Credit: Jim Davis/Globe Staff
The lead for my post today has to be in support of Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones. He was subjected to thrown objects and racial taunts in Boston on Monday night. As a Yankees fan, it would be easy to pick on the Red Sox fans but this is not isolated to Fenway Park. There are small, narrow-minded people in every stadium, including Yankee Stadium. There is no excuse for the racial slurs and unacceptable behavior anywhere.
Boston Red Sox President Sam Kennedy issued the following statement:
“The Red Sox have zero tolerance for such inexcusable behavior, and our entire organization and our fans are sickened by the conduct of an ignorant few. Such conduct should be reported immediately to Red Sox security, and any spectator behaving in this manner forfeits his/her right to remain in the ballpark, and may be subject to further action. Our review of last night’s events is ongoing.”
Granted, the Red Sox response was driven in large part by MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred but I thought the Red Sox said the right words. The proof is in the pudding so now let’s see Red Sox security enforce those words. But it doesn’t stop there. Security for every MLB team needs to take similar action. There simply cannot be any tolerance for this type of behavior regardless of geography. I support the Yankees but I will never support racial inequality and injustice. I do not support the uniform he wears, but I will always support Adam Jones…the player and the man.
A close friend of mine, a Boston-area resident and die-hard Red Sox fan, posted this on Social Media yesterday:
“I’m baffled….why are so many Red Sox fans defending the deplorable behavior of the fans last night at Fenway who yelled racial slurs and threw things at Adam Jones of the Baltimore Orioles? This SHOULD be something we all agree on….there is no room for hate at Fenway.”
I am in 100% agreement with her words. This type of behavior must stop now.
To Boston’s credit, Red Sox fans gave Adam Jones a much-deserved standing ovation during yesterday’s game.
Moving on to baseball, the Yankees made a couple of moves yesterday. Greg Bird was placed on the 10-Day Disabled List. The ankle he injured the last week of training camp has not sufficiently healed and may have contributed to the dreadful 6-for-60 start (.100 batting average) with 22 strikeouts. Rob Refsnyder was recalled to take Bird’s roster spot and he’ll back up interim starting first baseman Chris Carter. Also, Luis Cessa was demoted after one day in the Bronx. He came up long enough to cover the innings that Luis Severino could not on Monday (allowing the rest of the bullpen to take a much needed night off). Mission accomplished, and back to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Recalled in his place is lefty reliever Chasen Shreve. Shreve has pitched very well this year whether for the Yankees or the RailRiders. Prior to his demotion to AAA, he pitched three scoreless innings with two strikeouts. At Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, he pitched 6 1/3 innings and allowed only one run. He struck out twelve and walked none.
The Yankees may get catcher Gary Sanchez back on Friday at Wrigley Field in Chicago.
It’s possible that Jacoby Ellsbury could find his way to the DL (surprise, surprise…yeah, not really). He has a bruised nerve in his left elbow. The Yankees are going to give it a couple of days before making any decisions. Oh well, it’s good opportunity for Aaron Hicks to get some regular playing time. I personally could have come up with many better ways to spend $153 million a few years ago but the Yankees didn’t ask me.
According to the Miami Herald, Jeb Bush has indicated Derek Jeter will run Baseball Operations if their purchase of the Miami Marlins comes to fruition. With a lack of experience, it will be interesting, if the sale does go through, to see who Jeter hires or if he’ll retain Yankees Legend Don Mattingly as the team’s manager. I’ve heard some speculate that Alex Rodriguez could be the eventual manager. If it were me, one of the first telephone calls I would make to join my administration would be Yankees Vice President and Director of Amateur Scouting Damon Oppenheimer. I could easily envision Oppenheimer as the team’s GM. If not Oppenheimer, then former Yankees Assistant GM Kim Ng, currently Senior Vice President for Baseball Operations with Major League Baseball. Rule Number One, surround yourself with people that are smarter than you.
In last night’s baseball action, where do we begin? You can talk about Brett Gardner’s second multi-homer game in four days, Matt Holliday’s 3-for-4 night or another win by Masahiro Tanaka (4-1) as the Yankees stopped Toronto’s three-game winning streak with an 11-5 victory. But really, the game came down to two words:
The Aaron Judge Show continues to dazzle live and TV audiences. Judge started the day with a smashed TV in the outfield terrace during batting practice off a monster home run. It was a sign of things to come as Judge matched Gardner’s two homer day and easily took the spotlight from the speedy Gardner. With a homer by center fielder Aaron Hicks, the Yankees outfield produced five home runs. It was the most home runs produced by a Yankees outfield trio since Mickey Mantle (2), Roger Maris (2) and Yogi Berra (1) did it on May 30, 1961 in a 12-3 victory over the Boston Red Sox. Judge finished with four RBI’s while Gardner had three.
