Tag Archives: Utley

WS Game 7, Houston wins 1st WS Title. , AFL, Tanaka, Minor Leagues…

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The WS is over. Masahiro Tanaka has 3 days now to decide if he wants to opt out of his Yankees’ contract or not. We’ll know by Saturday.

The Houston Astros are WS champs for the first time in their history with a 5-1 win, because just as in Game 3, Yu Darvish stunk. In both games, Darvish was knocked out in the second inning, Games 3 and 7.

In the first inning, a double by George Springer, a 2-base error by Cody Bellinger (who set a WS record for striking out) and a groundout led to 2 runs.

In the second, after one run had already scored, Springer hit a 2-run HR to make it 5-0.

But why, down 2-0 in the bottom of the first, and needing to get back in the game, after a leadoff double, don’t the Dodgers bunt the guy over?

Springer’s HR was his fifth of the WS, tying a WS record set by Reggie Jackson (1977) and by Chase Utley (2009).

Deservedly so, Springer is the Willie Mays’ WS MVP.

For Houston, some joy after the hurricane damage.

The only thing with Utley is that his team (Phillies) lost to the Yankees, four games to two, in that WS.

Clayton Kershaw did come into Game 7 and pitch 4 scoreless innings of relief for LA, but where was that when he blew a 4-0 lead in Game 5?

In the Arizona Fall League, Yankees’ prospects:

SS Thairo Estrada, 1 for 5, 2 RBI. .340
LF Billy McKinney 2 for 3, walk, .310

Reliever Cody Carroll, 2 IP, 0 r, 0 H, 0 w,  K. 0.00. 4th save.

Scottsdale won 7-5.

Good news for the future for the Yankees:

MILB.com listed the Yankees as having the best farm system. Add these guys to youngsters they have now, and the future looks bright.

Kevin Reese was promoted in Yankees’ front office to take over for Gary Denbo, who left to join Jeter in FL.

Keep an eye on the Marlins this offseason. Fire sale coming which could involve big names.

Could the Yanks be interested in some of those names? At what price?


Yanks sign Tejada to minor league deal.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Ruben Tejada had 66 at bats last year between the Cardinals and Giants. For all intensive purposes, the last time we really saw him in the major leagues, he was getting his leg broken on a hard slide by Chase Utley of the Dodgers in the 2015 playoffs while playing SS for the Mets.

The Yankees signed him to a minor league deal today. As far as how much range he may have lost at SS due to the broken leg, we’ll see. Derek Jeter was 38 when he broke his ankle in the 2012 ALCS, but at 38, had already lost range anyway so after a wasted year of 2013, we already knew his range would not be the best during his final season of 2014 when he turned 40.

I expect Tejada, even with a spring training invite, to not make the team in 2017 but to go to SWB as insurance in case something happens to Didi or Castro. His 162 g. average is .252-3-40, OPS+ of 83. Good glove, weak stick.

A move for depth, nothing more.

Tejada has played mostly SS, some 2B and a little 3B in his major league career.

Cubs advance, Dodgers force Game 5.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The Chicago Cubs scored 4 in the top of the ninth to send the Giants home and win their division series three games to one with a 6-5 win.Wilson Contreras with a key PH 2-run single.

The Cubs are looking to get into the WS for the first time since 1945 and to win it for the first time since 1908.

Meanwhile, the Dodgers forced a deciding Game 5 in Washington Thursday night by beating the Nationals 6-5. Daniel Murphy had 4 RBI for Washington in the loss. Chase Utley the GW single.

The Dodgers are trying to get to the WS for the first time since 1988.

Washington is the former Expos franchise which never got to the WS. The last time DC hosted a WS game was in 1933, when the team that is now the Minnesota Twins lost to the NY Giants. The only time Washington had a WS winner was in 1924.

So whoever makes it to the Series….both AL and NL teams…will be ending a drought.

ALDS Game 3’s, and 1964 CYA winner Chance dies. Utley suspended.

Chase Utley of the Dodgers drew a two-game suspension for his slide that broke Mets’ SS Ruben Tejada’s leg. He is appealing the suspension.

Meanwhile, in the ALDS, Houston beat KC 4-2 to go up 2 games to 1 in their ALDS Series, and Toronto staved off elimination by defeating Texas 5-1. Texas still has a 2-1 edge there.

Both series resume today along with the NLDS starting up again after a day off.

Dean Chance, winner of the 1964 CYA (back when it was given out to only one pitcher and not two), died at the age of 74. Chance finished 3rd for the 1962 ROY, when he went 14-10, 2.96, ERA+ 130. Two years later, he won the award as the best pitcher in baseball, answering the question who besides Sandy Koufax won the award between 1963 and 1966? The CYA wasn’t split between leagues until 1967. Chance went 20-9, 1.65 in 1964, ERA+ 200. He finished 5th in MVP voting that year. He led the league in wins, CG, IP, and FIP, and the majors in ERA, shutouts (11), ERA+ and HR/9.

Traded to the Twins after the 1966 season, he was a 20-game winner in 1967 for them, losing the last game of the season to the Red Sox and Jim Lonborg. The Twins lost the pennant to Boston by one game. Chance, a 2x all-star,  1964 and 1967, was 20-14, 2.73, ERA+ 128 that year. He led the AL in GS, CG and IP that year and finished 13th in MVP voting.

Chance beat Mel Stottlemyre in a game in August of 1968, which was the first time I ever was at Yankee Stadium.

After averaging 16-13, 2.72, ERA + 125 from 1962-1968, Chance developed troubles in 1969. In 1970 he pitched for Cleveland and the Mets, and he finished his career with the 1971 Tigers. For his career, he was 128-115, 2.92, ERA+ 119. He was just 30 when he pitched his last game.

