Tag Archives: Kiner-Falefa

Notes from Boone/Cashman press conference




Since I’ve been out on disability for a while, I was able to watch the Boone/Cashman press conference yesterday. Here are a few takes from it.

Since everything revolves around Aaron Judge, they would like a deal sooner rather than later. Nothing would be as bad as being scorned and then having no backups to fall back on. Cashman denied any friction with Judge from this spring’s negotiations.

Neither thinks a drastic retool is necessary. They think the Yankees would have been far more competitive in the ALCS vs. Houston if LeMahieu, Benintendi and Carpenter were healthy. I can agree there. Judging by their comments about Benintendi’s and Carpenter’s injuries, it appears that they will be reaching out to both of them to see if they can get both back.

One thing that concerned me was their defense of Josh Donaldson. Now if anyone were on the trading block, neither Boone nor Cashman would be tipping their hand on that. But to state that Donaldson, 37 next month, underachieved offensively but still has something in the tank goes against everything we saw this year. He looked cooked. But with Donaldson’s contract being horrible, I guess they have to hope. They did think Donaldson deserved to be among the three Gold Glove finalists at 3B, though.

SS appears to be a competition next spring training. IKF could still be there but will be pushed by Peraza and possibly Volpe. Oswaldo Cabrera figures in here too. Peraza was described as impressive in his short 18 game stint at the end of the season. Other terms used for him was that he needed to improve and develop last year (done) hence not an earlier callup. Jack Curry, on the YES network, mentioned that IKF was a polarizing figure to the Yankees fanbase much as Sanchez was. Boone and Cashman were defending IKF at the presser, stating that IKF (as a bridge) did everything that was expected from him.

They would like Anthony Rizzo back. Rizzo will opt out of his $16MM deal, but the question is will he accept a qualifying offer of $19.65MM or go for more? Or accept more years at less than the qualifying offer? (2 yr/$18MM per). But the Yanks hope to work something out with him.

To no surprise, the Yanks WILL pick up Severino’s $15MM team option. One more rotation piece could be in play. It could be retaining Taillon (a free agent) or going elsewhere. After the front three of Cole, Cortes and Severino, there still is Schmidt, Montas and German even if Taillon goes, but you know what they say…. you NEVER have enough pitching.

The feeling is that Stanton was playing through something at the end of the year. I feel the same way. His batting average after June 1 was Gallo-like.

Cashman’s contract actually expired October 1. He wants to return, and Hal wants him back, so it is like Cashman is working pro bono as of now. But you figure something will be worked out soon there.

I wrote down notes haphazardly while the conferences were going on, but there is a quick synopsis for you.

UPDATE: One thing I didn’t like: From the NY Post: In other bits of info from Cashman’s press conference, he said he wouldn’t discuss trading players but noted that outfielder Aaron Hicks would be back and that the team felt he still had something to offer. Really? Ugh. But then, if he is on the market, they don’t want to say anything hurting Hicks’ trade value (which is probably low enough already).

Other things I came across:

A sad state of affairs. Graig Nettles states that the Yanks stopped inviting him to Old-Timer’s games and events some five years ago and he doesn’t know why. It’s a shame. Nettles should have a plaque in Monument Park (#9 is already retired for Roger Maris and I don’t think Nettles deserves that honor, but a plaque? Definitely). Apparently, someone in the front office has it in for Nettles, but who?

One tweet on Twitter accuses the Yanks of being more of a corporation than anything else, including a baseball organization. Looking at how they have the YES network, are involved with an Italian soccer team, have the Pinstripe Bowl, were in negotiations to play regular season games in France (and remember they played in England recently, also Japan) I have to wonder if that person is correct, and if so, that could be a scary thing. After all, I remember the CBS years, where the Yanks were not the priority of a corporation, but just part of it. You would like it to be 100% baseball. Does this explain the fan base’s exasperation with the owner and the front office? Or some of the postseason failures of recent times? After all, Hal is more corporate than the old man was as far as divesting his interests (or so it appears). And the last time the Yanks won, or even went to the WS, the old man was still alive (although much diminished in capacity). Hal’s track record does seem more corporate and bottom line than baseball oriented, and is that a problem and a cause of the postseason disappointments?

Finally, another Japanese player few have heard of to keep an eye on. Yesterday I mentioned RHP Koudai Senga.

Now, Masataka Yoshida. If the Yanks are not able to bring back Benintendi, Yoshida has many of the same skill sets as Benintendi. He is a lefty hitter. He turns 30 next July. He hit .336 with 21 HR and 89 RBI in Japan this season. His power would probably drop in the USA but then again, Benintendi only had five HR this season. Like Benintendi, a contact hitter. Benintendi had 52 walks and 77 strikeouts while hitting .304. Yoshida had 82 walks and only 42 strikeouts. Yoshida has hit .326 in Japan and has 427 walks to 307 strikeouts. He has had four seasons of 20 or more HR (which would be what here? 12-15?). If you take Yoshida’s career stats in Japan and divide by five, his average season in Japan comes out to something like .326-27-95 over 156 games. Taking into account the tougher MLB competition, could he hit .280-15-70 here? Be Benintendi-like for a cheaper price? Be a backup consideration if the Yanks can’t sign Benintendi? Just throwing his name out here because until recently, I hadn’t heard of Yoshida (or Senga) either. But most of us haven’t heard of these Japanese stars who could be MLB-bound. So just passing his name out there and informing you (and me).

ALCS Game 4. Houston sends Yanks home (again) 6-5 to sweep series.

The Yankees played 11 games vs. Houston this year. They won two, both in walk off fashion, and none in Houston. It was apparent Houston had the Yanks’ number. They Yanks hardly led at all in all 11 games.

That carried over to the ALCS, in which the Astros swept the Yanks out of, winning Game 4 6-5. I didn’t think the Yanks would beat Houston, although I was hoping. You have to separate your head from your heart. You think with your brain, not with your heart. But I didn’t think they would get swept. Ouch.

And what REALLY hurts? Of that 2-9 record (including the ALCS) this year, 4 of the losses were by 1 run, and another 3 by 2 runs. As if losing itself didn’t hurt, that was just twisting the knife.

