Category Archives: Managers and Coaches

Game 96. Yanks slam Rockies, 8-2, behind some ex-Rockies. Lead now 9.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Edwin Encarnacion hit a grand slam, ex-Rockies D.J. LeMahieu, Mike Tauchman, and Adam Ottavino tormented their former team, and Aaron Judge added a 2-run HR as the Yanks (63-33) beat Colorado 8-2 Friday night.

With the win, the Yanks’ AL East lead grew to 9 over Tampa Bay and 11 over Boston.

The Rockies struck first, scoring two in the second off of J.A. Happ. Ryan McMahon led off the inning with a HR, then an out later, Chris Ianetta singled and then scored on a double by Garrett Hampson. Hampson advanced to third on the play on an error by Gleyber Torres. Happ got out of further trouble, when, on a fly ball to LF Mike Tauchman,  Tauchman lined up perfectly to catch the ball and then threw a perfect one-hopper to Gary Sanchez to nail Hampson, who was trying to tag up and score on the flyout, at the plate.

The Yanks took over in the third inning. With one out, LeMahieu, the former Rockie (as is Tauchman and Ottavino) singled. Both Judge and Sanchez walked, and Encarnacion hit a grand slam, his 29th HR of the season, to put the Yanks’ up 4-2.

Tauchman was huge in this game. Besides throwing a guy out at the plate, his hustle came up big. He made a nice sliding catch at one point in the game, and in the fourth, with two out, blooped a hit into shallow left. He hustled it into a double, and that hustle paid off when LeMahieu singled him in to make it 5-2.

Tauchman singled with one out in the sixth, and then showed off his hustle again by stealing second. He advanced to third on a throwing error on the play and scored on a fielders’ choice grounder, beating the play at the plate. More hustle. LeMahieu reached on that play, and then Judge added a 2-run HR (11) to make it 8-2.

The Yanks got excellent relief pitching as Happ, Ottavino and Stephen Tarpley combined for 17 K. 

With Nestor Cortes, Jr. having gone a few innings on Thursday, he was sent down and Tarpley brought up in order for the Yanks to have a “fresh arm.”

LeMahieu 2 hits, 2 RBI .330
Judge 2-run HR (11), threw out a guy at second.
Encarnacion grand slam HR (29), 4 RBI
Hicks 2 hits
Torres 2 hits
Tauchman 3 hits, scored two runs due to hustle, made great defensive plays.

Happ (W, 8-5, 4.86) 5 IP, 2 R, 8 H, 2 W, 8 K. Gave up 1 HR. In and out of trouble all night, helped by Tauchman and Judge.
Ottavino (H, 23) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 3 K.  1.66
Tarpley (S, 2) 3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 6 K.  7.30.

Manager Aaron Boone was suspended for this game due to his ejection in Game 1 of Thursday’s DH.

I can’t help but think. With the excellent defense (and hitting) LeMahieu and Urshela provide, could good bat/weak glove youngsters Clint Frazier and (the injured) Miguel Andujar be on the trade block in order to land a starting pitcher? There are only so many spots to go around to fill up a team, and someone would have to go.

My reports this weekend may be spotty, if at all. I’ll be up in Cooperstown Sunday for the Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

 

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Game 94. Yanks take first game of DH, 6-2.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

I don’t know what it is about Domingo German and the first inning or first batter, but he had trouble again, giving up home runs to the first two batters as he hung curve balls on both pitches. Two batters into the game, down 2-0.

He walked the third batter, got a DP, gave up a single, then got a strikeout.

First inning, 2 HR, 2 runs, 3 hits, 1 walk. After that, German gave up no runs and only one hit and one walk over his next five innings.

The Yanks (61-33) came back to win the game, 6-2. With the win, German goes to 12-2 on the season.

On mlb.com, I see things about who the leaders are for certain awards. For the AL CYA, I see Verlander’s name, among others. I don’t see German’s. Why? 12-2, 3.38 isn’t exactly shabby.

Gio Urshela tied the game in the bottom of the second with a 2-run HR (9), and soon after that, manager Aaron Boone was ejected for disagreeing with the home plate umpire’s strike zone.

