Category Archives: Managers and Coaches

Looking back at the Yanks 2020 and looking ahead.

It’s hard enough to do a report card on a 60 game season. Harder still to predict the offseason and what the Yankees might do. I mean, when teams don’t get income from fans in the stands, concessions, parking, etc., who knows what money a team has or doesn’t have to spend this offseason?

And who knows what 2021 brings? Will Covid be gone? Will we have another shortened season without fans?

But here goes …. The best I can.

Catching

Sanchez F. How could you not give him this grade? .147?! Right now, the Yankees’ biggest issue/headache. 23 hits of which 10 were HR. It’s amazing how far he dropped. From All-Star (34 HR last year) to this. .186 two years ago. .147 in 2020. He dropped so much so that he lost his job to Higashioka in the postseason. Yes, Realmuto is a free agent, but how much $ for Realmuto? And what do you do with Sanchez? The Yanks did draft, in the first and second rounds, a few catchers in the past few years but their development has been slowed by no minor leagues this year. And they were many years away to start out with. Trade Sanchez, make him backup? He is a big headache right now.

Higashioka B. Did Ok. But can he become a regular? He isn’t known for his bat, despite that 3 HR game he had. But he was so much better than Sanchez indicating how far Sanchez dropped off. Seems to call a game better than Sanchez. Good defense.

Kratz A. Didn’t play much but performed well when he did. Helped in the development of Deivi Garcia. I can see Kratz being a coach or manager in the future. Maybe even make him (40) one next year?

Infield

Here is where there is a possible problem. Offensively, the Yanks are set with Voit, LeMahieu, Torres and Urshela. But….

LeMahieu is a free agent. The Yanks need to bring him back.

Torres had an off year and hasn’t convinced anyone he can handle SS.

Both Mark Teixeira and Joel Sherman (among others) have advocated the Yankees trade MLB HR leader Luke Voit to get more pitching…. And to bring back Didi Gregorius for SS, with Torres moving back to 2B and LeMahieu at 1B. That would improve the infield defense, and also help balance out the predominantly righty hitting Yankees lineup. But it is hard to trade a guy who led the majors in HR. Not to mention, Voit is a popular Yankee.

Voit A. Led team in HR and RBI. Trading him would hurt. Suffered foot injury at the end of the year. Not speedy on bases, defense so-so. But that bat…

LeMahieu A. Best player on team again. Versatile. 1st player in modern era (since 1920) to win batting titles in both leagues. .364. Yanks need more contact hitters like him, less all or nothing guys. Put the ball in play.

Torres C. Disappointing year. Only .243 with 3 HR. Stepped up in playoffs, where he has done well. Hopefully the real Gleyber comes back in 2021.

Urshela A. Clutch hits, proving 2019 wasn’t a fluke. Great glove. Has made Miguel Andujar an afterthought. I think the Yanks should see what they can get for Andujar, because he is blocked everywhere. 3B by Urshela. 1B by Voit, LeMahieu and/or Ford, OF by Frazier, Judge, Tauchman, Gardner or whoever is out there.

Wade C. His versatility and speed are plusses. But when will he (.170) ever hit?

Ford F. After a promising 2019, only hit .135 in 2020. His lefty bat could help balance the lineup, but where could he play? Blocked by Voit or LeMahieu. Stanton stuck as full-time DH limits versatility. Bench player.

Estrada F. Took a step backwards, when it appeared he could pass Wade on the depth chart. .167.

It’ll be interesting to see what the Yanks do with LeMahieu (free agent) and Voit. The Yankees defense was their worst in many, many years. And with Didi out there as a free agent….

Outfield

Frazier B. The Yankees have to decide what to do with him. I think it’s time to give him the LF job and see if he can run with it.

Gardner C. The .223 was disappointing. Still good defensively, and the Yanks may want to keep him as Frazier’s defensive caddy and for his clubhouse presence. But at 37, Gardner should not be an everyday player anymore. Start Frazier, sub Gardy in for defense if necessary. But if you don’t want to bring Gardy back, you still have

Tauchman D. Good defensively, can also be Frazier’s defensive caddy. But took step backward. Where did his power go? Zero HR. The Yanks need his lefty bat to show/produce pop, especially if giving Frazier or Hicks or even Judge a day off, and to balance out the lineup.  Led team in steals with six.

Judge B. Started the season hot, then got hurt. Needs to stay healthy.

Stanton. B Strictly a DH now. Showed in postseason what he can do if healthy. Needs to stay healthy. But him at full time DH limits Yankees elsewhere. And his salary (and Cole’s, Chapman’s) limits flexibility too.

Hicks B. Lousy average.225 offset by him leading team in walks. Good D.  

Pitching.

Cole A  Ace of staff. Prone to the HR ball.  But 7-3, 2.84 all you asked for.

