Thursday, June 30, 2022

"Got on board a westbound .737..."

...All right, so I changed the words a little to reflect our boys' winning percentage. And they're not headed for sunny, Southern California, but swampy, muggy Houston, as another part of MLB's crazy make-up of a rained out series that I don't even remember.

(The other games to be made up will be in a doubleheader at Houston, the day after the All-Star break ends. Why is it I don't believe that MLB would've subjected the Astros to the same brutalities, had the series been scheduled in NYC?)

But hey, not to complain. And it will be interesting to see how Yer Cheatin' Stros fare after coming within a hairsbreadth—well, actually a competent bullpen—of sweeping 8 straight against our New York teams.

Hard to picture us having the wherewithal to steal one in the Lone State State (NOT pictured)...but who knows?

Meanwhile...a potpourri of delightful statistics!

—Yanks now have the best home record (34-9) AND the best road record (22-11) in the majors.

—As much reported, the Yanks are 25-1, lifetime, in games in which both Judge and The Man of Glass hit home runs, including 9-0 in the postseason.

The one loss? The bogus, Field of Dreams game, in which MLB appeared to change the baseballs when it looked like the team from the most hated city in the country might spoil their fraudulent paean to agrarian baseball.

—The Judge and Giancarlo (wasn't that the name of a 1970s sitcom?) now have 48 homers between them, and our gentle, unsigned giant is on pace for 62.

—With yesterday's win, the Yanks improved to 27-23 in comeback wins, for a .540 winning pct. Not bad. In fact, the NEXT best record in comeback wins is the Dodgers', at 18-26.  After that, it's San Diego, at 20-30.

Incredible, no?

But also ominous. You don't win in MLB by constantly coming from behind.  It is, usually, more of an indication of weak starting pitching than anything else.  

That might not be the case this year.  But the Yankees teams of the past that did this a lot are fondly remembered—and ultimately disappointed. The 1980 and 2004 teams spring to mind, to name two.

Winning, especially in the playoffs, is more about grabbing a lead and clinging to it for dear life.  

Well, we'll see.  Oh, and one more stat:

—The Yankees drew the Mets by about 10,000 fans yesterday, on a beautiful afternoon in New York. That puts the Bronx team at 7-0 in all our head-to-head competitions this season.


Aroldis Chapman is about to return. Hooray. (Should Yank fans be concerned?)

Quickie answer to the above question: 

No. We sit at least 7 games above every other team in Creation. As we enter the most sacred weekend of the year, let's embrace the joy of 1st place and devour bulk foodstuffs and stimulants, as America has learned us to do. Mr. Chapman will probably be okay, even if he's not the intimidating Babadook that he once embodied. So... go forth, Yank fans! Go forth and propagate! 

Got that? Okay. Yank fans just observed a thumbnail to the length and breath of MLB - from best (Houston) to worst (Oakland/future Las Vegas.) El Chapo's return may be bad news for Ryan Weber and/or Ron Marinaccio, one of whom will get an Uber to Scranton. We fans, on the other hand, should have no worries. NONE AT ALL!

But wait a minute... this is IT IS HIGH, and you didn't come here to be coddled with sativa-infused adult diapers. You came for the raw truth - for the regular depressing and distressing terrors. On that note, it's legit to wonder what bullpen role Chapman will fill, and how he might react to one that doesn't include banana bunches of saves.

Over his 13-year career, El Chapo currently has 315 saves, ranking 24th on the all-time leader board. In a normal season, he'd likely add 15 to 20 more, vaulting him past Rick Aguilera (318), Todd Jones (319), Jose Mesa (321), Huston Street (324), Roberto Hernandez (326), Fernando Rodney (327), Francisco Cordero (329) and John Wetteland (330.)

While these were excellent closers, none are or will ever be in the Hall of Fame. 

But Chapman would find himself in the company of Rollie Fingers (341 saves), whose enshrinement in Cooperstown is partially due to his iconic presence and world series performances. Chapman - a famously feared presence and savior of the 2016 Cubs - could arguably rate a bronze plaque, akin to Fingers.  

At age 34, in the final year of his Yankee contract, Chapman must know that the next four months will make or break his case for Cooperstown. Thus far in 2022, he's been difficult to watch - an ERA of 3.86 and only 9 saves in 17 appearances. He's blown some whoppers. When his command flees him, the guy is a ticking postal package on the doorstep of Clarence and Ginni: He can blow to smithereens any lead. 

Across the Yankiverse, there is no sight more terrifying than of Aroldis walking the leadoff batter, often in four pitches, with at least one ball still rising as it hits the backstop. He not only scares LH batters, he scares fans at home. The torrent of sweat droplets pouring off his brim, those bulging cow eyes, that look of complete, WTF desperate exasperation and exasperated desperation - these are images we've blissfully avoided with Clay Holmes as closer. (Wait, have any of you seen the stories about that record-setting giant python in Florida? Yikes. Now, that's a Chapman-level terror.) 

That said, even Holmes has shown recent signs of strain. (Only Mariano was indestructible, until age claimed him.) As early as tomorrow, El Chapo could return. Thus, the Yankees could face a closer "situation," that is, two pegs for one hole. This should be an abundance of happy nipples. In fact, it could be too much of a good thing.

My guess is that Holmes, at Boone's request, would go back to the set-up role. After all, Chapman is the Grand Old Vet, on Cooperstown's cusp, while Holmes has a meager 13 career saves, all this year. At age 29, Holmes will have next season and then some; he's not a free agent until 2025.) 

But will a relatively compromised Chapman accept an 8th inning role? Dunno. I don't recall the guy ever being involved in clubhouse friction. But when the clock counts down on a Grand Old Vet, you never know how they'll accept a lesser role. 

Unless Holmes fades, I'm not sure the Yankees want to return to the nightly Chapman jitters. But let us not worry about this now. There are bulk foodstuffs to be devoured. Go forth and propagate.

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

No Let Up!


The CI—Catcher's Interference—Series continues!

Sure, if baseball continues like this, the sport will soon rank behind women's curling in popularity. 

 Nevertheless! A win is a win is a win—and your New York Yankees need to follow up today by swiping still more candy from the barely cognizant infant that is the Oakland Athletics. That is what good teams do:  they put the boot in, when an opponent is lying helpless and comatose on the ground.

(Please excuse the disgusting word picture. But hey, we're all Yankees fans here, am I right?)

In other important news:

—The Yanks drew 38,051 fans to last evening's snore fest. This is significant only because the 

(rapidly multiplying) New York Mets drew 36,673 fans for their stomping at the feets of the Best Little Cheaters in Texas.  

