Yuck. Look, two out of three ain’t bad, but this was an ugly way to finish the series. Between poor baserunning and fielding, the Yankees didn’t do themselves any favors. Of course, Clint Frazier was responsible for many of the blunders, but he wasn’t alone.
The game appeared out of reach when it was 8-2, but the Yankees plated three runs in the eighth and threatened briefly in the ninth. Alas, it was too little too late. With a 8-5 victory, Boston leaves the Bronx 8.5 games behind the Yankees. On to the takeaways:
1. Clint Frazier isn’t tenable in right field. There’s been a lot of discussion regarding Frazier’s defense lately, and understandably so. Tonight didn’t help. He made at least four mistakes by my count:
- Let a single go through the wickets and to the wall.
- Got a late jump on a sinking liner which led to an ill-advised dive attempt that he missed.
- Made a poor throw decision after the missed dive.
- Misplayed a blooper which allowed the ball to bounce into the corner.
These mistakes played a huge role in Boston scoring five runs in the seventh and eighth innings.
Per Statcast, Clint is 11 outs below average in the field, worst in baseball. I have a feeling that number will be worse when the site refreshes tomorrow.
Anyway, it’s probably time to stop playing Frazier in right field. If he winds up spending more time in the minors, let him work on it there. As long as he’s in the majors though, it should be left field or designated hitter. He seems far more comfortable in left.
2. Gleyber does a lot of things well, but baserunning isn’t one of them. The Yankees had David Price on the ropes in the fourth inning but couldn’t deliver the big blow. Voit homered and Gio Urshela hit a sac fly with the bases full. Then, with Clint Frazier up, runners on the corners with two outs, and the score still 3-2, Torres inexplicably tried to steal second.
Gleyber got in a rundown, which forced Hicks to try to score from third. A few throws back and forth eventually resulted in Hicks getting tagged out at home.
Baserunning metrics aren’t easy to interpret, but for Torres, they do help confirm the eye test. Whether it’s Fangraphs’ baserunning value metric or UBR, Torres is near the bottom of the league. Anecdotally, it seems like he makes his fair share of mistakes on the basepaths.
3. Luke Voit’s defense at first base is not good. In the top of the second, Christian Vázquez hit a ground ball to the right side. Voit ranged to his right and fumbled it. Even if he did field it cleanly, chances are that CC Sabathia wasn’t going to beat the runner to the base for the out. Seemed innocuous enough at the time, especially since there were two outs, but Vázquez eventually came around to score.
If you watch the replay, you’ll notice that DJ LeMahieu would have had no issue fielding that grounder. It should have been a routine 4-3 putout, but instead, Voit tried to play it. Furthering confirming the gaffe is that the hit had a .110 expected batting average per Statcast.
When Sabathia’s on the mound, whoever is the first baseman should seldom range to their right. CC’s not able to get to first easily given his knee, so unless said first baseman can field it and take it to the bag himself, the better play is to hope the second baseman can grab it. Obviously it’s not always easy to break from instinct, especially for just one pitcher, but fielding has been the fly in the ointment for Voit.
4. CC’s mixed results: In his return from his short stay on the injured list, Sabathia was very efficient. He threw 83 pitches in six innings, giving the bullpen some rest after working quite a bit in the first two games. Nonetheless, he did give up a good deal of hard contact which is not what we’ve grown used to. JD Martinez and Xander Bogaerts took him deep and a handful of other pitches were struck well.
The good news is that the homers surrendered were of the solo variety. The other run he gave up, although counted as an earned run, was aided by Voit’s misplay.
The Yankees are off before tomorrow hitting the road for Toronto and Cleveland this week. We should see Didi Gregorius back by the Cleveland series, so that’s some solace to take from tonight.
The amateur draft begins tomorrow. We’ll have coverage here tomorrow. Have a good night.