Tanaka B. Lousy postseason but 3.56 decent regular season. A free agent. Yankees should bring him back at reduced price. Not an ace or #2 anymore, but a good #3 or 4.

Happ. B. Lousy start. Lousy finish. Good in between. But a free agent, 37, and Yankees should not bring him back. Had issues with management.

Montgomery D. 5.11 ERA coming back from TJ surgery. Hopefully better next year with more time from the surgery. Nice start when Yankees needed in postseason

German X. Will he be back next year? That is a question mark. If so, how will he be after layoff? If Yanks can get the 18-4, 4.03 from 2019, or close to it, it would be a big help. Even something halfway decent until…

Severino. A ? for next year. Should be back around July but after so much time off, can he come back as a #2. Yanks may need to make a deal (Andujar, Voit) or sign a free agent like Trevor Bauer (who likes one year deals).

Garcia B. 3-2, 4.98 doesn’t look great, but kid is just 21. Hope he blossoms. Shows poise. A wild card for 2021.

Paxton F. Back surgery, then 6.64 ERA and forearm strain at the end of the year. I don’t bring him back (free agent). Why bring back someone as a free agent who is always hurt and has a forearm strain (which could be precursor to TJ problems?) It’d be like buying a car you know or suspect is a lemon.

Britton A. Filled in as closer when Chapman out with Covid. Did great job. 1.89 ERA

Chapman B. Decent in regular season but spit the bit in playoffs, giving up season-ending HR for second year in row. Have to wonder if he has what it takes for postseason. Also gave up big postseason HR in 2016 for Cubs. But Yanks stuck with certain contracts (Cole, Chapman, Stanton).

Green B.

Ottavino F. 5.89 ERA. Stunk in 2019 postseason. Bad 2020. Yanks had no faith in him this postseason. Need to unload him. Loss of Kahnle hurt. And Kahnle out all 2021 probably.

Holder C.

Cessa B.

Loaisiga B. Seems capable of so much more. A tease. Disappointed in postseason.

Nelson C. Kid shows some promise. Maybe replacement for Ottavino?

King F. Missing that year of AAA hurt. 7.76 ERA. Hope learns from experience.

Yajure A. Impressed in short stint. Just 22. Yanks should consider him as Kahnle’s sub in 2021.

Kriske F

Avilan C.

Schmidt F. Like King, could have used AAA time. See what he can do in 2021.

Heller B.

Yanks need to look at their pitching. Some kids look like they can really help in 2021 (Garcia and Yajure), others seem to need more minor league time that they couldn’t get (COVID) in 2020.

But they need a solid #2 behind Cole. Paxton didn’t provide that in 2020. Tanaka is more a #3 or #4 now. Happ’s inconsistency hurt. Severino would have been #2 but for TJ surgery and he isn’t back until July or so next year and how good will he be? Hence a trade for a #2 or to sign Bauer.

Bauer does have issues. He’s not the most likable guy, and you do wonder how his personality would play out. He was 5-4, 1.73 (led NL) for the Reds this year. There are rumors that he and Cole (college teammates) don’t get along.

Boone and Cashman C. I like both, but that Game 2 ALDS using Garcia as opener sinks them here. I didn’t like it when it happened and will rue it forever. I can’t fault Cashman for not making a deal at the trade deadline. With expanded playoffs and shortened season, more teams were in the hunt. Plus, he did have guys about to come off the DL. And there weren’t many deals to be had. Cashman will really make his mark this offseason. Here’s where we see what he does. But that Game 2 switcheroo from Garcia to Happ. Ugh.

Coaching C. They got a new pitching coach. Not too impressed with him, yet. I wish they would have given that job to David Cone (I am pretty sure Cone wouldn’t have pulled that Game 2 crap). Apparently hitting coach Marcus Thames is being looked at for a managerial position, but Thames couldn’t fix Sanchez or Torres this season. The failure to fix Sanchez looms large here.  And the new catching coach didn’t help out Sanchez much either.

Ok, got this done. I’ve been busy and whipped this off quickly. If I forgot something, sorry. Add on. Maybe I forgot a point here or there.   

Boone back, German may not be.

In a recent interview, Hal Steinbrenner mentioned that Aaron Boone would be back as Yankees’ manager in 2021, but he refused to commit on Domingo German’s return.

I apologize for not getting my Yankees’ grades and recommendations for the offseason out yet. I am dealing with my mom’s (passed away in July) estate and we thought we had a buyer for her house but that fell through last night. So I am dealing with a lot right now. I’ll get my thoughts up when I get time, but between mandatory OT at work and the estate, my time is very limited right now. Bear with me.

I have not been able to watch too much baseball since the Yanks were eliminated. Mostly due to the reasons I listed. The Rays are up 3 games to none on Houston (and Jose Altuve seems to have caught Steve Sax disease) while Atlanta has won both of the first two games from the Dodgers.

