Saturday, April 20, 2019

Heath Fillmeyer looms on the horizon. You'd think it would be easy. Who's betting?

Today, the the once-mighty Royals of Kansas City - (last place in AL Central) - send out 25-year-old Heath Fillmyer to take on the Death Star, and - yes, I am a bit taken with the name. Heath Fillmyer... haha.

Few activities run more childish than mocking a name, but since when do we act mature? Heath Fillmyer. Haha. He's a mix of Slade Heathcott, Phil Linz and Randy Myers, with a melodious cadence that sticks to your teeth like a mouthful of Dots. Now and then, you must simply enjoy a sequence of sounds: Estevan Florial... Zolio Almonte... Gustavo Molina... Tucker Ashford... Mickey Klutts... Heath Fillmyer...

But here's the caveat. This afternoon, I suspect Mr. Fillmyer will do to the Yankees what most no-name pitchers with ERAs of 9.00 do: 

He'll confound our batters and pitch six to eight solid innings. He'll have the YES team raving about his arsenal of pitches, his command of the strike zone, and his future in the game. And then he'll vanish back to the Heartland, never to be heard from again.

I recognize that this is merely me carping anecdotal crapola. But damn.. it happens over and over. A pitcher nobody knows comes to Gotham, where the Yankees should be poised to beat him like a rented kettle drum, and he throws the game of his life. The juju gods love to do this to us. They make us think our problems are over, and that there is no way in the world we should lose a game... and then comes the pie in the face.

For the record, Heath Fillmyer is not a rookie. He pitched 82 innings last year, went 4-2. He has started two games this season, pitched 8 innings overall and given up eight earned runs. Eight earned runs. We - on the other hand - have won three of four, have Masahiro Tanaka on the mound, and are poised to reach the .500 mark for the first time since the sad first days of the season. Last night, might Tampa lost - (to Boston, unfortunately) - giving us the opportunity to pull within four games of first and the month of April behind us and maybe even go on a winning streak. Our Death Star should be fully functioning. 

But there's that name. Heath Fillmyer. What are the odds? Just sayin'...

Friday, April 19, 2019

So much for momentum, Yanks fall to another tomato can

Damn, it seemed so perfect... Who better to launch a winning streak against than Boston? The planets were lined up, the weather was breaking, our tweaked gonads were shrinking back to the size of kettle corn, the always-lovable KC and the Sunshine Band were coming to town - everything stood in place for a sweet little four-game sweep, while we sang "Shake Your Bootie" to the juju gods. You could feel it. Damn...

Then, nothing... We didn't show up. Not only that, we didn't call in sick. We didn't hold them in the first inning, we blew it in the third, we never figured out their starter, our bullpen topped it off with a floater in the punch bowl - a total team botch job. And to date, that sums up the 2019 Yankees. We fail a lot, and we fail together.

There are whispers growing in the back alleys of baseball that big-spending Boston could actually be in trouble - that its horrendous start portends weaknesses that won't vanish in May. That said, the Yankees are merely two victories away from being miserable Boston, (and we'll soon give them a chance at revenge in Fenway.) As an excuse, the Yankees point to the deluge of injuries, which transformed the bottom of their lineup into a Scranton-Wilkes Barre homecoming. We have yet to string together a decent winning streak, and it looks like none will happen in April, rainy April.

Tonight, we again turn to CC to staunch the malaise. He pitched well last week, so here's hoping that he can deliver his modern equivalent of a Koufaxian masterpiece: Six innings, maybe two runs. By September, his season will look like the redacted version of the Mueller Report - weeks and months blacked out here and there - as his past injuries check in to say hi. 

We stand 5.5 games behind the Devil Rays, who are 14-5, but suddenly without their best pitcher, Blake Snell. He idiotically fractured his toe the other day after stepping out of the shower and trying to move a granite table, which was bolted down. (Who bolts down a granite table, anyway? Isn't it heavy enough? If I had a pitcher like Snell, I wouldn't allow granite in the house; everything would be made of sponge, and he would wear bubble-wrap.) It crashed down on his foot, winning him the 2019 Henry Cotto Q-Tip Award for Darwinian Sport Survival.

