Tagged: Boston Red Sox

What In The World Was Michael Pineda Thinking?!?!?

 

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What. An. Idiot.

On April 10th, Michael Pineda made headlines for an apparent illegal substance on his throwing hand in his start against the Red Sox. Although it was seen by millions watching on TV, no action was taken by the Red Sox or the umpiring crew. Well, things changed quite a bit two weeks later. 

After struggling in the first inning, allowing two runs in the bottom of the first, Pineda figured he’d try something different. In the second inning, he took his place back on the mound, but with an obvious appearance change. John Farrell came out to ask the umpiring crew to inspect Pineda, after a thorough search of his glove, hands, jersey and neck, the crew chief clearly saw something he didn’t approve of. Pineda was thrown out of the ball game without any argument from himself or manager Joe Girardi. 

According to MLB rule 8.02, a pitcher may not use a “foreign substance” on the baseball. Violation of 8.02 is mandatory 10-game suspension, which means two starts.

The substance was smeared on the right side of his neck, which wouldn’t be visible to the Red Sox dugout. Was that just a coincidence? Maybe, maybe not. I really don’t know what could have been going through Pineda’s head. After clearly getting away with it just two weeks ago, why risk it a second time around? Continue reading

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Michael Pineda caused quite a commotion last night

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What exactly was on Michael Pineda’s hand?

While flipping between the Mets and Yankee game last night, I couldn’t help but do a double take at Michael Pineda’s pitching hand. I froze the TV and snapped a picture (as seen above). My father and I began to look at it with a little bit of a laughter and disbelief that no one was doing anything about this. If you’re going to “cheat,” at least do a better job of hiding it.

By the time I took to twitter to discuss this, the topic was already trending in the NY area. How could such a blatant display of disregard for the rules go unnoticed by the field officials? It felt like everyone was fixated on staring at Pineda’s hand, everyone but the Red Sox and Umpires that is.  Continue reading

What a difference a year makes – The Yankees enter 2014 full of new faces

Yankees

What a difference a year can make. The 2014 Yankees lineup will consist of only one player (Brett Gardner) who was in the 2013 opening day lineup.

This offseason the Yankees came out swinging, spending over half a billion dollars to revamp this roster. Despite  their spending spree, the Red Sox are still considered the favorites to repeat as division champions. Some analyst are even projecting the Rays to finish above the Yankees as well. I see this working to the Yankees benefit, sometimes being an underdog, and I use that term very loosely for a team with a $200 million dollar payroll, can be used as season long motivation.

2013

  1. Brett Gardner CF
  2. Eduardo Nunez SS
  3. Robinson Cano 2B
  4. Kevin Youkilis 1B
  5. Vernon Wells LF
  6. Ben Francisco DH
  7. Ichiro Suzuki RF
  8. Jayson Nix 3B
  9. Francisco Cervelli C

Starting Pitcher: CC Sabathia

2014 (projected):

  1. Jacoby Ellsbury CF
  2. Derek Jeter SS
  3. Carlos Beltran RF
  4. Brian McCann C
  5. Mark Teixeira 1B
  6. Alfonso Soriano DH
  7. Brett Gardner LF
  8. Brian Roberts 2B
  9. Kelly Johnson 3B

Starting Pitcher: CC Sabathia

The biggest concern I have for this roster is if they can remain healthy. This is an aging roster with a long list of injuries up and down the lineup. Jeter and Teixeira are returning from injury plagued seasons, Brian Roberts hasn’t played a full season in a few years now and Jacoby Ellsbury is well-known to be injury prone. Brian McCann has also spent his share of time on the DL the past three seasons, which doesn’t bode well for a 30-year-old catcher.

If, and its a big if, they can remain healthy, I see no reason why the Yankees won’t be competing for a division title down the stretch and at the very least snag one of the wild card spots.

Who is going to play SS for the Mets?

Ruben Tejada is quickly falling out of the Mets good graces

Ruben Tejada is quickly falling out of the Mets good graces

Well, it’s almost March and it appears the Mets are unsure of who their opening day short stop will be. Ruben Tejada was the “penciled in” candidate for the job, but reports have begun to surface that the Mets are once again disappointed in him, leaving the position in question once again.

Besides just the Tejada reports, we also have news that Wilmer Flores will spend time this spring back at his original position. Then there is Stephen Drew, who is still available and has been mentioned as a Mets target for months. More recently, we have the Seattle Mariners shopping Nick Franklin, who has also become a potential candidate via trade.