ALDS Game 5. Yankees eliminated in 2-1 loss.

The Yankees season is over after a 2-1 loss in Game 5. The Rays advance to the ALCS to face the Astros.

I’ll have a review of the season, players, and an analysis of things that I think need to be done in another upcoming article. Some things about this game may give a bit of a preview.

There were only six hits total in this game. Three by each side. Unfortunately for the Yankees, they hit one HR while Tampa Bay hit two.

I have to really question future commitments to Aroldis Chapman. You have to now wonder about him in big moments. He almost blew the 2016 WS for the Cubs, giving up a shocking game-tying HR in Game 7 of that WS before the Cubs came back to win.

Now he has blown the 2019 ALCS and the 2020 ALDS by giving up game-winning HRs that ended the Yankees’ season both times.

Not only that, but his attitude seems to be a problem as well. That macho posturing is getting tiresome, and karma may have just bit him in the ass last night.

Chapman is no Rivera, in a lot of ways.

Chapman is appealing a suspension (won’t take place until 2021) from throwing up and in and seemingly at Mike Brosseau of the Rays in an early September game this year. So who hits the game-winning HR off of Chapman? Brosseau. It had to be sweet revenge for Brosseau.

Chapman’s contract is huge. It would be hard getting rid of it, and I wonder if the Yankees even want to or should. But two straight years of Chapman giving up season-ending dingers, plus his seeming immaturity, make you wonder.

Gerrit Cole escaped a bases-loaded jam in the first inning, then settled down.

The Yankees’ only run of the game came when Aaron Judge sliced a HR to RF in the top of the fourth.

In the bottom of the fifth, Austin Meadows hit a game-tying HR that Judge, the Yankees, and their fans will be shaking their heads about for years to come. For whatever reason, RF at the neutral site, Petco Park in San Diego, has a ledge extending over the RF wall. If not for that ledge (which Judge hit his head on while attempting to catch the ball), the 6’7″ Judge had a good shot to catch the ball and rob Meadows of a HR. We will never know. Judge thought he had a bead on it.

In the bottom of the sixth, Brett Gardner, in LF, DID rob Randy Arozareana of a HR. No ledge in LF

Cole was a bulldog, giving up only that one hit, but it was a HR.

Neither team mustered much offense.

Then the bottom of the eighth, when karma bit Chapman in the ass and for the second year in a row, he gave up a HR (albeit, not a walk-off as in 2019) that ended the Yankees’ season.

If you would have told me that Yankees’ pitchers would give up just 3 hits, and get 13 strikeouts, I’d have taken it.

What we didn’t know was that Yankees’ hitters would get only 3 hits and strike out 11x themselves.

The last out was cruel. A 109 MPH liner off the bat of Gio Urshela that was grabbed by 3B Joey Wendle. A liner that tore Wendle’s glove. Urshela (like Willie McCovey ending the 1962 WS) hit it on the screws. No luck.

Judge solo HR

Cole 5 1/3 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 2 W, 9 K. 1 HBP. Gave up 1 HR.
Britton 1 1/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 W, 2 K.
Chapman (LOSS) 1 1/3 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 0 W, 2 K. Gave up 1 HR.

Now that the Yanks lost this ALDS, that awful decision of Game 2, Garcia/Happ looks even worse. I still hate it and always will.

Speaking of immaturity (Chapman above), you also can wonder what if German were available. Last year AND this year.

A disappointing ending.

ALDS Game 2. A decision backfires, and Yanks pitching fails in 7-5 loss. Rays even series.

I agreed with the decision to start Deivi Garcia in game 2 of this ALDS. Less pressure on the rookie (the youngest Yankee to start a postseason game), and especially less pressure after the Game 1 win.

But I was shocked when I saw that Aaron Boone only planned to use Garcia as the opener, pitching just one inning, before bringing in J.A. Happ. I didn’t like that move, and that move backfired when Happ reverted to the Happ of earlier this year and of 2019 in a 7-5 loss to Tampa Bay that evened the series at one game apiece.

Who knows if Garcia, who gave up one run (a HR) in the first inning would have settled down? Happ, a starter his whole career, isn’t used to coming out of the bullpen. I didn’t like the move, still don’t, and the results speak for themselves.

Yankees’ pitching gave up four HR last night in the loss. After getting a couple of flyouts, Garcia gave up a HR, hit a batter, then got a groundout. I don’t know what Boone’s plans are for Garcia for the rest of the series, but who knows if the kid would have settled down after that and had given you four, five or six good innings after that?

In the top of the second, a red-hot (homers in four straight postseason games) Giancarlo Stanton homered to tie the game at one.

But in came Happ, who gave up a 2-run HR in the bottom of the second, then another two-run HR in the bottom of the third and after three innings, the Yanks were in a 5-1 hole they couldn’t get out of.

