Wednesday, March 31, 2021

“Some things that happen for the first time/ Seem to be happening again…”

From the keyboard of HoraceClarke66...

Getting into the groove of our sudden outbreak of show tune lyrics—and with apologies to Rodgers & Hart—I want to take us back…back…back to the head days of 2017, when we were rockin’ to the song stylings of Bruno Mars, and a young funny man named James Corden was teaching us all to laugh again…

Spring training.  The Bird is back! 


Greg Bird, returned from a year out for shoulder surgery, is back in the Yankees’ training camp and bashing the ball all over the yard! Bird racks up 8 home runs and a 1.654 OPS in the Grapefruit League, leaving Pinstripe fanciers drooling over the prospect of his monster, left-handed bat between sluggers Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez for the next 10-15 years.


Then:  Disaster strikes! 


Bird fouls a ball off his foot near the end of spring training, bats .100 in his first 19, regular-season games, and hits the DL again. And again. And again. And again. And again.


What to do? With his usual, diabolic cunning, Yankees ace GM Brain Cashman has anticipated just this turn of events, and has cleverly signed a back-up 1B, Chris Carter—the 2016 NL home run champ!



Well, you know the rest of the story, folks. Carter, who had hit 41 dingers with Milwaukee the year before, also struck out 206 times. The ultimate, “three true outcomes” player, Carter hit all of 8 homers with the Yanks as Cashman stuck with him through two, dreadful months. 


At his very worst in clutch situations—2 outs, RISP? .154!—Carter even threw away at least a couple games with his glove at first.  He struck out 76 times in just 208 plate appearances, and batted .201 before he departed—never to play in the majors again.


Hmm, maybe there’s a reason why a rising team simply cuts bait with a guy who led the league in homers. But what the hell, right? It didn’t cost the Yanks anything and it could have worked.


Cut to four years later. Luke Voit, our stouthearted first baseman, goes down with a knee injury. Who could have predicted that? Just because he played almost all of 2020 with a brace on his leg?


Well, never mind. 


Do we give another shot to Mike Ford, who played at sub-Sanchezian levels in 2020, but did have a .919 OPS in 2019 and gets a lot of walks? Do we try AnDUjar there? Do we pick up a player somewhere?


Of course not!   


The answer, of course, is Jay Bruce. Another, washed-up National Leaguer who is 3 years older than Carter was, looks like a piece of ancient Greek statuary around first base, batted .198 last year, and has never hit 41 home runs in his life!!


What’s the definition of insanity again? Or maybe this is the definition of pleasing your tightwad boss. Whatever.


“Some things that happen for the first time/ Seem to be happening again…”


El Duque on Gary "Now What?" I Think I've Got It

This AM  El Duque asked an important question. What are we going to do with Sanchez? 

As a "What if?' type of guy I try to reframe problems as challenges.  To solve it we just need to ask the right questions. Clearly we're stuck with him, so the questions become...

Why does Gary Sanchez suck? Why can't he hit or field? And most importantly, can it be fixed? 

I've been thinking about Sanchez's issues for a while. Obviously I don't like him and haven't since he rabbit punched an opposing player in a scrum some years back. As already stated he is perhaps my least favorite Yankee. Ever. 

"But what about Nettles?" you ask, "What about Billy Martin? They sucker punch as well." 

OK I'm a hypocrite. But Nettles single handily shut down LA in the series and Martin delivered a number of times as well. So I guess I cut them both some slack. And, truth be told, I'm in the Billy Martin was an asshole school of thought.  Nettles was at least funny.

Funny caries a lot of weight with me. It's why I like Pedro Martinez now even though he threw Don Zimmer to the ground. Of course, when Zimmer was the manager of the Red Sox I didn't like him... 

What I'm saying is... baseball is complex.  

But I digress...

So again...

Why does Gary Sanchez suck? Why can't he hit or field? 

I was playing with the lyric "How do you solve a problem like G. Sanchez?" from West Side Story and the line that stayed with me was "How can he lay off pitches in the sand?" 

(It's off of, How do solve a problem like Maria? How do you hold a moonbeam in your hand?") 

And then it hit me like a series of Sanchez rabbit punches from behind. 

I think he has a perception problem.  

Think about it. His main defensive issue is blocking balls in the dirt. Want to strike him out? Bounce one. 

He can't perceive balls breaking down and away. So he swings or he moves to block them too late to get it done. 


"How do you solve a problem like G. Sanchez? 
  How can he lay off pitches in the sand?"

Get him a pair of fucking glasses. 

