Tag: Jose Ramirez Page 1 of 2

Tale of the tape: AL MVP

via @Yankees

Surprise, surprise. DJ LeMahieu is one of three finalists for the American League Most Valuable Player award. The second baseman had a stellar 2020 campaign and is unquestionably deserving of consideration. Whether or not he’ll win it is another story. His competition, José Abreu and José Ramírez, are also worthy candidates. The winner will be announced on November 12th. Let’s compare the finalists statistically and examine if a narrative can make a difference.

By the numbers

MetricLeMahieuAbreuRamírez
AVG.364.317.292
OBP.421.370.386
SLG.590.617.607
HR101917
RBI276046
wRC+177167163
DRC+135140147
OPS+177166163
fWAR2.52.63.6
rWAR2.82.82.2
WARP1.91.91.1

Although LeMahieu is at the top in a number of offensive categories, he falls behind in the power department. The big home run and RBI totals for Abreu and Ramírez certainly could help make up the distance between LeMahieu’s league-leading batting average, at least if we’re considering this from a traditional perspective.

From an analytics standpoint, LeMahieu is still the top all-around hitter if you prefer wRC+ or OPS+. However, DRC+ is in favor of Cleveland’s third baseman.

If this were a WAR contest, which it is not, LeMahieu and Abreu are neck-and-neck. Meanwhile, Ramírez’s evaluation per versions at FanGraphs (fWAR), Baseball Reference (rWAR), and Baseball Prospectus (WARP), vary quite a bit. I suspect that FanGraphs’ version favors J-Ram’s defense a whole lot more than the others.

All of this is to say that there isn’t an obvious winner based on the numbers (I cherry-picked) alone. It would seem, unless you really prefer fWAR or DRC+, that LeMahieu and Abreu should be 1-2. But as you’ll see shortly, Ramírez has some other things in his favor that could make up ground.

Yankees ALDS Opponents Fear Index

The agony of defeat, post-Hicks catch.

With just 2.5 weeks left in the season, the Yankees are almost certainly going to hold homefield advantage in the ALDS. They hold a five-game lead on the Twins and would need a genuine collapse to be playing in Minnesota.

But it is time to start thinking about potential opponents to roll into the Bronx on Oct. 4 for the American League Division Series. With the Red Sox all but eliminated, there are four realistic first-round opponents: The Twins, Rays, Athletics and Indians.

If the Yankees finish with the AL’s second-best record, they get the Twins. If they beat out Houston, they place one of the latter three teams.

Do any of these teams pique the fear index? Not really. The Yankees should win a series against any of these teams. But which is the most fearsome? That is what I want to find out. Let’s peruse the question, shall we?

Minnesota Twins Fear Index: 2 out of 5

The story of the Minnesota Twins has been home runs. They’ve hit 276 of them this season and broke the 2018 Yankees’ record … before the 2019 Yankees tied them last night. They’ve been rewarded by the juiced baseball for shoring up their roster in free agency. While these Twins have very little postseason experience, those home runs should carry over into October.

In two series with the Bombers, they lost two of three both times, though they were both tightly contested series. It’s hard to forget the slugfests in Minnesota. The Twins were able to get to the Yankees’ late-inning relievers, though they did most of their damage against Domingo German, CC Sabathia and J.A. Happ.

As a team, they have a 117 wRC+, trailing just the Yankees and Astros. Their 4.07 staff FIP is fourth-best in baseball and their 4.17 ERA is eighth.

However, here’s why the Twins are better on paper than in playoff series: They’re shorthanded. Byron Buxton is out for the year. Nelson Cruz is dealing with a wrist injury. Max Kepler has had multiple injuries in his breakout season.

Get well soon, y’all (MLB Gifs)

Meanwhile, their best pitcher in the second half, Michael Pineda, was suspended for PEDs and is done for the year. The rest of their starting pitching has struggled in the second half and their bullpen might not hold up in October. Starter Kyle Gibson is dealing with an intestinal issue and returns to the team Thursday.

You can throw out the Yankees’ postseason history with the Twins. Most of that involves players long since retired and this Minnesota team actually gets strikeouts and hits homers. However, the Yankees have a clear advantage on Minnesota when they aren’t using their back-end starters.