It marked the fifth straight time the Yanks lost in the ALCS since last going to (and winning) the WS in 2009 (2010, 2012, 2017, 2019, 2022). The last three ALCS losses were all to the Astros.

There needs to be change, from the top down, within the Yankees’ organization. Otherwise, it’ll be the same old same old next year too. They have to break this pattern in order to advance further.

Many are calling for Derek Jeter to be the new GM and Don Mattingly to be his manager. Although I love both Yankees legends, and that would be the popular move, let’s step back and take a look at that. First off, with Jeter as CEO and Mattingly manager of the Marlins, the Marlins didn’t exactly do well, did they? Granted they didn’t have the talent or financial resources the Yankees do, but you didn’t even see year to year gradual improvement, did you? Here are the win totals, not counting 2020 (the 60 game Covid season) under Mattingly. 79-77-63-57-67-69. I would be more interested if they were on a gradual uphill climb, like 60-65-73-77-85 something like that. You didn’t see that. When Donnie managed the talented and much more financially stable Dodgers, he was ok (82-86-92-94-92), but he couldn’t get them in to the WS. His overall winning percentage, Dodgers and Marlins, is under .500. And as for Jeter, do you really think he would take a position (GM) in which he could be fired? Jeter doesn’t want to work for a boss, he wants to BE the boss. CEO or owner. If he was going to come back to the Yankees, it would be as an adviser, not GM. Much like Reggie Jackson was. Oh yeah, guess who Reggie is advising now. Ugh. The Astros.

The Astros are now unbeaten (7-0) in the postseason. They will face the Phillies in the WS. The Phils got lucky and hot. As the #6 seed in the NL, they never would have made the playoffs before this year. But with MLB changing the playoff structure, they snuck in and got hot at the right time. Dave Dombrowski, the Phillies’ President of Baseball Operations, is going to the HOF one day. This is the fourth team he has run that is going to the WS. Their manager, Rob Thomson, hitting coach Kevin Long and reliever David Robertson were all part of the last Yankees team to win a WS back in 2009.

The game started out good for the Yanks. They scored twice in the bottom of the first. Harrison Bader singled, and with one out, Anthony Rizzo was HBP. Giancarlo Stanton and Gleyber Torres followed with singles and the Yanks were up 2-0.

In the bottom of the second, the Yanks made it 3-0. Isiah Kiner-Falefa (IF) led off with a double, and two outs later, Aaron Judge walked. A double by Rizzo plated IKF.

But Nestor Cortes, who pitched two scoreless innings, was pitching through a groin injury that caught up to him in the third inning. Two walks and a 3-run HR to start the inning, and Cortes was removed. Wandy Peralta relieved Cortes, and Houston got another run off him. 4-3.

The Yanks tied it in the bottom of the fourth. With one out, Bader singled, and with two out, moved to second on a passed ball. Rizzo singled to tie the game at four.

Bader, who had an incredible postseason, hit his FIFTH HR of the postseason to put the Yanks up 5-4 in the sixth.

But with one out in the seventh, it came undone. Jose Altuve got an infield hit, just beating Yankees’ pitcher Jonathan Loaisiga to first on a bang-bang play. Then came a ball that should have been a DP, but the exchange, Torres to IKF, went awry and everyone was safe. The error was charged to Torres, but I think IKF should have at least caught the ball for a force. Whatever, both at fault. Two consecutive singles, off Loaisiga and then Clay Holmes, followed to tie the game and then to give Houston the lead, which they held on to.

The Yanks hit .182 vs. Cleveland in the ALDS. They hit .162 in the ALCS vs. Houston. .173 for the postseason. Aaron Judge, the face of the Yanks, will get criticized (5 for 36, 2 HR, 15 K) but it wasn’t only him (And Judge, although he won’t admit it, was probably gassed from carrying the team the last two months and from the HR chase to 62).

Some other numbers:
Jose Trevino was 1 for 22 in the postseason. 6 K.
Kyle Higashioka 0 for 6, 5 K. So, neither catcher did anything.
Oswaldo Cabrera 2 for 28, with 12 K. Benintendi missed. Tough postseason for the rookie.
Stanton 6 for 36, 2 HR, 7 RBI, 9 K.
Torres 6 for 34, 10 K.
Josh Donaldson 5 for 29, 16 K. No LeMahieu.
Matt Carpenter 1 for 12, 9 K.

The only bright spots:
Bader,10 for 30 with 5 HR.
Rizzo 8 for 29, 2 HR.
Kiner-Falefa was 5 for 18, but the shaky fielding…

Game 4 recap:

Bader 3 hits, solo HR
Rizzo 2 hits, 2 RBI
Torres 2 hits, RBI but critical error

Cortes 2+ IP, 3 R, 2 H, 3 W, 2 K. Gave up 1 HR.
Peralta 2 IP, 1 R, 3 H, 1 W, 1 K.
Loaisiga (LOSS) 2 1/3 IP, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 H, 0 W, 1 K.
Holmes 2 2/3 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 W, 2 K.

Waiting for changes. Hoping they are MASSIVE Changes, from the top down.

ALDS Game 4. Yanks stay alive behind Gutsy Gerrit, Bader Blast. 4-2.

The Yankees signed Gerrit Cole to a 9 year, $324MM deal for this reason. To be their ace. To be the guy who wins two games in a best-of-five postseason series. To be the guy winning a do-or-die game for them.

It didn’t work out that way last year, when Cole lost the one-game wild card game in Boston.

Last night was a different story. Cole pitched seven gutsy innings in a 4-2 Yankees win to tie the series up and send it back to the Bronx for a deciding Game 5 tonight. He had also won Game 1 of this series.

Manager Aaron Boone made a lineup change before the game, moving Oswaldo Cabrera to SS and benching Isiah Kiner-Falefa. Aaron Hicks went to LF. You wonder if maybe Oswald Peraza should have been placed on the postseason roster. If the Yanks win tonight to face Houston in the ALCS, maybe that is something they should consider—putting Peraza on for the ALCS.

