The planned Phillies-Yankees game on Monday has been postponed

New York Yankees, Luke Voit

Coronavirus keeps lurking around the 2020 MLB season and the danger of the season being suspended, at least temporarily, is evident. Such is life scheduling baseball games in times of COVID-19 that a game that still hadn’t been officialized in the calendar, the New York Yankees – Philadelphia Phillies of Monday, has been postponed according to MLB Network’s Jon Heyman.

The Phillies had one coach and one clubhouse staffer test positive in the week, after they played the Miami Marlins over the weekend at Citizens Bank Park. The Marlins, for those who not remember, are currently dealing with 18 positive cases among players, plus two coaches.

The Yankees and Phillies will have to make up for the lost game somewhere along the road, but it is not clear when.
At this point, it is not clear if the season will keep its course next week, although that is the plan as of now.

The Yankees are not the only time with a fluid schedule

To make matters worse, MLB announced that another team, the St. Louis Cardinals, had positive COVID-19 cases. On Saturday morning, several outlets reported that “several” additional members of the organization were positive for the virus, although that was not accurate.

Per Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal, only one additional Cardinals player tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday. This comes after two St. Louis ballplayers tested positive for the disease on Friday.

As a result of the mini-outbreak in St. Louis, Saturday’s game against the Milwaukee Brewers was postponed. No make up date for the game has been provided at the moment.

Meanwhile, a Brewers player opted out of playing the remainder of the season. All-Star center fielder Lorenzo Cain decided not to play anymore due to concerns about the rapid spread of the virus.

The New York Yankees, meanwhile, are playing the Boston Red Sox this weekend. They took Friday’s night opener 5-1 behind a stellar outing from starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery.

New York Mets: Young Stars Showcase Personalities Against Cardinals

Wednesday’s game between the New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals featured more of the usual from Spring Training. A strong starting pitching performance and Jeff McNeil‘s continued dominance with the bat. The game was televised on ESPN and the Mets certainly had fun being mic’d up with each other.

Marcus Stroman took the mound and had a terrific outing. Over three innings, he only allowed three baserunners and struck out four Cardinals. Things started off rocky when he hit and walked the first two batters. After Rene Rivera threw out a base stealer for the first out, Stroman induced a double play to end the inning. Through the rest of his start, he showed how clever of a pitcher he is. Stroman used his incredible body control to vary his motion which threw off the hitter’s timing drastically.

Bats Waking Up

Jeff McNeil continued his red hot pace with two more hits to move to 10-for-18 (.556), the best mark in Spring Training. Brandon Nimmo chipped in another hit as the 1-2 combination of McNeil and Nimmo have proved to be deadly so far. Pete Alonso, Michael Conforto, and Wilson Ramos all supplied hits as they are picking up the pace after short skids at the plate.

One of the best parts of the ESPN broadcast was their live microphones. They picked the right guys in Pete Alonso, J.D. Davis, Dom Smith, and Jeff McNeil. Alonso dropped an accidental f-bomb, Smith poked fun at Davis and could not hear anyone at one point, and all of them hyped up an Eduardo Nunez triple. It showed how close this group is and there is truly something special going on at Port St. Lucie.

Zamora Rises

Daniel Zamora has always been seen as a lefty specialist for the Mets, but his stock is rising. Through four outings so far he has only allowed one hit, walk and hit by pitch. Zamora even has five strikeouts and the most impressive part is his ability to put away hitters from both sides of the plate. Dellin Betances still is not a lock for Opening Day and Zamora is asserting himself as the top guy to replace him.

Rick Porcello takes the mound on Thursday when the Mets take on the Cardinals in Jupiter. Porcello has allowed one run over three innings so far in the Spring.

New York Mets Pick Up Second Win of Spring Against Cardinals

New York Mets, Marcus Stroman

The New York Mets and St. Louis Cardinals squared off in their fourth matchup of the Spring. Marcus Stroman and Adam Wainwright squared off against each other, both looking to improve on their first Spring outings. The Mets also feature a lineup of mostly regulars and Tim Tebow.

