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.
Posted in Mike's Musings, Players, Postseason, The Front Office
Tagged Bader, Cabrera, Carpenter, Cortes, Dombrowski, Donaldson, Higashioka, Holmes, Jeter, Judge, Kiner-Falefa, Loaisiga, Mattingly, Peralta, Rizzo, Stanton, Torres, Trevino
One bad pitch and a couple of feet cost the Yanks in a 3-2 loss to Houston last night. The Yanks are now down 0-2 in the best-of-7 ALCS. There are certain things you can blame a manager for, and certain things you can’t. In some games, Aaron Boone’s bullpen management has been questionable, as have his lineups. You can’t blame him for anything last night, though. Last night was just some bad luck. He also can’t swing the bat for some guys who aren’t putting the ball in play. 17 strikeouts in Game 1, 13 more in Game 2. Even some much needed and correct lineup changes didn’t work. The Yankees have played 16 postseason games against Houston, starting in 2015. They have scored 47 runs. Do the math. That is a little less than 3 runs per game. It seems like the Yanks keep losing to Houston 2-0, 4-0, 3-2, 4-2, 4-1, etc. Harrison Bader, with his 4 postseason HR was moved to leadoff. He got a hit, drew a walk. Jose Trevino, 1 for 15, was benched for Kyle Higashioka. But Higashioka went 0 for 3 with 3 strikeouts. What can you do when NEITHER catcher hits? Rookie Oswald Peraza started at SS. Peraza played a great defensive game, making a couple great plays, just missing out on a few more, and teaming up with Gleyber Torres for a remarkable DP. It already looks like Peraza will be next year’s starting SS. He looks that smooth. As long as he hits. At the plate last night, Peraza was 0 for 3 with two strikeouts, however. With Peraza, it will be interesting to see what the Yanks do with Anthony Volpe. With Josh Donaldson turning 37 and showing signs of age, does someone like Volpe or Oswaldo Cabrera move to 3B? Of course, you have D.J. for 3B but I’m thinking long-term. Boone can’t do anything about the injuries. It is very apparent that the losses of D.J. LeMahieu and Andrew Benintendi have hurt the Yanks considerably. Both are contact hitters. Neither strikeout much. 30 strikeouts in two games. Ugh. Put the ball in play. You never know. It might fall in (See Cleveland last series) or someone could make an error—-which is how the Yanks scored their two runs last night. Who would have thought in a postseason game that the Yanks would be forced to start two rookies? Anyway, two things about roster construction for the playoffs. Here is where the Yanks could be held at fault a little. Once again, nothing you can do about injuries. Besides D.J. and Benintendi, the losses of bullpen stalwarts King, Green, Marinaccio and Effross hurt as well (we won’t discuss malcontent Chapman). But you have to go with and put HEALTHY people on the roster. It’s apparent Matt Carpenter isn’t ready. Cheers to him for trying. But he had no minor league rehab games to help him work his way back. He is 0 for 7 in the postseason and all 7 at bats are strikeouts. It is apparent he should not be on the team. But if not him, who? D.J. is hurt (and there was thought about having him on the roster. I think the results would be the same as with Carpenter. The rust and injury would limit him the same way and hurt the team the same way Carpenter is hurting them now). Benintendi is hurt. Hicks, who didn’t contribute much anyway, is hurt. You could have kept Gonzalez on the team for this round, but he wasn’t doing much even though healthy. Secondly, and here is where the Yanks are at fault a little, although bullpen injuries have played a part as far as this year goes. Don’t force guys into situations they are not comfortable with. Bullpen guys are bullpen guys. Starters are starters. Putting a starter in the bullpen for the playoffs usually backfires. There are exceptions, but too often I see it backfire. Montas HR in Game 1. Schmidt, not a closer but a spot starter/middle relief guy, closing. J.A. Happ coming out of