In the fourth, the Yanks loaded the bases, but D.J. LeMahieu struck out to end the inning.

The Yanks broke the game open in the fifth. Aaron Judge singled to lead off the inning and Aaron Hicks doubled Judge to third. After Edwin Encarnacion struck out, Gary Sanchez singled in a run to give the Yankees a 3-2 lead. Didi Gregorius popped up, but Luke Voit singled in Hicks to make it 4-2 and send Sanchez to second. Urshela then doubled in Sanchez, Voit going to third, to make it 5-2. Brett Gardner struck out to end the inning.

Hicks homered (9) in the sixth to make it 6-2, which turned out to be the final score.

Hicks 2 hits, solo HR (9)
Sanchez 2 hits, RBI
Urshela 3 hits, 3 RBI, HR (9)

German (W, 12-2, 3.38) 6 IP, 2 R, 4 H, 2 W, 5 K. Gave up 2 HR (to the first two hitters)
Kahnle 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 1 K.  2.89
Britton 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 3 K.  2.25
Hale 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 1 K.  2.37

Game 84. Yanks beat Mets 5-1 behind G-“FOUR”CES.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Well, you have heard of G-forced, how about G-“FOUR”CES?

The Yanks beat the Mets 5-1 Wednesday night behind key contributions from four “G’s”:

German
Gleyber
Gregorius and
Gleyber

G-FOURCE.

(if you want to add Green to that, go ahead, but G-FIFTH doesn’t read too well… ).

The win puts the Yankees (55-29) 6 1/2 up on the Rays and 11 up on Boston in the AL East.

The Yanks now have a four-game series in Tampa vs. the Rays. It could be huge. All the Yanks really have to do is split, stay 6 1/2 up and take four games off the schedule.

A sweep could help bury the Rays at 10 1/2 out. Just don’t get swept yourself and get them back to 2 1/2 out.

The Yanks struck at the Mets right away, scoring two in the first inning. D.J. LeMahieu led off with a double, and Aaron Judge followed with a double to score D.J. Later in the inning, Gleyber Torres’ single knocked in Judge.

The fact Torres (.298-19-50, basically a .298-37-97 pace more or less–and for a middle infielder, to boot) is not on the AL All-Star team is a travesty.

Domingo German, just off the IL, gave up a HR on his first pitch, and you wondered if he was brought back too soon. But he settled down after that to pitch six great innings for his tenth win of the season.

Gio Urshela looked like Graig Nettles at third base last night. Maybe even better. He put on a defensive show.

Down 2-1 in the fifth, with a man on, Mets’ manager Mickey Callaway made a curious decision. He didn’t PH for pitcher Jason Vargas. Vargas’ did get his bunt down, but the Mets didn’t score.

That decision came back to bite the Mets in the sixth. With one out, Didi Gregorius hit his fourth HR of the season to give the Yanks a 3-1 lead. Callaway then replaced Vargas with Wilmer Font.

If Vargas’ leash was that short, why not PH for him in the fifth? ESPN announcers were arguing about that last night. You are down, need to score runs, don’t PH for the pitcher, but then the next inning he only faces two batters? Makes no sense.

And that is one reason why Callaway’s seat with the underachieving (39-48) Mets is extremely hot.

Font gave up a HR to the first batter he faced, as Gregorius and Urshela went back-to-back. Urshela’s seventh HR of the season made it 4-1.

For a while, it appeared as if Gio was hurt, but he turned out OK. Whew.

LeMahieu led off the seventh with a double, and two outs later, Hicks walked. Torres’ single made it 5-1, which was the final score.

Aaron Hicks robbed Robbie Cano of a possible HR during the game. Definitely a possible double, questionable whether it would have cleared the fence or not.

LeMahieu 2 hits (.342 leads AL)
Torres 2 hits, 2 RBI
Gregorius 2 hits, solo HR (4)
Urshela 2 hits, solo HR (7). A couple of superb defensive plays.

