Category Archives: Mike’s Musings

Are Yanks targeting Goldschmidt? Brewers go 1 up in NLCS.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

From MLB.Com:

Could Goldschmidt be a fit for Yankees?
Oct. 15: Facing a critical juncture this offseason after missing the playoffs in 2018, the D-backs are reportedly expected to listen to offers for a number of their top players, including Paul Goldschmidt.

• Complete list of free agents this offseason

The problem for Arizona, as ESPN’s Buster Olney noted via Twitter, is that there aren’t a lot of obvious fits for Goldschmidt, as many contenders are set at first base. However, Olney speculates that the Yankees could enter the mix for the six-time All-Star, who can become a free agent after the 2019 season.

New York’s current options at first base include in-season acquisition Luke Voit and Greg Bird, who hasn’t been able to stay healthy or consistently produce during his big league tenure. The Yankees will need to decide if either player is a long-term answer.

Voit seemingly has the inside edge to earn a starting job in 2019, as he hit .322 with 15 homers in only 47 games with the club and became an everyday lineup fixture down the stretch. But Voit will be 28 on Opening Day, and he’ll need to show that his 2018 performance was not a fluke.

Meanwhile, Goldschmidt remains one of the best hitters in baseball, recording a .290 average with 33 homers and a .922 OPS in 2018, and he could help the Yankees close the gap with the Red Sox and Astros in the American League.

Goldschmidt, 31, has twice been runnerup for MVP in the NL, and once finished third. He led the NL in HR and RBI in 2013. He is a 6x All Star, 3x Gold Glove winner, and 3x Silver Slugger winner and we don’t know how he will do in GG, MVP or SS this season. He hit .290-33-83 this season, OPS+ 139 and his 162 g. average is .297-31-105, 18 SB, OPS+ 145. A beast. He averages 97 walks and 157 strikeouts per season. Far more accomplished than Bird, far more experienced and a sure thing than Voit. Simply stated, one of the best players in the NL, period. And better defensively, too.

If the Yanks deal for him, they’d want to get him to a contract extension because he is a free agent after the 2019 season.

The Brewers won Game 3 of the NLCS, 4-0, to go up 2 games to 1 in the NLCS.

Chris Sale of Boston has been released from the hospital after his stomach ailment.

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Boston evens ALCS at 1 game each, Sale hospitalized.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Boston won Game 2, 7-5 over Houston, to even the ALCS at one game each.

Boston does have a new concern. From mlb.com:

Red Sox ace Chris Sale was sent to Massachusetts General Hospital with a stomach illness on Sunday, and he didn’t travel with the team to Houston, where the American League Championship Series against the Astros will resume on Tuesday.

The Red Sox are hopeful he will be ok to start Game 5 on Thursday.

Game 3 of the NLCS between Milwaukee and the Dodgers is today. That series is also tied.

NFL great Jim Taylor, fullback for the Lombardi Packers of the 1960s, died Saturday morning at the age of 83. #31 for those teams, he was on the 1961, 1962, 1965 NFL champs as well as the Super Bowl I (1966) champs. He scored the first TD in Super Bowl history. He was the one Chuck Bednarik tackled at the 9-yd. line when the Eagles beat the Packers 17-13 for the NFL Championship, and Taylor also won the NFL rushing title in 1962—the only year Jim Brown (1957-1965) did NOT lead the league in rushing.

 

Formula to predict playoff series?

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I don’t know how accurate this could be, but here could be a formula to predict playoff series. Of course, there are always upsets.

But ERA+ added to OPS+.

ERA+ average is 100. A 117 means your team’s ERA is 17% Above average.

OPS+ is On Base Pct. + Slugging average in relation to the league. 100 is average. 117 means your on base % + slugging average is 17% Above league average.

So how does this postseason add up?

AL Wild card game. A’s combined total 218, Yanks 224. Yanks win.
NL Wild Card Game. The only upset. Rockies 198, Cubs 213. Rockies win.

ALDS Yanks 224, Boston 229. Boston wins
ALDS Cleveland 221, Houston 239.

According to this, Houston should beat Boston in the ALCS.

NLDS Dodgers 234, Braves 207. Dodgers won.
NLDS Brewers 209, Rockies 198. Brewers won.

According to this, the Dodgers should beat the Brewers in the NLCS.

Also, according to this, we get a repeat of last year’s WS, with Houston (239) topping the Dodgers (234) once again.

Hmmm…..

Game 4 ALDS. Yanks are eliminated, 4-3. Furious comeback comes up short.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

They’ll talk about that 16-1 beating all winter. They will talk about Boone leaving Severino in for the fourth, about Lynn coming in instead of Green, I don’t know if any of it would have mattered, considering the score.

We’ll remember the two one-run losses even more. Win those, and the Yanks would still be playing, despite that beatdown.

