New York Yankees: Should fans be concerned?

New York Yankees, Edwin Encarnacion

It’s no question that the New York Yankees did not play well in Game 2 and Game 3. They had a chance to steal a game against Justin Verlander in Houston in Game 2 and blew the opportunity.

Game 3 was pretty much the same. Gerrit Cole, who didn’t even pitch that well, was still able to silence the Yankees’ offense. There was a boatload of chances the Yankees failed to capitalize on.

“It’s obviously a little frustrating we weren’t able to break through with him,” said manager Aaron Boone. “But I think up and down we gave ourselves a chance. And anytime you’re facing a guy like that, you want that kind of traffic. And we had that in several innings. He made big pitches when he had to.”

Should fans be worried?

It’s important to remember that the series is 2-1. Things can switch at the drop of a hat. Momentum changes, things happen. Obviously, not ideal to start the three games at home this way, but it’s not over yet. As the great Yankee Hall-of-Famer Yogi Berra said, “It ain’t over till it’s over.”

Something important to take away from these two games against Cole and Verlander is that the Yankees caused a lot of traffic and stress pitches on them. It’s the offense’s fault for not taking the opportunities to pull away.

Even though the Yankees’ offense hasn’t been able to produce the last two games, the games have been close. A 3-2 ballgame and a 4-1 game is something to realize. The defense is holding up. The pitchers are doing their jobs (except for a few exceptions).

Overall, look at the big picture. It’s a seven-game series with two more home games to go. The New York Yankees have the ability to flip a switch at any moment. Sit tight, the series isn’t over.

New York Yankees: ALCS Game 1 Breakdown; Masahiro Tanaka vs Zack Greinke

New York Yankees, Masahiro Tanaka

The New York Yankees and the Houston Astros have officially released their ALCS game 1 starters. Masahiro Tanaka will face a difficult challenge by going toe to toe against Zack Greinke.

Tanaka, who is known for his “hard as nails” performances in the postseason, is looking to steal game 1 from the Astros in Houston. If you don’t believe me, just take a quick glimpse at these impressive numbers. In 35 innings pitched from 2015-2019, Tanaka has recorded a 1.54 ERA, 3.22 FIP, 3.61 xFIP, 0.80 WHIP and a 3.31 SIERA. He also has a 92.7 LOB%, 8.23 K/9%, 2.06 BB/9% and a 0.77 HR/9%. All of these numbers scream utter dominance.

As far as Greinke is concerned, his numbers in the postseason aren’t atrocious by any means. In 70.2 innings pitched from 2011-2019, Greinke has recorded a 4.58 ERA, 4.29 FIP, 3.54 xFIP, 1.15 WHIP and a 3.19 SIERA. He also has a 67.0 LOB%, 8.15 K/9%, 2.04 BB/9% and a 1.53 HR/9%. Keep in mind these stats are inflated from his last start vs the Tampa Bay Rays, allowing 5 hits and 6 runs in 3.2 innings pitched.

Tanaka has Greinke beat in every single category expect for xFIP, SIERA and BB/9%. While the BB/9% portion is self explanatory and means Greinke is walking less batters than Tanaka, xFIP and SIERA are a bit more advanced.

Why does Greinke have a better xFIP in the postseason? Based on strikeouts, walks and home runs, he has been an overall better pitcher than Tanaka. Why does Greinke have a better SIERA in the postseason? Based on balls in play, he has been more successful at limiting hits and preventing runs than Tanaka.

In 1006.1 innings pitched, Tanaka has recorded a 3.75 ERA, 3.88 FIP, 3.49 xFIP, 1.13 WHIP and a 3.60 SIERA in his career. On the flip side, in 2872 innings pitched, Greinke has recorded a 2.93 ERA, 3.22 FIP, 3.74 xFIP, 1.16 WHIP and a 3.57 SIERA in his career. Massive difference in the sample size, but you get the gist of things.

However, the postseason is a completely different ballgame compared to the regular season. While clutch can be considered a controversial topic between those who adore stats and those who despise stats, there is no denying that nerves still exist for each pitcher.

It will be interesting to see who rises to the occasion between Tanaka and Greinke. Both pitchers are capable of performing exceedingly well and have proven so in their careers. Regardless, this game will more than likely be a bitter battle to the finish line.

Houston Astros take Game 1 of ALDS fueled by Verlander, Altuve

The New York Yankees could pursue Gerrit Cole this offseason.

The Houston Astros opened up their postseason campaign with a 6-2 win over the Tampa Bay Rays. Fueled by a dominant outing from Justin Verlander, Altuve led the Astros with a home run off Trevor Glasnow in the fifth inning.

