|Credit: Andrew Theodorakis, New York Daily News|
The reunion seemed inevitable but the longer time passed, I was fearful that another team would entice CC Sabathia to trade in his pinstripes. He spoke with the Los Angeles Angels (a team desperate for starting pitching) and the Toronto Blue Jays. He never expressed an interest in the Oakland Athletics or the San Francisco Giants but I always felt that if they reached out to Sabathia, the appeal to return to his native Northern California would have been very strong. In the end, Sabathia opted to return “home” for some unfinished business.
Mark Feinsand of MLB.com broke the story first yesterday that Sabathia had signed a one-year, $10 million deal with the Yankees subject to a physical. Jack Curry of the YES Network reported later in the day that Sabathia had taken and passed the physical yesterday afternoon, thereby making the deal official. Welcome back, CC! We’re very glad to have you.
The move presumably does not alter the Yankees plans to add another quality starting pitcher although they now have five starters on staff. Realistically, I do not expect Sabathia to match his 2017 season when he went 14-5 with 3.69 ERA. He’ll turn 38 in July. But the veteran knows how to win and is a team leader. With an inexperienced manager and bench coach, the value of Sabathia’s leadership cannot be understated.
It’s very interesting that the 2005 Cleveland Indians roster featured the Yankees manager (Aaron Boone), the Yankees Bench Coach (Josh Bard), the Red Sox manager (Alex Cora), and a very young Sabathia. Boone was there for the early years (CC was only 24 during that 2005 season) and now he’s back for what may very well be Sabathia’s final year. If the Yankees win the 2018 World Series, I have no doubt that Sabathia will ride off into the sunset. I cannot imagine a better Yankees career than starting and ending with World Series championships.
Competition for the 2018-19 Free Agent Market…
Yesterday, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ front office showed their brilliance when they unloaded the bloated contracts of Scott Kazmir, Brandon McCarthy, and Adrian Gonzalez plus infielder Charlie Culberson on the Atlanta Braves. It is the same trio that the Dodgers tried to pawn off on the Miami Marlins for Giancarlo Stanton. Sure, they had to take back former Dodgers outfielder Matt Kemp, but the deal effectively reduced Dodgers payroll for the coming season by approximately $23 million which helps the team get under the $197 million threshold to reset luxury tax penalties. Gonzalez will never wear an Atlanta uniform. As part of the negotiation to waive his no-trade clause, Atlanta will release Gonzalez tomorrow, making him a free agent. It is also very questionable if Kemp will ever wear the Dodgers uniform again.
The move helps to ensure that the Dodgers will be prime players next off-season when Bryce Harper, Manny Machado, Andrew Miller, Craig Kimbrel, Clayton Kershaw, Dallas Keuchel, Josh Donaldson and others hit the open market. Everybody had presumed the Yankees would sign Harper but the Dodgers have emerged as the leader for Harper’s services. Fortunately for the Yankees, they were able to acquire Giancarlo Stanton which gives them reason to pass on Harper and the $400-$500 million that it will take to sign the Las Vegas native.
|Credit: USA TODAY Sports|
Andrew Friedman and Farhan Zaidi can thank Braves GM Alex Anthopoulos, who served in the Dodgers front office last season. From the Braves perspective, they are free of the two-year obligation for Kemp, and the heavy contracts they acquired expire at the end of the upcoming season (making Kazmir and McCarthy desirable “rentals” at the trade deadline next summer).
While I don’t believe that the Dodgers sudden emergence as a major player in the 2018-19 free agent market will adversely impact the Yankees desire to add Manny Machado (the Dodgers have great players at third and short, Justin Turner and Corey Seager), it will add significant competition for other players. I’d really love to see the return of Andrew Miller to the Bronx but the Dodgers almost certainly will be aggressive in their pursuit of quality bullpen arms.
If at Third…
With no offense to Miguel Andujar and his questionable defensive skills, I remain hopeful the Yankees can find a way to bring back third baseman Todd Frazier. Andujar would benefit from another year at Triple A. Frazier was signing autographs in Toms River, New Jersey yesterday. Every time I see off-season pics of Frazier, it reinforces to me how much I’d like to see him back in Pinstripes.
