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Wednesday, July 31, 2019

A Sigh of Relief

I feel as though I woke up and was twenty pounds lighter.

It is the first time in memory ( though my memory is jaded ) that the Yankees didn't do something I feared at the trade deadline.

We are standing pat.  We did not allow our pockets to be picked, and the GM doesn't  have to make up some story about how things were good for us.

There is an old cowboy saying about, " dance with the one that brought you."  And that is what we are doing.

It is what I wanted.

If this team has champions on it, let's see them surface now. 

Everyone has to do their job.  If they do, we'll be fine.

If not, there will be major change next season.  We'll trade all the wrong guys.

I'm satisfied, and that is rare. 

It will only last until Friday's game.

But we can rest easy tonight.

Suggested Revision to MLB.com Home Page




Chronicle of a Death Foretold

Going into the season, it appeared that this Yankees team just didn't have enough starting pitching to beat out Boston.  When the injury bug struck early, taking out for the year a player considered a key cog in the lineup, it looked like it was all over.

But playing with heart and pride, the team seemed to defy gravity, pulling into first place early and steadily widening its lead.  In a key early showdown with Boston, the Yanks put up a wild, unlikely win, defying all the odds, and stretched that lead to 8 1/2 games.

Then—the pitching just gave out.

It was clobbered in a series against a hated arch-rival, losing three, gut-wrenching games in a row.  Sure, the Yanks were still in first place by 7 1/2—sure, they still had a record of 50-29—but everybody knew they could not go on like this.

Total collapse was imminent.

Nah, I'm just messin' with you.

The team I'm talking about was the 2004 Yankees, and even though they shared many other similarities with THIS Yankees team—such as an incompetent field manager—they fought through, rigged up enough of a starting staff (thank you, once again, Original Famous El Duque) to finish the season nearly as well as they had started (51-32).

As we all know, that team came within a game of the World Series, and likely would have won it all, had not Joe Torre suffered a petite mal stroke during the ALCS that rendered him unable to speak, move, or in any way even call for a steal when the Sox had a guy out there throwing knuckleballs to a catcher who couldn't land one with a fishing net.

I bring this up because on this day in 2004, the Yanks gave up on Jose Contreras, "the Bronze Enigma Giant," dealing him for Esteban Loaiza.  This was necessary because Coops Cashman had let 700 wins walk off the team in the off-season without getting a blessed thing in return, and now his big Cuban signing was in a death spiral.

Contreras went on to stink up the rest of the season—before having the one and only outstanding second-half of the season with the 2005 White Sox, leading them to their one and only World Series title since 1917, when they were managed by a guy named Pants Rowland.

Loaiza also stunk, though he nearly stole an ALCS, extra-inning win for us.  After the season, Coops released him...and of course he had a pretty good season with Washington, going 12-10, 3.77.

I mention all this just to point out that, even before HAL replaced the Mad King, our Cooperstown-bound GM understood absolutely nothing about how to assess pitching, and was incapable of understanding its importance.

What's more, he has learned nothing even from his own past.

Sorry, (Somewhat Less Original, Less Famous, But All The Dearer To Us) Duque, but I just can't give the hollow-eyed little runt a pass, even today.  If he holds fire, and does nothing stupid in the next two hours—that is the best we can expect from him.











New Direction


The Yankees have fallen and they can't get up.

Judge can't hit a lick.

Sanchez is returned to the DL for the nth time.

Stanton is a laugh line.

Our MVP ( Le Mahieu ) is hurting more than we know.

Luke just re-injured that mysterious internal organ.

Bird got eaten by a stray cat.

Gardy and CC both have had shots to help them feel their knees again.

Frazier will be discarded soon.

We have a position group now that includes:

1.  A third string cacher from Scranton
2.  A fourth or fifth string infielder from Scranton
3.  Hopefully, a McBroom from Scranton
4.  Mike Tauchman
5.  Cameron Maybin

And a pitching staff that was laughable when the season began.

Mark your dance cards folks;  the drain is swirling and this team is in the eddy.

We get behind in the first inning, by anywhere from 1-8 runs.  It doesn't really matter, because that deficit grows.  We add a meaningless run or two late, but it has no impact on the game.  We are never in it.

And that magic of the early season;  where we could come back from any deficit at any time....has gone with the wind.

The team is lethargic and uninteresting to watch.  If we are behind, the game is...simply...over.

Where we are in the standings ( still in first according to the accountants ) will soon not matter.

There is no point watching.


A handy-dandy list of Cashman's "Power Arm Follies"

From the Morning Murdoch.

Note: This does not include his spring trade/free agent flops, from Kei Igawa to Michael Pineda (with a Carl Pavano/Javier Vazquez on the side.) And where is Kevin Brown? And the Big Unit? Holy crap, is there a trend here?


On deadline day, the Gammonites go hysterical

Today, I'd like to break with our regular, Insta-Pot, oil-boiled torture of Brian Cashman.

Hoss, Alphonso, all of you... pull the red-hot spikes from his palms, yank the electrodes from his head, and sidetrack the army of voracious red ants headed his way. Let's give the guy a break. On this miserable, no-good, stressed-out, nightmare day, I say that Death Star fans across the Yankiverse should take pity on this sad husk of humanity, whom we mockingly call "Cooperstown."  

Today, whatever Cash does, the hordes of Hell will scream for his shaven head.

Today, he faces the unstoppable, unflappable Army of the Certain.



Today, this shrieking cacophony of sound bytes and headlines is demanding that Cashman trade Clint Frazier for somebody, anybody, to staunch the bleeding of a rotation on life-support. Not long ago, Frazier was a pillar of the Yankee future, a jewel of the farm system who - it deserves remembering - helped save the team this spring, when the batting order teetered on the brink. His numbers still beat those of Edwin Encarnacion, (though in an admittedly small sample size.) With Aaron Judge ever struggling - dare we think this is his new normal? - and Giancarlo Stanton proving to be the new Jacoby Ellsbury, the Yankees might soon need a solid, heart-of-the-order bat. But it won't be Red Thunder. By this time tomorrow, he'll be gone. If not, Cashman will face a hurricane of Gammonitic rage... a blast of wind that was strangely silent when Food Stamps Hal Steinbrenner refused to pony-up for Dallas Keuchel. (Say, did I mention that his ERA with Atlanta is 3.89, lower than anybody on our rotation? And all we needed to do was spend the money.)

Last year, around now, everyone said the Yankees faced a glut of outfielders. We needed to trade for pitching. Thus, Cashman dealt Billy McKinney and Dustin Fowler, and the next thing we knew, we were playing a pivotal weekend series at Fenway with Shane Robinson, a minor league journeyman, in RF. (Note: He hit .143 for the year.) 

Today, interestingly, Frazier's trade will happen almost simultaneously to Luke Voit receiving an MRI. Last night, Luke tweaked his cabbage basket. Generally, that means missing a month. That will move DJ LeMahieu - also recovering from a tweak - and our gold glove DH, Edwin Encarnacion, to 1B. Add another tweak - and we know they're coming - and we'll soon see Tyler Wade out there. Wait a minute: He was out there last night. How about Ryan McBroom, up from Scranton? Can we trade for Shane Robinson?

Whatever the Yankees do today, it won't be enough. They have lost 6 of 9 and no longer possess the AL's best record - a/k/a the home field advantage. They still lead Tampa by 7.5 games, and Boston by nine. Barring a collapse - which might have started - they will make the post-season. From there, I can see one path to the World Series: If Luis Severino, Dellin Betances and Stanton return, and a few veteran starters - Tanaka, Happ, maybe Paxton - figure out what they're doing wrong. Will Robbie Ray make a difference? I doubt it. 