We won’t know what Garcia would have done because in going the “opener” route, Garcia was never given the chance. While he was pitching and getting the first two outs, Happ was already warming up. Sometimes you just outthink yourself, and maybe Boone did that here. How are you going to inspire confidence in the kid when you do that? Boone talks about the kid’s maturity and confidence but then does that?

This is just my opinion, and I haven’t read the NY Post, MLB, ESPN or anything but I’d be interested in reading some reactions to Boone’s move on those sites. Also see what the fans think.

As or me, I didn’t like it.

So, after Boone brings in Happ, who made the deficit 5-1, Stanton tried to get the Yankees back into the game with a three-run bomb of a HR in the top of the fourth that cut the Rays’ lead to 5-4.

But the Yanks showed little offense other than Stanton. They struck out 18x, a postseason record for a 9-inning game.

One problem the Yanks have had all year is that their bullpen is letting inherited runners score, and not shutting down the inning then and there. After Adam Ottavino walked the leadoff man in in the bottom of the fifth (who then stole second), and got a groundout, Jonathan Loaisiga gave up a run-scoring single before getting a DP (great play by D.J. LeMahieu) to end the inning.

Loaisiga gave up a HR in the sixth and it was 7-4.

The Yanks got a couple of walks to lead off the top of the ninth, but then two strikeouts. D.J. LeMahieu kept hope alive with an RBI single, but Aaron Judge grounded out to end the game.

Let’s hope Tanaka brings his A game tonight. At least we know he won’t be used as an “opener.”

Sanchez was 0 for 4, 3 strikeouts, PB. Maybe just stick with Higashioka?

Stanton 2 HR, 4 RBI

Garcia 1 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 0 W, 0 K. 1 HBP. Gave up 1 HR.
Happ (LOSS) 2 2/3 IP, 4 R, 5 H, 3 W, 2 K. Gave up 2 HR. Made an error.
Ottavino 2/3 IP, 1 R, 0 H, 1 W, 0 K.
Loaisiga 1 2/3 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 0 W, 1 K. Gave up 1 HR.
Holder 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K.
Nelson 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K.


WC Game 2. Yanks advance with wild 10-9 win. Rays at Neutral SD site next.

Rain delayed the start of Game 2 of the Yankees-Indians game, and that seemed to affect Masahiro Tanaka, who gave up four runs in the bottom of the first, an inning started later than scheduled, and then delayed in the middle of it.

Tanaka settled down a little, and eventually the Yankees prevailed in a back and forth, 10-9 win over Cleveland. With the win, the Yankees swept the Indians in the best-of-three series and now head to neutral site San Diego for a best-of-five ALDS showdown against the Tampa Bay Rays, against whom they were just 2-8 this season. The Rays have surpassed Boston this year as the Yanks’ arch nemesis. There is a lot of bad blood between the teams.

After the Yanks fell into that early 4-0 hole, Giancarlo Stanton got the Yanks on the board in the second with a solo HR.

The Yanks took the lead on a Gio Urshela grand slam in the fourth. Aaron Hicks tripled on a misplayed liner to lead off the inning, then Luke Voit and Stanton both walked before Urshela’s 432 ft. grand slam.

The Yanks got a run in the top of the fifth on a walk to Hicks, Luke Voit’s double which sent Hicks to third, then a SF by Stanton. 6-4, Yankees.

But the Indians came back to tie it in the bottom of the fifth.

In the top of the sixth, Brett Gardner led off with a walk, then Gary Sanchez hit a wind-blown, 2-run HR to put the Yanks up 8-6.

For Sanchez, a bit of a redemptive night after a season (albeit a shortened one) where he only hit .147.

But Cleveland came back to tie it in the bottom of the seventh.

In the bottom of the eighth, the Indians went ahead 9-8, and could have had more except for a fabulous DP started by Gio Urshela.

The Yanks then scored twice in the top of the ninth to win the game and send the Indians packing. Stanton walked, and Mike Tauchman PR for him. Urshela, and then Gleyber Torres both singled to load the bases with no one out. After Brett Gardner struck out, Sanchez tied up the game with a SF. D.J. LeMahieu hit a seeing-eye single up the middle to put the Yanks up 10-9, and they hung on for the win.

LeMahieu GW RBI
Stanton, HR, 2 RBI
Urshela 2 hits, 4 RBI, Grand Slam, great defensive play
Sanchez 3 RBI, 2-run HR.

The Yanks drew 12 walks in the game, in addition to getting 8 hits (3 of which were HR).

Tanaka 4 IP, 6 R, 5 H, 3 W, 3 K.
Green 1 1/3 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 0 W, 3 K.
Britton (H) 1 1/3 IP, 2 R, 0 H, 2 W, 1 K.
Loaisiga (BS) 1/3 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 2 W, 0 K. 1 HBP
Chapman (W) 2 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 4 K.