All-time Yankees Tournament, Round 2, part 2: Down to the final 8

We whittle the field down a little more and get down to the final 8 teams. We have two extra-inning Game 7s in today's batch, so read on ...

1998 Yankees beat 1958 Yankees, 4 games to 3
1936 Yankees beat 1949 Yankees, 4 games to 2
1947 Yankees beat 1977 Yankees, 4 games to 3
1961 Yankees beat 1950 Yankees, 4 games to 2

Too see more details about each series, click below ...

The Gary Sanchez Spring Resurrection did not happen. Now, what?

In the first games of March, YES - (aka: the Yankee Newsmax) - adoringly celebrated the return to stardom of Gary Sanchez. He hit three monster home runs! He blocked some pitches in the dirt! He ran out grounders! Comeback of the Year? All-star season? MVP? Here's a gushing blather blister from March 9. 

Fast forward to March 31, and Gary's HR tally stands at - well - three! (For a total of 4 RBIs!) Over 48 plate appearances, he hit .200 and struck out 20 times, the kind of numbers that long ago prompted MLB to stop letting NL pitchers hit. On defense, he was lustily booed last weekend after waving at a flurry of pitches from Aroldis Chapman (though, to be fair, they were lawn darts.) 

The gleeful claims that Sanchez would returning to his once prophesized glory? They have become coughs. Questions of his all-star luster have turned much darker.

Will he ever again hit his weight? 

Does he deserve to start over Kyle Higashioka? 

Was Joe Girardi right, when he blasted Sanchez for lack of hustle?

Why did the Yankees this winter give Sanchez a $1.6 million raise?

Entering 2021, the YES narrative went this way: He can't be as bad as last year. It's humanly impossible. Since we'll get nothing for him in a trade, let's pretend 2020 never happened. Lalalala! I'm not listening! Go away! He's 29. He has to improve. Then we can trade him.

Since March 9, Gary has done the impossible. He has looked as bad as last year, when he hit .146. After Higgy, the Yankees have nobody, nada, zilch. (Robinson Chirinos is recovering from a broken wrist.) Their top catching prospects are in the dirt leagues. All they can do is bat Gary ninth and pretend he's a different player. 

Frankly, I don't blame them. They have no options. Sanchez will be their starting catcher through mid-May, at least. By then, if he's still hitting .200 and playing balls off the backstop, they can bundle their best prospects and trade for some war horse to hold the position. Can Eric Kratz unretire? 

In another era, the Yankees would have targeted J.T. Realmuto this winter, snagging the best free agent on the market and sparking the lineup. That was another franchise, another tradition, another ownership. We need to stop fantasizing such impossibilities and get back to the hard work: Imagining Gary Sanchez as MVP.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Injury Adjunct

I don't need to point this out to you most knowledgeable yankee fans.

But some of the drunks in the bar may not be aware.......

The injury to Voit....and the starting role, thereby, given to Jay Bruce.....also hurts the shortstop position. 

Not that Voit was any kind of version of Don Mattingly, as a defensive guru, but he makes Bruce look like a cow with three feet.  

Specifically, the error ratio from Gleybar will soar.  Those slightly errant throws will not be handled.  The same goes for Urshela ( though there will be fewer from the hot corner ).  So lots of outs now become ons. 

It is the domino effect. And it results in runs scored by the bad guys. 

Get used to it. 

Lower your expectations for this Yankee team. 

Opening Day AYG-HABs

Two days to go.  

Let’s begin with a brief summary of what the AYG-HAB is just in case the reader is either new to the site, took the winter off, or has reached a level of advanced age where these things don’t stick like they used to. 

AYG-HAB stands for Are You Glad He’s At Bat.  It’s an entirely subjective ranking of players on a scale of 1-7 that basically, assigns a number to your level of comfort with the guy at bat. It can change from day to day, situation, and even pitch to pitch.  (Like two strikes on Stanton). But for the most part you know how you feel on average.  

The scale is as follows: 

AYG-HAB™ 7  Totally

AYG-HAB™ 6  Probably

AYG-HAB™ 5  Sure. What the Hell

AYG-HAB™ 4  Sigh

AYG-HAB™ 3  Please. Please. Please.

AYG-HAB™  2  Oh Crap Not This Guy Again


AYG-HAB™ 1  What else is on?

Last thing before I begin.  I watched a lot of the Spring Training games and I’m basing my AYG-HABs on this year’s potential not last year’s disappointments. Between the short season and, let’s just call it 2020, I’m all for a new slate. 