Ah, but should we care? Today, whatever happens, will it matter?

I BELIEVE THAT WE WILL WIN!

...82 games, that is.

Sure, it's looking tough right now.  But all the Yanks have to do is go 15-41 in their last 56 games, and they will have their 27th straight winning season.

Okay, so it doesn't come close to the team record, 39 straight of 1926-1964.  But still!

Let's face it:  this Yankees team cannot win the World Series with this quality of pitching—and certainly not with the team hemorrhaging a player a day, and more obviously playing hurt (looking at you, Mr. Judge).

It cannot win the pennant.  It cannot win a single postseason series.  I doubt if it can win the division or, frankly, even qualify for a wild card in the end.

Hey, we pretty much knew this from the start.

Sure, I suppose there could be a miracle or seven.  The Sox team plane could crash into the Rays' team bus, and all of the Astros could come down with food poisoning for the month of October.

But I doubt that that's going to happen.  The Astros don't buy their food from Yankee Stadium concession stands.

Let's put aside these petty goals and aspirations for a moment.  We're talking about bigger things here,  records that date back to the ages when Chthulu and the other invisible ones strode the earth.

A winning season this year—no done deal, but a real possibility!—will bring us up to a total of 95.  Depending on how things go for the Giants, our ancient blood rivals in the World Beyond This One, they will have 94 or 95, despite having played for 20 years more than us.

Yes, that's right, Yankees fans.  Don't worry about those measly pennants and World Series other teams will win.  We will be dust long before any of them exceed our records in those.

What is most important is, we will be the all-time winningest team.  Bwaahaha.  Bwaahahahahahahahahahahaha!  Call out Dr. Odulu and Mr. Obigdan.  We got the magic working!!  Bwaahahaha!



Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Who will be Employee of the Month?



After a record week of Yankee pitching, Nutsack appears to have a lock on the honor--but Cash is poised to pull an upset!

A Modest Proposal

No, I mean the exact OPPOSITE of Swift's satire.  The Yankees should NOT eat their young.

Instead, they should be sellers instead of buyers.

If Coops had half a brain and HAL had half a soul, what they would decide is:

"Hey, we can't possibly win this year anyway.  Probably not even the division.  One ace would not be enough, and there's not even a jack left in the throwaway pile now, just a whole lot of jokers.

"So instead of buying, we're selling.  Step right up, folks!

"Let's begin with our two, woebegone starters, Sap & Crapp.  What's wrong with them?  Who knows?  We have Larry "Boris Johnson" Rothschild for a pitching coach.  But maybe you have someone who can fix them—coupla veteran arms in a pennant race, if you know what I mean, nudge-nudge, wink-wink.

"Thank you.  Just pile up the prospects over there.

"Next we have this perfectly capable catcher.  Oh, all right, so he doesn't catch balls so well at the best of times, and he's always injured now.  But hey, you guys are probably wasting money on a useful training staff.  Why not put it to work?

"Who's next?  Want a terrific closer?  Latest model machine-gun accessory included!  He was on the mound in a World Series Game Seven!  All right, so he didn't get the job done and now his knee is barking worse than ever.  Still, if you don't mind the heart attacks, he'll save you a few games.

"What else do we have?  You want an only slightly used opener?  Chad Green, right here.  Maybe you can figure out what his role should be.  We sure as hell can't.

"That tall fella over there?  Yes, that's for sale, too.  I know, I know.  Never thought I'd see the day, either.  Hey, maybe we're being foolish.  But you'll never know, unless you take the chance!

"All right, then.  Thanks for all the kids, guys.  Our rebuilding will begin immediately.  We're going to do it the way it should be done this time.

"Oh, hey, you gotta any room left in that shopping cart for a manager, a coaching staff, a clubhouse full of trainers, and an aged general manager with his own elf suit and climbing gear?  We'll throw all that junk in for free."





When Robbery Is The Option...Do Nothing!

I am told by reliable sources that the Blue Jays wanted Gleyber Torres and our 20 year old AAA pitcher Garcia....to even discuss a trade of Stroman to the Yankees.

That is hardly a balanced comparison to the Mets giving up two teenage pitchers.

The robbery signs are out and in full bllom.

The Yankees are desperate and have their backs to the wall.  Steal everything that isn't nailed down.

Panic clouds rational thinking.

Although, isn't it odd that our best, most reliable players this season have names like:  German; LeMahieu; Urshela; Voit, Maybin, Torres, Didi, Green. and, of course, Tauchman.

Giancarlo is a laugh.  Judge is a question mark with the bat ( again). Bird never blossomed. Gary goes from great to awful in a week. Severino is still recovering from the second half injury of last year.  Dellin went mental and found an unidentifiable arm tweak;  El Chappo is mental now.  Montgomery is just a puff of old smoke.  CC is on a victory tour.  And Happ and Paxton are what you get when you trade top prospects for experienced, quality pitchers.

Let those other teams get nothing for their cast-offs.  Let them lose them to free agency next season.

Bring up the Garcia kid. 

Just go with the hand we've been playing.  Let them show the world that it is guts and smarts that wins championships.



The Blue Jays just gave the finger to both Marcus Stroman and the Yankees

This should be a joyous, block party week across the Yankiverse: We sit comfortably atop the AL East, while Tampa, Cleveland, Oakland and the Redsocks mud-wrestle for the 2019 wild card dregs. Hell, we should we drinking malt liquor from quart bottles, and eating cheese-injected pretzels, happy and dumb, on our Naugahyde couches. Why are we so dejected?

Clearly, it's the fake reality of this July 31 deadline. We sit at the crossroads, stalled out at the intersection. So jumbled is the outlook that I cannot decide if we should trade the farm for a starting pitcher or stand pat and do nothing. All I know is that, whatever we do, it will probably backfire. Is that just me, being naturally pessimistic, or have we tapped into a fundamental Yankee destiny that increasingly looks doomed? They say you cannot predict baseball, Suzyn. But I can easily count the ways that October will turn on us. 

1. We'll splatter against a legit rotation from Houston, Boston or LA - facing starters who - gasp - actually pitch into the seventh.  

2. Our closer will walk his customary lead-off batters, filling the bases and blowing leads. Meanwhile, our overworked, stems-and-seeds bullpen will burst like an over-inflated balloon. 

3. Our big bats - seeking to score 15 per game - will go swoosh with runners on base. We might beat Minnesota in a short-series shootout. Once we hit real pitching, we'll be pulling our goalie by the third inning. 

Unfortunately - or maybe fortunately, I dunno - the biggest decision was made for us this week, when Toronto sent Marcus Stroman to the Mets for two of their best prospects. Could we not have beaten that deal?

I have to wonder: What have we done to the Blue Jays lately? Not much. The last time we traded for one of their stars was JA Happ, whom I suspect we'd happily give back. Isn't Food Stamps Hal Steinbrenner a beloved member of the Billionaires Club? He certainly doesn't spend as his dad did, or as Los Angeles and Boston regularly do. He's happy to let other teams win, and redo the boathouse. He didn't chase Dallas Keuchel. He didn't flirt with Manny or Bryce. Good grief, are they pissed at us for signing Troy Tulowitzki? What did we do to Toronto? 

