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Game 56: Yankees hold off the Rays, 4-3

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Exhale, everyone. The Yankees have now won two straight nail-biters against the Rays, with tonight’s final: 4-3. It probably shouldn’t have been this close, as I’ll touch on in the takeaways, but a win’s a win. The Yankees are now 31-25 and 3.5 games behind Tampa Bay for first place. To the takeaways we go:


Game 55: Now That’s More Like It

Hey, the Yankees beat the Rays in a close game at Yankee Stadium. Who knew that was possible!? They won this one 5-3 in 11 innings to improve to 30-25 on the season. This was a game neither team really wanted to win but the Yankees pulled it out in the end. I’ll take it. Let’s win tomorrow and make it a pattern, guys.

Let’s get right to the takeaways.

Game 54: Did you expect anything else?

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We finally had some nice weather in the New York area this weekend, and I hope you found something better to do than watch the Yankees sleepwalk through another loss. Today, they fell to the Rays 3-1 and have now lost four straight. The Yankees are 29-25 one-third of the way through the season, which is an 87-win pace. It’s not what you want. Here are the takeaways:

Game 53: Yankees Swept and Embarrassed by Detroit

The Tigers came into this series with the worst run differential in the AL and handily swept the Yankees. This about sums it up:

We sincerely hope you had better things to do on this rainy Memorial Day Weekend Sunday than watch this debacle of a game in which the Bombers lost 6-2. To the takeaways:

The Yankees Will Be Okay

Usually we start these with how the starting pitcher did, but today warrants something different because it’s too easy to slip into the malaise and start thinking the season is over. It is not. After tomorrow, the season will be exactly 1/3 done, and despite how awful they have looked at times, the Yankees are on a 90 win pace.

Getting swept by any team sucks, and getting swept by the worst team in the league is even worse. It happens. Just last week, the Yankees were on a 6 game winning streak and swept the first-place White Sox. One bad week does not doom a season. There’s a reason they play 162 of these. Around these parts we’re constantly preaching patience and staying calm because the Yankees are good. In fact, they are still the best team in the AL. They didn’t look it this weekend, but they are and they will.

Starting tomorrow, the Yankees have 4 games against the Rays and Red Sox who lead the division. It’s time to hit the reset button, forget about this weekend and start playing like the team we know they are.

Mike King struggles in 5th starter audition

With Corey Kluber out for the next two months, the Yankees need another starter. Deivi García struggled in his audition yesterday, and King could not capitalize today. His final line was 2.1 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 HBP, 2 K. It took him 61 pitches just to get through those 2.1 innings. His pitch plot on the day left much to be desired:

Everything is all over the place and there’s way too many sinkers left right over the middle. Put differently, here’s a heatmap for his signature sinker on the afternoon:

You don’t need to be Matt Blake to know that’s not where you want to throw your sinker. You want that pitch to be at or below the zone to generate ground balls. Poor sinker location led to the following two-out double in the first:

The pitch location was predictably awful:

In a two strike count with two outs and RISP you absolutely cannot throw a sinker there. Especially not to a team that ranks bottom five in AVG, OBP, OPS, Runs, and HR. Thanks to some awful defending by Clint on the play, Miguel Cabrera was able to score from first on the play.

The offense is a joke right now

Five runs total in a series against the Tigers is unacceptable. Tarik Skubal came into this game with a 5.23 ERA and a 5.94 FIP to match. And the peripherals back it up:

Despite all that blue, the Yankees couldn’t get anything going against Skubal in his 6 scoreless innings.

There’s a lot of hittable pitches in there and the Yankees only managed 3 hits. They also struck out 8 times and Skubal had a 33% whiff rate on the day.

There are two things plaguing the Yankees offense right now: ground balls and bad luck. They have a 46% GB rate as a team which is the 6th highest in baseball. That’s how despite hitting the ball hard, they have nothing to show for it. In the first, after DJ and Stanton got on, Judge rifled a 108 mph grounder…for a double play. All that exit velocity means nothing when it’s pounded into the ground right at people.

Luck is also playing a factor here.

Numbers that bad are a combination of bad luck and guys pressing to try and do too much. Regression will even that out.

The April defense rears its ugly head

Believe it or not, that message was sent before the 3rd error they committed in the 3rd inning. At one point, the team had more errors than hits which is a reflection of both the offense and the defense. Here’s one of the errors:

Better get it out of their system today and play much sharper against the Rays starting tomorrow.


  • Nasty Nestor Cortes Jr. made his triumphant return to the big leagues for his first Yankee appearance since 2019. He sucked up 3.2 much needed innings and will likely be sent back to Scranton later today.
  • Even when they scored, the Yankees made another out on the bases in the 8th inning. That’s 26 outs on the bases for the season.
  • DJ LeMahieu and Gary Sánchez both had multi-hit games. Hopefully that’s a sign of things to come for both of them.
  • They somehow got the tying run to the plate in the 9th inning, so let’s see if the O’Neill theory pans out for tomorrow.

Wash the bad taste out of your mouths from this series, and hopefully look forward to better things tomorrow. It’ll be Jameson Taillon against Rich Hill back in the Bronx.