Credit: Kathy Willens/AP
Masahiro Tanaka was unable to match his last start in Boston and he failed to deliver a quality start but fortunately on this night it was not needed. He needed to do enough to deliver the win and, thanks to the Yankees bats, he did his job. He went 6 1/3 innings. He allowed eight eights and four runs, striking out two. Toronto got to Tanaka in the 7th inning when Steve Pearce homered and Devon Travis singled. With one out, Clippard replaced Tanaka after the Travis at-bat, and was ineffective. Although he got Chris Coghlan out, he gave up a single to Kevin Pillar and walked Joey Bats to load the bases. Dellin Betances replaced Clippard, and balked to allow Travis to score (with the run charged to Tanaka). Betances then walked Russell Martin to re-load the bases, which brought the tying run to the plate. But Betances struck out Kendrys Morales to end the threat.
Former Yankee Steve Pearce had two home runs for Toronto, both off Tanaka.
With the win, the Yankees (16-9) moved back into a first place tie in the AL East with the Baltimore Orioles. The O’s lost to the Red Sox, 5-2.
On the downside, catcher Austin Romine left the game with a cramp in his right groin. According to manager Joe Girardi, Romine was pulled from the game despite saying no at least three times. Hopefully, Romine is better today and this doesn’t develop into something more serious that causes lost playing time. Regardless of how Romine feels today, I’d guess that Kyle Higashioka will be the starting catcher for the final game of the three-game set with the Blue Jays. The Yankees will play it conservatively and allow Romine sufficient rest to recover. The impending return of #24 comes at a very good time.
Have a great Wednesday! Hopefully the Yankees can get over the hump and beat Marcus Stroman and the Blue Jays!
Credit: Elsa/Getty Images
Well, I should qualify that by saying I hope it is for the Bird (as in Greg)…just not for the Birds of Baltimore.
The Yankees head back to the Bronx for a weekend series against the AL East front-running Orioles. The series begins tonight at 7:05 pm ET with CC Sabathia (2-1, 2.70 ERA) scheduled to take the mound versus the O’s Kevin Gausman (1-2, 7.50 ERA). In Gausman’s last start on Sunday against the Red Sox, he gave up back-to-back home runs in the first inning to Mookie Betts and Hanley Ramirez as the O’s fell to Boston 6-2.
The Yankees are playing much better than they did when the O’s took 2 of 3 earlier this month. When the Yankees salvaged the final game of the series with a 7-3 victory on April 9th, it was the start of an eight-game winning streak. They left Baltimore with a 2-4 record, and now stand at 13-7 as they prepare for the rematch. The Yankees currently trail the Orioles by just one game.
The X Factor is the return of shortstop Didi Gregorius, who returns tonight after missing the first 20 games of the season. Didi performed his rehab assignment at High A Tampa, where he hit .290 with a homer and 13 ribbies. Credit is owed to interim starting shortstop Ronald Torreyes. My preference had been to promote prospect Tyler Wade as I didn’t feel Torreyes (or “Toe”) was up to the task. He proved me wrr, wrrr…not exactly right. The little guy came up big in clutch situations, and played admirably in the field. Toe now moves to the critical super-sub role with the ability to cover for Gregorius, Starlin Castro or Chase Headley. At this point, if you told me that he could play catcher too, I wouldn’t argue. There’s a reason that Brian Cashman is paid to the general manager and Joe Girardi is paid to be the manager, while I write for free on this blog site.
Now the question is what becomes of backup shortstop Pete Kozma. Is he simply optioned to AAA (retaining his spot on the 40-man roster) or designated for assignment? Personally, for me, the emergency backup shortstop is Wade so I’d shake Kozma’s hand for helping out and then hand him his walking papers.
Catcher Gary Sanchez is also very close to returning. He’ll begin his rehab assignment next Tuesday for AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Like Torreyes, catcher Austin Romine has done a terrific job filling in for Sanchez. Obviously, he’ll never be the bat nor the arm of Sanchez, but he held his own at the position.
This has been a crazy year for guys going on the disabled list. The San Francisco Giants losing ace Madison Bumgarner for two months due to a dirt bike accident is probably the craziest. But it seems like no team has been immune from the DL plague. Soon, the Yankees will be back at full strength for a team that is already playing better than expected. There is reason for great optimism at 161st and River.
The pitching match-ups for the rest of the weekend are:
Balt: Ubaldo Jimenez (1-0, 5.95 ERA)
NYY: Michael Pineda (2-1, 3.86 ERA)
Balt: Wade Miley (1-1, 2.08 ERA)
NYY: Jordan Montgomery (1-1, 3.78 ERA)
I am very glad that we won’t be facing a Chris Sale-like pitcher in this series. So far this season, the best pitcher for the Orioles has been Dylan Bundy. The Yankees will miss Bundy (3-1, 1.65 ERA) this go-around. You have to like the Yankees’ chances in this series, particularly considering they are at home. Welcome back, Didi! It will be great to see #18 on the field again.
Yesterday, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred disputed the reports that the group led by Yankees Legend Derek Jeter and former Florida Governor Jeb Bush had won the exclusive rights to purchase the Miami Marlins. Per Manfred, there are still two groups involved in the running but that resolution should be reached within a matter of days. So, hold your horses, Jeter may not be trading in his pinstripes just yet. It would be cool if the Steinbrenner Family would sell Jeter part of the Yankees, but that’s not going to happen. For Jeter’s sake, I hope his group’s bid is successful. Ownership is his dream and the best case scenario without the Yankees in play is a National League club to avoid frequent competition.