My guess: The Jays were giving both us and Stroman their spit-moistened middle finger, trading him to the wrong NYC team, and for less than the Yankees would have surrendered at the deadline. They were sick of hearing Stoman whine about pinstripes, so - in the wily nature of Mephistopheles - they granted his New York wish in the most perverse of ways. 

So now... we sit on the couch and watch the news. We'll get some fifth-inning bullpen lug nut, or maybe a fifth starter. We'll overpay, and nothing will change: We'll still see Betances and Severino as our saviors, waiting for either to report a tweak and say, "See you next spring." 

But here is my wish, amended to reflect my stark pessimism. I suggest the Yankees troll the oceans for the pitching equivalents of Mike Tauchman and Luke Voit - that is, 27-28 year-old Triple A workhorses, the kind who are regularly overlooked by parent clubs. The David Hales. Maybe we can acquire some forgotten former prospect who has a month left in his shoulder and nothing to lose. 

The Yankees have survived this season on the backs of no-name underachievers, who stepped from the abyss and saved this team. It's time for Cashman to beat the bushes. Somebody out may have some juice in his arm. We need that guy. Otherwise, the Colt-45 is tasting stale. 

Monday, July 29, 2019

The Worst. Ever.

The 1930 Philadelphia Phillies did not have much in the way of pitching.  The Phils that year compiled a team ERA of 6.71, which is how you manage to hit .315 as a team, (.324 when you don't include the pitchers) and still finish last in the National League. Playing in the old Baker Bowl bandbox, in a hitting era, they were simply wretched.

There has been plenty of other bad pitching over the years.

From 1935-1940, the three cellar-dwellers of the American League, the St. Louis Browns, the Philadelphia Athletics, and the Washington Senators—a.k.a., "The Three Stooges"—constantly put up ERAs of over 5 runs a game.

(Some people felt they must have been behind Pearl Harbor.  Hey, they had bombed everywhere else.)

Then there were the 1962 Mets, with an ERA of 5.05 at the start of what was really a pitching era (something due, albeit, in part to their flamboyantly awful fielding).

Texas, from 2001-2003 ran up a collective team ERA of over 5.00, showing how you finish last three years in a row with A-Rod at his juicy best.  The Royals, even with that big ballpark, and the Orioles in recent years have repeatedly put up terrible pitching numbers and repeated ERAs of over 5.

But nobody has ever done what the Yankees accomplished last week.

According to the estimable Hartford Courant—a struggling newspaper but one that still, defiantly, prints the major-league boxscores—the Yankees' starters last week surrendered 6 or more runs in the first 4 innings or less, for 6 straight games.

Dating back to 1920, no other team has ever done that.

Considering that 1920 was when the live ball era began, it is possible that no other team, period, has ever allowed that in the 149-year era of professional baseball.

ESPN last night added an array of other accomplishments.

The Red Sox, in those 4 games, totaled 122 bases with their 36 extra-base hits—more than in ANY OTHER 4-game series, EVER, save for one in 1936 when the Yanks did the bopping.  This year, too, the Sox scored the most runs, at 44, in any 4-game Yankees-Red Sox series, ever.

The Yanks' ERA in the series was 14.29; since the All-Star Game, it has been 7.89.

Folks, what you are seeing here is the absolute pitching meltdown we have all feared, complete with injuries, head cases, and assorted other bells and whistles.

Sure, part of it is due to playing with Super Happy Fun Ball, and part of it is the continuing juicing by the megalithic players out there.  And yes, yes, I know:  small sample.

But this is a breakdown, pure and simple.  Once upon a time, when we still had management that cared, this would have meant the guillotine for both Larry "Rumpled Bed" Rothschild, and Coopsie his own self.

Not now.  But what it does say is that Cashman making his usual, disastrous deal for a "young power arm" (YPA) is even more idiotic than ever.  We would need about ten such arms.

This Yankees team does not have the pitching to win a World Series, period.  That is part and parcel of a long-term development program, and it cannot be rectified in a week of slipshod horse-swapping (fun as slipshod horse-swapping always is to see, particularly to polka music).






A-Rod left the cake out in the rain

As the trade deadline approaches, maybe it's time to ponder the unponderable

Last night, during the successful National Emergency Juju Intervention - with Rizzutonic particles crackling across my TV porthole, and my nervous system attuned to the vast Yankee incondibulum - the Matrix glitched, and I encountered an entirely new experience: 

As Aaron Judge stepped to the plate, I noticed an involuntary, knee-buckling cringe.

I reported this to authorities. Why deny it? It happened. As a research scientist, not prone toward the whims of dogma, I must report all strange phenomenon, regardless of personal views. In a brief span, before purging myself with another Fleet Enema - my fourth - I felt my stomach fill with doorknobs and needed to sit. It was an unmistakable, Jose Canseco-esque cringe. It happened.

This malaise is not unprecedented. It happens whenever a Yankee regular tumbles into a nightmare slump, consistently bringing disappointment. True to his deathly trench, Judge fanned by lunging for a 3-2 pitch far off the plate, and marching back to his still-warmed dugout perch. Over his last seven games, Judge has batted .219, fanning 10 times in 32 at-bats, grounding into three DPs, and drawing not one walk. Not one. In Fenway, he has been a bust, and the ESPN team was not shy about saying as much.

Listen: Judge remains the Yankees best player, and we cannot imagine a fully operational Death Star without him. But it's time to talk blaspheme: The big guy needs a rest, almost as much as Mike Tauchman - our best hitter over the last month - did not need one last night. I'm reminded of Judge's breakout season, two years ago, when his game collapsed after the Home Run Derby, and fans were screaming for Aaron Boone to sit him for a couple games. 

The Yankees now face a Wednesday trade deadline with their rotation in ruins. Yesterday, they learned the price tag for Marcus Stroman - two top 10 Mets pitching prospects - was too high. (And the Jays surely enjoyed sticking it to us, dealing Stoman to his favored destination, leaving us on the stoop.) So, in the spirit of a parlor game, let's think some crazy shit -out-of-the-box moves the Yankees could make, rather than the traditional route of dealing a pile of prospects. I'm not advocating trading anyone for the sake of a trade. But in any deal, the devil is in the details. 

What if they traded Judge - a superstar approaching his prime, but whose disturbing frequency of injuries suggests a younger version of Giancarlo Stanton? Well, aside from the fact that the fan base would revolt, and the Yankees marketing program revolves around the guy, there is hardly a starting pitcher out there who could balance such a trade. So, trading Judge is out. He will be a Yankee, if not for the rest of his life, for the rest of mine.

What about Gary Sanchez? Hmm. That's another matter. For weeks before his recent tweak, I'd cringed at Gary's sight, especially with runners on base. In his 9 games following the All-Star break, he was hitting .103, and his slump began in June. What if the Yankees - in a 2019 do-or-die run - pedaled Sanchez, a 26-year old all-star catcher and slugger? They could hand the position to Austin Romine, who is hitting.409 over the last seven games.

Would Sanchez bring a stud pitcher? (Keep in mind, the Yankees have several top catching prospects low in the system.) This would elevate Romine, who in the past has wilted under the daily grind, and make Kyle Higashioka the back-up. Also, I'm starting to fear Sanchez might need to play 1B, where he could be a complete liability. Could they make such a deal? Dunno. But maybe the Yankees need to limit Gary's innings far more than in the past. And maybe when he's not catching, Gary shouldn't be the DH, either. Is he really a major plank in the Yankee future? Dunno. Just asking. 