Thank you, granite tables, everywhere. (Go ahead, Chris Sale, kick one!) We won't have to worry about Snell in our upcoming tussle with Tampa. But thanks to last night's blown opportunity, we must win the next three, or we'll suffer a split against lowly KC... at home. We are squandering an incredible opportunity to build a lead in the AL East. Another few games like last night, and the back alley whispering will be about us.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

The ascent of Clint Frazier is shadowed by the fall of Greg Bird

Admit it: When Clint Frazier comes up, you don't go to the kitchen for more cheese curds. Right now, he is the most interesting Yankee, the marquee act after Aaron Judge. In each at-bat - even when he strikes out - he drives at least one ball hard. He's never over-matched, never looks lost, never appears fazed, never seems to worry. He's clearly capable of [REDACTED-REDACTED-REDACTED.] In this depleted lineup, he should be hitting third.

But but BUT... we've seen this movie before. Last year, it was the Luke Voit Story. Previously, we watched Tyler Austin, Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird and Gleyber Torres arrive like tornadoes and then slowly settle into troubling cycles of normalcy - in some cases, which we're still trying to discern. (Exactly how good will Sanchez and Torres turn out to be?) Only Judge has managed to maintain his rookie hot streak (and, frankly, he batted below .200 in his first incarnation.) The sad and torturous collapse of Bird - now facing yet another bum hind paw - reminds us of what Yankee fan Hillary Clinton once said: It takes a village of prospects to raise one star player, because all the others will fall by the wayside.

But what about Frazier? Soon, pitchers will quit trying to throw fastballs by him. (As they were doing to Bird.) Soon, defenses will shift according to the mathematical progressions of his swing. Soon, some pitcher will figure out a weakness, and word of it will metastasize throughout the league. 

Much has been said about Frazier's two concussions last year, which defined his season and which still cloud his future. What has been overlooked is his output in Scranton: In 216 plate appearances, he hit .311 with 10 HRs - far improved over his previous season at Triple A (.256 and 12 HRs in 320 at-bats.) In his second go-around at Scranton, he was raking. 

This is technically his second approach to the majors. Like Judge, his first incarnation was less than spectacular. Do we dare dream about this guy? I dunno. He could be the next Shane Spencer. But when he comes up, I hold my water and watch.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Greg Bird is now an official Yankee punch line

Last night, our "fully operational Death Star" crushed poor, sickly, defenseless Boston. We smoked them, we pummeled them, we whipped them, we whupped them, we gave them measles, we shrank their polar caps, we eliminated their health insurance, we burned their cathedral (too soon?) we gave them bad Yelp reviews; we redacted them, unfriended them, ghosted them on Twitter, canceled their Coachella appearance, impeached them in our House of Representatives... it was glorious.

And if we lose tonight, WTF will we have accomplished? A frickin' split. A worthless piece of misappropriated hope, a tie in the first altercation of 2019 - but no; actually, we would suffer a symbolic loss, because the Redsocks are not only playing on the road, in our stadium, but they are staggering incoherently in a tomato can-level delirium. If we lose, they return to Boston knowing that, once again, they won the battle.

But... hey, a win is a win, right? One game at a time, right? An extra day for our 13 injured ghosts to heal, right? Even in a Robert Barr redacted version of the game, they still scored zero. Right?

Oh, idle one night of hope, what hath thou wrought? Dare I think these thoughts...

Maybe Mike Tauchman can cobble together a Hollywood month, hitting like Kevin Costner instead of William Bendix. He's up to .200! But what matters is whether Aaron Hicks' back is healing. Where's the box score to show Hicks in Tampa, swinging a bat? Soon.

Maybe Gio Urshela can hold down 3B for another few weeks, before the gaskets blow and he hits the Mendoza Line. The real question is whether Miguel Andujar can return this season, or if it's time for Cashman to trade prospects for some scrapheap re-enactment of Chase Headley. Yes, I'm sure Chase Headley has grabbed his glove and headed to YMCA. 

Maybe Clint Frazier is here to stay. Do we dare hope? He hasn't crashed into any walls in left field, but he hasn't exactly been Paul Blair, either. One of these days, Giancarlo Stanton will return, surely as the full-time DH. Then what? Does Frazier go in a trade? After all the waiting and hoping, he finally makes it to the Yankees and starts to hit... and then... what? Our outfield heals, and there is no place for him?

And finally... I believe that I speak for the entire Yankiverse in saying that Greg Bird is now officially a Yankee punch line, enshrined in the Monument Park of our collective bile streams, along with the likes of Carl Pavano, Kei Igawa, Javier Vazquez and Jesus Montero. There is no coming back from another Bird foot injury, not with this team and in this town. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me six times, what the fuck is wrong with me? 