Tampa Bay Rays Fear Index: 0.5 out of 5

On paper, the Rays have one of the best pitching staffs in baseball. They’re second only to the Dodgers with a 3.63 ERA and lead MLB with a 3.67 FIP and 22.6 fWAR. They strike people out at a high rate and the team boasts Charlie Morton at the head of their rotation.

However, they’re thin going into the stretch run. Morton has a 4.52 ERA in the second half. Though he’s matched up well with the Yankees, he would be the Rays’ best Wild Card Game starter, so they might not see him more than once. Meanwhile, both Tyler Glasnow and Blake Snell are on the mend from injuries and neither will be fully stretched out in all likelihood.

Tampa Bay’s bullpen has held its own this season … except against the Yankees. Colin Poche, Diego Castillo, Emilio Pagan, the Yankees have hit all of them. While deadline acquisition Nick Anderson has been electric in Tampa, the Rays’ depth won’t confer them the same advantage in October. It’s hard to imagine a team bullpenning its way through 3-4 games in a series and surviving.

As for their lineup, it’s fine. Austin Meadows and Tommy Pham are both above-average players and the team sports a collection of good but not great hitters. They don’t stack up with the rest of the AL contenders.

The Yankees beat them 12 out of 17 so far this year. Considering that track record, the Rays’ injured pitching staff and the lack of homefield advantage at Tropicana Field, Tampa Bay is undoubtedly the team the Yankees would most want to face. A series loss to Tampa would be a terrible look.

Oakland Athletics Fear Index: 2.4 out of 5

Over the past few weeks, the A’s made their case as a team to fear. They took four of six from the Yankees and could have easily won the two games they lost. They showed off their offense led by Marcus Semien and Matts Chapman and Olson. Those same players anchor an impressive defensive infield.

Oakland’s pitching staff also is at full strength. Sean Manaea has had two fantastic starts since coming off the injured list and is able to make full appearances. He’s already a prime candidate for a Wild Card Game start, should they get there. They can follow him with Mike Fiers, Tanner Roark and Homer Bailey, each of whom has a win over the Yankees this year.

Meanwhile, their bullpen has holes. The Yankees beat Liam Hendriks in last year’s Wild Card Game and in their series finale before Labor Day. For manager Bob Melvin, it’s been Hendriks, Yusmeiro Petit and a cadre of sub-par options. Rookies A.J. Puk and Jesus Luzardo could be a boost.

Coupled with holes at the bottom of their lineup, the Athletics certainly have exploitable weaknesses for the Yankees to beat. The Bombers took two of three in the Bronx and would only need to play twice in Oakland at most. As they stand now, the A’s are probably the top ALDS competition.

Cleveland Indians Fear Index: 2* out of 5

Cleveland sports the best rotation of these four teams with Mike Clevinger and Shane Bieber as a 1-2 punch. Zach Plesac and Adam Plutko don’t hold up quite as well as Oakland’s veteran back end, but the chance to use their top two for the majority of a series carries significant weight.

This team also features Francisco Lindor, one of the more dynamic players in baseball. He can change a series and is a player you can’t let beat you. Carlos Santana has had a career-year in the middle of the lineup and deadline acquisitions Yasiel Puig and Franmil Reyes extend the lineup.

But there’s that asterisk above. That’s for Jose Ramirez. With him in the lineup, Cleveland probably surpasses the Athletics as a threat. He had just returned to MVP candidate form before he broke his hand in August. I’d assume he’s out for a potential ALDS, but that hasn’t been confirmed.

As with the other ALDS opponents, the Indians have outs at the bottom of their lineup and a creaky bullpen. Brad Hand has blown five saves and the rest of the pen relies on pitchers like Tyler Clippard. Can he hold up in October? Hmmm.


The Yankees should be overwhelming favorites in any first-round series. They’ll either be hosting a banged-up Twins squad — the most-likely scenario — or will be playing a team that used its best starter or band of relievers in the Wild Card Game. We saw in 2017 how exhausted the Yankees were from that one game and it nearly lost them the ALDS. The Bombers get the rest advantage this year, and they’ll have the talent advantage, too.

Game 124: Yanks Rebound, Beat Cleveland 3-2

Embed from Getty Images

Now THAT is more like it. That game had a playoff atmosphere (at least it seemed so from the couch) and the last two strikeouts at the end each elicited a true fist pump. I love when that happens. Anyway, the Yanks return to 40 games over .500, improving to 82-42 and retain their huge lead on their AL East competition. You love to see it.

