Tag Archives: Strasburg

If there is a Plan B, that may need to be changed.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Things have been quiet, and I don’t want to get into rumors, but if the Yankees’ off-season strategy is go after Gerrit Cole, but have a Plan B in case Cole rejects the Yankees offer, Plan B probably needs some alteration.

The top two targets for the Yankees, pitching-wise, are Cole and Stephen Strasburg. The Yanks have met with both, but it is expected that Strasburg will go back to Washington. Cole is a different story.

The Yanks have wanted Cole for a long time. They drafted him out of high school but Cole decided to go to UCLA instead. Then, when the Pirates were shopping him, the Yanks wouldn’t meet the Pirates’ demands (Miguel Andujar for one) and Pittsburgh traded Cole to Houston instead.

Apparently the Yanks told Cole that the money is there. It’s up to Cole, a Southern Californian, to decide if he wants New York.

But if the Yanks can’t get Cole (and it appears, for now, that all their eggs are being placed in that basket), or Strasburg, who is or was the Yankees Plan B?

If it was Zack Wheeler, forget it now. Wheeler signed a 5-yr., $118MM deal with the Phillies yesterday.

Cole Hamels reached a 1-yr., $18MM deal with Atlanta.

There are other Plan B’s out there, like Madison Bumgarner, Dallas Keuchel, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Gio Gonzalez, but they aren’t the WOW factor Cole or Strasburg are.

And if these Plan B’s are off the market when Cole decides, and he decides against the Yankees, what then?

Besides the pursuit of Cole, the Yanks also have to see about re-signing or letting go some of their own—Brett Gardner (most likely will be back what with Hicks going to miss most of 2020), Didi Gregorius (most likely gone), Austin Romine and Dellin Betances.

Of course, Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner may look to the trade market. If that is the case, Clint Frazier and/or Andujar could be names (among others) dangled.

No opt-out for Chapman, but Strasburg does.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Aroldis Chapman will not be opting out of his deal to become a free agent.

His contract has been reworked and another year has been added to keep Chapman a Yankee through 2022. The additional year is for $18MM.


WS MVP Stephen Strasburg HAS decided to opt-out of his deal and become a free agent. Of course, he could go back to Washington, but as for now, becomes a top free agent, right up there with Gerrit Cole, and thus a top (and expensive) target.

 

Washington stuns Houston to win WS

Yankee Stadium Frieze

In a World Series in which EVERY GAME WAS WON BY THE ROAD TEAM, Washington, the biggest WS underdog since 2007, stunned Houston by winning Game 7 6-2.

It is only the second time Washington, D.C. has the World Series Champ, and it’s the first time since 1924. That team then became the Minnesota Twins in 1961.

This team started its existence as the Montreal Expos in 1969, and this is the first title in franchise history. This, the year after Bryce Harper, the face of the franchise the past few years, left to go to the Phillies in free agency.

Stephen Strasburg was named WS MVP.

Washington stunningly won the WS after starting the season 19-31. They didn’t even win their division. Down in the wild card game, they caught a break in the eighth inning against Milwaukee when Milwaukee’s RF overran the ball in trying to gun down a runner at the plate (the tying run) and as a result, the winning run came around to score.

Then in the NLDS, they took down the 106=win Dodgers. Down in the eighth inning of Game 5, they hit two HR off of Clayton Kershaw to tie the game and got a grand slam by Howie Kendrick in extra innings to win the game and series. They then swept the Cardinals in the NLCS.

In the World Series, they dispatched the 107-win Astros in unconventional fashion, winning all four games in Houston while losing all three games at home. Who’d have thought?

The Astros got off to a 2-0 lead. Yuri Gurriel hit a solo HR in the second off Max Scherzer, and Carlos Correa an RBI single in the fifth. Scherzer, who couldn’t start Game 5 because of a sore neck and who received a shot for the pain, started Game 7 and was not sharp, but kept his team in the game, giving up just two runs in five innings despite being in and out of trouble the whole time.

In the seventh, Washington took the lead with three runs. Anthony Rendon homered to cut the lead to 2-1. Juan Soto walked. Houston manager A.J. Hinch then pulled starter Zack Grienke, a move I wondered about at the time. Grienke had only given up the one run on two hits in 6 1/3 innings.

Reliever Will Harris replaced Greinke and gave up a two-run HR to Kendrick that hit the foul pole. 3-2 Nats, and they never looked back. Harris took the loss.

Patrick Corbin (who I wanted the Yanks to get last offseason when Corbin was a free agent) wound up with the win with three scoreless innings of relief.