This makes 6 straight, head-to-head dates between the New York teams this year...with the Yankees prevailing in all 6. 

Who owns New York? 

No. 7 comes this afternoon.

—We are all agreed that Joey Gallo must go.  Now.

—Speaking of the Flushing team, it's time for Cooperstown Cashman and especially HAL to acknowledge reality at last, and take the advice of Kenny Rogers.

No, not THAT Kenny Rogers!  

You know, Kenny Rogers Kenny Rogers, the Gambler!

Personally, I never understood how you could bet if you weren't counting your money at the table. 

But never mind!

It's past time for the Yankees to know that it's time to fold 'em.

Push all their chips across the table to Aaron Judge and say, 'All right, big boy, name your price.'

I don't say that it's impossible such a move will come without serious, karmic repercussions. Knowing the juju entities as we all do, the moment they ink the Big Guy to a 10-year, $8-quadrillion deal, he will tweak some permanently disabling gonad.

But enough, already.  

The longer The Judge goes unsigned, the larger the possibility that he will skidoo to Queens after this season, thereby permanently crushing our mojo. Don't bet against Steve "Whatever It Takes" Cohen shelling out whatever our last superstar standing wants, to make his old man's fantasy come true.

Sign Judge. Dump Gallo. Take the last game.  

Got it? Good. Go forth and multiply.  NOT you, Mr. and Mrs. Met.

With an impending overhaul, it's time to rank Yankee trade chips

It seems settled U.S. law that, sometime around the next full moon - (July 13, if you're scoring at home) - the Yankees will cancel Mr. Joey Gallo, dealing him for something, anything, whatever they can get. 

Since late May, the Sonny Gray whispers - ("Shh, the dude can't handle New York...") - have echoed through the stadium rafters. He's now a certified disappointment, a sad soul who couldn't navigate the wickedness of Gomorrah. And speaking for Gomorrians everywhere, we're tired of turning to salt whenever Gallo strides to the plate.

I suppose there's still a frozen Eggo's chance in Hell for Gallo to go bonkers and save his Yankee career. The other day against Houston, when he came up with critical runners on base, Michael Kay suggested that all his Yankee teammates, coaches, scouts and ushers believe Gallo to be one hit - just one hit! - from breaking through to the land of Oz, from cueing the balloon drop and shacking up happily with some photogenic offspring of Alec Baldwin or Herschel Walker. And suddenly, Kay had us clapping to save Tinkerbell. You could feel the energy. Would it finally happen? JUST ONE HIT! Gallo struck out, of course, and though Tinkerbell survived, I can't honestly root for him anymore, fearful that a HR simply means another six weeks of torment.

Speaking of six weeks - that's how much time Bryce Harper is expected to miss due to his broken thumb. Meanwhile, the Phillies will scouring the Earth for a slugging LH outfielder who needs a change of scenery and comes cheap. I think the phrase  "comes cheap" is the key. They'll want Gallo for a bag of buttered popcorn. Frankly, I'd demand two. (That's down from the four viable prospects we gave up a year ago.) 

Philadelphia's clock is ticking. They need help NOW, not on August 1. A window has opened, and the Yankees must entertain all opportunities.  

So, what packages could we cook up, and what do we need? Here are some Yankee trade chips, ranked, sorta, because who's not into rankings?

1. Miguel Andujar. Last night, he went 2-4 with a HR - (game-winner, BTW) - at Scranton. He played LF. Miggy's hitting .306 on the season. He's still 27 - that's a babe in terms of Clint "Jackson" Frazier years. Unless the Yankees suffer a rash of outfield injuries, Andujar will go at the trade deadline. Somebody out there must want this guy. Paired with Gallo, what could he bring? 

Damned if I know. Trouble is, any team that would covet both Andujar and Gallo is probably still in the running for 2022. Thus, they won't give up a key player. As for teams who are out of the race? They certainly won't want Gallo, and they won't be drunken with lust for Miggy. So... dunno. 

2. JP Sears. We saw what he did last night. He's been a revelation. Still, I get the feeling that his trade value will never, ever, be higher. He's 26 and clearly ready now. Also, the Yankees seem to have an abundance of young arms across their farm system. We certainly would not give up Sears for nothing. He would pair nicely with either Miggy or Gallo. 

3. Gallo, of course. The guy needs to spend next winter retooling his swing. Many players, including JD Martinez and Justin Turner, saved their careers by going to so-called "swing doctors." Matt Carpenter did it last winter. But that won't help the Yankees move Gallo from his career nosedive. 

Still, any trade of Gallo means the Yankees will surely improve. Few players can hit below .170. 

4. A bullpen lug nut. Thinking Wandy Peralta, Albert Abreu, Lucas Luetge or Miguel Castro? It's not that we should deal them. But with the return of Aroldis Chapman, Domingo German and Jonathan Loaisiga, somebody's gotta go. I suspect the Yankees would be terrified of waiving any of these guys - wanna bet Boston or Toronto wouldn't grab them? But you can't keep everyone. 

What do we need? Obviously, a LH outfielder to replace Gallo. Maybe a LH catcher, as Ben Rortvedt - who came from Minnesota in the Gary Sanchez deal - seems to be made of bone china. (He hasn't played in a week down in Tampa, another setback?) And pitching, pitching, pitching... but how about not another Sonny Gray?

There is also the clubhouse chemistry thing, and to be honest, this is where it's hard to gauge Gallo's role. He seems to be well-liked - which brokers the question: When you're 35 games over .500, how much do you want to change your team?

FWIW, unless the Phillies bowl us over with an offer, I suspect the Yankees won't do anything until after they've faced Boston, late next week, heading into the all-star break. 

Full moons do bring out the craziness. Let's see what happens.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

At Least Lets Do It Right

This morning El Duque wrote that he wishes to continue to taunt Altuve.

OK, I get it and I agree, but I just want to give an explanation as to what I was thinking…

I pictured a Yankee Stadium eerily silent. No one moving. Just the sound of the wind. People frozen in mid-hotdog. A Twilight Zone moment that would mess with his head. Done like a pop-up dance thing like we see on the internet.

The jumbotron flashes the "go sign" and it's Rod Serling time!

I guess that wasn't practical.

Well whatever we're doing doesn't work. Maybe we need new taunts because, "Assssssshole. Asssssshole." just isn't getting it done.

