|Photo Credit: AP (Julie Jacobson)|
Can I get the Men in Black Neuralyzer, please?…
Aargh! That’s one game that I’d just as soon forget. It looked like a mismatch on paper with Chris Sale versus Sonny Gray and sadly it was. The Yankees were hammered 11-0 and could only muster two hits against Sale and the Red Sox bullpen. No game highlights for this one. Maybe the mercy killing when Aaron Boone finally pulled Gray with one out in the third inning after 68 miserable pitches.
Of course this game was not all on Gray. Despite the seven hits and six runs he allowed, the bullpen was not up to the task as they would let five more Red Sox runners cross home plate and the Yankees hitters could not buy a hit on Sale. When Giancarlo Stanton singled in the first inning, it was the first and only hit that Sale would give up. By the time he departed after seven innings, he had racked up eleven strikeouts. Gleyber Torres registered the second hit for the Yankees with a meaningless two-out single in the ninth against Sox reliever Hector Velasquez but the Yankees were unable to get any extra base hits on this night. By the time it was done, the Sox had accumulated 17 hits (or 15 more than the Yankees) and Chris Sale had the easy victory over the Yankees.
I hate games that are over before they really start and that’s what happened yesterday. A grand slam in the first inning by Rafael Devers gave the Red Sox a 4-0 lead before the Yankees had taken an at-bat.
|Photo Credit: AP (Julie Jacobson)|
The Red Sox picked up a couple more runs in the second inning and the most positive of Yankees fans (which wouldn’t include me) were screaming that it was still early and lots of time to make up ground. Unfortunately, the Yankees were never in this one. It’s best to forget the loss and look forward to today when a much more reliable starting pitcher takes the mound for the Yankees. Of course that could be any other pitcher in the Yankees starting rotation not named Sonny Gray but thankfully for us it will be Luis Severino as the Yankees attempt to take the series despite the pitiful loss on Saturday. My goal for this series was to take two of three and it’s still very possible.
I really think we need to come to the realization that Sonny Gray is not cut out for New York. It happens. Not every pitcher is meant to play on Baseball’s biggest stage. I am sure that he can be a very good pitcher for a team in a more forgiving and less pressurized environment. He has all the makings of a future Pittsburgh Pirates starter, following in the footsteps of former Yankees A.J. Burnett and Ivan Nova. Or send him back to Oakland. The A’s are third in the Wild Card standings and have three months to make up seven games on the Seattle Mariners. Maybe they’d like to get their former ace back for the stretch run. I keep waiting for Gray to have his Yankees moment but it never happens.
After the game, he was quoted as saying “I feel like we’re the best team in baseball four out of five days, and then I go out and do that. It just sucks.” I guess even he acknowledges that Sonny Gray sucks.
I have seen a few suggestions that the Yankees should trade Gray-for-Gray. Jon Gray of the Colorado Rockies is another pitcher who might benefit from a change in scenery. The Rockies optioned Gray to Triple A yesterday. He is 7-7 with a 5.77 ERA for the season, but has ace-like stuff. In 108 innings this season, he has struck out 119 batters (fourth in the NL) and has only allowed 11 homers which is noteworthy considering he pitches in the hitter-friendly high altitude of Coors Field. The Yankees drafted Gray in the tenth round of the 2011 MLB Draft but he did not sign. Nonetheless, he’s a pitcher they’ve scouted and potentially one they could turn around. I’d gladly send Sonny Gray and a prospect to Colorado for Jon Gray.
I’ve been talking up Brandon Drury for weeks and in his return to the lineup, he goes 0-for-3 with three strikeouts. But it wasn’t just him. Aaron Judge and Gleyber Torres also struck out three times. An O-fer night was prevalent among most of the hitters.