Hey Cash, make it happen!
The MLB Network has been replaying past Home Run Derbys and I have to say…man, I love watching Giancarlo Stanton hit home runs.
|Credit: Denis Poroy, Getty Images|
Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Blue Jays 9, Yankees 5…
Despite two home runs by Aaron Judge, the Yankees couldn’t overcome shoddy pitching and lost the rubber game of the three-game series on Sunday to the Toronto Blue Jays.
Pardon me if I don’t get excited when Jaime Garcia is on the mound. I know that he did a decent job last time out, but he’s a subpar starter at best and a future ex-Yankee. Unfortunately, he played to form on Sunday. I don’t know if it was the hangover from Saturday’s celebration or simply the usual dismal performance from Garcia that put the Yanks in a hole early.
I suppose I shouldn’t blame Garcia for the home run he allowed Teoscar Hernandez to lead off the game. Hernandez’s home run to the second deck of the left field stands on the second pitch of the game was his third against the Yankees in three games. Both Masahiro Tanaka and Sonny Gray felt Garcia’s pain. The Jays up early, 1-0.
Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
It didn’t take the Jays long to add to their lead. Kevin Pillar led off the bottom of the 2nd inning with a double to the left field wall. With Russell Martin batting, Pillar easily stole third. Martin struck out, but Darwin Barney took advantage of the runner in scoring position to loft a sacrifice fly to center when he punched a low Garcia pitch. Pillar scored and it was 2-0.
In the bottom of the 3rd inning, Justin Smoak hit a one-out double to deep center between Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner. Garcia walked the next two batters, Jose Bautista and Kendrys Morales, to load the bases. Manager Joe Girardi had seen enough (of course, I had seen enough of Garcia when he was taking his warmup pitches before the game) and made his way to the mound.
Credit: Getty Images
Garcia was pulled and replaced with Jonathan Holder. Holder got Pillar to pop up in foul territory (third base side) for the second out, but then Russell Martin hit a double to deep right that Aaron Judge couldn’t get to. The double cleared the bases, and the Blue Jays were up 5-0.
The Yankees finally got to Jays starter Marcus Stroman in the top of the 4th inning. Chase Headley and Aaron Judge both walked to start the inning. Didi Gregorius singled to center to score Headley. Judge moved to second. It was a 5-1 game. Starlin Castro hit into a fielder’s choice that forced Gregorius out at second, with Judge moving to third. Unfortunately, Judge would stay at third as both Jacoby Ellsbury and Todd Frazier struck out against Stroman to end the potential scoring opportunity.
Bryan Mitchell was brought in to pitch the bottom of the 4th inning. No offense to Mitchell but he’s not the guy I would have brought into the game at that point. I like Mitchell but he’s been like gasoline poured on fire this season and not in a good way. Ryan Goins singled to left to get things started against Mitchell. After Teoscar Hernandez walked, Josh Donaldson singled up the middle to center field to score Goins, with Hernandez taking second. With Justin Smoak batting, Mitchell threw a wild pitch to advance the runners. It didn’t matter as Smoak walked to load the bases. Jose Bautista singled to right, scoring Goins, and the bases were still loaded. Kendrys Morales singled to left, scoring Hernandez and Donaldson. Bautista also tried to score but was nailed at the plate. After Mitchell hit Kevin Pillar with a pitch, Girardi finally pulled the plug on Mitchell. Not quite sure what took him so long to make that decision. Ben Heller came in and got Russell Martin to hit into an inning-ending double play. The Blue Jays held a commanding 9-1 lead over the Bombers.
In the top of the 6th inning, Aaron Judge led off with a home run to left, on a fly just over the wall, off Marcus Stroman. It was Judge’s 47th homer of the season.
Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
With two outs, Jacoby Ellsbury hit a ground-rule double to deep center. A walk of Todd Frazier ended Stroman’s day. Matt Dermody entered the game to face Greg Bird and exited when Bird doubled to deep right off the wall to score Ellsbury. Frazier moved to third. Ryan Tepera took over for Dermody and got Austin Romine to ground out to third for the final out.