The Yankees and Rays can now set up their rotations, since Game 1 of the ALDS won’t start until Monday, October 5. Time to be determined. On TBS. There will be no off days. It will be in the “bubble” of a neutral site in San Diego. With the Rays being the 1 seed (AL EAST champ) and the Yanks being the #5 seed, the Rays will be the home team for Games 1, 2 and 5 (5 if necessary) and the Yanks the home team for Games 3 and 4 (4 if necessary).

I would expect Cole in Game 1 and to also go on three days rest if there is a Game 5. As for the rotation for Games 2-3-4, we will see. If I were Boone, I might go with Garcia in Game 2 to place less pressure on the kid and save the veterans Tanaka and Happ for the more pressure-packed Games 3 and 4.

Game 58. Frustrating. Yanks lose 4-3 in 10.

This was one frustrating loss.

The Miami Marlins, a team managed by one Yankees legend (Don Mattingly) and run by another (CEO Derek Jeter) beat the Yanks 4-3 in 10 innings last night. The win ensured the Marlins (the Marlins! One of MLBs worst in recent years) a playoff spot. Their first in 17 years, when they beat the Yanks in the 2003 WS.

For the Yanks, however, it was their fifth loss in their last six games. I don’t know what to think of this team. So inconsistent. From 16-6 to 5-15 to 10-0 to 1-5. That has been their season so far. Which team shows up in the postseason? Dr. Jekyll or Mr. Hyde?

Once again, they were sloppy, committing four errors. Once again, an error by Gary Sanchez, another by Gleyber Torres.

With the loss, it is certain that the Yankees will not host a postseason game at Yankee Stadium. They will be the #5 or the #8 seed. At present, they are the #5 seed and would go to #4 Cleveland (who are tied with the White Sox but who own the tiebreaker) for the first round. They still could wind up in Chicago or Minnesota. Even worse, if they continue losing today and tomorrow (and they have two rookies starting in Deivi Garcia and Clarke Schmidt) they could fall to the #8 spot, 3rd in the AL East, behind Toronto. Right now they are only one game ahead of Toronto. At #8 they as of now would head to Tampa Bay, against whom they were 2-8 this season.

We probably won’t know until the last minute.

One thing we do know. The Yankees better snap out of their funk or their postseason will be a short one.

The Marlins got off to a quick 3-0 lead when, after two outs and then two walks, one-time (briefly) Yankee Garrett Cooper hit a 3-run HR off of J.A. Happ in the first inning.

Manager Aaron Boone was tossed in the bottom of the first for arguing a called strike three on Aaron Judge. It was a pathetic call by the home plate umpire. As I wrote many times last year, the umpire has to adjust his strike zone. As Suzyn Waldman said last night, “he can’t help it he’s tall.” Judge’s knees aren’t where a normal person’s knees are. He is 6’7″ . Knee high to a normal person isn’t knee high to Judge. Even worse, on a side view of the pitch crossing the plate, the pitch was just above his ANKLE, far from knee high. Terrible call, and Boone was tossed after the first pitch to Aaron Hicks, called a strike that appeared low as well.

MLB needs to do something about umpires like that. They need to adjust to the hitter’s strike zone, especially if that hitter is tall.

The Yanks got two runs in the third. With two out, D.J. LeMahieu walked and Aaron Judge doubled. A double by Hicks brought home D.J. and Judge.

In the eighth, the Yanks tied the game. Sanchez singled and was PR for by Mike Tauchman. He moved up on an error on a pickoff attempt and with two out, Judge singled him home to tie the game.

To extras, and that “man on second to start the inning” rule (which I hate). A bunt moved the runner to third. Then, a huge error by Kyle Higashioka. With the infield in, a grounder to Gleyber Torres, who ran at the runner on third before throwing home to Higashioka. Rundown. Higashioka ran the runner back towards third but his throw hit the runner, Monte Harrison, with the batter, Starling Marte, advancing all the way to second. No outs on the play. 2nd and 3rd. A SF gave Miami a 4-3 lead.

The anguish didn’t stop there.

The Yanks started the bottom of the tenth with their man on second, Tyler Wade, pinch-running for Gio Urshela. Torres walked. Once again, Higashioka didn’t come through, popping up a bunt. The Yanks have NO sac bunts this year. NONE. Then a double steal, and a walk to Clint Frazier that loaded the bases. So Higashioka’s failure to bunt didn’t seem to hurt, especially with D.J. LeMahieu up.

SF ties the game. A hit most likely wins it.

Instead a GIDP. Game over. Yanks lose, 4-3. Agonizing.

Judge 2 hits, RBI
Hicks 2 RBI
Voit 2 hits
Sanchez 2 hits

Happ 5 IP, 3 R, 3 H, 2 W, 3 K. Gave up 1 HR. 3.47
Loaisiga 2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K. 3.52
Britton 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K. 1.89
Chapman 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K. 3.09
Green (L, 3-3; 3.51) 1 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K.