the bullpen to blow games in 2019 and 2020 (remember the Deivi Garcia as opener game?). Jack McDowell coming out of the bullpen in 1995. Heck, Jeff Weaver in 2003. Learn from history. Don’t repeat the same mistakes. Taking your #5 starter (granted, McDowell was higher than #5) and throwing him into the bullpen for the postseason usually backfires. To the game. How many times this season have we seen the Yankees’ pitchers give up runs when they are ONE STRIKE away from getting out of an inning? Two out, two strikes and Boom. Gives up runs. In the bottom of the third, that is what happened to Luis Severino. I am a little concerned about Severino in the postseason, because in 11 postseason games, Sevy is 1-4, 5.15. Great stuff, but his postseason numbers aren’t too good. He was good last night except for that one pitch, which was with two outs and two strikes and hit for a 3-run HR. The Yanks came back with two runs in the top of the fourth, helped by an error. Aaron Judge singled, and a double error (fielding and throwing) on a ball hit back to Astro’s pitcher Framber Valdez put runners on second and third with no one out. Anthony Rizzo moved the runners up, scoring Judge with a groundout. An infield single by Torres scored Stanton. In the top of the eighth, the Yanks came oh-so-close. Harrison Bader walked with one out. Judge hit a ball deep to right field that was caught at the top of the fence. Three feet or so higher and it would have been a two-run HR that would have given the Yanks a 4-3 lead and possibly a victory. Yankee Stadium is the only park in which it WOULD have been a HR. Houston rarely plays with the roof open. It was open and there was a significant wind that may have held the ball up. The Yanks got unlucky. Only 4 hits. 13 strikeouts. Put the ball in play. Severino (LOSS) 5 1/3 IP, 3 R, 5 H, 1 W, 6 K. 1 HBP. Gave up 1 HR. Loaisiga 2 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 W, 0 K. Peralta 2/3 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 W, 0 K. Gold Glove nominations came out yesterday, with three nominations for each position plus one for utility players. Five Yankees got nominations: Taillon, Trevino, Rizzo, Benintendi (KC/NYY) and LeMahieu. Lemahieu’s was for the utility category. Two that should have gotten nominations but didn’t were Donaldson and Judge.
Posted in Awards, Managers and Coaches, Mike's Musings, Players, Postseason
Tagged Bader, Benintendi, Boone, Higashioka, Judge, LeMahieu, Loaisiga, Peralta, Peraza, Severino, Trevino
For the fifth time since they last went to the World Series in 2009 (2010, 2012, 2017, 2019 and now 2022), the Yankees are in the ALCS. For the third time in six years, their opponent will be the Houston Astros (the Yanks lost to Texas in 2010 and lost to Detroit in 2012. 2012 was when Jeter broke his ankle).
Of course, Yankees fans are hoping for a different outcome this time around. There won’t be any rest after beating Cleveland 5-1 in Game 5 of the ALDS yesterday. Game 1 of the ALCS is in Houston tonight. Not only that, but the only off-day in the ALCS is between Game 2 and 3. There isn’t one between Game 5 and 6 (if it gets that far). We’ll get into that in a bit. The Yankees are 28-2 in games in which both Aaron Judge and Gaincarlo Stanton homer. That includes yesterday’s game. The Yanks jumped out right away to a 3-0 lead, putting the pressure on the Guardians right away and getting the crowd right into the game. Gleyber Torres led off the bottom of the first inning with a walk, and after Judge struck out, Anthony Rizzo was hit by a pitch. Stanton then hit a 3-run HR. Judge homered in the second to make it 4-0. Say what you will, since Judge was 4 for 20 in the series with 2 HR and a ton of strikeouts, but he has homered in four separate do-or-die postseason games. Nasty Nestor Cortes was fabulous on 3 days’ rest. He went five innings, giving up only one run, and Cleveland should not have received that. I don’t know what it was in this series with Cleveland hitting balls into short