|Credit: Randy Miller/NJ Advance Media for NJ.com|
Orioles 10, Yankees 4…
Disappointing, to say the least…
Masahiro Tanaka, proving that his last start was just a facade, got hammered again as the Orioles cruised to victory. In 5 2/3 painful innings, Tanaka (5-5) was pounded for nine hits and seven runs. The latest implosion pushed his ERA up to 6.34 for the season.
The Yankees had their opportunities to get back into the game but couldn’t deliver. The Yankees bullpen, most notably Giovanny Gallegos who had been called up earlier in the day to replace Bryan Mitchell, let the Orioles break the game open. Gallegos allowed a two-run homer to Chris Davis in the seventh inning and three runs overall in his 1 2/3 innings.
For the Orioles, Adam Jones was the offensive force of the night. After missing multiple games due to a sore ankle and hip, Jones was back in the lineup on Wednesday night. Apparently he felt that he had to make up for lost time as he was 3-for-5 with 5 RBI’s. His crushing hit was a three-run homer off Tanaka in the fourth inning.
|Credit: Randy Miller/NJ Advance Media for NJ.com|
To the Yankees credit, they completely shut down Manny Machado in the series. He was 0-for-5 and struck out twice. In the three games played, Machado was hitless in 15 at-bats which dropped his batting average to .205. It’s unfortunate that the Yankees couldn’t hold the other Orioles sluggers in check as they lost the three game series, two games to one.
I guess on the bright side, the Yankees had no need to use their top bullpen arms so Dellin Betances, Tyler Clippard and Adam Warren will be fresh for the latest series in Toronto.
Every Yankees starter got at least one hit except for Chase Headley, who was hitless in three at-bats with two strikeouts although he did walk twice. Rob Refsnyder, manning first base for the second game in a row, picked up two hits in his four plate appearances. The hits were Refsnyder’s first of the season.
It is very hard to find any positives with this game. I am not sure what can be done to fix Tanaka. It’s up to him to make the necessary adjustments but for whatever reason, his adjustments so far have been futile.
Things do not get any easier for the Yankees as they now travel to Toronto to face a suddenly red-hot Blue Jays squad (8-2 in their last ten games).
The Yankees (30-20) lost ground in the AL East as the Boston Red Sox pulled within two games with their 4-1 victory over the Chicago White Sox. The Orioles moved up to 3 1/2 games behind the Yankees. Last-placed Toronto is only 5 1/2 games back so they have an opportunity to make some noise over the next few days.
Yankees in the News…
Future Yankees outfielder Bryce Harper (hey, if everyone else can talk about it, so can I!) received good news on Wednesday. His four-game suspension for this week’s fight with Hunter Strickland and the San Francisco Giants has been reduced to three games. The suspension should not impact Harper’s availability to open the 2019 season for the Yankees.
Greg Bird is getting ready to fly. After playing in three simulated innings on Wednesday, he’ll begin a rehab assignment with High-A Tampa today. I am really hoping to see the bat that wore out pitchers in Spring Training and not the Mark Teixeira Annual April-Ice-Cold bat we saw after his ankle injury.
Tyler Austin didn’t do much for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders yesterday in their 4-3 victory over the Columbus Clippers in the second game of a doubleheader. He was penciled in at DH (did not play in the first game). He went hitless in four at-bats, striking out three times, in his best impersonation of Chris Carter. I guess to be Chris Carter and take his job, you have to become Chris Carter. Still, Austin is a better first baseman than either Carter or Rob Refsnyder. So, once that bat starts humming, it will be Bronx-bound.
As for the first game of the RailRiders doubleheader, WHOA! Chance Adams was spectacular. He threw a one-hitter over six scoreless innings of work. He struck out twelve batters while walking only two. He is now 3-1 at the AAA Level with a 1.57 ERA. The RailRiders won the game, 6-0. Adams has the accelerator mashed to the floor in his drive for the Bronx. At some point, somebody is going to have to make room in the rotation.
Reliever Ernesto Frieri, currently at AAA-Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, has an opt-out clause in his contract that can be exercised today. Let him go. I see no compelling reasons to create room on the 40-man roster for Frieri. He has been the RailRiders’ closer, picking up his seventh save in yesterday’s second game of the double-header. He was touched for two runs in the bottom of the seventh as the Clippers tried an unsuccessful rally against the RailRiders. He walked a batter in his one inning of work and one of the two hits he allowed was a homer. Frieri hasn’t been relevant in years and he is not going to be relevant in 2017. Pass.
Life North of the Border…
The Yankees begin a four-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays this evening. Here are the scheduled pitching match-ups:
Yankees: CC Sabathia (5-2, 4.42 ERA)
Blue Jays: Marco Estrada (4-2, 3.15 ERA)
Yankees: Michael Pineda (6-2, 3.32 ERA)
Blue Jays: Francisco Liriano (2-2, 6.35 ERA)
Yankees: Jordan Montgomery (2-4, 4.11 ERA)
Blue Jays: Joe Biagini (1-3, 3.64 ERA)
Yankees: Luis Severino (4-2, 2.93 ERA)
Blue Jays: Marcus Stroman (6-2, 3.28 ERA)
This puts Masahiro Tanaka on track to open the three-game series against the Boston Red Sox next Tuesday at Yankee Stadium. Things do not get any easier…
Have a great Thursday! Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations. Don’t quit.