Per MLB.com, Kendrick is the first player with multiple go-ahead home runs in the seventh inning or later in winner-take-all games in a single postseason. He also is just the second player to hit a go-ahead homer in the seventh inning or later while their team was trailing in a World Series winner-take-all game. The other was Hal Smith in 1960—the Bill Mazeroski game.

A walk to Adam Eaton, SB and RBI single by Juan Soto made it 4-2 Washington in the eighth.

The Nats tacked two more on in the ninth on a bases-loaded, 2 RBI single by Eaton. Washington got eight of their nine hits in the last three innings as Houston’s bullpen imploded.

 

 

 

WS Game 6. Take it to the limit. Washington forces a Game 7 with a 7-2 win.

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Never, in the history of the four major sports, has a road team won the first six games of a series (of course, football doesn’t have a best of 7).

Until now. Washington beat Houston 7-2 Tuesday night to force a seventh and deciding game tonight (Wednesday). The road team has won every game in the WS so far.

Anthony Rendon had three hits, inc. a 2-run HR, and drove in 5 runs. The HR came after a controversial call that went against the Nats and got manager Dave Martinez ejected—the first manager ejected from a WS game since Bobby Cox of Atlanta in Game 6 of the 1996 WS.

For Justin Verlander, another WS loss. The future HOF pitcher is now 0-6 in the World Series. ROY, CYA, MVP, 3 no-hitters, but no WS victory.

Stephen Strasburg went 8 1/3 IP for the win.

Besides Rendon, Adam Eaton and Juan Soto homered for Washington. Alex Bregman hit one for Houston.

Max Scherzer, who missed his Game 5 start because of a neck injury, apparently feels better after getting a cortisone shot and is expected to start Game 7 for Washington. He’ll be opposed by Houston’s Zack Greinke.

 

 

WS Game 4. Houston evens up Series, 8-1. Chapman AL reliever of the Year.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Houston has flipped the script. They came into Washington down 0-2 in the World Series, but have evened the Series up at two games apiece, and have Gerrit Cole  and Justin Verlander set up for Games 5 and 6.

Washington comes back with Scherzer and Strasburg.

Five Astros had two or more hits, including Alex Bregman, who had three, including a grand slam, for 5 RBI. Robinson Chirinos homered for the second straight game. Michael Brantley had 3 hits, and of course, Jose Altuve had two.

Anthony Rendon had two of Washington’s four hits.


Aroldis Chapman was named the AL’s Reliever of the Year—the Mariano RIvera Award—for 2019.

Milwaukee’s Josh Hader won the NL version of the award—the Trevor Hoffman Award.


The Surprise Saguaros lost the Arizona Fall League title to Salt River, 5-1, Saturday night. Surpirse was the team Yankees’ prospects played for in the one-month long Arizona Fall League.


Mickey Callaway, just fired as Mets’ manager, goes to the Angels to serve as Joe Maddon’s pitching coach.


Former MLB umpire Chuck Meriwether died of cancer, age 63.

WS Game 2. Washington going home with 2-0 Series lead. Cubs choose Ross as mgr.

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The Washington Nationals, the biggest WS underdog since the 2007 Colorado Rockies (who got swept by Boston) are heading home after whipping Houston 12-3 in Game 2 last night.

In winning both games at Houston, Washington beat Gerrit Cole AND Justin Verlander. Verlander has now started six WS games in his career, and is 0-5.

Stephen Strasburg gave up a 2-run HR to Alex Bregman in the first inning, but nothing after that as he pitched six innings for the win.

Five different Nationals had two hits, as they banged out 14, including 3 HR.


The Cubs apparently have chosen ESPN broadcaster David Ross as their new manager, replacing Joe Maddon who has moved on to the Angels. Remember the surprise when the Yankees chose Aaron Boone two years ago? And Eduardo Perez (Tony’s son), an ESPN broadcaster, is still in the mix for some open managerial jobs, too.


The Arizona Fall League ends tomorrow, Friday. The Surprise Saguaros, which has some Yankees’ prospects, are 16-11, have clinched their division and will be playing in the Championship game on Saturday.  Stats for those prospects.

1B Brandon Wagner .212-2-21  19 games
C Donny Sands .188-1-7  14 games
CF Josh Stowers .121-1-3   19 games.
P Aaron McGarity 1-0, 0.87 9 games, 10 1/3 IP  14 K
P Glenn Otto  2-1, 1.35  5 starts, 20 IP,  20 K
P Daniel Bies 0-1, 4.50 10 IP, 14 K

 

 

ALCS Game 3. Yanks fall 4-1, trail in Series 2 games to 1. Nats win NL.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Since May 22, Gerrit Cole has been unbeatable, going 19-0 in 25 starts with a 1.59 ERA. Incredible.

