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Game 57: It’s Not What You Want

I’m pretty sure most of the Yankees players and staff would like the last three hours back, thank you very much.

After showing signs of life in the last two games against the Rays, the Yankees imploded this afternoon, taking a 9-2 loss and dropping back to 4.5 games out of first place with a 31-26 record.  Particularly painful was that the Yankees seemed poised for a series win against their division rival, with ace Gerrit Cole on the mound, but it was not to be.  To the takeaways:

Gerrit Cole uncharacteristically struggles.  For his last few starts Gerrit Cole, while mostly still good, has not seemed to be his best self, and today culminated in probably his worst start of the young season. For the first few innings it appeared as though Cole would grind through another solid performance without his best stuff, but a two-run home run in the top of the 4th and a few two-out RBI singles in the top of the 5th left him with a 5 inning, 5 earned run performance, bringing his season ERA from 1.78 to 2.26.  Cole walked two, and has now walked batters in four straight starts after a stretch of five consecutive starts where he didn’t issue a base on balls.  Cole would likely tell you he has not been happy with his recent performances – he’s posted a 4.30 ERA over his past four starts after starting the season at 1.37 in his first eight.  Although his overall numbers are still excellent, today was a particularly bad day for him to be “off,” as the bullpen was stretched thin from two taxing games. Nick Nelson allowed four more runs in an inning and two thirds before Luis Cessa and Brooks Kriske finished out the game.

Yes, the umpiring was that bad.  This game would have been a lot more frustrating if it were closer, because Chad Whitson’s strike zone was both terrible and biased.  Rays starter Ryan Yarbrough, who wound up throwing a complete game, got eight pitches significantly out of the zone called strikes, while Cole got zero.  A picture is worth a thousand words here, so I’ll leave it at that.  Would the Yankees have won this game with better umpiring? Probably not.  Is it still maddening?  Absolutely.

The Yankees continue to struggle with situational hitting.  Before the game got out of hand, it appeared for a while as though the Yankees were actually positioning themselves for another win.  After Cole gave up a two-run home run to Austin Meadows in the fourth inning, the Yankees, down 2-1, opened the fifth by putting runners on second and third with no one out after back to back hits from Gio Urshela and Aaron Judge.  Rougned Odor popped up, and Yarbrough then struck out Clint Frazier and Miguel Andujar.  

The caveat here is that in no universe should Clint Frazier have struck out – in a six-pitch at bat, only one pitch from Yarbrough was actually in the zone, and Whitson called three of them for strikes.  The Yankees should have had the bases loaded and one out instead of second and third with two outs after that at bat.  Andujar’s strikeout was legit, though, and the Yankees have struggled all season to score runs when they have runners on third and less than two outs – in 79 plate appearances in that scenario, coming into this afternoon, the team has 18 strikeouts and has grounded into 10 double plays, only recording 14 hits and 33 RBIs. Good umpiring or bad umpiring, they’re going to lose games if they can’t cash in on opportunities like this.

Brett Gardner had a good day. Probably the only Yankee to have a legitimately good day today was Brett Gardner.  He put the Yankees on the board in the third inning with a home run, his first since Game 1 of the Wild Card series against Cleveland last September, and ripped a double in the fifth.  He is inching back up towards the Mendoza line, bringing his batting average up to .197.

Leftovers

  • Gio Urshela attempted a 4th inning imitation of Derek Jeter in 2004, hurling his body towards the left field stands on a foul pop up.  Unlike Derek Jeter, however, he bounced off the netting and did not catch the ball.
  • The Yankees sat Giancarlo Stanton today after only playing him for one game (he had a pinch hit at bat on Tuesday but did not start).  Stanton made some good contact yesterday, and the Yankees should want to get his bat going and get him into a groove, so the decision to sit him was a bit surprising unless he’s dealing with lingering injury.
  • Miguel Andujar hit a solo home run in the 7th inning; he’s now hit 3 in the Yankees’ last 4 games.
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15 Comments

  1. Mungo

    Today’s game illustrates why I keep saying this edition of the Yankees is difficult to like. They fail pretty much every time when they’re presented with an opportunity to step forward and make a statement. They’re a pretty good team, but they are not a championship team. I know it’s not going to happen in season, but they need to start thinking about changes on both roster construction and coaches for 2022.

    Let’s not forget. The very best version of this squad was in 2017 when Girardi managed them. Even with the addition of Cole, they’ve been spinning backwards since.