Chase Headley reached base on a single up the middle with one out in the top of the 7th inning against Tepera. Aaron Judge followed with a two-run blast to left center to cut the Jays’ lead to 9-5. It was Judge’s second home run of the game and his 48th of the season (one shy of the MLB Rookie Record held by Mark McGwire).
From there, the Yankees couldn’t really mount much offense against Blue Jays bullpen. Jays closer Roberto Osuna took over in the 9th inning. After Osuna struck out Brett Gardner, the Blue Jays sent Ezequiel Carrera to right field to replace Jose Bautista. Joey Bats, perhaps playing his final home game for Toronto, made his way off the field through a series of hugs with the on-the-field players and received congratulations in the dugout. It is a foregone conclusion that Bautista won’t be back for the Blue Jays in 2018 given a $20 million mutual option that the team would be foolish to pick up for a player in the twilight of his career. It was a nice moment for the long-time Blue Jay.
|Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports|
Credit: Jon Blacker-The Canadian Press
Osuna struck out the next two batters, Chase Headley and Aaron Judge, to end the game.
The Yankees (86-69) lost further ground to the Boston Red Sox with their first series loss since being swept by the Cleveland Indians in late August. The Red Sox rallied to defeat the Cincinnati Reds, 5-4, and now hold a commanding five game lead in the AL East with seven games to play. The Minnesota Twins swept the Detroit Tigers with their 10-4 win on Sunday so they closed the gap in the Wild Card standings to 4 1/2 games. This definitely makes me wish that Jaime Garcia had been pitching for the Twins, and the not the Yankees, the last few weeks. We would have had a much greater lead.
Aaron Judge was clearly the hitting star with the two home runs, but he couldn’t do it all himself. God bless him for trying.
Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Dellin Betances looked good. Pitching the 8th inning, he did hit a batter (Justin Smoak) but otherwise retired the batters he faced. He ended the inning with a swinging strikeout of Kendry Morales. The Yankees really need to get this guy back to form and soon. Hopefully this was a step in the right direction.
I was hoping for better results yesterday but the Yankees need to focus on the task at hand. Time to head back to Yankee Stadium and make a strong home stand to end the season.
Next Up: Kansas City Royals at Yankee Stadium, Bronx, New York…
The Yankees and Royals play one game which is a makeup for the rainout on May 25th. At the time, the Yankees had taken two of three games from the Royals when the fourth game was postponed. Mathematically, the Royals still have a chance for the second Wild Card spot but their days are numbered (literally and figuratively speaking).
Here is today’s scheduled pitching matchup:
Royals: Jake Junis (8-2, 4.05 ERA)
Yankees: CC Sabathia (12-5, 3.81 ERA)
The Yankees currently lead the season series with the Royals, four games to two. At the time of the rainout, the Yankees were 27-17.
The Tampa Bay Rays will be in town for three games beginning Tuesday night.
Odds & Ends…
The Washington Nationals plan to activate RF Bryce Harper off the disabled list today to begin their series in Philadelphia Phillies. The Nationals, who already look like the best team in the NL with the recent collapse of the Los Angeles Dodgers, will try to get Harper in top form before October.
Have a great Monday! Hopefully today is a royal success for the home team. Go Yankees!
|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.
|Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images|
Yankees 8, Orioles 3…
For a moment there, I thought the Yankees were playing a game of Home Run Derby between Brett Gardner and Matt Holliday. By the fourth inning, both players had two home runs. After chasing Orioles starter Chris Tillman and roughing up reliever Logan Verrett, the Yankees offense was finished for the night but like the 70’s show, Eight is Enough.
For both Gardner and Holliday, it was their tenth and eleventh home runs of the season. After the game, Gardner said, “Offensively we got off to such a great start early in the season, the last week or two we slowed down a bit collectively. It’s nice to put some runs back up, put some crooked numbers on the board and give Sevvy a lead he’s comfortable with.” The Yankees were able to put up crooked numbers in three of those first four innings as they cruised to the victory.