He was vulnerable against the Yankees, giving up 5 walks and 4 hits in his seven innings of work, but no runs.

Luis Severino was OK, but gave up a HR in the first to Jose Altuve (Altuve kills the Yankees) and another in the second to Josh Reddick and that is all Cole needed. Houston wins Game 3 of the ALCS, 4-1, and is up two games to one in the series.

The Yanks have a couple of problems. For one, manager Aaron Boone has to wonder if he should bench Gary Sanchez and start Austin Romine instead. Sanchez is 1 for 13 in this series with six strikeouts. For the whole postseason, he is 2 for 21 with 10 strikeouts. He also couldn’t block a WP that enabled Houston to score a run.

In a post-game interview, Boone said no when asked about going to Romine. I think he may be making a mistake.

Another is Adam Ottavino, who came into Game 3 with the score 2-0 in the top of the seventh. Ottavino isn’t getting anyone out and gave up a walk and a single before being pulled. Both runners later scored. Boone said he’ll continue to use him…. what else is he going to say?

Ottavino’s numbers this postseason: 2 1/3 IP, 3 R, 6 H, 3 W, 3 K.  1 HR given up. He’s faced 16 batters and 9 have reached base. You just can’t trust him in tight games anymore. At least not now.

There is no time in the postseason to hope. It’s do or die. It’s why Joe Torre once benched Wade Boggs, Tino Martinez AND Paul O’Neill for the same game (replacing them in the lineup with Charlie Hayes, Cecil Fielder and Darryl Strawberry).

Cleanup hitter Edwin Encarnacion is also slumping. 1 for 12 with 6 strikeouts in this series. Maybe he needs to be dropped in the lineup.

The one constant is Gleyber Torres. The only Yankees’ run came on a HR by Torres in the eighth inning. He is 10 for 24 this postseason with 3 HR and 10 RBI. Maybe Boone should just keep him in the 3 spot. He batted fifth in Game 3, probably to try to protect Encarnacion and hopefully get Edwin going.

But that meant Brett Gardner hit third. Now the Yanks did get singles from D.J. LeMahieu and Aaron Judge to lead off the bottom of the first, but Gardner flied out. The Yanks didn’t score. Maybe Gardner should have bunted the runners over there. I know you are thinking big inning, but this is Cole on the mound, and Gardner is not your prototypical #3 hitter (like a Ruth, DiMaggio, Maris or Mantle), and who knows, maybe Gardner beats it out. Just saying.  Gardner is 2 for 13 in this series with five strikeouts.

Didi Gregorius JUST MISSED putting the Yanks up 3-2 with a two-out drive with two on in the fifth that was caught at the wall. Tough break. Didi is 1 for 12 in this series.

The forecast is for rain. There is a very strong chance Game 4 gets rained out tonight. If so, I believe the Yanks HAVE to come back with Tanaka then for Game 4 on regular rest (and in his six innings on Saturday, he only threw 68 pitches in Game 1) to try to even the series and avoid going down three games to one.

The Yanks only had five hits in the game. In their last 20 innings, they’ve scored just three runs.

LeMahieu 2 hits
Torres HR, 2 walks
Aaron Hicks, starting his first game in over 2 months, walked twice.

Severino (LOSS) 4 1/3 IP, 2 R, 5 H, 3 W, 6 K.  Gave up 2 HR
Green 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K.
Kahnle 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K.
Ottavino 0 IP, 2 R, 1 H, 1 W, 0 K.
Britton 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 0 K.  1 WP that scored a run.
Cessa 2 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 3 K.

Who’d have thought Cessa would be out-pitching Ottavino this postseason?

Hopefully some of these Yankees’ bats heat up.

Also, hopefully Boone makes some right, and maybe necessary, tough decisions to shake the Yanks up.


Washington won the NLCS by beating St. Louis 7-4 last night, scoring all seven runs in the bottom of the first. With the four game sweep, the Nationals go to their first WS in franchise history, going back to 1969 when they were the Montreal Expos 1969-2004 before moving to Washington.

For D.C., it’ll host their first WS games since 1933 when the old Washington Senators (now the Minnesota Twins) won the AL pennant but lost the WS to the NY (now SF) Giants.

Howie Kendrick was named the NLCS MVP.

So whoever wins the ALCS knows they’ll have to face Washington with its trio of Scherzer, Strasburg and Corbin (not to mention Anibal Sanchez).