It is disgusting outside, so it was a good idea for the Yankees to hold off their next intrasquad game until tomorrow. The Yanks will take the field again at 5:15 pm for another intrasquad game. It’s a rematch of the first one, with camp darling Clarke Schmidt taking on J.A. Happ.
The gross weather means it’s a quiet day for news, so I’ll keep this short. However, we did get this video today, which you should watch before we get into the news and notes from today:
The Big Story: Bullpen, Bullpen, Bullpen
The bullpen and its usage is really worthy of its own post, so I’m going to keep this brief, but I wanted to bring it up today because I haven’t yet. The Yankee bullpen is extremely good – and they’ve looked extremely good so far. It’s going to be a huge factor in a short sprint of a season, and I think you could argue it already is playing a huge role.
“Pitchers are always going to have an advantage early [on in a season],” Mike Tauchman told reporters yesterday. “One of the advantages to facing our pitching is that they’re just running out All-Star after All-Star, elite arm after elite arm. I think that that’s going to help us adjust pretty quickly when competition starts”
I think that’s a great point from Tauchman, who also noted that pitchers have an easier time reaching game speed and intensity while working out on their own. The Yanks batters will face one of the premier bullpens in baseball day-in and day-out during this camp. Will that help them round into form quicker than it would if they had a trash bullpen? I’m not sure, but it feels like a good point from Tauchman so I’m going to roll with it. Why not?
Anyway, it sure does feel like the Yankee pen is looking about as good as we’d expect it to. Zack Britton agrees:
Seems about right to me. They’ve all looked really good. And while the starters have shown an ability to throw a lot recently, the Yanks are still going to be relying heavily on their pen, especially out of the gate. This is a good sign for the Yanks. I’m curious how they’ll manage workloads and leverage, but it’s going to be fun to watch. The first step is getting these guys consistent reps and up-to-speed, though. The good news is that it seems like they’re already there. Next step: July 23.
- Deivi García With A Limited Appearance: Everyone’s favorite Yankee prospect Deivi García took the hill last night and he looked good – albeit in limited action. He retired the side 1-2-3 in the first “inning”, getting Mike Tauchman to fly out and Miguel Andújar to ground out to third before retiring Gary Sánchez on strikes (video below). As Aaron Boone said, it was “good” for Deivi to get action in the Bronx, but I’m interested by the length. He only threw 12 pitches. Maybe he’s just being eased into action – or maybe the Yanks are prepping him for the bullpen. His stuff would certainly play there in the short season before returning to the rotation in 2021. I’m good with that, personally. Don’t let the Joba memory scare you.
- Jordan Montgomery Goes 4 Innings: Yesterday’s big story, I argued, was the return of Jordan Montgomery to the mound. Gumby looked pretty good out there, lasting 4 innings and throwing 58 pitches. He got 3 strikeouts against 2 walks (62% strike rate). I’ll take it. Montgomery himself said his arm feels about as “the best it has in a long time“, which is the most important thing. He’s healthy, and hopefully that means he’ll be able to contribute like it’s 2017. Here’s some video of him striking out Aaron Judge:
- Summer of Thairo: Another game, another homer for Thairo Estrada, who has two so far. The 24-year-old infielder is a favorite of mine. I hope he can keep it up.
- Tommy Kahnle’s Changeup Usage: Check out this analysis from Ben Clemens over at FanGraphs on Tommy Kahnle and the innovative way he uses his changeup. It’s worth the read.
- Notes from Up North: Future nemesis Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is no longer a third baseman. Reports are that he will focus on 1B and DH, with third as a backup option. This move makes sense for a lot of reasons. I think people sleep on the Blue Jays as a potential pain in the ass.
- COVID Issues: Surprise surprise, it’s becoming clear that the testing infrastructure MLB promised is very difficult to deliver. There was a really embarrassing display from the league not testing folks arriving from the Dominican Republic yesterday on top of just general logistical concerns. I’ve kept it very baseball-heavy lately (this is, after all, a baseball blog) but this is 100% the biggest story out there. This all falls apart if they can’t keep this up.
We’ll keep you posted if anything else interesting happens before tomorrow’s game, but I doubt there will be anything. Enjoy your rainy Friday night, everyone. We’ll see you tomorrow.