The maturation of Luis Severino continues. I thought he did an excellent job escaping the bases loaded jam in the second inning when he struck out JJ Hardy with Gary Sanchez completing the out by throwing to first. Severino (4-2) lasted 6 1/3 innings, limiting the O’s to only one run on seven hits. He walked a batter and struck out eight.
|Credit: Ron Sachs/CNP|
Aaron Judge didn’t join the Home Run Derby but his bat was just as lethal. He had a two-run double in the fourth to cap the Yankees’ scoring and was 2-for-4 on the day, raising his season batting average to .323.
Rob Refsnyer got the start at first base. He was 0-for-3, but had a nice defensive play in the bottom of the third with a diving stop and quick run to first base to erase Seth Smith. Refsnyder, lifted for Chris Carter in the bottom of the seventh inning, was the only Yankees starter without a hit.
The Yankees bullpen did a great job except for a sloppy eighth inning when Bryan Mitchell committed a throwing error and subsequently allowed two runs. Tyler Clippard, overcoming his recent woes, cleanly got the final four outs. He struck out the dangerous Mark Trumbo to finish the game.
Credit Yankees pitching for the great job they’ve done with the O’s great Manny Machado. Machado was hitless in five at-bats with four strikeouts. In the first two games of the series, he is 0-for-9 with six strikeouts.
The Yankees did receive a scare in the ninth when Didi Gregorius was hit on the hand with a pitch from former Yankees pitcher Richard Bleier, but he was able to shake it off and continue playing. X-rays after the game revealed no fractures. Whew!
|Credit: Randy Miller/NJ Advance Media for NJ.com|
The Boston Red Sox hammered the Chicago White Sox, 13-7, behind former White Sock Chris Sale (who received a standing ovation from the crowd prior to the game). So, the Yankees (30-19) maintained their three game lead over the Sox in the AL East. Baltimore fell 4 1/2 games back.
The series concludes this evening with Masahiro Tanaka seeking to continue his rebound from an earlier slump. Greg Bird’s Grandview High School (Aurora, CO) teammate, Kevin Gausman, will oppose Tanaka.
Yankees in the News…
Okay, we may have to fast-forward to 2019 for this one…future Yankees outfielder Bryce Harper has been suspended for four games. After he was plunked on Monday by Hunter Strickland of the San Francisco Giants, Harper “charged the mound, threw his helmet, and fought”. Strickland was suspended for six games. Both players have appealed. The penalty is harsher for Harper as an every day player. We’ll have to wait and see if Gerrit Cole plunks a Giant in defense of his future Yankees teammate when San Francisco visits Pittsburgh at the end of June…
|Credit: Ben Margot/Associated Press|
Wanted: Billionaire. Yankees Legend Derek Jeter is searching for a new investment group after Jeb Bush dropped out of the bidding for the Miami Marlins. It will be interesting to see if Jeter joins up with the group headed by Tagg Romney, which also includes Tom Glavine and Dave Stewart. Jeter remains part of the Bush-less group so time will tell if they have the financial resources to top the Romney group. If not, it’s potentially the old ‘if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em’ situation.
Jacoby Ellsbury is feeling better (finally) and has been cleared to fly to Toronto with the team on Wednesday. He is eligible to come off the DL on Thursday but there’s still no timetable when he’ll be ready. He could be activated this weekend. Given that I am completely comfortable with Aaron Hicks in center, I really wouldn’t mind if Ellsbury wanted to take another week off.
Tyler Austin was the starting DH last night for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders in a 5-0 loss to the Columbus Clippers. He had two hits in four at-bats with a single and a double.
Considering Austin’s multi-position eligibility and much cheaper price tag, it will be interesting to see what the Yankees do with Chris Carter when Greg Bird returns to health. Carter hasn’t hit enough to warrant future consideration in my mind. He is a below average hitter and fielder so if he’s not hitting home runs like a Guardians of the Galaxy movie, he’s not worth the roster space. Maybe Austin should start taking some reps at third to expand his resume. Seriously, I think there’s more value with Austin than Carter. So, to Carter, I’d say SEE YA!