What about dealing Stanton? Don't we wish? Unfortunately, he's got a no-trade clause and a contract from Hell. He's ours for life. No. He'll be here forever, long after the icecaps melted and civilization breaks into tribal warfare. He'll be ours. 

How about Aaron Hicks, hero of the historic Battle of Minnesota? Could we turn CF over to a Tauchman/Maybin platoon, and deal the contract-controlled Hicks, maybe with a few bucks sweetening the pot? Hicks' career is pocked with injuries, which bring slumps. This begs another question: Are Tauchman and Maybin for real? Could they play CF until Estevan Florial arrives? (If he can ever stop striking out?)

What about trading Luke Voit? DJ LeMahiue can play 1B. But would Luke bring a top pitcher? And he seem a valuable clubhouse lug nut, somebody no team wants to face in a brawl. Or Gio Urshela? He could disappear next spring, when Miguel Andujar returns. 

Or, wait a minute: How about this: Could we bundle the injured Andujar with the injured Greg Bird and the injured Luis Severino - a perfect storm of rehabs - for a pitcher? Could a forward-thinking GM shore up three positions next spring by dealing a pitcher now? 

Must we surrender our best prospects? 

Obviously, I dunno. The sad part here is that most teams, when dealing pitchers, want pitching in return, and the Yankees have none to give. They could deal James Paxton and/or JA Happ - as they did Sonny Gray - but what's the point? They'd be trading players at their lowest value, a losing strategy. Nope, they're stuck with the pair. 

What's amazing - and terrifying, if you think about it - is that the Yankees recently have seemed to toy with the notion of trading Domingo German, to free some pitcher. Hopefully, last night dispelled that notion. But over the next 72 hours, anything can happen... except one outcome cannot change: The Yankees will be in first place in the AL East by a relatively comfortable margin. How badly do we need a face-lift? 

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Break up the Yankees

Defeat is one thing; disaster another.
—Winston Churchill

But really, the main reason I hastened back from Connecticut is to warn you:  Do not.  Seek.  The treasure.

No, wait—that was from "O, Brother Where Art Thou?"

Do not.  Waste.  The karma.

There.

Look, I would say these last three days were like men vs. boys, but boys usually look at least slightly animated when playing a game.  This was more like men. vs. zombies, or men vs. three-toed tree sloths.

I have seen a lot of sporting mismatches in my time.  The Original, 1978 Boston Massacre; the 49ers in the Super Bowl vs. Denver and then San Diego; U.S. women's soccer vs. Thailand, etc.

NONE of them have anything on this one.  I have never seen such a one-side set of games in any sport, involving any teams, as these last three games at Fenway Park.

Let me say, to be fair, that the Red Sox are a much, much better team than your 2019 New York Yankees in absolutely every aspect of the game, hitting, fielding, pitching, and especially managing.

Somebody said the Sox had 33 extra-base-hits in the first 3 games.  Hell, in the infamous, three-game, June, 1977 wipeout at Fenway, when the Sox belted 16 homers against us, they only had a total of 18 extra-base-hits.

33 extra-base hits.  11 a game.

If these Red Sox do not win the World Series again, I will be surprised.

If these Red Sox do not end up 10 games ahead of the Yankees in the standings, I will be astonished.

But all that said, this was not a professional effort by our boys.

The final totals and the box scores really did not do justice to just how one-sided and terrible this was.

Seeing it up close on the BIG screen was terrifying.  Every single Red Sox batter seemed capable of hitting the ball out.  Even the foul balls and outs were usually screaming line drives.

At the plate, our batters constantly swung at pitches out of the strike zone, and took big, fat, juicy strike-threes down the plate—all the very worst of the perverted, Chthuluan method of hitting that Coops had imposed on this team.

In the outfield, in particular, most of our players looked as if they had just been introduced to the game.

A few days after making like Willie Mays in centerfield, Aaron Hicks looked like Willie Mays Aikens.  Aaron Judge looked like a man on his first day of juggling class.  Tauchman looked like Joe Hardy after the devil has taken the spell off, and he has instantly reverted to a very feeble individual.

The Sox fans weren't booing or taunting our guys.  They were laughing at them.

The pitching was, of course, beneath contempt.  So we lost the James "Pettitte Times Five" Paxton start by 10-5?  Well, then thanks goodness Pettitte wasn't out there.  I guess it would've been 50-5.

The pitching was one thing, though.  The general malaise and inattention of the team was another—and it is on the manager.

I never thought I would see a Yankees team this uninvolved in a big series.  Of course, I also never thought I would see a Yankees pitching coach who could not be bothered to take off a sweatshirt and put on his cap when he went out to the mound.

Old George would've fired Rothschild for general schlubiness alone.  Which would've been fine.

But the big problem here is the manager.  Even crazy old Billy Martin found SOMETHING to do to fire up his team back in the 1977 debacle, if only try to start a fight with Billy Martin.  The next weekend we swept 'em right back at the Stadium.

That won't be happening with this Yankees team, or this manager.

Time to bag and junk this failed attempt at a dynasty.  Best to get rid of it all, beginning with the leeching ownership heirs who have attached themselves to the greatest franchise like an over-gorged tick.

Move on to the office lickspittle of a GM, the vacuous manager, and the single worst coaching and training staff ever assembled, and finish with most of a roster so obviously devoid of any semblance of pride or heart.

And begin again.

That's the intervention we need.  













The horror...the horror...

First, I have to say the LBJ has it exactly right.

I just got back from spending two lovely days in Connecticut, with friends who include an older guy, a recent cancer survivor, and lifelong Sox fan.

He's also a little deaf, hence we had to have the volume on his incredible, curved TV hiked way up, to listen to most of Friday and Saturday's games at top volume as we sipped gins-and-tonic in a most civilized fashion.

Worst of all, he's a really nice guy, and so he and his would try to say nice, helpful things whenever the sheer agony I was feeling.

"Well, you know, it's just not the Yankees' night.

"Ha-ha!  I guess not!"

Rictus grin still securely on face.

"Another gin-and-tonic?"

"Yes, please!  On second thought...did I say anything about fucking tonic???   Just give me the gin!  Hand it over!"

I don't know that I shall ever recover.

The Sox broadcast trio—always shot from that perspective; usually we get to see Eck's bald spot—was absolutely arrogant, and spot on, all game long, Friday and Saturday.

They not only regularly called hits and when (Yankees) pitchers should be pulled out, they were completely incredulous about the Yanks' pitch selection.

Typical comment on Paxton:

"Geez, he's gettin' everybody out with that cutter.  Why's he keep throwin' that big fat fastball right down the middle?  Oh, now he's getting mad!  He got it up to 98—but right down the middle!

Ball leaves park or bangs off left field wall.

Shot of Paxton's sepulchral face as he turns and trudges back up the mound.

At other times it turned to pure mockery, as when Judge dropped a ball in right field at a key moment on Friday:  "Mookie woulda put that in his pocket!"

JM was right.  Surely that park was built right on the portal of Chthulu into this world.  Of course, back in the day, Chthulu used to be our friend.  Now...





What Is The Measure Of Success?

Subject:  The International IV planned for tonight.

I believe a Yankee win is a clear measure of success.

However;  Vegas odds say German gives up eight earned runs ( including one three run HR ) before the 4th inning. 

If he holds the Sox to no runs in the first inning, does that count as an element of success for the IV?  (The intervention doesn't begin until the second inning).

