Sunday, June 13, 2021

Uh-oh

 


Joe Girardi Revenge Thread of Dread

 


Between Aroldis Apocalypse and Setback Sevy, the Yankee Titantic has sprung a leak

Maybe it is time to start thinking about next year...

Maybe the fate of the '21 Yankees should be left to future singer-songwriters. Maybe Billie Eilish can sing the eulogy, describing her pain and loneliness. Can Portishead make a comeback? This is no job for Matchbox Twenty. 

It's time to plan a tanking. Currently, the Yankees are the 17th schlubbiest  team in baseball. We can do better worse.


Pondering a Yankee tank? Already? Before the solstice? What brings us to this point of Stygian blackness and Sartrean despair? 

Well, how 'bout two (2) excruciating losses - both at the hands of our fabled closer, El Chapo - on a day when our best shot at hope limped off a minor league mound and  back into rehab. In case you missed it, Luis Severino tweaked his somethingorother last night and was whisked off the field like a popped balloon. Remember how Sevy was going to be back by July 4? Well, make it August 4. Or maybe 2022. Or maybe... gulp... nevermore.

He and Aaron Hicks are the astral twins of Injury List Juju. Literally, since the day we signed them to long-term contracts, they have been one tweak after another. I doubt Cooperstown Cashman will ever again slot Hicks into CF. And after Setback Sevy's latest tribulation, how can anyone expect a comeback? 

It's time to start the doomsday prep. The Yankee front office should hereby cease and desist all activities related to patching the gaping holes in this vessel, and think exclusively about 2023. This means a critical assessment of all active players over 30 - a list that includes Zack Britton (33), Aroldis Chapman (33), Gerrit Cole (30), Chad Green (30), Lucas Luetge (34), Kyle Higashioka (31), DJ LeMahieu (32), Brett Gardner (37) and Giancarlo Stanton (31).

Obviously, Cole and LeMahieu deserve better fates than the Yankees have offered. Trading them is probably not realistic. That said, either would fetch high quality prospects, especially if dangled in front of an ambitious GM. The signs always say BREAK GLASS IN CASE OF FIRE. Well, maybe it's time to break glass. 

The team should similarly shop around its reigning disappointments, such as Gary Sanchez, Clint Frazier and Jamison Tailon - but trading players at their low points is seldom good business. After Cory Kluber returns, if he returns, Kluber might bring some young talent. If this sounds heartless, consider that the Yankees would be doing him a favor, sending him to a contender for what might be his final season. 

Am I overstating this current malaise? Maybe. That is what we do. This team could still get hot. And the Wild Card makes everyone a contender, right? 

Still, how can anyone can look at this team, as it is currently comprised, and see it winning in October? And if Cashman thinks he can save the season with deadline trades, it will almost surely make things worse for the long range. 

Somehow, the Yankees became a haunted ghost ship. Man the lifeboats, everybody. She's going down. 

Saturday, June 12, 2021

What Did You Expect?


 Unless my memory has faded into cereal, we ( those on this blog ) always said that this Yankee team would be battling for the wildcard play-in game.  And so we are. 

Sure, the Yankee PR machine painted the team as " world series " qualified and bound.

We knew better.

We knew there was no left-handed power to protect our right handed power.  We knew Hicks would be out much of the year. And that Stanton would get hot, then get injured.   We suspected the risk of the long term health of our starters, and waited for the bullpen to be overworked, and implode.   We knew no one could bunt, that the team was slow and ill-disciplined on the base paths, and that our defense was barely adequate. We knew there was no "young energy" on this veteran team. No emerging prospect to wow the fans and the world of baseball. We knew there was no strategic genius in our dugout to guide us through games where talent on the field wasn't enough. 

We counted on a bounty of home runs to make up for those weaknesses.  

What we have is a bounty of strike outs, double plays hit into, and runners cut down on the bases.  We lead the league in players thrown out at home. What we have is a media manipulator on our bench. 

The prospect of trading Peralta before he has a chance to prove himself is classic Yankee.  As it happens, he plays a position of glaring weakness for the Yankees.  He is a great fielding shortstop who might also hit.  He would allow Torres to play second and give first base, permanently, to DJ.  

We would finally have an infield and could then concentrate on finding a centerfielder, who hits lefty and can play defense.  Some of you will think we have one at AAA.  Trade him, too, Brian before we know for sure. 

So, just as we don't want lefties, we don't want a shortstop or centerfielder either. At least not people who are young, exciting, and developed through the Yankee system.  Because if they fail in the Bronx, it will reveal to the world that the Yankee management is a fraud. 

If they fail elsewhere, then the Yankees were " smart." If they succeed elsewhere ......time will erase them.

The Yankee way under Hal, Brian is Aaron is the wild card way.  

And we knew this when the season began. 

We expected it.  


The Yankees need a Bill Murray

 Yesterday, Bill Murray suggested that children across Chicago forego their allowance so the billionaire owner can keep the Cubs lineup intact.

We need somebody to call out Food Stamps Steinbrenner.


Could Cashman, desperate to stay afloat, tank the Yankee farm system this summer?

With about 40 percent of the season done, the Death Barge is idling somewhere west of Sarasota, Florida, barely within a week's travel of first-place Tampa. 

Three games above .500, six losses behind the Devil Rays - (the actual chasm looks far worse when the two teams occupy the same field) - we are pursuing the final, last-ditch, pot luck, also-ran, American League Wild Card birth... also known as the "Congratulations, Chump" award.

To win this prestigious flag - or is it a zirconium belt? - we must not only overtake Houston and Cleveland,  but stave off Toronto, a young and ascending  team that will soon start playing home games again. Frankly, our chances don't look so hot. I'd say Kevin "Hercules" Sorbo has an equal shot at an Oscar.


To boost hope, the YES team has been touting the returning cavalry: Luis Severino, Zack Britton, Luke Voit and - um - Darren O'Day! The problem? None bats left-handed. Without a LH hitter to protect Judge, Stanton, Torres, LeMahieu, et al -  the Yankees will face endless waves of RH relievers. Seriously, maybe Kevin Sorbo can hit lefty!

Today, in one of the most terrifying news bits since J-Lo took up Ben - (yeah, suck on it, Boston; your biggest fan is drooling over A-Rod's leftover chicken tenders) - the Murdoch Post suggests the Yankees will trade Oswald Peraza at the deadline.