Game 52: Boring In The Motor City

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The New York Yankees just dropped a series to the Detroit Tigers. Yes, you read that correctly. The hometown team looked like the bottom feeders, while the Tigers looked like the ones with championship aspirations. Outside of a nice outing from Albert Abreu, there were no positives to take from this performance. The offense continues its malaise. The starting pitching was poor. A curious defensive play gift-wrapped two runs. It was a total team effort of disappointing play. They drop this one 6-1. To the surprise of some, their record is at 29-23. There isn’t much to discuss, so here are the short takeaways.

Offense, Where Art Thou?

The Yankees currently have a non-competitive offense. They experienced a hot streak, by their recent standards, a few weeks ago, but the unit is obviously regressing. The quality of at-bats is getting worse. They no longer drive the ball. The batters aren’t trusting the guys around them. They are a total mess.

There is a concerning trend emerging with this offense. They allow too many poor pitching performances to go by without major damage. Yes, Spencer Trumbull threw a no-hitter a day before Corey Kluber’s. But let’s just say that the quality of Trumbull’s performance didn’t match that historic night. Here is the Tigers pitcher’s chart:

Outside of an alarming rise in strikeouts recently, the Yankees’ number one issue is positive impact on pitches in the hitting zone. They are either letting them go by for strikes, fouling them off, or missing them altogether. You could also say their overall pitch selection during at-bats is generally poor. I point out Trumbull’s pitch chart because there are many pitches that a functional offense punishes. There are a ton of sinkers up in the zone. There are four-seamers in good hitting areas. The changeup was nothing more than a show-me pitch. The slider was pretty good.

And yet, the Yankees managed three hits off Trumbull. They had a chance to blow the game wide open in the second inning and failed to do so. Miguel Andújar stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and no outs. Here is his pitch chart for that at-bat:

What exactly are you doing with these pitches? The batter is in an advantageous position here. The pitcher has to come to you. Miggy must work an at-bat so he can hunt a pitch to drive. Instead, he goes after a pitcher’s pitch and grounds into a routine double play. This is the function of a poor hitting approach. Yes, the swing isn’t good, but this can happen when you don’t commit to a plan. There are so many issues at play with the lineup, and control of the strike/hitting zone is a huge one. You can’t drive any of these pitches.

I don’t want to pick on Miggy because this is a lineup-wide issue. His at bat was the most glaring though. When you are scuffling offensively, you must take advantage of the few opportunities presented. Andújar failed to do so. The Yankees couldn’t muster another threat against a mediocre pitching outing. This is incredibly disappointing.

Deivi Flops His Audition

Looking for a chance to replace Corey Kluber in the rotation, Deivi García stepped into a pretty optimal position for his return to the big club. At the most, the Tigers’ lineup has three hitters who could pose a threat. You can’t write up a better scenario for a young pitcher to impress his team. Deivi García was unable to do that.

We’re all aware that Deivi’s biggest weakness is control. He still struggles to throw strikes, let alone high-quality strikes consistently. When he clicks, he will keep hitters off balance and control the quality of contact. However, when he’s off, you get outings like today. His stuff was ok, but his control let him down. There is a lot of talk about Deivi fixing the mechanics in his delivery. You can see the impact of this process in this start. Here is the pitch chart:

The lack of control on the four-seamer really stands out here. When you throw in the low 90’s, you have to hit spots. If you can’t locate it, hitters can key in on certain areas of the zone. Detroit did just that. The Tigers batted .333 with a 37.5% hard hit rate against the fastball. All five of the hits García gave up against Detroit came off the heater.

Deivi’s changeup is a bit hard to describe. It was effective at times and pretty bad at other times. The pitched earned a 45% CSW rate, which is really good. But when you look at this chart, you’ll see the command wasn’t that great:

This could be the result of Deivi still searching for his optimal mechanics. The swinging strikes may have come from the change in speeds rather than the location. You can take some positives with this pitch, but the overall outing was a mixed bag at best.

I’m very curious to see what the Yankees do with this spot in the rotation on the next turn. I’m not sure this start was convincing enough to give Deivi another shot particularly agains the two teams ahead of the Yankees in the division. Maybe there is something they can build on from this start. There is a chance they do an opener or piggyback situation. The Yankees needed a convincing start from García and didn’t get it. The offense remains the biggest issue, but this spot in the rotation could grow into a problem sooner than later. We shall see.

UPDATE: We didn’t have to wait long on this. Deivi and Abreu are on their way to Scranton after today’s game.

At times, we’re criticized for being too optimistic, as if that is some bad thing. We tend to look at things big picture and place a larger context on things. There are moments, though, where that doesn’t fit the reality of the times. The Yankees are playing boring and dreadful baseball. They are not playing up to their capabilities, and that needs to change immediately. Our overall feelings about this season have not changed or wavered. They are title contenders. With that said, they need to start playing like one. The inconsistency and the abysmal offense need to come to an end. It should start with tomorrow’s game to avoid a sweep against the worst team in Major League Baseball. Have a good night.

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