The Price Isn’t Right In Boston Right Now

The Boston Red Sox needed to get an ace this past offseason, so they signed lefty David Price. He didn’t come cheap. Price inked a seven-year, $217 million deal with Boston. So far however, he hasn’t lived up to his big contract.

One of the main reasons that the Red Sox signed Price was because of how mediocre their pitching staff was in 2015. The team lacked a true ace. Clay Buchholz was really Boston’s best pitcher last season. He went 7-7 with a 3.26 ERA, but only made 18 starts due to injuries. Buchholz has always been a decent pitcher, but he’s never consistently put up ace-like numbers. Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski knew that his team needed a true ace going into the 2016 season. Price was supposed to be that guy.

Unfortunately for the Red Sox, he has not been the pitcher they expected him to be. Overall, he has a record of 8-5. However, this isn’t a good indicator of how Price has actually pitched. His ERA is up to 4.74. He’s allowed 109 hits and 57 earned runs in 102 innings pitched. Price just hasn’t looked like the dominant pitcher he’s always been.

His season got off to a rough start when he posted a 5.76 ERA in April, a month that included a start in which he allowed eight earned runs against  his former team, the Tampa Bay Ray. May wasn’t much better, as Price had a 4.62 ERA in the six starts he had in the month. He pitched somewhat better in June, as his ERA was only 4.08 for the month. He pitched better earlier in June, but he’s struggled over his last few starts. Last Friday against the Texas Rangers, Price only lasted 2.1 innings and let up six earned earned runs on 12 hits and had just one strikeout. His start on Wednesday on the road against the Rays was somewhat better, as he gave up four runs over 6.1 innings while collecting ten strikeouts. However, Price took the loss in the game.      

Given that we’re now into July, the MLB season is basically halfway over. Price’s stats at the halfway point aren’t all that flattering. He still has time to pick it up, but so far his adjustment to Boston hasn’t gone smoothly. Part of the problem could be pitching at Fenway Park. It’s never exactly been known as a pitcher’s ballpark. Given the short dimensions in left field, it’s hard for a lefty to have success pitching at Fenway. Still however, Price has always been a strikeout pitcher. In 2012 when he won the AL Cy Young Award while with the Rays, he struck out 205 batters. Two seasons later, he had a league-leading 271 strikeouts combined with the Rays and Detroit Tigers. In the 16 starts he’s made so far in 2016, he’s struck out 120 batter. His stats in this department have decline. The problem is that he’s allowing more hits and home runs. Price has already surrendered 15 homers this year. The most he’s ever given up in a single season is 25. That might change the way things are going.

David Price needs to turn things around quickly. He still has half the season to go, but he has yet to show any signs of turning the corner. Boston needs him to be the ace he’s been throughout his career. Right now, David’s definitely not worth the price that the Red Sox paid for him.

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Yankees Need To Move Players Now

The Yankees seem to be running out of options as the all-star break approaches. They have been doing all they can to try and generate wins, but they have fallen short.

Their pitching has cost them games because they cannot play from behind. Starting pitchers have given up homeruns and that has been devastating for the Yankees because when their defense gets shaken up it has an effect on the offense as well.

The Yankees have been showing flashes of being able to be a good team, but they have not been showing that consistently and that shows in their record. They have another half of the season to right their wrongs, and depending on their attitude coming out of the all-star break that will determine if they can salvage their season.

There are difficult decisions that the Yankees have to make with only a month till the trade deadline. This season may be slipping away, but the future could look great if the Yankees trade for the right players.

They should be looking to get the most for the players they have to offer. They have plenty of talent on their roster that they could spread around and reel in younger players that are already established in the league.

They could also get younger player that could be groomed into better players in a few years. The rebuilding process can take a few years, but with the right moves that could speed up the process.

The Yankees being at .500 at this point of the season is not bad, but the way they have been playing is an indicator that the rest of the season could take a turn for the worst. The team can be on fire for a series and get swept the next series.

Breaking even in the American League does not guarantee a playoff spot for the Yankees because it is a tough division. It is important for the Yankees to make the right moves before the trade deadline not only for a better future, but also a better second half of the season.