Here goes…

1B Jay Bruce 4.1 

I can’t believe after all the bullshit I just wrote I have to start with an ageing, three outcome guy. So, 4.1 or Sigh.  For the record Voit was a 6.2.

2B  DJ  7.0 

Highest AYG-HAB on the team. Who among us ever says, “Damn it. DJ’s up”?

SS  Gleyber 6.4

I’m going to go with early Gleyber over recent Gleyber. Maybe I’ve bought a Gammonite narrative, but I used to see him change his swing with two strikes and I think he’s going to go back to being a smart hitter.

3B  Urshala  6.2 

Hard to say something bad about Gio. So, I won’t.

LF Frazier 6.5

This is his year to finally get ALL the AB’s.  Power. Clutch. And most importantly… FUN.

CF Hicks 5.7

Upper, “Sure, What The Hell”.  Look, the guy gets on base. He can hit and run. He’s mostly disappointing and he’s going to get hurt but this is one of those early season AYG-HABs that gives him the benefit of the doubt.

RF – Judge 6.4

I’m ok with fewer HR’s because I like the change in his approach. Also, I think the umps are going to stop calling the low strike that is clearly a ball.  Stay healthy my friend.

C  Sanchez 2.1

Fool me once shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.  As the Who sang, “Then I'll get on my knees and pray. We don't get fooled again.”  I cut this guy no slack. Easily my least favorite Yankee, perhaps ever.  The only Yankee who pisses me off.

DH Stanton 6.3

There is a saying in baseball that a given player can’t hit his weight. With Stanton it would be great if he would AYG-HAB his height at 6.7 . The potential is there. His playoff AB’s last year were really really good. Till he gets hurt or goes back to his free-swinging ways I’m on board.


Gardy 5.1 at least he grinds.  Wade 4.3 It’s like it never matters when he’s up. If he get’s on, sure. If he doesn’t, whatever. Tauchman 4.8.  Higgy 4.6

There you go.  Play ball!



You want pessimism? I got your pessimism right here!

 From the brilliant mind but diseased computer of HoraceClarke66...

To steal from Franklin Delano Roosevelt, there is a mysterious cycle in the lives of sports teams. They reach certain peaks when they must win, or decline.


Little did we know, that peak for the current version of your New York Yankees was in 2017, when they came within one game of the World Series and fell short. This was due in part to rampant, still unpunished cheating on the part of their opponent.  But still.


Left to do the little things needed to get that team over the hump—find the right role players, make a deal for the right starter, augment the already strong bullpen—Brain Cashman failed, as always fails. The team’s fate was sealed when the real brains of the operation, Gary Denbo, followed Derek Jeter to sunnier climes.


Teams win championships, in every sport, with defense. This means, in baseball, pitching. The Yankees don’t have any. None that we can count on, anyway.


We have one reliable starter. One. We have zero, nada, no reliable bullpen arms. Not a one, right down to our closer, Aroldis Benitez Chapman.


Sure, Jameson Talleson could win 20 games. So could Corey Kluber, or Domingo German. The chances are infinitely greater they won’t win 20 games between them.


With the rest of the team, it’s the same old, same old. These Yankees cannot avoid injuries, and they cannot avoid the bizarre, total meltdowns of players who looked like budding superstars just a couple years ago.


Our catching is a disaster, with Gary Sanchez suited up and sent out there again like Don Quixote. Brain missed numerous opportunities to deal him, including in one instance for the best catcher in baseball today, J.T. Realmuto.


The infield has just been severely weakened by a critical injury to the best home run hitter in baseball last year. Brain will doubtless waste months on dubious replacements such as Jay Bruce.


The Gleyber started down the Sanchez road last season, and looks completely unequipped to play shortstop, the position where he was supposed to be a superstar. Instead, the Yankees are likely to be about the only team in baseball WITHOUT a superstar at short—and again Brain has cleverly failed to come up with a single, reliable infield backup. LeMahieu and Urshela are the only functioning cogs we have there—and even the stalwart Gio is coming off an injury.


The outfield looks awesome—on paper, which is where most of it usually remains. Sure, healthy seasons from Judge, Hicks, Frazier, Andujar, and The Millstone could carry this team alone, even without pitching, catching, or an infield. Not going to happen. Perpetually injured players do not get stronger with age. I’d say it’s even money that Gardy will play more OF games than any other single player on the team.


And as our Peerless Leader has noted, there is nobody in the wings, no minor league system to speak of. 