It’s amazing some things you see on social media. Like people wanting Giancarlo Stanton in LF so that Matt Carpenter could DH. Stanton missed time a couple of months ago with an Achilles issue. There is no way you put him out there with what could still be an Achilles issue. What if he tried to catch a ball, needed that extra burst of speed and tore that Achilles?

The Yanks jumped on Cleveland right away, a big plus in a do or die game. Gleyber Torres singled leading off the game and stole second while Aaron Judge struck out. Anthony Rizzo singled Torres home. 1-0.

In the top of the second, Josh Donaldson singled and one out later, Harrison Bader hit a two-run HR to put the Yankees up 3-0. It was Bader’s third HR of the series.

Cleveland nicked Cole in the bottom of the third for a run, but a baserunning blunder led to the third out and kept them from a bigger inning.

Josh Naylor hit a HR for Cleveland in the fourth to cut the Yankees’ lead to 3-2 and in circling the bases, did an infantile “rock the baby” hot-dogging move. Ridiculous.

The Yanks got an insurance run in the top of the sixth. Judge led off with an infield single, and Rizzo doubled him to third. Stanton hit a SF to bring the run in.

Jameson Taillon will start for the Yanks tonight. Nestor Cortes could come out of the bullpen to face a tough lefty or give an inning or two.

Rizzo 2 hits, RBI
Bader 2-run HR.

Cole (WIN) 7 IP, 2 R, 6 H, 1 W, 8 K. Gave up 1 HR.
Holmes (H) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 2 K.
Peralta (S) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K.

A couple notes. Just my opinions. Some people would like Yankees legend Don Mattingly to replace Aaron Boone as manager. If the Yanks were going to make a move, my choice would be John Flaherty. Here is why. Flaherty, by covering the Yankees on the YES network, sees them every day. He is well acquainted with the current team already. He is a former catcher, so he has experience in handling a pitching staff.

I wish the Yanks had David Cone as the pitching coach and Paul O’Neill as hitting coach instead of being in the broadcast booth. Sometimes it seems as if their TV ratings are more important than having the right coaches. (No offense to who they do have). But why that expertise in the booth and not on the field or in the dugout? Anyway, no way would Cone or O’Neill give up their nice cushy job right now. But it would be nice if they were coaches, wouldn’t it?

I don’t like the new playoff format. I think it has watered down the playoffs and made the work of a 162-game season less relevant. The bye hurt the teams that did well over 162 games when it was meant to help them. Baseball is a DAILY sport. Yes, I feel that the best record in the league should be rewarded. But here is how I would do it.

Scrap the current format. What I propose won’t happen because it will eliminate a round and therefore cost the owners money. But …

First round. The three division winners and the second-place team with the best record as the wild card. Four teams, not six. Now keep that division series best-of-five. But the wild card team gets NO HOME GAMES. To reward the best team in the league over 162 games, they get all the games at home. The wild card gets punished for not winning their division. The other series between the other two division winners stays at the 2-2-1 format, with the better record getting the home field advantage.

The LCS stays as it is. 2-3-2. Better record gets home field advantage. Same for the World Series.

Just a thought.

ALDS Game 3. Yanks blow 9th inning lead, lose 6-5.

The Yankees took a 2-run lead into the ninth inning last night. In 167 previous instances in postseason play, the Yankees had never blown that lead. Meanwhile Cleveland was 0 for 41 when trailing by two or more entering the ninth in their postseason history.

Unfortunately for the Yankees last night, there is a first time for everything. The Yankees blew a 5-3 lead, giving up three runs in the bottom of the ninth, and lost 6-5. They were ONE STRIKE away from winning the game. They are down two games to one in the series and must win tonight to stay alive. Gerrit Cole will start for the Yankees. The odds aren’t good for the Yanks. The winner of Game 3 in a series that was tied at one each has won the series 72% of the time. The Yanks did beat the odds in 1977.

If Cleveland is to slay the dragon, so to speak, they aren’t doing it by chopping its head off. They are doing it with pinpricks. Little bleeders and dinkers that find a hole. Cue Roberta Flack. They are killing you softly.

The Yanks roster usage and bullpen usage is coming into question. Here is a link

https://www.mlb.com/news/yankees-lose-alds-game-3-2022

taking you to that. Clay Holmes wasn’t used, much to the surprise of Holmes and teammate Luis Severino. Holmes said he was available. Manager Aaron Boone said he didn’t want to use Holmes back-to-back games because of soreness. Fine good that does you, to have relievers compromised come playoff time. Of course, the Yankees are already shorthanded in the bullpen with King, Green, Marinaccio, Abreu, Britton, Montas (even though he’s a starter), and Effross all down. That lack of bullpen depth is hurting them right now. A 10-inning loss followed by blowing a 2-run ninth inning lead.

With Holmes down, the way Boone handled the bullpen the rest of the game comes into question. See the article. It’s not just Bryan Hoch of mlb asking the questions about Trivino or Loaisiga’s usage. The YES postgame broadcasting team, like Michael Kay and John Flaherty (and, should Boone need to be replaced, Flaherty would be my choice to replace him) asked the same questions.

The article I referenced above also alludes to some communication problems it seems the Yankees have in the clubhouse. If so, there is a major problem with the front office or manager, or BOTH.

In five seasons as Yankees manager, Boone has had two seasons of 100 or more wins and another of 99. Of course, one season was the 60-game Covid shortened season. Success there. But you now have to wonder if he is a “push-button” manager, who can take a team to the playoffs, but can’t go further because he gets outmanaged by a Kevin Cash, Alex Cora or Terry Francona come playoff time. Just my opinion, but I think it is a fair question, and has Brian Cashman run his course?

Put it this way. When your own broadcasting team second guesses you…

The game didn’t start out well. Luis Severino struggled in the first and second innings, giving up a run in both innings and the Yanks were down 2-0 after two innings. They were lucky it wasn’t worse. A couple balls looked like they would leave the yard, but Aaron Judge caught them on the warning track.

In the top of the third, Oswaldo Cabrera doubled, and Aaron Judge later hit a 2-run HR to tie the game. Judge was 0 for 9 with 8 strikeouts before finally coming through.

In the fifth, Harrison Bader singled and one out later, Cabrera homered to put the Yanks up 4-2.