Here is a breakdown of the potential candidates:

Ruben Tejada (The Favorite):

The 24-years-old was/is the favorite to win the job. When the Mets allowed Jose Reyes to leave in free agency, it was believed that they had his replacement already in Tejada. Initially it looked like they might have been right. In 2012, he hit .289 with a .333 OBP while playing a solid short stop at just 22-years-old. But things quickly began to change in 2013. Tejada showed up to camp late (Not entirely true, but he wasn’t early) and out of shape. Things got worse from there, he was plagued by injuries and put up a .202 avg/.259 OBP/0 HR/10 RBI in just 57 games.

This is what ultimately led the Mets to send Tejada to their off-season conditioning program, where he has since returned to mixed results. Although the club appears to be unhappy with him, until a viable option is brought in, this is clearly still his job to lose. I’m not sure if he deserves all of these opportunities, but if Tejada does end up losing this position, he has no one to blame but himself.

This could be his last chance to be an everyday player with the Mets, I would live to see him revert back to the promise he showed in 2012, if not, Tejada could be looking at a future as a utility infielder.

Stephen Drew (Free Agent Option):

Then there’s the mystery of Stephen Drew. No one seems to be able to pin point exactly he is asking for. He clearly made a mistake in turning down the $14 million qualifying offer from the Red Sox. Because of that offer, a team would have to sacrifice a draft pick in exchange for signing him. In the Mets case, that would mean a third round pick (First pick is protected and second was given up in exchange for Granderson). There doesn’t exactly sound to be teams bidding on Drew and the Mets are really the only team you hear that has showed continued interest.

I know the majority of fans have been screaming to just sign Drew and get it over with already. I don’t think they are wrong, but I want it to be at our price. Drew is a proven player, at this point in his career, we have a good idea what it is we would be getting out of him. He is a good defensive player with a good bat for the position. The 30-year-old, soon to be 31, produced a season of .253 avg/.333 OBP/13 HR/67 RBI last season. Those are certainly upgrades from the production we have been getting since the Reyes departure, no doubt about it.

The biggest concern I have is Drew’s health. He has only played over 100 games once since 2010 and that was last season at only 124. That would make me weary about any sort of lengthy deal. If drew would sign for a 1-year or 2-year $20 million kind of deal, than I would say go for it. Anything more than 2 and I’m out. I know some people like to hold on to draft picks for dear life, but it is a third round pick and the draft is always a crap shoot after all.

Drew would bring instant credibility to the position, but don’t look at him as the savior. IF the Mets do bring him in, are they serious contenders to win the division? Probably not. But he does solidify this team more than where it stands today.

Wilmer Flores (The Experiment):

Flores is an interesting case, whose name has only come up for this job in the past few weeks. Like Tejada, Flores was sent to the off-season conditioning program. But, unlike Tejada, the Mets seem rather pleased with his results. The claim is that Flores is in the best shape of his life, quicker and more agile than he has ever been before.

The 22-years-old came into the Mets farm system as a short stop, but was later moved due to his inability to play the position. He has spent most his time playing second and third base. His offense is what has made him a touted prospect in the organization. In 107 games at AAA he posted a .321 avg/.357 OBP/ 15 HR/86 RBI, although he didn’t fair quite as well when he was promoted to the majors. In 27 games he hit only .211 with 1 HR and 13 RBI, all while playing third base.

There is no question that Flores is a better offensive option compared to Tejada, the only concern with him is his defense. Can a man who was known to have no real position the last few years suddenly emerge as a real candidate to play SS in the majors? It’s hard for me to imagine him being a serviceable defender to justify giving him the job. He has always looked stiff in the field and doesn’t appear to be athletic enough to handle this role.

But, if he really shows he can hold his own, and at least make the plays he is supposed to, I would like to see him given a real chance. We know at this point he will never play third base for this team, second base is blocked by Daniel Murphy, for now, and first base, who knows? Let’s wait and see how he looks this spring, he certainly would be a nice surprise if he could somehow earn the job.

Nick Franklin (Trade Option):

Franklin’s named has come up with the news that the Mariners are shopping around the 22, soon to be 23-year-old. He was considered one of the Mariner’s top prospect over the last few seasons but has been squeezed out with the emergence of Brad Miller at SS and the signing of Robinson Cano to play second base.