Sure, as many of you have pointed out, the Junior Circuit is not exactly full of titans this year. But I’m with Duque on this, too:  Those other teams have stables full of young players, who are not constantly injured and who won’t fall apart inexplicably, irretrievably, as ours do.


My pick:  Yankees, 77-85, as the death spiral of this consistently overrated and mishandled contender begins. 


For all of MLB:


AL East:


Tampa Bay—They may be small, but like Walt Whitman, they contain multitudes. They lost their two best starters? Watch three or four more rise out of their top-ranked farm system overnight. They still have Roid Boy Randy Arozarena—and Wander Franco will be the breakout shortstop in this division.


Toronto—The Florida sun will only help them. Their Heirloom Sluggers got into shape. Pencil them in for play-in spot.


NYY—Nuff ced.


Boston—Rebuilding, though, I’m sure.


Baltimore—Man, it’s hard, just to live…



AL Central:


ChiSox—Mostly because I just love writing, “ChiSox.” Also: “Pale Hose.”


Minnesota—Why not?


Kansas City.


Cleveland—In the midst of decomposing.


Detroit—Got a hell of a hockey team.



AL West:




Seattle—For the other wild card, as the Brain’s disastrous Sheffield deal comes back to bite us.


Anaheim/L.A.—Still not an Otani believer.


Houston—On the way down.


Texas—Still rebuilding.



NL East:


Metsies—Well, I wouldn’t bet my testies on them. But I think this is really one of their wild and whacky years. Hope so—it’s the only thing that will get the Family Steinbrenner in gear.


Atlanta—For a wild card.


Miami—As Derek continues to overachieve.







NL Central:


St. Louis—A competent organization in an incompetent division.











NL West:


L.A.—The Dodgers dynasty continues. Yecch!


S.D.—The other wild card.











Toronto over Seattle.


San Diego over Atlanta.





TB over Toronto, 3-2.


ChiSox over Oakland, 3-2.


TB over ChiSox, 4-3, in the lowest rated ALCS ever.



L.A. over S.D., 3-2.


Metsies over St. Louis, 3-2.


Mets over L.A., 4-3, as the town turns orange and blue.



World Series:


Mets over TB, 4-3.


You heard it hear first.

For a while yesterday, "Aaron Judge" was trending on Twitter. It was not pleasant.

When "Aaron Judge" started trending on Twitter yesterday - along with Suez Canal, Derek Chauvin and #Satan's shoes - the Yankiverse collectively shuddered.

Folks feared the worst. How could you not? A tweaked gonad, a lateral strain, the Brazilian variant... a culling by Thanos, a trade to the Dodgers, an appearance on The Masked Singer. (Dear God, shoot me.) Accompanying news links assured us that Judge was fine, that he'd been pulled from the final Grapefruit game this spring due to the sniffles - nothing here, nothing to see, move along, everybody - and Judge would not miss - oh, let's say - another half-season. 

Quickly, the Death Star nixed, quashed and pooh-poohed rumors of ill health: Judge was simply taking a day off. And - hey - maybe that's true. 

Maybe it's nothing. Maybe he was bingeing The Flight Attendant and couldn't take a break. Maybe he just needed a nice afternoon nap!

Unfortunately, the Yankees have a glorious history of lying about injuries. The front office feels no responsibility to tell fans about tweaks or tears. Information is power, and if the Yankees need to obtain a catcher, they'd rather not be compromised in their search. Thus, they'll tell us anything. It just doesn't matter what we know.

So - with the understanding that Brian Cashman was probably telling the truth - here is what we know: 

Last week, Judge hit his first homer of the spring. Since then, he's sat out. This scenario mirrors that of Luke Voit, who turned out to have a torn meniscus and will miss a month. But that was Voit. This is Judge. The Yankees claim he's resting. We will only know differently if they announce something differently.

I don't mean to prosecute the Yankees for doing what most professional franchises do. But here's the deal: 

All year, this will be our cruel reality.

The Yankees have several key players whose names are synonymous with injuries. At any time, one can strain something and miss the next six months. 

That will never change. 

Aaron Judge has a reputation across MLB: Great talent, cannot stay healthy. 

Same with Giancarlo Stanton: Great hitter, cannot stay healthy.

Corey Kluber: Great pitcher, cannot stay healthy. 

Aaron Hicks: Great potential, cannot stay healthy. 

Voit? Urshela? Frazier? Britton? The wild card is their health. It will be that way... all year. 

And the next time "Aaron Judge" trends on Twitter, the Yankiverse will once again shudder. Get used to it, folks. Because at some point, the bell will toll, and it won't be for the sniffles. 

