Sunday, September 30, 2018

THE YANKEES EPIC FINISH

Source: Omar Rawlings/Getty Images North America

Those dark games after the All Star Game and in the dog days of summer in August seem like a distance memory as the 2018 Yankees head into the last game of the season with 100 wins and the Major League Baseball record of 266 home runs in a season.  And they did this on Saturday afternoon in Fenway Park, making these achievements even sweeter.


"In the fourth inning Saturday (NYY 8, BOS 5), rookie infielder Gleyber Torres swatted a two-run home run against Eduardo Rodriguez, giving the Yankees a whopping 265 home runs on the season. That is the most home runs in a single season in MLB history. Giancarlo Stanton added the team's 266th homer a little later for good measure," reported CBS Sports.

Source: Hall of Fame

The Torres home run broke the record held by the Seattle Mariners, led by guys like Ken Griffey, Jr. and even our very own Alex Rodriguez contributed 23 home runs to the 264 home run record set back in 1997.  The nice thing about this record is that the contributions came from a number of unlikely candidates, showing how valuable each player's endowment means to a team.

Source: Maddie Meyer/Getty Images North America

"I'm happy for them. They work really hard at their craft, and it's a result of a lot of people having success," manager Aaron Boone said as reported by USA Today.

Source: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images North America

One of the saddest days of the year for me, personally, and perhaps you share this emotion, is the last day of the regular baseball season.  This year, however, I feel very proud and happy for this Yankee team who have had their troubles and challenges along with their celebrations and successes, and have managed to come out more than just okay.  We have a viable candidate for Rookie of the Year honors in Miguel Andujar who at the start of spring, was not even a blink in the organization's eye for the starting third baseman job let alone a Rookie of the Year candidate.  Aaron Judge picked up where he left off as the 2017 AL Rookie of the Year, proving it was not a one and done career for the young Yankee leader.  And the Yankees make it to the post season again, continuing their streak of the winningest team in baseball.  Lots to celebrate everyone- one more feat left for the 2018, win game 101...and do it with a sweep in Fenway!



--Suzie Pinstripe
BYB Managing Editor
Twitter: @suzieprof





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Saturday, September 29, 2018

THE YANKS JUST KEEP ON COMING!

It's a late surge and it's glorious.

CreditCreditElise Amendola/Associated Press
The Yanks are finishing strong.  Last night they beat the Boston Red Sox in Boston 11-6, but not only that, they have tied the all-time team home run record in a season and let's also mention that they clinched home field advantage for that Wild card game next Wednesday night.  It was a good night for the Yankees. It was a great night for us Yankee fans!

My man Erik Boland of Newsday writes:


"On a night when the Yankees hit four home runs to tie the major-league record for homers in a season (264) and clinched home-field advantage in the wild-card game by beating the Red Sox, 11-6, at Fenway Park, Happ allowed four runs and four hits in six innings. He began with five sharp innings, but a misjudged fly ball in the sixth became a double and extended the inning, setting the stage for Steve Pearce’s two-out grand slam. 

Photo: Getty Images
'I’d love to get the nod, I can say that,' Happ said of the wild-card assignment. 'But I think we’re going to feel good with whoever’s out there. We’ll see how it plays out.'"

Happ's been outstanding for the Yankees.  If the Yanks didn't have such a commanding lead, I would have been worried. Plus Happ's allowed to have a bad inning here and there.

Overall, the Yankees have been playing very good baseball down the stretch.  They are playing like a team that could go all the way.  Let's hope so.


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Friday, September 28, 2018

THE YANKEES ARE VERY CLOSE TO HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE

And I gotta tell ya, I hope they get it.

Photo: Getty Images
CC Sabathia lit an extra fire under the Yankees butt's yesterday when he risked a bonus for protecting his teammate in Austin Romine in a plunk war with the Rays.  It was the right thing to do, and that's leadership, folks.  Sure, a half a mil is a lot of jack, but sometimes you have to have integrity.

Photo: AP
Sabathia knew what was important in that moment, and even it's the last time he throws a pitch for the Yankees, he will go down in history as the one of the most important Yankees of our lifetime.  I have no question. If you don't know what I'm talking about and just woke from a coma, read this (ROAR OF THE YANKEE CAPTAIN!)

