Friday, August 31, 2018

GARY'S BACK & HE'S MORE FIT


No Gary Sanchez in the lineup tonight, which means he and Andrew McCutchen will be joining the Yankees in game play no doubt tomorrow.  Good, I'll be attending tomorrow's game. Maybe I'll bring them some luck. I kid, I kid.

But yes, it's true about Sanchez, he's back.  The New York Post writes this:

Jonathan Dyer/USA Today Sports, via Reuters
"Barring a setback, Sanchez will return to The Bronx on Friday and be activated the following day, manager Aaron Boone said before Thursday night’s series-opening game against the Tigers at the Stadium."

Not only that, he apparently a slightly thinner, more fit player. That comes from the guy with all the good nuggets, the Bergen Record's Pete Caldera:

There you have it.  I'm excited about tomorrow.

If you are going to the Yankee game tomorrow, wear your BleedingYankeeBlue.com shirts and I'll look for you!


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THE FIRST BASEMAN THAT'S NOT PLAYING FIRST

Photo: NY Post / Corey Sipkin
It's the curious mystery of Greg Bird and how he's the Yankees first baseman... and he rarely plays first base.

Can someone explain to me what is happening to first base and Bird? Tonight Luke Voit is the first baseman... again.


And why did Tyler Austin go to the Minnesota Twins? Seems like they got the better portion of that trade. Don't believe me? Ask Wonderboy's old man.  Because you know what? He's right.

The smallest of notes right here... but an interesting observation. Luke Voit is playing first.  NJ.com has that story:


"Hot-hitting Luke Voit is starting at first base for the second night in a row over slumping regular Greg Bird after belting his fourth homer in a week during Thursday night's 8-7 loss to the Tigers." 

How about this... just call Voit our first base starter.  It's clear they've lost faith in Bird.  I mean... you can't even market the guy right now.

And let me be clear, this is NOT a knock at Greg Bird. The organization has handled him poorly... bottom line.


I love the kid, but you can't suggest this guy is a starting first baseman and not play him because you're afraid of injury or concerned he's not playing well.  The only way to break the lousy gameplay is stick to your guns and let this guy work out the kinks in live games. If he falters, he falters, but he's a big league player now... a big boy... you gotta figure this out.  If you can't do that, then what's the point of having him on the club?  Put him on the junk heap. Don't worry Jacoby Ellsbury will keep him company.

By the way… speaking of marketing... look what should be arriving at my house in a few days.


Bring it bitches.


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DONE DEAL & CUTCH!


The Yankees got Andrew McCutchen. The reason? Aaron Judge will probably not be joining us the rest of the season.  If you didn't see that report from the other day, it was pretty sure to me that if Judge's wrist still hurts to the touch. and as Eric Boland of Newsday reported it still hurts… the pain is still there. The Yankees needed to move fast... and did.

Photo: MiLB.com
Here's the CBS Sports report of who the Yanks gave away:

"The cost is two prospects, infielder Abiatal Avelino and pitcher Juan De Paula, per the teams..."

Cashman made a smart move here.  Hopefully a veteran bat in McCutchen helps this club moving forward.  And if Judge comes back and has a clean bill of health... hell... that's better.

Welcome to the Bronx, Cutch.  Happy to have you.

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STANTON'S 300TH HOMER HANDLED WITH CLASS

Photo: Getty Images
I was impressed with how everything went down with Giancarlo Stanton's 300th home run.  First off... don't get it twisted.  Stanton did something big.  Not only did he crank 300 home runs, he also was the 5th fastest to do it in a baseball career.  That's pretty outstanding. FOX Sports has this...

"Yankees slugger Giancarlo Stanton joined the 300-home run club Thursday night, connecting for a two-run drive in the third inning against the Detroit Tigers. Stanton ended a 10-game homerless drought and became the 147th player to reach the mark, 11 of them active. He did it in 1,119 games, making him the fifth-fastest to hit the milestone behind Ralph Kiner, Ryan Howard, Juan Gonzalez and Alex Rodriguez. At 28, Stanton was the ninth-youngest player to hit 300..."