Adjustments from game to game have not helped the Yankees in a big way, but it has kept them where they are. Switching the batting order has not produced runs and that means there has to been a new addition in the batting order.

The Yankees have to bring in a player that can drive in runs on a regular basis. They need someone who can come up with a big hit with runners in scoring position. The Yankees have seen plenty of young players that can do just that and they need a couple of them.

There have been reports from ESPN and Bleacher Report stating that the Chicago Cubs were looking to trade left fielder Kyle Schwarber for Yankees 8th inning setup man Andrew Miller. There are a few reasons this trade could favor both teams.

The Cubs are first place in the National League and having a pitcher like Miller in the bullpen for late innings or even becoming the closer can be great in the playoffs. Although Schwarber is out for the season with a knee injury he can be great next season for the team.

He is a young player with pop in his bat and he can be a great run producer for the Yankees. The Yankees would be potentially calling it quits on this season by making this move, but it would be great for their future.

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Can Ike Davis Really Help the Yankees?

The New York Yankees have not had much luck with their first basemen so far this year. They’ve been plagued by injuries at the position throughout the 2016 season. To try and deal with this problem, the team signed former New York Met Ike Davis on Sunday.

Davis, 29, started the 2016 season with the Texas Rangers organization. He was assigned to Triple-A to start the year and was never called up. On Sunday, Davis opted out of his minor league contract with the Rangers so he could pursue a major league contract. He knew that the Yankees were interested in him. The contract they signed him to is for one year and is worth $1.5 million.

It’s obvious why the Yankees decided to go after Davis. They’ve had so many injuries at the first base position. Before the season even started, their young power-hitting first baseman Greg Bird needed to have shoulder surgery and was ruled out for the entirety of 2016. Mark Teixeira was placed on the disabled list back in early June due to torn articular cartilage in his right knee. Teixeira has battled injury problems with his knee for years now. Utility infielder Dustin Ackley suffered a torn labrum in his shoulder in late May, requiring surgery. He’ll most likely miss the rest of the season.

With their options limited, the Yankees turned to Davis. Although he’s not the ideal candidate for first base, the team could do worse. In Triple-A with the Round Rock Express, he was hitting .268 with four home runs and 25 RBIs. As far as his Major League numbers go, Davis is a lifetime .239 hitter. A left-handed hitter with a decent amount of power, he once hit 32 home runs in a season. This came in 2012 while he was still with the Mets. The Mets traded him to the Pittsburgh Pirates in April of 2014. He was traded again during the 2014 offseason, this time to the Oakland Athletics. Davis only batted .229 with three homers and 20 RBIs during his lone season in Oakland.

Although Davis hasn’t put up great offensive numbers in his career, he could potentially hit a decent  amount of home runs in Yankee Stadium due to the short porch in right field. Additionally, he fields his position very well. He was known for making great defensive plays while he was with the Mets. The Yankees are planning on having him platoon first base with Rob Refsnyder, who bats right-handed. Davis also has a family connection with the Yankees. His father, Ron Davis, pitched for the Yankees from 1978-1981. Playing for his father’s old team could potentially motivate Ike.

The Yankees signed Ike Davis out of desperation. They basically ran out of options at first base. However, they have a chance to catch lighting in a bottle with him. After all, former Mets have had success with the Yankees in the past. The most recent examples of this are Chris Young and Carlos Beltran. He might actually be able to really help the team in this time of need.

The Next Man Up: Ike Davis

The Yankees roller coaster season continues as they struggle to find answers to turn their season around. Injuries have plagued the Yankees and they are having a hard time working around them.

Mark Teixeira is a big part of the lineup and his injury has loomed large in the Yankees clubhouse. The team had to find some relief and so they acquired Ike Davis. Davis needs to make a difference on the field because the Yankees have to start winning.

This season is moving quickly and this team can be on the verge of being knocked out of playoff contention early.

The Yankees do not need a place holder at the first base position they need a player that can make plays on defense, and get the job done in the batter’s box. I can see Davis being that kind of player, and he can help the Yankees offense in a major way.

The team has been getting outscored early and they are having trouble fighting back to regain the lead and win. That is a problem the Yankees have experienced at home and on the road and it has to change. The Yankees need to take this season to rebuild and move players around.

