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Game 40: Montgomery struggles, offense goes quiet after first inning in loss

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Well that was a terrible loss. Up 4-0 after a half inning and 5-2 entering the bottom of the third, the Yankees lost this one, 10-6. Jordan Montgomery couldn’t finish off a number of Orioles in spite of inducing plenty of soft contact, and the Yankees’ offense went down meekly after the first inning. Baltimore scored nine runs with two outs. Frustrating!

Even though this is another series win (and five straight series victories), the Yankees are now 1-6 in games with an opportunity to sweep a series (note: I left out the two-game set against Atlanta as an opportunity in today’s game thread). Sure feels like a lot of these series finale sweep attempt losses have been ugly ones, too. With that, let’s get to the takeaways.

Hitting a Release Valve

Today seems like a good day to stop the slide. The Yankees have been pretty putrid for the last two games, two ugly losses against the Rays. As many fans–including many of you loyal readers–would tell it, this young season has been at least mildly frustrating to many and down right infuriating to others. For some, that boiled over on Friday night with fans throwing things onto the field.

As I wrote on Twitter Saturday morning, I’m much more frustrated with people who do that than with a struggling baseball team. The latter is to be expected, even with a team as talented as the Yankees. The former is unacceptable and dangerous. Please be better, Yankee fans.

While that’s not a good way to hit a release valve, we all need to at some point. That includes me despite the patience I’ve been preaching online and in real life. So here’s my release valve, my early airing of the grievances, so to speak.

On the micro level, I’m annoyed with Aaron Boone pulling his patented ‘get one more inning out of the starter’ act, which almost never works. He did it yesterday and it helped put the game out of reach. Of course, Jordan Montgomery shouldn’t be throwing five balls in a row, but there was no need for him to be in after the sixth inning.

I’m also frustrated with the team’s handling of Clint Frazier, which Derek detailed already, even before Frazier sat out on Saturday. The entire lineup seems to be slumping, save one or two guys, but only Frazier is the one who’s not allowed to work through his slump in game action. His replacement, veteran Brett Gardner, isn’t exactly lighting things on fire. He’s got two hits and three walks in his last 18 PA. Is this really an improvement?

The offense in general has been frustrating to watch, and Randy summed up why pretty easily yesterday:

When an offense isn’t getting breaks, it’s not too hard to watch. But when an offense is in between, as Randy noted, it’s awful. They seem to miss everything hittable and hit everything missable. That’s no good for anyone. But I still trust this team will hit and hit well.

The non-Gerrit Cole rotation has been disappointing to watch as a whole. Corey Kluber and Jameson Taillon haven’t lived up to their upside yet, but I’m willing to give them more time. Montgomery has been fine, but it would be nice to see him find a groove over the next few starts. Maybe not playing Tampa so much will help him and everyone.

Speaking of Cole, he’s the release valve today, right? He’s the guy the Yankees can turn to now after a losing streak and feel confident that he will stop it. With a win today, with a typical Cole outing, he can help us all head into the Yankees’ off day with confidence that things will turn around.

Game 14: More of the same

Adding injury to insult.

Today’s 6-3 loss to Tampa Bay certainly wasn’t as ugly as yesterday’s game, but that’s not saying much. The Yankees have set the bar pretty low this season and are now 5-9. Yes, it’s still early and there’s plenty of time to right the ship. But I must admit: I’m getting tired of writing about how this team is too talented to perform like this. While it’s true, it’s frustrating to watch. Get it together already.

On top of the general sluggish play, that this kind of performance continues to happen against the Rays makes it even worse. The Yankees have now lost four of five to Tampa Bay this season. Clearly, it’s not just about the Trop being a house of horrors for the Yankees, either. Tampa Bay has simply dominated the Bombers for a while now.

Let’s get to today’s takeaways after the jump.

Game 14: Back to the Grind

Well, last night happened, huh? Read about it from Randy here; that’s all that needs to be said about it.

As for today, Jordan Montgomery takes to the hill against to lead the Yankees after an awful defeat. He’ll face the Rays for the second start in a row and will be opposed by Tyler Glasnow.

The lineup backing Montgomery up will be:

  1. DJ LeMahieu, 1B
  2. Aaron Judge, RF
  3. Aaron Hicks, CF
  4. Giancarlo Stanton, DH
  5. Gleyber Torres, SS
  6. Brett Gardner, LF
  7. Gary Sánchez, C
  8. Gio Urshela, 3B
  9. Rougned Odor, 2B

The Tampa lineup opposing Monty will be:

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

Of note:

If this is the case, the Yankees should just drop Bruce from the roster as soon as they can. Mike Ford can’t be up yet because of the ten day rule for options, but he should be up to replace Bruce soon.

Might this be the first time Boone and his coaches speak for fans? Perhaps!

Enjoy the game, folks (shouldn’t be hard compared to last night) and check back here later for takeaways and any news.

Thoughts ahead of today’s rubber game against Toronto

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Happy hump day, folks. The Yankees are 5-6 as of this writing, and while that’s a less than ideal start to the season, it’s important to emphasize that there are still 151 games remaining on the slate. I’m not sure what the cause is, but it feels like everyone is hyper-focused and scrutinizing each and every pitch so far unlike any season prior. Perhaps that’s because people are more focused on baseball after 2020’s general awfulness. Nonetheless, as the old saying goes: it’s a marathon, not a sprint. So with that, I have some thoughts on the Bombers thus far.

The non-Cole starters need to do better finishing at-bats. Not everyone can be Gerrit Cole, obviously, but the rest of the Yankees’ rotation has had a lot of trouble putting away hitters when they get to two strikes. We saw it last night with Jameson Taillon, namely in his second inning. He wound up plunking a batter and walking another after getting to a couple of favorable two strike counts. Unfortunately, that’s been a theme for the Yankees’ starters thus far, other than the ace of course. Some numbers to chew on:

OBPK-Rate (%)
NYY excl. Cole.29744.5
SP in two strike counts.
OBPK-Rate (%)
NYY excl. Cole.30533.3
SP ahead in the count.

Ugly, to say the least. It’s no wonder that the rotation hasn’t been able to offer much length so far this season. Can’t go deep into games if you’re unable to put away opponents in pitcher’s counts consistently. As I noted in last night’s recap, the team has gotten 5+ innings from its starters four times in eleven games. All of those came from Cole and Jordan Montgomery.

Now, it’s very early in the season and I’m not ready to hit the panic button on this rotation. A few reasons why I’m still confident:

  • Corey Kluber will not maintain a 15.2 percent walk rate. Admittedly, his command has not been good to date. But we’ve seen flashes, and his stuff looks fine. There’s still some rust to shake off here.
  • Jordan Montgomery is terrific at suppressing hard contact. I know his last start didn’t exemplify this, but I believe that was a blip. Monty owns a career hard hit rate of 31.5 percent, well below the league mark of 35.1.
  • Jameson Taillon’s stuff looks sharp. He’s dotting his fastball up in the zone and getting tons of whiffs. He had a difficult time honing his breaking balls last night, but the movement and spin on those offerings are still very good. I think we’ll see more of the performance he gave in his first outing, plus some more length as he builds up.
  • Deivi García is waiting in the wings and even though Domingo Germán had two terrible starts, I think he’s perfectly capable of being a better-than-your-typical fifth starter.

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