After taking a rest day yesterday, Aroldis Chapman will throw again today. Hopefully, all continues to go well for Chapman as he eyes a mid-June return.
Have a great Wednesday! Here’s hoping the Yankees take the series tonight before embarking on their flight to Toronto. Safe travels to the team and of course, Go Yankees!
How much are these stats worth?
13 Home Runs
.355 Batting Average
New speculation is placing the value of Bryce Harper’s next contract closer to $500 million than the previously thought $400 million. With an argument that Harper is twice the player Giancarlo Stanton is, is he worth twice the contract (or $650 million)? Harper is going to bring new meaning the term “franchise player”. How much did George Steinbrenner pay for the Yankees back in 1973? It’s a rhetorical question but the answer is $10 million (with 60% in borrowed funds). Granted, the Yankees are now worth more than $3.7 billion but it’s still phenomenal to think how much money Harper is going to get.
At face value and with a strong right-fielder already in place, I have to say that despite Harper’s greatness, Manny Machado is looking better and better every day. As luck would have it, we happen to need a third baseman. I am just not so sure about the one more year of Chase Headley part…
Credit: Patrick Smith/Getty Images
As a Yankees fan, I am not a supporter of the Toronto Blue Jays but their players continue to provide more reasons to dislike them. The bat flip by Joey Bats after a home run against the Atlanta Braves on Wednesday was ridiculous. I had no problem with Braves catcher Tyler Flowers pointing at Bautista with an inside-fastball sign on a pitch selection the next night. Braves pitcher Julio Teheran promptly drilled one into Bautista’s thigh. But the homophobic comments that Blue Jays outfielder Kevin Pillar directed at Braves reliever Jason Motte were totally unacceptable. The anti-gay slur resulted in a two-game suspension for Pillar. I hope the Atlanta Braves fans realize that the Blue Jays are not representative of all AL East teams.
Tyler Austin has joined High-A Tampa to begin his rehab assignment. The Yankees will have some decisions to make when he finishes the rehab assignment. With Greg Bird ready to begin his rehab assignment next week, it increases the likelihood that Austin heads to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. But the RailRiders have a good recent addition at first already. Mike Ford, called up last week from AA-Trenton, has three homers in six games and eight RBI’s. He is 8-for-26 (.308). The RailRiders are also loaded in the outfield with Clint Frazier, Dustin Fowler, Mason Williams, and Mark Payton. If it were up to me, I’d think hard about moving/cutting Chris Carter and slotting Austin in as backup first baseman/outfielder.
Roy White Day.
Alright, I’ll join the bandwagon. My awareness of White was more acute during his age 30+ seasons, but he was a trusted, reliable and a bit under-appreciated member of the Yankees and those back-to-back World Championships in the late 70’s. For a team that was overflowing with superstars, White simply did his job when called on. With no disrespect to Joe Torre who retired #6, I still think of White when I see the number. Not many players stay with one team their entire career, but White was one of them with fifteen years in Pinstripes. The other outfielders, Reggie Jackson and Mickey “Mick the Quick” Rivers, were more flamboyant but White always seemed to come up big whenever you needed him. I agree, he gave his baseball life to the Yankees and it is only right that they give Roy his day at Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees have a new manager!
Credit: Brendan Kuty/NJ Advance Media
Okay, it was just one game. Bench coach Rob Thomson was manager of the New York Yankees on Friday night so that Joe Girardi, could attend his daughter’s high school graduation. Congrats to Joe Girardi for showing (and the Steinbrenner Family for allowing) that family does truly matter.
Credit: YES Network
A lost night in St. Petersburg…
Rob Thomson, you’re fired (just kidding…well, maybe a little serious). One-game manager Rob Thomson, filling in for Joe Girardi, failed in his one attempt to steer the ship. Back to the bench for you, Rob. The Yankees were undone by a pitcher who couldn’t make it more than five innings, thereby placing a heavier burden on the bullpen, a bad defensive play at third, and Thomson’s decision to leave his best hitters on the bench in a three-up, three-down ninth inning that led to the 5-4 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays.