Monday, March 29, 2021

2021 Prediction

 I don't know how many wins it will take us to qualify this Yankee team for the wild-card play-in game, but that is my number.

I think we lose that play-in game, by the way, by giving up a 3 run lead in the last two innings of the game.  Aroldis will perspire and lose it( like a goalie who kicks a save to an attacker for an easy score). 

I think we wind up ahead of Baltimore, and due to some outrageous gift of good fortune ( yet to be identified ) one game ahead of Boston in the standings.  

But Tampa and Toronto will batter us all year long. We will be the corn in their muffins. 

Injuries will strike with a vengeance.  And, as replacements, we'll see more Jay Bruce's than Chris Gittens.  More old guys, cashing in their final years as boys playing a street game, than hungry, high-ceiling talent. 

The Yankees will not learn that it is more fun to see the aspiring, hungry ballplayers than the dead fish. 

The strike out ratio, and the failures to drive in runs, will eventually cause each of us to stop watching.  Already,  this spring, I have stopped.  I just go to the post game box score ( lose 6-1 to the Phillies ) and sulk over our 3 singles and 8 K's. 

The team is boring.  Seriously, name five Yankees you look forward to watching for nine innings. 

And now we can watch South Carolina State play Delaware State in spring football.  

A year older and more fragile, the Yankees look like another wild card contender

It's Crunch Time, time to lay down cards, to ponder the lost year and do what our spiritual leader says cannot be done: 

To predict baseball, Suzyn...  

It seems impossible, but here we are: We survived the pandemic, for now. We watched a dwarf season played before posterboard fans who could not boo, not even for a starting catcher who batted .146. We saw another October apocalypse from a closer who cannot close. We heard our owner continuously claim to be the only billionaire on Earth to lose money. It's over, supposedly. We'll flash our Excelsior Cards and pretend everything is as it was.

For the 2021 Yankees, normalcy means chasing another AL Wild Card. 

I predict 88 victories and second-place in the AL East, five games behind the Blue Jays, and a pop fly ahead of Tampa and Boston. 

Sorry to be so pessimistic, but in this millennium, baseball has become a game of dynamic youngsters - players between 20 and 25 - and the Yankees simply fall on the gray side of that actuary table. 

Once again, pitching will kill us. Our rotation - with three full-scale reclamation projects - Corey Kluber, Jameson Tailion and Jordan Montgomery - is intriguing, if you like casinos. But never did a staff more need one more workhorse - one more certainty in a clubhouse full of dice rolls. But our owner set a budget and refused to budge. The Yankees will gamble on three recovering starters. And that's too many. 

Likewise, the once-vaunted bullpen looks increasingly thin, reflecting the steady decline of Aroldis Chapman. His radar numbers have diminished, while late-inning studs on opposing teams have become common. He no longer possesses overwhelming command. He seldom escapes an inning without drama. Now and then, he gets lit up. With Zack Britton out until June/July, the Yankees will lose late-inning games, because dominoes will drop, and they will have no one to put out fires. 

Once again, our batting order will lean on several key players - Aaron Hicks, Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Luke Voit - who have historically failed to last full seasons. For some reason, we seem to think they will stay healthy. Meanwhile, Gio Urshela is recovering from elbow surgery, Clint Frazier still runs into walls, and Gary Sanchez remains an enigma. 

We have no Triple A-level players on the verge of making an impact. (Sorry, folks, but Chris Gittens is not ready.)

Most of  all, our season hinges on Gleyber Torres. If he can play SS and hit like a 2B, he could win MVP and become a premier player. If he fails at either, we have a problem. It's another major gamble, without a Plan B.

I know it's wrong to blame injuries for lost seasons. Injuries, like bad trades, are a part of the game. But MLB's spending restrictions are beginning to crush whatever financial advantages the Yankees once had, and our owner shows no interest in restoring the Yankee legacy. He seems more compelled to prove his business acumen, to wrangle profits out of the franchise. That philosophy will be tested in 2021.

It's easy this year to imagine the Yankees as NYC's "other" team. (In fact, they are already lagging behind the Mets in back pages, something that I have not seen since the count began three years ago. The media of Gotham may already have moved on.) Right now, it's sad to say, but the most exciting aspect of the Yankees is a relentlessly hyped 18-year-old bonus baby, Jasson Dominiquez, who will surely not make an appearance until 2023. 