But back to home field advantage. The Yankees are 1 game away.  NJ.com writes:


"Thursday's 12-1 win over the Rays lowered the Yankees' magic number to clinch home-field advantage in the Wild Card Game to one. That means one more Yankees win or one more A's loss ensures the Wild Card Game will be played at Yankee Stadium."

And think about this.  Say the Yankees clinch.  Say the Yankees get home field advantage and say the Yankees are announced like they always do in these playoff games.  The House that Jeter built will explode when CC is announced.  Us Yankee fans are honored to have him and want to thank him for what he did.


The Yanks are on alittle streak, huh?  Well... let's keep it going.  If CC can get mad when it matters most... the Yankees and the Yankees fan base can too! Grind time!

We got this!




Thursday, September 27, 2018

ROAR OF THE YANKEE CAPTAIN!


No... CC Sabathia is not the Yankee Captain... but he should be. Especially after what he just did today. He just proved to me what I've known all along. CC Sabathia is the leader of this team. He is not only a gentle giant, but a dedicated teammate and one of the hardest workers we know in pinstripes.  And today, there was the roar of the Yankee captain in CC Sabathia.  He protected his teammate and did it over receiving money for a personal achievement. Why? Because it was the right thing to do.

NJ.com writes:

"Andrew Kittredge purposely buzzed a fastball behind the head of Yankees catcher Austin Romine in the top of the sixth in response to Sabathia accidentally hitting Tampa Bay first baseman Jake Bauers in the hand with a fifth-inning pitch. Sabathia knew that sticking up for Romine would get him ejected from one of his best starts of the season. He didn't care. 


Photo: Chris O’Meara (AP)
Because the Rays threw at the Yankees catcher, Sabathia did the same when Rays receiver Jesus Sucre led off the bottom of the sixth. Sabathia drilled Sucre in the leg, then he looked toward the Tampa Bay dugout and yelled, 'That's for you.'"

And here's the most amazing part of this story. The New York Post writes:

"...if Sabathia had worked seven frames on Thursday, he would have earned $500,000 for reaching 155 innings."





That never happened. CC was ejected. Pete Caldera just tweeted this:

Love it.

There is something truly old school and unique about this situation.  Sabathia is a throwback, to when integrity, character and passion for this game mattered.  It wasn't about the money... it was about the passion.

CC? As far as I'm concerned, you can play for the New York Yankees until you 75 years old. I'll still be rooting for you pal.

Think year to year contracts... Love this guy.


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GOOD NEWS FOR DIDI!

It may not be a disaster for Didi Gregorius after all!

Photo: Getty Images
Didi suffered a cartilage tear in his right wrist as he slid into home plate in Saturday's game against the Orioles. He received a cortisone shot on Sunday and then it was a nervous game of "wait and see" on Didi's bad wrist. Cartilage tears suck, and the idea of losing Didi for the postseason sucks even more.

But luckily it sounds like that Cortisone shot may have been just the trick to get Didi back in action. According to multiple sources, Didi was cleared to resume baseball activities after a doctor evaluation yesterday. That news couldn't come at a better time.


Hopefully Aaron Boone is right, and he will be able to play in the final regular season series this weekend in Boston. I'm sure if the Yankees and Didi weren't confident with the doctor evaluations then they wouldn't have Didi participating in pregame infield drills, hitting off a tee or taking soft toss pitches from a coach. It's baby steps....but it's something.

Photo: Getty Images
As relieved as I am that the Yankees have options at shortstop none of them match up to Didi. Entering yesterday's games the Yankees had a 2 1/2 game lead for the A's for home-field advantage in the Wild Card game so the Yankees aren't out of the woods yet. The series in Boston will be a challenge, I wish we were home. We need the best lineup possible and that would include Didi over a fill-in like Adeiny Hechavarria who just doesn't have Didi's offense.

It's unclear exactly when Didi will return to game action, but at least there is confidence that he will be back before next week's important playoff game. I can't imagine a sudden death playoff game without him...and I don't want to.

It's good news all around! I will take it!






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

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Wednesday, September 26, 2018

COMMUNICATION IS NOT A SOFT SKILL IN LIFE OR BASEBALL

 Source: Abbie Parr/Getty Images North America

There they were...two teenagers having temper tantrums both on the mound and behind the plate concurrently.  We could be talking about the Sonny Gray-Gary Sanchez duo or the Luis Severino-Gary Sanchez out of tune duet.  Either would showcase a couple of little leaguers unable to communicate effectively, unless you consider eye rolls and leg thumping communication.  If the Yankees are going to win, their pitcher and catcher match ups have to learn to communicate.  And make no mistake communication is not a soft skill, it's essential.

