if they take down Boston as well.


The good news, though, is they may not need it anymore after that. To date, no team in the American League has a better home winning percentage than the Yankees and no team in the majors has played fewer home games either. That means that with 21 of their remaining 33 games at home, no team in the majors is set up more favorably schedule-wise for a stretch run.

If they can just sneak by some Indians this week and bloody some Sox this weekend, the team nobody gave a chance and then everyone left for dead are poised to end this crazy 2017 marathon with a September sprint to the finish line nobody saw coming.


Except, of course, anyone wearing Yankee-blue colored glasses.



--Barry Millman
BYB Writer
Follow me on Twitter: @nyyankeefanfore




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MLB NEEDS TO FIX THE "BAD UMPIRES" PROBLEM!

Photo: New York Daily News
I have always shared in the opinion that there is a human-error element to the great game of baseball. No one is perfect, umpires are going to make mistakes now and then. That doesn't make them incompetent....unless you are talking about Angel Hernandez. In that case, I say he is incompetent for many reasons but that is just my opinion of course. Now that Instant Replay has come into baseball it shows us a whole other side to the drama.

The past week has shown me now more than ever the MLB doesn't have a problem with blown calls so much as BAD UMPIRE BEHAVIORAL issues. Yes, I said it. The terminology may not be the best but I will stand by it. I get that umpires are going to blow some calls and make mistakes and some will admit their mistakes and I am okay with that.


Heck, Jim Joyce admitted he made a mistake when he blew the final out of Armando Galarraga's perfect game. He even got emotional about it after he saw the video and you could tell he was sympathetic when he apologized. But not all umpires are like Jim Joyce.

Look, the fiasco with the Tigers is still on my mind. The series with the Mariners has come and gone and I am still stuck on the brawl with the Tigers. Am I the only one who still remembers all of the drama started weeks ago when the Tigers played at Yankee stadium? Sure, there were no bench clearing brawls but it set up everything that happened days ago. The Yankees hit Mikie Mahtook twice in the game although unintentionally it still made Michael Fulmer grow a pair and intentionally throw at Jacoby Ellsbury in the hip.

Photo: Getty Images
So fast forward to Thursday. Once again Fulmer is on the mound and he plunks Gary Sanchez in the hip. Really? Another throw to the hip and at the Yankees hottest hitter. THAT MOMENT right there is where the umpires should have stepped in and warned both sides. The same guy throws at us again and the umpires don't realize that no matter if it was intentional or not (whatever you choose to believe) that this could get both sides fired up?


So of course, Tommy Kahnle has to defend his team and decides to throw behind Miguel Cabrera and then Kahnle is immediately ejected from the game and so is Joe Girardi. So no warnings, but let's just eject players. It was the wrong call from the start and the umpires let this get out of control.

So on Sunday there was no brawl, but there was another major blunder by the umpires who ruled against a clear interference play. With one out and a runner on first base, Robinson Cano grounded to Chase Headley at first base. He tried to start a double play by forcing Jean Segura out at second but Segura got in the way of shortstop Didi Gregorius and he was unable to turn the double play. Replays showed he clearly was out of the baseline and was in fact running on the grass (see the play HERE) so Girardi challenged Segura interfered with Gregorius.

Photo: New York Daily News
The call wasn't reversed and when Girardi came out of the dugout to get an explanation crew chief Mike Everitt threw him out. All he wanted was an explanation, instead he got tossed out of his fifth game.

Now I happen to have a lot of respect for Everitt, but the quick reaction to just eject Girardi is ridiculous. MLB has a problem to correct here. The players have codes of conduct to abide by and the umpires should be no different. Fans CAN forgive an umpire for admitting they were wrong but being unprofessional is just inexcusable.

The Yankees have consequences they will have to pay for their behavior against the Tigers last week with their fines and suspensions.....but why not the umpires? Think about it.



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






Sunday, August 27, 2017

BOMBERS BASKING IN ORIOLES SUCCESS AT FENWAY

Source: The Boston Globe

3.5.  That's where we are today.  3.5 games back in the American League East Standings and 3.5 games up in the Wild Card.  And if we could have edged out a win on Friday evening, it would have been 2.5 games all in part to the Baltimore Orioles playing spoilers as they convincingly beat the Red Sox for two straight games since entering Boston on Friday.  The Birds beat the Sox 7-0 yesterday and 16-3 on Friday night.