A 10-inning 3-hitter, but gave up 4 runs, and a loss.

Game 54. Yanks lose, 11-5, hurting odds for postseason home games.

The Yanks don’t seem to like Buffalo too much. Buffalo is the COVID-19 induced “home” of the Toronto Blue Jays this year, and in the games played there this year, the Yanks haven’t fared too well.

Last night the Yankees (31-23) lost 11-5, dropping them 1 1/2 games behind the Twins for that #4 playoff seed. There are only six games left. The Twins at 33-22 have five games left. If things stay like this, the Yanks will not have a home playoff game. All three games in the first round would be in Minnesota and if the Yanks advance, they then head to the “bubble” in California for the ALDS and ALCS. The WS will be at another neutral bubble in Texas. The Yanks are 21-7 at Yankee Stadium this year, 10-16 on the road.

The lack of a minor league season has really hurt Michael King. Hopefully he can learn from his MLB experience this year but it is becoming apparent he needed more minor league time to develop–minor league time not available during this COVID dominated year. Sending someone to the alternate site isn’t the same as sending them down for AAA games.

King, 25, had 15 games at AA (6-3, 3.14) and 10 games at AAA (7-1, 2.30) so 25 games equals basically a full season of AA or higher experience. Nice records but the majors are different. He’s 1-2, 7.76 in the majors this season. More minor league experience would have helped, but it just isn’t there this year.

The Yanks scored first, getting a run in the top of the second. With one out, Gleyber Torres walked. Aaron Hicks walked, and Gio Urshela singled in Torres.

King gave up five runs in the bottom of the third, the last two coming in when Jonathan Loaisiga gave up a double allowing two inherited runners to score.

Loaisiga, good this year until last night, then gave up four runs in the bottom of the fourth. 9-1.

Nick Nelson, a pitcher in the same boat as King, gave up a HR in the bottom of the sixth. 10-1 Toronto.

The Yanks got a run in the top of the seventh. Torres led off with a walk, moved to third on a double by Hicks and scored on a groundout by Urshela. 10-2.

Chad Green gave up a HR in the bottom of the seventh. 11-2.

The Yanks got three in the top of the ninth. With one out, Urshela singled. With two out, both Brett Gardner and Tyler Wade walked. With the bases loaded, Mike Tauchman doubled all three runners home.

I haven’t cared too much for C Gary Sanchez’ pitch selection at times this year (in addition to Sanchez’ low batting average), and in reading a recent article, it seems manager Aaron Boone was questioning Sanchez the other day about it too. It will be interesting to see if Kyle Higashioka catches Gerrit Cole again tonight. Has Higgy become Cole’s personal catcher? Will we see that in the postseason? Tonight will be Cole’s last start before the postseason, Game 1 of the first round vs. (it appears to be) the Twins.

LeMahieu 2 hits (.365)
Tauchman 3 RBI
Urshela 2 hits, 2 RBI

King (L, 1-2, 7.76) 2 2/3 IP, 5 R, 5 H, 1 W, 6 K.
Loaisiga 1 IP, 4 R, 3 ER, 5 H, 2 W, 0 K. 3.86
Nelson 2 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 1 W, 2 K. 5.09 Gave up 1 HR.
Green 1 1/3 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 0 W, 2 K. 3.80 Gave up 1 HR.
Ottavino 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K. 6.06

Thoughts after a rainout.

Recently I saw some thoughts on the Yankees, and some I agree with, others need more thought. But I thought I would share those and my thoughts with you.

One. Rest? Balls to the wall right now. The person who wrote what I saw questioned why Boone is giving so much rest and off days to players IN A SIXTY GAME SEASON. I have to agree. Not only that, rest because of doubleheaders? The doubleheaders are just seven inning games! I get the injury problems, but how much rest is needed in a sixty game season in which a lot of games so far are seven inning affairs?

Second. The writer wrote to dump Montgomery and go with Clarke Schmidt in the rotation from now on. Ok. Teams haven’t seen Schmidt (0-0, 7.71 in two relief outings) while Monty is 2-2, 5.72. Who knows. Schmidt is more used to starting. Monty hasn’t been good the last few times out. Udecided on this one.

It does look as if Deivi Garcia will have to stay in the rotation. James Paxton has suffered a setback in his forearm problem. This means a few things. One, Garcia in his three MLB starts is 1-1, 3.06. Paxton was 1-1, 6.64 in five starts. But Paxton is a free agent after the year (along with Tanaka), and given this problem and Paxton’s injury history, would you bring him back? I wouldn’t. As for Tanaka, yes. But the biggest free agent that the Yankees HAVE to re-sign is LeMahieu, who as he did last year, is leading the team in WAR (Wins Above Replacement).