Source: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images North America

According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), communication, one of eight essential competencies needed for lifelong success, is defined as an ability to "articulate thoughts and ideas clearly and effectively in written and oral forms to persons inside and outside of the organization." Accordingly, communication skills are ranked as the number one "must have" skill according to the 2010 NACE survey.  And if you are going to make it in baseball, you have to be able to represent your team with positivity in the public eye, articulate insights to the media, communicate with your team and communicate within your smaller teams, like pitchers and catchers.

Source: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images North America

When I see Sonny Gray and Gary Sanchez miscommunicate with the result being wild pitches and needless runs like we saw on Monday night and a similar transaction between Severino and Sanchez, I just shake my head and say, "I'm not having this crap."

Source: Bob Levey/Getty Images North America

No one cares how hard Sanchez has been working or how fast Severino can pitch after 100 pitches if their day to day interaction looks like two teenagers have a lunch room battle.  "We use different signs (in contrast to those with Austin Romine)," said Severino, who gave up six runs (five earned), six hits and fell to 17-7," as reported by NY Post after a loss earlier this month in Oakland.  "I think I need to do a better job and communicate more with Gary, and try to get better," Severino said according to NJ.com after the loss in Oakland.  Sanchez shared the same sentiment.


It was the screaming match in the dugout against the Rays back in July where these two guys exchanged words and frustrations for all to see.  It has not gotten all that better since and the root cause of this appears to be a complete lack of communication.

Source: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images North America

The team has to get on the same page with one another.  They have to respect and trust each other if they are going to be successful this post season or next season.  Two more games in Tampa and three in Boston before we go to the all-in, winner-takes-all Wild Card showdown.  Will it be Luis Severino and Gary Sanchez in this game?  Likely not the two of them, but rather Sanchez and another partner.  Either way, the communication has to be intact, consistent and effective in order to win, no matter who is on the mound and who is behind the plate.



--Suzie Pinstripe
BYB Managing Editor
Twitter: @suzieprof





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Tuesday, September 25, 2018

YANKEE INJURY UPDATE

Photo: Getty Images
This season was nutty when it came to injury.  We now have some clarity as to what is going on with Didi Gregorius, Aaron Hicks and Gleyber Torres.  Nice.

Let's start with the good news.  The New York Daily News has this:

Photo: Getty Images
"An MRI administered to Aaron Hicks revealed no tear in the outfielder's left hamstring...Gleyber Torres was also absent from Tuesday’s lineup due to tightness in his hip/groin area. But not to worry, at least for now, as Boone said he isn’t concerned and planned on giving the rookie a day off during the series regardless." 

So nobody get crazy, our stars will be back.

Another star though... Didi? He'd out for the rest of the season with that wrist injury and that sucks because he's a true leader on this Yankee club in my mind. Tearing wrist cartilage is no joke.

But there you have it... both Aaron and Gleyber are day to day.

Yay!


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ERIC CHAVEZ IS A FUTURE MANAGER FAVORITE

Photo: Getty Images
I love little stories like this, and I love it when it comes to former Yankees being written about.  Eric Chavez could end up becoming a major league manager... for the Angels.

We all know Mike Scioscia is leaving after this season, and good for the Angels.  But now comes talk that Chavez is in the mix to lead their team. Not only that, he's a frontrunner.

Bob Nightengale tweeted and then was replied to by an amazing piece of video:

I hope Chavez takes the reigns for the Angels. It would be cool to see.

Anyway... that is all... carry on.


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GARDY PARTY!

Photo: Getty Images
Just when you forget about Brett Gardner, partly because he's the dinosaur of the Yankee organization, he comes out and delivers big time, not only with his bat, but with his glove. Brett's a leader. We can never forget that.

Mike Vaccaro of the New York Post writes about Gardy and it's the best piece I've seen all morning. Here's some of it:


"At the crack of the bat, David Robertson knew he was in trouble. Big trouble. There were runners at the corners, two outs, a full count to Rays second baseman Brandon Lowe. And Lowe hit a screaming missile to center field. The ball had trouble tattooed on it from contact. “He crushed it,” Robertson said later...