  2. Esteddardban Florial

    I didn’t watch a single second, Ana, and thank goodness. I’m with the others, I’m done with this sorry excuse for a ballclub. I’ll still watch the games and comment about them on here but I’m done. I just can’t take it anymore. The constant flailing away at balls three feet off the plate, the baserunning blunders, the errors. They can’t even win Cole starts anymore. Used to be guys would take pride in their batting average and shorten their swings with a runner on 3rd and less than two outs. Now they just all swing for the fences when a simple sac fly will do. This isn’t the game Dad and I grew up with. It’s slow, it’s boring. I was watching the game Wed night and it took almost 4 hours to play a 4-3 game. What happened to shortening the games? It’s just become unwatchable with half the lineup hitting under .200 and Stanton can’t even DH back to back games anymore. Players are too brittle. Stanton makes Carl Pavano look like the Iron Horse. I just don’t understand how anyone likes watching this garbage. I only do it because I’m paid to do it here, otherwise I’d be doing something much better with my time like going down you tube rabbit holes.

  3. Nick

    Isn’t it kind of obvious that Stanton sitting every other day is a result of Judge needing to DH more than it is Stanton related?

  4. Wire Fan

    While it didn’t affect the outcome, the continued lack of fundamentals and good decision making is incredibly frustrating.

    Torres trying to bunt…in the first inning? That is not really one of his skills, what is he thinking?

    Frazier airmailing the cutoff man on the first RBI single in the 5th ended up costing the team a run. Rather than making the fundamental play and throwing it so the cutoff man could cut it, he was playing hero ball. The batter easily took the extra base and scored on the next single.

    Given how widespread this is, it has to be put on the coaching and manager – it is clearly not a priority as they grind away on their analytic reports. Gardner and DJL are probably the only ones who can be trusted on the bases.

  5. dasit

    not sure how this season could be the final straw for anyone who sat through the stump merrill years

  6. Jimbo

    Not even thinking of deserting the Yankees. Yes it’s incredibly frustrating, but as long as we’re within shouting distance of a pennant or even a wild card, I’m rooting. Andujar and Frazier coming around are good signs and the pitching has exceeded expectations. It ain’t over til it’s over.

  7. Steven Tydings

    This game is high on the Girardi meter.

  8. Cary

    Glad I didn’t tune in today. This Yankees team needs to start considering being sellers as the trade deadline approaches. No need to keep people like Boone & Cashman around either. Time to reset with an eye towards the future, this team is worse than teams I watched in the early ’70s. Cashman has built an amazingly inflexible roster and the better teams are running circles around what the Yankees keep rolling out. Philosophically this is a broken organization.

  9. Today was the day I gave up my 65 years of fandom of the Yankees, I am that disgusted with this team.

    Yes, the umpire was so effing bad it was beyond belief, but Andujar K’ed on a pitch at least 2 feet out of the zone with runners on 2nd and 3rd making his home run when they were down 8 absolutely worthless.

    I refuse to torture myself another minute with this team, bye, bye Yankees and major league baseball.

    • Cary

      I’m at this point also. The game is pretty much unwatchable. We’re watching guys go up there hacking away for all they’re worth just trying to hit a home run. Not interested!!

    • Brian M

      Ok see you next week.

    • Brian M

      Does Cole still need Higgy to be his personal catcher? Lets stop pretending like it makes a big difference. But I’m sure if Gary caught Cole today everyone would want Kellin Deglan to take his roster spot.

      Also what happened to that graphic that YES was flashing every 30 seconds about Higgy’s superior hitting stats while catching Cole. Was there no correlation after all? Who would have thought.

      • Mungo

        I agree. When Cole came to the Yankees, Gary was his catcher his first four game and he had a 2.75 ERA. Then he had a couple games when he struggled, and Higgy was installed as his personal catcher and he’s basically had Cole since. It’s easy to look great when Cole is locked in. So they should flip the script. Cole has not been great overall in two of his last four starts, and in the other two he clearly was still not peak Cole. Gary has done a solid job with the backend of the rotation with guys like Monty and German. Let Gary catch Cole now. It’s not that I don’t want Higgy to catch games, but they should end the personal catcher nonsense. Higgy’s a great catcher? Ok. Give him Taillon and give Cole to Gary, and let’s see who’s the better catcher!

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