He got into just one postseason game, in 1969 with the Twins, and gave up 3 R in 2 IP.

Even it up…. and a controversial and painful play.

The Cubs and Dodgers evened their series up vs. the Cardinals and Mets respectively at one game apiece in their respective NL Division Series.

But the Dodgers/Mets game didn’t come without controversy, because Dodger Chase Utley, in making a hard take-out slide, broke Met SS Ruben Tejada’s leg.

Hard take-out slides have been part of the game forever, from Ty Cobb to now. Heck, in the early 1960’s, Al Kaline, in talking about Maris and Mantle, wasn’t talking about their home runs in one interview. He said that the two were the hardest in the league at going in to take out the fielder to break up a DP.

Little guys like Phil Rizzuto and Fred Patek were targets for guys trying to take them out.

Was Utley’s slide dirty? It was hard, it was clean, but until baseball changes the rules to where a runner must touch the bag or go DIRECTLY over it  (Utley didn’t, and the rule states be within reach of the bag) and slide a certain feet in front of it so that they don’t go so far past the bag, it was legal. Legal but very unfortunate.

Baseball has already changed the rules to protect catchers on a play at the plate. We’ll see if they do the same here.

Want to see one takeout slide of the past? Here is Hal McRae taking out Willie Randolph in Game 2 of the 1977 ALCS. Click on the link. Oh, by the way, it was legal and nothing was done to McRae…. just saying.

The minors, and trade deadline risks.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

With the Yankees off yesterday, a look at the minors and a look at risks at the trade deadline.

AAA: SWB won 2-1 on a walkoff inside-the-park HR by CF Ben Gamel. Kyle Davies 7 IP, 1 unearned run. 3 h, 1 walk and 8 K.  Caleb Cotham two scoreless IP of relief. (W, 2–0, 1.07). Gamel also had a double. Besides Gamel, 1B Greg Bird and 3B Jose Pirela each had two hits.

AA: Trenton off.

High A: Tampa won 4-2. LF Ericson Leonora a 2-run HR. Five others with two hits each. Jordan Montgomery 6 IP, 2 R, 1 ER, 6 H, 2 walks, 7 K.

A: Charleston off.

Funny how people are still complaining that the Yanks didn’t do a major splash at the trade deadline. I have a few thoughts on that.

For those who say that “the Boss” would have done something, face facts. The Boss, George Steinbrenner, has been dead for five years now. Accept that fact and accept that it is a new regime with his son Hal who isn’t his father. He will run things differently. Also, things weren’t always peaches and cream with George. Remember him trading away talents like Jay Buhner, Bob Tewksbury and Doug Drabek?

So for those who wanted a big deal, were you really going to trade away Luis Severino for what may turn out to be a two-month rental? As much as I would like the Yankees to win every year, you don’t want to sacrifice the future for a one-year quick fix. And don’t kid yourself. You can’t get something for nothing. The Yanks would have had to give up top talent like Severino to get something. You weren’t getting a David Price type talent for lower tier talent.

Here are examples of teams that went for it and paid for it.

8-12-87. The Tigers trade John Smoltz to the Braves for Doyle Alexander. Alexander goes 9-0 down the stretch for the Tigers. The Tigers make the playoffs as the AL East champ and lose the ALCS to the Twins. Alexander goes 14-11 in 1988 and 6-18 (leading the majors in losses) in 1989 then retires. The Tigers don’t make it back to the playoffs until 2006. Smoltz goes to the Braves, is in the playoffs every year from 1991-2005 (except for the 1994 strike) and goes to be a Hall of Famer.

8/30/1990: The Red Sox trade Jeff Bagwell to Houston for Larry Andersen. Andersen goes 0-0, 1.23 as a two-month rental. Boston wins the division but loses the ALCS to Oakland. Bagwell goes on to hit 449 HR for the Astros. He played a lot in the cavernous Astrodome. Imagine him with the Green Monster at Fenway.

Is that what these people want?

Also, some people, upset with Stephen Drew, are wondering if the Yanks should pursue Chase Utley. I wonder if these people realize that Utley, although the greatest Phillie 2B ever (and JAWS has him ranked 12th best 2B all-time), has been worse than Drew this year.

Drew: 32, $5MM, free agent after this year. 94 g. .194-13-32, OPS+ 77.

Utley: 36, $15MM, 69 games, .190-4-28. OPS+ 55. Utley has had a far better career than Drew, and is a borderline Hall of Famer.  His vesting option ($15MM each of the next three years) will not kick in because he won’t make 500 plate appearances this year. But a lot of money for someone four years older who is having a WORSE year for even Drew. Utley WAS great. He no longer IS.

Really, do you want that?

Yanks off today. Cuts?

The Yanks have today off, but it remains to be seen if Girardi and his staff will use today to make more cuts.

Recovering from March Madness? I squeaked one out when Kansas somehow came back after losing all game long. I picked them to lose to Kentucky for the championship. The last six times KY won the NCAA tournament (1949, ’51, ’58, ’78, ’96 and ’98), the Yankees won the World Series. Any questions why I picked KY to win this year? Hopefully the correlation continues. I picked 12 of the Sweet 16 right, have all of my Final Four still intact, and just one of my Elite 8 (Missouri) has been KO’d.

Not good news for the Phillies. Jon Heyman of CBS reports that Chase Utley, who hasn’t played at all for the Phils this spring so far, has left camp to get his knee evaluated by a specialist. With Ryan Howard still recovering from a torn Achilles, and his return date uncertain, this is one team possibly scrambling for infielders (they are actually considering using 42 year old Jim Thome at 1B for some games—Thome has played something like three games in the field in the last five years). Halladay, Lee and Hamels may have extra pressure on them…