Thursday, September 30, 2021

The closer the Yankees get, the farther away the wild card seems to be

There's this slasher movie trope where the screaming babysitter - fleeing Jason/Freddie/Corey Lewandowski, etc. - staggers down a creepy hallway, only to see it telescope into an endless dark abyss.  

That's us, watching the daily standings. 

The closer we get to a wild card, the louder we scream. 

You cannot predict baseball, Suzyn... 

But you can predict slasher flicks, Jamie Lee.

Latest cause for panic: Goddamm Seattle, which looks increasingly like the guy in the hockey mask. Without the Mariners on a 9-1 run, we could effectively clinch a wild card birth tonight, by knocking out Toronto. As it is, even with a win tonight - no sure thing - we'll probably need to beat Tampa at least once this weekend. Michael Meyers is going to terrify us all the way to Sunday. For now, we can't kill the boogey man.

Still, painful as last night was, it did not capture our souls and send them to Hell. Here's why:

1. We came back. We fucking came back! Earlier this season, when down 4-0, it was time to switch the channel to pro Cornhole. Even after Joey Gallo flubbed that pop fly - (more on Barney Google later) - setting the table for Toronto to expand its lead, you had a sense that the game wasn't over. Last time we played Toronto - back in our ballpark - a lousy one-run lead seemed like Mount Everest. We fucking came back. That's not nuthin. 

2. Jonathan Loaisiga came back! Facing the heart of their order, he pulled a 1-2-3. If this were 1995, he'd be Mariano. Listen: I don't want to hang such a comparison on him; it's unfair. But if El Chapo crumbles next year, or next month, Loaisiga would become our closer. And if he's really back - that is, no aches or pains this morning - he's our Wild Card wild card. And Aroldis is our Wetteland. 

3. Joey Gallo needs a night off, and his bad wrist might be timely. Listen: I don't wish him ill - truth be told, I've warmed to ol' Googly Eyes - but Gallo's game has deteriorated, and it's time for Giancarlo to play LF, even on that carpeted parking lot. For the last two months, I believe Gallo has suffered the "Welcome to NY" slump that infects many sluggers. But lately, it's affected his fielding. He needs a few nights off, and tonight - facing LH Robbie Ray - is the time. (Not that Luke Voit as DH offers much; he looks terrible, though Luke often does before breaking out.) 

Whatever happens in October, Gallo will face a hard winter crossroads. If he's smart, he'll see a swing coach and overhaul his approach to hitting - at least when he has  two strikes, he needs to shorten his swing and make more contact. If he doesn't change, he'll be on the waiver wires by next June. But if Gallo adjusts, his best days could still be ahead of him. Today, his wrist gets X-rays. Let's hope it's nothing. But tonight, either way, he should sit. (And all this talk that Robbie Ray won the Cy Young last night? The Yankees must stand up for the pitcher who stood up for them all year.) 

4. Interesting, last night, how Michael Kay was outlining the final out choice between Tyler Wade and Rougned Ordor. He made it an arguing point - why weren't they using Odor? (Of course, Wade popped out, so in a way, I guess he's right.) And after the game ended, they showed Odor sitting alone in the dugout, as if Boone had ignored some great secret weapon? That's crazy. Wade has had a tough series in Toronto - twice thrown out stealing. But he's one of the Yankees most important players, and I'll take a .274 hitter, by far, over one who's batting .204. 

5. Kluber tonight. Can we get four innings? Then... gulp... German? Green? Wandy? Soriano? Aroldis? It's a bullpen night against their ace. And if we lose, the light at the end of that hallway is going to look 1,000 miles away. 


Celerino Sanchez said...

If Earnest Gallo is out for any extended period of time, who's going to be able step in and hit .157? Really puts Booooney in a bind. On second thought I guess Odor can fill those shoes.

JM said...

Odor joined the team and played like a house on fire. Now he plays like a limp firehose. Keep him on the bench where he belongs.