For those who monitor the dismal Yankee farm system - the lonely, thankless job of a demented mortician - Peraza has been 2021's brightest peephole of light. He's a 20-year-old shortstop who last week was promoted to Double A. Last night, after a rough first few games, he homered. 

Until Jasson Dominquez - aka "The Martian" - actually appears in professional baseball games rather than YouTube videos - the Yankees have one positional jewel in their system: Peraza. To think they would peddle him this summer to climb from a hole of their own making - (seriously, what front office genius builds an entirely RH hitting lineup in Yankee Stadium? Have they looked at the field contours lately? Did that RF porch ever make an impression?)  - well, someone should be charged with treason.

If Cooperstown Cashman empties the system to obtain another deadline dump Sidney Ponson, I will don face paint and shaman horns, and we will launch a "Jan. 6  insurrection," led by Yank fan Rudy Giuliani, who can call for "trial by wombat." For several years now, this franchise has quietly drained its system to bail out the front office from its bad decisions. If anything, the Yankees in July should seek to dump high salary vets, even if it lessens their shot at the glorious, final AL Wild Card Birth flag.

Look at the standings, people. Look at the truth. The Yankees are chasing yet another Wild Card. They are a second division team in their own division. This is not a summer to mortgage the future. 

Friday, June 11, 2021

The evil that closers do live after them. The good is oft interred with their bones. So be it with Aroldis Chapman.

Last few times Commander Boone trotted out El Chapo, I wondered if this would be it: 

The Unraveling. The Meltdown. The Implosion. The Cataclysm. The - um, (checks thesaurus) - the fiasco, the plunge, the Britney, the Fyre Fest, the presidential bid of George Pataki, the Deepwater Horizon, the 1996 Jets under Rich Kotite, The Adventures of Pluto Nash... Birnham Wood in Dunsinane...  

You know, Aroldis Chapman in post-season form.

You could feel it in the way he'd walk the leadoff batter, or get bailed out by a liner hit directly at someone, or how his eyes bugged out from beneath the flowing Chittenango Falls of his cap brim. (Note: Chittenango Falls is one of the secret gems of Upstate NY; and yes, you bastards, always capitalize Upstate!)  Thus far this season, Chapman had been unbeatable. Thus, we all knew what was coming. 

So, it finally happened. Nine pitches. Two sizzling liner singles and two tape measure bombs. If not for the upper decks, the Navy would be adding them to its UFO list. I've seen better stuff on the State Fair Midway. 

But but BUT... people, this is normalcy. 

He was always going to have such a night. Today - a rare open Friday when the Death Barge gets to marinate in its own juices - we might learn whether Chapman is healthy. Sometimes, after a debacle, it turns out he's not. In recent years, around now, Chapman has suffered either gonadal tweaks or spells of horror show ineffectiveness. Usually, this heals with rest. The only problems: 

Until he returns to form, no lead is safe. (Brooks Kriske - aka "Officer Kriske," "The Great Kriske" and "Kriske Kreme" - proved that Wednesday.)  

And also, cough, Chapman is, cough, 33.

This is not, by itself, a red flag. Four out of the top five current MLB saves leaders fall into Chapman's vintage. (I looked it up: San Diego's Mark Melancon - former Yankee - is 36, Liam Hendricks of the White Sox is 32, Craig Kimbrel of the Cubs and Kenley Jansen of the Dodgers are both 33.) Of course, the 2021 season is about 40 percent done. We'll see how this group holds up in October. My guess, the top five will be far different.  

Last year, Chapman missed the first 22 games, one-third of the mini-season, throwing only 11 innings. Our final glimpse of him was the gopher ball against Tampa, a repeat of our final glimpse of him in 2019, the gopher ball against Houston.

Aroldis Chapman may someday go down as the greatest pitcher in Yankee history that we cannot bear to remember. Let the record show  that Rich Kotite had some promising years as defensive coordinator of the Eagles. Now, what?

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Thread of game

 


Disregard What You Are Seeing....


And, yes, for you cynics, that means the words I am presenting.

But the positive performances against the Twins simply DO NOT COUNT !

It is like the executive who boasts to his peers that he secured the "prime booth at the Expo" for his company, when his company is paying for the entire event. 

For six innings I chose to watch the NCAA women's world series ( softball )  between Oklahoma and Florida State.  A much better sport to watch, than the Yankees.  Final is today ( best 2 of 3 ).  Oklahoma is favored. 

So I checked the Yankee box score in the ninth.  I noticed that we gave up much of our lead and that Frazier was our only strike-out victim.  There is something for consistency.

But the hitting by Giancarlo and others is an illusion.  Hitting against the Twins, in that stadium, is like the " home run derby" at the county fair.  The Twins would play .500 ball in AA. 

This weekend, after another off day tomorrow, the Yanks travel to Philadelphia.  Where Stanton won't hit for another three days ( no DH ).  So he will need another two weeks after that to regain the footing we think he found in Minny.

Don't kid yourself.  He still can't hit a breaking ball.


Courageous Yankee fan seeks to save misdirected children's souls

 In any true justice system, she would be awarded custody. 



Two in a row! Is this the reawakening... or a glitch in the Matrix

Thoughts after a night of torturing the Twins.

1. Fun fact: Last year, the Yankees made the playoffs by beating up on Boston (9-1) and Baltimore (7-3.) Delete those games, and we were the Dopeytown Dildoxes. 

This year, against those two, we are combined 6-7. There remain ballots to be counted, but if the Redsocks and O's have improved - or if they're just sick of losing to us - we are in bigger trouble than we think. Wins over sad Minnesota show a false read.

2. When someone named "Billy McKinney" homered twice for the Mets this week, my Spider Tack sense began to tingle. Where have I heard that name? Oh, yeah, that Billy McKinney... the former Cubs first-rounder who came along in the Gleyber/Chapman trade, 100 years ago. He was almost a mirror image of Clint Frazier, supposedly a pure hitter and a sure-thing. We traded him to Toronto for - brace yourself - J.A. Happ. From there, he bounced to Milwaukee and now the Mets. 

Today's essay question: Could McKinney turn out to be better than Frazier? Could he be The One That Got Away? 

