The best part of this game was watching a frightened cat elude the Yankees grounds crew and security for a few minutes. The feline provided way more entertainment than the men wearing pinstripes. There have been multiple heartwrenching performances this year. Tonight’s game ranks as one of the worst games of the year, largely due to a lifeless and non-competitive performance from the Yankees. They fall to the awful Baltimore Orioles by the score of 7-1. Their record is 56-49. These takeaways will be short because there isn’t much to talk about.
Home Run Derby
Andrew Heaney was a curious trade acquisition. Yes, there are some intriguing peripherals, but he is having a terrible year. It doesn’t help that he is an extreme flyball pitcher who now calls Yankee Stadium his home. As one would imagine, his start did not go well.
Heaney does not have overpowering stuff. He can get away with a funky delivery for a while until a lineup realizes he throws meat. In this contest, he went once through the lineup successfully, and then the wheels fell off. Heaney promptly gave up back-to-back home runs to Cedric Mullins and Austin Hays. Both shots were no doubters. He then proceeded to give up two more bombs in the following inning. There isn’t much to break down. His stuff was flat. The location was poor. There weren’t many at-bats where you felt Heaney had a chance to win. It was a terrible performance in every way imaginable.
With the injury to Domingo Germán, there is a strong chance Heaney gets another start by default. I know the conventional wisdom is to practice some patience with a pitcher. There are a few reasons to buck this thought. Heaney hasn’t been good all year. He isn’t a good fit for this stadium at all. And quite frankly, the team desperately needs these games. They can’t afford to have a mediocre pitcher with ok peripherals determining their fate. His best role for this team is possibly filling the Luis Cessa role. I would strongly consider an opener, even with the rotation depth issues. The team would have a better chance. The Yankees can’t afford to be down 4-0 even against a terrible team with the way the offense is performing. Their margin for error no longer exists. Heaney can’t make the situation worse.
The Offense Continues to Falter
I have no idea what is going on with this offense. If the Yankees didn’t trade for Rizzo and Gallo, they may have lost the series in Miami and could’ve been no-hit tonight. They faced one of the worst pitchers in the league. Jose López entered the game with an ERA over 6 and proceeded to dominate this lineup.
The Yankees don’t slug, and they don’t cash in runners on base. This is the case since the very first game of the season. They do a fantastic job of getting traffic on the bases. López walked five and hit a batter. The Yankees didn’t drive in any of these runs. They continue to hit the ball on the ground while hitting weak fly balls. It is a mystery why they can’t drive the ball in the air with any consistency. We’ve pointed out numerous times that the lineup struggles to dominate the hitting zone. Nothing has changed in that regard. The only ones driving the ball are Rizzo and Gallo. The offense is alarmingly anemic.
The Yankees’ middle infield has absolutely tanked this lineup. A lot of focus is on Gleyber Torres, and rightfully so, but DJ LeMahieu is having an abysmal season. He is the key to the lineup. It isn’t a coincidence that the offense has been just as inconsistent as their second baseman. His exit velocity is down. The hard hit% is down. The K% is way up. His line-drive rate is down. These are all the ingredients that contribute to a down year from an elite hitter.
I’ve said this a few times, but this lineup isn’t going to perform at an elite level if DJLM isn’t performing at a high level. The offense really depends upon him. It really struggles to click when he isn’t going well. His double play in the seventh inning was a huge swing in the game. Instead of creating a big inning, the double play killed the last real chance the Yankees had to compete in the game. The additions of Rizzo and Gallo are huge boons, but even that is limited by DJLM’s poor season. He really needs to step it up.
Flush It Away
There were other issues in this game including curious bullpen management from Aaron Boone, but this is one to get out of the system immediately. It doesn’t get any easier for the Yankees now as Gerrit Cole has now tested positive for Covid-19. We hope Gerrit and his family are doing ok. It feels like the Yankees are experiencing almost all of the breakthrough cases in the country. It is one knock after the next.
The Yankees will play Baltimore again with their ace, Nestor Cortes, on the mound. The man who may save the Yankees’ season will have to come to the rescue again. The game starts at 7:05pm. Have a great night.