Third. The outfield problem. There isn’t a lot that can be done here as long as Judge and Stanton are on the IL. The author of the piece I saw suggested benching Gardner (.165-3-9, OPS+ 65) for Tauchman (.238-0-10, OPS+ 83). Ok, but not a lot of improvement. Hicks (.209-4-13) isn’t helping much either, but at least Hicks (114 OPS+) is drawing walks, leading the team in them.

What this leads to is Clint Frazier. At .288-5-17, OPS+ 159, he has to play everyday. And this means when/if Judge returns, Boone should go with Frazier in LF, Hicks CF and Judge in RF. You can use Tauchman or Gardy for a defensive replacement late for Frazier. As for Gardy, he just turned 37. I don’t expect him back in 2021.

As for Andujar, you can’t afford his lack of OF experience out there right now. He has to play 3b (which he doesn’t do well) or, with Stanton out, DH.

There are only 17 games left. The 22-21 Yankees are clinging to the last playoff spot, only there because of the special circumstances with the CCP virus in 2020.

Balls to the wall.

As for the DH today, fingers crossed. The Yanks are only 2-7 in those 7–inning affairs this year. That has to improve.

And as for Sanchez. Whew. I don’t know what to do there. J.T. Realmuto is a free agent after the season. He’ll be 30 next year. Catchers usually break down at 32, 33. 5 years, $100 Million? Do the Yanks have the $ for him, and if so, would they give up on Sanchez? And what to do with Sanchez.

Excuse me, I have to take an aspirin. Sanchez has been giving me, and I am sure you, headaches this season.

Game 41. 10-run inning dooms Yanks, 12-7.

Lately, it seems like every move Aaron Boone is making is backfiring on him.

Especially when it comes to the bullpen.

Right now, Brian Cashman is with the team, and after last night’s 12-7 loss, I wouldn’t be surprised if heads roll after this season.

Watching part of the YES postgame show, it seemed like ex-Yankee and current YES broadcaster John Flaherty had a couple of criticisms, and was more critical than normal.

In the line of fire would be pitching coach Matt Blake, bullpen coach Mike Harkey and even manager Boone himself.

Blake had no coaching experience before getting the pitching coach job this year and was a bit of a surprise choice to replace the fired Larry Rothschild (now with SD).

You may argue that maybe going with David Cone, who interviewed for the job, may have been a better choice.

I wonder if the Yankees need to take a good, hard look at how their pitching philosophy has or hasn’t worked lately. One reason they have been coming up short has been their rotation. Just getting Cole may be like putting a band-aid on what seems to be a bigger problem.

When you lose 14 of 19, and have free-falled your way into clinging to the 8th and last playoff spot (and that spot is only there because of the virus of 2020), you can expect fans not to be happy on Twitter. And, it appears, there isn’t much happiness on the YES postgame show or in the front office. I would guess Hal isn’t too happy either.

Injuries are one thing, but bad play is another.

If ever there is a time for a good ripping into a team to wake them up, now is the time.

The Yanks (21-20) took a 6-2 lead into the bottom of the sixth, only to see Chad Green and Adam Ottavino give up 10 runs in what turned out to be a 12-7 loss.

Flaherty, on the postgame show, wondered why Boone stayed with Ottavino (who didn’t record an out, all six batters scoring) so long. He also criticized Boone’s body language during the inning. Just an observation, but Flaherty’s words sounded like someone angling for Boone’s job. They were quite critical, and you may add, harsh.

But this was really bad. It’s one thing to lose 14 of 19 in a 162 game season, but in a 60 game season? We’re talking 1/3 of the season here.

The Yanks got back-to-back HR from Luke Voit (14) and Aaron Hicks (4) in the top of the first to take a 2-0 lead.

But as has been their wont lately, the Yankees’ pitchers, Jordan Montgomery in this instance, gave runs right back, and Montgomery joined the cast of Yankees’ starters not giving any length, thus putting more pressure on a failing bullpen.

Montgomery gave up a run in the first, another in the second, and the game was tied.

The Yanks got a run in the fourth when Miguel Andujar hit his first HR of the season. 3-2 Yanks.

In the fifth, with one out, D.J. LeMahieu and Luke Voit both singled, and with two out, Clint Frazier’s double scored two runs. 5-2, Yanks.

A bases-loaded walk to Hicks in the top of the sixth made it 6-2.

Then the roof fell in, as Green and Ottavino gave up ten runs in the bottom of the sixth. The final indignity came when Ottavino gave up a grand slam. The bottom of the sixth lasted 43 minutes and took up 67 pitches.

I have wondered about pitch selection a lot lately. In checking out the game on MLB’s gameday, I had to shake my head when, during a 9 or 10 pitch at bat (which resulted in Luke Voit making an error), Green threw nothing but fastballs. Really? Eventually the batter will time the fastball, especially after seeing nine or ten in a row.