If Cashman needs a 3B, Bird must be part of the package. And for God's sake, Yankees, win tonight!

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Could The Yankees Actually Lose Gio Gonzalez?

There is an opt-out clause in the minor league deal Gio signed with the Yankees, giving him the chance to return to free agency if the Yankees don't call him up by Saturday.

Talk about another body blow?

Yesterday, Bird goes down with plantar fasciitis (remember when he was caught " gimping " his way to first, trying to beat out a ground ball?).

 Now, we could lose Gio?

 This 33 year old would actually be selling aluminum siding if he weren't left-handed.

If we lose Gio, so goes the season, say I.

My 85 win prediction goes south.

P.S.  I finally got a taker on my $100 bet...some syndicate from Nigeria wants in ( they will take the Yankees, but I have to send $10,000 to an address in Nigeria as " good faith' deposit for the bet. ).

Anyone want a piece?

Bye-bye Birdie

Wally Pippetone?

The feet of Greg Bird have failed him again.

Mike Ford is the new Luke Voit.

It's going to be a long season.

On this day of reckoning, a tale to claim the Yankees' moral high ground

On this glorious day, as we recount the Redsocks' list of treacheries, it is time for the Yankees to reclaim our moral high ground. And here is just such a story:

After years of holding the line, the Yankees recently waived their no-long hair policy for a minor league pitcher named Tyler Johnson. The reason: He's been going his hair long to make a wig for his mom, a cancer patient. 

Bravo for Tyler Johnson. Bravo for the Yankees front office. Would the big-spending Redsocks have done such a thing? Hell no! For starters, they couldn't - they don't have a hair policy. So, they wouldn't have lifted a finger. So there!

Best of luck to Tyler Johnson and his mom. Bravo!

Why we fight: The eternal battle against Boston's Army of the Dead resumes tonight

Tonight, we once again battle the big-spending, hate-filled, deep-state Redsocks - a franchise steeped in racism and violence, which for decades preferred to blame its defeats on a supernatural, anti-God, anti-America "curse," rather than its own failed policies.

These are horrible, wretched, human beings, the absolute worst, whose treasonous attempts to hurt the Yankees are an attack upon America. These monsters in human form should be investigated by MLB and made examples of, by spending the rest of their lives in prison, where they can't do any more damage. They are enemies of the people, and the mere wearing of their illegal "B" caps in public represents a breakdown of basic morality and an affront to our democracy.

Did I mention that they are liars, and anything they say - such as denying the above words - proves everything I'm saying is right! Trouble is, the Boston-leaning announcers on YES never give the Yankees a break. Did you know that the traitorous David Cone, at the end of his career, sold out and pitched for Boston? 

Tonight, as we take up arms against this red tide of human scum, we must show them that we have not forgotten their evil history.

Red Sox complicity in U.S. torture flights

They fed their own fans prison food

They're bigger racists than Joe Torre ever was

Their groundskeepers are thugs

Varitek clawed A-Rod's face, kept his own mask on

Schilling poured ketchup on his sock, called it blood

They decapitate their players when they're done with them

Big Papi had it in for Joba for no reason

They tried to freeze-out John and Suzyn.

They can't lose a game without whining about something.

Damn them. Demand that the pro-Redsock YES announcers give the Yankees a fair break! Tonight, we fight.

The spread is now 300

Right now, Mike Ford is hitting exactly 300 points higher than Greg Bird, .471-.171.

His OPS is 479 points higher, 1.029-.550.

Take way 200 points from each for the difference between the majors and the minors, and you're still talking about a much superior ballplayer.

When the hell do we pull the trigger?

Monday, April 15, 2019

Quick Question...

Now that Giancarlo Stanton is back working with a batting tee, do the Yankees keep records of his strikeouts?

Wanna Bet ??

I don't know a single Yankee fan who is willing to bet $100 that the Yankees will beat the red sox tomorrow.  

Do you?

Oh Dear God

The New York Times reported today that The Ace, James Paxton, has supposedly been tipping his pitches.

Forget for a moment that "tipping his pitches" is now Yankeespeak for, "has suffered a career-ending injury."

The Ace, James Paxton—who, let us not forget, was called "Pettitte times five" by John Smoltz—went on to say that "he has been somewhat overwhelmed by the outsized expectations—his own."

“I think just getting that under control and realizing it’s the same game. I think I’ve been trying to do too much, trying to be better than what I am. I realized I’m good enough being who I am or who I was in Seattle.”