Each game in this set, so far, has been "over" by the end of inning one.  So,  if we lose the game 14-5 but "beat Boston" ( say: 5-4 ) in the last 8 innings, does that constitute success?

If we don't lose a player to injury, is that a Yankee "win" under this IV?

If Chad Green is deemed unavailable by Boone tonight, is that a measure of positivity due to the IV?

How about an upbeat report on Severino , throwing Nerf balls in Florida?  What if he feels no pain after 15 soft tosses of about 12 feet?

Or Dellin B sitting on the bench with a blank stare, spitting pumpkin seeds...holding an MRI report that is inconclusive?

If Cashman does not announce a deal tonight, for an over-the-hill, former big name pitcher, is that a success?

If we lose by 4 or 5 runs instead of 16, is that a success?

Don't get me wrong.  I am " all in."  Tequila and beer;  beer and tequila.  Beginning in the second inning. 

Who planned this thing?  Who did the fucking math?

If this game is over in the first inning ( again) how can the IV have any impact whatsoever?

Jesus and Jesus ( above ) are on our side.

BREAKING: A NATIONAL EMERGENCY JUJU INTERVENTION HAS BEEN DECLARED FOR TONIGHT

URGENT - YANKEE MESSAGE
National Juju Service Syracuse NY
409 AM EDT Sun Jul 28 2019

CAZ179>189-281915-
/O.CON.KHNX.EH.W.0002.190728T2000Z-190729T0300Z/
/O.CON.KHNX.HT.Y.0005.190729T2000Z-190730T0300Z/
Including the counties of Bronx, Queens, Albany, Broome, Onondaga, Chenango,
the cities of New York, Boston, New York, Providence, Hartford,
Elmira, Yonkers, Massena, Salem, Worcester, Cambridge, Utica, Goshen,
Jersey City, Lowville, and Bakersfield, CA.
409 AM EDT Sun Jul 28 2019

...THE NATIONAL YANKEE JUJU SERVICE HAS DECLARED
A NATIONAL EMERGENCY JUJU INTERVENTION ADVISORY,
BEGINNING AT 7:09 PM EDT THIS EVENING UNTIL 8 PM EDT MONDAY...

* OPPONENT BATTING AVERAGES of up to .450 are forecast for Sunday, 
with possible Yankee ERAs soaring above 9.00.

* THIS MAY BE ACCOMPANIED BY HEAVY WINDS, HALE (David), AND RUN TOTALS
that break existing records. 


* IMPACTS...The runs and extreme immensity of these nine-inning beatings 
may cause stress, especially during extended exposure.

PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

The EMERGENCY JUJU INTERVENTION requires all fans to take extra
precautions during prolonged Yankee exposure. When the game begins, fans
should avoid outside locations and/or reschedule strenuous activities 
to early morning, but plan to hover in front of their television, radio or 
juju porthole/ listening device. 


Wear light weight or loose-fitting clothing when possible and
drink plenty of fluids. Channel all existing bile into the 
television screen or radio wavelength indicator, and dispatch juju 
waves accordingly to the team on the field.


This event will begin in the TOP OF THE SECOND INNING 
OF TONIGHT'S GAME, at approximately 7:32 p.m. EDT. 

At said moment, Yankee juju operatives across the nation will 
direct all personal and public juju waves toward the Yankees.


THIS IS NOT A TEST. THIS IS NOT AN OPTION.


THIS IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN ANYTHING YOU HAVE EVER DONE 
IN YOUR SAD, MEASLY LIFE, THUS FAR.


SO DO NOT BLOW IT.


To reduce risk during juju event, the Occupational Safety and
Health Administration recommends scheduling frequent rest breaks
in shaded or air conditioned environments. If a Yankee meltdown 
becomes imminent, call the Yankee Hotline (9-1-1) and ask for
"Food Stamps." 

A National Emergency Juju Intervention means that a 
prolonged period of dangerously hot Redsocks has already occurred. 
The combination of powerful hitters and terrible Yankee pitching 
may combine to create a CATASTROPHIC DANGEROUS SITUATION 
in which Yankee fan disgust and disillusionment is likely. 

Repeat: Drink plenty of fluids, stay indoors, avoid
public exchanges with Boston fans, and check on aging relatives, 
who may be unaware of the impending sweep.

Young children and pets should never be left unattended in 
front of the televised game. This is especially true 
during the bottom of each inning, when Redsock scoring 
can reach lethal totals in a matter of minutes.

STAY ALERT. A NATIONAL EMERGENCY JUJU INTERVENTION means that
Yankee fans everywhere will be channeling their entire psyche
toward Boston, MA, in an attempt to salvage one game from
a four-game series. Yes, this may appear to be pathetic and 
after-the-fact, but - repeating - THIS IS NOT A TEST.

Stay tuned to this site for more instructions. 

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Life Behind Enemy LInes


As many of you know, I live in New England.  I am watching Game Three of this incredibly frustrating Yankees/Red Sox series on NESN, the official voice of the Boston Red Sox.  The announcers are:

  • Jerry Remy, former Red Sox infielder, father of a murderer, and a really annoying Red Sox homer.

  • Dennis Eckersley, Hall of Fame pitcher and not a bad color commentator.

  • Some other guy.

I'm sitting in my wing chair, watching and listening as CC serves up one hanging slider after another.  The Red Sox hitters are licking their chops and lacing one liner after another down the left field line.

Xander Bogaerts (no relation to Humphrey) is at the plate.  The onscreen commentary (audible and otherwise) is as follows:
Jerry Remy: Xander Bogaerts comes to bat.  I've got a feeling.  A feeling deep inside. <pause>  I mean about Bogaerts.
Local Bargain Jerk at Home: <Remy, you're a dick, but that wasn't a bad Beatles reference.>
Dennis Eckersley: The Yankees biggest problem is that they're not going to get CC out of this game as soon as they should.

Local Bargain Jerk at Home: <Dear God, even the opposing team's announcers can see it!> 
Aaron Boone: <in his mind; Oh crap.  Some of this gum is stuck between my incisor and whatever the tooth next to it is called.>

Larry Rothschild: <in his mind; Oh crap.  My truss slipped and now it's digging into my leg.> 

Bogaerts: <hits a double, a near home run.>

Dennis Eckersley: Well, Jerry, there's your feeling.
Jerry Remy: Yep.  Didn't miss by much.
Dennis Eckersley: I NEVER would have let Sabathia face that man, the way CC's been throwing and the way Bogaerts has been hitting.
Jerry Remy: Chad Green is coming into the game but the damage is done.
Local Bargain Jerk at Home: <Maybe it's time to start cooking dinner.  Nahhh, I'm not hungry.  Maybe it's time for more Sangria.>
I mean, seriously: Boone is being second guessed by the opposing team's announcers?  What is happening here? 

Suggestion For A Calmer Day





As soon as the Yanks go scoreless in the top of the first, turn off the TV and lie down in your front lawn.  Dig a hole if you must.

Maybe lather on some anti-tick spray, depending on where you live.

Let it rain, snow, sleet or hail.  Dont move.

The TV shows far worse images.  And will make you feel worse.

If we hold them under 20 it is a miracle. 

"Laughingstock" is now the word that surfaces.

But when my ears are pressed against the earth, I hear no sound.

Arise at sunset and have a stiff drink.

Make mine a double.

We have no team.

Again.

A glitch? Or are the Yankees simply facing a better team?

Wow. Drag me to the town square. Pelt me with tomatoes. No Maas. NO MAAS! I concede! I feel like George C. Scott, yelling at the movie screen in "Hardcore..." 


