Saturday, September 19, 2020

Nine is Fine but Ten is Better...

Photo Credit: AP

Yankees rally for ninth-straight win…

It was frustrating a few weeks ago when the Yankees were losing games they should have won, but it’s great to be back in the saddle again with the team winning the games it should have lost.

Last night, for example. Jordan Montgomery, in his best impersonation of typical J.A. Happ, gave up a three-run fourth inning home run to journeyman infielder Christian Arroyo which put the Yanks in a 3-0 hole. With Martin Perez somehow pitching like Pedro Martinez in his prime (WTF?) it did not look good for the Yankees. Picking up another run in the fifth on a sac fly by Christian Vazquez, the Red Sox took a 4-0 lead into the seventh inning.

At this point, I was not overly optimistic despite knowing Boston’s bullpen is talent-deprived. The Yankees, fielding its strongest starting lineup in a very long time, could not muster any offense against the AL East cellar dwellers. Thankfully, it was Boston the Yankees were playing against and not a top AL challenger. A couple runs here, a run there, and it was a one-run game. I think the at-bat that bothered me the most was when Gleyber Torres struck out to end the top of the eighth inning with Mike Tauchman at second base, pinch running for Giancarlo Stanton. It was a weak, pathetic at-bat and it left the Yankees down by a run.  Thankfully, Gary Sanchez, who has taken a quite bit of heat in recent days, tied the score in the top of the ninth with his two-out solo shot to left over the Green Monster.

Still, it felt like an uphill battle for the Yankees. After taking a brief lead in the top of the 11th inning when Luke Voit singled to score the extra inning runner at second base (Tauchman), the Red Sox came right back in the bottom of the frame when Christian Arroyo laced a single to center to score their designated second base runner (Michael Chavis). It looked like Boston was going to be able to celebrate a walk-off win when they loaded the bases against Jonathan Loaisiga and only one out. Fortunately, Loaisiga came up big by striking out J.D. Martinez and inducing Christian Vazquez to fly out. 

The Yankees were finally able to score the winning run in the 12th.  Gio Urshela (glad you are back, buddy!) reached on an infield single, which moved the designated second base runner (Aaron Hicks) to third. Two strikeouts and it kind of felt like it was going to be a ‘nothing for something’ situation. Step up, LeMachine. D.J. LeMahieu, having an O-fer night, drilled a double to right to score Hicks. Yanks up, 6-5. Hal, please re-sign this man.

Loaisiga was back out for the bottom of the 12th to close it out. Although the Sox were able to move the second base runner to third with only one out, the little guy came up big by recording outs against the three batters he faced. Game over, Yanks win.

I did like putting Loaisiga in this spot. He was able to face adversity and survive. He persevered and picked up his third win of the year against no losses. The growth of a pitcher. I love it. We’ll need Loaisiga in October, especially since Adam Ottavino continues to struggle. I want to see less Luis Cessa and more Loaisiga.

The change in attitude with the Yankees since they ended their recent slump was evident in LeMahieu’s words after the game. “We were down in a hole today and we had absolute confidence we were going to find a way back in the game.”  LeMahieu went on to add, “A couple of weeks ago, 4-0 felt like 20-0. Tonight, 4-0 felt within reach.” Winning spirit and confidence. Welcome back! It couldn’t happen at a better time.

The win kept the Yankees’ winning streak intact at 9 games. They are only a game away from the 10-game winning streaks I thoroughly enjoy. Unfortunately, the Tampa Bay Rays won Friday night so the Yankees (30-21) were unable to pick up any ground on the Rays. They remain 3 ½ games behind with only nine games to play. But Joe Girardi and the Phillies beat the Toronto Blue Jays by a run so it pushed the Blue Jays a full four games behind the Yankees so at least second place in the AL East feels fairly secure even if there are more games against Toronto this upcoming week.

At some point this week, Aaron Boone will concede first to the Rays and will begin resting key players in preparation for October. I just can’t see the Yankees pull out all stops to try to catch Tampa at the risk of injury and fatigue for the playoffs. 