It’s Friday night and that was a tense one, so get right into the takeaways, shall we?

1. Masterful Masahiro Returns Again: Let me be the first to say it: I’m hardly the most objective analyst of Masahiro Tanaka. I just straight up love the dude. He’s a fierce competitor, I love his style of pitching, and I root for him extremely hard. That said, this year has been a bit of a challenge for my man, obviously, and I know that his HR struggles get on fans’ nerves (and for good reason!). His last two starts, though, have been exactly what the doctor has ordered. Check it out:

  • August 11 vs. Toronto: 8.0 IP, 3 H, zeros, 4 K
  • August 16 vs. Cleveland: 6.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 2 K

Add that all up and you have a pretty damn solid stretch, and he’s provided the Yanks the opportunity to rest some of their taxed bullpen arms. That’s the Tanaka we all expect. Anyway, here is his strike zone plot from tonight:

A lot of balls over the middle of the plate, but he also kept the ball down in the zone and the results were pretty good. Hard to complain, especially with the way Cleveland has been swinging the bats lately. He did, of course, surrender two home runs. Here are the videos of those:

Gross! But those were the only blemishes on the night, which was otherwise quite good. He was really feeling it into the 7th inning, before Puig’s home run. He did give up a double to Ramírez (more on him below) that kept the game tense and in the balance, but Tommy Kahnle (also more on him below) bailed him out.

Let’s keep the good times rolling in 5 days, Masahiro. We’d all appreciate it.

2. Does Judge Look Like Judge?: Aaron Judge, by far the best hitter in the Yankee lineup, is in a slump. You know it. I know it. He knows it. The idiot fans who booed him last night know it. But the thing with a player as good as Judge is that we all know he’ll snap out of it eventually, and you don’t have to squint that hard to hope that tonight was the beginning of that.

He started off the game with a hard single over Lindor’s head at short. He’d later score in the inning. He lined out sharply to Yasiel Puig in right in his next at-bat, then he added a double in his 3rd at-bat, and he walked in his 4th at-bat. If you were wondering if they were cheap, check this out:

That’s more like it. Now, this isn’t exactly surprising. Despite his huge slump, check out the exit velocity leaderboards for batters with at least 150 balls put in play so far in 2019:

  1. Aaron Judge: 96.7 mph
  2. Nelson Cruz: 94.2 mph
  3. Miguel Sano: 93.4 mph
  4. Christian Yelich: 93.4 mph
  5. Yoan Moncada: 93.0 mph

That’s a pretty stark difference right there. Two whole miles per hour! Now, exit velocity isn’t the end-all, be-all by any means, but this is a solid reminder that even when slumping, Judge absolutely rockets the ball. It’s also a sign that he’s going to snap out of this funk sooner or later. Besides, our man is still hitting .262/.385/.452 (121 wRC+) with a 16.0% walk rate in a “down” year with a huge slump. If that’s a floor, I have to say: seems pretty good!

3. Gio Urshela Makes Me The Most Happy Fella: Another night, another takeaway about Gio Urshela. I suspect none of you mind, though, because what a story this guy is. Anyway, tonight, let’s focus on his skills with runners in scoring position. Our guy was hitting .378/.402/.537 with RISP entering tonight with 42 RBI. That will improve following this one:

That’s just another well-struck ball for Gio, who drove the ball the other way to drive in Judge. That made the score 3-1. (He also added another single with two on in the 7th, but didn’t drive in a run.)

What more can you say about this dude? He has been just an unbelievable, unbelievable addition to the team this year. Our guy, as Derek noted earlier, is close to qualifying for the AL batting title…and, when he does, he’ll be positioned to win it. He’s now up to .340/.381/.586 (150 wRC+) following tonight’s 2-3 performance. Amazing. Just amazing.

4. José Ramírez is a Certified Yankee Killer: Let it be known that I am officially sick of José Ramírez. What a certified pain in the ass this guy is. He’s a hell of a player, of course, and his early-season struggles were genuinely confounding, but my word does he destroy the Yankees. And I mean destroy the Yankees. In 130 plate appearances against the Yankees before tonight, here was Ramírez’s line against New York: .362/.408/.623 with 8 home runs and 25 RBI. That’s essentially Mike Trout, for what it’s worth.

