Chasen Shreve has been struggling badly lately, and it cost the Yanks dearly on Sunday when his only pitch of the game was hit for a walk-off HR in the bottom of the 12th, making the Yanks lose 7-6 to the Rays.
Meanwhile, Gary Sanchez appears to be out a while with a hip/groin injury. It looks like Austin Romine will step into the starting catcher role and that the Yanks will bring up Kyle Higashioka from AAA to backup Romine.
The only thing is, Higashioka can’t hit. In his only MLB games last year, 9 of them, he was 0 for 18.
This year, at AAA SWB, he has hit .191 with 5 HR and 22 RBI. Ugh. In 109 games at the AAA level, he has only hit .222-17-64.
Domingo German had nothing today and was hit hard. He gave up 2 runs in the first, and seems to always have trouble with the first batter. I don’t know what’s up with his bullpen preparation, but wasn’t it in the last game where his first pitch was hit for a HR? Today? Leadoff triple followed by a double. Two runs given up in the first inning right away.
The Yanks took a 3-2 lead in the second on a 3-runG HR (11) by Miguel Andujar.
But German gave up a HR in the second that tied the game, and three more runs in the third to put Tampa Bay up 6-3.
Doubles by Didi and Stanton cut it to 6-5 in the fifth.
In the eighth, Stanton, who went 5 for 5, homered (19) to tie the game.
In the top of the ninth, Clint Frazier clubbed a ball that ricocheted off a speaker and was caught for an out. If the speaker wasn’t there, could it have gone for a possible game-winning HR? Maybe.
This park, and the Rays’ poor attendance, have been a disgrace to MLB for years, now.
Come the twelfth, and after the Yanks’ bullpen had pitched eight no-run, no-hit innings, Shreve blew everything with just one pitch.
Some improvements the Yanks need to make:
- Catching depth. We see it now with Sanchez hurt. Higashioka is now the backup to Romine. A .191 hitter at AAA this year. 0 for 18 MLB career. .222 AAA in his minor league career.
- Lefty relief specialist (outside of the closer Chapman). Shreve isn’t cutting it. They can pursue Brad Hand from SD. I don’t see one at AAA I like, but there is someone, Caleb Frare at AA, who is currently 3-1 with an ERA of 0.54. In his minor league career, the soon-to-be 25 year old is 17-12, 2.41.
- First base. Greg Bird is struggling. .193-3-5 in 83 at bats (OPS+ 86). Neil Walker went 0 for 3 today and is at .192-2-14, and his OPS+ is around 50. The best of the lot so far has been Tyler Austin at .223-8-23, OPS+ 99 but Austin has only 8 walks to go with 53 strikeouts. I’d love to pursue a trade for Joey Votto of the Reds, if the Reds would pick up half of Votto’s salary because of the prospects the Yanks would give up for him. Votto, 35 in September, fields well, draws a ton of walks, is a lefty hitter, great OPS+. He’d fit in perfect. I’d offer Wade, Frazier, Bird, and a pitcher like Albert Abreu (and maybe one other low-end pitcher) for Votto, as long as the Reds (who aren’t going anywhere and have stunk for years) pick up half his salary in exchange for players who can help them rebuild. The Reds could honor Votto by trading him to a team that could possibly give him a ring. If Votto is unavailable, then the Yanks should cut ties with Walker now and bring up Brandon Drury to platoon with Greg Bird at 1B. Drury has been getting some games at 1B at AAA, and is experienced at 2B and 3B if you want to give Torres or Andujar a day off. He’s hitting .320 at SWB, and cutting Walker for Drury now seems like the thing to do. The Yanks haven’t been getting much from 1B, and unless Bird and/or Walker start heating up, why not try a Drury/Bird platoon? Especially since Drury’s .320 is being wasted at AAA?
Gardner 2 hits.
Stanton 5 for 5, HR, 2 RBI (half of team’s 10 hits)
Andujar 3-run HR
German 3 IP, 6 R, 9 H, 0 W, 2 K. Gave up 1 HR. 5.40
Warren 1 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 2 K. 1.65
Holder 2 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K. 1.84
Robertson 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 0 K. 3.34
Betances 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 1 K. 2.91
Green 2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 4 K. 2.17
Shreve (L, 2-2, 5.19) 0 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 0 W, 0 K. Threw 1 pitch = HR.
With the loss, the Yanks (50-25) fall into a virtual tie with Boston (the Yanks are percentage points ahead). The Yanks rearranged their rotation, setting themselves up for next weekend’s Boston series. So against the Phillies Monday-Wednesday, it’ll be Loaisiga, Severino and Cessa. After an off-day, CC goes with some extra rest Friday, then it’ll be Gray and Severino.
With today’s loss, the Yanks became the last MLB team this year to experience a 3-game losing streak.