Davis is probably not the start of the rebuilding process, but he is a young player that can give the Yankees some life to try and revive their losing record. Davis is a career .200 hitter and the Yankees need him to be better than he is on paper.

His best season in the majors was in 2012 with the New York Mets when he exploded for 32 homeruns. Davis played in the most games in a single season of his career (156) in 2012. He performed that well after coming off a season in which he only played in 36 games due to injury.

The Yankees have been losing their first basemen at an alarming rate and they have had to use the depth that they lack on their bench as replacements. Davis now has the pressure on him to be as great as he once was. He is the best bet for the Yankees in their current state.

He is not completely different from Teixeira aside from not being a switch hitter the lefty does have pop in his bat. Davis has the right pieces around him to make a name for himself in the Bronx, but it is up to him to be productive.

Davis has a big responsibility on his hands to try and help the team change. Defensively he is a great player and he is the most qualified person for this position.

The Yankees do need him for offensive purposes just like they needed Teixeira before he got injured. Teixeira was also in a hitting slump before his injury. He could potentially lock up the first base position if he performs well.

This is a position that he is familiar with and if he starts hitting well and stays hot he will stay at first base. After Teixeira returns the Yankees will have options and they will make their decision when they are sure that he is healthy.

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Power Rankings: American League East

The AL East has been heating up and here is how I see the division shaping out at this point of the season. Most of the teams have been playing well and here is where they land on my list.

5. Tampa Bay Rays

The way the Rays have been playing has not been great and their record has been telling that story. Right now they are 27-31 but they have been fighting to get back to .500.

They were recently swept by the Kansas City Royals and that was a tough series for them on defense. They did find a way to bounce back by winning their next 2 series against the Minnesota Twins and the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Through 61 games there is still room for this team to work their way back into a good spot in the standings. They are capable of going on a hot streak and if they do they will be right back in contention.

4. Toronto Blue Jays

The Blue Jays could be playing better, but right now they are in a good position. They are 3rd place in the division and 6th place in the American League standings.

The offensive fire power of this team is something special, but they have been struggling lately. They lost a series to the Tigers and now they are playing against their division rivals in the Orioles. They should be able to win the series and keep their winning ways going.

Josh Donaldson and Edwin Encarnacion have been carrying the load for their team with their hot hitting. They all have help from each other and that’s what makes them a championship caliber team.

3. New York Yankees

The Yankees are still trying to figure out what works for them and they are making different things work. They have arrived back to the .500 area after sweeping the Los Angeles Angels, but they are still fighting through injuries.

A big help in that effort has been Carlos Beltran. Beltran has been on fire recently and he was the driving force behind the sweep of the Angels. By getting on base and driving runs in he made a difference in that series.

They will need to win the next series to stay in reach of the rest of the division, but the way they have been producing runs makes it likely that they will continue their success.

2. Boston Red Sox

Boston has been playing like one of the best teams in baseball this season. They have a great record through 59 games and they are just playing great.

Recently they have not been showing how great they are. In their last four series they split two of them and lost the other two. It looks like the Blue Jays have their number this season although their records say otherwise.

Toronto could be a matchup problem for them later on in the season, but Boston will have time to adjust and fix what has been hurting them in those series against Toronto.

1. Baltimore Orioles

The top spot in the AL East power rankings goes to the Baltimore Orioles. This team has been the best team not only in their division, but in their league as well. They have a record of 36-23 and that can be attributed to great hitting.

This team loves to put big numbers on the board and they have been doing just that. In their last 5 games they have averaged 5 runs per game. The Orioles are good at exploiting bad pitching matchups against their lineup.

They recently lost third baseman Manny Machado for 4 games due to a brawl between him and Yordano Ventura of the Kansas City Royals. Hopefully that does not derail the hot streak the team has been on.

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Back In The New York Groove: The Yankees Are Rolling

This six game winning streak the Yankees have put together is building momentum for the team to be contenders in the AL east. This next series can put them over the .500 mark if they win 2 out of 3, so it is important that they take an aggressive approach to this series and they have.

At the beginning of the season the Yankees were not playing like this because of injuries and the suspension of Aroldis Chapman. Now that the bullpen is together and starting pitching has been solid the team is making their competition look rather easy.