Cleveland got a run in the sixth, all after Severino got the first two outs. Isiah Kiner Falefa’s defense has been shaky this series and I would not be surprised if Oswald Peraza is the Yanks’ starting SS next year. One play to start the rally was ruled a hit, but you wonder if Peraza would have made the play. Heck, you could make a good case that Peraza should be on THIS postseason roster. It could have been worse. A line drive caught by Gleyber Torres was the third out. That would have tied the game. Instead, the Yanks still led 4-3.

Bader, impressive in his short time with the Yanks so far after the trade, homered in the seventh to make it 5-3 Yanks. The Yanks’ runs were on the HR. They only got five hits all game to Cleveland’s 15. Cleveland strung hits. The Yankees did not.

Then to the ninth. Boone wanted to stretch out Wandy Peralta, who had pitched well, and have him close it out. A one-out blooper to left for a double. Just like in Game 2, Cabrera could not get to it. On the postgame show, Paul O’Neill, the Yankees legend, stated that Cabrera is a good fielder, but the converted infielder is great laterally but still has to learn more coming in or out. My question is, with Tim Locastro being a more experienced outfielder, and with more speed than that of Cabrera, should Boone have replaced Cabrera with Locastro for defensive purposes late in Game 2 and Game 3? Could Locastro have made those plays? And what is Aaron Hicks doing on the roster for if you aren’t going to use him for defensive purposes there? Or Marwin Gonzalez? You have to use the WHOLE roster come playoff time, not just have guys on there to fill out the roster. Hicks and Gonzalez are two guys I don’t expect to be on the team in 2023. If your confidence in them is that low where you can’t use an experienced outfielder for a rookie with 9 games of LF experience under his belt (he had 27 in RF), then why are you carrying them?

Steven Kwan, who had three hits in this game and who is killing the Yanks in this series, served a ball to left to move the runner, Myles Straw, to third, and I do mean served. Looked like a tennis backhand. In came Clarke Schmidt, not Holmes. A single to score the runner and make it 5-4. Then, another blooper. Had the infield not been in a shift, it would have been an easy popup to SS. Instead, bases loaded. Schmidt got a strikeout for the second out, then got two strikes on Oscar Gonzalez. But on a 1-2 pitch, Gonzalez singled up the middle for two runs and the ballgame. 6-5, Cleveland.

Judge 2-run HR
Bader 2 hits, solo HR. I’d consider leading him off. He’s hot, has speed …
Cabrera 2 hits, 2-run HR.

The Yanks in three games, are hitting .172. Of the 11 runs they have scored, 10 are by the HR. Trevino’s SF in Game 1 is the only run not via HR. They have to start stringing hits together.

Severino 5 2/3 IP, 3 R, 8 H, 0 W, 6 K. Settled in after rocky start.
Trivino (H) 1/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 0 K. Could have been stretched out more?
Loaisiga (H) 2/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 1 K. See Trivino.
Peralta (H) 1 2/3 IP, 2 R, 2 H, 0 W, 2 K. Two bleeping bleeding bloopers.
Schmidt (LOSS, BLOWN SAVE) 1/3 IP, 1 R, 3 H, 0 W, 1 K.

Concerning: Severino: 10 postseason games, ERA 5.17. He needs to be dominating. He hasn’t done so.

If the Yanks advance, they will face their nemesis, Houston, in the ALCS. Houston swept Seattle by winning Game 3, 1-0, in 18 innings.

A shocker in the NL. #5 and #6 will meet each other (Padres vs Phillies) for the NL pennant. Gone are 111-win LA, 101-win Atlanta, 101-win Mets. Even the 92-win Cardinals. Instead, it is an 89-win vs an 87-win matchup.

UPDATE: One more thing. Aroldis Chapman gave up HR that sent the Yanks home in 2019 and 2020. This year, his own selfishness may doom the Yanks. It is becoming apparent that losing his closer spot affected him, and that the possibility of being left off the playoff roster made him mope so that he missed a mandatory workout. So that selfishness may wind up costing the Yanks again. He is a free agent. Good riddance. May he never wear a Yankees uniform again, not even to an Old-Timer’s game.










ALDS Game 2. Yanks fall in 10, 4-2.

I have a couple of different theories to go over, but bear with me, read, and see if you agree, while we go over yesterday’s 4-2, 10-inning Yankees loss to Cleveland in Game 2 of the ALDS. The series is now tied at a game apiece.

The first is that baseball messed up. The byes were supposed to HELP the teams with the best records in the league. Only, except for Houston (up 2-0 on Seattle), they seen to have hurt. The defending WS Champ Braves are down 2-1 to the Phillies. The 111-win Dodgers are down 2-1 to the Padres. The Yanks are even against Cleveland.

Baseball isn’t a two or three times a week sport like hockey or basketball are. It isn’t a once-a-week sport like football. It’s a DAILY sport, with occasional off days for travel. Playing 19 games in 21 days is normal. As a result, you develop a rhythm, a flow.

The byes, with teams getting a few days off to see who they face, seem to have hurt, not help teams. They are out of that flow, that rhythm. The Dodgers are 0 for 20 or something like that w/RISP in their series. Aaron Judge (who I’ll discuss a bit more on later) is 0 for 8 with 7 strikeouts. It’s one thing to keep having batting practice to try to stay sharp, another to actually face live pitching. Relievers, used to pitching a few times a week, now are rusty after that bye. Nothing replaces game action. You can try to simulate it, but there is no replacement. As a result, these higher seeded teams are having trouble. Just my observation.

Judge was booed after a strikeout. Some gratitude for a 62-homer season. These fans DO realize that Judge is a free agent after the season, don’t they? That if the Yanks lose two in a row to Cleveland that yesterday COULD be the last time you see Judge in pinstripes? Ridiculous. Besides the layoff, could the HR pressure have messed Judge up? After all, Roger Maris went 2 for 19 in the 1961 WS. Granted, one hit was a 9th-inning HR that won Game 3, but you get the point. And of course, Maris from 1962-1966 was booed for his achievement. Don’t repeat that, Yankees fans.

