Credit: Rich Schultz-Getty Images
Blue Jays 4, Yankees 1…
The 4th of July is a great time for America as it celebrates the birth of our country. Sadly, the Yankees were unable to provide any fireworks as they fell quietly to the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday.
The game marked the return of CC Sabathia. Before the game, Manager Joe Girardi was hoping for 5 or 6 innings from Sabathia. Unfortunately, it would prove to be something comparable to me hoping for winning PowerBall numbers. In retrospect, maybe CC should have taken a rehab assignment.
The first inning went well enough as Sabathia retired the first three batters on fly outs to center, although he had Jacoby Ellsbury running hard for several of them. The 2nd inning saw another three up, three down pass through the Jays lineup. So far, so good.
Then, the 3rd inning happened. The first two batters…no problem. Steve Pearce flied out to left and Kevin Pillar struck out swinging. Then, with two outs, Darwin Barney walked. A wild pitch by Sabathia moved Barney to second. Joey Bats followed with a single to right, scoring Barney. Russell Martin singled and Josh Donaldson walked to load the bases. Adam Warren got up in the bullpen to begin warming up. On a 3-2 count, Sabathia threw Ball 4, high and outside, to Justin Smoak, which scored Bautista. Kendrys Morales stepped up and lined a single to left through the hole, which scored Martin and Donaldson. 4-0 Blue Jays and it was shower time for Sabathia. Warren came in to record the final out but the damage was done. 63 pitches by Sabathia (39 in the 3rd inning alone) and he was clearly laboring at the end. He finished with 3 hits and 4 runs in 2 2/3 innings, walking 3 and striking out just 1. Sabathia (7-3) saw his season ERA inflate to 3.81.
Credit: Kathy Willens-AP
The Yankees’ lone highlight came in the bottom of the 4th when All-Star Aaron Judge crushed a J.A. Happ pitch 456 feet to center, a line drive, for his 28th home run of the year. The Statcast exit velocity of the ball was measured at 118.4 mph. One more home run and Judge will match the Yankees rookie season HR record held by Joe DiMaggio.
Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
From there, the Yankees could not muster any further offense against Happ or the Jays bullpen. Happ, a 20-game winner in 2016, picked up only his 3rd win of the year with six strong innings, holding the Yankees to four hits and the lone run. The Jays pen held the Yankees hitless for the duration of the game. It was a nice job by the Yankees bullpen too, most notably the 4 2/3 innings of scoreless relief provided by Luis Cessa.
The Yankees will attempt to take the series today with a win before the Jays leave town. Tomorrow represents an off day (finally). In their final series before the All-Star Break, the Yankees will host the Milwaukee Brewers for three games beginning Friday.
The Yankees (44-38) slid four games behind Boston as the Red Sox beat the Texas Rangers, 11-4. Boston’s on a roll now with their sixth consecutive victory. The Tampa Bay Rays are quietly sneaking up on the Yankees for second place as they are now just 1 1/2 games in back of the Pinstripers. The Rays beat their former manager Joe Maddon and the Chicago Cubs yesterday, 6-5.
It would have been great if the Yankees could have won on the birthdays of the United States and late owner George Steinbrenner but it was not meant to be. We can only hope that the winning magic will return today. Michael Pineda can make it happen.
Odds & Ends…
After yesterday’s game, the Yankees dumped Chris Carter again. It’s time for Carter to seek employment elsewhere. In his final game for the Yankees, Carter was 0-for-2 and dropped a ball from Didi Gregorius in the 7th that was scored a hit for Joey Bats. Fortunately for us, the Yankees decided it was time to pull the plug on Chris Carter Experiment II and have promoted first baseman Ji-Man Choi from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to take his place. In 55 games for the RailRiders, Choi, formerly of the Los Angeles Angels, hit 8 HR’s and 41 RBI’s while batting .286. Choi is not the answer but at this point, he’s better than the man he replaced. Choi will be available for today’s game.
Credit: J Conrad Williams Jr-Newsday
The Yankees’ decision to send Bryan Mitchell to Triple A on Tuesday rather than Luis Cessa was based on the desire for Mitchell to continue working as a starter for potential help in the rotation later in the season if necessary.
Credit: J Conrad Williams Jr-Newsday
Logan Morrison, shut up. The Rays first baseman called out Gary Sanchez on Tuesday when he said the Yankees catcher did not deserve to participate in next week’s Home Run Derby. In the midst of a career season, Morrison said “I remember when I had 14 home runs (Sanchez currently has 13). That was a month and a half ago.” Morrison was not selected for the All-Star Game and is currently one of five listed on the AL Final Vote ballot, along with Didi Gregorius and Mike Moustakas. Even if Morrison somehow won the Final Vote, I seriously doubt that baseball fans would want to see him over Sanchez in the Home Run Derby. Morrison can go spend next week in Tampa or Kansas City or wherever he’s from while Sanchez heads for Miami.
Have a great Wednesday! I prefer to see this as Winnin’ Wednesday. Let’s Go Yankees!
Thank you, Merci, Gracias, Grazie, Danke, ありがとう…
Yes, I admit it, I was worried that starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda was either going to sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers or head back to Japan to pursue his stated intent to finish his career in his home country. Pulling Kuroda out of the Yankees rotation was not a promising thought. Given CC Sabathia’s recent minor surgery, it is no sure thing that he’ll be Mister King of the Hill when the season rolls around. After CC, there is nothing but question marks. As it stands, the rotation would be Sabathia, Kuroda, Phil Hughes, Ivan Nova and David Phelps. Nothing against the latter three, but all of them carry their own questions and concerns. The Yankees are not going after a prize free agent pitcher, so they would have been left to try and find a diamond in the rough. Fortunately, that’s no longer a concern, particularly if the Yankees get a return engagement from Andy Pettitte.