How about, "Ti-ny Dick. Ti-ny Dick."  I'm pretty sure it has to be true which is why he uses that oversized bat. (Or, is it a regular bat and he's just undersized.) If we're going taunt him then taunt him! 

Besides, even if he doesn't have one, he most certainly IS one. 


Have someone to sneak into the booth and change his walk up music to  “The Lollipop Guild” song from the Wizard of Oz.


Place a very small drone in a paper bag and fly it around his head when he’s at bat and blame it on swirling winds.


Just walk the cheating douchebag.

Every. Frigging. Time.

Aaron Judge's MVP path must run through Boston and Cleveland - and decades of opposition

Lately, it's "settled law" to say  Aaron Judge leads in the fantasy race for AL MVP.

Certainly, he's on the red carpet shortlist, if not the favorite in Vegas. Judge leads all of baseball in HRs, by six, and he's fourth in RBIs - this, while playing CF on a team in a magical run. 

Every Yank fan knows that, without Judge, we'd be wallowing in a wild card race. He's the face of the team, the closest thing we've had to Jeter since - well - Jeter. Also, he was cheated out of his Oscar in 2017, when Lil Jose Altuve stole the plaque. (And to those who suggest we stop booing Altuve, trying to short-circuit his adrenaline? I say, NEVAH!) 

But if the season ended today, I'm not sure Judge takes the MVP. Why?

1. Rafael Devers. Look at those fucking numbers: .333 with 17 HRs, while playing 3B. Moreover, this isn't an anomaly. It's a regular Rafael Devers season. 

Whenever somebody says Judge holds all the cards in next winter's contract negotiations, just remember that Devers' pact ends in 2023. He's four years younger than Judge and bats LH, a perfect fit in Yankee Stadium. Of course, Boston will sell the family Bitcoin stash to keep Devers, but if Judge runs home to California, the Yankees would have a $300 million hole in their pants. 

2. Jose Ramirez. Look at those fucking numbers: .300 with 63 RBIs, most in the league, by far. He also plays 3B and exists in relative obscurity, also known as Cleveland. He'll be an Indian Guardian through 2028. 

3. The secret, anti-Yankee, pedophilia cabal within the Gammonites, many of whom believe that NY players always receive too much attention, so they temper their votes accordingly. That's why Altuve won in 2017.  It's why Roger Maris isn't in the Hall. It's why Bernie Williams might as well give up. The writers bemoan all that ink and ether they are forced to heap upon rich and ungrateful NY players, so when winter comes, they draw great pleasure screwing Ron Guidry in favor of Jim Rice. 

4. The argument that Yankee votes should also be split between Anthony Rizzo and Giancarlo Stanton, whose presences boost Judge's numbers. (Note: The same case can be argued about Devers with Xander Bogaerts and JD Martinez, but it won't be. Everyone knows that Boston players are undervalued and don't receive enough attention, as they play for a beloved franchise whose fan base has suffered so mightily through the years. Someday, these lovable underdogs will win a world series, rewarding the faithful who have so bravely withstood the decades of pain. I'm tearing up, just thinking of their plight.)  

Of course, this is a parlor game. There is no MVP for July 1. As usual, the juju gods will decide. Last week, Bryce Harper was rolling toward his second straight MVP. Not anymore. Saturday, he broke his thumb on a bean ball. (In 2019, when Harper came to NYC, looking for a contract, Food Stamps Hal practically hid under the bed, rather than take out his checkbook. Just sayin...')  

It's a long haul to October's red carpet. We must root for Judge. But don't assume anything.

Monday, June 27, 2022

"The Survey Says..."

 I conducted a statistically reliable survey ( three other guys in an LA bar ) about the recently concluded Yankees/Houston series, and learned some interesting things;

1.  I was the only person who watched all four games.

2.  Two of the other dudes were Dodger fans and didn't even know Houston and the Yankees were playing.

3.  The other guy( a Brewers fan) saw highlights from game two and game 4 on MLB sports talk. 

4.  But none of us thought the Yankees were the better team. 

5.  All of us were drinking Stella Drafts and Jim Beam shots. 

6.  I was the only patron to also have a pickled egg. 

7.  I was informed that only two other teams in the modern game have gone 16 or 18 innings without a hit.

8.  Both teams went on to win the World Series.

9.  I can't remember who they were. 

10.   Statistically, therefore, the Yankees will win the World Series. 

But some of us may not remember. 

Boston's Turn in the Barrel


Just to riff on something the venerable Doug K. was saying earlier...

How 'bout those BoSox? Huh? 

Why, this month the Carmine Hose have really hit their stride, going an incredible 19-4 .826 so far in June. They're comin' on like gangbusters, as the radio show even I'm too old to remember used to start.

I know, I know. It's too dreadful to contemplate. Our worst nightmare—of our many nightmares!—this century. Yet again rising from the dead, to spoil our gonfalon dreams.

Makes you shiver.

But let's take a closer look, shall we?

The evidence seems to indicate that much of the Red Sox' recent spree is due mostly to the fact that it has been their turn to play Dunk the Clown in the Tank.

Of the 7 clubs Boston has played this month, just two—the Cardinals, who the Sox beat two-out-of-three, and the Cleveland Traffic Guards, who they swept—have a winning record.

The others—the Angels, Mariners, A's, Reds, and Tigers—have a combined record of 147-220 .401. 

Two of them are in last place. None are higher than 3rd.

Boston has gone 14-3 against them. that whole, amazing, 19-4 run this month, the Sox have gone from 11 behind your New York Yankees to...11 behind your New York Yankees.

That's right.  On the champagne tour of tomato-can country, they gained absolutely no ground.

Coming up? It's Boston's turn in the tank.

Of their next 23 games, all but three gimmes in Cubland are against the Yanks, BJ's, and Death Rays.

Yes, I, too, will be sweating out every one of their 8 games against our boys.  But the chances of the Sox running up something like another, 19-4 record over these next 23...?

And if they did...if the Yanks were to win only 9 games in that same stretch—they would still be in first place.

Yes, it's a long season. No, nothing, nothing at all has been won yet. Yes, we can still tank it.

But the fact is, the 13 Days in Hell turned out to be more like...13 days at Jones Beach.  Not a revelation, but a very pleasant summer outing, in which we went 9-4 .692.

Not bad.  And that's as much optimism as you'll get from me this season!

Gleyber's injury shows how quickly everything can change - and how far away October is

If they can be believed, the Yankees say Gleyber Torres suffered a minor ankle sprain Sunday. Thus, he'll miss weeks, not months... 