TURN IT OFF! TURN IT OFFFFFFF!

I spent the last four months assuming this was the Yankees' year, and that the overwhelming talent in our lineup was unmatched, at least in the AL East. Now, I wuz duped. Now, wherever I look, I see 1978... in reverse.

I see reigning world champions, after a spring from hell, staring up at a 10-game deficit and going to work. I see them secure in the knowledge that they have the better team, and I see the Yankees - from top to bottom of their organization - going into a barnyard panic.  

TURN IT OFF! TURN IT OFFFFFFFF!


Let's face it: Boston has the superior rotation, by a mile. Right now, the Yankees have no one capable of pitching six innings, and the notion that Luis Severino will save us belies the fact that he was getting bombed last September. Then there is James "Big Maple" Paxton, who has done the impossible: Made us yearn for Sonny Gray. Last night, the only positive that John Sterling could conjure about Paxton was that he is not inconsistent: In start after start, he's consistently bad. Today, we turn to CC, the grand old man, our reigning ambassador to 2009, and who among us expects him to last into the fifth? 

We have a better bullpen, but it's getting blown to smithereens by two-inning starters, and our closer is melting down faster than the true North icecaps. (The speculative news stories this week that El Chapo next winter will invoke the "out" clause in his Yankee contract - becoming a free agent - hardly brought tears across the Yankiverse. Let him go. We've simply endured too many lead-off walks, too many nail-biting scenarios, to re-up for a longer term. If he can get a five-year deal, he better take it.)  

If we go around the horn, whatever advantages we saw in June no longer apply.

At 1B and 2B, Voit and LeMahieu beat Moreland and Chavis. That's where it ends. Bogaerts and Devers are having monster years; either could be MVP. 

At catcher, much as we hate to admit it, Christian Vasquez has become more formidable, both offensively and defensively, than the up-down roller-coaster ride known as Gary Sanchez. 

In the OF, Betts, Bradley and Benintendi equal Gardy, Hicks and Judge (who can't seem to stay healthy and put together that MVP year), and JD Martinez is vastly superior to the shell of the ancient slugger that The Master calls "Eddie" Encarnacion. Eddie still hits HRs, but .225 isn't cutting it. (In fact, it's still not clear whether Eddie, as DH, will produce more than what Clint Frazier was doing, had the Yankees stuck with him. Frazier was having a breakout season when Cashman pulled the rug. He's now ticketed to go in trade, and it's not even clear if we'll get much in return. The Yankees have done all they can to deflate the guy and make him yearn to go elsewhere.) 

We've sat atop the AL East for months, secure in the fantasy that this was our year. This weekend, reality intervened.

Listen: This is not a glitch in the Matrix. We're not going to wake up next week and rattle off 10 straight wins. This is real, goddammot. The Yankees are the second best team in the AL East, and this weekend, Boston is going to wipe the floor with us.  TURN IT OFFFFF! TURN IT OFFFFFFF!

Friday, July 26, 2019

Lookout below! It's happening again

Five to nothing after three...

Cashman's Collapsers?

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Yankee Starting Pitching:











Letter To Horace

Dear Hoss,

I only have one quarrel with your post today.....I would have removed Tanaka after the third ( turd ) batter.  It is when I stopped watching the game and opted for re-runs of "Naked and Afraid."

I keep hoping that on one show the Caiman or the Croc gets the idiots swimming across the river.  Or that the black mamba finds his target, rather than becoming dinner.

I mean, some things are simply too predictable.

My feelings are pretty much the same regarding the Red Sox and, more recently, Aaron Boone.  Let the black mamba get them.

Boonie made an even more dangerous mistake last night.

What if, for example, Austin Romine had injured himself doing the unnatural thing of pitching an inning or two?  He is now our number one catcher.

How would we all feel if Sanchez was asked to pitch for a while?

I would rather the Yankees selected a fan to pitch.

In fact, what would MLB do if Boston never made an out?


Ma Must Go

To blame Ma Boone for the inevitable collapse of the Yankees' pitching staff is akin to blaming a hammer for a badly built house.

Unlike what we traditionally think of as a baseball "manager," Ma is merely an extension of The Genius Known As Cooperstown Cashman, a tool in the hands of that beady-eyed egomaniac.

But there are tools and then there are tools.

Leaving Masahiro "Tiger" Tanaka out there to die last night was the most obscene misuse of an honored Yankee veteran since Billy Martin left an injured Catfish Hunter to take a beating in the 1977  Beantown Meltdown—then did it again in the World Series.

That enraged the Yankees' veterans at the time, as well it should have.  But this is actually worse.

Martin's callous sacrifice of the Catfish (the second time, anyway) was at least in the service of resetting his worn staff and winning a World Series, which he did.

Tanaka was thrown to the wolves in a July game in which the Yanks had a 10-game lead.  And Tanaka is hardly someone who can handle things with the same, ironic perspective of a good ol' boy like Hunter, who could take a lot.

This was a baseball soul-killing, which our lump of a field manager didn't even understand.

It was a backhanded insult, rendered with little care or thought, by a skipper who is too often out to lunch.

You can't even blame Coops or the algorithms for this one.  Tanaka should have been in the showers with the score 5-0, and the Yanks should have found a way to get through that game even if it meant that its Golden Horde of relievers pitched 1 inning each for the rest of the night.

I never thought Boone was a good manager, alas.  But this leads me to conclude that he is a bona fide,  factory-certified fool.

We will never win a ring with the Unholy Trio of HAL, Coops, and Ma in charge.  But this was an insult, not only to a gutty pitcher but to everyone who knows and follows the game.  Ma must go.


Last night, the ghosts of the new rivalry reappeared, and they could shake the Yankiverse down to its foundations

Last Aug. 2, the mighty Yankees visited Boston looking to set things straight in the AL East. They stood in second place, 6 games behind the Redsocks, who looked ready to stumble once again - the longtime tradition between the rivals:

For ninety years, with the season on the line, the Yankees always won. 

In game one, the Yankees took a 4-0 lead, and Boston fans chewed their fingers. Then CC Sabathia fell apart, and the Redsocks scored 8 in the fourth, en route to a 15-7 decimation. Boston swept the four-game series, taking the finale in 10 innings, after Aroldis Chapman walked the bases loaded and blew a three-run lead. The Yankees left Boston 10 behind, with a brand new tradition in place. 

These days, it's Boston who waits to pounce late in the season, and it's the Yankees who fidget and fall. 

These days, the phrase "Boston Massacre" signifies an entirely different outcome than from 1979.

Last year's embarrassment came with one major difference from last night: It happened after the MLB trade deadline. Thus, it couldn't go off in Brian "Cooperstown" Cashman's medicated brain like a Fourth of July M-80. 

Already today, the Yankiverse echos with full-throated bleats for Cashman to do something, anything!, to staunch the bleeding. The Gammonites of NYC - on and off the team's YES payroll - are calling for Cash to trade whatever he's got for whatever he can get - be it Marcus Stroman or the reanimated carcass of Hideki Irabu. It doesn't matter who goes. Just trade for someone.

The calls come 25 days after the Yankee owner couldn't be coaxed to dig into his pockets and sign Dallas Keuchel, who has been a savior to Atlanta. In a strangely suspicious mini-auction, both teams submitted truncated versions of what they had offered Keuchel last winter, and neither budged. So Food Stamps Steinbrenner kept not only his money but his warm standing among the super-rich country clubbers who own baseball teams.  