Okay, this is a "what if" parlor game. Also, after a guy hits two HRs in a night, perspectives can be skewed. But here's the line on U.S. SUPREME COURT YANKIVERSE DISTRICT MCKINNEY V. FRAZIER:

McKinney, 26, has 7 HRs this year, batting .227. He's been hot since moving to the Mets, (4 HR and .275.)

Frazier, 27, is .190 with 5 HRs, though lately with a slight uptick. One problem: he might be on the verge of losing ABs to Miguel AnDUjar, who - fingers crossed - might be back?  

So, yeah, right now, McKinney beats Frazier - sorta - but that's because Red Thunder is still a .190 washout. One other thing: McKinney is exactly what the Yankees need, a LH outfielder who also plays 1B. If this turns out to be his breakout season, well, did you need another reason to greet Cooperstown Cashman with tar and feathers?

3. Speaking of 2-HR games, Giancarlo Stanton! Two big games in a row, TWO!, thanks to Minnesota cooking. If this hitting streak lasts, it means one thing: An injury looms.

That's the line on Yank Aarons: They get cold, get hot, get hurt. 

This season, Stanton was basically horrible through the first 23 games. On April 26, he was hitting .192, and we assailed the juju gods with righteous fury. 

It worked. Stanton got hot - a blistering 14-game heat wave,  which at one point raised his average to over .300. On May 13, he stood at .282.  

Then came The Tweak. (He is, after all, "Mr. Tweak.") Giancarlo missed 14 games, returning May 28 - as Foreigner would say - "as cold as ice, unwilling to sacrifice." His lame spell coincided with Tampa and Boston, lasting eight games. Now, for the last two, he's been hot in Minnesota.

So, according to my calculations - cracks knuckles, punches keyboard, brings up amazing Hollywood graphics, bites into donut - Stanton should tweak something by... next Tuesday. Got that? On the IL by Tuesday. Hope I'm wrong. Let's watch and see. 

4. As the Death Barge desperately seeks a LH bat, one great ex-Yank tugs at our heartstrings. I'm talking about the original sin of winter 2020 - letting go of Sir Didi.   

Essay question No. 2: Could we somehow trade for Didi Gregorius, put him back at SS - move Gleyber to second and DJ to first - and install him as the lefty bat between Judge and Stanton? Probably, no. But fun to imagine.

Didi has had a tough year. He's in minor league rehab - the Iron Pigs of Lehigh! - and was hitting .229 with the Phillies before going out with a sore elbow. (He did have 4 HR and 22 RBIs though.) Last year, he hit .284 with 10 HRs - decent.  

I'm not sure a trade makes sense to Philly, unless they want to ditch his contract: They have him for one more year, at $15 million, and some teams get skittish over 31-year-old shortstops with touchy elbows. 

Here's the thing: The Yanks seem to see Oswald Peraza, age 20, as their future SS. That means Gleyber's time there is limited, and the dominoes would seem to fall on Luke Voit, who's also having a wretched year. 

Peraza was recently bumped up to Double A. If he keeps hitting, he could take over SS next spring. But if he stalls, someone like Didi could hold the position, at least through mid-2022. (Or Gleyber would stay.) Didi wouldn't be the worst thing that could happen. 

Not saying it can. Hey, in Minnesota, it's all a parlor game, right? 

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

Game Night Twinkie Twead

 


Spider Tack

(To the tune of Spider Man)

Spider Tack. Spider Tack.

It makes up for a talent lack.

Spin a pitch, rally's die.

Turn home runs, into weak pop flies.

Look out! The pitcher's got Spider Tack.


Is it strong? Listen bud.

Ten times more spin than using mud.

Can it make, a pitch break?

Get outs down the middle on one's they take.

Strike three! He's using Spider Tack.


In the heat of night, with the game on the line.

Just employ the tack and strike out more than nine.


Spider Tack. Spider Tack.

Pitch outside and still brush them back.

Wealth and fame can be yours.

Make the game a total bore.

With tack, it will off set your heater. 

Who cares if you're a cheater... 

You're using Spider Tack!




 

So, at least the Yankees can still beat Minnesota...

Rather than rules of etiquette or kindness, this blog has always assumed one basic understanding - and if you cannot abide by it, you're better off on TikTok.  

It goes this way: When the Yankees win, I think to myself, it's a wonderful world... And when they lose, why do the birds go on singing, why do the stars glow above... 

We win, all is groovy. We lose, let's jump off the 59th Street Bridge. Get it?

Except last night. I'm still sorta wobbly.

Last night, thanks to our pals in Minnesota - including a Bizarro manifestation of our own past - the Death Barge briefly restored glee to the Yankiverse. In fact, I'm delighted to report that while we were graciously accepting a victory, Boston was getting molested by Houston, losing one-third of the gains they made last weekend. 

Back in the glory days - before any thoughts of Jeter included the image of Giancarlo Stanton's contract - the Yankees often suffered May/June meltdowns against Boston. But we would then beat a tomato can, while the Redsocks fumbled away their ground. (Note: Tampa, on the other hand, has won three straight. Soon, the Yankees will have to concede the AL East and target the Wild Card.)  

So, how should we celebrate last night's win, which came gift-wrapped from the Twins infield and our own fossil record. It started with Michael Pineda - now a cross between CC Sabathia and Al Hrabosky - looking as if he'd throw a shutout. Except we knew better. We've seen the Big Mike Show many times. He dominates... until he doesn't. And when he doesn't, HE. DOES. NOT. So we waited, and we got to him. 

Then there was Rob "Brigadoon" Refsnyder, named after Lerner and Loewe's  magical village on the Scottish highlands, which appears every 10 years, drives in a few runs, and vanishes into the suburbs of Rochester. Ref, just back from concussion protocol, doubled off the top of the wall, then tweaked a hammy sliding into second and will return in 10 years to sing the finale with Gene Kelly and Cyd Charisse. I wish him the best. 

Tonight, Minnesota tonight will uncork the vintage wine known as J.A. Happ. Only God knows what he'll look like. Prepare for a dominant few innings and then... Happ will Happen. Old Rumsfeld once told us, it's not what we know that the know, it's what we don't know we don't know. We all know that the Yankees can climb out of a gutter, piss a quart of blood, take two aspirins and beat Minnesota. But there are juju forces in this universe that mean us harm, and today, while we rollick our jollies, we must ponder them. 