German (W, 10-2, 3.67) 6 IP, 1 R, 5 H, 0 W, 6 K. Gave up 1 HR (on his first pitch).
Green 2 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 W, 4 K.  5.64
Cortes, Jr. 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K.  5.04

German looked like the German, ace-like, that he was before his last few starts when he struggled with the hip problem.

Yankees’ announcers are now on the IL. John Sterling will not be broadcasting this weekend because of health issues. Sterling, who turns 81 today, the 4th of July, had broadcast 5,060 consecutive games, ever since he had to take two days off for the death of a sister in 1989.

Meanwhile, Michael Kay will miss a month because he needs surgery on one of his vocal cords.

 

Mid-season Report Cards.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

With the season half over (Game 81 will be Saturday in London), we look at giving Yankees’ players mid-season grades. Since they are on a course for 105 wins, there is, as you may guess, a lot of A’s.

But no team is perfect, so there will be some clunkers in here as well.

Catchers:

C: Gary Sanchez. A. A prime candidate for Comeback Player of the Year after hitting just  .186 last season, Sanchez also would get MVP consideration. A catcher on pace for 45-50 HR? Wow. Deservedly the starting C in the All-Star Game coming up. But catching does wear you out as we get into August and September. Also, not much discussion on his defense lately, so the improvement is there as well. Lastly, with Judge and Stanton missing a lot of time, Sanchez has stepped up and provided power when it was needed.

C: Austin Romine. D.  Calls a nice game but his bat has regressed from last year. .218, only 2 walks, 24 strikeouts. OPS+ just 42 (58% below league average). I know he’s just a backup catcher but he has to have a better stick.

Kyle Higashioka doesn’t get a grade. Not enough MLB playing time so far this year.

Infielders:

1B. Luke Voit A. Luke has proven he’s no fluke. On a pace for about 35 HR and close to 100 RBI, another player providing power and coming up big with Judge and Stanton out. Leads team in striking out, but also leads them in drawing walks.

1B. Greg Bird F. Didn’t play too much, was bad when he did play, then injured again. With Voit, Encarnacion, Ford, Morrison, McBroom and Gittens all there in the majors, AAA and AA, Bird is a forgotten guy and is probably at best, trade bait when (if?) he gets healthy. 6 for 35, 16 strikeouts, only 1 extra base hit. The Yanks’ patience with him has probably run out. It is a shame about the injuries but you can’t wait forever for him, and there are all those other guys for 1B/DH. Really, he’s like Ellsbury right now. You don’t think of, or miss, him.

Encarnacion has not been with the Yanks long enough to get a grade.

2B. D.J. LeMahieu A. MVP? Incredible year, leading AL in batting average. As a leadoff hitter, on a 100 RBI pace, hitting what .480 with RISP? What a pickup, and solidifies the infield defense. And don’t forget how valuable his versatility is.

SS/2B Gleyber Torres. A. On a 38 HR pace and may be hitting 8th in the lineup. Wow. Did decent job at SS until Didi returned. Oh, yeah, he’s only 22.

Didi I won’t give a grade to. I don’t think it would be fair right now. Only 15 games, just off of injury, still getting his feet wet. So far one concern is only 3 XBH out of the 16 hits.

Gio Urshela A. You figured his defense would be better than Andujar’s and it certainly is, Gold Glove caliber. But a .225 hitter before this season hitting .303? No one expected that.. and clutch hits, too.

Tyler Wade. F. Still hasn’t proven he can hit MLB pitching, and right now, it’s safe to say he has been passed on the depth chart by the next guy I’m going to mention…

Thairo Estrada. A. Hit .280 with surprising pop (3 HR). Played LF as well. Did all the things you wanted Wade to do and didn’t.

Miguel Andujar. F. An unfair grade, maybe, because of the injury. Got hurt, tried to come back and was horrible in that attempt. Defense still a problem. Was 6 for 47, no extra base hits, only 1 walk and 11 strikeouts.  OPS+ a MINUS 27.