In his rookie campaign, his stat line read .225 avg/.303 OBP/12 HR/45 RBI. While those numbers don’t exactly scream wow, he was just a rookie. Franklin has been known to have some pop in his bat but questions remain as to whether he should be playing short stop or second base. Last year he spent the majority of his time at second, but in the minors he has played 261 games at SS compared to 122 at 2B.

I do like that Franklin is young, leaving it unknown as to what his ceiling could be. Hitting 12 HR and 45 RBI in only 103 games last season is respectable for a middle infielder in his first season. If the Mets think he is capable of playing short stop, then he is worth seriously looking into. But, I wouldn’t trade one of our pitching prospects for him either.

I understand you have to give to get in this game, but the Mets have spent the last few years stacking up their chips and I am not sold that he is worth one of our valuable pieces. Eventually some of our prospects will have to go, it’s a numbers game, but we should be saving our stockpile of arms to make that big splash somewhere down the line. If he is available for the right price, than I believe Sandy will jump on it, he has done quite well for us in his previous trades.

Honestly, the only one that would really shock me to be the opening day SS on this list is Flores. However, anything is possible. If Stephen Drew drops his asking price, I believe the Mets will ultimately sign him. If not, I’m sure Sandy will explore all other options before giving Tejada another opportunity. And if Tejada does end up winning this job, he will be on a very, very short leash.

The Yankees Need To Follow The 2013 Red Sox Model And Cut Ties With Alex Rodriguez

Alex Rodriguez is giving the media what they want, a never ending amount of drama

Alex Rodriguez is giving the media exactly what they want, a never-ending amount of drama.

In case you’ve been in a coma, Alex Rodriguez has once again taken over the media landscape. You can find him on just about every network and see his face on the front and back page on any given day. And once again, it is for all the wrong reasons. I know the saying goes “Any publicity is good publicity”, but I beg the differ in this situation. For a team that is coming off a disappointing 2013 season, missing the playoffs for only the second time in the last 20 years, the Yankees should be looking for a clean slate in 2014.

AROD brought his circus on the road with him everywhere he went last year. He has now surpassed Barry Bonds and McGuire as the poster boy for Steroids in baseball, if not all of sports. His never-ending tabloid battle reached an all-time high in recently, after an arbitrator ruled him out for the entire 2014 season. Did anyone really expect him to walk away quietly from this? He instantly filed an injunction in federal court against Major League Baseball and is now suing his very own players union, claiming they “engaged in numerous acts that were arbitrary, capricious and taken in bad faith”. It official, AROD is now fighting this battle alone.

The biggest blow the Yankees look to overcome isn’t Alex Rodriguez, but rather how to overtake the defending World Series Champions, the Boston Red Sox. If you remember just two years ago, the 2012 Red Sox season was more than a forgettable one. They finished in last place and had a season full of turmoil with Bobby Valentine leading the helm. There were grumblings of fights between players and the manager, the now infamous “chicken and beer” incident in their clubhouse and faced an onslaught of scrutiny from the media every step of the way. What did the Red Sox do? They wasted no time firing Bobby Valentine, the face of their new-found negative image and brought in guys like Shane Victorino, Mike Napoli and Johnny Gomes. This revamped their clubhouse culture and changed how the team was viewed both on and off the field, giving them the fresh start they so desperately needed.

Now I would say the Yankees are trying to follow in their footsteps. It has been a busy off-season bringing in Carlos Beltran, Jacoby Ellsbury and Brian McCann, all of which are hard-nosed players who will bring a different “feel” to this roster. But if the Yankees truly want a fresh start, they need to move on from the face of their own negativity, AROD. No matter what happens in the courtroom these next few months, they will be answering questions regarding him the entire season. It doesn’t matter if he is in uniform or not, he will still be in the news on a daily basis, making headlines for anything and everything, is that headache really worth it? As long as he is under a contract, he have an impact on this franchise.

I realize it’s easy for me to sit here and say just cut AROD and get it over with already, considering it isn’t my money being spent. Fair enough, I can’t argue with that. But assuming this 2014 suspension holds up, he will still be owed $61 million, before incentives, for the 2015-17 seasons. In my opinion, I feel that $61 million is best spent on ensuring he will be nowhere near this franchise. Let him go out and be someone else’s distraction, his numbers already show his production is on a steady decline and he will be 39-years-old by the time he is eligible to return. Sure they might suffer in 2014 with a hole at third base, but he wasn’t going to be here anyway. These are the New York Yankees, there’s no way you can tell me they won’t be able to find an able replacement by the start of the 2015 season.