Photo: Getty Images
But then comes how it went down when he did it.  This was the breakdown for a man named Tim Kunz, the man who caught the ball, brought to us by Jack Curry:

Now why do I bring this up?  Because Tim could have pulled a Zach Hample and walked out of the building with it so he could roll around his bed with all the balls he caught over the years, but he gave it back to the dude that hit it. It's a class act, something he clearly didn't have to do, but did just the same.  The Yankees in turn rewarded the man and they should have, especially for being so good about it.

That Zach Hample is a real ass. My family and I were at a game at the stadium on Monday night... that Hample creep was there.  My 16 and 14 year old were with me and they spotted him... and they wanted to taunt him and cause some trouble.  Now, I never raised my kids to be that way... but I gotta tell you something; In the back of my mind I wouldn't have minded them shoving him into the wall as we walked by him. My kids are now strong, they're athletes. They play by the book... but if someone plays dirty... they'll play dirty back. Hample plays dirty.

But I'm their dad and so I instructed them not too. Instead, I walked by reminding him that he should be alittle more giving to the kids around him when he makes an important catch out there.  He's disgusting in my mind, but hey, I must be in the minority. There were people literally taking selfies with this creep.

Read a great piece about this jerk-off from former BYB writer Barry Millman:

THE BLACK EYE OF MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

Photo: Getty Images
Oh Well.  Anyway... I tip my cap to Tim Kunz... to the Yankees and of course to Stanton.  Job well done all around.

Not you Hample… you suck.


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Thursday, August 30, 2018

YANKS ACQUIRE McCUTCHEN... BUT NOT "OFFICIALLY" TONIGHT

Photo: Getty Images
Remember that time we put that item up about how it would be cool if the Yankees could somehow snag Andrew McCutchen and all these moron fans told me I'm an idiot and "How many people actually read this BYB garbage anyway?"  Well...

We may very, very, very soon have Andrew McCutchen... interesting.

The baseball insiders are all over it, but I like this tweet because Bob Nightengale does the right thing and gives props to the ones that broke it first. I like that. I do caution, neither team has called this a done deal yet:

That was followed by this tweet by me:

And then of course some dude told me to not feel bad for Robinson but instead Brett Gardner to which I responded...

And that's all I have on this other than the tell you that Nightengale just put this out just to keep us on our toes:



Oh... and if you wanted a rehash on how we may have nailed the McCutchen prediction and we're acting like the "called it" guy... here you go.

Photo: Getty Images
THAT ANDREW MCCUTCHEN RUMOR...

October, 2016.  I like this line: "I have a hunch that this is going to happen. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't think so."

Welcome to the Bronx, Andrew McCutchen...maybe.


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BOONE'S "FLUID SITUATION" AT FIRST

Photo: AP / Frank Franklin II
Don't call it a platoon, because Aaron Boone won't say it is. He's just as stoic about the complicated situation at first as he is with the complicated situation with.....the entire team. Even if the Yankees won't put a label on it they need to make a decision about the guys rotating in his lineup, especially one of them.

Hard to believe, but the season is winding down. Saturday marks the start of September. The time clock for the regular season is starting to dwindle, and so are Greg Bird's opportunities to solidify himself as the Yankees everyday first baseman.

Photo: Getty Images
Bird isn't doing himself any favors when he has nights like Tuesday when he goes 0-4 and makes an error on a routine play at first base. Bird says he couldn't close his glove on a routine throw to first because he was using a new glove. He called it a "stupid play that shouldn't have happened," read more HERE and then laughed it off....but if he keeps this up soon he won't be laughing.

Once Aaron Judge comes back (whenever that is) the Yankees will have more flexibility with their lineup. With that flexibility comes some hard decisions.