Cleveland, and their future HOF manager, Terry Francona, must know something about Judge. Judge was 1 for 20 with 16 strikeouts against Cleveland in the 2017 ALDS–after a 52 HR season that year.

But hey, you never know. Judge could snap out of it by going 5 for 7 in the next two games with a couple of walks and 2 or 3 HR.

The Yanks got two runs in the first inning yesterday, but nothing thereafter. Giancarlo Stanton (who has had great postseasons) hit a 2-run HR. The HR came after what Stanton, and everyone else, thought was ball four. It was a terrible call by the ump, but Stanton hit the next pitch out. The home plate ump was terrible yesterday.

Some elements of luck didn’t go the Yanks’ way. In the third, with two out and men on second and third, Josh Donaldson hit a liner that Guardians’ LF Steven Kwan made a shoestring catch on. Josh just missed driving in a run or two. In the eighth, with two out and the bases loaded, a liner by Kyle Higashioka went right to the third baseman. You hit it hard. You (usually) can’t direct. Sometimes you don’t hit it hard, but you get lucky. That is what happened for Cleveland. We’ll get to that.

Nestor Cortes gave up a run in the fourth after starting the inning with two outs. It could have been worse, but with the bases loaded, Cortes made a sensational stop of a comebacker to get the final out.

Cortes gave up a game-tying HR to Amed Rosario in the fifth.

Manager Aaron Boone brought in Jameson Taillon for the tenth. I would have brought in Clarke Schmidt instead. Starters aren’t used to coming out of the bullpen, unless it’s say, Randy Johnson coming out of the bullpen to face the Yankees (1995 and 2001). My recollections of starters being used in relief in playoff games are that the starter fails. I am thinking Jack McDowell for the Yankees in 1995, and the Royals’ Dennis Leonard against the Yankees in 1977.

Taillon ran into tough luck. A blooper into LF that Oswaldo Cabrera just missed making a sliding catch on went for a double, but Josh Donaldson’s throw to second was bad and Jose Ramirez wound up at third. With a man on third and no one out, the infield came in. A blooper over the drawn-in infield scored Ramirez. Harrison Bader appeared to misplay a hard-hit ball and a double scored an insurance run. Maybe Bader doesn’t catch it anyway, but …

I didn’t understand why, with a man on and down to their final out, that Boone let Isiah Kiner-Falefa hit in the bottom of the tenth. Granted IKF had two hits in the game. Granted also that Marwin Gonzalez had a bad year, hitting just .185, but Gonzalez is a switch-hitter and could have taken aim at the short porch to tie the game. IKF is a right-handed hitter. Also, Gonzalez had 6 HR in 184 at bats. IKF had 4 HR in 483 at bats, and until mid-August didn’t have any HR. Why not roll the dice there, Boone?

Anyway, there is a short recap of the game, but a lot of observations. Maybe I am accurate in my observations, maybe not. But the Yanks now need Severino and Cole to step up with masterful outings. Also, for Judge to be JUDGE.

One final observation. This is not a knock on rookie Oswaldo Cabrera, who has struggled at the plate in these first two games. But Andrew Benintendi this year vs. Cleveland hit .441 (15 for 34) with a HR and 8 RBI. He is missed.

The Yanks struck out 15x yesterday.

Torres 2 hits.
Stanton 2-ruun HR.
Kiner-Falefa 2 hits.

Cortes 5 IP, 2 R, 6 H, 3 W, 23 K. Gave up 1 HR.
Trivino 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 2 K.
Loaisiga 1 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K.
Peralta 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K.
Holmes 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 1 K.
Taillon (LOSS) 0 IP, 2 R, 3 H, 0 W, 0 K.
Schmidt 1 IP, 0R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K.


Game 153. Yanks fall in 10, 3-2. Magic Number remains 2.

The Yankees’ (94-59) magic number remains at 2 after a 3-2, 10-inning loss in Toronto Monday night.

For this game, I will start at the end and work my way backwards, because a questionable decision by manager Aaron Boone led to the loss.

In the top of the tenth, the Yanks wasted their chance. Oswaldo Cabrera was the ghost runner on second. A strikeout, walk and strikeout put runners on first and second and brought Aaron Judge to the plate. Toronto wouldn’t let the big guy beat them and walked Judge. Anthony Rizzo grounded out to end the threat.

In the bottom of the tenth, Yankees’ pitcher Clarke Schmidt got a strikeout, then Judge made a fine catch to save the game temporarily. With Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. up, the Yankees pitched to him, a decision I disagreed with. You don’t let the big guy beat you. I (and many other Yankees fans) would have walked him to set up the force at any base. Boone didn’t like the matchup on Kirk (an All-Star) either and decided to go after Vlad. Vlad will probably be a HOF just like his dad. Vlad finished 2nd in MVP voting last year. He’s Toronto’s “Judge”—their best player (with no disrespect to Springer, Bichette or Kirk). You don’t let the big guy beat you. Boone did let the big guy beat him, since Vlad singled to win the game (then acted like a jerk afterwards. I’m old school, and Vlad wasn’t classy after his hit. Get your hit, celebrate with your teammates, keep quiet and stay classy. Didn’t like his B.S. at all. Did DiMaggio, Mantle, Aaron or Musial act that way? No.) I and many fans were and are critical of Boone there. There are two out. Walk him and set up a force at any base for the last out of the inning. Other guys, you pitch to. A future HOF? No.

Going back, the Yanks scored first when Judge led off the game with a single and then Rizzo doubled. Gleyber Torres hit a SF to put the Yanks on the board.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa (IKF) homered (4) in the second to put the Yanks up 2-0.

But IKF made a big mistake in the fourth. With a man on first and no one out, Vlad singled. I don’t know what the official scorer was thinking because that ball should have been a DP ball. It should have been ruled an error and the two runs scored off of Luis Severino should have been unearned. Severino pitched well except for one batter. After IKF botched that ball (ruled an infield hit), a walk loaded the bases. A short flyout advanced no one, but then Teoscar Hernandez doubled, just missing a grand slam (and Hernandez, hot-dogging it, could have found himself thrown out at second. See above about staying and playing classy). That double tied the game. Sevy then got out of the inning, but it should not have been that way. IKF needs to make that play.