Frankly, they lie - especially in the early hours, when Cooperstown Cashman goes dumpster-diving for spare parts. He doesn't want to look desperate, swimming amid the Big Mac wrappers and the Huggies, so the official Death Barge line goes that Torres feels great! that DJ LeMahieu can play 2B! and that all is - no lie, bro! - totally, seriously, wondrously, awesomely excellent!  

It's bullshit, of course. I say this without rancor, but merely to remind everyone that the Yankees always spin hopeful drivel about injuries, and the YES announcers have no problem with it. Everyone joins in, and who knows? maybe Cashman will scare up a Brigadoon Refsnyder, who can straddle the bag for the next month. Because ankles are slow to heal.

Watching Gleyber writhe on the dirt yesterday, I felt an immediate rage towards Aaron Hicks - for striking out. It later reminded me of my insane anger at Nick Swisher, after he botched the line drive that wrecked the 2013 playoffs and led to Jeter's broken ankle - an injury that messed up the next two years. To this day, I blame Swisher, and if Gleyber had broken his ankle, right or wrong, I would never, ever, forgive Hicks.  

I'm still dazed from the weekend. Idle thoughts:

1. Despite the great finales, Houston looked like the superior team. With a blip or a blooper, the Yankees could have been swept at home. Houston was always leading, and no-hitters aren't easily digested. The Astros have a genuine Yankee killer, and my guess is they'll finagle their rotation so the Yankees don't see Christian Javier until October, in the post-season. Ow.  

2. Something's wrong with Nasty Nestor. Opposing batters have collectively published a book on him, and they're not lunging for curves in the dirt. I think Cortz  possesses the guile to adjust, because that's how he got this far. We always knew this time would come. Well, it's here.

3. Boston continues to rise, now the AL's third best record. Late next week, (beginning July 7) we play four in Fenway, last games before the all star break. That's the next crucible, to determine whether the AL East will have a second-half divisional race. And later that month, the Mets. A long way between here and October.

4. Aaron Judge just keeps going. Where would we be without him? What if he breaks a thumb? (Like Bryce Harper.) The drop-off would be insane - from MLB's premier slugger to - say - Estevan Florial, or another month of waiting on Gallo? Gulp. Not trying to scare folks, but at some point, somebody else - looking at you, Giancarlo - needs to go on a massive tear. 

Dusty Baker yesterday described the series as "Judge 2, Houston 2," and the scary thing is, he's sorta right. 

An in a seven-game series, bet on the team, not the player. Just sayin'...

Sunday, June 26, 2022


 Before Giancarlo finally ended the streak, I was beginning to root for a second no hitter against the Yankees, in consecutive games. 

I was thinking it would be like a form of chastisement. A lesson to be learned, 

At various points, I was so demoralized I no longer wished to watch.

Then I read that DJ had tied the game.

So I tuned back in.  And King had Astros on first and third with no one out. 

And he squirmed out of it.  I was actually wondering if we would ever want Chapman back?

I knew the Yankees needed this game.  Needed to win, not to have talks about, "what we have to do better."

So I took a big orange one to relax a bit ( maybe it was white ). 

I, nonetheless, came near to a collapse when Kiner-Filafa resorted to a bunt with two strikes, to move Aaron into scoring position.

I never thought DJ would not put the ball in play.

I took a hit of "lemonade haze" when Carpenter was intentionally walked. 

And then, Judge.  

The man is special. 

That was an importantYankee comeback.  

There will be many big games ahead.  

I'll do what I can to stay calm.  You know, relaxed.  



I go to Chicago for three days, and I come back to find y'all worshipping a %&!@ golden calf!

Alphonso believes.

El Duque and Doug K., while trying to steer the juju gods away from that obvious provocation, start discussing playoff rotations.

The whole lot of you are comparing this team to 1998's version?

All it takes is a piddling, 52-18 start, and you guys are all singing, "Kumbaya"??

LISTEN UP, PEOPLE: This team is NOT making the playoffs.

This is NOT the 1998 New York Yankees, the greatest team whatever was.

This is yet another Brian Cashman fraud, a team short on big-game starters, short on depth, short on guts.

I, for one, hold to my original prediction:  77 wins and out.  

Repeat after me:

I believe we will not win

I believe we will not win

I believe we will not win

Got it?  Good!

Don't make me come down there and break these tablets!  

You see my pic up top? That was—some of them—my family, on the farm they were literally hired out to when their mother died.  The weird looking kid on the left with the too-big head was my grandfather, who I never met.

They didn't haul their asses out the Indiana mud, make their way to New York City, and learn about baseball just so a bunch of weak-kneed, lily-livered optimists could wreck the last, best chance for another ring in our lifetimes!

So straighten up, fly right, and remember the words of that great old hymn:

"It was good for the Hebrew children

It was good for the Hebrew children

It was good for the Hebrew children

And it's good enough for me!

Gimme that


Gimme that 


Go thou and sin no more!

Three Keys To Beating The Astros Today

1) Stop Taunting Altuve! 

The guy has proven that he takes the best we can give him and reponds by killing us. Altuve has turned into a living example of the punchline to that old classic joke about the Pope and the Heckler...  "Fuck me? Fuck you!"  

Instead he should be met with silence. Crickets. Nada. Like he's not even there.  Not worth our time. Just waiting for him to go away. 

2) Nestor Needs To Stop Believing In His Stuff and Go Back To Being "Nestor The Deceptor"(TM) 

Wrote this yesterday but it's still true...

Nestor thinks he’s better than he is and is pitching with more confidence. That takes away from his ability to deceive.  

Nestor is better when he is underestimated. No one is underestimating him now. The batters are ready for him.

3) Oh yeah... Uh, Hit

Humbled, humiliated and embarrassed at home, the Yankees suddenly look like the AL's second best

Fifteen strikeouts. Not one hit. (Oh, but Gallo did send one to the warning track! Is he maybe ready to break out?) 

Still can't beat Houston. 

Still can't get out Altuve. 

Two straight home losses.

Did the season just crack?

Nasty Nestor today.  

Saturday, June 25, 2022

No Reason To Worry

 Just because the Astros have better pitching, better hitting, better speed and defense, and are younger and deeper....doesn't mean we can't come back tomorrow and even this series out. 

We won't have our Ace pitching, but neither will they.

And the chances of the Yankees getting no hit two games in a row is remote. 

So" light 'em up and  bottoms up." 

We won on Thursday, let's win on Sunday. 

I am already beginning to sense that the "devils bargain" I made with the Ju-Ju gods wasn't worth it.  And am now seeking remedies. 

