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Game 37: Yanks go for sweep after learning Gleyber Torres has COVID-19

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Perhaps to no surprise after yesterday’s “abundance of caution” kept Gleyber Torres out of the lineup, today we learn that he is now the 8th member of the team’s traveling party to test positive for COVID-19. Fortunately, he’s asymptomatic. He’s now on the COVID-19 injured list and his roster spot has been taken by Miguel Andújar. Torres will be sidelined 10 days at minimum.

There’s still a game to play, and the lineup looks a bit different than usual. Not just because of the Torres news, I might add. Here are the lineups as the Yankees look to finish a sweep at Tropicana Field:

New York Yankees (20-16)

  1. DJ LeMahieu, 2B
  2. Giancarlo Stanton, DH
  3. Aaron Judge, RF
  4. Gio Urshela, SS
  5. Gary Sánchez, C
  6. Mike Ford, 1B
  7. Clint Frazier, LF
  8. Miguel Andújar, 3B
  9. Brett Gardner, CF

RHP Jameson Taillon

Tampa Bay Rays (19-19)

  1. Randy Arozarena, LF
  2. Austin Meadows, DH
  3. Manuel Margot, RF
  4. Brandon Lowe, 2B
  5. Yandy Díaz, 1B
  6. Joey Wendle, SS
  7. Kevan Smith, C
  8. Brett Phillips, CF
  9. Mike Brosseau, 3B

LHP Rich Hill

News & Notes

  • Luke Voit isn’t starting as planned. He’s being worked back in the early days of his return from the IL. (Pete Caldera)
  • Aaron Hicks has a sore wrist and is sitting. Aaron Boone says he has some imaging done today, though no word yet on results. It’s been sore for a few days, though he’s obviously played through it until now. (Lindsey Adler)
  • Luis Severino threw live batting practice today for the first time since Tommy John surgery. Per Boone, it went well and he hit 96 MPH. (Brendan Kuty)

Tonight’s game begins at 7:10pm eastern. YES and WFAN have the call locally. For those out-of-market, it’ll be on MLB Network.

Game 33: Give the Yankees a Hand

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A win’s a win. After standing absolutely no chance against Max Scherzer, Brad Hand blew the save. And he coughed up the lead again in the tenth, I might add. Same guy the Yankees beat in Game 2 of the Wild Card series last season. They’ve got his number.

The Yankees eventually won this one in 11 frames, 4-3. You read that right: the Yankees won a game in extra innings. Feels like they’ve lost a million frustrating ones already this season. To the takeaways:

Game 24: Finally, a laugher

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The Yankees made quick and easy work of the Orioles tonight, 7-0. Domingo Germán dazzled and the Bombers’ offense racked up hit after hit, including three homers. Nice to experience an easy, no stress win after a lot of frustration early this season.

The win is the team’s fifth in its last seven games. As we’ve said time and time again, the team’s poor play and malaise wasn’t going to last forever. There are still some things to work out, but the team is trending positively. Let’s break it all down.

Mailbag: Florial vs. Frazier, lineup replacement, and Hicks’s future as a switch-hitter

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Happy Friday, everyone. I just got my second vaccine dose yesterday and am feeling good for the most part. Hoping all of you have been able to or will be fully vaccinated in the not so distant future.

Like every Friday, it’s mailbag day. We answer our favorites every week, including three today. Send us your questions to viewsfrom314 at gmail dot com for a chance to be included in a future edition. With that, let’s get to the questions.

Andrew asks: I love Clint, but if he keeps struggling, wouldn’t it be worth a shot to send him down for a month and give Estevan Florial a chance to invigorate this lineup?

Clint Frazier is down to .163/.265/.209 (44 wRC+) in 49 plate appearances after last night’s 0-for-3. The left fielder is still walking a good deal (12.2 percent), but he’s hitting for absolutely no power (.047 ISO) and striking out a ton (34.7 percent). It’s bad. Really bad. He does have one minor league option remaining, so theoretically, the team could option him to the Alternate Site. I don’t see that happening, though.

I wrote a defense of Frazier last week, but things haven’t gotten better since even with a little more playing time. He’s 1-for-13 with two walks since that post. Even so, does sending him down and replacing him with Estevan Florial really make sense? No.

Florial, 23, got into one major league game last year, but otherwise, has yet to reach Double-A (other than the 2017 postseason). He’s posted astronomical strikeout rates in the minors, and overall, hasn’t hit all that well since 2017. That’s a long time ago! Not to mention the injuries he’s dealt with since. This isn’t someone the Yankees can just plug and play to invigorate the lineup. He needs more time in the minors.

Now, Florial apparently has done well in Alternate Site exhibition games, but I don’t think it’s worth making too much of that. Let’s see him perform in the minors for an extended period before considering him. Florial’s development (really, getting him back on track) is more important than hoping to catch lightning in a bottle in the Bronx right now.

Clint’s been frustrating to watch, like many other Yankees, but a swap of him and Florial isn’t going to fix this lineup overnight even if Florial raked from the start. This lineup needs the likes of Gleyber Torres, Aaron Judge, and Giancarlo Stanton cooking in the heart of the order. That’s the bottom line.

If the Yankees had a surefire upgrade of Frazier, I’d be open to it. They don’t, though. Florial’s not it. Brett Gardner is in a rut himself: .212/.333/.273 (83 wRC+) in his last 40 plate appearances. I don’t really want to see Mike Tauchman play everyday. Look, Frazier’s at-bats have been dreadful, including taking hittable fastballs over the heart of the plate. I can’t really blame Aaron Boone for playing Gardner more at this point, but Frazier is the most talented of the bunch. Again, none of these guys are rescuing the lineup on their own — that’s the middle of the order’s job. But ultimately, now’s not the time to demote Frazier.

Good discipline hasn’t turned into results for Gleyber Torres

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Gleyber Torres is off to a nightmarish start. He’s not the culprit for the Yankees’ sluggish play, but he’s been one of the main contributors to the team’s 5-10 record. It’s not just his defense that’s hurt this team, either. The 24 year-old shortstop isn’t hitting like the middle-of-the-order threat he’s expected to be.

Through 60 plate appearances, Torres owns a .196/.317/.235 (70 wRC+) in 2021. He has just two extra base hits and has struck out 25 percent of the time, which is an uptick from 17.5 percent last year and 21.4 percent in 2019. This isn’t necessarily a continuation of last year’s middling performance (106 wRC+), because if you recall, Torres finished strong. He hit .259/.377/.466 (134 wRC+) in September after a dreadful start. All that said, I’m not too concerned about Torres offensively. Although he’s had poor results, his approach hasn’t been all that bad, believe it or not.

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