Anyway, tonight didn’t buck the trend. Ramírez went 3-4 with a homer, as you saw above, a single, and a double for good measure. He’s up to .253/.326/.465 (100 wRC+) on the season now, which is pretty remarkable given how atrocious he was through June. He’s regressing to the mean in a serious way, and I for one hate it. That aside, though, how satisfying was that Aroldis Chapman strikeout of Ramírez. I was convinced, and I mean convinced, that he was going to launch one to right field, but Chapman got the best of him.

(I’d also be remiss not to point out one delicious, delicious statistic: Ramírez hit .100/.182/.100 in 25 at-bats in the 2017 ALDS. I’d take that again this year, if it comes to that. Wouldn’t you?)

Leftovers

  • Gleyber Torres, Still Just 22: I just wanted to point this out quickly, in case anyone forgot. Gleyber Torres is 22 years old! 22! I bring this up because our guy added another RBI single tonight in a 1-4 night, which brings his season line to .282/.347/.523 (123 wRC+) with 27 home runs, 77 runs scored, 71 RBI, and an improved walk/strikeout ratio over last year. Did I mention he’s just 22? What a damn stud. Here’s the video of the single:
  • Puig’s Arm Makes an Impact: With the Yanks up 2-0 in the 2nd inning and Maybin on 3rd with 1 out, the Yanks sent Maybin home on a short flyout from DJ LeMahieu to RF Yasiel Puig. It was a phenomenally stupid send given: 1) the short fly ball, 2) Puig’s arm, and 3) the fact that Aaron Judge, slump or not, was on deck. He was out by a mile and couldn’t even slide. The Yankees remembered in the 7th inning, too, as two similar fly balls hit by Torres and Sánchez with the bases loaded did not result in sends. Annoying, but it’s an example of how defensive tools really change a game. It ain’t all about the offense. Here’s the video of the double play:
  • Tommy Kahnle: I’ve said this on Twitter a bunch of times now, but my word do I love the completely unexpected return of 2017 Playoff Tommy Kahnle™. Tonight, he came in with Ramírez on 2nd and 1 out in the 7th with the Yanks hanging on to a 3-2 lead. The result? Two strikeouts and no sweat. That changeup is filthy, man. It really is. Kahnle now has a 2.88 ERA with 73 strikeouts in 50 innings pitched. He often looks just unhittable. I love it.
  • Jim Kaat Sounds Like the Yankees: I am out of town back home in Massachusetts and caught today’s game on MLB Network, and I have to say it was nice to hear Jim Kaat calling a Yankee game again. It just reminds me of Yankee games of old, and it was oddly soothing. He just sounds like the Yankees, doesn’t he? Even if he’s paired with the (to me, I know he’s a legend) insufferable Bob Costas. It’s just familiar, and I love it.

Up Next

The battle of the first-place teams continues tomorrow afternoon when the Yanks face Cleveland for the third game of this four-game set (and potential playoff matchup). James Paxton (8-6, 4.40 ERA) and his new approach will take on Zach Plesac (6-3, 3.27 ERA) at 1:05 pm. Catch the game on MLB Network nationally, YES locally, and on WFAN for the radio broadcast. Enjoy the rest of your Friday night, everyone.

Game 124: Yanks Rebound, Beat Cleveland 3-2

Embed from Getty Images

Now THAT is more like it. That game had a playoff atmosphere (at least it seemed so from the couch) and the last two strikeouts at the end each elicited a true fist pump. I love when that happens. Anyway, the Yanks return to 40 games over .500, improving to 82-42 and retain their huge lead on their AL East competition. You love to see it.

It’s Friday night and that was a tense one, so get right into the takeaways, shall we?

1. Masterful Masahiro Returns Again: Let me be the first to say it: I’m hardly the most objective analyst of Masahiro Tanaka. I just straight up love the dude. He’s a fierce competitor, I love his style of pitching, and I root for him extremely hard. That said, this year has been a bit of a challenge for my man, obviously, and I know that his HR struggles get on fans’ nerves (and for good reason!). His last two starts, though, have been exactly what the doctor has ordered. Check it out:

  • August 11 vs. Toronto: 8.0 IP, 3 H, zeros, 4 K
  • August 16 vs. Cleveland: 6.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 2 K

Add that all up and you have a pretty damn solid stretch, and he’s provided the Yanks the opportunity to rest some of their taxed bullpen arms. That’s the Tanaka we all expect. Anyway, here is his strike zone plot from tonight:

A lot of balls over the middle of the plate, but he also kept the ball down in the zone and the results were pretty good. Hard to complain, especially with the way Cleveland has been swinging the bats lately. He did, of course, surrender two home runs. Here are the videos of those:

Gross! But those were the only blemishes on the night, which was otherwise quite good. He was really feeling it into the 7th inning, before Puig’s home run. He did give up a double to Ramírez (more on him below) that kept the game tense and in the balance, but Tommy Kahnle (also more on him below) bailed him out.