Letting Kyle hit instead of PHing Sanchez was the right thing to do, and it worked. Sanchez and Voit, our "power" pinch hitters, both whiffed. I'm really tired of Voit's swing-for-the-fences-on-every-pitch at-bats. He limped back to the dugout. Are the Yankees keeping quiet about an injury while everyone is focused on Crazy Joey Gallo?

Treating Stanton like he's a china doll is really annoying. Yes, he's had a knack for injuries the past couple years, but for God's sake. He hits better when he plays defense, so let him play. Goddamn it.

Anonymous said...

1) Wade v. Odor

Last night seemed like a made for Odor kind of moment. A 2 run HR to win the game is basically the only type of thing he does. That said, a single ties the game so I can see why Wade.

2) Joey "No Bats" AKA Barney Google AKA Crazy Joey Gallo AKA Ernest

And that's just from today. Yes, give him the night off. (Maybe two!)

3) Bronxie's Winning Streak

I guess like his cousin Yertle he stacked those wins too high.

Doug K.

BernBabyBern said...

Duque, how dare you bring up Gallo Cup's batting average! And to suggest to he (gasp!) try to make contact with two strikes! Blasphemy!

Nowadays, Duque, all the serious baseball experts (you know, the ones with at least 60 Twitter followers) will tell you that a.087 batting average is NOT a bad thing! 200 strikeouts? You're not trying hard enough unless you're pushing 250! A home run a week wipes out all those negatives!

It's tragic that it took us 100-plus years to realize that Rob Deer was the blueprint for greatness.

ZacharyA said...

A loss tonight would put us in hot water. Assuming the Red Sox are able to beat Alexander Wells (7.61 ERA), the standings tonight could look like:

NYY 90 W
BOS 90 W
SEA 89 W
TOR 89 W

The Red Sox would end their season with 3 games vs. the Nationals, who are 16-38 (.296) since August 1.

The Blue Jays would end their season with 3 games vs. the Orioles, who are 14-40 (.259) since August 1.

The Mariners would end their season with 3 games vs. the Angels, who are 23-30 (.434) since August 1.

The Yankees would end their season with 3 games vs. the Rays, who are 34-18 (.654) since August 1.

Clearly we'd have the hardest push to the finish line.

And while yes, the Rays have clinched everything there is to be clinched, I wouldn't put it past that team to play us hard just out of spite. There's a lot of bad blood between these clubs. Additionally, rosters no longer expand to 40 players, so there's no real "B lineup" to run out there. The Rays will probably rest one or two guys a night and not push their best pitchers too hard, but they're still a good team and won't roll over.

Things are gonna get hairy if we can't beat Robbie Ray tonight.

Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...

To offer some contrary opinions:

a. The Rays should play us hard. All players, all teams, should play hard all of the time. I can remember playing the best I could (not so great), and the other guys on my team doing the same thing, in schoolyard softball on asphalt.

Why not expect BETTER from people who are getting paid (and for some, quite a lot) to play this boy's game?

b. I honestly do not know what to think of Odor, which might back up the idea that Lorna Boone should have put him in. Every time I think Odor is awful, he does something wonderful. And vice-versa. In that way, his performance kind of exemplifies what's been going on with the NYYs in '21.

c. I think Cole is one of the reasons the team is still in the race for a spot. Having said that -- how awful was the performance last night? A choke in the clutch? And remind me . . . how much is Hal paying him?

d. I didn't watch the game (am recovering from minor surgery, I get sleepy early right now). SO: I was stunned this morning when I looked at the box score. NYYs lineup: 10 strike-outs, ZERO walks.

Heck, Brett Gardner used to be able to walk by accident . . . and General LeMay this year has 73 walks in 667 plate appearances.

ZacharyA said...

Last 10 Starts:

Montgomery 2.52 ERA
Cortes 3.40 ERA
Kluber 3.69 ERA
Taillon 4.08 ERA
Cole 4.31 ERA

el duque said...

Maybe Montgomery should start the wild card? With Nestor first out of the pen?

Frankly, Cole hasn't looked all that good since he went out with the tweak.

Rufus T. Firefly said...

In unrelated news, Devin Williams earns this year's Kevin Brown award.

Doug K. said...