Asked if had "the stomach" for his first start as a Yankee against the Red Sox, The Ace, James Paxton replied:

“I’m sure I’ll be a little nervous going in, having it be my first experience being a part of this rivalry.”

No problem, because we all remember how Andy "One-Fifth Paxton" Pettitte used to say how nervous he was to be pitching in New York and against the Red Sox.

I'm not sure I have the stomach for this...

Close your eyes, and it's 2013 again

In 2013, the excuse was injuries. The Grandyman vanished in spring training. A-Rod and Tex soon followed, and from there, the season morphed into Judy Collins singing "Send in the Clowns."

It spawned the first Chernobyl-level meltdown of the Hal Steinbrenner Era - (we finished third, 12 games out, no post-season, with this memorable lineup inscribed into posterity.) Amazingly, and tellingly, nobody in the front office ever paid a price. The supposed offspring of George Steinbrenner, a man who discarded management suits like chewing gum, made no changes at the top. Nor did he when the Yankees missed the playoffs in 2014. Or when they eeked out a 2015 Wild Card appearance, only to lose. Or in 2016, when they finished fourth out of fifth.

Why no turnovers? It's because of the courage of the front office, in that they never blame injuries.

Nope. They refuse to lower themselves to such a perch. In fact, they announce that right off the bat that, under no circumstances, would they ever blame the unexpected, overwhelming tsunami of injuries that this team has endured. Absolutely never! Injuries are a part of the game, they say, and that's why they built this team with depth - deep, double-deep, down-down depth - so injuries would never be a factor. Of course, nobody could have imagined such a rain of injuries - nobody! But no, the Yankees will not blame injuries, nor will they ever fall prey to such an excuse. The Yankees never make excuses. So, no... they will not blame the injuries. Uh-uh.

Of course, now that you mention it, this has been more than simply a wave of injuries. It's a deluge! And it's shocking - shocking! - to lose Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Hicks, Jacoby Ellsbury and Troy Tulowitzky - the Iron Foursome of Invulnerability! - simultaneously! Why, who could have imagined that these famed workhorses of war would miss one minute, much less a few months? 

So... here we are, languishing at 6-9, nearly six games behind Tampa in the AL East, and the season ahead looks like a dirt road heading to a containment pond. It's only April, yet we're already NOT making excuses like it's September. Tomorrow, we await our first trial by Boston, a team that has simply played poorly.

We have faced one team likely to finish above .500 this year: the Astros swept us. We have played tomato cans - Baltimore, Detroit and the White Sox - and been beaten, embarrassed, at home. Our lineup yesterday featured three career minor leaguers - (Higgy, Tauchman, Urshela) - four batting below .210 - (Higgy, Voit, Gardy, Tauchman) - and a glove man - (LeMahieu) - leading off. Our vaunted bullpen has been cringe-worthy. Our best starter right now is CC Sabathia, who is likely to pitch - what? - a hundred innings this year?

Yeah, it's early. But it feels like September.

September of 2013. 

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Another First For Cooperstown Cashman!

Yes, it is the first time since 1982 that the Yankees have lost their first series at home!

That was the miserable "Year of the Three Managers," the Yankees' only losing season between 1973 and 1989.  The year they finished 79-83. fifth in their division.


Before that?  You have to go back to 1913, the Yanls' first season as tenants in the Polo Grunds, when they went 57-94, good for 7th place in an 8-tea league.

Did I say uh-boy?

The Beginning of the End

No, not for the Yankees.  That came this off-season, with "The Commitment to Mediocrity."

I'm talking today's "Mexico Series" ESPN game between the Cards and the Reds.

There, right there on the side of the Cardinals' helmets, was printed the name of one of the Series sponsors:  "Ford."

This is so typically MLB, of course, trying out the idea of uni ads in a game played in Monterrey.

But you watch, this is just the camel's nose under the tent.  Soon, we will have to watching a great, steaming pile of camel dung with every game.

Five years from now, sponsor names will be as ubiquitous on MLB uniforms as they now are on European soccer unis.  Ten years from now, the players will look like racing car drivers.  And look for more ads to pop up on the bases, in the outfield, on gloves.

Combine that with the in-game TV ads, the tedious state of play, and the dreary length of most games and you have to start wondering who will watch this game.

Well, if the Yankees had to pick an era to tank, maybe it's just as well that it's now.  It will spare us having to watch all this crap—never mind the mound moved back, starting extra-innings with a runner on second, "openers," etc., etc.....

"Any real Yankees purist should be rooting for CanĂ³ to make it to the World Series..."