Beginning with weed, shots of Crown Royal, and draught Guiness stout. 


Fucking cheers. 

First report from the "New Me."

 Good morning to everyone. ( " Gentles all" as Shakespeare would say).

Well yesterday sure was a disappointment.  Our team had a chance there in the ninth inning for yet another "walk-off" win.  What a "never say die" bunch of fellows.

You can't win them all.  Even this fine team of clutch players.  Everyone was trying really hard. 

We have to give credit to the other team.  They made some fine plays.

We'll surely come back and win today.

Go Yankees!

A Much Needed Intervention

An antidote to our sense of well-being…

Sure, it’s easy to look at the record and indulge that feeling that this is going to be a special year.  

After all, the team, which was described yesterday by Michael Kay as, “Gritty and Gutty” (The collective ghost of Brett Gardner?) is playing some of the best baseball we’ve seen in years. 

Barring a collapse of 1978 Red Soxian proportions they will make the playoffs and probably win the division.  

As far as winning it all?  A deeper dive shows that our starting rotation isn't really as strong as it appears. 


Talk to me after today. This is a big one. Full house. Hated opponent. Playoff atmosphere. So far, it seems like he tends to come up short. I mean, what if the National Anthem goes long?


Loved the energy yesterday but you have to wonder if he didn't expend too much celebrating getting out of jams. He’s still prone to “a couple of bad pitches”

JM called the HR just before it happened. I too wished I had one of those betting apps where you can bet each AB because the upcoming three run blast was pretty much a slam dunk. (Sigh)

Nasty Nestor  

Hopefully he will adjust but currently he THINKS he's an ace. (Shhhh, he might be.) 

What's happening here is... Nestor thinks he’s better than he is and is pitching with more confidence. That takes away from his ability to deceive.  

Nestor is better when he is underestimated. No one is underestimating him now. The batters are ready for him. He might still adjust. He really does pitch like an ace. (Shhhhh.)


I actually like him as the Andy Pettitte guy. The second guy up. But if not, then somehow, because he seems to have a more of a flexible personality, he could be the pen guy.



Can’t get a read on him. Is he great? Is he… what? It’s not because he got shelled last time out. But something is up with this guy. 

What needs to happen is he borrows some of Sevi’s passion and Sevy borrows some of Talion’s “Matter of Fact” style and they would both be better for it.

The pen is the key.  Can Britton and Johhny Lasagna come back strong? Will they bring up Waldichuck? Can Chapman come up with a timely injury?  

All I'm saying is don't count your Fred Stanleys before their hatched. 

Once again, it's up to you, Mr. Cole, to rectify the situation

Well, it didn't take long for Alphonso's newfound, Holly Golightly, panda-hugging, Cashman-loving naivety to kick in, eh? WTF? A few late-inning rallies, and the guy turns into Marianne Williamson. 

May I remind you of the First Rule of Juju:

If you have a hopeful thought, keep it the fuck to yourself. 

Good grief, people, who are we -fans of the NY Yankees, or the Peoria Peach Pits?  I should not need to remind you that a) the season is not half over, b) the Redsocks are currently the AL East's hottest team, and c) we still can't beat old codger Verlander, even at 39, while wearing Depends. This notion that we'll win 'em all in the 9th? It's like finding horseshit under the Christmas tree and thinking there must be a pony in the yard. 

So here we go again: It's up to Gerrit Cole. This is why the Yankees need Aaron Judge in a lifetime deal (though I suspect we all know that won't happen.) There comes a point where the game comes down to one pitch, one swing, and it's nice to have a Thor, or at least a Daredevil. Once again, Cole's turn in the rotation follows a tough night. Today, he must match Verlander's effort, and then some.  

So, at the risk of being wobbly, here's a dirty little secret: I believed.  I Marianne Williamsoned. To the last out, DJ LeMahieu bouncing to third, I thought we'd win. We'd celebrate Judge's arbitration deal with a walk-off HR, or a bloop single. I thought it would happen. I've been reading too many hopeful comments on this blog. (You know who you are.)  

In moments of extreme jubilation, here's how Yankee fans should look:

Scattered thoughts:

1. Even though Verlander is a righty, Boone sat Joey Gallo. In the ninth, when a homer would win it, he went with Matt Carpenter. I think Boone recognized that, even at 39, Verlander would effortlessly twist Gallo into pretzel knots. In simple terms, he's a playoff caliber pitcher.

Gallo started the season batting 6th. (He went 0-4 with 3 Ks.) In recent weeks, he's batted 9th. Now, he's a late-inning defensive outfielder and the third spare LH bat (after Carpenter and Marwin Gonzalez.) There is no more space between Gallo and the ledge. This is actually quite sad, but a change is near.

2. There's gossip that SS-prospect Anthony Volpe will soon be promoted to Scranton. After a miserable April, he's hitting about .290 over the last month. Along with Food Stamp Hal's chinziness, Volpe is why the Yankees passed on the cache of star free agent shortstops last winter. That's why they chased the stopgap, Isiah Kiner-Falefa. 

There is no chance of Volpe impacting the 2022 Yankees, unless as trade bait. At age 21, I doubt he'll be MLB-ready next April. But after a spring when most of our top prospects floundered, there is hope. And the Yankees still have Miguel Andujar (3 for 4 with a HR last night in Scranton) as a chip in any deal. Would hate to see Miggy go, but something has to happen. He can't spend his life in Wilkes Barre.

3. Today, it's Cole, who would start against Verlander in game one of the ALCS. 

My playoff rotation: Cole, Sevy, Nasty Nestor and Monty, with Tailion for long innings. Clay Holmes would close, with Michael King and El Chapo throwing the 7th and 8th, depending on left/right hitters. If we're lucky, we'd have an effective Jonathan Loaisiga and maybe a wunderkind from Scranton. 

That would be one helluva staff... if we don't blow it, by gushing over it. Looking at you, Marianne Williamson. 

Friday, June 24, 2022


 I have a confession to make.

Last night, at the end of the eighth inning, I said the following to the JU-Ju Gods:

"If the Yankees come back to win this one, I will become a " believer."

Keep in mind, we had punched back once, in the first inning, and then went stagnant. Not a single hit in innings 2-8, whilst the cheaters put up another 3 run dinger. 

Houston's bullpen was being touted as the best in baseball.

They were smiling and enjoying the playing of the game.  The Yankees were sullen.

And then the ninth inning happened.

So I have become a " believer."  I have to.  It is the law. I am in deep shit. 