Gardner sped under the ball just as it was about to fall on the warning track, leapt with both arms and the one with his glove on it, the right hand, smothered the ball. It saved two runs, saved a 3-1 lead, helped propel the Yankees to a 4-1 win that eliminated the Rays from postseason consideration and edged the Yankees closer to hosting the wild-card play-in game next Wednesday."


Photo: Getty Images
Gardy was also 1-2 with and run and RBI.  No slouch last night.

And that's what I speak of when I speak of leadership on the pages of BYB. Guys like Aaron Judge, CC Sabathia have a presence with the Yankees, but it all goes back to what Jake Hensley, Ty Hensley's brother said when he was made Captain of the Warriors, his college football team. (Read THOSE HENSLEY BOYS ARE WINNERS.)


"Everybody's gotta be captain."  

That's how great teams are made. Gardy is a silent captain, but everyone on this team is a leader in some way.

The Yanks win another and they are doing it with alittle help from everyone.  Gotta love it.



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Monday, September 24, 2018

DIDI DISASTER! MAY BE DONE FOR THE YEAR.

Photo: Getty Images
It was a bad day in the Bronx. Last home game of the season and the Yankees looked really bad. Not a great feeling for the last game, but at least we know the Yankees are playing in the postseason. Hopefully they get home field advantage too but regardless of where the Yankees may play the wild card game they just might have to do it without Didi Gregorius.

After the Orioles dropped a bombshell on the Yankees yesterday, Aaron Boone broke his own bad news - Didi is hurt again. We just got him back but now he tore cartilage in his wrist on a slide into home plate on Saturday. That injury could sideline him for the remainder of the year. Yeah, what was already bad news just got worse.

Photo: Getty Images
So now what do the Yankees do if they have lost Didi for the rest of the season? The Yankees have two options here:

1. Move Gleyber Torres to shortstop, then move Ronald Torreyes or Neil Walker to second.

It's not unreasonable, the Yankees went with this alignment in August, but that was before the Yankees acquired Adeiny Hechavarria.

2. Use Adeiny Hechavarria at shortstop.

The Yankees may be more likely to go with this option simply because of their move to get him last month. He is an above average fielder, but offers little offensively. He's no worse than what Walker or Torreyes have done offensively, but I have to say I am biased to Torreyes because he's had some great moments for us this season. We'll see how the Yankees decide here.

Photo: Getty Images
Or maybe....just maybe we will get lucky and Didi will recover fast enough to play in the Wild Card game. That would be the best case scenario in an already stressful race for home field advantage. Let's cross our fingers and hope that Didi is back in time. He is a huge part of the team and makes the Yankee lineup stronger.

Rest up Didi, we need ya man.



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




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Sunday, September 23, 2018

THE YANKEES ARE IN THE POST SEASON!


Just a quick note of Congrats to the Yankees.  They are officially in the Post-Season! They made it to the Wild Card game, but it was this moment that was special. Brendan Kuty of NJ.com writes:

Photo: Getty Images
"Champagne was spraying like fire hydrants. Music blared. 

Still, Yankees star Aaron Judge wanted to pull aside new first baseman Luke Voit. “I told him that, ‘We wouldn’t be in this position right now if it wasn’t for you,’ Judge told reporters after celebrating clinching a postseason berth following a 3-2, 11-inning, walk-off win over the Orioles at Yankee Stadium on Saturday night. 

Mike Stobe | Getty
“‘You coming over here, I know it was a slow start, but you picked it up and you picked us up and when we needed the big hit, you came through for us.’

Leadership. Hard work.  That's what is special about the Yankees and in this case Judge.  I love reading stories like this.  Very Special!

Congrats boys... keep grinding.


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MORE CONCERNED ABOUT THE RAYS THAN THE SOX

Source: Mike Stobe/Getty Images North America

These pesky AL East opponents continue to peck away at the Yankees' confidence and my temper.  Despite the fact that the Baltimore Orioles are 60+ games out of first place (a stat that hasn't been reached since the 1962 Mets), they play the Yankees with conviction and heart, and knock them down whenever they can.  The Yankees should not have to work so hard to beat this team; not with their depth and record.  But, alas they do.  Friday night, they had to put up 10 runs in order to best the O's and Saturday, they had to battle into extras to beat them.  So, as they head into the final home game of the season against Baltimore, my worries move from the Bronx to Tampa Bay and the red hot Rays, who have been nothing but spoilers to our trailblazing Yankees.

