Well, things sure change fast in baseball, huh? With last night’s 8-7 loss to the Angels in the books, the Yankees are now losers of 3 in a row and sit 7 games out of first place. They’ve been on an incredible run – winning 20 of their last 26 – and have managed to lose ground in the AL East. The damn Rays.
Anyway, let’s get right to our (abbreviated) takeaways this morning, shall we?
Corey Kluber Looked Better Than the Line. I’ll say it: I was actually encouraged by Corey Kluber’s start last night. His curveball, which was his go-to offering, was really working. He elicited 6 whiffs on 12 swings and placed another 6 of them on the plate for a strike. That is a really, really positive sign. In fact, he was around the zone with both the sinker and change, too. (The cutter, not so much.) But it was how he looked earlier on in the season: efficient, hitting his spots, and making the opposition come up empty with their swings.
Unfortunately, he ran out of gas in the 4th inning. That’s where the ugly line comes into play. He gave up 5 runs in the 4th, including a grand slam to Jack Mayfield. After striking out Ohtani to start the inning, Kluber gave up 3 straight singles, mixed in a fly out, and worked a walk before the grand slam.
It really spoiled a good rehab outing. If you didn’t stay up late to watch, don’t be discouraged by the line. Kluber looked pretty solid, and I think he can be an effective option for the Yankees with just a few more tune-up innings. Let’s hope, anyway.
This Was Not Aaron Boone’s Best Day. I rag on Aaron Boone a lot, but that’s mostly because I think he deserves it. Last night was another indication why. First, let’s start with Corey Kluber. The wheels were absolutely falling off in the 4th inning there and it was pretty obvious from the couch. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. When Kluber was essentially rehabbing in games early on, the same thing would happen – you’d see positive signs and even success before he’d run out of gas.
Still, Boone was caught flat-footed. There was nobody coming to help Kluber, even after the grand slam. It was baffling to me. It all happened quickly, sure, but come on.
Second, the decision to then go to Andrew Heaney to start the bottom of the 5th was infuriating. Again, two considerations: 1) Heaney has shown signs of being useful and 2) it was the middle innings. Those are points in Boone’s favor. Everything else doesn’t look so good, though. Shohei Ohtani was up to start the inning – he homered – and the Yankees had just had a 3-run inning to tie the game following Kluber’s implosion. I would have preferred a non-Heaney option there.
Needless to say, it didn’t happen. Heaney, who should probably be considered the last option on the team, gave up the run to Ohtani and another in the 6th. The Yankees lost by one run.
The Offense is On Fire. Another night, another dominant performance from the offense. Things have really turned around there. They jumped out to an early lead, came back from a 3-run deficit, and erased another 2-run deficit later on in this game. They did so again on the back of the top of the order. DJ LeMahieu, Anthony Rizzo, Aaron Judge, and Giancarlo Stanton went 8-19 with 6 RBI and 6 runs scored. It was a dominant performance and it should, on most nights, be enough to carry a team to a victory.
While it didn’t happen last night, I think we may be finally past our year-long offensive nightmare. Things are looking up for the offense. That’s a good sign for the final four weeks and change of the season.
The Division is Slipping Away. I feel great about these Yankees, but the division is slipping away. They’re 7 games out with a month to play and just 3 head-to-head games against the Rays. It was always a bit of a pipe dream, so I’m not too worried about it. I’d just prefer not playing in the Wild Card Game, but whatever I guess. Still, anything can theoretically happen. The Rays could cool down! The Yanks just need to keep playing smart, effective baseball and the rest should fall into place, division or otherwise.
- Woof, Joey Gallo continues to struggle. It was an 0-3 night for him last night. He struck out twice. Again, this is what is to be expected from him. He also walked. It’s the Gallo Experience.
- A brutal night for everyone else in the offense too. After Stanton’s turn in the lineup, just Andrew Velazquez had a hit. Aside from two walks from Brett Gardner and Gallo’s that was it for hitters 5-9.
- Giancarlo Stanton is a machine. He flicked his wrists last night and launched a 457-foot homer. There is just nobody like this guy when he’s hot. Nobody.
- The same came be said for Aaron Judge, who is a monster. Aside from a spell with COVID, he’s been healthy, effective, and dominant all season. I might even say he has an outside case at the MVP, even if that’s all Ohtani in reality.
- Clay Holmes has a ridiculous sinker. That is all.
These two teams will meet again tonight at 9:40 pm ET. Jameson Taillon (8-4, 4.18 ERA) will take on Jaime Barria (2-2, 5.56 ERA) in that one. Have a good day, everyone. See you soon.