New York Yankees

5/21/17: Yankees End Road Trip 3-3 as They Salvage Finale Against Rays 3-2

Quick Recap

CC Sabathia battled through five innings today and only gave up one earned run. He didn’t have his best stuff, but he pitched well enough to give the Yankees a chance. The Yankee’ bullpen then came in and held the Rays scoreless for the remaining four innings. Dellin Betances picked up his second save of the season and looked dominate while doing it. This is a good sign as last year Betances struggled in the closer role, but so far so good this year, hopefully he can keep it up until Aroldis Chapman comes back in about a month. The Yankee’ offense did not look great today, Chris Archer basically shut them down as he struck out 12 Yankees in six and 1/3 innings pitched. However, Didi Gregorius delivered a big RBI single and Brett Gardner delivered what ended up being the game winning two run home run in the second inning. With the starting pitching going through a bit of a slump right now the Yankees are going to have to lean on their offense and bullpen more than they have.

Biggest Offensive Play of the Game

This one is pretty obvious as there was not a lot of offense to speak of in this game. Brett Gardner’s two run homer in the second inning was the difference in this game. Gardner has been on fire in the last couple of weeks and he continued that today with another home run. This has been huge for the Yanks because when a lead off guy is getting on base he sets everyone else up in the lineup. It is also nice to see Gardner’s power surge this year, that was already his eighth home run of the year, he only had seven all of last year. A couple of weeks ago I thought Brett Gardner was done and oh man was I wrong he has really come alive and looks like his old self again.

Biggest Out of the Game

The Rays never really threatened in this game so I am going to go with Aaron Judge’s unbelievable catch in the sixth inning. Judge made a game saving diving catch in the gap to rob Evan Longoria of an RBI double that would have tied the game. Corey Dickerson was on first base and saw RBI double all the way so he was off to the races so he could score. Then out of nowhere Aaron Judge made one of the best defensive plays of the year and was able to double up Dickerson in the process who was rounding third when Judge caught the ball. Judge continues to prove he is an all around ball player and one that can stick in right field for years to come. He didn’t have a great day at the plate today, but still impacted the game with his glove as if he had not caught that ball the game would have been tied. So, in essence Judge saved the game with this play because as I mentioned earlier the Yankees were really struggling at the plate today.

Questionable Move of the Game

Not much to question in this game, but one thing that stood out to me was when Girardi brought Dellin Betances in in the eighth inning to relieve Tyler Clippard who got two quick outs and looked fine. Of course Betances didn’t give up any runs and got the last out quickly, but it’s moments like this where you can try to save bullets in his arm. The Yankees are in the middle of a stretch of games where they do not have an off day until June fifth so these relievers are going to need as much rest as possible. This is especially true with how the Yankees’ starters have been throwing of late as they have given very little length in the past few games. Keep an eye on how Girardi uses Betances in the next few games and how Betances performs. If Girardi is forced to use him three days in a row, which he doesn’t like to do, and Betances blows a lead and looks tired think about this game and how maybe saving a few pitches could have helped him down the road.

Do the Yankees Need to Trade for a Starting Pitcher Now?

This may seem like a simple answer to most people, but I actually find it to be a very difficult question. The Yankees’ starting staff has struggled of late and looked over matched against a good Houston Astros team. There is no doubt that either someone will have to step up or the Yankees will have to go get someone if they want to compete this year.

In this statement lies the true dilemma, are the Yankees true contenders? They didn’t look like ones against the Houston Astros, I know they played hard and battled and were in every game, but that was after they got Houston’s starters out of the games. There is no doubt starting pitching wins championships and it is definitely an area where the Yankees struggle. The logical answer to this problem is go trade for someone that would be an upgrade to your rotation. Some names that have been thrown around are, Chris Archer, Gerrit Cole, and Jason Vargas. These are all guys that would be an upgrade in the Yankee rotation. However, as much as I despise waiting until the trade deadline to make a deal, because prices go way up around that time of year just look at what the Yankees got for two relievers last year, the Yankees should wait until then to decide if they should trade for a starting pitcher.

Trading for a pitcher now will cost a couple of good prospects and may or may not push the Yankees to where they need to go. I still need to see more from this Yankee team to see if they are true contenders as they have played a lot of good teams, but have not played a lot of teams quite like Houston. Trading for one starting pitcher can only make a team so much better and when some of the guys in the batting order start to come back to earth, one good starter will not carry the Yankees to the promise land. The Yankees need to see Masahiro Tanaka get back to form because he has over a five ERA and looks nothing like himself so far. Pineda and Severino are still question marks in my book as they have been up and down so far this year and need to start showing some consistency. CC Sabathia and Jordan Montgomery have also been up and down, but Montgomery has shown a lot of potential however, it is hard to predict how he will work out once people start to figure him out. If you trade for a front end guy right now like Cole or Archer then you are going to have to give up premier prospects as they both have more than one year of control left on their contracts. The Yankees do have the prospects to pull a trade like this off, but I say do not do it as the Yankees have to prove they can contend with the team they have now. They can wait until the trade deadline to pull the trigger on one of these guys as by that point they will know if they have a team that can compete for a World Series. As I mentioned earlier this logically makes sense because in order to contend in the post season you are going to need at least three starters that can give you a complete game shut out on any given night and right now the Yankees don’t have any. Adding one guy might push them to the postseason, but if the other starters continue to struggle then it may not be a very long visit in October. As I mentioned earlier having only one great starter makes it very difficult to make a deep postseason run, so why mortgage the future before you know if this team is truly a contender?