So, two mistakes. One by IKF, and the one by Boone, cost the Yanks the game in my opinion.

Judge was 1 or 3. A single, 2 walks, 2 strikeouts. We are still waiting on #61. He does have the batting lead at .3144. Luis Arraez (.3129) and Xander Bogaerts (.3127) are behind Judge as Judge not only is looking for the AL (and Yankees) single-season HR record but also at a triple crown.

Tonight’s game will be on TBS (out of market only). Check your carrier. If you get the YES network, then you are good there. As for me, I’ll be checking out TBS.

The Yanks struck out 14x last night.

Rizzo 2 hits.
IKF solo HR (4)

Severino 4 IP, 2 R, 3 H, 3 W, 4 K. 3.41 (both runs should have been unearned)
Trivino 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 1 K. 4.76 (A’s/NYY)
Effross 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K. 2.65 (Cubs/NYY)
Marinaccio 1/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 0 K. 2.18
Loaisiga 1 2/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 1 K. 4.27
Holmes 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K. 2.54
Schmidt (L, 5-5) 2/3 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 H, 0 W, 1 K. 3.35

Interesting news I see. Aroldis Chapman is a free agent after the season and the Yanks will most likely not be bringing him back. Not only that, but he may also not even be on the postseason roster. The Yanks are even considering DFAing him as of now.



Game 151. Yanks hit 3 HR (none by Judge) in 7-5 win over Boston. Magic #3 for AL East crown.

The Yankees (83-58) reduced their magic # for winning the AL East to 3 with a 7-5 win over Boston on Saturday.

While they hit 3 HR, none were by Aaron Judge, who is stuck on 60 as he tries to tie and surpass Roger Maris’ AL and Yankee record of 61.

Judge went 0 for 3 with a walk and fell one point behind Boston’s Xander Bogaerts in the batting race, .315 to .314. Luis Arraez of the Twins is at .313. Since Judge is way ahead in HR and RBI, he also could be a Triple Crown winner as well.

The Yanks got on the board first when Gleyber Torres homered (24) in the bottom of the first inning. 1-0, Yankees.

Domingo German had a shaky second inning though, giving up 2 HR and 3 runs as Boston took a 3-1 lead.

The Yanks got a run back in the bottom of the second. With one out, Oswaldo Cabrera and Harrison Bader both walked. Isiah Kiner-Falefa (IKF) singled in Cabrera, Bader out at third.

The Yanks went up 4-3 in the bottom of the fourth on a two-run HR by Cabrera (4). Now this will be interesting in the offseason. Andrew Benintendi is a free agent, and currently on the IL with a broken hand. Do the Yankees try to sign Benintendi or do they feel confident in having the 23-year-old rookie Cabrera as their starting LF in 2023?

In the fifth inning, the Yanks upped their lead to 5-3. Kyle Higashioka led off with a single and Judge walked. A flyout moved Higashioka to third. One out later, Josh Donaldson’s infield single brought home Higashioka. 5-3, Yankees.

After a year away because of Tommy John surgery, Zack Britton returned to the mound but was ineffective, as Boston cut the Yanks lead to 5-4 in the sixth when Britton walked in a run. Lou Trivino came in with the bases loaded and one out and made sure that was all the Red Sox got.

But Boston tied it up in the seventh off of Trivino and Lucas Luetge, who with two out, couldn’t slam the door before Boston tied the game.

Anthony Rizzo hit a 2-run HR (32) in the bottom of the seventh that wound up deciding the game. 7-5 Yankees.

Rizzo 2-run HR (32)
Torres 2 hits, solo HR (24)
Cabrera 2-run HR (4)

German 5 IP, 3 R, 3 H, 1 W, 5 K. Gave up 2 HR. 3.30 One rough inning.
Britton (H, 1) 1/3 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 3 W, 1 K. 27.00 First appearance of season.
Trivino (H, 4) 1 IP, 1 R, 1 H, 0 W, 2 K. 4.86 (A’s/NYY ERA)
Luetge (W, 4-4; BS, 1) 2/3 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 1 W, 2 K. 2.78
Schmidt (H, 3) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K. 3.40
Effross (S, 3) 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 W, 1 K. 2.70 (Cubs/NYY ERA)





Game 144. Disappointing 7-6 loss for Yanks.

It was a disappointing game in many ways as the Yankees (87-67) blew a 5-0 lead and lost to the Milwaukee Brewers 7-6 on Friday night.

Before the game, Aroldis Chapman came off the IL, and Ryan Weber was DFA’d. The Yanks will have many more moves next week as several others come off the IL.

With the loss the Yanks’ magic # to clinch the AL East remains at 13. Since Baltimore lost, the Yankees’ magic # to secure a playoff berth is 7 (since the Yankees own the tiebreaker against the Orioles).

It looked great early on for the Yankees. They scored three runs in the top of the first. Aaron Judge led off the game with a single, and one out later, Gleyber Torres doubled, Judge going to third. A SF by Josh Donaldson plated Judge. Oswaldo Cabrera walked, then Isiah Kiner-Falefa (IKF) singled in one run and Marwin Gonzalez singled in another. 3-0. They had runners on second and third after a WP but couldn’t add on further.

Later in the game, Gonzalez had to leave due to illness, and Cabrera had to move to first, which he never played before. Also, catcher Jose Trevino had to leave after taking a foul ball off his knee. He was replaced by Kyle Higashioka.

The Yanks added two runs in the top of the second, when Aaron Hicks led off with a single, then Judge singled. A walk to Giancarlo Stanton loaded the bases. Torres flied out, no advance, but a run scored when Donaldson hit into a force at second. An error on the play allowed Judge to score as well. 5-0.