The Yanks lost Game 4 of the ALDS to Boston Tuesday night, 4-3, and therefore lost the series 3 games to 1. The Red Sox advance to face Houston in the ALCS.

You now wonder which players will be back. CC, Gardner (0 for 8 in the ALDS), Robertson, Britton, Happ, Lynn, Walker, Hechevarria and McCutchen (2 for 15 in the ALDS) are all free agents or have options that may not be picked up.

A couple of key hits here or there, liners that found Boston gloves or that went foul while their balls blooped in. Shots that fell short of the fence while theirs barely cleared the wall, that we’ll remember.

Aaron Boone did shake up the lineup, hoping to get more lefty oomph in there. Gardner started in LF, Hicks in CF, Walker at 3B. McCutchen and Andujar sat.

CC got out of a bases-loaded jam in the first, but gave up 3 runs in the third. One of the hits a bleeder by Yankee-killer Steve Pearce. One RBI double appeared to be misplayed by Gardner, but to be fair, it was hit so hard it probably handcuffed him.

Boone’s bullpen management may be questioned a bit. It’s one thing that hopefully improves next year.

Zach Britton gave up a HR in the fourth to Christian Vazquez. 4-0 Boston. The HR just cleared the short porch.

The Yanks finally got on the board in the fifth when Sanchez doubled, Torres got an infield hit and Gardner a SF.

In the bottom of the ninth, Judge led off with a walk, Didi singled and after Stanton (4 for 18, 6 strikeouts in the ALDS) struck out, Voit walked. Walker was HBP to make it 4-2. Sanchez just missed a game-winning grand slam, getting under it and hitting it to the warning track for a SF, 4-3. But Torres barely missed beating out a dribbler and the game, series, and season were over.

Up until that ninth inning, the Yanks had only scored 2 runs in their previous 19 innings. That won’t get it done.

Just like in 2017, in those games in Houston that year, the Yanks couldn’t come up with the big hit when you needed it.

The homers are nice. That HR record is nice. But hitting with RISP, being able to get the bat on the ball, avoiding strikeouts, going the other way, situational hitting, those are things that need to be improved upon for the Yanks to advance to the next levels. Homers alone won’t do it. Also, baserunning. The Red Sox were 5 for 5 in stealing bases in the series, the Yanks didn’t even attempt one.

Starters who go deep would help too. The longest any Yankee starter pitched in this postseason was the five innings Tanaka went in getting the Game 2 win.

Hopefully for the youngsters, Torres and Andujar (1 for 9 in the series), this postseason was a learning experience. Same for veterans like Stanton, making his first postseason appearance. Learn from it.

The bullpen did a great job keeping the Yanks in the game and giving them a chance.

Gregorius 2 hits (out of the Yanks’ 5)

Sabathia (L) 3 IP, 3 R, 5 H, 2 W, 1 K.
Britton 2 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 0 W, 3 K. Gave up 1 HR.
Robertson 1 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 4 K.
Betances 1 1/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 W, 3  K.
Chapman 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K.

More post-mortem analysis to come in the coming weeks.

Game 3 ALDS. Yanks pushed to brink after 16-1 spanking.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

There’s no nice way to put this.

The Yanks were embarrassed in Game 3 of the ALDS, losing 16-1 to Boston.

The loss puts them at the brink of elimination. They need to find a way to put it behind them and win tonight (Tuesday) to force Game 5 in Fenway on Thursday.

To do that, they need the bats to revive and for 38 year old CC Sabathia to pitch a good game.

Luis Severino gave up a run in the second, two in the third and the Red Sox erupted for seven in the fourth to put the game away.

And they kept adding on after that. No word if they were blasting “Sweet Caroline” in their locker room after the game.

It was just ugly, and the worst beating the Yanks have ever suffered in the postseason.

3-2, 16-1, it’s still just one loss, and hopefully the Yanks can overcome it. But it was ugly.

16 runs on 18 hits and 8 walks.

How ugly was it? Austin Romine pitched the bottom of the eighth and gave up a 2-run HR for the Red Sox’ final two runs.

That ugly.

The Yanks only got five hits, two by Giancarlo Stanton. Ex-Yankee Nathan Eovaldi owned them all night.

There isn’t much more to write about with this one.

Turn the page. They have to, or they go home for the winter.

The one thing Yankees’ fans can hope for? That 2004 Boston comeback against the Yanks started after the Yanks won Game 3 of that ALCS 19-8. Also, in 1960, the Pirates beat the Yanks in the WS despite losing three games by scores of 10-0, 12-0 and 16-3.

Hopefully last night’s beat down woke up and angered the Yanks.

Umpire Angel Hernandez had a bad night. It seems every time you looked up, a call of his was being challenged (and proven wrong).