That means I have to have a fairy tale attitude about everything.  Facts and reality no longer have a place in my thinking. I can't be negative.  I have to believe everything will work out, and we will win the World Series this year. 

In effect, Alphonso is gone.

Am I still allowed to smoke weed and drink Crown Royal in the morning?


 Jon Heyman says Judge and the Yanks have called off the meting for today and have settled.

Yankees are best team in baseball, hands down. So... now what?

Holy crap, our Yankee cups are runnething over. 

We shouldn't complain - not a peep, not a wail - not even about You Know Who. For weeks now, we've expected the meltdown, the python-length losing streak that negates the golden months of May and June, and relegates us once again to wild card hopes and a winter of rage.

And yet... AND YET... last night brought the greatest goddam win of 2022! A four-run rally! in the bottom of the 9th! against the cheats who stole our baby and replaced him with Carlos Beltran. No, we shan't  complain - not even about You Know Who.

But but BUT... if the ghosts of 2012-21 have fled the building, they're replaced by another demonic chorus - the 2001 Seattle Mariners, winners of 116 regular season games and only one in the ALCS. They were the unstoppable team - with two future Hall of Famers - (Ichiro and Edgar Martinez) - several past/future Yankees - (Gene Nelson, Jay Buhner, Freddy Garcia and Charles "Giddyyap" Gipson) and a brother to our manager (Bret.)  

And they are watching us...

The Yankees still must vanquish ever-smug Boston, which is steadily rising in the AL East. But 2022 is now at fulcrum point: We either win it all, or we join Seattle in the gift shop of the Museum of Unfulfilled Promises. 

So... now what?

1. Let's enjoy this, while it lasts. Considering the sorry state of the planet, Yankee fans may feel like Nero with his fiddle. If so, play "Born to Run" and sing along. Here's the reality: We might never see another team like this. Know a good thing, and appreciate it.

2. Let the big dogs run. If that means Judge in center and Giancarlo in right, so be it.  If somebody's chasing a no-hitter, or the HR crown, let him go. Otherwise, rest our soldier stock and try to keep everyone sharp. We are not just playing against Seattle. We are battling the juju gods, miserable little toads who'll tweak your gonad just for looking at you.

3. We must fortify the team wherever possible. Certainly, left field must be dealt with. We could use a third catcher - Benny Biceps, in rehab? We always need pitching, pitching, pitching... Who knows what Aroldis will bring? Jonathan Loaisiga? He needs a full shot. Even Domingo German. But if a pitcher comes available...

4. The Mets...  

5. As fans, we must continue to do what we've done. If that means whining, well... WHINE AWAY! It's working. We mustn't sleep until the world series is ours. And then, we whine about next year - that goddam fucking Cashman! It's not easy to be ungrateful, obnoxious fat cats. But we owe it to this team.

Thursday, June 23, 2022

Birthday City

 All the best to our newest player. 

Open Audition!

Inspired by Beauregard Jackson (Clint Frazier's new name BTW) Pickett Burnside's stunning and very cool admission that he owns an Oogie and can post the audio I suggested that he call the first inning of the game as Oogie and submit it to the Yankees as a potential replacement for John Sterling.  (Or at least post the link here.)

"Actually", I thought to myself, "Who else has puppets? Who does impressions? Who just wants to call a batter or two tonight and post a link here."

John is going to retire anyway so why not replace him with one of us? 

Will it just be audio of Winnie screaming, "AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH fuckers!"?  Will it be filled with colorful and historically accurate insight by Hoss (I know he's out of town so we will have to wait.) Is Zach A the perfect color man? 

And what of El Duque? Apparently it's his birthday. Perhaps in a celebratory haze he can turn in something so poetic, so insightful as to actually get the job. 

It's an open audition! Go for it! 

Happy Birthday, Hart!!


The fragility of the Yankee fan base is striking

 No lie... 

Last night, around the third inning, with the Rays leading 4-1, I had no less than five (5) people text me to say that: 

1. This game was over.
2. The Yankees would not score another run.
3. The final score would be a laugher.
4 And the Big Losing Streak of 2022 was imminent. 

In each case, I responded with one clear message: I agreed. 


A Few Thoughts

A Fine Wine

Last night after watching the Yankees go down big early - right after Michael Kay pointed out that Montgomery hadn't given up more than three runs in a game the ENTIRE season and then promptly did - this followed up with their botching numerous run scoring opportunities, I will admit I started to  think that the run was over. That they were, as David Cone likes to put it, “Reverting to the mean.”

Judge was back to hitting HR's with no one on. (Here's a thought - bat him third. Maybe there will be more runners on base for him.) It looked like we were going to come up short. 

And Then Came Trevino...

Easily the best Vino since the early days of Adam Ottovino and light-years better than our Failure in the Batter's “Box Wine” Joey Gallo.

Competence on both sides of the plate again. Thank you Brain. 

It's Still Early But Gotta Give Him His Due 

While I still hope that this is Cashman’s last year, (Hey Brain, go out on top!) he really does deserve some props for replacing Sanchez with Trevino. (Even if he lucked into it. I mean, if Muscles McGurk doesn’t come up lame this kid is still in Texas)

It just feels like a different club.

Replacing two guys who went from “Happy to be here.” to “I’ll work hard to stay” in Urshela and Voit, with two guys who know how to win ballgames and championships in Donaldson and Rizzo IS the difference.  

El Duque pointed out Donaldson’s blocking the bag last night. It’s the little things like that.

The Brothers K

After reading yesterday's main thread again I realized that there was one more book I wanted to recommend.

The Brothers K by David James Duncan -  By far and away the best baseball novel I’ve ever read. It’s a version of The Brothers Karamazov with baseball serving as the through thread. It’s a great read even if you have no love of the game. Not that that is an issue here.


Jose Trevino is either Brian Cashman's steal of the year, or the karmic fallout from Joey Gallo

Tuesday, it nearly slipped below the radar when Albert Abreu - aka "Double A" - signed with the Yankees, after being red-tagged by KC. It meant - for now, anyway - completion of another Cashman karmic cycle, which has helped propel the Death Barge to the summit of MLB... For now, anyway.

From this grand catbird perch, we can see the past unfurl like a Covid swab test instructions pamphlet, in unfathomable ways that - for now, anyway - have corked those relentlessly jarring sound-effects in the Tropicana Dome.