But Yankees’ starter Frankie Montas, who struggled in the first inning, gave up a 3-run HR in the bottom of the second. 5-3. The trade for Montas has been a disappointment. He is 1-3, 6.35 as a Yankee in 8 starts (5-12, 4.05 overall). With Sonny Gray before, and now Montas, the joke going around is that the Yankees should stop trading for Oakland pitchers. Anyway, I cringe every time I hear talk about whether Montas is the Game 2 or 3 playoff starter for the Yankees. From what I’ve seen, HE SHOULD NOT BE ON THE PLAYOFF ROSTER! I’d prefer Cole, Cortes, Severino (off the IL next week), Taillon and even German over Montas right now. That is 5 guys when you probably only need 4 and maybe, depending on the playoff schedule and off days, 3. Yes, that is right. In my pecking order, once Severino comes back, Montas is #6 … and depending on how you like Clarke Schmidt, maybe even #7.

To the top of the third, and Aaron Hicks made the same mistake he made a few days ago. He has to realize who bats behind him. With two outs, he doubled. NORMALLY, you would be happy with the double. You go to second base. NOT IN THIS CASE. Hicks should have just stopped at first. For by going to second, he took the bat out of the hands of the most dangerous hitter in baseball, Judge. Judge, of course, was intentionally walked. Stanton made out. Hicks has to learn to stop at first on such occurrences, or Stanton (hitting .215) needs to step it up. Aaron Boone and the coaches also should realize this and talk to Hicks about it.

Willie Mays would sometimes stop at first in those situations so as to NOT take the bat out of the hands of Willie McCovey. Mays had baseball smarts. Hicks? Not so.

Maybe move Torres to 2 behind Judge? After all, he’s hot lately. Stanton isn’t.

To the fourth, and the Yanks stranded two more runners. Meanwhile, the Brewers tied the game in the bottom of the fourth off of Montas and Lucas Luetge. Given a 5-0 lead, Montas couldn’t get out of the fourth inning and Boone had to use most of his bullpen for the rest of the game. Unacceptable.

The Yanks stranded two more runners in the sixth.

In the bottom of the eighth, Milwaukee took the lead. On one play, Gleyber Torres couldn’t come up with a ball hit up the middle. A tough break there. But on another, IKF made an error with two out allowing a run to score. The internet has been on his defense lately. Could Oswald Peraza have made that play? Who knows. But IKF has to make that. Instead, 6-5, Brew Crew.

Donaldson tied the game in the top of the ninth with his 14th HR of the season, a ball that hit the foul pole. Cabrera followed with a double but was left stranded. The home plate umpire made an absolutely horrendous called third strike call on Miguel Andujar with Cabrera on third and one out. MLB needs to do more than to give umps a slap on the wrist on these egregious errors. They need to suspend or fire umps. We have seen so many bad calls and nothing happens to the umps. Boone was tossed arguing the call. Yeah, the manager and/or player pays for the umps f-up.

Clay Holmes came on for the bottom of the ninth and blew the game. This has to be very concerning for the Yankees. You need a reliable closer going into the postseason. In 2009, EVERY closer blew a postseason game except for one. Mariano Rivera. The Yankees won the World Series, their last one to date. Since July 9, Holmes ERA is 6.86. He has lost 4 games and has 3 blown saves. He has walked 13 in 19 2/3 innings. He has to right the ship and quickly or the Yanks will have to find another closer for the postseason.

The loss is one thing. But the 2 for 11 w/RISP, 11 left on base, and the struggles of Montas and Holmes are another. That is what made this loss so disappointing. Oh yeah, one more thing at the bottom.

Judge 2 hits.
Torres 2 hits
Donaldson 3 RBI. Solo HR (14)
Cabrera 2 for 2, 3 walks.
Hicks 2 hits.

Montas 3 1/3 IP, 4 R, 4 H, 4 W, 2 K. Gave up 1 HR. 4.05 (Oak/NYY ERA)
Luetge 1/3 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 0 W, 0 K. 2.75
Weissert 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K. 7.56 SEE BELOW
German 1 2/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 W, 2 K. 3.12
Peralta 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K. 2.40 SEE BELOW
Trivino 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 3 K. 4.69 SEE BELOW
Loaisiga 1 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 H, 1 W, 0 K. 4.43
Holmes (L, 6-4) 2/3 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 2 W, 1 K. 2.59.

One more thing here. (I told you above, didn’t I?) Check the pitching line above. Weissert faced one batter. Stuck him out. Peralta faced one batter. Struck him out. Trivino faced three batters, struck them all out.

WHY DIDN’T THEY STAY IN THE GAME LONGER, BOONE? Don’t mess with success!


















Game 140. Daddy Donaldson leads Yanks to 10-3 win.

Fatherhood must agree with Josh Donaldson, who came back from paternity leave (it was a girl) to help lead the Yankees to a 10-3 win over Tampa Bay Saturday afternoon.

Ron Guzman was DFA’d so that Donaldson could return.

Donaldson had one of seven straight singles to start the game off for the Yankees, then he homered later on.

The win put the Yanks (84-56) 4 1/2 up on Tampa Bay. The magic # for clinching the division is 20 (could be 19 if Yanks have won the tiebreaker over the Rays) and is 12 for getting into the playoffs (the Yanks HAVE won that tiebreaker over Baltimore).

The Yanks batted around in the first inning, scoring six runs. Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton opened the bottom of the first with singles. Gleyber Torres singled in Judge, Stanton to second. Donaldson just missed a HR, hitting the top of the wall with a single that loaded the bases. Oswaldo Cabrera singled in two runs, Donaldson going to third, to make it 3-0. Miguel Andujar singled to make it 4-0. Isiah Kiner-Falefa (IKF) singled to re-load the bases. Still there was no one out. An RBI force out by Kyle Higashioka made it 5-0. After a popup by Marwin Gonzalez, Judge singled in a run. 6-0. Stanton grounded out rto end the inning.

In the second inning, Donaldson cleared the wall with a HR (13) to make it 7-0.

The Rays got a run in the third off of Yankees’ starter James Taillon to cut the score to 7-1.

In the bottom of the seventh, with one out, Donaldson was HBP. One out later, Andujar singled Donaldson to third, Andujar going to second on the throw. A WP scored Donaldson and moved Andujar to third. IKF then singled to make it 9-1.

Tampa Bay got two runs on a two-run single in the top of the eighth to make it 9-3. Oswaldo Cabrera almost had another outfield assist, just missing nabbing the second runner at the plate.