So says a Joggy-lover...

Do you agree?

When Sabathia pitches well, the Yankees are transformed (but that's the problem)

Ladies and gentlemen, we ask you to rise, remove your caps and join the IT IS HIGH color guard in center field for a moment of reflection, as we salute America... 

Let us cease our incessant bickering, dickering, finger-pointing and caterwauling, and observe the magnificent gift that Mr. CC Sabathia bestowed upon us yesterday: A fully operational time-machine, which whisked us back to 2009, the last great year to be a Yankee fan. 

Ahh, 2009... Nobody had ever heard of Daenerys Targaryen, or Instagram, or Kickstarter, or driver-less cars, or avocado toast. The Rooskies were our enemy, and the Canadians were our pals. And CC Sabathia was the man we could always count on to break a Yankee losing streak.

Yesterday: Five innings, one hit, no runs. And the end of a four-game barf.

When Sabathia pitches well, the planets line up, the juju gods stand down, and the Yankees play the way Yankees are supposed to play. All is well, regardless of who is perched on the Injured List. 

Trouble is, when CC is hurt, or compromised, or simply pitching poorly, the Yankees revert to being a team with a five-inning starter going tick-tick-tick, while its overly ballyhooed bullpen tries to diffuse the bomb with a claw hammer. And no matter how well he pitched yesterday, it's not 2009, the White Walkers have breached The Wall, the Mother of Dragons cannot save us, and we can never go back.

The fact is, CC was slightly out-pitched yesterday by Ivan Nova, a guy the Yankees dealt for Stephen Tarpley, (who was sent to Scranton the previous night.) In the 2016 midsummer meltdown sale, we traded Supernova for whatever we could get - (the human bowling ball, Tito Polo, was also acquired; he's now rolling around in the Mariners Triple A outfield.) Over the last three years with the Pirates, Nova compiled a 3.99 ERA - a performance that would have made him our fourth starter. (He certainly would have topped Michael Pineda, who is currently 2-0 with the Twins.) But it wouldn't have mattered. We still wouldn't have won a damn thing. 

Still, one karmic quality of being a Yankee fan is that all great Bombers eventually receive a final day in the sun. For some, it comes on Old-Timers Day, and - for sure - CC will receive a thunderous ovation next summer, when his name is called, and he hobbles - bone on bone in his power knee - to the mound to doff his cap.

But yesterday, he made us remember how great a Yankee he has been. Now comes the hard part. You may now put on your caps and sit. WAIT A MINUTE, DAMMIT, WHO OUT THERE WAS TAKING A KNEE?

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Everybody Used to Be Stupid. Now Everybody Is Smart.

Picking up on posts by JM and Anon today, I think we are indeed seeing the misuse of statistics—Sabermetriciousness!—on the Yanks, particularly when it comes to the ongoing practice of batting Judge in the No. 2 spot.

Why is it that, for over a century, power hitters like Judge always batted in the 3-5 slots?  Was everybody just stupid then?

The Sabermetricious argument is, hey, put your best OBP hitter up as often as possible.  But this is just how you fool yourself with stats.

Judge has an excellent OBP in part because pitchers are reluctant to pitch to him.  But if you keep him in the 3 or 4 holes, and put good OBP guys ahead of him, it's all the more likely they'll be FORCED to pitch to him, with guys on base.

Put him in the 2-slot, and they'll be all the more likely to pitch AROUND him—PARTICULARLY if there is 1 out and nobody on (the usual state of affairs with Gardner hitting first), and the likes of Voit and/or Bird hitting after him.

Of course, that will make Judge's OBP even BETTER, thereby leading Coops and co. to conclude that they made the right move.

Voila—this is how you lie to yourself with statistics.

In fairness to the Saber-inclined, one of the problems here is the Yanks are going half-Saber.  There's simply no way under any system that Gardy, with his .298 OBP and his 2 stolen bases this year, should be hitting first.

Bird/Voit should not be hitting so high in the lineup either.  BUT, with your big power/RBI committed to the No. 2 hole, the Yanks don't have much choice there.

A much better idea would be to put LeMahieu, who is hot right now and always was a better percentage hitter than Gardy, and maybe Torres in the 1-2 slots, with Judge following.

That will assure Judge of getting many more good pitches to hit, and while his OBP might go down a little, he will produce many more runs.

Why do the Yankees—and so many statheads—have so much trouble seeing this?