Now that the team is playing as one they can help each other out on offense and defense and win big.

Great starting pitching has been a big help in their recent success and that has been supplemented by a high powered offense. In the past six games they have been scoring an average of 5 runs per game. 5 runs should be more than enough with the way the Yankees have been pitching. Making the load lighter on starting pitchers is paying off because they are allowed to have more efficient innings while they have a comfortable lead. The defense is feeding off of the offense and that strategy is the key to keeping a good balance on the field.

The Yankees have also been capitalizing with runners in scoring position. Earlier in the season they would strand runners on second and third, and sometimes with the bases loaded. That was a problem that could not continue or they would have remained in their losing rut.

At some point during the season all of the players will have a drought because it is hard and impossible to stay hot all 162 games. Other teammates are there to pick up the slack and get runs in.

Opposing pitchers should stay away from walking batters because the Yankees have been driving in those runs.

Another reason the run production has been so high is because of capitalization on errors. Errors don’t happen often maybe one or two a game, but when they do the Yankees have taken them and turned them into runs. During the series against the Oakland Athletics they had a total of 6 errors. They Yankees swept and that was a big reason why. Turning mistakes into runs is a different dynamic the Yankees have used that has given them insurmountable leads and helped them win games. Scoring opportunities are important and the Yankees are taking them every chance they get.

Joe Girardi deserves credit for this winning streak and the Yankees getting back to .500. The way he has been managing the pitching staff has helped the starting rotation and the bullpen. He has been using the big 3 when they are needed, but he has given them a chance to rest due to great starting pitching and run support. The Yankees have made winning look easy, but it all starts with the manager and Girardi has found what works for his team.

The Yankees will try to continue their winning streak tonight in game 2 of the Blue Jays series. They will have to be as great as they have been because Toronto can be dangerous with their power hitting lineup.

No-Run DMC: The Yankees Pitching Phenomenon

Over the vast winning history of the New York Yankees the management has always thought of a way to keep the right players together. That has been the winning formula for the team and they may have struck gold once again in with the talent they have in their bullpen.

After the departure of Mariano Rivera in 2013 fans knew that he was irreplaceable. Rivera the greatest closer of all-time left a hole in the pitching staff that needed to be filled.

There may never be another player like that for years to come or ever, but the Yankees have three pitchers that can get the job done. These players are a nightmare for an opposing team when the game is on the line.

These pitchers build a bridge strong enough to maintain the lead and finish the deal.

Dellin Betances

He is the beginning of the Yankee big three and he has been dominating in his role. Betances can come in and give two solid innings of work for the team and hold on to the lead. The reason he is such an important piece of this three man rotation is because of his poise on the mound.

He gets settled in fast and he does not shy away from the big moments. Although he is a relatively young pitcher, he knows how to get out of a jam like a veteran. As a relief pitcher he has shown he can take the pressure off of starter and help out the rest of the bullpen.

Andrew Miller

The former closer that has now been bumped to a relief position fits in perfectly with the game ending pitching scheme. Miller has been great both as a closer and bridge man this season, and he can always pitch a great 8th inning after Betances works the 7th.

Miller can have more confidence throwing strikes when he has a comfortable lead, but even in one or two run games he can find his rhythm and get the three outs he needs.

Being the middle man in this trio has made Miller’s job an easy one. Both Miller and Betances throw in the mid to upper 90’s, but the finisher is truly a special player.

Aroldis Chapman

The Yankees did a great job reeling this great closer via trade in the offseason. Chapman is one of the best closers in the game today. Since he is not working alone it makes his job easier because there two pitchers with closing ability in front of him.

Throwing at a top speed of 103mph it is hard for a hitter to get a good swing on the ball. Now there are players that would love to turn one of those pitches into an upper deck homerun, but Chapman backs those players off the plate when he pitches them inside.

Chapman is the anchor of this unit, and when he has to close the deal he does. Right now he has 4 saves and those numbers will keep climbing as the season goes on.

“No Run DMC”

The reason these players are so good together is because they all have the 9th inning mentality, and that is to just get three outs. They have all been in that position in the 9th closing out a game and they all had what it takes to close out.