LF that the LF, 3B or SS couldn’t catch. With one out and a man on first in the top of the third, Steven Kwan (yes, him again) hit a ball to short LF that Oswaldo Cabrera, Josh Donaldson and Aaron Hicks all converged on, with Cabrera calling for it. Cabrera collided with Hicks and the ball fell in for a single. Hicks had to be removed from the game with an injury that ends his season. We will have to see who replaces him on the postseason roster. Candidates are Oswald Peraza (since the Yanks benched SS Isiah Kiner-Falefa for Games 4 and 5), D.J. LeMahieu and Andrew Benintendi. Another candidate for the ALCS roster is Ron Marinaccio, who declared his sore shin ok to go. Anyway, a walk loaded the bases after Kwan’s single, and a SF cut the Yanks’ lead to 4-1 before Cortes got out of the inning. The Yanks scored the final run of the game in the bottom of the fifth. Torres walked and stole second. Judge struck out, but Rizzo singled to make it 5-1. Judge 2 hits, solo HR. Stanton 3-run HR. Cortes (WIN) 5 IP, 1 R, 3 H, 1 W, 2 K. Loaisiga 2 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 0 W, 2 K. Holmes 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K. Peralta 1 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 W, 1 K. Pitched in all five ALDS games. The LCS will have a pitching problem for the Yanks. Down 2 games to 1 in the ALDS, the Yanks had to use their two best pitchers, Cole and Cortes, in Games 4 and 5 in order to advance, so Cole and Cortes won’t be available until Games 3 and 4. Jameson Taillon starts Game 1 tonight. He and Luis Severino are going to have to step up big-time. Here is how I see the rotation for the ALCS shaking out. Game 1, Oct. 19 (tonight) Taillon (hasn’t pitched much recently) Game 2 Oct 20 Severino OCT 21 OFF DAY Game 3 Oct 22 Cole (five days rest) Game 4 Oct 23 Cortes Game 5 Oct 24 if necessary Taillon Game 6 Oct 25 if necessary Severino Game 7 Oct 26 if necessary, Cole on three days’ rest. Could Cortes give an inning or two on 2-days rest? For the first time in MLB history, an LDS and LCS game were played on the same day. Shortly after the Yanks and Cleveland wrapped up an LDS, the Phillies and Padres opened the NLCS with the Phillies winning Game 1 2-0 behind HR by Bryce Harper and Kyle Schwarber. There were only four hits in the game. 3 by the Phillies and only one by the Padres.
Posted in Mike's Musings, Players, Postseason
Tagged Benintendi, Cortes, Hicks, Holmes, Judge, LeMahieu, Loaisiga, Marinaccio, Peralta, Peraza, Severino, Stanton, Taillon
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.
Posted in Ex-Players, Managers and Coaches, Media, Mike's Musings, Players, Postseason, Scandal, The Front Office
Tagged Bader, Boone, Cabrera, Cashman, Chapman, Cole, Gonzalez, Hicks, Holmes, Judge, Kiner-Falefa, Loaisiga, Locastro, Peralta, Peraza, Schmidt, Severino, Trivino
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.
Posted in Managers and Coaches, Mike's Musings, Players, Postseason
Tagged Benintendi, Boone, Cabrera, Cortes, Holmes, Judge, Kiner-Falefa, Loaisiga, Maris, Peralta, Schmidt, Stanton, Taillon, Torres, Trivino
Sorry if this arrives a bit late. I had to get sprung from Facebook (or do I call it Meta now?) prison again, so I couldn’t copy or post anything for a while. An Aside: Fight for your First Amendment rights. Fight censorship. What they do is B.S. as far as restricting those rights. The Yanks set their ALDS roster, and there may be a few surprises. First who is on. Trevino, Higashioka, Rizzo, Torres, Kiner-Falefa, Donaldson, Cabrera, Gonzalez, Hicks, Bader, Judge, Carpenter (a surprise), Stanton, Locastro. Who is not on: LeMahieu, who apparently has a foot fracture, Benintendi, and rookie Oswald Peraza. As for the pitchers. On: Cole, Cortes, Severino, Taillon, German, Schmidt, Trivino, Loaisiga, Luetge, Peralta, Holmes, Castro. Not on: Effross (needs TJ surgery), Montas, Chapman (we will get to that in a bit), Marinaccio, Abreu, Britton, King (went down a few months ago), Green (lost at