|Credit: Seth Wenig-AP|
Brewers 5, Yankees 3…
I guess three positive starts by Masahiro Tanaka was not enough to prove that the right-hander was back. He followed up those three starts with another disappointing performance on a beautiful day in the Bronx as the Yankees fell to the Brew Crew. Tanaka (7-8) lasted just 4 1/3 innings and 83 pitches, giving up 6 hits, 5 runs (including two home runs), and a walk. He struck out 5 in the loss. He didn’t have his best stuff on Sunday but he also didn’t receive much help. If only…
Saturday’s hero, Clint Frazier, tried. He had another homer but the big bats of Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez were a combined 2-for-9 with no homers or RBI’s and 5 strikeouts.
The Brewers jumped on Tanaka right away with three runs in the first. Jonathan Villar opened the game with a single. Eric Thames singled to right to put runners at the corners. After Domingo Santana struck out, former Red Sox third baseman Travis Shaw pummeled a Tanaka pitch over the bullpen in right to give the Brewers a 3-0 lead. I wonder how much Boston wishes they still had Shaw (19 HR and 65 RBI) instead of Pablo Sandoval and fill-ins at third base. The guy they traded for (former Brewers closer Tyler Thornburg) underwent season-ending surgery last month.
The Brewers added another run in the top of the 2nd inning when Stephen Vogt, formerly of the Oakland A’s, opened with a solo shot to center which dropped into the bullpen. 4-0, Brewers.
The Yankees offense finally got something going in the 4th. With two outs, Jacoby Ellsbury singled to left and subsequently stole second. Headley singled to left, which scored Ellsbury with the Yankees’ first run. Clint Frazier followed with his third homer as a Yankee, to right center, which brought the Yankees within one run, 4-3.
|Credit: Seth Wenig-AP|
After Tanaka gave up two one-out singles in the top of the 5th, his day was done. Chasen Shreve was brought in and he lost the battle to the only batter he faced when Travis Shaw collected his 4th RBI of the day with a run-scoring single. Adam Warren should be called The Cleaner because he’s always the one that has to clean up the mess. He struck out both batters to get out of the inning without any further damage.
The Yankees had a runner in scoring position in every inning from the 5th inning through the 9th but all were left stranded. For a moment, it seemed as though the Yankees had taken a 6-5 lead on an apparent 3-run home run by Chase Headley in the 6th inning, but appeal and further review clearly showed the ball sailed just to the right of the right field foul pole so the homer was erased…yes, if only. Headley subsequently went down swinging. It was another lost opportunity in a day of lost opportunities. Brett Gardner was on second in the bottom of the 9th after he walked and stole a base, but Gary Sanchez took a called third strike to end the game. Gary, Dude…if only. The Brewers escaped with the 5-3 win.
I got my pre-game wish. More Red Thunder and no Tyler Clippard. But it was not enough. If only we had won…
With the loss, the Yankees (45-41) dropped into a second place tie with the Tampa Bay Rays. Both teams are 3 1/2 games behind the Boston Red Sox, who fell to the Rays, 5-3, on Sunday. It was a very disappointing finish to the first half for the Yankees who had started the season so strongly. I have no clue if the Yankees will be buyers or sellers at the end of the month, but I am in agreement with those who believe the Yankees are not yet a World Series contender. I know that GM Brian Cashman feels a return to good health and a few enhancements could be the difference-maker but I’d hate to see the team make moves this year that might steal from 2018 or 2019 when the Yankees really will be World Series contenders. But I admit, we do need a new first baseman.
Odds & Ends…
Matt Holliday played DH for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders on Sunday in their 5-2 loss to the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. His lone hit in four at-bats was a run-scoring single.
The Home Run Derby is tonight. I have already completed my bracket and have Aaron Judge emerging as the victor over Giancarlo Stanton but I do think that Gary Sanchez could get on a roll to steal this one. It’s unfortunate that he drew Stanton as his first round opponent. Former Yankee Clay Bellinger will serve as the Derby pitcher for his son, Cody. I am sure Yankee fans will be paying close attention to Aaron Judge’s first round opponent given the trade rumors swirling about the potential trade of Justin Bour to the Yankees.
Have a great Monday! Let’s Go Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge! Enjoy the HR Derby!
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.
Still no shortstop, closer, help for the starting rotation, hitting coach, first base coach, legitimate third baseman…
Understandably, the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving are always quiet. Okay, we’ve seen signings elsewhere (Russell Martin to the Toronto Blue Jays, Michael Cuddyer to the New York Mets) and a new $325 million dollar man. But in the Yankees Universe, the biggest news this week was GM Brian Cashman’s Thursday night sleepover on the streets of New York.
There have been reports the Yankees will not pursue any of the major free agents, comments that they may join the chase, followed by more reports of non-interest. With the Yankees, you never know if that’s just a smoke screen to help keep prices down or if it is genuine Hal Steinbrenner fiscal conservatism at play. But one thing is known, the 2015 Yankees will not win with the current roster. As it stands, they are losing talent from last year’s team that arguably over-achieved.
