Blue Jays 2, Yankees 1…
I can’t say that I went into this game feeling very strongly about a win or loss. In the grand scheme of things, the playoff format has been decided so it didn’t really matter if the Yankees went 92-70 or finished 91-71 (which they did). They still finished second in the American League East and hold home field advantage in the AL Wild Card game on Tuesday. Despite holding the Blue Jays to two hits, the Yankees were unable to muster any significant offense and lost by a run.
The Yankees lineup featured many backup players as key starters got the day off in advance of the AL Wild Card game. The only notable starters were Todd Frazier and Starlin Castro. Chase Headley got the start at first base, but he’s probably the team’s DH heading into the post-season. Greg Bird got into the game later.
Credit: Kathy Willens-AP
It was nice outing for Jordan Montgomery. He held the Blue Jays scoreless until the top of the 4th inning. Richard Urena worked a one-out walk. Justin Smoak singled to right on a grounder that went just past the glove of Tyler Wade, with Urena moving to third. Jose Bautista, making perhaps his final start as a Blue Jay, lofted a high fly to center. Urena scored on the sacrifice as the throw from Aaron Hicks was off line.
Credit: Associated Press
I thought the Yankees had a chance to potentially pick up a run in the bottom of the 4th. Tyler Wade singled to left barely over the stretched glove of shortstop Richard Urena with one down. While Matt Holliday was batting, Wade appeared to steal second to move into scoring position. However, replay showed that the tag was applied before Wade reached the base as Urena’s foot blocked the base to prevent Wade from touching the bag. Matt Holliday flied out to end the inning so the Yankees were still down by a run.
Credit: Getty Images
Montgomery made it into the 6th inning, striking out Ryan Goins. But that was all for Monty’s successful rookie campaign as Manager Joe Girardi took the ball and turned it over to Adam Warren. 5 1/3 innings for Montgomery. Two hits, a walk and a run. He struck out three batters for the eventual no-decision.
Credit: Kathy Willens-AP
Adam Warren, making his first appearance since being activated off the disabled list, retired the two batters he faced to end the inning and show that he’s ready to be a potential weapon for Tuesday night.
Warren retired the only batter he faced in the top of the 7th (pop out by Justin Smoak) and was replaced by Domingo German.
With Blue Jays reliever Danny Barnes on the mound in the bottom of the 7th, Matt Holliday homered into the left field seats with one out, a solo shot. The game was tied at 1. It looked like the Yankees might get more when Greg Bird followed with a walk. Miguel Andujar doubled to left center (ball dropped in front of a sliding Teoscar Hernandez), with Bird moving to third and there was still only one out. But the Yankees couldn’t get either runner home as both Austin Romine and Clint Frazier grounded out to leave the runners stranded.
The Blue Jays scored the eventual winning run in the top of the 8th despite no hits. With Domingo German still pitching, Rob Refsnyder reached first base after striking out when Austin Romine couldn’t catch a wild pitch from German (a low pitch that hit the ground behind the plate and bounced away). Ezequiel Carrera walked, with Refsnyder advancing to second. Darwin Barney laid down a good sacrifice bunt with two strikes to push the runners to second and third. Ryan Goins took advantage of the runner at third with perhaps the shortest RBI I’ve seen this year, a slow dribbler that went no more than 10 feet. Refsnyder came home to score as the only play was to get the runner at first. The Blue Jays had recaptured the lead, 2-1. German struck out Teoscar Hernandez to get out of the inning but the Jays had the run they would need to win the game.
From there, the Yankees couldn’t do anything against Toronto relievers Ryan Tepera and Roberto Osuna with Greg Bird popping out to the shortstop Richard Urena for the final out to end the game. It would have been nice to close out the season with a win but as I stated when I started this blog post, it didn’t really matter one way or the other. It’s hard to take momentum from a game when most of the starters are sitting on the bench.