Zack Britton got bombed last night in a Scranton rehab assignment. He didn't last an inning, gave up four runs, recorded one measly out. Of course, it doesn't matter. He could be testing a new pitch, or new underwear. But Britton is 33 and coming off Pandemic '20, when he threw all of 19 innings. Years ago, when he returned from an injury in Baltimore, it took him a whole season to regain command. The Yankees will go slowly with Britton. It's too soon to fear the worst. But it looks like a long road back. July rather than June? August instead of July?

This controversy about the stickiness of Gerrit Cole's fingers is moving from punch line to perp walk. Like Britton's performance last night, it doesn't mean a thing... yet. Last night, Cole found himself in a Gammonite clusterfuck and phoned in his answer - a robotic, mealy-mouthed blah-blah-blah that could have come from the My-Pillowed lips of a Kardashian. Considering all the righteous screaming that happened over the Astros, New York would be a really, really, really bad place to experience a cheating scandal. 

So... big Yankee win last night. Altogether now... hooray?

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Yankee-Twins Hate Watch Thread

 




Never do the Yankees look more inept than when blaming their loss on an ump's bad third strike call

You saw it! I saw it! The world saw it! The corrupt, illegal, Yankee-hating ump - Morales! grr! - called strike three on good-hearted Roogie Odor, a ball socially distanced from home plate. It cost us a game, a Sunday night, revenge against Boston and - who knows? - maybe a future Wild Card birth.  

Where's the justice? MLB is a hoax league, the games are rigged, and America must not stand for it! If the ump - Morales! grr! - had called ball four, it would have loaded the bases for Clint Frazier, who is as close to a "sure thing" as there is. Everybody knows he would have delivered a walk-off hit, regardless of what the fake batting averages say. It's known that several strikes were actually called from Dubai. People are saying MLB should not ratify Boston's win until every pitch has been audited with expensive new gadgetry. What is Boston afraid of? Why are they so terrified of truth? Until the audit is done, the Yankees should have the victory, hero coach Phil Nevin 's ejection should be overturned, and the umps should go to jail!

That's what we've become... 

Wailing to the heavens about a called third strike. 

"The dingoes ate mah baybee!" (Which they did, but it doesn't matter.)

About that call...

1. When you fan 10-to-15 times per game - as the Yankees now do - sorry, pal, but you don't get the benefit of the doubt on close calls.

2. If Odor had walked, wouldn't Tippy-Toes have simply tapped another grounder to short?  

3. Did anybody really think the Yankees were going to win? All weekend, they found creative ways to lose. This wasn't sports. It was performance art.

4. Boston won because they advanced baserunners and protected the plate with two strikes. Whenever a Yankee hitter reached strike two, forgettaboutit. 

5. Right now, the Yankees seem to have achieved a toxic fear of failure. Nobody adjusts with two strikes or RISP. They just swing harder. 

Every year, the Death Barge goes through a hapless period, when nothing goes right. Around July/August, we make a run. Sometimes, we nab a Wild Card and first-round knockout. That could still happen. 

But but BUT... I cannot recall a Yankee lineup so bloated, so lopsided, with RH bats. Without balance in the order, this team faces more than a dry spell. This is a mega-drought. It won't require a tweak. It might need dynamite. 

And never do the Yankees look more inept than when howling about a called third strike, which is how degraded this franchise has become. 

Monday, June 7, 2021

Last night's Yankee loss could be a tipping point in 2 ways

 I think it's possible that last night's loss could end up being the most significant game played in MLB this season, for two reasons.

1. The horrendous, what-the-fuck-was-that third-strike call on Odor. Ninth inning. Two outs. Tie score with runners on. National TV game. Yankees-Red Sox. What's left of the baseball world watching -- and Odor gets rung up on a pitch barely in the same area code as home plate.

Social media went bonkers -- ESPN even highlighted the ump's incompetence. 

It felt like a tipping point in the robo-ump debate. That pitch probably took at least a year off the lifespan of balls and strikes being called by old guys in blue suits. As soon as the system proves halfway reliable in the minors, the computers take over and the screenshot of that strike is the illustration that will accompany every story on the change.



2. The Aaron Boone era very likely died last night. No, he's not getting fired today, but last night made his exit seem inevitable. Unless the team somehow rallies and wins the World Series -- and what odds would you put on THAT following this disaster week? -- last night was the night when even Boone's staunchest defenders had to say. "What ... the ... fuck?!?" 

The indelable image of last night's game was Phil Nevin, weakened from a bout with Covid and more than 20 pounds lighter than he was just a few weeks ago, stepping up to defend the team and showing the fire that Boone seems to have lost a while back. Coaches got thrown out while Boone shrugged his shoulders and stared at the ground. Not a good look.

All the lofty expectations from before the season have crumbled around this team. It's a mess. Right now, our biggest fear shouldn't be last place, but that this team actually scrapes together enough wins to grab a wild card spot before getting embarrassed in the playoffs again -- because then we'll get another postseason filled with Hal and Cash saying how close this team is to being great and we just need to tinker a bit and add a couple more DHs (Pujols might be available!) to put us over the top.

I know, it's only June. Plenty of time left. Severino could come back strong. DJ and Judge could get hot. Voit could come back and the power stroke will still be there. Miggy could be the player he looked like he'd be as a rookie.

It's possible. But if that doesn't happen, this team might have finally reached the burn-it-all-down-and-start-over point. And a bunch of gasoline got poured on the pile of rubble last night. 

Comment of the weekend

 Beauregard Jackson Pickett Burnside commented on "It will soon be time to pull the plug on the disastrous '21 Yankees"

We need to stop asking what is wrong with the Yankees,
and start asking what is wrong with us.

Stepping closer to The Abyss, the Yankees should start planning Tank Time.

Yeesh, this is awful. 

Here we are, trying as a nation to re-emerge from the darkness of Covid, looking to restore the semblance of American normality, seeking a New York team around which to rally... and we get this: A clown-shit show - (not just a clown show or a shit show, but a clown-shit show.) Everything the Yankees do - everything - seems destined to backfire.