Source: The Boston Globe

According to MLB.com, "Sonny Gray entered Saturday having had an uneven tenure with the Yankees thus far. In his four starts, he'd pitched to a shiny 3.13 ERA, yet had just a 1-3 record and 1.55 strikeout-to-walk ratio to show for his efforts. Thankfully, for the Yankees, Gray had his best start with his new team against the Mariners."  It was a must-win game and the Yankees edged out Seattle with a 6-3 victory.

Source: Adam Hunger-USA TODAY Sports

These are the types of game we need to win.  Friday night's game, coming after the Wednesday fight fest in Detroit, should have been a game we won, allowing us to edge closer to the Red Sox in the AL East standards.  We simply can't afford to drop games, which are clearly winnable, like we saw in Friday night's 2-1 loss to Seattle. "For much of the game, however, it felt like that one mistake would be his downfall. The offense was dormant, despite having multiple chances against Seattle starter Ariel Miranda. He did not have a good game, struggling with his command and constantly falling behind in the count. The Yankees managed to load the bases in the third when Miranda walked Tyler Austin, Todd Frazier, and Brett Gardner. Despite this, he escaped damage by getting Aaron Hicks to pop out, and then forcing Gary Sanchez to fly out," reported SB Nation.  There was also the missed opportunity to challenge the Didi Gregorius out at third after he committed a fatal base running foul, which could have given us a lead earlier on.

Source: Photo: Adam Glanzman

Yet, if we are going to lose some games, it is good to know our brothers from Maryland are there to do some beat downs on big brother Boston.  We reap the O's success as we head into the final game with Seattle this afternoon and a week filled with the Indians and the Red Sox themselves as both teams head to the Bronx.  So, some frustrating days in Yankeeland this week leading to an eclipse of happiness and celebrations as the Red Sox drop three straight.  We have to take these small victories when we can, but at the same time, make sure we stay focused on winning ball games if we are going to catch Boston and be the team no one predicted this spring.



--Suzie Pinstripe
BYB Managing Editor
Follow me on Twitter: @suzieprof





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MAYWEATHER WINS: EXPERIENCE OVER YOUTH


I didn't watch the fight between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor.  I thought it was silly, but at the same time with everything going on in the world, it was kind of a nice distraction to hear them bad mouth and rip each other for the past few months.

I love the fights, don't get me wrong.  I used to go to the Garden in my Sunday best, sit in my seat and watch some of the best. 


Arturo GattiLennox Lewis.  It was great fun and a truly different atmosphere than a baseball game.  It's just electric, no other way to describe it.  But last night was family night and so I took that over this fight.  From what I've read, from what I've watched this morning... it was a doozy, and in the end, it was Floyd that won. His sport, his experience ended up beating the young Conor McGregor... an MMA guy and not a professional boxer.


Now does it surprise me? Not really.  The circus was fun though.  I think even Conor knew that he was outmatched, but wanted the challenge and I respect that. But bottom line, when you're an MMA guy and used to the pounding... the give and take, you collect your $75 plus million if you lose because that makes healing better. 

Do I care? No.  You do what you need to do.

Do I wish that Mayweather would have lost? Sure... I mean, I guess.  This is a guy that has talked trash all his life. It would have been cool to see him be alittle humbled.


But that didn't happen, and Floyd proved that he's one of the greatest of all time... even if it was after a win over an MMA fight and not a true boxer.

NESN had some of the best reporting on this fight:

"Most expected Floyd Mayweather to win Saturday night’s superfight with Conor McGregor, but the bout itself was surprisingly competitive.  In fact, McGregor was on top through the first three rounds of the fight. The Notorious clearly was the aggressor in the opening stages, landing punches on Mayweather and showcasing great pace in the ring.

But while McGregor started off strong, Mayweather’s class and experience began to show off in the middle and latter stages of the match.


Mayweather never lost his composure, and the legendary boxer really began to turn on the offense in the ninth round. With McGregor noticeably dazed and fatigued in the 10th, Mayweather finished off the UFC superstar via TKO to extend his career boxing to record to 50-0.

Mayweather’s perfect record is remarkable, but this fight never seemed to be a legacy booster for Floyd. He took on another fighter from a completely different sport, albeit one of the most popular and successful fighters in the industry’s history. If we’re calling a spade a spade, Mayweather viewed this fight as a cash cow, and Money probably will be satisfied with his handsome payout, which reportedly will be north of $200 million.

He went up against a newcomer to the sport of boxing, and he did what he was supposed to do."



For those of you that bought the fight... you got your money's worth and it truly is a win, win for everyone here.  For Floyd sure... for McGregor who broke his cherry in the boxing world last night, and for us fight fans who paid for and saw something pretty great.

Congrats to Floyd... the G.O.A.T.


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