“I love the way he pitches every single day,” said Altuve on Verlander’s performance. “For me, he’s one of the greatest of all time and a Hall of Famer for me.”

Other then Altuve’s home run, the Astros scored on a fielding error by Brandon Lowe in the fifth, and in the seventh Yordan Álvarez doubled knocking in Alex Bregman and Yuli Gurriel knocked in Alvarez.

In seven full innings pitched, Verlander only allowed one hit while fanning eight. The two runs the Rays scored came in the top of the eighth inning off Ryan Pressly. Eric Sogard singled knocking in Joey Wendle and Austin Meadows doubled to deep-center knocking in Eric Sogard.

Game two will be played Saturday at 9:07PM in Houston. Gerrit Cole is on the mound for the Astros while the Rays are pitching left-hander Blake Snell.

New York Yankees: Looking Forward to the Final Road Trip of the Regular Season

New York Yankees, Yankees, Luke voit

The New York Yankees, already clinching the division and home-field advantage in the ALDS, travel to Tampa and Texas for the final six games of the season. This when the team has to bear down and take it one win at a time.

The first order of business, the Tampa Bay Rays. They are going to do everything in their power to win both games of the two-game set. With Glasnow and Snell coming back off injury, expect to see them at a point during this series. The one-hitter Yankees’ pitchers must be careful with is Austin Meadows. He is hitting .289, with 32 home runs, and 88 RBIs (MLB.com). The Rays have a balanced lineup, mixed with some underrated power and line-drive hitters. This could be a trap series for the team from the Bronx.

Next on the list, the Texas Rangers. The weekend series will set the tone for the Yankees heading into the postseason. Hitters will most likely face Lance Lynn and Mike Minor near the end of the series.  Lynn had a career-best ERA to start the year but fell off in the second half.  Minor helped shutout the Yankees, at home, for the first time in over a year. Beating both of these pitchers should boost the lineup’s confidence heading into the postseason.

Why is this final road trip so important?

The Yankees are currently two games behind the Astros in the loss column, for home-field advantage. They have the tiebreaker which would make it three games. This implies the Yankees must go at least four out of five to stay in the competition for home field. They will have to hope the Mariners and Angels can win at least three of the six games.

As of now, the Yankees will host the Minnesota Twins in the ALDS. This series would be a rematch of the epic 2017 AL Wild Card game. The Twins rotation will most likely consist of Jose Berrios, Jake Odorizzi, and Kyle Gibson. All of them have double-digit wins on the year. The Yankees play much better at home in the playoffs but will have to prove themselves at Target Field, to ultimately get a chance to play in the World Series.

The New York Yankees will get a chance to redeem themselves for losing to the Astros in seven games in the 2017 ALCS. As of late, the Yankees have proven they have a good enough rotation and very intimidating lineup to make it there. Let’s see how they do the second time around.

New York Yankees: Who Would’ve Thought Gleyber Torres Would Lead the Team in HR?

Gleyber Torres, an infielder for the New York Yankees, after hitting his 35th home run of the year, takes the lead in the home run race over Gary Sanchez.

On Sunday, September 8th, Torres sent a ball that soared over the Green Monster, putting the Yankees on the board in the top of the second inning. Torres has been an underrated part of the Yankee’s power barrage this season. Last season, as a rookie, Torres hit 24 home runs in 123 games (Baseball-Reference). The two-time all-star is overachieving in his offensive game at such a young age. He is only 22 years old and he is already showing the potential of being a great player in this league for a long time. Who would have thought Torres would be the home run leader with less than a month to go in the season?

Torres is already Taking Leadership in the Yankees Offense

On a season average, Torres is batting .279, with 38 home runs, and 102 RBIs (Baseball-Reference). Torres is one of the few Yankees that has stayed healthy nearly all season and the organization should reward him for that. Hopefully, the Yankees will be able to sign him long term, due to his contract expiring at the end of the season.

Torres’s logo on Didi Gregorius’s social media pages is a baby bottle, labeling him as the youngest player on the team. Torres is already playing like he is in his prime and he might need a new logo.

When the Yankees acquired Torres in a trade with the Chicago Cubs back in July of 2016, the Yankees knew they just acquired a future star (MLB.com). They certainly stole him from the Cubs when they resigned Aroldis Chapman in the offseason. He has exceeded expectations in all parts of his game and the Yankees are lucky to have him. His unforeseen power since he has been in the big leagues has been a nice surprise.