Abreu, now 26, came to NY in 2016, the year of the July garage sale, when the Yankees dealt Brian "Anger Management" McCann to Houston and fitted Gary Sanchez for his future plaque. Immediately, the YES machinery kicked in, promoting Abreu as a power arm, blahblahblah, hugged by prospect-rankers from Tampa to Trenton. 

McCann went on to torture us in the 2017 playoffs, two hurtful doubles, which may or may not have followed strategic bangs on a garbage can lid. (Even great deals have nuances, am I right?) Abreu slowly climbed the Yankee system and arrived last summer, showing flashes - a big stretch save - though his 5.15 ERA remained well north of Scott Proctor's career-ending self-immolations. 

This spring, Abreu hit a wall of younger arms - Clarke Schmidt, Ron Marinaccio, et al - and found himself on Cooperstown Cashman's list of expendables. This happened shortly after Ben Rortvedt - a catcher obtained from Minnesota in a deal for, who else? Gary Sanchez - started straining various sinews in his weight room-toned anatomy. "Benny Biceps" is currently in a rehab assignment in Tampa, 2 for 4 with a HR in two games. He's probably a month away, but he's a LH bat, age 24, with the Kiner-Falefa seal of approval. To bring him up would almost surely mean cutting Higgy, lovable Higgy, and I believe that I speak for the Yankiverse in saying, "Take your time, Benny." For now, anyway.

All of which is a convoluted way of getting to Jose Trevino, whom the Yankees obtained this spring in a seemingly inconsequential trade for Abreu. 

Last night, Trevino almost single-handedly beat Tampa (well, Aaron Judge's 2 HRs also deserve mention.) He picked off a runner at third in a critical moment (well, Josh Donaldson's crafty block of the base also deserves mention.) He homered in the eighth to win the game. The trade for Abreu now looks like one of Cashman's greatest heists, up there with El Chapo for Gleyber, another deal where the Yankees traded their cake and eventually ate it, too.

So, you'd think the Texas Rangers wouldn't answer the phone if Cashman calls, right? I mean, after such a ripoff, I half-expect the Texas to secede from MLB - isn't that trending down there? - and form their own league, maybe with some metropolises from Oklahoma. (For some reason, Muskogee comes to mind.) 

But I think the Rangers would answer the call. The Trevino deal was the second one the Yankees have made in the last year with Texas. The first, about 11 months ago, sent four prospects to the Rangers for Joey Gallo, the official whipping boy of IIHIIFIIc. 

I won't do another rant about Gallo. You've heard them all. Besides, last night, he drew two walks, (and fanned twice.) Let's just say that the four prospects we traded for him are still evolving, and Ezequiel Duran, a 23-year-old 3B, might be the one that makes Cashman cringe for the next 10 years.  

So, was Trevino a Cashmanic steal? Or Cashmanic karma? Take your pick. Either way, thank god we have Jose Trevino. And welcome home, Double A!

Joey, Joey...


Batting out of my usual order here, because I have to depart early for a wedding, and will be out of touch with you adorable moaxes for the next three days.

BUT...I wanted to note that, last night, The Man With the Thousand-Mile Stare played his 58th game of the season with your New York Yankees.

That is the same number he played for us last year, after coming over from the Texas Rangers.  

It was not going to be hard for Joey to outdo that performance. In 2021, Twitch hit just 7 doubles and 13 HRs for us, driving in a mere 22 runs, batting a miserable .160 and running up a slash line of .303/.404/.707.

He couldn't REALLY be that bad, many of us told ourselves. Could he?

Well, another 58 games have come and gone, and the verdict is in. Yes, he could be that bad. In fact, he was worse.

In his 58 games of 2022, our Joey has just 4 doubles, 9 homers, and 18 RBI—down across the board. Whereas last year he has 37 walks and 88 strikeouts with us—this year he has just 28 walks and 77 strikeouts. 

Batting average is the only area in which he improved, going from .160 to all of .180.  But not counting last night's 0-2, two-walk performance, his other slash numbers were .291/.365/.656.

Is WAR your pet stat? He's even done worse there, going from a net 0.2 to a net 0.1.  

Yes, Joey has been worse. Considerably worse.

Say it with me, and say it slow:



Dead-eyed Joe has got to go...

Wednesday, June 22, 2022

And Boston has entered the chat... It's starkly amazing, the morning-after response to a loss.

Lately, we're torn... 

One angel says to enjoy this wondrous time of year in the plush hills of upstate NY. The fireflies are blazing, the days last forever, and the Yankees have baseball's best record. We must celebrate this menstrual cycle of hope, because it cannot last.

The other angel latches onto those words... "because it cannot last..." and conjures up a despair. of mosquito bites and algae blooms. We know what can happen. We remember the last five years.  

I grew up in an era when a 10-game Yankee lead meant a guaranteed trip to the world series. Today, it barely punches our ticket to an October best-of-five, when the regular season will devolve into a card trick on a circus midway.  

Still, in a nightmare stretch of games we've been fretting over for months, the Yanks are 6-2. Win tonight, and even if we get swept by Houston, we will have run this mini-gauntlet successfully. That's not nothing. Unless, of course, it turns out to be. Because it could.

Damn, every loss summons the ghosts from the last 10 years. Last night, in the cacophonous Tropicana Dome, they rattled chains with every DP grounder and fly ball to the wall. And this is the message they sent

The Yankees shoulda won this game.

So, yeah, here we are...

1. Nasty Nestor T-shirt night comes this weekend, and who doesn't wonder if his recent troubling starts are not juju-related? We've cherished the Nestor Cortez narrative, so much that we tried to "love' it into existence. 

The reality is that after two fine months, Cortez is starting to unfurl. 

Last night, 4.1 innings and 4 earned runs - the second such line score in his last three starts. Batters are adjusting. He must respond. There's nothing new here - happens to everyone. But last night, we saw something different: An angry and frustrated look on Nestor's face in the dugout. In the past, he's been smiles and fun.

I wonder: Did the Yankees crass move to exploit him piss off the juju gods? 

Did they Jeremy Lin him?

2. Sorry to be a broken record here, but Joey Gallo went 0-3 last night with two strikeouts - this, after a week of hearing about his resurgence on YES.  He is 0 for his last 8. His batting average is back down to .182.

I don't claim to be an MLB scout, or a great evaluator of talent. But I've seen enough. This hasn't worked. Does anyone think Gallo will have a clue against solid post-season pitching? Dear god, he'll get wiped out. Anything we can get for him, we should go for it. Sooner the better. Andrew Benintendi in KC? He's in his contract year. How expensive can he be? They say the Padres still covet Gallo. Good for them. Here's an offer: I'll personally Uber him to the airport. 