Luis Severino only gave up one run, a first inning double by Logan Morrison that scored Evan Longoria, and struck out seven Rays. But he gave up five hits and three walks with 89 pitches (only 59 for strikes) and was gone by the sixth inning.
After the Rays had tied the game in the bottom of the seventh inning at 2-2 with runners at second and third and two outs, the Yankees could have avoided further damage. With third baseman Ronald Torreyes thinking about the runner advancing to home plate, a hopper by Rickie Weeks Jr went under his glove into left field, scoring the two runners on base. Weeks Jr was credited with a double in a very liberal decision as it probably should have been an error by Toe.
Matt Holliday did his part in trying to bring the Yankees back. After a walk to Brett Gardner and a pop-out by Jacoby Ellsbury to open the eighth, Holliday homered to right to tie the game at 4. The Rays came right back in the bottom of the inning when Tyler Clippard (0-2) gave up a run-scoring single by Evan Longoria after putting two men on base through walks. Longoria has gotten off to a slow start this season but against the Yankees, he always looks All-World. A 4-for-5 night, with two runs scored and the RBI, ensured the Yankees were playing from behind.
|Credit: Kim Klement/USA TODAY Sports|
Still, the Yankees could have rallied again in the ninth inning, but Thomson kept both Gary Sanchez and Aaron Hicks on the bench so we’ll never know. Sanchez and Hicks, both of whom had the night off, could only watch as Chris Carter struck out (surprise, surprise) and Austin Romine grounded out to end the game.
The loss dropped the Yankees to 24-15. With Baltimore’s 5-3 win over the Toronto Blue Jays in extra innings, the O’s closed the gap in the AL East to just a half-game again. The Boston Red Sox lost so I guess the evening wasn’t a complete disappointment.
Welcome back, Joe Girardi. I will be glad to have you back in the saddle for today’s game. I hope the graduation ceremony was a tremendous success for Serena and the family, but it will be great to have you making the lineup decisions today.
Have a great Saturday! Let’s win the games we should win and not give them away.
Happy Mother’s Day! With no offense to Derek Jeter, that’s still the primary special occasion today. So I hope it’s a wonderful Mother’s Day for all mothers in the Yankees Universe. This is your day! None of us would be here getting ready to celebrate Derek Jeter Night if not for you.
Congrats to Derek Jeter as he gets ready to leave a permanent reminder of his notable Yankee achievements in Monument Park. Unless someone eventually takes number “0”, it’s the final single-digit number to be retired.
As the number 2 begins to make its way to the Monument Park Wall, it’s hard not to remember when it was worn by the late Bobby Murcer. Murcer wore the number when he was reacquired from the Chicago Cubs in 1979 until his release in 1983. Bobby was a great Yankee. I don’t really remember much of his first tour with the Yankees, but growing up in the Midwest, Murcer was constantly on TV with the Cubs. I knew his history with the Yankees and he was a welcome addition to the 1979 Yankees which would soon be marred by one of the team’s greatest tragedies (the death of catcher Thurman Munson). As a close friend of Munson, Murcer’s actions and words in the days following the tragic plane crash in Akron, Ohio were huge. It was easy to see how much Murcer loved Munson and the Yankees. We were later privileged to have Murcer as a Yankees broadcaster until his passing.
Of course, #2 recognition also has to be given to Mark Koenig who was the first Yankee to wear the number in 1929 courtesy of his spot in the lineup. Koenig, the team’s shortstop, was part of the famed 1927 Murderer’s Row, when he batted second in front of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Bob Meusel and Tony Lazzeri.
Yankees third baseman Red Rolfe wore the number from 1931 until his retirement after the 1942 season.
The only person to wear #2 for more years than Jeter was Frankie Crosetti. Also a shortstop, Crosetti spent his entire 17-year playing career as a member of the Yankees. He started wearing #2 in the final years of his playing career in 1945 and continued throughout his 20-year coaching career with the team which ended in 1968.
