Saturday, May 15, 2021

COVID Loves the Yankees...

 

Outbreak impacts Yankees on current road trip…

It was a tough week for the Yankees with the COVID-19 outbreak but as GM Brian Cashman urged everyone to consider, the vaccinations received by players, coaches and support personnel helped minimize the damage and harm that could have been suffered if unvaccinated. Seven coaches and support personnel, plus Gleyber Torres, have been asymptomatic and, according to Manager Aaron Boone, it is possible Gleyber could be back in less than 10 days since the joint MLB-MLBPA committee has the discretion to approve an earlier return if the player is asymptomatic and receives multiple negative tests. That is good news. Hoping a full speedy recovery for all of those impacted, and for no more cases affecting the team.

The news about Aaron Hicks is not so good. Of course, we do not know if the tear in the tendon sheath of his left wrist will only require some rest for a short period of time or if he will need surgery which of course could put him out for a while. It just seems like ‘same old, same old…’ with Hicks. It is always something that keeps him off the field. The wrist problem may be to blame for his slow start this year, but it is starting to seem, to me, that Hicks is just not a reliable, dependable contributor. Nice moments at times, but not consistent or sustainable. Bummer, I like Hicks and wish he could be a reliable, go-to player but he is not. 

Photo Credit: Mike Carlson, AP

Naturally, with Hicks’ health woes, the cackles from the Yankees fan base about Mike Tauchman have turned up the volume. I thought 2019 Tauchman was a decent player, but I am not pining for his return. On the season, he is batting .209/.274/.313, with .263 wOBA and wRC+ of 68. One home run, which he hit in his fourth game with the San Francisco Giants, and 9 RBIs. No thanks. I am not enamored with Brett Gardner playing center field every day, but I have better confidence in Brian Cashman and company uncovering a potential player who can help if Hicks is out for an extended period than wishing for the return of an unproductive player. I would love to see Estevan Florial, who was called up to Triple A this past week, but he is not ready…yet. 

I was a little alarmed earlier this week when I heard Luis Severino had woken up with a sore back, but thankfully it proved to be nothing and Sevy was able to pitch live batting practice this week. I am looking forward to Sevy’s return. The Yankees pitching staff has been better of late, but it will be better WITH Sevy than without. Currently, Jameson Taillon seems to be weakest link. This can and most likely will change. I would dump Domingo German in a New York minute regardless of how he is pitching for Severino, but that is just me. I have been incredibly pleased with Jordan Montgomery this season, and of course, Gerrit Cole has been the beast we all thought he would be. Corey Kluber has shown he is not the pitcher he once was, but as a 35-year-old in the process of making age-related adjustments, I have no complaints. Keep the team in games and I am good. I am hopeful and optimistic there will be no further setbacks for Sevy, and we will get to see him later this summer.

Photo Credit: Charles Wenzelberg, NY Post

Championship attitude. After Gio Urshela entered last night’s game as a pinch-hitter and delivered what proved to be the game-winning home run, he was quoted after the game saying, “You’ve got to be ready, all the time, from pitch one.” Clearly one of Cashman’s best ‘diamond in the rough’ finds, Urshela said, “I was warming up in the innings before that, just trying to keep my body warm and be ready for opportunity.” Honestly, I did not expect much when the Yankees acquired Urshela from the Toronto Blue Jays. Although I had remembered some of the highlight reel plays that he made as a member of the Cleveland Indians, I viewed him as an all-glove, no bat player and figured he was just Triple A depth. Glad I was wrong on that one. Urshela has been a godsend, and his attitude conveys he is the right player at the right time. I am glad he is a Yankee. I enjoyed watching the playful headlock he put on Gary Sanchez in the dugout after the home run. Team chemistry is everything. Winning begets winning. 

Photo Credit: AP

My goal remains for the Yankees to be in first place in the AL East by Memorial Day Weekend. If they had beaten the Tampa Bay Rays in last week’s getaway game, they could have tied the Boston Red Sox. They did not and find themselves two games back after yesterday’s comeback win. There is no question Boston will fade, but the sooner the Yankees can leapfrog them, the better. 

I am not sure how or why, but every season, since I was a kid, my hope for the Yankees is a 34-21 or better record after 55 games. I do not know or recall the reason for why those numbers stick out to me and why specifically 55 games, but the Yankees remain in contention for that mark. They are presently 21-17. They would have to get hot, but this team can do it.

It was sad to see Albert Pujols unceremoniously dumped by the Los Angeles Angels. I suppose the story may have been different if Pujols had simply said this would be his last season to allow a farewell tour. I know, it is hard for some players to let go. There’s part of me that would like to see him go back to St Louis but considering he is not much more than a DH at this point, there is probably no chance. The Yankees do not need him, but I would like to see a contender give Pujols an opportunity to exit the game on his terms. Regardless of what happens, a call to the Hall awaits him.


Here is to good health, from this day forward, for the Yankees.

As always, Go Yankees!

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)