Who on this team gives the kind of hope that cannot be instantly dashed by a hamstring or shoulder twinge? Sure, we all want to see the 2017 version of Aaron Judge, reborn and ready to reclaim his courtroom. But we have too many players on the shaky sides of their careers. The Yankee talent curve might be a year behind crest. It will be a long, hard season, Suzyn. Stay healthy...

Sunday, March 28, 2021

It's almost time for our annual predictions, and how can we not be depressed?

Honestly, I can't decide which aspect of yesterday's news fuels more despair - the notion that Luke Voit will miss a month, or that Jay Bruce will replace him?

Not to diss Bruce, as a person. He's had a fine career. But he turns 34 next week. He batted .198 last year. He hasn't hit higher than .225 in the last three seasons. He strikes out 25 percent of the time, and to call him an adequate fielding 1B is like giving Pia Zadora a Golden Glove. Last week, he played 1b, handcuffed by a liner and a bad throw, and showing all the range of that cargo ship in the Suez Canal. Though he's listed as an OF, he's played half his last few years as a DH. The last season Bruce drove in 100 runs - 2017, when he played for two teams - he fanned 139 times and hit into 11 double-plays. His reaction to the overshift is to swing harder, leaving us with a LH version of Gary Sanchez, and while the lineup can use a lefty, we'd be better off shifting DJ LeMahieu to first and signing someone who knows how  to bunt. (Is Freddie Patek still playing?) This team does not need another HR/K/BB batter. Games are already long enough.

That said, The Master has four days to craft his Homer Holler. 

How about, "Bruuuuuce. Tramps like him, baby, he was born to hit a home run."

Thank God spring training is over. Another week, and we'd have nobody left.

It's time to make our annual predictions: How many games will the 2021 Yankees win? (And how would they do in Bern Baby's All-Time Yankee Team Brackets Tourney?)

Saturday, March 27, 2021

It's only just beginning....

The latest injury has already been mentioned.

But it ain't over.


All-Time Yankees, Tournament, Round 2, Part 1: A "seeded" team falls

It wouldn't be "madness" without a bracket buster or two. Here are the second-round games from the left side of the bracket (the "Clipper" and "Bomber" regions ... 

1927 Yankees beat 1953, 4 games to 2

1932 Yankees beat 1978, 4 games to 0

1951 Yankees beat 1938, 4 games to 1

2009 Yankees beat 1939, 4 games to 1

Click below to get more details on each series ... 

"No, it wasn't those airplanes. It was the Bullpen that killed the Yankee Beast."

Last night, Aroldis Chapman took up where 2020 left off. 

He came in for the seventh, a scoreless dual with mighty Baltimore, and did for the Yankees what gender-reveal parties did last year for California wildfires. 

It began with a bloop single, which is the second worst thing that can happen when El Chapo enters a game. This was followed by the worst thing: The entrance of a speedy pinch-runner. Something about jackrabbit pinch-runners - their long leads, their obvious plans to steal second - has a tendency to unhinge Chapman.

It's a good thing nobody in baseball knows this. Otherwise, well, we'd have to start worrying. 

Stressed about the pinch-runner, Aroldis uncorked a wild pitch so high that Gary Sanchez waved at it like a passing plane. That put the pinch-runner on second - no more worries that he'd steal! - and El Chapo then gave up a run-scoring single. 

Then a double. That put runners on second and third. Did I mention there are no outs? Chapman threw another wild pitch - this one nearly killed the batter - scoring the second run. Did I mention no outs? Then he unleashed another wild pitch - Gary just started running after it, as soon as it left Aroldis' hand - scoring run number three.  

At this point, El Chapo did manage to strike out the, by-then, terrified batter. He left the game to a round of boos, which could also be attributed to the arrival of Nick Goody, who has had a tough spring. 

Let me run some spring ERAs by you.

Chad Green 5.06
Chapman 6.23
Luis Cessa 6.75
Michael King 7.04
Tyler Lyons 7.11
Justin Wilson 23.14

What does it say when the most hopeful thing about your bullpen is that the worst of them (Wilson) is out with an injury?

Okay, yeah, I know what you're thinking: March stats mean nothing. It's a time for veteran pitchers to try new grips, launch angles, etc. But the Yankees are heading into April with half their bullpen in shambles. 

We do have Nick Nelson, Lucas Luetge, Jonathan Loaisiga and Darren O'Day - but who in that crowd is a sure thing?) Concerns about the rotation have masked the steady deterioration of the bullpen. Zack Britton might not be back until July. 

We can look at the Yankee batting order and feel good about our chances. But no lead will be safe, and that, my friends, is a cause for concern.

Friday, March 26, 2021

Bad tweet


Keep anyone on the pitching staff but Mike King. 