Source: Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images North America

For 2018, the Yankees have beaten the Rays only 7 out of 15 games and have a losing record in Tropicana field against Tampa Bay.  With the way Rays are playing baseball, they could cause the Yankees to lose games against them and have the Bombers go on the road for the one-day winner takes all Wild Card on October 3rd.  Actually, the Yankees' career against the Rays since 2010 has been even at 82-82 according to stats compiled on mcubed.

 Source: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images North America

The Yankees play four against the Rays, Monday through Thursday next week and finish up the season against the Red Sox.  They have always played the Sox well and took two out of three during their most recent series against Boston. But, the Rays, make me nervous.  As a colleague and I said on Friday, Rays manager Kevin Cash should be manager of the year.  He's taken a little team, a little team that could, and made them into a team that is causing many heads to turn, even this late into the season.

Source: MONICA HERNDON Tampa Bay Times

"I think the effort level and the energy," (Cash) said. "We're getting a lot of buy-in right now. We're asking starters to come in out of the bullpen, we're asking relievers to open games for us. The guys all want roles. I want them to have roles. But whatever helps this team win a game tonight, let's do it," Cash said entering the All Star Break.  And the team has not backed down; in fact they are beating up teams like the A's and the Yankees, the potential two AL Wild Card entries. The Yankees did clinch a spot last night ironically as the Rays fell to the Blue Jays.

Source: Rich Schultz/Getty Images North America

Today is the last home game of the regular 2018 season; a season where the expectations were much higher than the Yankee record suggests.  The Yankees have to continue to fight, as we have written in many of our posts recently and they have tough match-ups all week leading to the final regular season game in Fenway Park.  But, they have to face the Rays first, who have done nothing but beat them up this season.  I am more concerned about those games than the games at Fenway.  The Yankees have to leave Tampa Bay besting them minimally three out of four if not a sweep.  Given the fact that the Yankees have 1-5 record at the Trop this season, the challenge is steep, but not impossible.  Let's hope they can get their heads on straight and find the bats and stellar pitching against the Rays this week.



--Suzie Pinstripe
BYB Managing Editor
Twitter: @suzieprof






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Saturday, September 22, 2018

VOIT IS NOW A YANKEE FAN FAVORITE

Photo: Getty Images
Fans like winners. Luke Voit is doing what we need right now as a team.  Greg Bird is not. It's as simple as that.  The New York Post writes:

"Luke Voit failed to crush a home run Friday night and still his legend grew. The Yankees first baseman contributed with a quieter hit, a two-run single in the seventh inning of a 10-8 win at Yankee Stadium, but it evoked the same loud chants of “Luuuke!” across Yankee Stadium nonetheless... 

Photo: Getty Images
Voit has delivered with the long ball — he has 10 in his last 24 games — but he showed Friday night he can contribute in other ways too, lining a single to left field in the seventh inning to give the Yankees a 9-4 lead...

Photo: Getty Images
Since taking over the starting job from Bird on Aug. 24, Voit is batting .337 with 22 RBIs and a 1.138 OPS. In 31 games overall as a Yankee, he has a slash line of .317/.389/.634." 

I think even Bird would now tell us... "Stick with what works".


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MAKING A STATEMENT BECAUSE IT MATTERS


Love this story and needed to share it.  It has to do with the Yankees and their generosity.

NJ.com writes:

"The New York Yankees (Friday) announced the creation of the Yankees-Stonewall Scholars Initiative to commemorate the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Inn uprising and celebrate the achievements of New York City Public School graduating seniors who have demonstrated academic achievement, a commitment to equality and impactful support for the LGBTQ community. 




The Yankees-Stonewall initiative will provide $50,000 worth of scholarships through five $10,000 college scholarships to be presented to one student from each of the five boroughs of New York City. The scholarships are intended to allow these students the resources to fulfill their educational and career goals."

So often we want to go after the organization or poo-poo people and groups because we don't agree. We bash them, use social media to trash them.  But then something like this comes along and we go silent.  Don't be silent.  Celebrate moments like this. They matter!

Nice work.


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