Let’s keep the good times rolling in 5 days, Masahiro. We’d all appreciate it.

2. Does Judge Look Like Judge?: Aaron Judge, by far the best hitter in the Yankee lineup, is in a slump. You know it. I know it. He knows it. The idiot fans who booed him last night know it. But the thing with a player as good as Judge is that we all know he’ll snap out of it eventually, and you don’t have to squint that hard to hope that tonight was the beginning of that.

He started off the game with a hard single over Lindor’s head at short. He’d later score in the inning. He lined out sharply to Yasiel Puig in right in his next at-bat, then he added a double in his 3rd at-bat, and he walked in his 4th at-bat. If you were wondering if they were cheap, check this out:

That’s more like it. Now, this isn’t exactly surprising. Despite his huge slump, check out the exit velocity leaderboards for batters with at least 150 balls put in play so far in 2019:

  1. Aaron Judge: 96.7 mph
  2. Nelson Cruz: 94.2 mph
  3. Miguel Sano: 93.4 mph
  4. Christian Yelich: 93.4 mph
  5. Yoan Moncada: 93.0 mph

That’s a pretty stark difference right there. Two whole miles per hour! Now, exit velocity isn’t the end-all, be-all by any means, but this is a solid reminder that even when slumping, Judge absolutely rockets the ball. It’s also a sign that he’s going to snap out of this funk sooner or later. Besides, our man is still hitting .262/.385/.452 (121 wRC+) with a 16.0% walk rate in a “down” year with a huge slump. If that’s a floor, I have to say: seems pretty good!

3. Gio Urshela Makes Me The Most Happy Fella: Another night, another takeaway about Gio Urshela. I suspect none of you mind, though, because what a story this guy is. Anyway, tonight, let’s focus on his skills with runners in scoring position. Our guy was hitting .378/.402/.537 with RISP entering tonight with 42 RBI. That will improve following this one:

That’s just another well-struck ball for Gio, who drove the ball the other way to drive in Judge. That made the score 3-1. (He also added another single with two on in the 7th, but didn’t drive in a run.)

What more can you say about this dude? He has been just an unbelievable, unbelievable addition to the team this year. Our guy, as Derek noted earlier, is close to qualifying for the AL batting title…and, when he does, he’ll be positioned to win it. He’s now up to .340/.381/.586 (150 wRC+) following tonight’s 2-3 performance. Amazing. Just amazing.

4. José Ramírez is a Certified Yankee Killer: Let it be known that I am officially sick of José Ramírez. What a certified pain in the ass this guy is. He’s a hell of a player, of course, and his early-season struggles were genuinely confounding, but my word does he destroy the Yankees. And I mean destroy the Yankees. In 130 plate appearances against the Yankees before tonight, here was Ramírez’s line against New York: .362/.408/.623 with 8 home runs and 25 RBI. That’s essentially Mike Trout, for what it’s worth.

Anyway, tonight didn’t buck the trend. Ramírez went 3-4 with a homer, as you saw above, a single, and a double for good measure. He’s up to .253/.326/.465 (100 wRC+) on the season now, which is pretty remarkable given how atrocious he was through June. He’s regressing to the mean in a serious way, and I for one hate it. That aside, though, how satisfying was that Aroldis Chapman strikeout of Ramírez. I was convinced, and I mean convinced, that he was going to launch one to right field, but Chapman got the best of him.

(I’d also be remiss not to point out one delicious, delicious statistic: Ramírez hit .100/.182/.100 in 25 at-bats in the 2017 ALDS. I’d take that again this year, if it comes to that. Wouldn’t you?)