Photo: Getty Images
Luke Voit has been more productive than Bird, which I know isn't saying much but it's true. As the Yankees head down the final stretch they will need the reliable consistent bats in the lineup and at least Voit can hit and not drop routine balls at first.

Photo: Getty Images
But what about Neil Walker? He was just supposed to be that part-time utility guy who was awful at the beginning of the year. He didn't really start hitting until he was forced into an everyday role due to all of the team injuries. Walker has hit .275 in his last 37 games and he's filling in at any position with no questions asked. He's been a major contributing factor for the Yankees lately, unlike Bird.

So you have to wonder how much longer Boone and Yankee brass can remain patient with Bird. Boone's in a tough spot. He says he is trying to keep all of his guys relevant and put them in positions where they can succeed and "it’s a fluid situation and not necessarily a straight platoon."  It sounds more like trying to force puzzle pieces together, but either way Bird isn't making this easy on himself and I hope he figures it out. "You’ve just got to keep going. Keep looking for it, keep finding it. Sometimes, I think we get too wrapped up in trying to find it instead of letting it kind of happen." All of us have been waiting a long time for Bird to "find it" and now is that time to turn it on as we head towards the postseason. We can't just sit back and wait for it anymore.

Photo: Getty Images
Time is running out. Boone is going to have to figure out his "fluid situation" and Bird needs to figure out how to restore faith in his abilities as an everyday player. These aren't good problems to have this late in the season.



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




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Wednesday, August 29, 2018

30 GAMES TO THE FINISH LINE!


Source: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images North America

As a marathon runner, I can really appreciate the length of the major league baseball schedule.  162 games is a lot of games just as 26.2 is a lot of miles.  You get the analogy.  The baseball season resembles less of a sprint and more of a marathon with the time, energy and commitment it takes to be at your best and to stay the course. And after two bad games with the White Sox, despite a walk off win last night, we have to regroup and figure out how to improve our form to glide through the finish line with strength and purpose.

Source: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images North America

But even Aaron Boone, the eternal optimist of the Yankees, had nothing positive to say about the Yankees performance against the Chicago White Sox on Monday night.  He said the team did not play "clean baseball" and from the looks of the start of the game on Tuesday night, the Yankees seem to be continuing their unclean ways with two errors in two and half innings, placing us at a deficit early on in the game.

Source: Rich Schultz/Getty Images North America

"I thought there was some sluggishness tonight that we have to get past, and I don't think we played a very clean brand of baseball," manager Aaron Boone said bluntly as reported by the YES Network. Again, that kind of game play seemed to be duplicated on Tuesday night with Yankees bobbling balls and letting the weaker White Sox get the best of them or worst, depending on your outlook.


The kind of replication the Yankees need is that of 1978, the team that came back from 14 games in July to win the Division in a one-day winner takes all playoff in Fenway.  "If the Yankees are to duplicate their ’78 comeback, they’ll need more than a few things to go their way. In addition to feasting on lesser competition — something they’ve had difficulty with during parts of the season, but have done a better job with recently — their long list of injured impact players have to get back on the field and be productive," reported the New York Post.

Source: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images North America

But as of last night, Gary Sanchez has made some significant progress and is rehabbing in Scranton, Aaron Judge still has pain in his wrist and has not participated in any baseball activities, the Yankees are optimistic about Didi Gregorius getting back in the line up soon and the jury is still out Aroldis Chapman.  We need them all back...asap!


Source: Rich Schultz/Getty Images North America

30 games to the finish line sounds daunting but for marathon runners, it is just part of the mindset of getting it done.  The Yankees want to see winning baseball and they are going to lose a game or two. But, we need to win as many as we can in the next 30 games if we are going to win the Division.  And it is doable. We have proven we can do without for a number of weeks and still win, even if it is by the skin of our teeth. We need to commit, put our heads down and forge ahead and oh yea, don't give up.