The latest is Chris Gittens. Already, he's a perfect fit. Last night, "The Git" led the Yanks in strikeouts, with three, denied a Golden Sombrero when Rougned Odor pinch hit for him (and, of course, struck out.)  DJ LeMahieu and Gio Urshela each contributed two, on their way to an 11-whiff night. 

Seven Yankees walked. Thus, over the 58 Yankee plate appearances, 18 batters resulted in nothing happening, no ball put into play - a tedium factor of 31%. (If you figure each K or BB takes about four minutes, that's an hour and 12 minutes of watching canasta.) 

Saturday night, 37 Yanks marched to the plate, with 14 fanning or walking - a tedium factor of 37%.

Imagine a football game where a team takes a knee on every third play. (Well, okay, the 2019 Jersey Giants.) Would we follow it? It's like basketball back in the days of The Stall, before the 24-second clock. Just people standing around.

Aside from hate-watching - which is becoming a thing - should we care about these nightly pageants of pointlessness, where the big drama is how the batter will mutter and shake his head, while marching back to his dugout cushion?

Last year, the Redsocks phoned in their pandemic season, after deciding it wasn't worth chasing. They deliberately tanked, brought in some kids; they're now younger, faster, smarter and better than we are, and next month, they will draft fourth. They have bypassed us, along with the Rays and Blue Jays and - one of these days - even the O's will get there. 

The Yankees are a dead team walking, except for when they fan. 

People, it's almost Tank Time. This year, baseball will be remembered for its walks and strikeouts, and as the last MLB season before the owners begin blowing up the sport with rule-changes, none of which address the central problem: A tedium factor approaching 40 percent, because a bunch of stat wonks turned the game into miniature golf. We see more action on Jeopardy.

I know what you're thinking. Considering all the bad contracts they have hoarded, how can the Yankees tank? Actually, it's rather simple.

1. Bundle Giancarlo Stanton with Aroldis Chapman - (we'll have to bribe El Chapo to overcome his No-Trade Clause) - and give them to a contender, no strings attached. Pay Stanton's 2022 salary. Don't demand any prospects in return. In fact, we may have to add a few. So be it. Just get rid of Stanton, that's all. Let him blossom in LA. Let him become the King of San Diego. Doesn't matter. Move him, that's all. Get out from under him.

2. Keep Gleyber. That's it. Everybody else, thank them for their service, and see what we can get. That means shopping Judge, DJ, Urshela, Voit - the whole shebang. Yes, that means throwing the baby out with the bath water. (What's the baby done for us, lately?) If we cut off our nose - yes, our face will be spiteful - but we won't have to smell this team.

The Yankees now rank 17th, tied with St. Louis, on the 2022 Tank-a-Thon. There is no reason why we can't go 5-20 in July and draft in the top 10 next summer. If that happens, who knows? Maybe we can turn things around by, say, 2025! By then, the umps will be robots and batters will be standing on a mound. And Stanton will still be making $32 million per. 

Seriously, folks, we may have to borrow a page from the cicada brood, and simply go to sleep for 17 years. Maybe by 2035 - with Cashman and Randy Levine in the Hall - this team will be worth watching. Right now, it's tedium.

Sunday, June 6, 2021

It will soon be time to pull the plug on the disastrous '21 Yankees

Close your eyes. Imagine a listless team, no spirit whatsoever. Picture a lineup that strikes out 10 to 15 times per game, and strands runners as if they just tested positive for COVID. Imagine fourth place...

Now, open them. Surprise!

Okay, it's still only June. Between now and October, a billion butterflies will flap their wings in China, launching a billion weather systems across Binghamton. Over the next four months - after Trump is reinstated and the UFOs land - here's my prediction: A lotta shit will come down.

But but BUT... we are nearing THE YANKEE RECKONING, a once-every-five-years doomsday point, where the only humane way to follow this diseased and cursed team is to root against them. 

Soon - I don't know when, but we will all know it, instinctively - we will experience one too many strikeouts with the bases loaded, one too many called third strikes on a fastball right down the pipe, one too many leadoff walks from our bullpen, one too many meaningless late inning home runs that do nothing but boost somebody's stat line, one too many rally-killing double play grounders, one too many in-game ads for DuckDuckGo (which, by the way, are wondrous when read by our Luddite radio voice...)

Soon, we will have to ask ourselves: What good will a Gary Sanchez HR do, when it simply justifies him getting another month to extend his flatlined career. He was being called out by Joe Girardi back in 2018. Why, why, why... are we still doing this?

It's not here yet. It's still too early. But you can feel The Abyss coming for us. It's not waiting anymore. It's moving our way.

Soon, we must ask ourselves: Why pet this animal, when all you do is extend its suffering?

Soon - maybe next month, maybe next week - we must face the reality that this team is dead, and this roster must be torn apart. (If only we could fire the owner...)

We're not there... yet. 

It's not time to jump... yet. 

But after last night, it's hard to imagine this team winning anything meaningful in 2021. This team is right where it should be: Fourth place. 

Soon, let the tanking begin. 

Saturday, June 5, 2021

Doesnt matter..


 There are no rules that apply to this Yankee " team."

But here's the thing:

1.  Why does anyone have confidence in Stanton?  Every game he is 0-4 with 2 K's.  Sometimes more. He is at .256 and fading. 

2.  Sanchez struck out four times yesterday, and yet he starts today.

3.  Everyone see that fly ball to the wall that Andujar couldn't catch?  

He has mediocre outfield skills for a AA club.  And his hitting doesn't look much different.  Yes, if you take the last 12 at bats, he is hitting okay. ( not counting today ).  But he is not a guy I want up when it matters.  And more and more, he is not the guy I want up when it doesn't matter either. 

 He doesn't look the same as when he had a break-out rookie season. 

4.  And what of Clint Frazier?  Aaron must be referring to him when he says, " our guys in that room are capable of doing a lot of damage.  "  Aaron avoids the fact that one third of the season is gone, and it hasn't happened yet. Or that we lead the league in every crappy statistic one can conjure. 

5.  The new guy didn't have the kind of debut that said, " we've finally got our first base problem sorted."  He deserves another 10 games or so. 

6.  The Chad Greene mystique finally hit a wall. That fastball got hammered a bit.  

7.  We are beginning to run thin in the bullpen, even though Taillon pitched well.  But the floodgates opened when Andujar failed to catch that fly to the wall. 