How will the Yankees “manage” potential change?…
Will Joe Girardi be the Yankees manager this time next year? As the manager enters the final year of his contract, the expectation is that he’ll re-sign with the Yankees in October or November. But anything is possible. The Steinbrenner family might have a change of heart and decide that a change is needed. Girardi has held the job for a long time (this will be his 10th season as Yankees skipper).
Credit: AP Photo/Kathy Willens
I get frustrated with Girardi at times. He’s never been one of my favorite managers. I had greater confidence in Joe Torre’s ability to lead. Among current managers, I hold Don Mattingly and Terry “Tito” Francona in highest regard.
Mattingly was my favorite player so sentimentally that’s probably why he is my favorite manager. In 2008, when the Yankees hired Girardi over Mattingly, I did think it was the right decision given Mattingly’s lack of managerial experience at the time. Mattingly was not able to succeed in Los Angeles for the Dodgers, but I’ve felt he has continually improved each year. Today, I’d easily take Mattingly over Girardi. My only reservation with hiring Mattingly as Yankees manager (assuming the Yankees could pry him from Miami) is preservation of his Yankees legacy. Managers are hired to be fired or so the saying goes. I wouldn’t want my final memory of Mattingly in pinstripes to be him walking away after being fired.
I have admired Francona since he was manager of the Boston Red Sox. I had great respect for the champions he built and of course he was responsible for ending The Curse of the Bambino, along with then general manager Theo Epstein. I doubt that Francona would ever leave the Cleveland Indians (by his own choice). The Yankees could have hired him after he was fired in Boston but they did not express any interest. Francona has history with the Cleveland Indians franchise (pre-dating his time in Boston), and after taking the team to the World Series last year, he is very beloved in the city.
If the Yankees do decide to make a managerial change at the end of the season, I just don’t see any overwhelming candidates who could do a better job. Mattingly would be great, but he is under contract, so it would take a trade to make it happen. I am not enthused by simply elevating one of the coaches (Rob Thomson or Tony Pena).
This situation bears watching over the course of the season. I think the odds are much better that GM Brian Cashman, also in the final year of a contract, re-signs with the Yankees than Girardi. Time will tell.
Let the competition be Judged…
The Yankees have various degrees of competition at certain positions this spring. The most obvious is the two open spots in the pitching rotation behind Masahiro Tanaka, Michael Pineda and CC Sabathia. The early leaders, in my opinion, are Luis Severino and Bryan Mitchell. But there is still time for Chad Green, Luis Cessa, and perhaps Adam Warren to state their case. I am anxious and excited for Jordan Montgomery and James Kaprielian but it does not appear to be their times yet. Kaprielian has the higher ceiling but he won’t make an appearance at Yankee Stadium, barring injuries, until September at the earliest. Montgomery could show up sooner and might be the first or second option if someone gets hurt.
The competition at first base evaporated somewhat when Tyler Austin broke his foot. Greg Bird clearly holds the advantage over Chris Carter despite the latter’s 41 home runs last season. Unlike Carter, Bird is good defensively (even if he’s not on par with former first baseman Mark Teixeira’s glove) and hits for average. As Bird has shown this spring, he still has his power following last year’s injury.
Right field was also a speculated position of competition. Most assume that Aaron Judge will get the job, but technically, he is in competition with Aaron Hicks. Judge has a much greater upside, but he did strike out 42 out of 84 times late last season. If he is not able to make the necessary adjustments at the big league level, it could open the door for Hicks to take the job. I personally hope it does not happen. I am hopeful that Judge figures it out at this level like he has at every level thus far.
The flaming red hair is left on the barbershop floor…
Kudos to OF Clint Frazier for cutting his bushy red hair this week. While I personally feel that the Yankees current hair policy is outdated, I thought it was a good move by Frazier to cut his hair after a talk with Manager Joe Girardi. Girardi felt that the hair had become a distraction. It was a mature statement by Frazier in saying that he loved playing for the organization more than his hair.
Credit: AP Photo/Kathy Willens
Frazier won’t break camp with the Yankees, but he’ll be there soon enough. This is all part of his maturation into a dynamic young future star outfielder for the Pinstripers.
There’s other baseball on TV…
I should probably watch the WBC more but I’ve never been into it. Still, I fully understand the importance of placing Baseball on the World Stage and should reconsider my complacency. I guess I am just get tired of seeing the Dominican Republic or Japan always win the competition.
Regardless, it was fun to see the USA defeat Columbia, 3-2, on a run-scoring single by Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles. Yankees reliever Tyler Clippard picked up the win. The game featured a very strong start by Jose Quintana for Columbia. The rumors continue to swirl about Quintana’s future and the Yankees remain one of the potential destinations. His WBC performance yesterday did nothing to dispel those rumors.
Credit: Logan Bowles, USA TODAY Sports
Have a great weekend, everyone!