Severino (L) 3+ IP, 6 R, 7 H, 2 W, 2 K.
Lynn 1/3 IP, 3 R, 2 H, 1 W, 0 K.
Green 1 2/3 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 2 W, 0 K.
Holder 2 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 1 W, 1 K.
Tarpley 1 IP, 3 R, 4 H, 1 W, 1 K.
Romine 1 IP, 2 R, 1 H, 1 W, 0 K. Gave up 1 HR.

In other series, Houston swept Cleveland and awaits the winner of this series.

The Dodgers eliminated the Braves 3 games to 1 and will face the Brewers in the NLCS.

Game 3 is Severino vs. Eovaldi.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Boston is going with ex-Yankee Nathan Eovaldi for Game 3 vs. the Yanks’ Luis Severino. As far as the Yanks’ lineup is concerned, a lot depends on the health of Aaron Hicks.

Boston says they’ll use David Price in relief if necessary.

Milwaukee is headed to the NLCS after sweeping Colorado with a 6-0 win today.

As for Dodgers/Braves, the Braves stayed alive with a 6-5 win, forcing Game 4 Monday.

 

Game 2 ALDS. Yanks even series behind the Kraken.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Turn the page.

Gary Sanchez had a poor regular season. His .186 batting average was the lowest ever for any Yankee with 300 or more plate appearances.

But he did hit 18 HR. He hit 33 last season. He hit 20 in just 53 games in 2016. You knew the power was there, and that at any time he could put up a two homer, 4 RBI game.

That is the Sanchez we hoped would return, and in time for the playoffs. Make up for a bad regular season with a great postseason.

It is the Sanchez we got last night. Sanchez hit two homers and drove in 4 runs as the Yanks won 6-2 to even the series up. Game 3 is in the Bronx Monday night.

David Price started for Boston, and he has had a couple of problems lately. #1, he has trouble against the Yankees. #2, he has trouble in the postseason (0-9 record in 10 starts). #3 Gary Sanchez owns him. Not a good combination.

So Aaron Judge, the second batter of the game, hit a 445-ft. HR to give the Yanks a quick 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. Judge has homered in all three postseason games so far.

Sanchez came up in the bottom of the second and continued his mastery of Price by hitting a HR to make it 2-0 Yanks. With two out, Price proceeded to walk Gleyber Torres and Brett Gardner. Gardner was starting in CF for Aaron Hicks, who has a tight hamstring. Hicks was available for pinch-hitting duty and the hammy won’t keep him out for the rest of the series (if it did, he wouldn’t be available again until the World Series–no ALCS).

Andrew McCutchen then singled off of the green monster to make it 3-0 Yanks and give Price an early shower.

Meanwhile, Masahiro Tanaka was on, and was his postseason bulldog self. (He is now 3-2, 1.50 in five postseason starts). He gave up a HR in the bottom of the fourth, but it was a solo one, and went five innings giving up just that one run.

In the seventh, the Yanks broke the game open. Judge singled and Voit walked. Stanton, who is struggling—so much so that lots of people are comparing him to A-Rod and A-Rod’s postseason struggles—hit a topper that at first it appeared as if Nunez’ throw hoping for a force pulled the fielder off the bag. But Boston reviewed and the call was overturned. Forceout. Hmm. The fielder must have kept his big toenail on the bag because it didn’t look that way. Nunez’ throwing was shaky all night long. He almost made 3 errors instead of the one he did make. But then again, when he was a Yankee, he had the nickname of Nun-E.

Hopefully Stanton comes around. Aim for RF in the Bronx, Giancarlo. You are strong enough to hit it out anywhere, especially there. Stay back.  No need to pull everything.

So it was first and third, one out, and here is where Sanchez hit his second HR of the game, a 479-ft. bomb that left everything and went out on the street. 6-1 Yanks.

Dellin Betances gave up a run in the bottom of the seventh to make it 6-2, but that was it. Yankees’ pitchers limited Boston to 2 runs and 5 hits. Good job.

I am a bit concerned yet about the Yanks’ hitting w/RISP. 2 for 10 last night (the Yanks had 8 hits and drew 7 walks, so they could have scored more runs than 6). Hopefully that picks up.

Judge 2 hits, solo HR.
Voit 0 for 2 but drew 3 walks.
Sanchez 2 HR, 4 RBI
Gardner 0 for 2 but drew 2 walks.

Tanaka (WIN) 5 IP, 1 R, 3 H, 1 W, 4 K. Gave up 1 HR.
Betances (H) 2 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 0 W, 1 K.
Britton 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 0 K.
Chapman 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 1 K.

In the other ALDS series, Houston beat Cleveland 12-1 behind Gerrit Cole’s 7 innings and 12 K. Houston is up 2 games to 0.

The NL was off. Milwaukee is up 2-0 on Colorado and the Dodgers are up 2-0 on the Braves.