As if it wasn’t bad enough, the Yankees lost catcher Austin Romine after six innings when he tweaked his left hammy. MRI results came back negative, but it most likely means that Romine will be lost for a few games even if a trip to the disabled list is not in the cards. Kyle Higashioka, 0-for-21 in his MLB career, becomes the starter if Romine misses any time. If the Yankees have to bring up a catcher from the minor leagues, they’ll have to make room on the 40-man roster (with several guys on the 60-day DL, I believe the 40-man currently stands at 39). The most likely and the most expendable option appears to be 34-year-old Wilkin Castillo. Castillo hasn’t appeared in the Major Leagues since 2009 with the Cincinnati Reds. I liked some of the work that 27-year-old Jorge Saez did during Spring Training but he has missed time this year with injury and has only appeared in 15 games for Double-A Trenton, batting .224/.296/.245 (no homers, 3 RBI’s). Currently healthy, his last ribbie happened on April 21st so Saez does not appear to be ready for a promotion. The injuries at catcher certainly reveal the lack of depth at the position, at least in the upper levels of the farm system and why the Yankees went so heavy for catchers in the recent draft. I kind of wish the Yankees had held onto Erik Kratz, who was traded to Milwaukee in May. Ronald Torreyes has been listed as an emergency catcher in the past. Okay, I wouldn’t trust Toe catching but his bat would certainly be more reliable than others. However, I believe that he is currently on a personal leave of absence at Triple A. Another catching option, Francisco Diaz, delivered a game-winning walk-off RBI single yesterday as the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders took down the Pawtucket Red Sox in extra innings. Diaz, 28, is hitting .302/.417/.373, with a homer and 20 RBI’s in 41 games (mostly at the Single and Double A levels). Whichever catching option gets promoted will lose his 40-man roster spot when the need is over which makes it seem like Castillo is the best option.
|Photo Credit: Newsday (J Conrad Williams, Jr)|
The loss dropped the Yankees (53-27) a game behind the Red Sox (56-28) in the AL East, and two games ahead of the Mariners in the Wild Card standings. The Yankees still have the second best winning percentage in MLB. The third-place Tampa Bay Rays beat the Houston Astros, the team many call the best team in Baseball, and Justin Verlander to reach .500.
After the game, the Yankees optioned Giovanny Gallegos to Triple A. So, they have an open spot on the active roster. You’d think they would fill the position with a pitcher since they previously sacrificed a pitcher to promote Brandon Drury. So, if the Yankees do promote a catcher, it would seem that a position player (Drury?) will have to go the other way. Using a catcher to fill the spot vacated by Gallegos would leave the Yankees with only eleven pitchers which seems very unlikely. Sorry, Brandon, you look like the odd man out even if I’d rather see Neil Walker get DFA’d.
It’s a new day. Today is a good day. A great day for a Yankees win. We got this. Go Yankees!
Here is a random wish list for pitching targets leading up to the trading deadline. I know that a couple of the names are untouchable. I guess if I am going without restriction, I should place Clayton Kershaw at the top of the list. Nevertheless, this is fantasyland so here’s my list. All of these pitchers are right-handers which really wasn’t by design. I wouldn’t even say that these are my top five choices. They are, however, five pitchers that I feel could provide an upgrade.
YU DARVISH – Texas Rangers
Darvish is 30 and will be an unrestricted free agent this fall. He is 4-2 with 2.76 ERA and 1.091 WHIP. With Tommy John surgery in his recent past, he’ll carry the injury risk tag for the res t7 of his career. Darvish is still one of the best pitchers in the AL. I loved the guy when he came over from Japan and wished at the time the Yankees had been more aggressive in pursuit of him.
It’s been said that Darvish could be the key to the team eventually signing Japanese superstar and two-way ace Shohei Otani, referred to as the Japanese Babe Ruth.
The downside to Darvish is his age (at this point of the Yankees rebuild and potential off-season cost to re-sign. You’ll obviously have to pay quality prospects for the potential short-term rental assuming the Texas Rangers are even motivated to trade him at the deadline.
CARLOS CARRASCO – Cleveland Indians
Carrasco is also 30. This is total fantasy as the Indians, a World Series caliber contender, are not going to part with a critical rotation piece. There’s no doubt the Yankees have long held interest in Carrasco. The right-hander is 4-2 this season with 2.60 ERA and 0.88 WHIP. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent in 2021.
CHRIS ARCHER – Tampa Bay Rays
Archer is 28 and is a better fit age-wise. But I think he’s untouchable for any AL team due to the heavy premium the Rays would attach to him to trade him inside the division. But if the Yankees could get him, I would be ecstatic. Archer is 3-2 this season with 3.70 ERA and 1.217 WHIP. He will be an unrestricted free agent in 2022.