8.  Once the game is tied. we cannot win.  How is Toronto doing today?

9.  Aaron says well get 'em tomorrow.   " I think we can win the getaway day game and get this thing turned around. "

10.  Lucky we have a few days off coming up.  Otherwise, they might have to grant another start to our number one pitching prospect.  Ugh.

She looks little like Luke Voit, doesn't she?

The Hard Truth


 We have seen ( watching Tampa embarrass us for years ) and recently read ( Duque's post ) how Boston is now adapting the Tampa formula for success.

Change is what this day and age requires.  It is happening in business and in technology.  It is what progress requires, painful as it can be. 

The Yankees have been fighting change now for two decades.  And all they have to show for it is a game that cannot be watched. Fifteen strikeouts per game, and no matter how Boone re-arranges the chess pieces, it remains fifteen strikeouts per game.  Oh...and 2 runs. 

I don't think Cashman is stupid, I just think he is stuck. And by that I mean, he had to know that Mike King was going to put the Yankees in a hole early, and only then pitch well. 

 He had to know, as we did, that the game was over once that " 3" went on the board in the first inning.  And that Judge hitting into a double play was a foregone conclusion, once we opened the game with back to back singles. 

So Brian is stuck.  Stuck in the old ways. In blindly taking orders from a failed general. Sending the troops time and time again into the gatling gun fire, but hoping for a different outcome. 

The Yankees don't change anything, because the money is too good and the comfort is too good.  Hal has simply changed the aim of the war.  No longer is it victory, now it is survival.  All he needs is to be able to tell neighbors, " we are in the hunt."

Forget the World Series.  Forget winning the AL East. Just " hope for the wild card and then anything can happen."

Not really.  What will happen is quite predictable. The Yankees will go home, striking out 15 times in the wild card play-in game. 

As long as Hal is running the show, and as long as the money flows in, there will be no change in GM or manager.  We will be fed false optimism forever.  This Yankee management team is bad at everything they do.   And it doesn't seem to matter. 

Meanwhile, the trains are whizzing by and we are holding out a thumb. 



Be very afraid: The Redsocks are following Tampa's organizational game plan

I had dinner with a Redsock fan last night... 

(I know, I know... why do I put myself into such uncomfortable situations? It's not that I am courting danger, or that I think their meager souls are redeemable. I recognize the gap in cognition and their limited ability to form words. Still, we all must be kind. Also, to be frank, I find the way they masturbate with their toes  to be rather stimulating.)  

His words shocked and terrified me, as they should us all...

He said Boston has been rebuilding via the same formula as Tampa and Toronto. They have assembled a roster of young, ascending, multi-positional - and, most importantly, cheap - clones. Almost all will play their best years in Boston and then sign bloated mega-deals with some slow-footed, dinosaur franchise, such as - well - You-Know-Who. 

They'll never spend $20 million on a showy closer, because they understand that bullpen fireballers come and go. Instead, they'll stock their staff with young arms and under-the-radar signings, and save their dimes for an occasionally underpriced star.

And if their team doesn't prove itself by June, the front office will tank the season and draft high next summer. (FYI: Next month, the Redsocks will draft 4th.)

Another management revolution has happened with the Yankees on the outside, looking in. 

Other teams use roster flexibility to overcome injuries, while we employ china dolls and lock in an everyday DH for the next eight years.

The Yankees have become hard to root for and nearly impossible to watch. 

Last night, when they were down 3-0 in the first, the game was effectively over, and everybody knew it. 

With a runner in scoring position, you can literally feel hope drain from the batter to the dugout and to everyone across the stadium. And then the batter strikes out.

Last night in Scranton, Mike Ford went 0-4 with a strikeout. Look, if can't hit at Triple A, why did we think he would in the majors? I'm starting to wonder: Could Clint Frazier hit at Scranton? Could Gary Sanchez? Could Gardy? Could Stanton? Did you see them last night, lunging after pitches in the dirt and taking fastballs down the middle? Fifteen strikeouts: That used to be the stuff of Koufax. Now, it's a regular night in the Bronx. 

Long season ahead. Long decade. 

Friday, June 4, 2021

Problem posed, solution given.

 In today's comment section:

 Delete
Blogger JM said...

By the way, as Pete Rose sits barred from baseball and from making the HOF, does anyone else wince every time the Yankees Official Online Betting Site pops up on the screen? How the worm has turned on that one.

June 4, 2021 at 8:58 AM

 
To which came this...

Blogger Mustang said...

JM, I wince along with you. There going to be a beautiful betting scandal some day. Maybe some Hal or other will be tempted to triple his profits by betting against his team.

June 4, 2021 at 11:01 AM

 Delete

THE SOLUTION: 
We need betting odds on whether Pete Rose will make the Hall of Fame.

Forget Tampa: The Yankee 2021 season is now all about Boston and the Wild Card

If you're scoring at home, in their quest for the AL East Division title, the '21 Yankees outlasted the '21 Knicks by one night. 

One measly night. 

Thus, the Dolan and Steinbrenner clans have at long last achieved the equality of malfeasance, their family businesses winning just enough to turn a profit, while remaining safely below the Peter Angelos Line of Ownership Mediocrity.

As the Yanks came within three straight from Tampa, and as the Knicks came home to face Atlanta, the rug was pulled, the chips were called, the cattle was culled, the bit was spit - insert trope here - because the Rays don't fool around, mince their words, put on their pants one leg at a time. 

So, with Boston finally visiting, here is our 2021 Wild Card race:


We can yowl to the hills how the Yankees flop against Tampa, but that's not our style. As thinking fans, we should contemplate the first-ever...

10-POINT IT-IS-HIGH LIST OF FUNDAMENTAL JUNE 4TH REALITIES:

1. The Yankees are legitimate Wild Card contenders. I believe this reflects Hal's baseline: If this motley team can make the post-season, anything can happen. So... for now, anyway... mission accomplished, Brian!

2. The Yankees have a potential game one ace in Domingo German. (Ha! Fooled ya.

3. We will face at least two more waves of injuries. Look at tonight's lineup and imagine at three starters with gonads inflamed to the size of Einstein bagels. Between now and October, the casualty count will remake this team.

4. Know how they say champs are solid up the middle? The Yankees right now - Sanchez, Odor, Gleyber & Gardy - don't look fated for the Canyon of Heroes. Can they improve? Sure, each could. Also, consider LeMahieu at 2B and Judge in CF. Better, right? 