It's even worse than that. From the Daily News

"What has been concerning since he left his Sept. 7 start in the fourth inning with what the team said was left hamstring “tightness,” is that Cole has pitched to a 6.35 ERA in those four starts. He has also given up five home runs in that span."

HoraceClarke67 said...

You guys sound like people at a wake, discussing when the deceased will be able to go out dancing next.

Last night was the hinge game on the whole season. Win, and the postseason is all but clinched. Lose about those Giants???

That was the all or nothing game, and our big three, Cole, Judge, and Stanton, didn't get it done.

I DON'T mean this as a criticism, critical as I have been of all three. Those three have been incredibly clutch and carried this otherwise harbor-dredge of a team on their back most of the season. Cole is obviously tired and maybe hurt, and even the best hitters have off nights...

HoraceClarke67 said...

The real trouble? Toronto is a better team, period. Their assemblage of Juniors are probably all juicers, but they are better than our lineup. Their pitching is better, too. The real mystery of this season is why they're still in 4th place.

TB, Boston, and Seattle are not better teams, at least when it comes to personnel. But they're run by smarter baseball people, who know the game.

That is, in fact, our one hope. TB could tank 3 this weekend, hoping to keep the BJs out of the playoffs. But otherwise, we're toast.

We had to win last night. We didn't. Let the corpse rest in peace.

Anonymous said...

When I hear people talking about Gerrit Cole as the Cy Young winner this year, it makes me split my sides laughing. This is not the best pitcher in the American League, not by a zillion miles. Yes, he's pitched some great games. Yeah, the Houston game was tremendous. But every 10 starts, he seems to put up 3 stinkers. That's just off the top of my head. Haven't checked the stats for this year. And yes, I know that even the best pitchers will put up one or two stinkers during the season. But for a supposed "ace", he has way too many games where he gives his team zero chance of winning.

If Cole had been on one of Joe DiMaggio's teams, Joe D would have had this guy's hide. Cole often pitches carelessly, like a raw rookie. In the first inning, Cole gives George Springer and Marcus Semien, notorious fastball hitters, fastballs that literally bisected the plate. And they were thigh high also, right in the hitters' happy zone. Can't make mistakes like that if you want to be an ace and win big games. It's one thing to make a mistake over the middle of the plate, but Cole very often makes these mistakes at thigh level. They've got to be either low or high. Fat pitches at mid-level get crushed. Even Stanton crushes those, like he did in Boston with the grand slam. It's not just this one game with Cole. He has these games way too often.

Another thing about that game, Bo Bichette hit two homers. The first one, he hit a high fastball from Cole that was mid-out the other way. And then the second one, it was Clay Holmes making the same kind of mistake, a sinking fastball that was thigh high on the inside corner. And Bichette again inside outed that 95mph fastball the other way. Blue Jays have a right handed lineup also, but their righty hitters can hit. Check out those batting averages. Not many .150 hitters in that lineup, eh?

Gallo got plunked on the wrist, might even be broken. You know what, when was the last time Cole threw high and inside to a guy and knocked him down? Does Cole go up and in enough? Does anyone on the Yankees? Last night was a textbook case of too many fastballs over the plate, with not enough up and in. Not enough low and away either.

The Hammer of God

Kevin said...

21st Century Schizoid Team

Bichette's second home run was "funny" looking. His listed weight is 185 and he inside-outed that pitch for a bomb?! Something screwey going on...

Anonymous said...

@Kevin, yeah, it did look crazy. That doesn't happen much. But Holmes needed to get that pitch either down or up. Not thigh level. I think Bichette is just a really good hitter. Is he taking some kind of PED? Well, put it this way. I think most players in the majors are taking PEDs. If he is taking, it would not surprise me. But I do think he's got rare talent. He might even be better in the long run than Vlad the Impaler.

The Yankees do not have these kinds of hitters. And even if they did, they probably don't bring them up to the majors until they're 28 years old.

DJ last year or the year before hit one or two like that also, when he had a great year. Not so much this year. He has lost his power stroke. Is it his hip, or his tricep, or both? We can only speculate.

The Hammer of God