Leftovers

  • Gleyber Torres, Still Just 22: I just wanted to point this out quickly, in case anyone forgot. Gleyber Torres is 22 years old! 22! I bring this up because our guy added another RBI single tonight in a 1-4 night, which brings his season line to .282/.347/.523 (123 wRC+) with 27 home runs, 77 runs scored, 71 RBI, and an improved walk/strikeout ratio over last year. Did I mention he’s just 22? What a damn stud. Here’s the video of the single:
  • Puig’s Arm Makes an Impact: With the Yanks up 2-0 in the 2nd inning and Maybin on 3rd with 1 out, the Yanks sent Maybin home on a short flyout from DJ LeMahieu to RF Yasiel Puig. It was a phenomenally stupid send given: 1) the short fly ball, 2) Puig’s arm, and 3) the fact that Aaron Judge, slump or not, was on deck. He was out by a mile and couldn’t even slide. The Yankees remembered in the 7th inning, too, as two similar fly balls hit by Torres and Sánchez with the bases loaded did not result in sends. Annoying, but it’s an example of how defensive tools really change a game. It ain’t all about the offense. Here’s the video of the double play:
  • Tommy Kahnle: I’ve said this on Twitter a bunch of times now, but my word do I love the completely unexpected return of 2017 Playoff Tommy Kahnle™. Tonight, he came in with Ramírez on 2nd and 1 out in the 7th with the Yanks hanging on to a 3-2 lead. The result? Two strikeouts and no sweat. That changeup is filthy, man. It really is. Kahnle now has a 2.88 ERA with 73 strikeouts in 50 innings pitched. He often looks just unhittable. I love it.
  • Jim Kaat Sounds Like the Yankees: I am out of town back home in Massachusetts and caught today’s game on MLB Network, and I have to say it was nice to hear Jim Kaat calling a Yankee game again. It just reminds me of Yankee games of old, and it was oddly soothing. He just sounds like the Yankees, doesn’t he? Even if he’s paired with the (to me, I know he’s a legend) insufferable Bob Costas. It’s just familiar, and I love it.

Up Next

The battle of the first-place teams continues tomorrow afternoon when the Yanks face Cleveland for the third game of this four-game set (and potential playoff matchup). James Paxton (8-6, 4.40 ERA) and his new approach will take on Zach Plesac (6-3, 3.27 ERA) at 1:05 pm. Catch the game on MLB Network nationally, YES locally, and on WFAN for the radio broadcast. Enjoy the rest of your Friday night, everyone.

Game 123: Yankees face not-the-Orioles and it goes … poorly

Sometimes, you turn on TV and it’s bombs away. (HBO’s The Leftovers)

The Indians came into the Bronx and gave the Yankees a shellacking in Thursday’s series opener, finishing with a 19-5 victory. It got weird. Princeton ace Mike Ford pitched.

Still, the loss only drops the Yankees to just 13-3 in August, so keep that in perspective.

Now to the takeaways on bad pitching, questionable defensive decisions, position player pitching and life as a whole.

1. The Opener isn’t a salve that solve all rotation problems

Going into tonight, the Yankees were 12-1 in opener games. However, a big part of that was them scoring over seven runs a game in those matchups and making things easy on their pitchers. It wasn’t all Chad Green and sunshine.

Facing a formidable Indians lineup, Green immediately got into trouble with the first three batters reaching bases. After striking out Yasiel Puig, he couldn’t put away the red-hot Jose Ramirez and gave him a 3-2 fastball in his wheelhouse. Even in the upper-90s, the fastball couldn’t miss Ramirez’s bat for a grand slam (side note: Read the previews!).

Jason Kipnis took him deep on a fastball left over the middle of the plate in the next AB, finishing off Green’s night. One batter retired, five runs in. The opener at its worst.

Green was bound to have an outing like this, but it’s frightening all the same considering there have been rumblings about using him as an opener in the postseason. The Indians are a potential first-round opponent and this should make the Yankees hesitant to pursue this strategy, or at least more apt to pick the right matchup. Your postseason life shouldn’t come down to a bullpen game when it’s really easy for one of your top guys to have an off night and sink everything (see: 2018 Athletics).

2. Loaisiga isn’t quite ready for primetime

Jonathan Loaisiga relieved Green and wasn’t much better. He gave up a two-run homer to Roberto Perez three batters into his outing to hand Cleveland a 7-0 lead and surrendered a two-run shot to Ramirez an inning later.

Now, Ramirez is as hot as just about any non-Urshela player in baseball and Perez has plenty of power, but it was a disappointing return from the IL for Loaisiga. Despite having the stuff to excel in a short or long relief role, he hasn’t done that yet in New York.