What did last night’s game against the Boston Red Sox look like?…
What can you say about Masahiro Tanaka’s masterful performance against the Red Sox? It was an absolute masterpiece as Tanaka out-pitched Boston ace Chris Sale for the the 3-0 victory. Tanaka went the distance, allowing only three hits and no walks, while striking out three. It was Tanaka’s best start of the year and one of his greatest in pinstripes. Sale, who came into the game with a career 1.17 ERA against the Yankees, allowed three runs (two earned) in the loss for the Red Sox.
For the majority of the game, the Yankees held a slim 1-0 lead, thanks to a sac fly by Matt Holliday in the fourth inning. Finally, they knocked Sale out of the game in the ninth inning after he allowed singles to the first three batters, including a run-scoring hit by Holliday to pick up his second RBI of the game. Reliever Heath Embree gave up a hit to the first batter he faced (Starlin Castro), scoring Chase Headley, with the run charged to Sale.
Chris Carter, carrying the rep of a one-dimensional home run hitter, played very solid defense at first base even if he couldn’t get his bat going against Sale.
This was one of the more enjoyable victories over the Red Sox in recent memory. Hats off to Tanaka, and congratulations to the team for the two-game sweep.
Have a wonderful Friday! It’s time to cook some Birds!
You had me at…, um, no, you didn’t…
We are supposed to simply accept a handwritten apology? Right. Sorry, I don’t buy it and I don’t think it would matter if A-Rod spoke before a packed house at Yankee Stadium. Alex Rodriguez is sorry for only one thing. He got caught. He could care less about you or me. Honestly, at this point, the only thing that I’d accept out of A-Rod’s words would be a retirement announcement.
I saw a few New York sportswriters commenting that home runs will bring the fans back. Are we so shallow that we could forgive Alex for his behavior by simply forgetting all with the first ball that clears the fence? I know that I will not be a fan of Alex Rodriguez today nor would I be one if by September he has hit 40 home runs. My days cheering him are over. I am still a Yankees fan, and of course, I want the team to win. I would not wish for A-Rod to do anything detrimental to the team (well beyond the damage that he’s already done) but I will only accept his contributions as team contributions, not individual accomplishments.
I admit that I hope Alex plays so poorly in the spring, the Yankees bite the $60 million bullet and release him. But that’s too far fetched to be possible. He won’t need to do much to hold his own on the roster. Rob Refsnyder could play twice as well in spring training and end up in Scranton/Wilkes Barre while A-Rod is the team’s full time DH. But still, the thought of an outright release would be the best possible outcome in my mind.
As good as the Boston Red Sox’ front office has become, it’s too bad they weren’t better back in 2003 when they failed to acquire A-Rod from the Texas Rangers. How differently things might have been had A-Rod gone to Beantown.
Ifs and buts, I know…
It’s a numbers game…
There was a time when it seemed odd that Phil Hughes wore #65 or that Joba Chamberlain wore #62. Now, with the announcement plans to retire numbers 20, 46 and 51, the lower numbers are slowly going away. Of course #2 will soon be retired for Derek Jeter and I’ve always wondered if some day #21 will be taken down for Paul O’Neill. Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte and Bernie Williams were all great Yankees and they deserve becoming legends of Monument Park. It was also very classy of the Yankees to announce plans for a plaque for former second baseman Willie Randolph.
It thought it was cool when Manny Ramirez wore #99 for the Los Angeles Dodgers a few years ago. Now, we’re probably just a few seasons away from someone donning the same number with the Yankees. Hopefully, I won’t live to see the days when players are wearing triple digits.
Make or break a farm system…
Based on all reports, I would love nothing more than to see the Yankees sign Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada. However, based on what I’ve read, I do expect the Los Angeles Dodgers to win the bidding. I hope the Yankees emerge victorious. Given they’ll be limited in the international market for the next few years, Moncada would be icing on the cake for the fantastic international draft they had this year. I know that there are no certainties but Moncada does sound like the real deal. I guess if the Dodgers win the bidding, I shouldn’t fret too much since I live just a few miles away from Dodger Stadium. But after an off-season of largely inactivity, signing Moncada would make this winter well worth the wait. I guess we’ll find out in the next couple of weeks.
Open the door…
Count me among those who hope that new MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred re-opens the Pete Rose case. It’s time to let Pete the Ballplayer take his rightful place in Baseball’s Hall of Fame. I will never defend Pete the Man, but I saw the ballplayer play, and he remains one of the greatest that I’ve ever seen. He has served his sentence and deserves to stand among the game’s greats.
* * *
It’s hard to believe that it is time for pitchers and catchers to report. With this off-season’s inactivity and losses, it is hard to envision October baseball in the Bronx. Yeah, yeah, if all things go right and everyone stays healthy, I know they have a chance. But realistically, this is a third place team at best with the potential for the cellar if things go horribly wrong. As always, I will throw in the caveat that I hope I am wrong. But if anything, I do think the Yankees are laying the groundwork for future success.
Let’s play ball…