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Disappointments and Decisions: The Injured Position Players [2021 Season Review]

The pre-colon part of that title reads like the title of a The Starting Line song, doesn’t it? My trashy pop-punk tastes aside, let’s dive into the unfortunate muck that was the unfortunate 2021 season for Aaron Hicks, Luke Voit, Clint Frazier, and Miguel Andújar.

Before we talk about the recent past of this season, let’s look back to the less recent past of the beginning of this season. Going into 2021, all four of these players were expected to have big roles with the Yankees. Three of them–Hicks, Frazier, and Voit–were expected to be season-long starters. And while Miggy wasn’t penciled into the starting lineup, he was expected to force playing time with his bat. Then, none of them ended up playing more than 68 games or amassed more than 241 plate appearances (both distinctions go to Luke Voit).

Thoughts before rubber game with Toronto

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The sun came up again this morning, meaning that the Yankees will play their biggest game of the season yet again tonight. Is everyone having fun yet? Stressed out? Just a little bit of nerves for all of you, I’m sure.

The Yankees magic number sits at three entering tonight’s rubber match against the Blue Jays. If they win out, not only will the Bombers clinch, but they’ll also ensure a home game in the Bronx for the Wild Card game. They could still get that without winning the next four games, of course. Here are the current standings:

Seattle eliminated Oakland last night, so the possibility of a five-way tie is no more. There’s still a chance for some madness with three or four-way ties now, and you can see how things could shake out by reading Jay Jaffe’s piece over at FanGraphs from yesterday. My head’s spinning from reading it, so I won’t even try to summarize. Just take a look for yourself. But before you do that, here are some thoughts entering tonight’s game with Toronto:

Game 133: Gerrit Cole Rules

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Gerrit Cole put an end to the Yankees’ losing streak in spectacular fashion, to say the least. Cole delivered a scintillating 15 strikeout performance as the Yankees topped the Angels, 4-1. Wow, what an absolute joy to watch. It’s actually remarkable that the Angels managed to scratch across a run against him in this game.

Performances like tonight are exactly why the Yankees signed Cole to a $324 million contract. He’s paid like an ace and pitches like one. As much as I want to win the division, and as unlikely as that may be because the Rays just won’t lose (except tonight!), I feel pretty darn good about Cole in a do-or-die Wild Card game. I have plenty more to say about Cole’s outing tonight, so without further ado, let’s get to the takeaways:

Game 122: Yankees win the goal line stand

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Calling a game between the Yankees and Twins a goal line stand probably isn’t fair. The history between these two clubs is so one sided, it’s more like a D-line from the NFL overpowering a collegiate O-line. Terrible analogy, but whatever. Once again, the Yankees beat the Twins, this time by the score of 7-5.

Tonight’s game had the makings of a laugher. Jameson Taillon was dominant through five and the Yankees had a 6-0 lead. Yet, as this year’s Bronx Bombers are wont to do, the game had to end with a save situation. I won’t complain too much, though. They keep winning (seven straight now) and are getting healthier. Maybe one game this weekend will be a blowout, but perhaps that’s too much to ask. Anyway, let’s get to tonight’s takeaways.

Game 111: Gil impresses again but gets no run support

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The Yankees remain allergic to the sweep. I know they swept Miami just last weekend, but this has been a constant issue all year long. Today, they lost 2-0 to the Mariners with a chance for the rare four game sweep. Oh well. At least Boston lost again, but it was at the hands of the Blue Jays, who are now just a half game behind the Yanks. Tampa Bay won too, moving six games up on the Yankees in the loss column.

Today’s loss is mostly on the offense, which went 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position. Aaron Boone didn’t put his best foot forward with the bullpen in the eighth inning, but at the same time, it’s impossible to win without scoring a run (obviously). Hey, at least Luis Gil looked very good once again. Let’s get to the takeaways:

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