Yankee announcer Michael Kay called them “no-run DMC” because of the initials in their names that match the rap group Run DMC, and because they have been great closing out games by not allowing runs.

All three pitchers feed off of each other and that is what makes them so great. If the Yankee offense can find some consistency they could wind up in the playoffs. This is the type of pitching that can win a championship.

New York Baseball Role Reversal

The New York Mets and the New York Yankees have always been compared to each other when it comes to which New York team is better. Over time the conversation has been sliding more toward the side of the Mets.

The reason this is happening is because the team has been consistently improving over the past few years, and the Yankees have been rapidly declining in team productivity.

Yankee fans can always point to the 27 championships that the team has accumulated, but that seems like a distant memory. Here are a few reasons the Mets have taken the role as New York’s best baseball team.

Pitching Staff

A big part of the Mets success has been their pitchers. Say what you want about their nicknames or the way they look at the plate, but they get the job done. In the National League they are making the number nine hole of the batting order a problem for their opponents.

Bartolo Colon hit his first career homerun against the San Diego Padres in a 6-3 win. Odds are he is not going to hit one every start he makes this season, but he is an example of how dangerous this team has become.

Run Support

Having a high powered offense helps when you are pitching well, but being part of that offense and producing is a deadly one-two punch.

Another pitcher in the Mets starting rotation Noah Syndergaard or “Thor” as he is referred to by Mets fans showed his batting talents by hitting two homeruns in a game and capturing a win.

Players Yoenis Cespedes and Michael Conforto are keeping carrying the team with hot hitting. Things have looked good in Queens, but in the Bronx it has been a different story. The Yankees have not been getting runners across the plate and the pitchers have been suffering.

Veteran Leadership

David Wright and Curtis Granderson are player that have been in the league for a while and they know the importance of winning. They show the younger players that they mean business when they play. They run hard and make plays on defense to help the team.

The Yankee veterans Carlos Beltran and Alex Rodriguez are only trying to help with their bats when healthy. One veteran that has been the best player on the field for the Yankees is first baseman Mark Teixeira.

At 36 years old he is the type of player that can spark the Yankees when he needs too.

Who’s Better?

The Yankees will have an opportunity to bounce back and become one of baseball’s better teams again in years to come. They are in desperate need of young talent, and need to let go of some older players.

The days of core four are gone and the only way to get back to the glory days for the team is to get better younger and more talented players.

For now the Mets are at the top and they look like they are on a path straight back to the World Series. If the Kansas City Royals can make it back to back years the Mets have the same plan in mind with a better outcome this time around.

Yankees Chase Headley Finally Breaks Torrid Drought, Credits Reggie Jackson

New York Yankees’ third-baseman Chase Headley hasn’t been consistent at the plate, but he has consistently been showered with boos from the Yankee Stadium crowd who have grown tired of his ineptitude at the plate. Inept may be a bit too kind; Headley has been downright putrid this season.

Prior to finally breaking out of a terrible slump on Thursday, Headley’s last home-run occurred on Sept. 12, 2015 and lasted a span of 170-at bats. That type of drought makes any baseball fan cringe. It was not only Headley’s first homer of the season but also his first extra-base hit.

“It’s a good feeling,” Headley said. “It’s been a long time. It felt like it’s been a really long time. To get the first one out of the way was good. Good start, but I got to keep it going.”

Asking Headley when he last went yard was met with an interesting, yet honest, response.

“I don’t even want to know,” he said. “I know it was a long time ago.”

“It’s been pretty crummy all year, to be honest,” he said. Through it all Headley has maintained confidence that the hits, and homeruns, will return. It just took an awful longtime for them to return to his plate production.

“My swing works,” he said. “I’ve seen it work and I know that it works. I just haven’t had it for a while.”

“There was never a question in my mind that I was going to come out of it – and that I will come out of it,” Headley added.

But the celebration needs to be capped because Headley is still, despite this being a positive story, downright terrible. Headley is batting .194 (ouch) with a OBP of .283 (double ouch) and although he is serviceable in the field, if he doesn’t start producing at the plate the Yankees may be forced to turn the page.