5. Boston may be playing above themselves. This weekend, we'll get a better picture of what we're up against. How good is Alex Verdago, or Verdigo, Verdingo... whatever.

6. Frankly, we should fear Toronto. They've now survived two months playing in Florida, outdoors, sweltering, with the pythons, the sinkholes, the shootings and the incest. Now, they're in Buffalo, a veritable upstate paradise during June. By August, they could be home in beery Toronto. Don't underestimate how much that will spur them.

7. We can only lose six more times to Tampa this season, including three on the last weekend, after the Rays have clinched and are playing scrubbinies. 

8. By September, some prospects might be ready. One currently tagging my elbow: 25-year-old LH SS Hoy Jun Park, who is raking (.362) in his first - albeit brief, small sample size - shot at Triple A. We signed Park in the 2014 international free agent roundup, when the Yankees gathered a bunch of young specimens worthy of Mrs. Falwell. He's bumped around for seven years, so long he became part of the landscape. If Park - who plays around the infield - keeps hitting at Scranton, he could change the dynamic of this team.

9. Luis Severino. We can talk about Britton, Voit, Kluber, et al. But Sevy is the wild card of the Wild Card race. Can he return? Will he be any good? Will he relieve? Will he start? What do we have here?

10. Damn. I shouldn't have made this a 10-point list. I got nothing. Calgon Bath Oil Beads, help me out...

Thursday, June 3, 2021

Just Saying....


Yes, we got " jobbed" today by the umpires.

Cole was demoralized because strikes were called balls.  

Batters ( on the Yankees ) were demoralized because balls were called strikes.

A Tampa runner went out of the base path to avoid a tag ( running to first ), but was called safe.  The video tape was indisputable, but I gather that particular " judgement "call is not reviewable. 

Instead of the next batter being "out number three," and the inning ending 2-1 Rays, it all fell apart and the inning ended 5-1 Rays.

Game over. 

( For those of you who are optimists, yes, we did get our 2 runs eventually. Well done).

After Cole departed, Yankee" clown college" entered the game and the Rays increased their total to 9 runs. 

But the facts are clear:

1.  Tampa is a better team

2.  They pitch better and they hit better.

3.  They are far superior on baseball fundamentals.

4.  They are an entire level up as a defensive team.

5.  They are faster.

6.  They are younger and deeper.

7.  They get paid far less. 

I'm just saying......maybe we should try something new.

Ripley's~~~~Believe It Or Else!


Incredible how many categories we have the advantage in. Amazing. Unbelievable. Even team BA (looks more like a tie to me, but I'll take it.)*

But...IT'S ALL TRUE!!!

Believe it....OR ELSE!!!!

*Please ignore Runs Per Game, Run Differential Per Game, Hits Per Game, Home Runs Per Game, and Errors Per Game. Statistics prove that none of that is important over the long run. Remember the Go-Go White Sox.. Remember the Maine. Try to remember the kind of September when grass was green and the grain was yellow, and if you remember then follow...follow follow follow... 

When your position is as physically demanding as DH, you can't possibly be expected to play in a day game after a night game.

No one makes enough money for that.  


Gorilla Wonders of the Diamond!

To make every contest a thriller
Manfred should use these gorillas
Such power! Such poise!
These four-handed boys
Would grab fans from Maine to Manila.

Let's not kid ourselves: The Yankees have no option but to stick with their mainline players

Lately, shaky floorboards across of the Yankiverse have prompted blaspheme: Talk of an American Pie/Toyota Summer Event tankathon - a 2017 redux, with a fire sale of veteran players and their boondoggle contracts. 

For the moment - that is, after two wins over Tampa - the tortured wails will subside. If we can take, say, two out of three against Boston, we will have survived a week when the 2021 season suddenly -amazingly - seemed on the brink of disaster... on the third of June. 

We're not out of the woods. But Gerrit Cole pitches today, and if the game is a washout, he'll face the Redsocks tomorrow night, and we'll skip a reckoning from Wavy Deivi Garcia.

Whatever happens, the seven games against Tampa and Boston cannot bring a knockout blow. 

But over the last few days, thinking fans have recognized a terrifying reality: We are stuck with this lineup, and no Cashmanic cluster of trades can restart this franchise.

Optimists out there - you know who you are - can sing that, at times last night, only one Yankee was hitting below .200, and that was Red Frazier, who is red hot. Pessimists - aren't we all? - can mumble that we have no options. For example:

Gary Sanchez is our catcher, no matter what. He can get picked off third. Doesn't matter. He can chase passed balls. So what? Ever since Kyle Higashioka began to crumble - we saw it coming - all existential threats to Sanchez's career have been YES booth psychobabble. Gary is the starting catcher. (FYI: He is hitting .205 with 6 HRs - ranked 4th among AL catchers.)  

We can probably trade Gary at the August deadline. You know, shits and giggles. But why bother? We'll get a Zolio Almonte. We have nobody ready in Scranton or, for that matter, Double A. It's Gary. And as John Sterling says, he's scary.  

Giancarlo Stanton is the DH. Yeah, it's maddening to watch him rehab during critical games. What choice do we have? I suppose we can bat him ninth, as a show of disgust, but with Brett Gardner aging poorly and Mike Ford now conducting tours of the Anthracite Museum, who else can DH? Tyler Wade? Our only hope is that Stanton gets hot and then - somehow, and I know this is insane to suggest - doesn't tweak a gonad. Then, maybe next winter, we can package him in a trade? Or am I living in a Christmas tale? 

Move Gleyber to 2B? Nope. Stop doing this to yourself. You're scaring me. This talk about moving Gleyber: it's deck chairs on the Titanic. We have painted ourselves into the corner. Last night's lineup - with Aaron Judge in center - brought a collective gasp from fans. We have to wonder if his legs can stand the strain. But that's about as big a move as the Yankees can make. 

It's fun to speculate about trades. But here's the reality: We have no options but to the play the usual suspects. Luis Severino, Chris Britton and Luke Voit could be with us soon. That's the infusion. We must stay the course, for better or worse. And around here, we usually go with worse. 

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Holy crap. Judge is in centerfield

 


For Frazier and Andujar, it's now or never...