Kendrys Morales. F. Hit .177. Only two extra base hits of the eleven he had. DFA’d, so that says all you need to know abut the grade. OPS+54

Not enough at bats to give a grade: Troy Tulowitzki, Mike Ford.

Outfielders:

Brett Gardner C. Probably getting more playing time than expected b/c of the injuries. 11 HR but only a .231 batting average, which is why LeMahieu (.336) is now leading off instead of Gardy. Still has solid defense.

Clint Frazier. B-.  Hard to grade. Bat an A but defense a D. Hence the grade.

Aaron Judge  B+.  Been very good, not great, when he’s played, but has only played in 25 games.

No grade for Stanton, who has only played in 9 games.

Aaron Hicks. C-.  Solid defensively, but since coming off the IL, the bat hasn’t picked up yet. 5 HR and 20 RBI ok, but hitting just. .202.

Mike Tauchman. C-. Solid defensively, but stick needs work, .212. Slightly less at bats than Hicks, numbers similiar.

Cameron Maybin. A. A surprise. Picked up off the scrap heap, provided great defense, baserunning, and even homered in four straight games, hitting .314. Shame about his injury. Just when he really was putting things together…

Pitchers

Masahiro Tanaka B. Record just 5-5, but leads starters in ERA, has only complete game, and also only complete game shutout. Still searching for that splitter

Domingo German B+. Would have been an A except for those last couple of starts before he went on the IL. Surprising ace of staff for first two months, what with Severino out. During that time, Severino himself couldn’t have done better.

CC Sabathia B-.  Decent, but each time he starts, you know you’ll need the bullpen. Rarely goes more than five innings.

J.A. Happ. D. This year’s Sonny Gray so far. 7-4 record, but horrible 5.23 ERA and prone to giving up HR.

James Paxton C. Has ability to dominate, knee has seemed to limit him. Inconsistent.

Aroldis Chapman A. 23 saves, 1.45 ERA but it seems he does make you squirm. How about some clean 1-2-3 saves, Chappy?

Jonathan Holder. F. Recently sent down after ERA rose to 6.81.

Adam Ottavino. A. Great pickup. Needs to cut down on the walks a bit.

Zack Britton B. Not as dominant as he was a few years ago with Baltimore, but still good.

Tommy Kahnle  B   Another comeback player of the year candidate.

Luis Cessa D.  Started year great, then reverted to being Cessa. 5.11 ERA and you wonder how long Yanks will deal with him before they look or find someone better.

Nestor Cortes Jr. B.  Has done well enough as the guy coming in for Green after Green is the opener. Also in dealing with the SWB shuttle.

Chad Green. D. Has done well since coming back from SWB after his demotion, and has done ok as the “opener”. But oh, that start of the season that earned him a demotion. Still, recent outings have upgraded him from F to D, as opposed to the recent outings of Holder that dropped him from a possible C to an F.

David Hale B.  Another, like Cortes, on the shuttle, but has done decently when in there.

Not graded (didn’t feel like they pitched enough to grade): Jonathan Loaisiga, Stephen Tarpley, Jake Barrett, Joe Harvey and Chance Adams.  Harvey and Tarpley I almost was going to give a grade to.

Manager: Aaron Boone A. Held team together through all the injuries when they could have folded and tanked. With all the injuries, tied with the Twins for best record in AL.

GM: Brian Cashman A.  Paxton so-so, but pickups of Urshela, Maybin, LeMahieu, Ottavino have been huge. Then he gets Encarnacion. Now get that starter ….

Game 71. Tanaka dominates Rays with CG, 2-hit shutout.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The best Yankees’ pitching performance of the year, so far.

You can argue the best pitching performance in over 16 years.

In an age where you almost never see complete games anymore, Masahiro Tanaka threw a complete game, 2-hit, 10-strikeout gem in beating Tampa Bay 3-0 last night.

According to YES (and I looked it up on baseballreference.com, too), it’s the first time a Yankee pitcher threw a complete game where that pitcher gave up two hits or less with 10 or more strikeouts since Mike Mussina threw a two-hit shutout, striking out 12, against Tampa Bay on September 24, 2002.