The second-place Yankees (91-71) finish the season two games behind the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox (93-69) fell to the Houston Astros, 4-3, as those two teams prepare to resume their battle in Houston, Texas with Game 1 of the ALDS on Thursday. The Minnesota Twins, the Yankees opponent on Tuesday, beat the Detroit Tigers, 5-1, to finish the season at 85-77.
It’s been a long, run season and I hope that it continues beyond Tuesday. If not, I feel that Yankees Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner has been given the message that this team is ready to compete now and that he needs to ensure the team is given the best possible chance for success in 2018.
GM Brian Cashman and Amateur Scouting Director Damon Oppenheimer presented Aaron Judge with an inscribed Waterford Crystal Gavel for his rookie record of 52 home runs.
Next Up: American League Wild Card Game, Minnesota Twins versus New York Yankees, Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY…
Here it is…do or die. We’ve endured the rigor of 162 regular season games and the pay-off is a chance to advance to the American League Division Series. Win or lose, this has been a tremendous year for the Yankees. They’ve surprised the experts who didn’t expect the Yankees to contend this quickly. The Minnesota Twins have had an excellent year as well, going from a team that lost 100 games in 2016 to a play-off contender.
Here are the scheduled pitching match-ups. Suffice it to say that every pitcher on both teams will be ready for the call.
Tuesday, October 3rd, 8:00 pm ET
Twins: Ervin Santana (16-8, 3.28 ERA)
Yankees: Luis Severino (14-6, 2.98 ERA)
This should be a great game! The winner advances to play the Indians for Game 1 of the ALDS in Cleveland on Thursday.
Odds & Ends…
The Yankees announced on Sunday that “they will significantly expand the protective netting during the upcoming off-season at both Yankee Stadium and George M Steinbrenner Field”. The action comes after the young girl was hit in the mouth on a foul ball by Todd Frazier on September 25th.
The managerial firings should begin shortly. It’s been announced after much speculation that Terry Collins will not be returning to the dugout for the New York Mets in 2018. He’ll move into a front office position. Ironically, neither of the AL Wild Card managers have a contract beyond this year. I guess Tuesday will have a say in their respective futures although you’d have to believe that both would be back after unexpectedly successful seasons.
Have a great Monday! Enjoy the day off, and let’s get ready to root, root for the home team on Tuesday night. Go Yankees!
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!
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.
The Dawn of the Baseball Winter Meetings…
This week is always the most eventful one of the entire off-season. A flurry of activity followed by relative silence as we head into the holidays.
Credit: AP Photo/Seth Wenig
Before the meetings start later this evening, the Yankees have already lost one option with Houston’s free agent signing of former Yankee Carlos Beltran. I had mixed feelings about his possible return to New York. He was arguably the team’s best hitter last season but he is also 40 years old. For a team that has aggressively gotten younger, adding “old” does not necessarily make sense. There is no guarantee that Beltran will be as good as last year, and it’s a near impossibility that he’d be better. Going with older veterans, I’d rather sign either Matt Holliday or Mike Napoli to a short-term deal that keeps the Yankees on the right path toward World Series contention in 2018 or 2019.
Back in the old days under George Steinbrenner, I am sure that both Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista would be Yankees by now. Of the two, I’d prefer Encarnacion but I don’t feel the Yankees should lock up huge long-term dollars for either player even if it would severely weaken the Toronto Blue Jays in the short run. In a couple of years, they’ll just be over-paid, under-producing aging veterans. We’ve seen enough of those in recent seasons.
Credit: Reuters/Ray Stubblebine
There are unofficial reports that the Los Angeles Dodgers have a deal in place with starter Rich Hill so that’s one less option on the pitching front. A deal with Jason Hammel probably makes the most sense. I like Hammel as a reliable, back of the rotation guy. He would be a good complimentary piece to Masahiro Tanaka and Michael Pineda as the team looks to fill other pitching spots with youth. I would probably take a chance with either C.J. Wilson or Tyson Ross if given the opportunity.