But if Cashman is compelled to make a deal this weekend, maybe it's time to take stock of the Yankee farm system, which three years ago was considered one of the game's best development machines. The well respected Fangraphs web site this week issued its mid-season ranking of MLB farms, and if you're a Yank fan, it's not a beach read. The Yankees rank 22nd out of 30, and almost all of their top prospects lurk in the lower levels of the system, where - frankly - everybody looks likes like a future star. If the Yankees drain this already-thin system, we could find ourselves back in the eighties, when the franchise consistently ranked among the worst in the game. 

Well, you can't predict baseball, Suzyn. But here's a likely scenario for the next four days: 

1. Cashman will trade several of the Yankees best prospects for a starting pitcher.

2. The courtier Gammonites will cheer the move, saying the Yankees didn't give up all that much.

3. The Yankee farm system will sink even lower.

Is this a certainty? No. I think Cashman fully realizes the danger in trading his best prospects. But he is the architect of the most fruitless decade in Yankee history, and if he really expects to reach Cooperstown, it's now or never. 

And there still is a chance to avert this scenario. It begins tonight. 

Last night, the Yankees were humiliated. If this continues all weekend, if the Yankees get blown out, stand back, everybody... because it's been a great year thus far, but some terrible shit is about to fly. 

Howl

I saw the best seasons of my generation destroyed by indifference, uncaring stupid selfish
heirs who have done nothing looking to convert the last angry rat turd into yet another dollar,
lickspittle office politicians burning for their Cooperstown fix who cannot tell a pitcher from a toxic poisoned glass of water,
and hire clueless, idiot managers content to sit on Fenway benches and dribble away the last innings of a once proud pitcher...

—Hoss Ginsberg

Sigh.

I could go on.  But I won't.  Save to say that this looks like it will be another of those years.

2004, 2005, 2006, 2007...oh, how they flew by!...2010, 2011, 2012...2017, 2018...

One after another in which the Yanks had a real contender, but didn't even make the World Series because of the same damned thing in the end:  they were short a pitcher.

Sometimes a reliever.  Usually a starter.  Or two, or three.

Even the 2009 team was scraping through by the skin of a blistered forefinger at the end.  Down to three starters because they wouldn't take a flyer on Pedro.  They were lucky enough to get one good year out of Burnett, and Pettitte was able to pitch on short rest in the Series, or they would have lost that one, too.

The pitchers they could've had over the last few years?

Scherzer
Verlander
Sale
Cole
Corbin
Keuchel

Didn't need all six.  Two or three, or maybe even one would've done.

So, instead of a nice romp to the flag, we are going to get yet another Eliza-chased-across-the-ice stretch run.  Chased by wolves.  Wolves with shotguns.  Wolves with shotguns and wings.

Maybe they'll hold on to first and maybe they won't, but in any case it's not a team that will get past the ALDS.  Again.

I would howl.  But I'd rather have a drink.  HAL and Coops and Ma ain't worth a good howl.







Thursday, July 25, 2019

Wow. We're down by seven runs after the first. Is it going to be one of those series?

It's only a game. It's not life. Nobody dies. It's only a game. It's not life. Nobody dies. It's only a game...

Lurkers

This is the trouble with major-league baseball today:  too much imitation of other sports.

Early this year, baseball tried to imitate the (rather unsuccessful) NFL and NBA plans for world domination, and play real games that count in London.

But much worse, we already went all-in with playoffs.

Me, I happen to believe that baseball's Long Season is the greatest determiner of a championship that ever was.  Call me an Original 16 absolutist.  All those expansion cities wanted major-league baseball?  They should have started their own major leagues.

And now that we're up to 4 rounds of playoffs, the Long Season is less meaningful than ever.  More and more, the advantage goes to those teams that can lurk around a wild-card spot, and scheme their way to the top.

I remember how Russell's Celtics did this for their last couple championships.  Hell, their last year, 1968-69 they finished FOURTH—just laying in the weeds, resting their aged bones for the playoffs.  Which they won.

A couple years later the Knicks turned the tables on them.  The 1971-72 and 1972-73 Celtics went all-out to run up the best records in the league.  But the crafty Knicks, who had a much better bench, just bided their time and beat the Celts in the Eastern Conference finals both years.

That's all well-and-good for lesser sports.  But for baseball, it distorts the championship.

Right now, it's actually the Red Sox who are in the catbird seat.  having punked out on over half the season, they can still lay back, torment us here and there, get their pitching fixed, and come out swinging in the playoffs.

Worst that happens, now that they've shown Tampa Bay who's boss, is a one-game play-in at Fenway.  Aw gee, don't throw them in the br'er patch!

Meanwhile, they can play as hard as they feel like it.  Like that jerk in school who would challenge you to a foot race—then, when you were running as hard as you could, pull up with a sneer, take out a cigarette, and act amused that you were taking him seriously.

Yep.  They are lurkers.  And they will be very, very annoying in that role, starting this weekend.






One week until the Cashman trade bombings commence

Let's savor those inspiring, thrill-a-minute victories over Minny... until 7:10 tonight, when the Yankiverse shifts to Fenway - four games that offer a rare chance to drop-kick Boston square in the billiards. The Redsocks need at least three wins to quell the queasy sense that last year's Hall of Fame Super Team of Destiny aged five years in six months, and might  require a winter tear-down. But we must not let up, or Boston will start roaring back. This weekend, the Death Star can, in essence, secure the AL East. We wouldn't pop champagne, but the pennant race could be on cruise-control. 
Then there is that second tier of Yankee reality: The looming trade makeover. It will be conducted by Brian "Cooperstown" Cashman, who will once again chase the most elusive and perhaps mythical target: The "power arm" with team control beyond a three-month rental. This is where Cashman traditionally blows his transmission - from Weaver to Brown to Vazquez to Pavano to Igawa to Vazquez to Burnett to Johnson to Pineda to Gray to, gulp, Paxton? This is when we bundle our future for somebody who pitched well in Soup City, but who will go knock-kneed before the boot-lickers and painted ladies of Gotham. The Yankees love to celebrate Hope Week. Well, comrades, this is Fear Week. This is when we dip into our farm and pray that we're not giving away the next Buhner or Drabek - trades that, though they happened long ago, still haunt our nightmares. 
Which brings me to the guy most likely to make us recall the crazy, Mohawk-haired Buhner: Clint Frazier. "Red Thunder" - (he hates that name, it must be noted) - is suddenly red hot in Scranton, as if he realizes his exile to Red Rock Country is almost over. I happen to believe trading Frazier will be an incredible, generational mistake, which will haunt us for a decade, but what do I know? I'm just an old fan who remembers shit. 
Right now, with Cameron Maybin about to reappear, the Yankees have too many outfielders. They won't dis Brett Gardner, and they can't drop Mike Tauchman - not when he's on fire. (Though they probably will; the poor guy has minor league options.) Maybin was a feel-good story of June, he does a little of everything, but they have no place to stash him. That leaves at least two players in Frazier's path, and barring an outfield collision, he'll be stuck in Scranton until September, or maybe even next spring... unless he's gone in a trade.
I'm just saying what we all know: he's a goner. That naive, romantic notion that Frazier would become part of a modern wrecking crew... we should let it go. The Yankees have a problem with Frazier's defense, and maybe their discontent runs deeper - into his larger-than-life, over-the-top personality. I can only hope his outgoing nature is not the reason, because guys like hate to lose. Every great team has one. Whomever we get for Frazier will dangle around Cashman's neck for the rest of the GM's career. He better have nude pictures of Food Stamps Steinbrenner, because one more botched power arm will be hard to stomach. It'll be time to kick him upstairs with Randy Levine - can you imagine a greater hell? 
In the meantime, Dallas Keuchel continues to excel in Atlanta. Tuesday, he threw six innings and gave up 2 runs. He struck out 12. He would have been ours, if our owner had been willing to spend. 
What a sad thing to be writing. With an ace within our grasp, our owner chose to plead poverty. 
So, here it comes, folks: Four games in Boston followed by the trade deadline. Hold on to your cap. Come next Thursday, it might be all you have left.