JON GRAY – Colorado Rockies
If I could have my pick of any pitcher, it might be Gray. I am convinced the 25-year-old Gray is an ace-in-the-making. He’ll be held back from ever reaching his full potential as long as he calls the Mile High City his home. In a very small body of work this season, Gray is 0-0 with 4.38 ERA and 1.459 WHIP. He only pitched 12 1/3 innings before going on the disabled list with a stress fracture in his left foot. Gray has begun his bullpen sessions and will soon be back on the active roster for Colorado. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent in 2022.
Interestingly enough, Gray, like Pittsburgh’s Gerrit Cole, is a former Yankees draft pick. The Yankees picked him in the 10th round of the 2011 MLB Draft. He didn’t sign and was subsequently a number one pick for the Rockies the next year.
VINCE VELASQUEZ – Philadelphia Phillies
The youngest pitcher on my list (24), Velasquez is 2-3 this year with 5.63 ERA and 1.38 WHIP. Forget the stats, the guy has the potential to be a long term fixture in any team’s rotation. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent in 2022.
This isn’t meant to be a ranking of desired pitchers. I am just randomly throwing out some names. Granted, if any team’s first request is Gleyber Torres and is unwilling to budge, it’s discussion over. But Clint Frazier I am not as attached to. With Aaron Judge in the Majors with an assist by Aaron Hicks, and the promise of outfielder Dustin Fowler, I think the Yankees have the necessary ingredients for a good outfield now and for the next few years particularly considering a potential costly run at Bryce Harper in a couple of years when he hits the free agent market. My favorite outfield prospect, Blake Rutherford, is further away but he’ll be a ready replacement when the time comes. So, if I could package Frazier in a deal to bring a quality starting pitcher and maybe a dependable bullpen arm, I’d do it. Pittsburgh’s Gerrit Cole and Tony Watson represent a combo that would be worth the inclusion of a top prospect. And, no, Gerrit Cole is not Ivan Nova.
I am sure that we’ll be hearing many names ad nauseam over the next two months. But regardless of what happens, it will be much better to be a buyer at the trading deadline than a seller if the team keeps playing well. Exciting times in the Bronx.
The Yankees are hopeful that first baseman Greg Bird will be able to begin baseball activities next week. That’s good news to hear. Hopefully Bird has fully recovered and is ready to recapture the form he showed during Spring Training when he led the Grapefruit League in home runs. Bird has already started light running so it should be a sign that the ankle bone bruise has healed. I am looking forward to seeing what a healthy Bird can do.
The Yankees concluded their three-game stay in Kansas City with a loss, falling to the Royals 5-1. I knew they were in trouble when Danny Duffy struck out the first three batters of the game. Duffy threw a scoreless three-hitter over seven innings and recorded his first career double-digit strikeout total with ten. The Yankees scored their only run against KC closer Kelvin Herrera in the ninth inning on a Didi Gregorius single.
Jordan Montgomery (2-3) lasted five innings in taking the loss. He allowed four hits, five runs and three walks (with 4 K’s). The killer was a three-run homer by Mike Moustakis in the fifth inning. His replacement, Chad Green, was stellar in pitching the final three innings. He only gave up a meaningless single in the sixth, a runner subsequently erased by double play. He struck out six. It’s not outside of the realm of possibility that Green could replace Montgomery in the rotation.
|Credit: Elsa/Getty Images|
The Yankees (24-14) maintained their lead in the AL East over the Baltimore Orioles (1 1/2 games) and Boston Red Sox (4 games) as all three teams lost on Thursday. The Yankees did win the series, taking two of three, however, I always hate to see a loss on “Getaway Day” as that’s the game fresh on everyone’ mind for the flight to the next city.
The Yankees begin a three-game series in St Petersburg, Florida tonight against the Tampa Bay Rays (21-22). Here are the scheduled pitching match-ups:
Yankees: Luis Severino (2-2, 3.86 ERA)
Rays: Erasmo Ramirez (2-0, 2.92 ERA)
Yankees: Masahiro Tanaka (5-2, 5.80 ERA)
Rays: Matt Andriese (3-1, 3.18 ERA)
Yankees: CC Sabathia (3-2, 4.93 ERA)
Rays: Chris Archer (3-2, 3.70 ERA)
Have a great Friday! Hopefully Sevy finds a way to slay the Rays!