The current CBA expires at 11:59pm eastern tonight. As the clock winds down, it doesn’t look like a new deal is coming. Maybe things will change in the coming hours, but considering the recent run on free agents, the writing is on the wall. The owners are expected to lock out the players, thereby freezing transactions, not allowing players to use team facilities, and more. You won’t see pictures like this for a while:
From everything I’ve read, it doesn’t sound like regular season games are in jeopardy. There’s still a ways to go until spring training, after all. That said, prepare yourself for radio silence in terms of hot stove news for the next few weeks and months. All that buzz and excitement over the last few days? A product of an anticipated lockout, sure, but good for the league nonetheless. And yet, the owners are ready to shut that down to gain negotiating leverage.
As a result, it’s going to be pretty difficult to discuss anything Yankees-related in the near future. This could be the last Yankees-related thoughts post for some time, so let’s jump in:
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).
Fresh off a tense walk-off win last night and tough first few innings, the Yankees jumped on Dylan Cease the 2nd time through to ultimately make this one a 7-0 laugher.
The Bombers have now won 5 in a row, are 8-0-2 in their last 10 series, and have gone 22-9 since April 20, which is the best record in the bigs. Let’s get to the takeaways:
Gerrit Cole battled through 7 scoreless with some help from the defense. Folks, this was far from Gerrit Cole’s best start, yet he still got through 7 scoreless. From the first inning, you could tell he didn’t have his usual stuff or command as seen by the pitch plot.
Everything was pretty much all over the place. With Cole, you usually want to see fastballs up and everything else down. Yet this here is a mess. After only walking 5 batters in his first 9 starts combined, Cole walked 3 on the afternoon. At one point, he even had more walks than strikeouts.
So, how did Cole manage to get through 7 scoreless? With some timely defense of all things. The Yankees reversed the script and instead of hitting into an unconscionable amount of double plays managed to turn four of their own to support their ace on a tough day for him. Here’s how they happened:
Cole did not have his typical swing-and-miss stuff today. He averages over a 30% whiff on all of his pitches, yet today his whiff% was only 27% and he did not get a single whiff on any of his sliders. Instead, he generated a ton of groundballs. He got 10 groundouts compared to only 1 flyout which unusual for him, yet needed on a day like today.
After being staked to a lead in the 4th, Cole shut the White Sox down over his last 3 frames. Take a look at his velocity chart to see how he got stronger as the game went on:
Those last few fastballs hummed in at 100mph or higher and led to striking out the side in the 7th. Great to end his day with a few FU fastballs.
Everyday is Gleyber day. After being the hero last night, Gleyber picked up right where he left off. Dylan Cease DOMINATED the Yankees the first time through, but things unraveled for him in the 4th. After a single by Aaron Judge (who is also on fire) and a great walk from Gio Urshela, up came Gleyber and here’s what he did:
Look at how he stays back on that curve and drives it into the gap. That gave the Yankees a 2-0 lead, and with the way Cole was “struggling” that hit was much needed. Up again with runners on in the 5th, Gleyber came through again:
Per Jack Curry, Gleyber only saw 1 fastball in those 2 at-bats. After a rough start to the season, it’s great to see Gleyber coming around. In his last 16 games, he’s batting over .300, and since coming off the COVID IL this week, he’s hitting over .500 with 6 RBI just this weekend.
Tack on runs are nice. In that majestic 4th inning, right after Gleyber’s 2-run double, Rougned Odor kept the Yanks foot on the Sox neck with a double of his own to extend the lead to 3-0.
Clutch hitting is nice.
Mike Ford got in on the action as well with a 447 blast:
The Yankees starting pitching is unreal right now. That’s 30 straight scoreless from the starters, and 4 straight games of 7+ IP without allowing a run.
Justin Wilson and Luis Cessa threw scoreless innings in relief to close this one out.
The only damper on this game is Kyle Higashioka. After a hot start, he’s 3 for his last 33. Might be time to rethink the catcher platoon.
The Yankees go for the sweep tomorrow afternoon. It’ll be Jameson Taillon against former Yankee killer Dallas Keuchel. The Yankees are 1-6 when going for the sweep this year, so let’s see them change that tomorrow. Catch the game at 1:05pm Eastern.
Happy Friday, everyone. The Yankees are back on YES today, so if you haven’t been able to watch recently, today is your day. The game’s at 1:05 pm, and I am looking forward to it. And here’s some additional good news: we’re almost a week through Spring Training and Clarke Schmidt is the only injury casualty so far. Let’s keep it that way, shall we?
Anyway, it’s time for today’s mailbag. Four great questions today. As always, please send your questions to email@example.com to be considered for an upcoming Friday mailbag. We choose our favorites each week. Answers after the jump.
On August 2, 2018, Luke Voit made his pinstriped debut. It was a relatively dull introduction to Yankees fans, as he went 0-for-4 in a 15-7 loss to the Red Sox. And, to be frank, it wasn’t all that shocking either; after all, Voit was a no-name 27-year-old first baseman that many assumed was the secondary piece in the deal that sent Gio Gallegos to the Cardinals for international bonus money.
As it turns out, that was the low point of Voit’s tenure.
Voit has hit .279/.372/.543 as a member of the Yankees, which is good for a 144 wRC+. That wRC+ ranks third among first basemen, behind 2019 MVP Cody Bellinger (who has played more outfield in this span) and 2020 MVP Freddie Freeman. That’s pretty good company, folks. And, if you want to go even deeper, his 144 wRC+ ranks 12th among all hitters.