I am sure Brian Cashman will not make any crazy decisions right now as it seems like the Yankees are completely content with the way the team is playing right now. However, if the team begins to struggle in the next month or so and their starting pitching is to blame, don’t be surprised if one of these guys becomes a Yankee. I think that move would be foolish as the Yankees would have proven they aren’t true contenders, but maybe it inspires the team and creates a little more competition in the rotation and someone will start pitching better. Of course that is all speculation, but something to keep an eye on.

If the Yankees were to go against everything I just said they shouldn’t do and go after a pitcher now an interesting name to watch for is Jason Vargas. The Yankees just played the Royals tonight and have six of their next nine games against them. They should also see Vargas, who is leading all starting pitchers with a 1.01 ERA, twice in those six games so they will get a good look at him. Vargas is also a free agent at the end of this season and is 34 years old, so maybe the Yankees could get him for a couple lesser prospects. If the Yankees can get a bargain with him then I can live with it, but if we have to give up a top prospect I say wait and see what this team truly is first. Only time will tell, so for now let’s just enjoy all this winning and all this offense and worry about the pitching when the time comes.

5/12/17: Yankees Offensive Struggles Continue as They Fall to the Astros 5-1

Quick Recap

The Yankees just cannot beat the Astros, it seems they have been losing to them ever since the 2015 wild card game. Tonight the Yankees struggled to score as they only scored one run even though they had multiple opportunities. Starter Jordan Montgomery pitched an average game as he went six innings and gave up four runs. Certainly not his best outing, but he gave the Yankees a chance. However, a disturbing trend is developing with the Yankees and that is that they only score when they hit home runs. This can work, but it usually works in bunches and it looks like we are in the middle of a dry streak. The Yankees will have to find other ways to score, whether that is with more stolen bases or hit and runs remains to be seen. I think the Yankees will eventually have to find better more creative ways to score because Yankee teams in the past have relied heavily on the home run ball and it gets them through the regular season, but rarely the postseason. Especially when the Yankees starting staff is horribly average, they will either have to add some better pitching or find new ways to score in order to compete with teams like the Astros.

5/11/17: Yankees Comeback Attempt Falls Short, Lose 3-2 to the Astros

Quick Recap

The Yankees simply cannot hit Dallas Keuchel, they struggle whenever they see him. Keuchel shut the Yankees down for six innings as he did not give up an earned run and struck out nine Yankees. Going forward the Yankees are going to have to find way to hit guys like this as these are the types of pitchers they are going to have to beat if they want to contend. Michael Pineda did his best to try to match Keuchel as he pitched six and 2/3 solid innings, only giving up three runs. However, two of those runs came off the bat of Carlos Correa who hit a two run homer in the first. I have a hard time with this as he is the Astros best player and you can’t let him beat you. Hopefully Pineda learns from this and realizes that is okay to pitch around guys and walk them. As I mentioned the offense struggled against Keuchel again and this game never really felt close while he was in the game. It was nice to see the Yankees battle in the ninth as they scored one and had the tying run thrown out at the plate for the final out. This team never quits and that can go a long way ┬ábecause as long as the team believes they can win they can. Of course as long as the Yankees don’t have to face Dallas Keuchel, down the stretch though I feel they can compete with anyone.

5/9/17: Yankees Finally Come Back to Earth, Lose 5-3 to the Reds

Quick Recap

CC Sabathia had one horrible inning in this one as he gave five runs in the bottom of the second inning. That proved to be enough as the Yankee offense really never got anything going in this one. Didi Gregorius hit his first home run of the year in the second inning and Gary Sanchez hit his first home run since coming back from the disabled list. These are both good signs for the Yankees going forward as they are crucial pieces to this lineup. Sabathia has now struggled for a couple of starts in a row, hopefully he is just going through a funk and will break out of it going forward. If he doesn’t this could mark the end of Sabathia as a starter as the Yankees need better. They could easily turn to Chad Green who almost beat out Jordan Montgomery for the fifth starter spot, we will have to see if Sabathia can straighten himself out going forward. The Yankees have a much needed off day tomorrow before heading back home to face the red hot Houston Astros.