I know the thought of another long-term mega contract is frightful, but to plug Max Scherzer or Jon Lester into the starting rotation would provide an immediate upgrade. Yes, they still need to bring back David Robertson, Chase Headley, and Brandon McCarthy but there’s too much uncertainty in the starting rotation at the moment. The San Francisco Giants have proven time and again that a great starting pitching rotation helps to offset a less than elite offensive lineup.
Honestly, I am not sure what to expect this winter. If the Yankees maintain the status quo, it will be yet another October-less season for the Yanks.
When the Yankees drafted shortstop Cito Culver a few years ago, it was the perfect setup for him to be the eventual successor for Derek Jeter. He never developed as expected and will always be left to wonder what could have been. The Yankees are certainly worse off for his failure as they’ll either need to pay to bring back Stephen Drew as a temporary solution or give up quality prospects to bring in other options. There’s absolutely nothing in the upper levels of the farm system to provide relief in the foreseeable future.
I look at the current Yankees roster and do not see anyone that is worthy of replacing Derek Jeter as Captain. That’s one spot that will sit vacant for a few years. There’s certainly no urgency to pass the baton.
There’s no doubt the Yankees have a plan. Eventually, the plan will start to unfold and we’ll see what the team has up its sleeve. Until then, eat lots of Turkey, potatoes and gravy and look forward to the Winter Meetings in December. We’re at the calm before the storm.
Happy Thanksgiving to all!
13 long years…
As Giancarlo Stanton and the Miami Marlins approach the finish line on the potential largest contract in the history of Major League Baseball, I can’t help but wonder how crazy this is. 13 years at $325 million is a lot of money any way you slice it. Granted, Stanton will only be 37 at the end of the deal, but I stand with the many who believe that excessively long contracts are not good for the sport.
While guys like Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera earned their pay through their last games, the tail end of the contracts for Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira and CC Sabathia are looking ghastly. For A-Rod and over $30 mil per year for three more years, the Yankees get a guy who hasn’t played for a year and is being mentioned as a back-up first baseman/DH type. If he manages to hit 20 home runs next season, it will be considered a success but not when you tally the cost of each of those home runs. Stanton is not A-Rod and odds are that Stanton will be playing at a higher level toward the back end of his contract, but there is so much potential for this deal to go drastically wrong. With players now frequently receiving opt out clauses, it’s too bad that the teams do not get an opt out when things go sourly. I would love to see the Yankees use the money slated for A-Rod, Teixeira and Sabathia elsewhere. If the Yankees maintain the status quo this offseason (signing only their own free agents) and do not make any attempt to upgrade the team, we’re faced with another mediocre season and it’s directly the result of the bad contracts.
The Yankees lost a great player when Robinson Cano signed his monster deal in Seattle, but even in retrospect, I think the Yankees were smart in not matching Seattle’s offer.
Giancarlo Stanton is a great player and the Marlins are better with him than without. But I do not like the precedent that it sets. Odds are that Stanton opts out and gets even more money so good for him. Yet, what protects the Marlins from a bad investment? Or how the bar is elevated for future deals? I am trying wondering if I will see players receiving a percentage of team ownership one day.
When I was a kid, I remember star pitcher Ron Guidry having to settle for $900,000 because George Steinbrenner said that he’d never pay a pitcher a million dollars a year. I guess times have changed…
The early results…
So far, the Yankees have re-signed Chris Young and acquired lefty reliever Justin Wilson. I think both moves are good for the back of the roster. The Yankees needed to do something with Francisco Cervelli given the catching depth and to get a guy like Wilson was a smart move given the team’s difficulty in finding a replacement for Boone Logan.
Young earned a return to the Bronx with his September performance. Hopefully, that’s the player the Yankees are getting for 2015 and not the earlier Mets version.
As much as I would like to see the Yankees pursue Jon Lester or Max Scherzer, I’ll be very relieved if and when the Yankees re-sign David Robertson, Chase Headley and Brandon McCarthy. New York is a hard place to play, but all three of these guys have shown they can prosper in the Bronx. Robertson followed a legend with grace and ease, Headley showed brilliant defense at a position we really haven’t seen since Graig Nettles, and McCarthy gave the Yankees a chance to win with almost every start. Dellin Betances had a great first year but we really do not know if he could make the transition to closer. It wasn’t something that Robertson was able to do immediately as he did not enjoy success the year Mariano Rivera was hurt in Kansas City. I believe that A-Rod will look to be the older, injury prone player that he has become, if not worse.
The Yankees need to make some inspired trades. It may mean taking a chance on someone who, for whatever reason, has not found his potential, but that’s okay. I’d rather take a chance on a young player with upside than getting locked into a three year deal with an aging outfielder.
I was glad to see former Yankee and Pirate A.J. Burnett re-sign with Pittsburgh, foregoing more money from his last year’s team, the Philadelphia Phillies. Burnett was a good fit in Pittsburgh and it was nice to see a player take an offer that extended beyond just money.