beginning of the year), Weissert. The Yankees’ bullpen is a concern. Chapman was inconsistent, and not reliable. There was no certainty he would be on the roster. But then, since he wasn’t sure, Chapman blew off a mandatory workout, his excuse was unacceptable, and the Yanks told him to stay home. With Effross’ surprising diagnosis, Chapman would have made the roster. Instead, he is replaced by Castro. Chapman is a free agent, and it is certain he won’t be back with the Yankees. Who would want him after this selfish incident, who knows. But that would be their problem. GM Brian Cashman’s moves at the trade deadline do not look good. There is nothing he can do about the injuries, but Benintendi, Montas, and Effross aren’t on the ALDS roster, and Bader barely made it after the Yankees had to wait on his injury to heal. But anyway, the Yankees did take Game 1 of the ALDS (best-of-five) Tuesday night, 4-1. Gerrit Cole pitched into the seventh and ran into trouble in the third inning. Cole, who gave up 33 HR in the regular season, gave up a one-out HR to Steven Kwan. We’ve seen Cole fall apart when something throws him off, and it appeared that would happen again. Cleveland loaded the bases after Kwan’s HR, and you were afraid they would break things open with a big inning. With the bases loaded and one out, Cole got a force at home. A bad call by the umpire didn’t let Cole get the strike three he wanted, but he held it together and got the strike three a bit later to get out of the inning surrendering only the one run. In the bottom of the third, Harrison Bader homered for the Yankees to tie the game at one. In the bottom of the fifth, Josh Donaldson led off the inning by hitting a ball that looked like a HR. It hit the top of the wall and bounced back into play. Donaldson was into his HR trot and got thrown out. Had he been running all the way it would have been an easy double. Lesson: Run them out! Isiah Kiner-Falefa picked Donaldson up by singling to right, then advancing all the way to third on a 2-base error by RF Oscar Gonzalez. Jose Trevino made Cleveland pay for the error by hitting a SF to put the Yanks up 2-1. In the sixth, the Yanks got some insurance runs. Aaron Judge led off with a walk and stole second. Judge went to third when catcher Austin Hedge’s throw went for an error. Anthony Rizzo followed with a 2-run HR to make it 4-1, which wound up as the final score. Rizzo 2-run HR. Donaldson 2 for 2, walk. Bader solo HR. Cole (WIN) 6 1/3 IP, 1 R, 4 H, 1 W, 8 K. 1 HBP. Gave up 1 HR. Loaisiga (H) 2/3 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 W, 0 K. Peralta (H) 1 1/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K. Holmes 2/3 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K. 1 HBP. Game 2 is scheduled for Thursday night, with Nestor Cortes on the mound. Friday is supposed to be another off day. However, the weather forecast is not good and Game 2 could be postponed to Friday, which would mean havoc to the pitching rotation. If you play Game 2 on Thursday, Cole could come back for Game 4 on regular rest on Sunday, with Cortes on 3 days rest for a Game 5. But if Game 2 is postponed until Friday, Cortes won’t be able to do that. Now if Cole goes in Game 4 you cannot bring Cortes back for Game 5 on two days’ rest. Instead, the Yanks would probably use Cole in Game 4 only if down 2 games to 1, then figure out later who goes in Game 5 (Taillon or German). If the Yanks are UP 2 games to 1, then they save Cole for Game 5 if necessary and go with Taillon or German in Game 4. Of course, no matter what the weather does, the easiest way to avoid that headache is just to win in a 3-game sweep. Recently, Tyler Wade, who was picked back up by the Yanks and sent to SWB after being DFA’d by the Angels, declared free agency. In other game ones, the Phillies held on beat the Braves, 7-6. The Dodgers won Game 1 over the Padres 5-3, and those hated Astros got a 3-run walk off HR by Yordan Alvarez to win 8-7. Seattle blew a 7-3 lead they had after 7.