There is a difference between pitching and throwing. Yes, there was criticism of that in Twitterworld, and I think, on the YES postgame show as well (I’m not too sure about YES, but YES was a bit critical last evening, and rightfully so).

The Yankees’ defense, suspect lately, made two more errors. Nothing is going right.

The Yanks got a run in the top of the ninth on an RBI groundout by Andujar.

But this game signified “just when you think things can’t get worse…”

Something’s gonna happen. It has to. This can’t continue.

Because the Yanks are close to missing out on the playoffs entirely.

Voit 2 hits, solo HR (14)
Hicks solo HR (4), 2 RBI
Frazier 2 hits, 2 RBI
Andujar solo HR (1), 2 RBI

Montgomery 3 1/3 IP, 2 R, 6 H, 2 W, 1 K. 5.72
Holder 1 2/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 W, 2 K. 2.25
Green 1/3 IP, 4 R, 3 ER, 1 H, 2 W, 0 K. 4.26
Ottavino (L, 2-3; BS, 3; 7.82) 0 IP, 6 R, 4 H, 2 W, 0 K. Gave up grand slam.

Cessa 1 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K. 2.81
Schmidt 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 2 W, 2 K. 7.71

Game 40. Yanks fall to 3rd place after 5-1 loss.

More of the same as the Yankees (21-19) lost to Baltimore Sunday, 5-1.

The same recently, as the Yanks have lost 13 of their last 18, has been a lack of hitting, errors that lead to the other team scoring unearned runs, and relievers letting inherited runners score.

With the loss, the Yanks fall to third place in the AL East, and are only two games ahead of 4th place Baltimore. Right now, with only 20 games left in the season, the Yanks are the 8th and last seed for the playoffs. If not for the expanded CCP virus playoffs this year, they’d be on the verge of going home.

And as the 8 seed, guess who their opponent would be if the postseason started today? Yup. The Rays, against whom the Yanks are 2-8 this season.

At 21-19, they risk becoming the first Yankees team since 1992 to finish the season under .500.

I don’t know if they have had a team meeting, but something needs to be done to shake them up.

One thing that did happen before the game is that Gary Sanchez (.130, 13 for 100, 48 strikeouts) was benched.

Masahiro Tanaka had a slow start, giving up a 2-run HR in the first inning to the second batter of the game. The Yankees only got four hits in the game, three by Miguel Andujar (who also made a huge error, leading to Baltimore runs), so that 2-run HR doomed the Yankees from the start.

After that single, HR, single, walk start, Tanaka settled in, but to no avail.

In the second, the Yanks scored their only run of the game. Clint Frazier walked. with one out, Andujar singled. Mike Tauchman walked to load th bases. Erik Kratz grounded into a force out, Frazier scoring.

Andujar, as mentioned, had 3 of the Yanks’ four hits in the game. The last one was a triple. Coming into the game, Andujar, who missed almost all of 2019 due to injury, was 12 for his last 84. He was 6 for 47 in 2019, and 6 for 37 in 2020 before this game. What was even more shocking is that Andujar, the runnerup for Rookie of the Year in 2018, didn’t have an extra base hit since 2018. All 12 of those hits were singles. This from a guy who had 47 doubles and 27 HR in 2018. That triple broke a 14 for 87 streak of nothing but singles.

In the sixth, Andujar make an error that let the Orioles’ leadoff hitter reach base. Tanaka was pulled with men on first and second, one out. As has been the Yankees’ custom during this bad streak, the reliever (Luis Cessa in this case) couldn’t get out of the inning, but let the inherited runners score. Two runs came in, 4-1 Otioles.

An error by Mike Ford at first base gave the Orioles another unearned run in the seventh. 5-1 Orioles, the final score.

The Yanks have been tough to watch lately. Something has to be done to shake them up. Team meeting?

One more thing. I understand Boone wanting to go lefty/righty, lefty/righty with the lineup. He should stop that.

Yesterday’s lineup had Brett Gardner (now at .180) batting third (and I won’t get into why Gardner, a leadoff guy most of his career, is batting third) and Mike Ford, hitting .141, batting fifth. As mentioned, I see the lefty / righty thing but if these guys are not even at the Mendoza line (same goes for the .130 hitting Sanchez batting fifth), why are they hitting in prime spots in the lineup?

But then you have Tyler Wade (.158) at the bottom.

It’s as if Boone is filling out the lineup with his fingers crossed, hoping some guys finally start to hit.

Like I wrote, it’s been tough to watch. …. and write about.Andujar 3 hits.

Tanaka (L, 1-2, 3.38) 5 1/3 IP, 4 R, 2 ER, 6 H, 1 W, 5 K. Gave up 1 HR.
Cessa 2/3 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 1 W, 1 K. 3.14
Nelson 2 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 H, 0 W, 4 K. 5.27

Three of the five runs the Yanks gave up were unearned.