Stroman pitched decently, allowing two hits, one run, one walk, and struck out one over two innings of work. He allowed a first innings home run to Paul Goldschmidt, but it would be the most damage he allowed. Stroman ran into trouble in the second.  A walk, bunt single, and Dominic Smith error led to a bases-loaded, no one-out jam. Stroman induced a lineout and a double play to end the jam and complete his outing.

Big Heart and a Big Paycheck

Brandon Nimmo returned to the lineup after a health scare which forced him to miss two games. He went 1-for-2 with a run scored and also mixed in a good call on a “sun ball double.” Robinson Cano made his Spring debut as the designated hitter. He walked and flew out to center field in his only two plate appearances.

Jeff McNeil, Dom Smith, and Wilson Ramos were the other regulars who tallied hits on Friday. McNeil and Ramos are hitting .400 and .444 in the Spring, respectively. Both are picking up from where they left off in 2019.

Andres Gimenez improved on his strong start at the plate. He blasted his first home run of the Spring and is 4-for-12 at the plate. Two of his four hits have gone for extra bases. It is a promising sign for the 161-pound shortstop who has been known more for his defense than offense. Should Gimenez continue to hit the ball well, it could make the choice to send him to minor league camp harder than expected.

Tebow Struggles

It is hard to write a Mets article without leaving out the blooper from Tebow. Not only did Tebow strikeout in both of his at-bats, but he also fell flat on his face trying to secure the final out of the ball game. Tebow looked to be under the ball but tripped over his feet, and the ball lightly plopped about a foot away from the quarterback once known as mobile.

On Saturday, the Mets head to West Palm Beach to face the Houston Astros at 1:05 p.m. Steven Matz makes his second start of the Spring as he tries to secure a spot in the Mets rotation.

 

New York Yankees: Was Luke Voit A One Hit Wonder Or Is He A Gem?

New York Yankees, Luke Voit

On July 28th, 2018, the New York Yankees acquired first baseman Luke Voit in a deal that sent LHP Chasen Shreve and RHP Giovanny Gallegos to the St. Louis Cardinals.

This trade made Yankees fans extremely happy, but not because of Voit. Chasen Shreve had been with the Yankees since 2015, and overall pitched poorly and Brian Cashman could not move him to the minors due to him being out of minor league options.

There was hope for fans that Shreve would be DFA’d or traded, and that finally happened. Shreve had an ERA of 4.26 in 2018, and in 2016 had an ERA of over five. He wasn’t working out and traded him just to get rid of him because he really had no spot and the same as Voit with St.Louis.

Finally getting a chance with the New York Yankees:

In 2017, Luke Voit appeared in 62 games for the Cardinals 28 hits, 18 RBI, and 4 HR. That would translate of a major league average of .246 that year.

In 2018, he started the season with the Memphis Redbirds, the AAA affiliate of Cardinals. He bounced up-and-down from the MLB to AAA a lot that season, not really able to get comfortable and batting for the Cardinals, but .299 for the Redbirds.

Once he was traded to NYY, he was assigned to the Scranton/Wikes-Barre Railriders and continued to rake, batting .310. With Greg Bird continuing to struggle and injuries still an issue, Voit was called up and made an immediate impact for the Yankees.

Once Voit was called up, he went right to work and took Greg Bird’s spot away. Bird was playing extremely poor, making errors and batting a terrible .199 over 82 games.

The more Voit played, the better he played. He hit a whopping .333, had an OBP of .405, and his slugging was through the roof at .689. In 39 games, he amassed 14 HR and 33 RBI. Also must note, the home-runs he was getting weren’t really with much help of the short porches down the lines of Yankee Stadium, he was hitting Aaron Judge like home-runs that were no-doubters.

He would only really sit when there was a match-up with an RHP that Aaron Boone didn’t like, so Bird or new Miami Marlin Neil Walker would start.

Other options still exist:

Though Voit had that instant success with the Yankees in 2018, many still wonder if he is the man in 2019 at first base. A lot of players have historically struggled in their sophomore season, and could he be the next?