It’s possible that GM Brian Cashman can uncover a quality arm via trade but it’s a virtual certainty the team won’t be involved in the Chris Sale sweepstakes. Sale alone would not make the Yankees an immediate World Series contender and he would cost the best quality of the farm system to acquire. So, the Yankees need to stay the course as they continue to add the pieces for future success.
I was disappointed to see minor league hitting coordinator James Rowson leave the organization. I am happy to see him return to the major leagues as the hitting coach for the Minnesota Twins, however, I thought he would have been a better hitting coach for the Yankees than current hitting coach Alan Cockrell or assistant hitting coach Marcus Thames. When the Yankees had dismissed Jeff Pentland last year, I was hopeful that Rowson would get the job. It was not meant to be. I think he’ll be a good addition to Paul Molitor’s staff in Minneapolis and should help former Yankee and current Twins’ co-catcher John Ryan Murphy to hit again.
I remain hopeful the Yankees re-sign pitchers Nathan Eovaldi and Jacob Lindgren* as they recover from Tommy John surgery. Granted, neither pitcher will help in 2017 but I would really prefer to see them stay.
Let’s hope this week brings good news for Yankees fans…
*Several hours after this post, the Atlanta Braves announced they’ve signed Lindgren to a one year deal that will allow them to retain rights to Lindgren if they add him to their 40-man roster.
Winter is coming…
The dawn of the Winter Meetings. It’s is always one of my favorite times of the year. Last year was very quiet for the Yankees but still, so much happens in the first few days of the meetings with free agent signings and trades.
I am very relieved that the owners and the players association agreed on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. I didn’t really expect a lockout but of course it was always a possibility until the two sides came to an agreement. I understand why the CBA issue held up the Yankees due to the luxury tax implications and uncertainty associated therewith. Now that both sides have a better understanding of the new deal, it should allow the Yankees to begin shaping the 2017 team.
I fully recognize that there will not be wholesale changes. This isn’t 2009 when the Yankees dumped a half billion dollars on top free agents. Sure, I’d love to have Edwin Encarnacion or Jose Bautista on the team but realistically it is not going to happen. Between the two, I’d take Encarnacion but I still don’t think it will happen. The Yankees have a clear need for a solid, clutch-hitting DH but I think they’ll go with either Carlos Beltran or Matt Holliday. Staying in house is an option but that mean DH will be used as a rotation to rest the regulars.
I would love for the Yankees to find a way to move LF Brett Gardner and 3B Chase Headley but in both cases, age + contract make the players hard to move. Gardner would probably be the easier of the two to move. While the Yankees have in-house options to replace Gardner, they’d probably have to go outside to get a replacement for Headley. Miguel Andujar showed in the Arizona Fall League that he is the future at third, but his arrival is still a few years away. I’ve also seen the projections of Gleyber Torres taking over second base, pushing current second baseman Starlin Castro to third. But Torres won’t see the Bronx until late in the 2017 season or sometime in 2018. Despite the absence of immediate help at third, I am still ready to end the Chase Headley story even if he did recover from a horrendous April to have a very good season last year.
Credit: Getty Images
My wish list for this off-season still begins with closer Aroldis Chapman. I am still very hopeful that he’ll find his way back to the Bronx. Kenley Jansen would certainly be acceptable if Plan A does not materialize. I am probably warming up to the idea of a Bronx return for Mark Melancon but I think he’ll either stay in Washington or go to San Francisco. Greg Holland is also an option. I think the Yankees have to move Dellin Betances back to a key setup role where he is better suited. Mariano Rivera, he is not.
As for starting pitchers, I am not opposed to the potential signing of starter Rich Hill. He is older than I would like for a team in transition to youth, but he obviously has a quality arm and would provide rotation stability. He reminds me somewhat of Hiroki Kuroda. A consistent pitcher who can occasionally throw a gem. Not a frontline starter, but a very dependable one. As for trades, I have no idea. I’d love Tampa’s Chris Archer but I don’t think the Rays would trade inter-division and his cost would probably be too high. I liked the Arizona Diamondbacks’ acquisition of Taijuan Walker. A young pitcher who was not fulfilled his potential but the upside is still there. Those are the types of pitchers I’d try to target. I know, it does fall into the high risk, maybe high reward, possible low reward category but look where Jake Arrieta has taken the Chicago Cubs.