--Suzie Pinstripe
BYB Managing Editor
Twitter: @suzieprof






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Tuesday, August 28, 2018

THE EXTREMES OF THE YANKEES

Photo: Getty Images
The Yankees are doing better than we all expected with a bunch of injured players.  They have been playing great baseball for nice streaks or a series, but then they fall apart with error and strikeouts the next series.  Makes no sense.  Inconsistency could be their downfall, despite how well they have been playing.  It's just the way it is.  It's just the way it's been.

The White Sox are beatable, and with the Red Sox off last night, it was a perfect opportunity for this Yankee team to gain alittle more ground.  But sloppiness killed the Yankees last night.  They did not look good.  Not to mention, the worst part of the night had to come in that third inning when Ronald Torreyes tripled to start off the inning, and then, not a single Yankee hitter could get him home.  With Shane Robinson coming to the plate next, he had one job, ONE SINGLE JOB. Hit a sac fly.  Just hit it to the outfield.  Torreyes is quick, he could get home on that.  But it didn't happen. Instead... nothing... and then eventually Torreyes is sent home and of course... he was nailed out at the plate.  Yuk.

Photo: Getty Images
There were glimpses of hope. Gleyber Torres continues to help with production at the plate and hit a 2 run home run.  But that would be all the Yankees would score.  Last night was a stale Yankee game with them losing 6-2.  They didn't show much life... they didn't show much of anything.

Photo: Getty Images
And let's talk about Voit for a moment.  Is the experiment over? He's on a hot streak, and if I'm Boone, I'm doing what he did throwing Voit into the lineup in the clean up spot and hoped the streak continued.  But last night we got ugotz.  And Bird sat the bench again.  What will be of Bird? Will it change today? Will Bird play?

Look... these are my Yankees.  This is my team.  We had a gorgeous start to the season, but we've slowed.  Injury and what looks like complacency from Boone are taking their toll on this Yankee team.  No, I'm not hanging it up.  No, I'm not blaming Boone here.

Photo: Getty Images
He's been dealt a very different lineup than he started with. But now he needs to manage. At some point he needs to be a manager, and not a friend and that is what I feel like he's been lately.  I could be wrong, but it's what I see.

He said it best last night about the Yankees play... "crappy".  But now we have to fix that.  Will he? Will we collectively? Let's hope so.  The Chicago White Sox are a very beatable team.  Let's take advantage of that.  Let's do damage. Let's stay consistent with wins... after all... with just over 30 games left, there is no question we can catch the Bosox.

Let's go.


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Monday, August 27, 2018

SONNY GRAY & HIS NOT SO MODEST MOMENT

Photo: Getty Images
So what did you think of that Pickles guy? He sure can pitch! He looks better than Sonny Gray. I will take him any day of the week instead of Gray and twice on Sunday. It was nice to see him show up and do what was expected of him. That's the Gray we needed to see earlier this season. Too bad he can't pitch in that jersey all of the time.

This series against the Orioles is exactly what it was supposed to look like. I have been tired of watching the worst team in the entire league play .500 ball against the Yankees this season. I will admit I was nervous when Gray was set to pitch on Saturday. His last start was a complete disaster and I didn't want to see it happen again.

Photo: Getty Images
His last start was on August first when the same Orioles hammered him for seven runs in 2.2 innings, but this weekend Gray outclassed his way through Baltimore's lineup for 6.1 innings. He gave up just three hits, one walk and struck out seven. He faced 23 batters and only four got the ball past the infield. I'm glad Gray had a good outing and has some new found swag....but is it too much?

Photo: Getty Images
You be the judge. After his successful outing he had a lot to say, read more HERE.
"If I can go out and throw the ball like that, I can get anybody out." Okay, sure. That was impressive, no biggie there. But this.....

"I know I can get anybody out. I mean I'm one of the best starting pitchers in this league and I truly believe that."