Not-so Fun Facts: 

1. Last time the Yankees beat Tampa, it so pissed off the Rays that the very next night, they  walloped us, 9-1. 

2. Even with last night's win - (did a loss ever seem so certain, considering all our squandered opportunities?) - we are a measly 4-and-7 against Tampa this year.

3. When we host Boston this weekend, it's second place that will be on the line. 

Still... dammit... holy crap! We won! For one stinking night, we wiped the smirks off those corn-fed, Florida Man, millennial-robot, rat-beard jowls... we sent their pitcher packing... we celebrated, not them. 

If the gristly last 12 months taught us anything, it should be to appreciate a jolly good fellow, which nobody can deny, and last night might have been one of the best we'll see all year. Here! here!

Today, Mike Ford is gone, exiled to Scranton. No eyebrows raised here. Ford delivered next to nothing. On another day, his fate would signal a slumping canary in Clint Frazier's mineshaft, because it would prove the existence of a finite number of failures that a Yankee can achieve before his destiny becomes Central Pennsylvania. That is, of course, unless his name is Giancarlo.  

(By the way, I always liked Ford, viewing him an overachiever, a smart guy - you know, the Princeton thing. But lately, he had devolved into a beer leaguer who couldn't outwit an over-shift. Even when Ford slammed a ball, it just went to a fielder. If he ever learns to punch opposite field grounders, he might still save his career. But adjustment is a lost art, and even if Ford hits .400 in Moosic, the memory of all those Ks will linger. The guy hit fucking .133 - barely upgrade over Jay Bruce, who hit .118 and retired. In his cameo, Luke Voit hit .182. Seriously... how can 1B be so dead?) 

But let's get to it: Last night, Miguel Andujar and Clint Frazier finally came through- critical HRs in a big Yankee win. (Note: Every Yankee win is a big Yankee win.) Andujar whacked his second in two nights - both to the opposite field, a good sign. (See: Ford, Mike.) Frazier delivered his just three innings after a full-out Ron Swoboda-esque catch in RF that saved the game. Bravo. 

(Can't say I'm happy with Frazier voguing at home plate, watching the ball, which barely reached the fifth row. Tony LaRussa would swallow his chaw, screaming at the guy. I'll let it slide - for now. It's been a hellish year for Frazier and, realistically, he wasn't going to leg out a double. Let's just hope it doesn't become a thing. When you're hitting .185 - and yes, Clint is hitting one-eighty-five - you'd best not piss off the opposing staff.) 

The next five games could define the 2021 Yankees. If we win big, the front office would be emboldened to chase the pennant. If we lose big, Brian Cashman could be pondering a sell-off. Nobody will be more affected than Andujar and Frazier. If either continues to hit, he has an open path to an everyday role. And if last night proves a fluke, there is the shining example of Mr. Mike Ford: Their futures could be a ticket out of town. 

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Fans are thrilled by tonight's Yankee lineup

Look at it! Just look at it!








From HoraceClarke66: Koyaanisqatsi

 

(Seen in a backyard in Cold Spring, New York, this afternoon.) 

 I think at this point—and we’re only at the start of June!—we really have said everything that needs to be said about why your New York Yankees stink, and why they won’t get better anytime soon.

 Hey, I don’t disagree with any of it.

 —Our hitting stinks. No question. Today marks 9 games in 12 that our boys have failed to score as many as 3 runs in a game, the first time that’s happened since the exciting days of 1971.

 —Our fielding stinks. Yep.

 —Our pitching is starting to stink, as Brain’s makeshift staff starts to fall apart. Sadly, it seems to be so.

 —This team has little fire or spirit, and seems distracted and uninvolved.

 —Our manager stinks. Our general manager stinks. Our owner seems most concerned about founding an international soccer empire. All too true.

 —Stanton stinks. Judge stinks. LeMahieu stinks. Sanchez stinks to high heaven. Torres is a riddle. Frazier is an enigma. Andujar is a mystery. Right on all counts.

—The trouble is our player development. The trouble is that no one takes a chance on our young kids. The trouble is that we don’t have enough young kids. The trouble is that everyone gets hurt and no one gets better.

 —The trouble is that Brain Cashman relies too much on the analytics. That’s true.

 —The trouble is that Brain Cashman doesn’t understand analytics. Hey, both things can be true!

 But there is, I think, much more going on.

 Back in 1982, there was a documentary called Koyaanisqatsi—subsequently hailed as “the first in the qatsi trilogy!” 

 I never saw it, I think mostly because it was advertised as a wordless, 86-minute, “tone poem,” complete with a musical score by Philip Glass—all words that make me want to run in the other direction. Some friends described it as “a good pot movie,” but I didn’t have any good pot, so I gave it a miss.

 But I digress.

 Point is, koyaanisqatsi reportedly means “life out of balance” in Hopi.  (I can’t say for sure, not speaking any Hopi, and don’t ask me about my Navajo, either.)

 But I always liked that phrase:  Life out of balance.

 I think that’s what’s happened to all of baseball, in a nutshell.  There has to be some good explanation for why so many Yankees are playing so badly. But it’s not just us. All around the major leagues, on every team, so many players are hurt, and so many are playing so far below their past performances.

 I could quote you statistics until the cows come home, but all you have to do is look at any Yankees game—or any major-league game. It just stinks.

 Sure, if Brian Cashman were a brighter human being, we could be much more like the Tampa Bay Rays. This is a good thing?

 I don’t want to watch a Yankees team that plays like the Rays. I don’t want to watch this sort of computerized, lifeless, de-heroicized baseball.

 I’m not sure how it happened. Was it the juice? Was it all the time in the weight rooms?

 I dunno. But somehow, all of a sudden, all the hitters could hit the ball out 400-feet, one-handed. Then all of a sudden, all the pitchers could throw 100-mph, all the time. Then all of a sudden, everyone was on the disabled list.

 Which came first? Who knows? Who cares?

 But this can’t go on. Batters can’t go on swinging like this without constantly injuring themselves. Pitchers can’t go on throwing like this for more than 5-6 innings—and without constantly injuring themselves.

 Our favorite sport is out of balance. And unless its entire culture changes, it’s not going to get any better—not even the Yankees.

 Koyaanisqatsi. Those Hopi knew what they were talking about.