The Yankees are the greatest franchise in all of sports, there’s no arguing that, but they are known for their off the field dramas as much as they are their World Series titles. From George Steinbrenner vs Billy Martin…Martin vs Reggie Jackson…Steinbrenner vs Dave Winfield…Steinbrenner vs MLB…Record breaking contracts … and now Alex Rodriguez, the Yankees always find a way to keep themselves in the spotlight. But now this story has grown old and if you want to give this team the best chance to win and earn the respect of america along the way, cut the most hated man in baseball.

This soap opera has run its course and I, along with millions of others, am ready for this program to be cancelled.

Yankee “Game” Should Not Have Been Played Last Night

Fans sat through rain delays for only 5 1/2 innings of play

Fans sat through rain delays all night before the game was ultimately cut short

Last night the Yankees lost 3-0 to the Red Sox, despite only playing 5 1/2 innings. The night was filled with rain delays before finally be called after passing the 5 inning mark to make it an official game. My biggest issue is that there was no reason to try to squeeze this game in.

It’s not like this is the only trip the Red Sox will be making to the Bronx this year. They will be back September 5th-9th and a double-header could have easily been scheduled for one of those days. I realize double-headers have gone out of fashion, mostly because owners prefer to sell tickets to two games rather than 1, but I feel this would have been the more appropriate approach given the weather situation. I would much rather wait for a chance to play a full game rather than squeeze in half of one for what was most likely TV demands due to being ESPN’s Sunday Night game of the week. From a business stand point I understand it, but I don’t have to agree with it.

Baseball is the only sport that can be stopped in the middle of the action and still be considered an official game. Just imagine officials stopping a football game at half time and announcing that whatever the score is at that point would be the final score. That would never happen, nor should it.

It’s the constant travel throughout the course of the season, with very few off days mixed in, that make scheduling so difficult in baseball. That is why such a rule is in place, to ensure they get as many games in as possible. I understand all of the logistics that have to be taken into consideration, but why was it decided that 5 innings would be the official game mark? Why not say 7? At least at the point you can justify that the game is close to being over. At 5 innings, you still have half of a game left to play where anything can happen.

The other detail that really bothered me from last nights game was that the Red Sox turn at bat in the 6th inning counts towards official scoring. Despite the fact that the game was called right before the Yankees hit in the bottom half of the inning, which would make it an incomplete inning since the Yankees are the home team, those numbers still counted since the Red Sox were already ahead. I have no idea why this rule was recently put in place. Are the players really that vain that we need to ensure each hit may still count regardless of the inning being completed or not? I just found that to be completely unnecessary.

Nonetheless, the game was ruled official and the Yankees dropped the series to the Red Sox. Nothing is going to change that nor do I see any changes being made to the rules any time soon.

CC Sabathia Does What An Ace Is Suppose To Do And Stops The Bleeding

Yankees

The Yankees entered last night’s game with a 5-game losing streak and were playing with little, to no spark. Someone needed to step up and stop the bleeding as the 1st place Boston Red Sox came into town. CC Sabathia, who was coming off his worst start of the year, took the mound and lead the way in a 4-1 win that the Yankees so badly needed.

These are the things you pay an ace such as Sabathia for, his job is to end losing streaks and each day he takes the mound you expect to have a good chance of winning. So far this year Sabathia has had mixed results, he typically turns things on as summer comes around and last night could be a sign of things to come. Sabathia, threw 7.1 innings allowing just 1 run with 10 strikeouts while earning his 5th win of the year.

It’s one thing to come in and put up those numbers to end a 5-game losing streak, it’s another to do so against the Boston Red Sox. The team was coming off of a bit of an emotional low after being swept by the crosstown rival Mets. But there was no time to dwell on that with Red Sox, who’s hatred for one another is well documented, coming to town. In some ways, I think it was a positive to play the Red Sox next, a series of that magnitude will quickly have you forget the past and focus on the challenge at hand.

Sabathia now sits at 5-4 on the year with a 3.71 era. Look for him to turn it up a notch as the summer heat has arrived. The Yankees will slowly be getting more and more healthy as the weeks go on, but it’s quality pitching from Sabathia and the rest of the staff that keep the Yankees winning.