He has one mediocre pitch.  And it is a juicy fastball at about 92 mph, tops. 

The " theory " is;  " he moves it around."

So do bats. 

Send him down ( I don't want to say the"H" word in this setting ).

But keeping him from the Bronx is addition by subtraction. 


If I were a Met fan, I'd be worrying today

 This is how you jinx a team.

At 31, for better or worse, Giancarlo Stanton is a full-time DH.

Apparently, the Death Barge will nix the infamous Jay Bruce option.

Barring last-minute injuries - always a possibility! - Bruce will miss the Yankee opening day roster and hit the Odd Lots & Dinged Merch market. From there, he'll be Kong in the last reel of the first King Kong Vs. Godzilla, swimming home to Japan, or Monster Island, or Gilligan's Island... whatever. The cries of Bruuuuuuce shalt not echo across Yankee Stadium (until the day You Know Who plays there.)

I believe Bruce's fate was sealed last week, when the brain trust ruled that Giancarlo Stanton would play absolutely no outfield this spring. Not one inning. Not one fly. Not even a Strat-o-Matic, or a photo op with a supermodel.

At age 31, Stanton is a fulltime DH. (Actually, this came about last year, at 30.) The Yankees say he might patrol LF in a National League park, but seriously, folks: Would they really risk sending him out to pasture in - say - a dozen games, with his characteristically lame defense and without any practice? They might as well paste him to a wall. He'll be a "Break Glass In Case of Emergency" fielder, used in 20-inning games and impossible scenarios, like when Tyler Wade pitches. My guess: Aaron Boone won't even let him try to steal a base. He'll pinch run Mike Tauchman, rather than stress test the Giancarlo hammy.

So... in case you're wondering... 

David Ortiz became a fulltime DH at age 28. 

Edgar Martinez did it at 32. 

Frank Thomas, 34. 

Jim Thome, 35. (He had those years in Phily, with no option.) 

If Stanton can last 10 years without bloating into Moby Turnip, he could follow his DH brothers into the Hall of Fame. He will be remembered as a hitter. That great season - his MVP year playing OF in Florida? That's dinosaur history. Stanton's roster spot meant the Yankees could not realistically keep Bruce - a veritable second DH. They needed Tauchman's versatility. (It didn't hurt that Tauchman also outhit Bruce in camp.)

One potential drawback to Stanton becoming a stone statue: If his bat goes south, the Yankees will have fewer salary dump options. The idea used go be that we might someday send Stanton's killer contact to a California team, to his family's roots. The Dodgers loomed as a likely mark candidate. Well, that's gone. Like Bruuuuuuuuuuuce.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Philosophical question: Which do we prefer... Tawky or Bruuuuuuuce?

Within the next 48 hours, the Yankee Brain Trust must decide between boxers or briefs, between paper or plastic, between peanut butter or jelly, between Dino or Jerry... between Jay Bruce and Mike Tauchman. 

It's the annual, late-March musical-chairs battle for the final roster slot - a competition between chess pieces - before the team closes Camp Tamp and flies drunkenly to Gotham. One man will stay, and the other will likely become a future trivia blip, forever linked to soggy and sad memories of the pandemic. 

Like any parent, I love all my Yankees equally, as sons. It's distressing when forced to choose one over the other. Especially when the consequence for one is oblivion.

Still, in this case, I believe the decision tells more about the direction of the 2021 Yankees than the two players.

Who do we keep... Bruce, a slugger approaching career twilight, seeking a few final signature moments on the Broadway stage? Or Tauchman, the overachiever who dazzled us two years ago, then fell apart in last year's dwarf season? 

A central question: In what scenario will the Yankees use either?

Obviously, each represents an injury replacement. Bruce can play RF and 1B. (But Brett Gardner can play OF, and DJ LeMahieu can handle first.) Tauchman can play all three OF slots (as can Gardner.)  

Bruce is the wily LH slugger who faces the big righty bullpen lug nut, maybe a side-arming specialist. He might hit a HR or work a walk (then be replaced by a pinch-runner, such as Gardy.) 

But in that situation, why wouldn't we pinch-hit Gardner, to begin with?  

In fact, we would. No matter who is pitching, Bruce won't pinch hit for LeMahieu, Judge, Stanton, Hicks (switch-hitter), Gleyber or Urshela. He might come in for Clint Frazier (though I'd prefer Frazier) and/or Luke Voit (who hits RHs well.) 