Torres should be a big part of the Yankees success in the 2019 postseason and beyond. He has proven he can hit for average and power, even though he is only 6’1″ and 200 pounds. His game can be compared to the Astros’ Jose Altuve. They are both play second base and are five-tool players. Hopefully, he can stay healthy and be a part of the Yankees organization for his whole career. If he continues his stellar play, one day fans may see him in Monument Park in center field.

How Important is Home-field Advantage for the New York Yankees?

New York Yankees, Aaron Hicks

Every New York Yankees fan remembers the heartbreaking series against the Houston Astros in the 2017 postseason. Falling one game shy to the team who won the whole thing ultimately came down to one thing – home-field advantage.

The Yankees have not lost a series this season in the Bronx in a very long time. In 21 home series, the club holds an 18-0-3 record while playing in pinstripes. The last time they lost a home series was against the Chicago White Sox at the beginning of the season.

Good news for the Yankees, their team batting average sits around the same for both home and away games. Every stat hovers around the same number in regards to batting. However, the Yankees’ pitching suffers from being on the road. Compared to a 3.77 ERA at home, the staff holds a 5.09 ERA away from Yankee Stadium.

“We want to keep winning, that’s big,’’ said Aaron Judge. “We know how rowdy (Yankee Stadium) gets in the postseason and how crazy these fans are. We have to keep winning to make sure we keep that home-field advantage for the postseason.”

The Yankees’ main concern is the Houston Astros in the ALCS. Fans know what that team can do at home, and they know what we can do at home. Both teams know they’re going to win their division so they are focusing on keeping their players healthy and winning home-field advantage.

The Yankees are currently 93-50 and the Astros are 94-50. The Yankees need to avoid a tie too, as the Astros won the series earlier in the season. They need to be at least one game ahead to take home-field.

 

New York Yankees: Main Focus Heading into the End of Season

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres

The New York Yankees are heading to Seattle after a series win against the best team in the National League, the Los Angeles Dodgers.

They came off a rough series in Oakland and got swept out of the city. For players weekend, the Yankees headed to Los Angeles for 3-game weekend series, which many thought would be a World Series preview. Aaron Judge homered in every game and the starting pitching proved they can help this team win big games. Paxton, German, and even Sabathia had strong starts, keeping the team in the game. Hopefully, the Yankees will have a healthy rotation and bullpen for the playoffs.

What should be the Yankees main focus for the next few months?

The Yankees’ starting pitching earned run average of 4.72 (Baseball-Reference). That ranks near the lower half of the league. However, if the offense continues to mash, this will not be a problem as long as the ERA stays where it is.

The Yankees have nearly had their whole 25-man roster on the injured list at some point during the season. The main focus has to be: get healthy. With Severino and Betances on their way back from gruesome injuries and setbacks, they will certainly help with the Yankees’ pitching inconsistency problems. Also, Luke Voit is on his way back which will push Mike Ford back to the minors. The problem is: the Yankees have constantly been awaiting the return of their key players all season. This will take time. The Yankees will have a very potent offense and an improved pitching staff when everyone comes back from injury. Especially, with home-field advantage, it will be an unprecedented series against the Houston Astros.

New York Mets: Scouts Predict Zack Wheeler Will End Up With Astros

Will the New York Yankees land Zack Wheeler in free agency?

The New York Mets currently own the starting pitcher market at the trade deadline. The major question now is: where does Zack Wheeler go? The scouts say it is going to be Wheeler to the Houston Astros. However, those same scouts were caught off guard when the Mets landed Marcus Stroman on Sunday.

Wheeler seems like the logical pitcher to trade, but Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen is unpredictable. Wheeler had some tough luck which led to a 4.71 ERA, but that is not limiting the demand for his services.

What is the Astros Current Pitching Situation?

The Astros feature a dominant trio of Gerrit Cole, Justin Verlander and Wade Miley. The rest of the rotation has given them little to nothing. Brad Peacock was a good fourth starter, but the quickest he will return is mid-August.

His replacements have not faired well. The Astros top three have combined for an ERA of 2.95, while every other starter outside of Peacock has an ERA of 6.37. Wheeler would fit in very well to the fourth starter spot and showed he can pitch like a Cy Young contender during the second half of 2018.

What Should the Mets Expect For Wheeler?

The Mets certainly will not land the likes of a top tier prospect like Forrest Whitley, but adding any of the pitchers in the middle of their top 30 list should be considered a fair trade. Van Wagenen has the leverage here, and if he does not like the return, he can simply keep Wheeler.

With Wheeler remaining in the rotation, it gives the Mets a very strong starting core. 28 of their final 57 games are against teams who are either in front of them in the division or wild card. If they can keep themselves close, they will be in control of their own destiny. Only six games out with two months to play, there is certainly a chance for the Mets to make a playoff push.