The best OBP guys on, say, the 1927 Yankees were Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.  Miller Huggins did NOT bat them 1-2.  Instead, he put Hall of Famer Earle Combs there, a guy with a .414 OBP that year, and a relatively high 62 walks and 15 stolen bases.  Combs scored 137 runs.

True, not everybody was always this smart—or blessed with the likes of Earle Combs.  Marse Joe McCarthy in the 1930s and Ralph Houk in the 1960s insisted on putting guys like Frankie Crosetti and Bobby Richardson, respectively, in the leadoff spot—players who mostly hit singles, for not so high an average (Though at his best, Cro DID draw a lot of walks, and stole a fair number of bases.)

But by the 1980s, the Yanks were back to putting Don Mattingly and the other power bats, such as Winfield and Baylor, in the 3-5 slots, with Rickey Henderson, Best Leadoff Man Ever, leading off.  The results were spectacular.

Similarly, in the Last Dynasty, the Yanks led off with Knoblauch and Jeter, then followed with Paulie-Bernie-Tino.

Sure, this strategy was marred because Chuckie could not resist swinging for the Yankee Stadium fences, but he still drew a relatively large number of walks and stole bases, and scored 117 runs in 1998, and 120 in 1999, before his mind and his game completely blew out.  (I don't mean to be flippant about this; what happened to the Knobber was truly sad.)

So, while even smart baseball guys made mistakes and didn't fully realize what the statistics should have been telling them, were they all stupid?  Are Coops and his minions geniuses?

Look at how this offense functions, and how this Yankees team plays, and you be the judge.


This Holy Father says;

1.  CC will not make it through 4 innings.
2.  ( Fill in this blank yourselves.)
3.  The bullpen will give up the game.
4.  Another tweak will be mentioned.
5. Altar boys can come to my summer camp.

 I am truly hopeful that the Yankees are destined to lose out the season. 

 Winning will not be good for this team.

Looking for offensive surge, Yankees load up with big lefty bats

Feast your eyes on today's lineup against the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs Chicago White Sox. 

The current Yankees are a tomato can

Last night, in a confluence of crapola and karma, Brian "Cooperstown" Cashman happened to be talking to the media as the game was called - his fully-operational Death Star losing yet another. The Yankee brain trust chalked up the latest monstrosity to bad "mojo," too cowardly to utter the real word, "juju." 

Cashman tossed the following word salad: 

“We have people who are capable, it is just a combination of, yes, are we hurt? We are are hurt, but we are still capable. But we have a lot of poor play going on simultaneously on the current active roster.”

Translation: Hummina-hummina-hummina.

What Cashman overlooked was the Yankees' winter strategy of pursuing cheap knock-offs to expensive merchandise. While the 36-year-old J.A. Happ was being pummeled by the lowly Chisox, Patrick Corbin was pitching for the Washington Nats. Corbin held the Pirates to one run in seven innings, lowering his spring ERA to 2.84. Corbin, a native of North Syracuse, wanted to be a Yankee. All winter, that was the word around Central New York: the Yankees merely had to make him a decent offer, and he would sign. And the franchise could draw upon a virtually limitless mountain of private and public cash, finagled by corrupt politicos and the simple magnitude of billionaire wealth. It would simply be a few more gold coins on a bubbling volcano of money so vast it can only be seen with a telescope on Mars. But the Yankees went cheap. They went cheap because they wanted to be cheap. And last night, cheap is what we saw. 

Hey, it's almost Easter: Cheap, cheap, cheap...

Of course, it's still early. That's what they say. It's only April. A 20-game winning streak will change everything. And yes, this team has faced a Biblical rain of locusts, snakes and tweaked gonadal sacs. So horrifying are the injury reports that, any day now, I expect to hear that Aaron Judge stepped on a crack, broke his mother's back, and will miss a month. But last night's loss wasn't just a case of poor play. What we saw was a flat-out lousy team. Aside from Judge, here is what we sent out:

A career minor leaguer at 3B, an unknown commodity at DH, a career-back up at C, a slap-hitting 2B, a 2B playing SS, a LF playing CF, a disappointment at 1B, a mystery in LF, an aging starter in his career twilight, a bullpen in distress and a manager known for his easy-going style.

Boston is creeping up on us. At this rate, they'll overtake us next week, in our own stadium - just like last year. 

Listen: Cashman is right; it's a long season. But April might not be a mere bump in the road. We're seeing what we designed, with a little bad juju. We may be facing a meltdown season. Hummina-hummina-hummina.