While Number 2 is being retired for Jeter, the number will forever carry the significant contributions of those who wore the number before the kid from Kalamazoo.
The first game of today’s double-header begins at 2:05 pm Eastern. The Derek Jeter Night pre-game ceremony scheduled between games will start no earlier than 6:30 pm ET. The second game of the doubleheader will begin following the pregame ceremony but no earlier than 7:30 pm ET. Many former teammates will be in attendance including David Cone, Tino Martinez, Hideki Matsui, Paul O’Neill, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, Gerald Williams, and Bernie Williams. Former Yankee greats Reggie Jackson and Willie Randolph will also be there, along with Dick Groch, an area scout who signed Jeter, former Yankees head athletic trainer Gene Monahan, and Jean “Soot” Zimmer, widow of former Yankees coach Don Zimmer.
Derek Jeter, this is your day…your night. Enjoy!
The New York Post’s Steve Serby had a Q&A with Aaron Hicks this morning. When asked what is the biggest criticism he’s heard that bothers him the most, he responded: “I don’t want to be considered…I want to be a starter. I don’t want to be a fourth outfielder. That’s kind of something that I don’t like. I’m better than a fourth outfielder.” I agree 100%. Sadly it is time for GM Brian Cashman to create the room in the outfield for Hicks to start. Without question, I would love for the Yankees to move Jacoby Ellsbury, but that’s not happening. So, it is back to Brett Gardner as the most marketable outfield asset for a trade. Gardner’s recent homer binge hopefully raised his perceived value.
Bryce Harper and the Washington Nationals agreed to a one-year $21.65 million contract for the 2018 season. It includes a $1 million incentive if he win’s the MVP Award. The contract buys out Harper’s final year of arbitration eligibility and he maintains eligibility to become a free agent following the 2018 season. He’s making $13.625 million this year. To celebrate his new contract, he hit a walk-off two-run homer to beat the Philadelphia Phillies on Saturday. I am anxious to see what he does when he signs that 10-year $400 million deal with the Yankees in a couple of years. Hal, it’s just money…
It’s not really Yankees news but Arizona Diamondbacks catcher Chris Iannetta took a fastball to the face in Friday’s action. The pitch fractured some teeth and Iannetta’s nose, but the catcher is doing okay and hoping to avoid a DL stint. The pitch was thrown by former Yankees prospect Johnny Barbato, who was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates earlier this year. All the best to Iannetta with his recovery. It could have been much worse and I am thankful it was not.
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Have a great Mother’s Day and Derek Jeter Night! Let’s take two!
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With the better-than-expected start to the season, it’s easy to get caught up with the thinking that the Yankees could actually win the American League East. Sadly, I still do not believe that will be the case. I think the Boston Red Sox remain the heavy favorite to win the division. While the Yankees may be playing great without Gary Sanchez and Didi Gregorius, the Red Sox are starting to gather some steam even though Jackie Bradley, Jr. and arguably their best player, Mookie Betts, are currently on the DL. Add Betts to the stellar starting rotation, and the Red Sox will be a very formidable force throughout the summer. We’ll have some bumps and bruises with the younger starters as time goes by, and there’s no certainty that Michael Pineda has finally turned the corner. My only reservation with the Red Sox is that they do not seem to have the same heart they did with David Ortiz in the lineup. Hanley Ramirez is a great baseball player but he’s no Big Papi.
Nevertheless, I do feel the strong start has positioned the Yankees to make a run at a Wild Card spot, especially with the horrific start of the perennial playoff contending Toronto Blue Jays.
While the Yankees are currently chasing Baltimore, the Orioles lost their lock-down closer Zach Britton for at least ten days with a left sore forearm (his throwing arm). Britton is obviously an elite closer so this severely weakens the O’s pen. Although it’s possible that Britton will be back before the O’s get to New York late next week, they do go into a head-to-head showdown with the Red Sox starting Friday night for a three-game set in their weakened state.