He’s shown glimpses as he did tonight. Around a Yasiel Puig single and Ramirez’s homer in the second inning, he struck out the side, then fanned the slugging Franmil Reyes in the third. He got multiple swings and misses on each of his fastball, changeup and curveball. In total, he got 13 whiffs on his 56 total pitches.

However, six of the eight balls put in play against him were hit at least 93 mph, including a 113.3 mph single by Puig. Loaisiga supplies some of the power there with his velocity. Furthermore, the Yankees could have eased him back in by having him face the Orioles instead of Cleveland. Still, it’s fair to expect more when a pitcher has stuff this good, even as a 24-year-old rookie

3. Hey, at least Gary and Didi are locked in

In 123 games this season, the Yankees haven’t been shutout once. That’s still pretty cool.

With an Urshela RBI single four batters into the bottom of the first, the Bombers extended that streak, though a bases-loaded chance to get back into the game lined out into Ramirez’s glove. Ugh.

With the deficit already astronomical, Didi Gregorius and Gary Sanchez still put in some work. Gregorius had a three-hit game, though one should have been an obvious error on Santana at first base. The other two were smacked over 100 mph, not leaving much up to luck.

With no one on in the fifth inning, Didi smashed a home run to right field so well that Puig didn’t even bother turning and moving. Love those kinds of blasts. It’s the second time Gregorius has taken Plutko deep this season.

Meanwhile, Sanchez hit his second in as many days on a line to left-center field.

It was a 116 mph blast. Yo. After a couple of shaky games following his home run in Toronto, he looks back in a groove. Almost good enough to be Romine’s backup /ducks

4. Hey Aaron Judge, please don’t dive for balls in a 10-run game

With the Yankees down 12-2 in the sixth inning, Kipnis hit a looper towards right-center. Aaron Judge made the decision to make an all-out dive and had the ball in his glove until his wrist bent back on impact with the ground and the ball popped out.

Judge spent the rest of the inning lightly flexing his wrist, though he stayed in the game and made his next at-bat. Still, he has to be smarter. He already had (has?) an oblique injury this season and has had injury-related slumps in each of his previous seasons.

We all want hustle but to a logical point. There has to be a point where you take into account the score (and maybe the 10-game lead in the division) and avoid a potential serious injury. It looks like Judge did avoid one, but he didn’t even make the catch. I’d rather the Indians get an easy double in a 10-run game than have the most important batter in the lineup out because he dove for a ball.

5. Keep calm and carry on

When the Yankees win a bunch of games in a row, even against the Orioles, it can feel like they’re unbeatable. When they lose in a blowout, the end is nigh. Let them play another couple games in this series, heck let them play the next week, before making judgments. For now, this is just one bad game.

To that point, the Yankees still are tied for the best record in baseball with the Dodgers and hold a two-game lead over the Astros in the American League. Reality might be a tire fire always and all of us will die eventually, but the Yankees are OK right now, and we can hold onto that. Also, Mike Ford pitched!

6. Mike Ford pitched is my season highlight and Leftovers

  • F*** YES. When I was a freshman at Penn, Mike Ford was the senior star for Princeton, both a slugging first baseman and ace starting pitcher. He was Ivy League Player and Pitcher of the Year. Tonight, he was the team’s position player pitcher in the eighth inning. Position player pitching has lost its luster for me, yet I’ve been waiting his entire professional career for this.
  • Was he good? No. He signed as a position player after all. He gave up three straight base hits before a three-run homer to Greg Allen and a solo shot to Carlos Santana.
  • However, he recovered in the ninth inning by pitching in slo-mo and getting Roberto Perez to strikeout. His smile made me smile. 19-5 or whatever, that was fun.
  • Before Ford, Chance Adams wore this one for 3.2 innings, allowing 10 hits and three walks, giving up five runs. His ERA is 7.48 in the Majors and he’ll likely go down for a fresher arm tomorrow.
  • Gleyber Torres homered in the eighth off Tyler Naquin’s glove. DJ LeMahieu and Gio Urshela each had two singles, Sanchez had his dinger and Didi his three-hit night. Beyond that, it was a Gardner walk and Ford HBP for the offense.

The Yankees look to forget this game when Masahiro Tanaka (8-6, 4.64 ERA) faces rookie Adam Civale (1-1, 1.00). It’ll be another 7:05 p.m. start, this time on WPIX 11 and WFAN and WADO.

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