Posted in Players, Postseason, Scandal, The Front Office
Tagged ALDS roster, Bader, Carpenter, Cashman, Chapman, Cole, Donaldson, Effross, Holmes, LeMahieu, Loaisiga, Peralta, Rizzo, Wade
Now we start wondering if #62 will come at all. Aaron Judge was 1 for 5 with a single in the first game of a day/night DH, a game the Yankees (99-61) won 5-4. He is now hitting .310 after that game. The Yanks have just the night game tonight and an afternoon game tomorrow left in their season before their postseason begins with Game 1 of the ALDS at Yankee Stadium on October 11. The Yanks did hit three HR in the game, including the first MLB HR by Oswald Peraza. Oswaldo Cabrera got the scoring started with a HR in the top of the first inning (6). Yanks’ starter Jameson Taillon gave two runs back in the bottom of the first and had to get out of a bases-loaded jam or else he would have given up more than that. Texas up 2-1 after one inning. Peraza hit his HR in the top of the second to tie the game. The Yanks went up 3-2 in the top of the fifth. Peraza (who has been playing great since he has been called up, as has Cabrera) singled and stole second. After a popup, Marwin Gonzalez singled in Peraza. But Taillon gave up a 2-run HR in the bottom of the fifth and Texas took a 4-3 lead. The Yanks’ winning rally came in the top of the eighth. Kyle Higashioka, hot lately, led off the inning with a HR (10) to tie the game. Judge singled and Anthony Rizzo was HBP. Cabrera sacrificed both runners over, and Harrison Bader singled to give the Yanks the eventual winning run. Cabrera solo HR (6) Peraza 2 hits, solo HR (1) FIRST MLB HR Higashioka solo HR (10) Taillon 6 IP, 4 R, 7 H, 2 W, 5 K. 1 HBP Gave up 1 HR. 3.91 Chapman (W, 4-4) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 2 K. 4.46 The Chapman we need to see. Weissert (H, 2) 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 1 K. 5.56 Loaisiga (S, 2) 1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 0 K. 4.13 Ron Marinaccio to the IL. He will miss the ALDS. Albert Abreu back off the IL.
Posted in In-Season Moves, Players, Regular Season
Tagged Abreu, Bader, Cabrera, Chapman, Gonzalez, Higashioka, Judge, Loaisiga, Marinaccio, Peraza, Taillon, Weissert
A raw, rainy day in NY was only made more miserable with a 3-1 Yankees (97-61) loss and a tough day for Aaron Judge. If Judge is going to break Roger Maris’ AL and Yankee record of 61 HR in a season, #62 will have to come in Texas, where the Yanks play 4 games in 3 days, starting tonight. (DH on Tuesday). Maybe it would be a good thing. Maybe the pressure of trying to hit the HR in front of the home fans was daunting. One thing for sure, the weather (high of 84 to 86 degrees and sunny) in Texas will be much nicer than what Judge faced yesterday. Judge was 0 for 3 with three strikeouts and a walk, dropping his batting average to .311. He is four points behind the Twins’ Luis Arraez, and unless Judge gets really, really hot in the next three games, will probably NOT win the Triple Crown, especially since Arraez has sat out a few of the last couple of games, and the Twins will try to protect Arraez’ lead. Chi Chi Gonzalez was brought up to start the Yanks’ home finale and Jacob Barnes was DFA’d to make room for Gonzalez. Gonzalez pitched into the fifth and pitched well, giving up just one run. Baltimore got that run in the top of the first inning. The Yanks got their only run of the game in the bottom of the fifth. The Aarons, Hicks and Judge, led off the inning with back-to-back walks. After an out a WP moved the runners up, with Hicks scoring on a throwing error on the play, Judge remaining at second. The Yanks only got four hits in the game and were 0 for 7 w/RISP. In the seventh, Aroldis Chapman once again proved why he is no lock for the postseason roster and why he can’t be trusted. A single, two walks, a strikeout and yet another walk forced in what proved to be the winning run. Ron Marinaccio relieved Chapman and gave up another run on a SF. Chapman threw 26 pitches. Only 12 were strikes. That’s been Chapman’s problem for a while now. You just can’t keep giving free passes. Gonzalez 4 2/3 IP, 1 R, 4 H, 3 W, 3 K. 5.87 (3-team ERA). Could be his only game as a NYY. Luetge 1 1/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 W, 1 K. 1 HBP. 2.72 Chapman (L, 3-4) 1/3 IP, 2 R, 1 H, 3 W, 1 K. 4.58 Marinaccio 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 W, 0 K. 2.05 Loaisiga 2/3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 W, 1 K. 4.21 Schmidt 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 0 K. 3.23
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.