In fact, there is only one candidate for Bruce to pinch hit for: Gary Sanchez, assuming Gary slides back into incompetence. Both are big swingers. And in each case, the question looms: Wouldn't Gardner be a better choice? 

Tauchman represents late-inning defense and speed. He  can reduce stress on our OF and maybe steal a base. If he returns to anything near the form of 2019, he'll add more punch than Bruce. 

This spring, I wanted Bruce to knock down fences and force the issue. He would hit so well that the Yankees had no choice but to keep him. He started hot, then tanked. Yesterday, he came up twice, struck out twice. (Tauchman didn't play.) The Yankees don't need another big swinger. They don't need another old guy. Choosing between Dino and Jerry is always a tough dilemma. I say, Hey laydeeeeeeeeeeee!  

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Good tweet


The All-Time Yankees Tournament, Round 1, part 2

 We continue with more matchups featuring Ruth vs. Reggie, Derek vs. DiMaggio, and the rest. It's the Scooter region and the Bambino region games today. In an odd twist, we have three sweeps and three series that went the full 7 games. 

Here we go ...

1958 Yankees beat 1943 Yankees, 4 games to 3

1936 Yankees beat 1962 Yankees, 4 games to 0

1949 Yankees beat 1923 Yankees, 4 games to 3

1977 Yankees beat 1928 Yankees, 4 games to 0

1947 Yankees beat 1996 Yankees, 4 games to 0

1950 Yankees beat 1937 Yankees, 4 games to 3

To see more details about each series, click below ...

It will be a while before Yankee pitching defines itself

Corey Kluber pitched a "Meh,"
And Yankee haters all said "Heh!" 

Okay, shoot me, but this is what the real madness of March does to peace of mind. In each outing, players redefine their entire spring. Yesterday, it was "Comeback Corey" Kluber, who'd looked so impressive thus far - a veritable Travolta for career-reviving appearances - and then... Battlefield Earth.

Now and then, you see a box score like this, and it hits you that the Yankees' No. 2 pitcher - who turns 35 on April 10 - has thrown just 36 innings over the last two years, and that at any time, in any situation, he might call out the trainer, wiggle his arm, march to the dugout and announce plans to be a fulltime dad. 

Want to know the grim reality of the 2021 Yankees? It's mirrors, reflecting mirrors. Look at them one way, and you see a team that should win the AL East by 10 games. Turn your head, and you see them battling Baltimore for last place. 

And it's all because of pitching. 

Yesterday's Exhibit A: Kluber, whose velocity is said to be down a tick from the glory days, three years ago. Yesterday, against the mediocre Tigers, he played rope-a-dope for nearly four innings - yielding three walks and three hits, but no runs. It's the kind of start that keeps you in the game but devastates your bullpen for the series. The Yankees can probably live with Kluber throwing five-inning starts. But if he can't survive the fourth, that's Travolta in Two of a Kind, the 1983 fantasy comeback pairing with Olivia Newton John, in which he plays an angel sent to save humankind, and frankly, shouldn't.   

Of course, every game is nothing more than a mess of meaninglessness... that is, until it's not. Kluber used to be one of the game's great workhorses: For five straight seasons, he threw more than 200 innings. Now, he needs bubble-wrap, and the Yankees must heat him up slowly, like the frog in the boiler. 

But no matter how he pitches, the reality cannot change: He is one tweak from disaster. That's the gamble the Yankees chose to take. In for a penny...

PS: Mike Tauchman gets two hits yesterday, raising his spring average to .269. I cannot help but believe he brings a higher ceiling than Jay Bruce. But we'll see. They are, after all, the Yankees...

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

To be aging, spoiled, and Yankee-hating

Break out the bon bons, it's Tinseltown gossip time! David Fincher's Gone Girl DVD commentary caused monocles to drop when the megaphone jockey slammed his star, fourth-worst Batman Ben Affleck, as "unprofessional." Screen Rant slings the sassy scoop:

Fincher's "unprofessional"  remark stems from a Gone Girl moment [when Affleck's character] Nick puts on a baseball cap and hopes that people won't recognize him from the news . . . Fincher recalls that he wanted Affleck to wear a New York Yankees cap, but Affleck refused . . .  [P]roduction was shut down for four days as his team negotiated with the actor's agent, Patrick Whitesell. "I thought it was entirely unprofessional," Fincher states. Affleck ultimately wore a New York Mets cap for the Gone Girl sequence.


What Boone said...

Forget whatever you hear from " authorities."  Here is the dope:

Wilson is far worse than " tight."

Foget about Andujar.

Don't count on Severino, either.