Neil Walker signing with Miami obviously takes away any thought of him returning in 2019 to play first. DJ Lemahieu has signed for the next two seasons to be a utility player, and though he hasn’t played a lot of first base recently, he could still be an option.

Obviously, the Yankees still have Greg Bird, but it seems that he has played worse as more time goes on. Miguel Andujar could possibly play first, but that likely won’t happen unless the Yankees sign Machado. Entering the offseason, the Yankees were shopping a first baseman, expressing serious in then Arizona Diamondback Paul Goldschmit, now being traded to Voit’s previous home, St. Louis.

Several men have the opportunity to win the first base job in Spring, but will it be Voit? If it is Voit, will he have the same success? Only time can find out.

New York Mets Series Preview: St. Louis Cardinals (4/24-4/26)

New York Yankees, New York Mets, Zack Wheeler

Coming off back to back series losses, the New York Mets will fly to St. Louis for an Opening Day rematch against the Cardinals. The Cardinals are currently tied for first place with the Milwaukee Brewers in the NL Central. They come off a series sweep against the lackluster Cincinnati Reds. The Mets come off a series loss against the Atlanta Braves where their bullpen struggled in the series.

Probable Pitching Matchups

(4/24, 8:15 PM) Zack Wheeler (1-1, 2.77) vs. Luke Weaver (2-1, 4.22)

(4/25, 8:15 PM) Steven Matz (1-1, 4.42) vs. TBD

(4/26, 1:15 PM) Noah Syndergaard (2-0, 3.29) vs. TBD

The Mets have cooled off after their red hot start but still hold a half game lead over the Philadelphia Phillies. Over the last week their bullpen has let the team down. It blew a five run lead against the Washington Nationals and a three run lead against the Braves. These two days off were much needed for the Mets because they had three pitchers in the top 20 in games pitched. Manager Mickey Callaway has not been afraid to pull starters early and bring in multiple pitchers in an inning.

The Dark Knight in the Bullpen

After his struggles to start the season, the Mets have moved Matt Harvey to the bullpen where he hopes to find his stuff again. Harvey was “pissed off” about the move but the Mets are a contending team this year and they have the depth to easily replace him in the rotation. The Mets will look for Harvey to regain the swagger and stuff that made him a Cy Young caliber pitcher before the injuries took its toll.

The Cardinals are a team built on power bats which is why they are tied for second in baseball with 30 home runs. Paul DeJong and Yadier Molina have combined for 13 home runs to lead the way for the team. Carlos Martinez has bounced back from his rough first start to lead the Cardinals with a 1.42 ERA. Bud Norris has also been a pleasant surprise at the back end of the bullpen, going 5-for-5 in save opportunities.

The injury bug has kept out two of the team’s biggest contributors out of the lineup. Adam Wainwright made three starts after being injured for his first scheduled start, but landed on the 10-day DL with right elbow inflammation. Tommy Pham is questionable for the series with a groin injury he suffered a few days ago. He was their best player last season so the Cards will want him back when he feels 100 percent.

Matchups to Look Out For

The Cardinals are still figuring out who will pitch the last two games of the series. If they pitch Carlos Martinez, Yoenis Cespedes will be happy to be in the lineup. He has hit .333 (5-15) with a home run against the Dominican born right hander. Marcell Ozuna has also put up strong numbers against Steven Matz in his career. He has hit .308 (4-13) and has always been very good against lefties in his career.

If the struggling Jay Bruce has to face Michael Wacha, the Mets may want to keep him out of the lineup. Bruce has hit a miserable .032 (1-31) with 13 strikeouts against Wacha, who has completely owned this matchup. Jedd Gyorko has not found any success against Zack Wheeler, who has held him to a .111 (1-9) average with five strikeouts.

Interesting Stats

Yadier Molina has always been a Met killer and help up his reputation with a home run off Syndergaard. He has hit .322 (91-283) over his lengthy career, facing good and bad Mets pitching. Over his career Zack Wheeler has pitched to a 3.06 ERA on the road, compared to a 4.88 ERA at home.