Best starting pitcher in the league? Gray had one disaster of a start and one fantastic start against one of the worst teams baseball has seen in many years. How can an elite starter have two very different starts and call himself one of the best?

I'd say Gray has been closer to one of the worst starting pitchers this season. It was his start at the beginning of this month against the Orioles that earned him his demotion in the first place. When I think of elite starters I think of what I heard CC Sabathia say years ago. The best starters know how to defend their home turf and pitch well. Gray just doesn't do that and because of that he has been booed several times. He is a much different pitcher at home than he is away. It's no surprise that Gray had this much success pitching at Camden Yards.

Photo: Getty Images
Gray has the ability to be a great pitcher, it’s why the Yankees gave up three prospects to the A’s to get him at the 2017 non-waivers trade deadline. Having the tolls to succeed is only half of a successful formula. Confidence is a huge part of being successful in the majors. Gray has had many struggles this season but it hasn't stopped his belief that he's still the same guy that was an All-Star  for the 2015 Oakland Athletics. Too bad we didn't see THAT guy for most of this season.

Gray's dominant performance was nice to see and much needed....but do you agree with his statement about being one of the best starting pitchers in the league? I'd say he has some nice, shiny moments but, he's not even starting anymore. Maybe if he wants to be a AAA starter?

Just build on this Gray, don't get carried away.




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




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Sunday, August 26, 2018

CHASING DOWN THE RED SOX

Source: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images North America

Many, including myself at times, said it wasn't possible for the Yankees to catch the Red Sox and yet, here we are in late August and the Bombers are taking advantage of Boston's recent slew of losses.  The Yankees have cut into The Sox lead at the top of the American League East and now trail them by only seven games.  With the Yankees one game away from sweeping the Baltimore Orioles, things seem to be falling into place for a team who have had their share of bad breaks.

Source: Getty Images North America

Losing Aaron Judge, CC Sabathia, Didi Gregorius and Aroldis Chapman not to mention earlier losses of Masahiro Tanaka in inter-league play and Jordan Montgomery to season-ending Tommy John surgery, have been big blows to both the Yankees' physical and mental aspects of their game.  But now with the Yankees back in business and on track to potentially catch the Sox, the team simply cannot tolerate low productivity in their regular starters.

"The urgency is such that the Yankees are no longer content to let first baseman Greg Bird hit his way into form", reported the New York Times after Friday night's extra innings win. “Performance matters,” Manager Aaron Boone said.

Source: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images North America

And what he saw in Luke Voit on Friday night was more than just performance.  "In addition to the two home runs, his first extra-base hits as a Yankee, Voit delivered a jolt of enthusiasm as he bolted around the bases, carrying himself like the hulking linebacker he was before shoulder injuries forced him to give up football in high school. It was the type of verve that the analyst Pedro Martinez said had been missing from the Yankees of late, and it energized the visitors’ dugout," reported The Times.

Source: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images North America

The Yankees, perhaps still on the high left by Voit, played light on their feet, swift in their bats and aggressive on the base paths against the Orioles as they swept the double-header at Camden Yards against their other division rival.

Source: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images North America

Are the Yankees in contention for an AL East crown? Of course they are.  They have never took their eyes off that goal.  But with the injuries, shifts in the roster, the weather and the grind of the long season, they have been beaten up.  The Yankees are chasing down the Red Sox and it certainly isn't their first rodeo.  It is deja vu all over again and it ain't over 'til it's over.  It is starting to get really interesting.

Buckle up everyone.




--Suzie Pinstripe
BYB Managing Editor
Twitter: @suzieprof





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Saturday, August 25, 2018

SANCHEZ IS ONE STEP CLOSER

Photo: Getty Images
I cannot wait to get Gary Sanchez back.  We need the guy. Sanchez will play in the Gulf Coast League today.