“I’m very confident in who I am as a player,” he said. “But you have to produce. When you’re playing here and the team’s not playing well, you know you have to get it going. The confidence in the short term wasn’t as high as it usually is, so it was frustrating. But never have I thought, ‘I’m not going to hit anymore.’”

In the midst of a 4-year deal worth around $13 million annually, Yankee fans have grown tired of his play, and for good reason, but Headley was hard on himself throughout his drought. He is well liked in the clubhouse and has a good demeanor, even when the going gets really tough.

“The times that were toughest for me was when I came up in a situation where the game was on the line or I had a chance to come through with a big hit and wasn’t able to do it,” he said. “Move a runner, drive somebody in from third with less than two outs; those hurt as much as anything. When the team’s not winning and not scoring runs, those for me are probably the most frustrating.”

Headley stated that throughout this entire ordeal his teammates have been supportive and were elated when he finally broke out.

“I’ve seen that a number of times here,” Headley said. “I think they’ve been as supportive and helpful in getting through a tough time as they possibly can be. It’s not an easy place to play when you’re not playing well. These guys have been tremendous and I’m very appreciative for them.”

Headley also credit Reggie Jackson, aka “Mr. October”, for helping him with his swing.

“I was hitting so many ground balls to second base; I was trying to fight to stay inside of it,” he said. “When you’re doing that, you’re not really taking aggressive swings. I was finally able to find something to help me clear my hands, get my hands out in front of me. When you do that, you don’t have to think about where the ball is going or where you’re trying to hit it. You just let it go.”

For now, Headley has wiped the slate clean and has a positive foundation to build upon. But if things go awry again, you can’t help but assume that the Yankees will look for other options and rightfully so, they cannot afford to take this journey with Headley again.

Luis Severino’s Major Sophomore Slump

The New York Yankees haven’t gotten off to a very good start. They are 9-17 and currently sit in last place in the AL East. One of the major reasons for the team’s early struggles has been their starting pitching. Among the Yankees five starters, Luis Severino has had it the roughest thus far.

The 22-year old right hander has been less than impressive over the course of his five starts in 2016. For a guy that many thought would be one of the best pitchers on the Yankees this season, his lackluster performance has been a huge surprise. In fact, he has underperformed so much so that sending him down to the minor leagues isn’t really out of the question.

In his five starts, Severino is 0-4 with an ERA of 6.31. He has failed to pitch beyond the sixth inning in any of those starts. His best game of the season came back on April 21 against the Oakland Athletics. That day, he allowed just two earned runs on seven hits and collected four strikeouts. That’s the Luis Severino Yankee fans are accustomed to seeing. Unfortunately for them, that’s the only time this year he’s really looked like himself.

On Tuesday night, Severino started for the Yankees on the road against the Baltimore Orioles. There was a lot of pressure on him going into the game. The Yankees were coming off a weekend in which they were swept by the Boston Red Sox, extending their losing streak to five games. The team was hoping that Severino could help stop the bleeding. He was not able to however, as the Yankees fell to the Orioles 4-1. Severino did not pitch terribly, but he didn’t pitch great either. He allowed four runs, three of them earned, on five hits over six innings of work. His strikeout numbers continued to be less than impressive, as he was only able to strikeout four Orioles. Severino allowed two home runs in the game, both hit by Mark Trumbo.

Home runs haven’t exactly been the problem for Severino. He had only allowed two for the season going into Tuesday night’s game. Walks haven’t been an issue either, as he’s only walked five batters this year. The major problem for him has been strikeouts. Severino only has 16 strikeouts in his five starts. That’s an average of a little more than three strikeouts per game. Power pitchers like him need to strikeout a lot of batters in order to really be effective. That’s part of the reason he had so much success last season after being called up in August. Severino made 11 starts in 2015, going 5-3 while posting an ERA of 2.89. In 62.1 innings pitched, he recorded 56 strikeouts.

His impressive performance in 2015 is exactly the reason why so many Yankee fans are so disappointed in how poorly he’s pitched in 2016. They know that Severino has a lot of potential. He showed how good he can be last season. Unfortunately for them, he’s yet to show that promise this year. There’s still plenty of time for him to turn it around. If he doesn’t however, a trip back to Triple-A might be in his future.