Brian Cashman, World's Greatest 100-Game GM

I forgot to note that yesterday's madcap extravaganza was the Yankees' 100th contest of the season.  They had 65 wins to show for it when all the cutting was done, and 66 now, which ain't birdseed.

It's also par for the course for a Coops Cashman Yankees team—and if history is any guide, things will soon start to slow.

My quick calculation—all right, so I DON'T have much of an inner life!—determines that in the 21 years Coops has been our official GM, the Yanks have improved their W/L percentage down the back 62 just five times.

The last time?  2017.  The time before that?  2009.  Hmm...

Now this is not all about heaping more opprobrium on ol' Cashie, who we here at IIHIIFIIC tend to kick like a scabrous dog.  After all, I suspect that teams such as, say, the 1998 Yankees didn't really feel the need to go pedal-to-the-metal down the stretch, and why should they have?

But I think it DOES indicate a whole lotta bad pitching pick-ups.

So what will the next one be?

Well, judging by how he and the Giants are doing, it looks like MadBum is all but out of the picture (thanks, Mets).  I can't believe that Cleveland is going to let Trevor Bauer go in the middle of a Wild Card ramble, and there's no way HAL is going to pay for Scherzer.

Which leaves, apparently, the usual suspects:

Mike Minor
Marcus Stroman
Matthew Boyd
Robbie Ray

O, be still my heart!  I wouldn't trade The Red Menace or Thairo the Pharaoh for any one of them anymore than Bismarck would have traded the healthy bones of a single Pomeranian grenadier for all of the Balkans.  (He was right, too!  It was Kaiser Bill who became sort of the Coops of the old German Empire.)

But I digress.

So I'm thinking, no no no no no no no never no uh-uh absolutely not no fuhgeddaboutit when it comes to Ray, currently leading the NL in walks.  Minor has the best stats this year, but he has classic, small-market hinterlands guy meltdown smell all over him. Plus he has a no-trade with us.

I guess Stroman would be bearable.  But of course, we will get Boyd.  Uh-boy.



Wednesday, July 24, 2019

"The Yankees' Men of Glass"

A tribute, to the tune of "If I Only Had a Brain."  With best wishes to Sancho on the EL, and apologies to Harold and Yip.

You may think they could play through it,

But we really can't eschew it

They're always day-to-day.

If they ain't exactly healthy

Well, they certainly are wealthy

The Yankees' men of glass.


They can while away their youth here

Sure, they ain't exactly Ruth, dear,

But what is there to say?

They can take a day and see the Met

Or feast upon a crepe Suzette

The Yankees' men of glass.


Some say they're pumpin' too much iron

And it's futzin' with their wirin'

About that I couldn't say.

But I'd like to see them play sometime

Not just read their resumes online,

The Yankees' men of glass.








Dear Mister Cashman...

Mike Tauchman must stay.

This notion that, when Hammerin' Cameron Maybin returns, Tauchman should go to Scranton, simply because he has options...?

No. 

Put Gardy on the 10-day DL. (He's already missed two, so it's just barely a week.) 

Tauchman. Must. Stay.   


The "Game of the Year" comes with some caveats

It shaped up as the season's worst loss, the potential turning point of 2019, the first tremors of the Grand Canyon super-quake. You could feel the TV shaking. The phrase "excruciating loss" would be an understatement. Obviously, we'd lose tonight's finale, and then go 0-for-4 in Fenway, unleashing Brian Cashman to trade our farm system for the reanimated corpse of Hideki Irabu, which would then beget a late-season collapse that would make 2013 - the year of Pronk and Lyle Overbay - seem a pleasant memory. 

Last night, as El Chapo blew another save - (walking the bases full will do that) - we stood on the precipice overlooking a Stygian darkness. As "Ray" Nietzsche once noted, "If you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss also gazes back into you." We would be hanging over the edge, taking a selfie. 

Turns out, we won, thanks to a miracle catch that - for the first time, as far as I can tell - will inscribe Aaron Hicks into Death Star folklore. Over the years, Hicks has seen his ups and downs, but until last night, I could not summon one hit, one HR, or one great defensive play that will air as his name is announced on Old Timers Day. Now, we have it. The wonks say Hicks' ran faster - (27.4 feet per second!) - chasing down that line drive than he's run all season. He capped it with a full-out dive. It was spectacular. It was for the ages. Ladies and gentlemen... Aaron Fucking Hicks!



But games like this - however heartening - leave us needing a stiff drink. I offer  three takeaways, each requiring a bite of Wild Turkey:

1. In the post-game blather, Aaron Boone pretended that El Chapo's blown save is a rarity, something that just happens now and then. Nope. That's not true. It's happening all the time. Chapman seems incapable of a 1-2-3 inning. Right now, any lead looks shaky. I shudder to think of him entering a game at Fenway with anything less than a five-run lead. Even then, he could blow it.   

We've seen Chapman ride the roller coaster before. He goes through stretches of dominance and misery. Hopefully, he'll pull out of this malaise. But right now, he's terrible. 

2. Gary Sanchez tweaked a gonad, which means... hope! Last night, while the Yankees were piling up 14 runs, Gary contributed another 0-5, lowering his On Base Percentage to below .300. That's flat-out horrible. He has the lowest batting average and OBP of all regular starting catchers. Statistically, he's no all star. He's a pug. He's going on the IL? Hooray!

I say this not to demean Gary. My guess is he's been playing hurt. But by doing so, he's done us no favors. Last night, with the bases loaded and two outs, he swung at a ball four that was a foot off the plate, then popped up on the following pitch. You watched the game go down the drain. 

You could argue that the Yankees only won because Gary left with an injury, and his replacement, Austin Romine, delivered a single. Otherwise, Gary would have gone 0-for-6. 

So, arguably, the best thing that could happen... happened. Sanchez will miss a few weeks (maybe a month, which would not be good.) Romine can show why he is so valuable, and instead of draining the farm for a Coulter Bean, maybe Cashman can find a lefty-hitting catcher in his vast database of the scrap heap. 

3. Finally, this must have been the Twinkies' most devastating loss of the season. They blew an 8-2 lead. They blew a game in each of the last five innings. They blew it. They're young and will surely come out blazing tonight, but they can't turn back time: They. Blew. It. As the season progresses, this game will be their Babadook. You can't threw it away. It just comes back.  

It's the third full-blown shootout the Yankees have won this month. (They took two in London.) It's great to win, but there's something unnerving about shootouts. Before your very eyes, your pitching staff breaks down. It's like watching your dad get sick. Last night, only Tommy Kahnle pitched well. Going into Boston, our staff will be decimated. (And don't expect help from Scranton; Chance Adams has been getting pounded down there.) We didn't dodge the bullet. Aaron Hicks simply caught it. AARON FUCKING HICKS!