And yes, in the seventh and eighth innings, I was hollering at the TV for Aaron Boone to keep Tanaka in there. Tanaka was that dominating, and hey, if he was still mowing them down, and his pitch count wasn’t too high, why not give the bullpen a rest?

In the third inning, D.J. LeMahieu hit a 2-run HR (8) to put the Yanks up 2-0.

In the fifth, Cameron Maybin homered (4) for the third straight game to put the Yanks up 3-0, and that was all the scoring in the game.

LeMahieu 2-run HR (8) (.311)
Maybin 3 for 3, solo HR (4)

Tanaka (W, 5-5, 3.23) 9 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 1 W, 10 K.

Stanton comes off the IL today. Mike Tauchman is expected to be sent down.

With the win, the Yanks (44-27) won their third in a row, and opened up a 1 1/2 game lead over Tampa Bay in the AL East. Boston, who has won six in a row, is 5 1/2 back.

Game 64. A sloppy win, 7-6 in 10. Also, news on Lucchesi, Big Papi.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

The Yanks (40-24) tried their best to blow this game. Their best relievers failed, and it was up to a rookie, who arrived at 4 AM after a seven-hour or so drive via cab or Uber (don’t know which; UPDATE: Yanks arranged a SUV for the 6 1/2 hour, 375 mile drive), to save the day.

But in the end, they won 7-6 in 10 innings over Cleveland and maintained their first place tie with Tampa Bay.

Before the game, the Yanks had to place Domingo German on the IL (hip) and recall Stephen Tarpley. Tarpley is the one who had to make the trip in the wee small hours of the morning.

Now we know that German didn’t “hit a wall” per se, but that something was physically wrong the past few starts.

Forced to use an opener again (Tanaka’s start pushed back a day due to his wife giving birth), the Yanks got 5 runs in the second inning. With two out, Clint Frazier singled and Brett Gardner homered (9). Gio Urshela walked and Cameron Maybin singled. D.J. LeMahieu singled in a run, 3-0. Then a WP and a walk to Aaron Hicks loaded the bases. Luke Voit doubled in two runs, 5-0. Gary Sanchez walked to reload the bases but Gleyber Torres flied out.

Chad Green, the opener, and Nestor Cortes, Jr.Greg combined to shut out the Indians for five innings, but in the bottom of the sixth, Tommy Kahnle gave up 4 runs on 2 HR and it was 5-4.

In the seventh, Adam Ottavino gave up a HR that tied the game at 5.

In the top of the ninth, with one out, Luke Voit singled and Gary Sanchez doubled. Gleyber Torres was inentionally walked to possibly set up a DP but Clint Frazier hit a SF to put the Yanks up 6-5.

But in the bottom of the ninth, Aroldis Chapman gave up a single, made and error on a pickoff attempt, and then walked the next batter. He rebounded to get two outs and then had two strikes on the next batter. One strike away, and then a ground ball to SS. Didi Gregorius, who didn’t start the game but who was in for defensive purposes, booted it for a two-base error and the tying run scored. Chapman then got out of the inning.

With one out in the tenth, Maybin doubled, and one out later, Hicks doubled to put the Yanks up 7-6.

Tarpley, who made that long trip hours earlier, struck out the side in the bottom of the tenth to earn his first MLB save.

Tarpley, you’ll recall, had a great spring training before getting roughed up earlier in the season, causing him to be sent down to SWB.

LeMahieu 2 hits, RBI (.321)
Hicks GW RBI double
Voit 2 hits, 2 RBI
Frazier 2 hits, RBI
Gardner 2-run HR (9)
Maybin 2 hits

Green 2 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 W, 3 K.  8.27
Cortes, Jr.  3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K.  3.86
Kahnle 1 IP, 4 R, 4 H, 0 W, 1 K.  2.84   Gave up 2 HR.
Ottavino (BS, 3) 1 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 0 W, 0 K.  1.53  Gave up 1 HR
Britton 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 0 K.  2.86
Chapman (W, 1-1, 1.40; BS, 2) 1 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 W, 1 K.
Tarpley (S, 1) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 3 K.  First MLB save.