It is amazing to think that the Yankees have played this well without Gregorius and Sanchez. If they can continue to get solid pitching from the starting rotation, the return of Gregorius and Sanchez in a few weeks should be a great lift. It’ll almost be like getting All-Star caliber players at the trading deadline with the only difference being the Yankees do not have to give up any premier prospects (or any prospects, for that matter, other than the probable DFA of Pete Kozma).
The Yankees announced they’ve traded reliever Johnny Barbato to the Pittsburgh Pirates for a player to be named later or cash. Those types of deals usually turn out to be cash. Barbato was optioned to AAA by the Pirates. It’s unfortunate that the Yankees didn’t get more out of Barbato considering they gave up dependable reliever Shawn Kelley to get him. The Pirates always seem to get high mileage out of Yankee rejects. Barbato will probably be their ace closer within a couple of years.
I apologize in advance for going off topic (non-Yankees talk) but I have been very interested in watching Cody Bellinger, a first baseman in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization. Bellinger, son of former Yankee Clay Bellinger, is the Dodgers top prospect and the heir apparent to Adrian Gonzalez. On Sunday, Bellinger was responsible for all three runs in Oklahoma City’s 3-2 win over the Memphis Redbirds. Bellinger scored a run after walking in the fourth; tied the game with a solo homer in the fifth; and singled in the go-ahead run in the seventh. For the season, the 21-year-old Bellinger is batting .372 (16-for-43) with 4 doubles, 3 homers, and 12 RBI’s. Meanwhile, for the Big League Dodgers, the 34-year-old Gonzalez is hitting .250 with no homers and 4 RBI’s. If Bellinger keeps it up, there could soon be a changing of the guard at first base in Dodger Stadium. Looks like the Dodgers could be back to the days of bringing up an All-Star to the Majors every year. If Bellinger does not get the call, top pitching prospect Julio Urias most certainly will.
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Speaking of the Oklahoma City Dodgers (in an attempt to keep this Yankees-oriented), it’s kind of cool that their stadium, Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark, is located at 2 S. Mickey Mantle Drive. Too bad there was no room to build the stadium across the street and down a little for 7 S. Mickey Mantle Drive.
In other non-Yankees news (or is it?), Bryan Harper stepped to the plate on Sunday in the bottom of the ninth with two outs, with the Washington Nationals trailing the Philadelphia Phillies 4-3 and Philly closer Joaquin Benoit on the mound. With two runners on base, Harper homered to center to win the game, 6-4. It was his second home run of the game and it gave him 5 RBI’s for the day. Preview of coming attractions at Yankee Stadium? Time will tell, as it often does. Hal, what’s a half-billion in the grand scheme of things? It’s just money…
Welcome back, Matt Holliday! After sitting out two games against his former team, the St Louis Cardinals, this past weekend, Matt Holliday returned on Monday to absolutely crush a baseball which allowed the Yankees to jump ahead of the Chicago White Sox with an early 3-0 lead. The ball traveled 459 feet, with exit velocity of 113.9 MPH, and according to Statcast was the second longest homer of the year (two feet behind a Carlos Gomez blast).
Aaron Judge also homered in the fourth inning with one on and two outs.
Jordan Montgomery impressed once again. You gotta love his calm demeanor on the mound (unflappable). His deceptive arm angle is a thing of beauty with the over the top motion. Montgomery gave up three runs and seven hits in six innings of work, with two walks and two strikeouts. The runs didn’t come until the seventh inning when Montgomery was tiring (a three run bomb by Yolmer Sanchez that ended Montgomery’s night). Regardless of the end, Montgomery was better the second time around (as I thought he would be). He’s an exciting part of the rotation and is quickly earning his pinstripes for the long haul.
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Adam Warren did what he does best. After Montgomery’s exit, he bridged the gap to the ninth inning. Although he finally allowed a run, he did his job and turned the game over to Aroldis Chapman with one out and a runner on base. Although Chapman did allow a single to the first hitter, pushing the lead runner to third, he needed just two pitches to earn his fourth save. The next batter, Tyler Saladino, hit into a game-ending double play.
The Yankees won 7-4, and have now won eight consecutive games.
Have a great Tuesday! Nine would be just fine!