Wednesday, July 24, 2019

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!


Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...

What may be apparent -- at least to me -- are these things:

a. El Chapo has an opt-out in his contract when this year ends. He should be encouraged to exercise that option.

b. Yes, we need pitchers. Who don't? But what we really need is a catcher to play 120 games a year. Gary is (clearly) a DH or a first-baseman.......or GONE. To be nice to him, at the very least it's become clear that he can't catch a significant fraction of a season without serious deterioration.

Also bothering me: What happens when Maybin is added to the 25-man roster? Goodbye Tauchman? There's Gardy and Didi........and M.T. is our "other" LH hitter.

ranger_lp said...

These beer league softball games have caused huge amounts of anxiety. Not even copious amounts of liquor can fix that.

JM said...

Chapman may come back, but he's either hurt or a head case. Well, we know he's a head case, but not a permanent one.

It's early, but I need a drink.

Rufus T. Firefly said...

Tauchman is unfortunately gone.

I went to sleep when flopsweat gave up the tying run. Should have done it earlier and saved a few heartbeats for the weekend.

JM said...

When rosters expand in September, we're gonna have an insane bench. No pitching, but an insane bench.

Hicks said they were savages at the plate. As bad as the Yankees pitchers were, Minnesota's were just a teeny bit worse, and nobody is bemoaning their pitching paucity. Just an observation. Maybe we are not alone in our mound miasma.

Anonymous said...

Here's a travesty... Last night's "winning" pitcher? Chapman. A guy who couldn't throw a strike, walked the bases loaded, and blew the lead.

They need to change that rule. Give it back to the guy who pitched just before or have who ever decides Hit or Error pick the pitcher who deserves it because it sure as fuck (and yes, he's made me curse twice on this blog in less than 24 HRS)isn't Chapman.

Doug K.

Anonymous said...

And here is an out of the box thought...

If we're going to trade for a starter what precludes us from trading a a current starter as part of the package? Why does it have to come entirely from the minors?

For example, let's say that the front office is convinced that Paxton is on the road to Sonny Greytown. Does he not become a key piece in a trade? Makes it easier for the other team to give up their number one knowing they get a serviceable starter (with potential to be great) plus a Fraizer and/or a Thario to build for the future?

Same could be said for Happ (without the "potential to be great" but definitely serviceable.)

Doing it that way removes a potential log jam of starters and lets a team on the Wild Card bubble stay in contention. So it's a move for the present and the future for them and is easier to sell to their fan base.

Just sayin'

Doug K.

13bit said...

IF El Chapo opts out, we MUST let him go. No A-Rod replays here. He has been, overall, a net win for us, but I don't really like walking on eggshells and he will only get worse. Let's squeeze whatever we can out of him this year and pray that he opts out. I don't care where he goes, just get rid of him.

Glad Hicks caught one. I still hate his contract. Makes me sick. Whatever. I'm just some schmuck fan who lives in Greenwich Village. My opinion means nothing to the mighty 4-Dimensional Chess Master, Captain Casholo.

And Sanchez? I hope he recovers. I'm sure he's playing hurt, but his "focus" problems will never go away unless or until they put him on a strict regiment of one-year contracts - no multi-year deals - with performance based incentives. We would not be in first place this year if not for all of the "stars" who got injured, thereby opening up spots for the young and hungry guys.

Fuck you, Hal. Eat shit and die.

HoraceClarke66 said...

I'm not a big El Chapo fan—call me crazy, I just can't all that excited for a guy who terrorizes a woman with a gun ("I'm old-fashioned/ And I don't mind it...")

BUT—this is yet another example of how the Yankees continue to hang guys out to dry, under the pretext of keeping other teams from finding out about their injuries.

Chapman is—if last year is any indication—hurt. His knee is likely barking. It is to be hope that, THIS season, he won't have to signal for help like a drowning man at Jones Beach.

Sanchez was hurt, too, BEFORE he "suddenly" pulled a groin running down to first last night.

But rather than acknowledge this, Coops lets his Spanish-speaking stars take all the tsouris and speculation for maybe being headcases.

They pulled this crap with Maris, back in the day, and it permanently embittered him.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Doug K., what you are saying is brilliant—and would require a manager who is same. Uh-oh.

Also, you thought the win was bad? How about Chad "Don Liddle" Green's "save"?

Guy comes in with the game on the line, gives up a rocket, and the centerfielders makes the catch of the year, sliding on his face.

What it speaks to, though, is the limits even of stats. You get losses sometimes, too, when you give up just one run and the bats go to sleep (looking at you over there by Flushing Bay, Mr. deGrom). You get a "blown save" when a tailor-made grounder bounces right through the third baseman's legs.

Nothing that can be seen can be described—not fully anyway. I'm thinking that's Wittgenstein, but it might just be me after a bad drunk.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Even worse that A-Rod, 13bit—who at least got us one ring—was, I'm sorry to say—CC, who had been just awful for most of his extension. Yes, we should let Chapo go if he's going.

And Sanchez? I don't know what the hell we do with him. I wish we had traded him for Realmuto. He is another DH in the making, on a team of DHs.

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