The Yanks now play the Mets for two games in Yankee Stadium.

In other baseball news…

Frank Lucchesi died at the age of 92. Lucchesi managed the Phillies (1970-1972), Rangers (1975-1977, taking over for Billy Martin) and Cubs (1987). He was the last manager for the Phillies while they played at old Connie Mack Stadium. He also was the manager that Lenny Randle assaulted in 1977 when Randle took umbrage at how Luchessi was managing him. Luchessi’s managerial record was 316-399, a .442 winning pct., which averages to a 72-90 season.

Ex-Red Sox star David Ortiz (Big Papi) is in stable condition after being shot in the Dominican Republic. From MLB.com:

Retired Red Sox slugger David Ortiz was shot and wounded at an amusement center in his hometown of Santo Domingo on Sunday but was in stable condition and expected to be OK, his agent Fernando Cuza told MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez.

Ortiz’s father, Leo Ortiz, also addressed reporters and said doctors anticipate a full recovery.

confirmed that he sustained a gunshot wound to the lower back/abdominal region…..

(FROM ESPN) The team had to remove part of Ortiz’s intestines and colon, as well as his gallbladder. Ortiz suffered liver damage. He was shot at a club in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Authorities say Ortiz was ambushed by a man who got off a motorcycle and shot him in the back at nearly point-blank range.

 

 

Game 52. Yanks rally to force extras but lose in 10th, 8-7.

Yankee Stadium Frieze

Nothing lasts forever.

Domingo German came into the game with a 9-1 record (it stays 9-1) and the Yanks were on a seven-game winning streak.

German had an off-day, giving up 4 HR, and the Yanks, down 7-1 at one point, rallied with three runs with two out in the ninth to force extra innings only to lose 8-7 in the tenth.

Before the game, Jake Barrett to the IL (elbow inflammation), Joe Harvey brought up.

The Yanks scored first when with one out in the second, Gleyber Torres singled, Kendrys Morales walked and Clint Frazier singled in Torres.

German gave up a 3-run HR in the bottom of the second, then a solo shot in the fourth.

In the fifth, back-to-back HR given up by German scored three more runs and the Yanks were in a 7-1 hole.

Gleyber Torres got the Yanks back in the game with a 3-run HR (13) in the sixth. 7-4.

In the top of the ninth, with one out, Frazier and Gio Urshela singled. Frazier had to watch himself as he could have been picked off second. Brett Gardner struck out and the Yanks were down to their final out. D.J. LeMahieu singled in Frazier to make it 7-5. Luke Voit walked to load the bases, and Aaron Hicks singled to tie the game.

Here is where I had a lot of questions. I don’t know what relievers were available, but I found some decisions a bit strange.

Manager Aaron Boone left Nestor Cortes, Jr. in to pitch a fourth inning after the Yanks had tied it up. I had figured that once the Yanks did tie it up, that someone like Ottavino, Kahnle, or Britton might now come in. Instead Cortes stayed out there. He got the first two outs, then got into a jam, giving up two singles and an intentional walk to load the bases before getting out of it with a pop-up. Even after Cortes gave up the hits, he stayed out there. Odd, I thought, stretching Cortes out to four innings, especially with the game on the line.

Then in the tenth, Boone brought in Jonathan Holder rather than someone else. As I mentioned, I don’t know who was or wasn’t available, but I am not too comfortable with Holder in a tight game. Of all the regular relievers (those who have pitched in ten or more games this year, not those on the SWB shuttle), only Chad Green has a higher ERA than Holder. So my “trust factor” in Holder isn’t as high as with the others. But again, it may have been a case of lose the battle to win the war. Who was and wasn’t available.

Holder’s biggest mistake was, with one out, walking the #9 hitter, Billy Hamilton. Hamilton has little power, but a great deal of speed. You just can’t walk him there (and on five pitches). You have to make him earn his way on. Sure enough, Hamilton stole second. After Gio Urshela made a fabulous play for the second out, Whit Merrifield hit one past Urshela that ate him up and that ended the ballgame.