In the back of mind, I did feel that Kuroda would stay in New York due to a sense of unfinished business. In his final season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, I remember he had veto power on trades and he made a comment that he wanted to finish the season with the guys he started the year with. He struck me as a loyal and honorable player with those remarks, and despite rumors he left money on the table from other prospective clubs, he made the decision to return to New York on a one-year, $15 million deal. This may be his second and final season with the Yankees, but he’s certainly proven to me that he has a great deal of integrity with a genuine respect for the game which places him among the upper echelon of guys who have put on the pinstripes.
Thanks, but don’t let the door hit you on the way out…
As for the other two notable Yankee free agents (Rafael Soriano and Nick Swisher), I am indifferent about who they sign with. I would prefer to see neither player sign with an AL East club, but then again, they have to find the best deal for them wherever that may be. I saw some speculation that the Boston Red Sox might go after Swisher, but after their signing of former Oakland A’s outfielder Jonny Gomes today, I wonder if it lessens their interest in Swish. I am concerned about right field, but I have to trust that GM Brian Cashman has a plan. His trade for Swisher a few years ago was inspired, and I am sure they’ve scoped the league for players who are long on talent but have underperformed to this point. Logan Morrison of the Miami Marlins is one player who immediately comes to mind.
Player most likely to replace A-Rod during the inevitable DL stint…
Once we get past Thanksgiving and to the Baseball Winter Meetings, we should start to get a better idea of what the Yankees game plan for 2013 looks like. I am sure that there will be late moves in January or early February, but at some point, the Yankees have to do something to improve their roster. Complacency in the AL East will only buy you last place.
There hasn’t been much talk about catching, but I wonder who’ll be the backstop in 2013. Russell Martin has not been a priority so the potential increases every day that someone steps forward with a reasonable offer that entices Martin to bite. I get the sense that if he is healthy, Austin Romine may see some time behind the plate. It’s too bad Gary Sanchez is still so far away in the minor leagues.
I was surprised to see the Toronto Blue Jays bring back former manager John Gibbons, but then again, they brought back Cito Gaston for a second tour of duty (when he replaced Gibbons a few years ago). Gibbons must be jazzed about getting control of his old team combined with the influx of great talent through the trade with the Marlins that brought Jose Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson and Emilio Bonificio to Ontario. Of course that adds pressure to the job due the increased expectations. I was still surprised that the Jays didn’t try to keep Torey Lovullo (who followed John Farrell to Boston) given the recent trend to go with younger, unproven managers (ala Robin Ventura, Don Mattingly, Walt Weiss, Mike Redmond, etc.). Not that Gibbons is old (he is only 50), but he does kind of have that ‘been there, done that’ stigma attached to him.
Why did I tell Boston to shove it?…
Speaking of the Marlins, I wonder how their new hitting coach Tino Martinez feels about the team now. He signed with the Marlins just prior to the blockbuster trade, so the roster looks completely different now than it did when he joined Miami. He’ll have his work cut out for him as the Marlins unveil a largely unknown roster when play resumes in April.
Hal, Rupert Murdoch on Line 1…
Now that the News Corporation has acquired a 49% stake in the YES Network, I wonder how much influence Rupert Murdoch will have on the Steinbrenner family. The YES Network is dependent upon the success of the Yankees, and if Hal’s imposed budgetary constraints on the Yankees result in diminished performance, how loud does Murdoch become? People will not pay premium dollars to watch a 70-win team on the field. The Steinbrenner family insists this is not a prelude to the possible sale of the Yankees, but then again, Hal and Hank were always reluctant to join the team’s management when their dad was alive and healthy. For years, it seemed like a Steinbrenner son-in-law had more interest than a blood-born Steinbrenner (outside of George, of course). If someone told me that I could make billions, I am sorry but I’d have to let go of my affection for the Yankees. If Hal is so focused on the bottom line, I believe that inevitably he’ll seek to cash out when the team is at an optimum potential sales price.
The next couple of years will be very pivotal years for the Yankees franchise.
Who died and made you George Steinbrenner?…
The Los Angeles Dodgers remain my second favorite team (otherwise known as my favorite National League team), but I maintain my reservations that they want to become the new “Yankees”. It is not outside of the realm of possibility that they’ll surpass the Yankees in total annual salaries. Yes, I am tired of simply buying players. I do like the good old fashioned trade to help subsidize home-grown talent. For years, that was the Dodgers’ business model and it is one that has helped propel the San Francisco Giants to two World Championships in three years. I remain a devout Don Mattingly fan, but I hope that the organization is not creating expectations so great that Donnie Baseball can’t survive. Then again, there is the scenario that the Yankees and Dodgers regress, and both Joe Girardi and Mattingly are fired, setting up the potential return to New York for the now experienced manager Mattingly.
I want to wish everyone a very happy and enjoyable Thanksgiving! May it be a time of peace, joy, and robust memories for all of you and your respective families. Of course, in Dallas, it will only be memorable if the Cowboys win, but everywhere else, I hope everyone is grateful and thankful for life and what life has to offer. Be well and enjoy!…