It was tough to see pitcher Nathan Eovaldi cut within the last couple of weeks and today’s non-tender of lefty Jacob Lindgren, both players who will miss the 2017 season due to Tommy John surgery. It wasn’t that long ago when Lindgren was tabbed as a can’t miss, fast-track prospect with the potential to make the major league roster the year he was drafted. Injuries have held Lindgren back, but he’s still young enough to recover for a fine professional career. I am hopeful the Yankees find a way to bring both pitchers back into the organization now that they’ve been removed from the 40-man roster.
Next week should be fun. Unlike last year, I am hopeful and optimistic that the Yankees will be active in an attempt to improve the roster and build strength around the emerging young core. We shall see…
So, where do we go from here?…
The Yankees have definitely been stopping and
starting lately. They go into a funk,
rebound, and then go into a funk again.
After a succession of losing or tying series, they’ve started to win a
few but it has been easy. In the most
recent series with Seattle Mariners, they were dominated in the opening game by
Felix Hernandez, as the M’s won, 6-0.
They rebounded to take the next two including a 10-0 annihilation on
Sunday that feature a grand slam and 6 RBI’s by Robinson Cano.
As Sunday’s game got underway, Yankees radio
announcer John Sterling made a comment about whether Cano could reach 100 RBI’s
(he had 80 at the start of the game).
With simple math, he deducted that Cano had been averaging about 20 RBI’s
a month so with that reasoning, it would appear that Cano would have a shot
after nearly making the milestone in 2008 with 97 RBI’s. Cano must have heard Sterling because he
promptly went out and reduced the “magic number” to 14 RBI’s with a little more
than a month to go in the season.
Then Monday, the Yanks were back in the doldrums
when Jose Bautista hit home runs 39 and 40 as the Toronto Blue Jays downed the
Yanks 3-2. The Red Sox own the Jays, but
the Yanks and Rays struggle against them for whatever reason. With Dustin Moseley on the mound for Tuesday’s
game, there’s not much optimism unless the Yankee bats can come around.
Of course, it doesn’t help with names like Eduardo
Nunez, Ramiro Pena and Francisco Cervelli among the starters and Ivan Nova on
the mound. To Nova’s credit, despite
allowing one of the Bautista homers, he pitched very well, going 5 1/3 innings
and allowing only 2 runs (courtesy of the Bautista home run) despite 6 hits and
1 walk. He struck out 3. Nova showed that although he is not a talent
like the Rays’ Jeremy Hellickson, he can pitch at this level.
It was sad to see former Yankees and current
Chicago Cubs manager Lou Piniella step aside after Sunday’s game, a rout by the
Atlanta Braves. Lou opted to depart now
rather than at the end of the season to tend to his ailing mother. At 66, Sweet Lou is most likely done as a
manager, but given his intensity and desire for the game, I’d have to put this
one in the “we’ll see” category. It
would not surprise me to see him return to the dugout at some future date. As for now, it would be good for the
Steinbrenner family to reach out to Lou for a consulting role. It would be nice to have him back in the
As the speculation grows for the next Cubs manager,
which inevitably includes current Yankees manager Joe Girardi, I can’t help but
wonder if the Yanks would reach out to icon Don Mattingly or if they’d go for a
seasoned vet like Bobby Valentine if Girardi left. I’d prefer to see Donnie Baseball don the #23
pinstriped jersey if I had my preference.
With the Yankees most likely in a first-place tie
after tonight’s game (assuming the Rays hold their lead against the Los Angeles
Angels), it’s time to kick it into gear.
Now is the time that separates the men from the boys so hopefully the
Yanks are up to the challenge. If not,
they’ll be looking at the backside of Tampa and Boston jerseys.