WFAN’s Mike Francesa did make an interesting and true observation the other day. As much as we love the bats of Sanchez, Voit, Frazier and Andujar, the Yanks will have to make some decisions on them. Now Sanchez and Voit aren’t going anywhere, but Frazier and Andujar’s futures could turn on their defense, or lack of it. As much as we love their bats, their defense can’t be so bad that it negates their sticks. We know the problems with Sanchez on wild pitches and passed balls. Voit is Ok, but more Giambi than Mattingly-like at 1B.  You can’t just field a team that cannot play the D. Judging by what I heard, I think Francesa thinks that if Frazier’s and Andujar’s D don’t pick up in the upcoming years, that both could be on the trade block. One reason for the Yanks winning right now is the defense of guys like LeMahieu and Urshela. Maybe Frazier (and this was mentioned on YES’ postgame show) is a little gun-shy after his concussion last year, but his defense in this KC series left a lot to be desired, especially when he got close to the wall. And it hasn’t just been in this past KC series, either.

The “easy” part of the Yanks’ schedule is now over. They don’t have as many Orioles/KC/White Sox teams anymore. The schedule now gets tougher. They have a 3-game series at home now against SD, followed by 4 games at home against Boston. They’ll be facing tougher teams now.

To their credit, the Yanks did what they should do with the soft schedule they’ve had so far. Win. 34-18. Up by 2 games in the AL East, even with a team decimated by injuries. Good job so far.

But decisions will have to be made soon. Didi Gregorius will move up to AAA SWB on Tuesday and should be back in maybe one or two weeks. What I would do when he comes back is not to send down Thairo Estrada, but to DFA Kendrys Morales. Didi could DH (until Stanton returns) instead of Morales. By having Didi DH, you protect that recently operated on right elbow of his. You play him at SS every so often to give Torres or LeMahieu a rest, and LeMahieu or Estrada can go to 3B to give Urshela a breather. LeMahieu can spell Voit at 1B. To me, Morales (5 for 30) as a Yankee is expendable. I would like to keep Estrada (.318) a bit longer. We’ll see what the Yanks do.

Also, when Stanton or Judge return, more decisions. Frazier has options, Maybin doesn’t. It may be better to keep Maybin’s defense and speed on the bench for now (out of options) and send down Frazier (who has options) to work on his defense once Judge or Stanton, whoever is first, comes back.

But when guys return, tough decisions will have to be made, and someone who is performing well now will have to go for guys like Didi, Judge and Stanton to regain their spots.

That goes for pitchers too, when Paxton, Severino, Betances and Montgomery come back and also if, after the baseball draft, the Yanks outbid the Rays for someone like Dallas Keuchel.

The moves in the next few months will be very interesting.

The game:

Hicks 2 RBI (tied game in 9th)
Torres 2 hits, 3 RBI, 3-run HR (13)
Frazier 3 hits, RBI. Did make an error.
Urshela 2 hits

German 5 IP, 7 R, 9 H, 0 W, 6 K. 3.43. Gave up 4 HR.
Cortes 4 IP, 0 R, 4 H, 2 W, 4 K.  5.40
Holder (L, 3-2, 4.91) 2/3 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 1 W, 1 K.

A non-baseball note: RIP Bart Starr, #15, QB for those great Lombardi Green Bay Packer teams of the 1960s. Starr was a 5x Champion. After losing in the 1960 NFL title game to the Eagles, Starr led the Packers to NFL titles in 1961, 1962, 1965, 1966 and 1967. The 1966 and 1967 titles were followed with wins over the AFL (pre-merger) in Super Bowls I and II, both of which Starr was the MVP in. Starr was 85.

Update: With Paxton still on the shelf, as well as CC and Loaisiga (and Adams went 4 innings the other day, Cortes 4 yesterday), Chad Green will once again be the “opener” today, hence the decisions of yesterday to save the bullpen. Pitching, especially starting, reinforcements can’t arrive fast enough, whether it be Paxton and CC getting off the DL (along with Severino and Montgomery) or getting another starter.