5/8/17: Yankees Continue Winnings Ways, Demolish Reds 10-4

Quick Recap

Masahiro Tanaka gave the Yankees some much needed length as he went 7 innings. He did not have his best stuff as he gave up four runs on ten hits, but he battled and gave the Yankees what they needed. Tanaka was followed by Tyler Clippard and Tommy Layne who both pitched a scoreless inning. Gary Sanchez got the scoring started early with a two run single in the first inning and put the Yankees up 2-0, a lead they did not relinquish for the rest of the game. Brett Gardner stayed hot as he smacked a two run home run that put the game out of reach in the eighth inning. Aaron Judge got the night off which I found a little interesting, but I will discuss that a little later. Then Yankees have one more game in Cincinnati tomorrow and will have CC Sabathia on the mound.

Biggest Offensive Play of the Game

In a game that featured a lot of offense there was one hit in particular that stood out to me. It was Brett Gardner’s two run home run in the eighth inning. The Reds were starting to gain some momentum in the seventh inning as they scored two runs on a Joey Votto homer. I was a little nervous as this looked like a game the Yankees were going to let get away from them as they had ample opportunities to put the game out of reach, but could not cash in. Gardner put those worries to rest when he crushed a ball to deep right that landed 20-30 rows deep. It put the Yankees up 9-4 and really took the momentum away from the Reds. It also saved Joe Girardi from having to make some difficult decisions as it would have been a save situation heading into the eighth and ninth. After last nights marathon game, Aroldis Chapman was almost certainly unavailable and I’m sure he would have preferred to not use Dellin Betances. Gardner afforded the Yankee bullpen some much needed rest and now puts them in a good spot with one game remaining before an off day. It was also a big hit for Gardner as he has probably felt some pressure from Aaron Hicks recently as Hicks has earned more playing time and Gardner is the most expendable piece of that outfield. With that hit Gardner continues to prove that he is still a very valuable player to this team and one that can be counted on to deliver in big spots.

Biggest Out of the Game

The biggest out came in the bottom of the seventh inning when Masahiro Tanaka struck Adam Duvall to get out of the inning. Joey Votto had just crushed a two run home run and Tanaka was over 100 pitches and laboring. Girardi and the Yankees wanted Tanaka to get through that inning as he was leading off the next inning and with a short bullpen already wasting a pitcher to get one out would have set the Yankees back. As I mentioned earlier Tanaka did not have his best stuff, but the Yankees really needed him to give them length so getting this out gave some guys some much needed rest. In a game that was never really close the biggest out is often hard to find, but this one is certainly it even though it was just a bases empty two out strike out. Duvall is guy that has power so he certainly could have added on another run with one swing, but Tanaka was able to push through and get him. This out also helps the Yankees out going into tomorrows game as it probably allowed the Yankees to use on less pitcher than they might have had to.

Questionable Move of the Game

The move to rest Aaron Judge today struck me as a little odd and I was just disappointed because I didn’t get to see the Yankees most exciting player. However, aside from missing out on good TV it was a strange move as Judge only played eight innings yesterday compared to Hicks and Ellsbury playing the whole game. I also really do not like resting a guy two days before an off day as I feel it throws off their rhythm. I like two days in a row, but playing a game then having a day off then playing another game and having another day off always threw me off as a player. I would rather play straight through or have multiple days off in a row to keep on a more normal schedule. Also Judge is only 25 years old and we are only a little over a month into the season so I find it kind of hard that any player especially Judge needs a day off. Also if I was hitting as well as Judge has been I would be livid if I was out of the lineup especially against a Reds pitching staff that is banged up. We will see if Judge starts struggling in the coming games and if he does look back at this rest day and wonder if it was really worth it.

5/7/17: Yankees Sweep Cubs, Win in 18 innings 5-4

Quick Recap

Well that was a crazy game, I was going to do my long analysis tonight, but it is 2:30 am so probably tomorrow. However, let’s wrap this one up first, Luis Severino delivered another strong outing. He pitched seven innings, gave up one run and struck out nine batters. This is a great sign for the Yankees going forward as Severnio is key to the Yankees success this year. The Yankee bullpen was phenomenal in this game minus Aroldis Chapman, who blew his first save of the year and did not look like himself at all. Hopefully he can straighten himself out going forward as he is going to be relied on to close games like this out. The Yankee offense struggled for the majority of the game, it actually shows you how important Aaron Judge is to this team. When he was taken out in the eighth inning the Yankees look like they had the game won, but of course it ended up going ten more innings. In those ten innings the Yankees only scored one run and struck out a ton. Maybe Girardi will think twice about taking Judge out late in games going forward. Luckily the Yankees have a night game tonight against the Cincinnati Reds so they can have some time to rest. I would not be surprised if they made a roster move though, as Chasen Shreve and Jonathan Holder both threw three innings tonight or rather this morning. The Yankees have Masahiro Tanaka going later today so hopefully he can give the Yankees some much needed length.