And I say this without malice toward the guy. For his own good, he needs to be Gary Sanchezed. 

3. Boston has called up Jeter Downs, the well-hyped IF prospect who anchored the Mookie Betts deal. He wasn't exactly pummeling Triple A: batting .180 with 11 HRs.  Still, he's 23, fast, and there's that name, which makes every Yankee fan instinctively go, "Oh, shit." We need a counter-balance, a guy named Mickey Berra. (Actually, years ago, we did have Jackson Melian, said to be named after Reggie; he never panned out.)

I'm not suggesting we worry about Downs. But as AMC Channel says, we should Fear the Walking Dead. Between now and October, we play Boston 16 times - plenty of opportunities for the hopeful angels of June to disappear.  

It's amazing, the day-after difference between a win and a loss.  I've already forgotten that 12-game lead. Then again, I have the memory of a goldfish that played in the NFL. After last night, it's what keeps me going. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2022

Who Owns New York? It's Still Us.

Taking up that musical question from a few weeks ago, we've had a rare test case recently, with the Yanks and Mets playing six home dates across town from each other.

These were on May 31-June 2—Yankees hosting the Angels of Something Something Anaheim; Mets vs. Nate—and June 14-16, Yanks-TB; Mets-Milwaukee.

The Yanks played a total of 6 separate dates during these periods, and drew 205,501 fans—never drawing fewer than 30,000 (or, it must be said, as many as 40,000) to the Stadium.

The Mets, in 5 dates, drew 129,599 to the park named for one of the most destructive financial institutions in U.S. history.  Even with Mr. AND Mrs. Met now leading the cheers.

Head-to-head, that's 34,250 a game for the Yankees, to just 25,920 for the Metsies.

The Yanks continue to lead the AL in attendance.  The Mets...continue to run 9th in the NL.

Which seems inexplicable.  Except, you know...Mets.

Can Aaron Hicks reclaim his star? And can the Yankees put Tampa out of its misery?

Congrats to Aaron "The Wrong Aaron" Hicks, who last night recorded his third big clutch hit in as many games, a ninth-inning double that propelled the Yankees over the troubled Rays of Tampa.

Over the last 14 games, Hicks is hitting .324 with a HR and 7 RBIs. On the season, he has now lifted his batting average to a Jayson Nixian .237 - after dwelling below the Mendoza line through late May. 

For the last six years, Hicks has been an enigma within the Yankiverse. In 2018, he hit 27 HRs and batted .248 - prompting Cooperstown Cashman to give him a long-term deal. Ever since, he has adhered to the Hicks Boson Particle Sequence

Start cold, get hot, get hurt. 

It's not his fault, the injuries. They come with the job. But whenever Hicks gets hot, he seems to then get hurt. At 32, that's an excruciating career thumbnail, and even though the Yankees are melded to him through 2025, the brain trust has more or less benched Hicks so Giancarlo Stanton can romp freely in the outfield. (Let the Big Dog run!)

Last night's double off the right field wall came with its own, unnecessary drama, as Hicks stood at home plate, admiring a HR that didn't happen. He made to second in part because the Rays RF, Manuel Margot, wrecked a knee trying to catch it. Otherwise, it would have been an embarrassment. 

Margot, who at .302 was leading Tampa in hitting, was carted off, a bad sign for the Rays, who suddenly look lifeless and lost. Without Wander Franco, the blood seems to have left their erections. They now hold fourth place in the AL East. For the last four years, Tampa has been a divisional juggernaut, with a seemingly limitless tap of young and ascending talent. Last week, in Yankee Stadium, they looked like a lost tribe of Herschel Walker's sons. And last night, the sound of Yankee fans resounded inside that sad, cavernous dome, which only attracted 16,000. 

Tampa is a hockey city. Imagine that... 

Of course, the Rays always seem to regroup, They could still win the three-game series and restore credibility, heading into the summer blaze. But right now, they look like Yankee teams over the last few years - that is, they don't know how they'll do it, but they know they're going to lose. 

Tonight, we have the means to put them out of their misery, perhaps for all of 2022. Tonight... 

Monday, June 20, 2022


Okay, get a grip, down a shot, get thee to a nunnery - you foresaw this. Don't claim otherwise. 

You knew that, at some point, our vaunted bullpen would implode, our HRs would slice foul, and that two-out RBI single would elude us. Yesterday, the Babadook finally knocked. We lost, not only to the BJs, but to random occurrence.  

Nearly halfway through a 13-game death march, the Yankees are 5-1. Win just two of the remaining seven against Tampa and Houston, and they'll emerge erect and unscathed from the most punishing run of the 2022 schedule.  

Trouble is, Yank fans cannot easily bury the ghosts of our last five years. We have been groomed - (yes, word of the year) - groomed to expect every Yankee wondrous winning streak to be followed by an equally deflating succession of defeats. 

No Yank fan can ignore last year's meltdowns, or the sinister notion that any single loss will blast open flood gates that cannot be closed. 

Yesterday, the culprits were Wandy Peralta and Miguel Castro - two lug nuts during the recent surge, both viciously spanked by Toronto. The BJs were playing with their season seemingly on the line: To be swept at home would have been a huge psychological blow, maybe pushing them toward a trade deadline clearance sale. Not now, though. They have a win to remember, to fortify their hopes.

Also, before we fit ourselves into the noose, let's give ourselves credit: The Yankees went down fighting, mounting a challenge in the ninth.  

Still, it's amazing how different they look today.

1. Ralph Kiner-Falefa has a "tightened" hamstring. What this means, who knows? It kept him from pinch-running in the final frame. The Yankees had stolen on Toronto all series. Had IKF had been able to steal second, he could have scored on Aaron Hicks' single - tie game - only, this time, no dice.

2. Both big Toronto HRs came after mound visits from pitching coach Matt Blake. This year, Blake has been a godsend. Whatever he said yesterday, this time, no dice. 

3. Hard to fathom scoring nine runs and losing. But it's not hard to imagine the team floundering in Tampa and Houston. Still, after the Astros, we play the A's (22 games below .500), Guardians (6 above) and Pirates (13 below.)  You win divisions by beating up on tomato cans and holding off contenders. 

4. Tonight it's Gerrit Cole. How often do we find ourselves calling upon Cole to restore us after a tough game? Last time, he threw six scoreless innings to beat Cory Kluber. This time, it's Shane McClanahan. 

Doesn't look easy. Then again, after a loss, nothing does.