Not that I want to wish the year away, but I am anxious for next month’s winter meetings so that Project Improve the Yankees can start taking form…
The Boston Massacre or the Bronx Massacre?…
Since the games are being held in the Bronx, I suppose the Boston Red Sox kill of any Yankee play-off aspirations should be called the Bronx Massacre. Unfortunately, the high hopes coming off the sweep of the Chicago White Sox were dashed as the Sox are definitely now on the other foot.
Thursday’s game was disappointing as the Yankees launched a valiant rally only to lose a game they were within one strike of winning. The defeat came with none other than the legendary Mariano Rivera on the mound. Friday night, it was the Yankees who built the large early lead, but the Red Sox stormed back and thrashed the Yankees. Although Boone Logan gave up the key grand slam, I blame Phil Hughes for changing the momentum of the game. Today’s game (Saturday) is still underway but the team is getting royally throttled at the moment (12-3 in the 5th inning). The Yankee pitching staff has not shown the ability to get Red Sox hitters out during this series so I have no reason to expect the team to rally from the latest hole (either today’s game or the season). If they lose today’s game as expected, they’ll be 11 games behind the Red Sox in the AL East standings. The races for the Wild Card spots are still within reach but the Yankees aren’t playing like a team that wants to win. They still have one more series against the Red Sox (in Boston) and if they can’t beat the Sox in the Bronx, they certainly are not going to win in Beantown.
This has been a very weird season as a Yankees fan. The team did nothing to improve upon last year’s squad and simply filled key roles with bargain basement replacements. Alfonso Soriano is the only quality acquisition, but he is an aging player with a large salary. It’s not exactly like it was a brilliant acquisition for GM Brian Cashman. The Chicago Cubs were glad to part with Soriano even if they are still picking up a large part of his compensation. I’ve been reading many articles that talk about the great managing job Joe Girardi has done this season, but no one is saying the same about Cashman. The unknown variable is that we do not know the restraints he is under from Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner. If you are under standing orders that you cannot increase salary, it’s not exactly like you are going to go out and land a Giancarlo Stanton or Cliff Lee. But it’s odd watching the Pittsburgh Pirates being more aggressive in the addition of reinforcements (i.e., Justin Morneau, Marlon Byrd and John Buck) than the Yankees. A few key “stronger” players here or there could have meant the difference in the current Wild Card standings and the Yankees wouldn’t be on the outside looking in.
The only guarantee is that there will be changes in the off-season. At this point, I have to believe that the departure of Cashman is a possibility. I do not expect Joe Girardi to be going anywhere but this team will look radically different, particularly if the Yankees do not re-sign impending free agent Robinson Cano. I am not sure what to expect with the 2014 Yankees. I don’t know if optimism will be part of the equation and if we will be looking at another “patched-together” squad of expensive, deteriorating older players and cheap free agent acquisitions of players released from their current clubs. The Yankees need to get younger but is this going to take a season or two, or years. The decisions being made by Hal Steinbrenner will impact the Yankees for years to come. Time will tell if he is making very astute and winning decisions to set up future success, or if he is ensuring that this time period will be the 1980’s re-visited.
If somehow the Yankees manage to salvage the 2013 season and grabbed a Wild Card spot, I seriously doubt they’d be able to do anything with it. Hopefully, the Steinbrenner family is able to do something to return optimism to the Bronx in the not-so-distant future.
Pondering the Quarterback situation…
As a long-suffering Minnesota Vikings fan, the hope is that this is the year QB Christian Ponder “figures it out”. He is a talented and intelligent guy, and there’s no reason for him not to become the answer for the Vikings if he chooses to be. How many guys would like to have Adrian Peterson in the backfield, Greg Jennings out wide, and Kyle Rudolph at tight end? Ponder has the weapons and he has the physical tools to succeed. It is all up to him. If the Vikings have to make the move to replace Ponder with backup Matt Cassel, then the team is sunk.
Last year was a pleasant surprise but it will be more challenging this year with the more difficult schedule. I do wish that Adrian Peterson would let go of the dream to reach 2,500 rushing yards in a season. I would not want to see him at such risk for injury nor would I want an individual goal to become superior to the team’s goals.
The Vikings start the season against the Detroit Lions, a team that knows a thing or two about having huge offensive weapons. The young Vikings secondary will have to show that they are ready for the big time as it doesn’t get any easier in the coming weeks. It’s too bad that, so far, the team hasn’t been able to get former starter Antoine Winfield to come out of retirement. Josh Robinson is fast, but we’ll see if he can keep up with Megatron…
Hockey’s around the corner…
Soon, the San Jose Sharks will join the Minnesota Vikings as “distractions” for me during this disappointing MLB campaign. I am looking forward to a full season of NHL Hockey rather than last year’s strike-shortened version. I am still having a tough time thinking of the HP Pavilion or “Shark Tank” as the SAP Center. While it is called S-A-P and not the word “sap”, how long before the latter becomes the norm if the team fails to succeed?
Where are you, Optimism? I miss you… 😉