Photo Credit: Paul J Bereswill, NY Post

The playoff format with AL games in sunny Southern California is going to be weird. Yankees playing post-season games in nearby stadiums (Petco Park in San Diego and/or Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles) and, despite living within driving distance, I cannot attend the games. Nevertheless, it will be fun to watch the Yankees out here even if it is on TV. Equally strange the Los Angeles Dodgers will not be able to play any playoff games at home since the National League (and the World Series, if they make it that far) will be held in the bubble of the new Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas.  The Dallas/Fort Worth Dodgers, I guess.

I thought it was funny to see the Phillies acquire another former Yankee. Greg Bird, recently handed his walking papers by the Texas Rangers, signed with Philadelphia and is re-united with his former manager and a couple of teammates. One former Yank, Ronald Torreyes, had been designated for assignment earlier but he cleared waivers and was sent outright to Philadelphia’s alternate training site. Not that I am really paying much attention to what the Phillies do. I do wish Bird the best but I am obviously very happy the Yankees have Luke Voit and not Greg Bird (or Mike Ford) at first base. For now, Bird will be working out with Toe at the alternate training site as he tries to get another opportunity to find health and get back on a Major League field.

I am glad Steve Cohen was successful in his bid to buy the New York Mets. Not that I really want to see a billionaire who has some common sense buy the crosstown rivals, but with no disrespect to Alex Rodriguez or the lovely Jennifer Lopez, I didn’t really want to see the former Yankee as the owner of the Mets. Despite his incredible success as a Yankees legend and Hall of Famer, it is hard for me to look at Derek Jeter the same when he is an owner and managing executive of another team. I haven’t exactly been a huge A-Rod fan in my life but if he wants to buy a Major League team, I prefer a team that is irrelevant in the Yankees Universe (kind of like Jeter and Miami Marlins). Irrelevant only in the fact they rarely play against each other and the only meaningful games against one another would be in a World Series in which case it would be great for both teams to make it that far.

It is good to know the Wilpon family will finally be exiting Major League Baseball. A little scary that the dysfunctional Mets will have better leadership (kind of wonder how this plays out for the agent trying to masquerade as a GM). Early rumors the Mets could go after Brian Cashman to run baseball operations. Now THAT I’d really hate to see. However, with Cohen’s money, he is a threat and he could put together a strong package of compensation and control that could entice Cashman to make the move. No doubt that Cohen will want to recapture the hearts of New York for his Mets. I’d like to think he will be unsuccessful but he didn’t become a billionaire by accident. He will be better for the Mets than the Wilpons, whether we like it or not.

There seems to be a few articles lately about Brett Gardner’s desire to return for another season. I feel bad because even though I’ve loved Gardy’s time as a Yankee, I do believe it is time to move on. Mike Tauchman may not be the answer but I do feel Clint Frazier has earned the right to take left field. Even with the risk of injuries, Gardy is just not a full-time player anymore. He is better to be used in spots. His option for next season is too much. If the Yankees can decline the option and perhaps re-sign Gardy for less money, maybe I’d be in favor of re-signing him. However, I don’t really want to see him off the bench very much. Sorry, Gardy. I hate saying that, but age sucks. You are not the player you were as recently as 2019. There is not going to be a huge resurgence for a 37-year-old outfielder who turns 38 next August.  I hope Gardy becomes more of a coach-in-waiting.  I think he has a lot to offer in his post-playing career (if he decides to stay in the game) and I think it’s time for the transition. Sorry to those who love Gardy but it’s just my feelings. Loyalty is great, but ultimately, you want the best players on the field regardless of past performance.

Photo Credit: AP

As always, Go Yankees!

1 comment:

  1. This team seems to put pressure on the pitchers defensively in the infield .They will make a great play then turn around and miss a catch like last night that ended up costing them 3 runs. Boone also makes dumb pitching moves .I think I would put Hicks in the 9 slot instead of Frazier.I know stretch the lineup out but Clint earned a chance to hit ahead of Hicks and Gio.
    You also tell Judge and Stanton are not running full out.Stanton the other night with the double that hit the wall and rolled back towards the infield should had been on 3B.He admired his hit which he thought was going out and if I was Boone he would had been lulled right there.
    Where is Showalter, he should be running this team as GM or Manager.Boone is a puppet.


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