Posted in In-Season Moves, Managers and Coaches, Players, Postseason, Regular Season
Tagged Boone, Chapman, Effross, Holmes, Judge, Kiner-Falefa, Loaisiga, Marinaccio, Rizzo, Schmidt, Severino, Trivino
The Yankees (92-58) magic number for clinching the AL East and a bye into the ALDS is now 4 after a 5-4 win over Boston coupled with a Toronto loss to Tampa Bay. The Yankees have an 8 1/2 game lead with 12 games to go. It doesn’t seem too long ago we were worried about that lead getting under 3. Aaron Judge was 1 for 4 with a single, so we are still awaiting HR #61. He still leads in batting average, .315 to .314 for Xander Bogaerts and .312 for Luis Arraez so as of now he still leads in all Triple Crown categories. Gerrit Cole got 8 strikeouts to up his season total to 244. He is 4 behind the Yankees’ single season record of 248, set by Ron Guidry in 1978. He should have two starts left and should break that record in one of those starts. Cole, however, still had gopher ball problems last night, which we will get to shortly. Tommy Pham homered off of Cole in the top of the first to give Boston a quick 1-0 lead. In the bottom of the third, Aaron Hicks homered (8) to tie the game. Yankee fans (and baseball fans?) joked it was the wrong Aaron who homered. The Yanks scored three times in the fifth to go up 4-1. Isiah Kiner-Falefa (IKF) led off with a single, and Marwin Gonzalez walked. Hicks singled IKF home, Gonzalez going to second. Two outs later, Gleyber Torres doubled in both runners. Torres went to third on the play on an error but was stranded. One thing Yankees fans have noticed about Gerrit Cole this year. Besides the high number of gopher balls he has given up, it seems like Cole can’t pitch through a little adversity. If the pregame ceremony goes a little long, it affects him. If there is a rain delay or an error behind him, he immediately gives up a big hit afterward. If an umps ball/strike call goes against him, you know a big hit is coming against him. Last night, in the top of the sixth, a 1-2 pitch with two on was called a ball. Awful call by the ump. The next pitch was immediately hit for a game-tying 3-run HR. I have to question the pitch selection since all the pitches in the at bat were fastballs, and Alex Verdugo finally timed one that was also placed in the wrong spot. But once Cole didn’t get the call, he folded. It just seems like every time something doesn’t go his way, he isn’t pitching through it. Just an observation. Cole did strike out the next hitter to end the inning and knew with his pitch count that he was done for the night, so he let that ump have it with a curse word as he left the mound. He was ejected, as was manager Aaron Boone, who came out to protect his player. Now, yes, Cole had a right to be pissed off, but he needs to pitch through that. Also, yes, umpires are human, and we all make mistakes, but MLB has to hold umpires more accountable for bad calls. There are too many awful calls that umpires get away with (think Angel Hernandez, although he didn’t make that bad call last night). Whatever happened to responsibility and accountability? So, the game was now tied at 4. In the bottom of the eighth, newly acquired (well, not so new, since we had to wait for him to get off the IL after the trade) Harrison Bader was a sparkplug again. With two out, Bader pinch hit for Oswaldo Cabrera and walked. He stole second and went to third on an error, then scored when Jose Trevino singled. This held up as the deciding run in the 5-4 Yankees win. Torres 2 RBI HIcks 2 hits, 2 RBI Solo HR (8) Cole 6 IP, 4 R, 5 H, 2 W, 8 K. Gave up 2 HR 3.49 4 K behind Guidry’s record of 248 in 1978. Marinaccio 1 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 1 W, 2 K. 2.20 Loaisiga (W, 2-3) 2 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 0 W, 2 K. 4.43 Non-Yankee related but what a feat. Albert Pujols, retiring after the season, hit 2 HR for St. Louis against the Dodgers in LA last night. The second was HR #700 of his career, joining Barry Bonds*, Henry Aaron and Babe Ruth as the only players to hit 700 HR in their careers. Pujols joins Aaron as the only player with 3000 or more hits AND 700 or more HR in their career. Congrats! One other note. Tampa Bay, Toronto and Seattle are neck and neck and neck for the 4-5-6 seedings in the AL playoff race. Just so you know, Tampa Bay wins all tiebreakers. Seattle has the tiebreaker over Toronto. Toronto loses all tiebreakers. Based on head-to-head record.
Posted in Awards, Ex-Players, Managers and Coaches, Mike's Musings, Players, Postseason, Regular Season
Tagged Aaron, Bader, bonds, Boone, Cole, Guidry, Hicks, Judge, Loaisiga, Marinaccio, Pujols, Ruth, Torres, Trevino