The New York Post has more:

Photo: Getty Images
"If that goes well, Sanchez will work out in Tampa on Sunday and join Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to start a minor league rehab assignment. Out since July 24 with a strained right groin, Sanchez could come off the DL in time to join the Yankees for the start of a critical West Coast trip on Sept. 3 in Oakland. 

Just being activated isn’t enough for Sanchez, who went on the DL with a .188 batting average and showed a decided lack of effort chasing a passed ball and running to first in the game before he was shelved." 

Photo: Getty Images
But not only that, we need more than Sanchez.  That wrist injury for Aaron Judge isn't good.  Having both these big boys in the lineup is important. Especially at the end of August.

The Yankees have not been playing badly with these guys out. But there is no question their big bats can help this team.  Right now the Yankees are 8.5 back of the Red Sox.  They have 35 games left.  6 are against the Red Sox. The Yankees CAN win the division. No, it won't be easy, but they can.  Can you imagine if we had Sanchez and Judge in the lineup?

This is good news for Sanchez.  Let's just hope we're not rushing these guys back so they get hurt again.


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IT'S FOODBANK TIME! TIME TO DONATE!


The Yankees are playing the Orioles this weekend as many of you already know. They came out the winner against them last night 7-5 and they play the O's again all weekend long.  Tomorrow there's a double header and then they play again on Sunday.

But the most important part of the weekend is this... if you are attending these games at Camden Yards, do what the Orioles are asking... donate non-perishable food items or a monetary donation at the Orioles food drive! This is a great thing the O's do and we are happy to make this announcement on Bleeding Yankee Blue.

After all, we have written about this event before on BYB and are happy to continue. After all, our buddy Elite Rob, an Orioles fan and friend of BYB reminded me about this event.

And you know what? I am happy to let our audience know... it's a great cause.

If you are going to Camden Yards this weekend... do the right thing... donate!


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Friday, August 24, 2018

TEAM COMPETITION BRINGS THE BEST OUT OF AN ATHLETE

(Photo: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports)
Nothing should ever be handed to you. Many times a spot needs to be earned. More on that in a moment.

Love this article from Pete Caldera of the Bergen Record.  He has that nugget that everyone wants to know about when it comes to Greg Bird. Is he frustrated with his performance? 

As you all know, Birdman is struggling... big time. We all see it... we all know it. Many of us are getting fed up with Bird. For me personally... I like Bird, but they need to fix him, and in the meantime, I keep thinking about Tyler Austin and how maybe the Yankees shouldn't have traded him away but instead had him stick around, and show that playful competition between 2 teammates at one position and may the best player win the spot.

Robby Sabo, ESNY Graphic, Getty Images
Sometimes that lights a fire under an athlete's ass and for Bird... I honestly think it would have helped him.  They'd push each other... but no.  We have Austin on the Twins now, free from living in the Bird shadow and kicking butt. And then we have Bird... given a spot that he can't deliver in and by the way... DID NOT EARN.  It all kind of sucks.

Caldera writes:

Photo: NorthJersey.com
"Greg Bird’s two homers last weekend – including a grand slam – felt as if it happened a month ago. That’s what an off day and an 0-for-10 with four strikeouts against the Marlins can do to a hitter who has been searching all season to find his A-swing. 

'It’s frustrating. It (stinks) to (stink),’ the Yankees first baseman said bluntly after the Marlins’ 9-3 win on Wednesday night, earning Derek Jeter’s club a two-game split of the interleague series. 

Even the large contingent of Yankees fans at Marlins Park took to booing Bird, which really made the place sound like Yankee Stadium South. Bird’s seasonal average is down to .202 in 72 games (247 at-bats) with a flat .689 OPS."

But what happens in a situation like this? Do we bench Bird? Do we let him work through it? How long will this take?


The whole thing's frustrating, but no one is more frustrated than Greg Bird.  Meanwhile... Tyler Austin?

10-30, 3 home runs, .333 and a 1.049 OPS in Minnesota.

All very interesting.


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