Tampa Bay used a position player to pitch the bottom of the eighth and Giancarlo Stanton took advantage of that, hitting his 25th HR of the season to close out the scoring. 10-3, Yanks.

Judge 3 hits, RBI.
Stanton 2 hits, RBI. Solo HR (25)
Torres 2 hits, RBI
Donaldson 2 hits, RBI. Solo HR (13)
Cabrera 2 hits, 2 RBI
Andujar 2 hits, RBI
IKF 2 hits, RBI

Beautiful. The bats wake up and a lot of people contribute.

Taillon (W, 13-4) 7 1/3 IP, 3 R, 6 H, 1 W, 8 K. 3.94
Trivino 2/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 1 K. 4.70 (A’s/NYY ERA)
Loaisiga 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K. 4.54

Albert Pujols tied one-time Yankee Alex Rodriguez for fourth place on the all-time HR list, hitting #696 last night.

Game 138. Yanks fall short, 4-3. Big Series with Rays this weekend.

Before the game, Deivi Garcia was sent back down so that Nestor Cortes could come off the IL and make the start. Cortes was limited to 60 pitches, however.

Miguel Andujar was to go down after having been the 29th man in Wednesday’s DH. Instead, he stayed and D.J. LeMahieu joined the large contingent on the IL.

With so many players on the IL, the depleted Yankees need to think outside the box. In some ways, they did last night, but in another way, they did not, and it may have cost them the game. I’ll explain soon.

With the 4-3 loss, the Yankees lead over Tampa Bay is now 4 1/2 games. The Yankees host the Rays for three HUGE games this weekend. The Yankees’ magic # for clinching the AL East remains at 22. It is 15 for a playoff spot.

The Yankees started the game with Isiah Kiner-Falefa (IKF) hitting in the cleanup spot. It was one way of thinking outside the box, and this was more or less by necessity. Everyone else is injured. In trying to hold on to their division lead, the Yankees’ lineups are looking like spring training lineups. Maybe worse. At least IKF did have two hits.

Andujar hit a 2-run HR (1) in the second inning to give the Yankees a 2-0 lead. They wouldn’t score again until the eighth and blew chances in the eighth and ninth to tie the game or possibly win it. With all these injuries, the Yankees may need Andujar to recapture that 2018 form when he hit .297-27-92, with 47 doubles, and finished second in ROY voting to Shohei Ohtani.

Cortes retired the first 12 men he faced, but then two ex-Yankees got him. Cortes gave up a single to Gio Urshela to lead off the fifth, then after a WP, Gary Sanchez doubled Urshela home. Clarke Schmidt relieved Cortes. After a walk and a strikeout, a single tied the game.

With one out in the top of the eighth, pitcher Wandy Peralta could not make the play at first base, first missing the bag, then when he did step on the bag ahead of the runner, he didn’t have control of the ball. That bobble helped cost the Yankees the game. Peralta got the next batter out, but then Greg Weissert came in to face Carlos Correa. Weissert gave up a 2-run HR to Correa that made the score 4-2 and turned out to be the game-winner.

I do have to question the use of Weissert there. I understand that you want to use a righty against the righty swinging Correa. But Weissert? It was only Weissert’s seventh MLB game. He is 3-0, but with an ERA of 8.22. That is a lot of trust in a big spot in a big September game to place in someone with that little experience. I understand the injury situation. No Trivino or Effross. That may have factored into things here, also the fact that a lot of the bullpen was used in that 12-inning game one of the DH the day before. So Holmes and Loaisiga may have been unavailable. Those two things (injury and BP usage in the extra inning game) may have forced the Yanks to use Weissert. It cost them.

In the bottom of the eighth, the Yanks got one run back, but it could have been more. Aaron Judge led off, and he doubled. What you are seeing now is teams avoiding Judge like the plague if they can. We will get to that in a bit. After Gleyber Torres walked, IKF hit into a force out, then stole second while Marwin Gonzalez struck out. On ball four to Estevan Florial, the ball got away and Judge scored to make it 4-3. IKF went to third. Giancarlo Stanton PH but struck out. I wonder if Stanton is hurt more than we realize. Since June 1, he is hitting .153. That is Gallo-like. He is 4 for 39 with 10 strikeouts since coming off of the IL. The failure of Stanton to be Stanton and to protect Judge in the lineup is hurting the Yankees.

In the bottom of the ninth, the failure of Aaron Hicks to think outside the box may have cost the Yankees the game. With one out, Oswald Peraza singled. Hicks doubled Peraza to third. Hicks should NOT have gone to second but should have stayed at first. In a Sports Century feature on Willie Mays, at the end of the show, it was mentioned how Mays would sometimes NOT take second base, but would stay at first, in order to force pitchers to pitch to Willie McCovey rather than to walk McCovey. That is exactly why Hicks should NOT have gone to second. He had to think outside the box there and realize what would happen. And what would happen DID happen. With one out and men on second and third, the Twins walked Aaron Judge of course. A Judge single wins the game. The Twins, being smart and playing for THEIR playoff lives, were not going to let the big guy (pun not intended) beat them. So, they walk Judge to 1) not face the big man and 2) set up a game-ending DP. I wonder if when Hicks went into second if he realized the mistake he made. He took the bat out of Judge’s hands.

Gleyber Torres, who needs to right himself with all the other injuries going on, struck out. Torres is down to .237 and is hitting .179 since July 13. Once again, Judge needs help. He can’t do it alone.

IKF then grounded out to end the game.

The point is, the Yanks need to think outside the box. They can’t do things that will take the bat OUT of Judge’s hands. The other team will try to do that enough times on their own.

Judge 2 hits
IKF 2 hits
Andujar 2 hits, 2-run HR (1)

Cortes 4 IP, 2 R, 2 H, 0 W, 2 K. 1 WP 2.73
Schmidt 3 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 1 W, 2 K. 2.82
Peralta (L, 2-4) 2/3 IP, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K. 1 big error. 2.55
Weissert 1/3 IP, 1 R, 2 H, 0 W, 0 K. Gave up 1 HR, which decided game. 8.22
Weber 1 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 W, 0 K. 1.04