Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Royals’ passionate fortitude pays off

The Kansas City Royals didn't seem to have any business winning Tuesday night’s American League Wild Card game after falling behind 7-3 to the Oakland Athletics. But, they brushed aside a managerial gaffe and pushed each other to an improbable 9-8 victory in front of a boisterous and wanting Kauffman Stadium crowd.

With “Big Game” James Shields on the mound, the Royals held a tenuous 3-2 lead in the sixth inning after being down 2-0 after one-half inning. With a bullpen which simply dominated much of the regular season waiting, Royals’ manager Ned Yost went to Yordano Ventura with two men on and Brandon Moss at the plate. Moss had already destroyed a Shields’ pitch earlier in the game for a two-run homer.

Ventura is a promising young right-handed starter. Yes that’s right; Yost went with a right-handed starter with a power-hitting lefty at the plate while he had a slew of experienced relief arms at his disposal. It backfired as Moss launched a massive home run to dead center field giving the A’s a 5-3 lead. The visitors tacked on two more runs and held the same margin heading to the bottom of the eighth.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Derek Jeter: An unscripted career

For the last 20 years, there has been one constant at Yankee Stadium, Derek Jeter. Winning wouldn’t have happened without him, and classic moments would have been fewer had he never donned pinstripes. Each poignant event in Jeter’s illustrious career has seemingly been penned by an author hell-bent on making Jeter the hero.

But you can’t predict baseball, right? The game can change without notice. And in Jeter’s final at-bat, in his final game at Yankee Stadium, he added one more completely unscripted moment to a career filled with heroics.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Yankees must sign Chase Headley

One of the benefits of New York Yankees' general manager Brian Cashman’s mid-season moves in 2014 was the ability to “scout” some players who might be useful to the club in the future. One such player is Chase Headley, long coveted by the Yankees and finally traded to New York from the San Diego Padres.

Headley became a hot commodity after putting up exceptional numbers for the Friars in 2012. Headley launched 31 homers, drove in 115 runs and tossed in 17 stolen bases. His .286/.376/.498 slash line with a 145 wRC+ and 7.2 WAR made clubs drool, knowing the Padres might not be able to sign Headley to an extension.

But, Headley regressed offensively in 2013 (114 wRC+) and for the first half of 2014 (90 wRC+), which severely affected his stock. The Yankees were able to utilize a vagabond shortstop (Yangervis Solarte) they did not have in their system in 2013 and fringe prospect Rafael De Paula to acquire Headley. It was a welcome move for the Yankees in more ways than one.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

New York Yankees: 7 positives in a negative season

The New York Yankees wake up Wednesday one game away from elimination from the postseason. A single Kansas City Royals' win or a lone Yankees’ loss over the next five days will seal the deal. Yet, in an otherwise negative season, there were seven positive occurrences the team can point to as they begin to look toward the 2015 season.

Tanaka delivers

Masahiro Tanaka was sought after by virtually every team in the league and the new posting system gave each of them a shot of securing his services. The Yankees were able to nab the Japanese hurler with a seven-year, $155 million contract (plus the $20 million posting fee). The only thing that slowed Tanaka down was a partial tear of the UCL in his right arm which he recently returned from after more than two months on the shelf.

Tanaka was well on his way to competing for the American League Rookie of the Year Award, as well as the Cy Young Award before his injury. On the season, Tanaka owns a 13-4 record with 139 strikeouts and just 19 walks in 134.1 innings pitched. Not only was Tanaka able to translate his repertoire from Japan, he was cool as a cucumber on the mound and extremely humble as praise was given him.

Monday, September 22, 2014

New York Yankees: Dare to dream?

The chances the New York Yankees reach the postseason in 2014 sits at a miserable 0.2 percent according to Baseball Prospectus with seven games left in the season.

Here is a look at each of the contenders’ schedules and what would need to shake out for the Yankees to nab the second wild card slot.

Oakland Athletics (85-70) – vs. L.A. Angels (3), @ Texas (4)
Kansas City Royals (84-70) – @ Cleveland (4*), @White Sox (4)
Seattle Mariners (83-72) – @ Toronto (4), vs. L.A. Angels (3)
Cleveland Indians (81-74) – vs. Kansas City (4), vs. Tampa Bay (3)

Dare to dream?