Wednesday, July 6, 2022

The Yankees are stumbling, as the heat lightning of Fenway looms

Last weekend, the earnest, baby-faced, Yank bullpen lug nut Ron Marinaccio hit the Injury List with a "dead arm." After watching the team's last two losses, I wonder if the malady is contagious. We seem to have a dead team.

With the All Star break in view, the Yankees are coasting toward the second-half like Biden on a bike, and Boston looks like the lone AL East opponent capable of mounting a race. To do that, the Redsocks must clobber us this weekend in Fenway. A 2-2 split won't do it. We may have lost two in a row, but over the last 10 games, we still beat Boston (they went 5-5, we went 6-4) We simply must not let two straight losses become a six- or seven-game streak.  

Some omens (yes, there are always omens)...

1. Last night, Anthony Rizzo became a last-minute scratch due to back stiffness. The brass downplayed it - they always do - but anybody who remembers Don Mattingly knows what a bum back can do to a gold glove 1B. It's quite simple: The Yankees cannot afford to lose Rizzo. 

Soon to turn 33, Rizzo is enjoying his greatest season since 2016, the year of Epstein's Cubs. Surely, he will hit the most HRs of his career - (he has 22, his previous high is 32) - even if time and over-shifts have shorn 60 points from his batting average. 

His back, coupled with Gleyber Torres' recent ankle scare, reminds us of how quickly the Yankees can crumble into a lineup of Derek Dietrich and Greg Bird (who, at .222 and only 6 HRs at Scranton, looks done.) With injuries, we are always a house of cards.

2. The clock has run out on Joey Gallo, and it's ticking down for Aaron Hicks. The looming question is whether Cashman can bag anything for either in a trade, and that depends on how much money Food Stamps Hal is willing to eat.

Lately, even when playing tomato cans, we face corner OFs with far superior stats than Gallo/Hicks. Meanwhile, Miguel Andujar gets peekaboo opportunities, and it's worth wondering if the franchise just squandered Estevan Florial's hottest month ever. 

One cure for a team of dead bats: A rookie on his once-around-the-league tear. (Remember Isaac Paredes for Tampa? Three HRs in one game?) Last week at Scranton, Florial hit 5 HRs. Five. Not saying he'd do that in Yankee Stadium, but yeesh - the bar these days in LF is so low, it's six feet underground. Could anyone do worse than Gallo? Where is Zolio Almonte?

It's a philosophical dilemma. Do the Yankees really think Gallo will heat up and help the team? Or are they hoping he'll hit a couple HRs to increase his trade value? Or are they waiting for the team to fall into a funk, forcing them to trade Gallo as a wake-up call? And - really - at this point, does it matter? All roads seem to send Gallo out of NYC. Why are we waiting?  

3. As our rotation has floundered, it feels like the Yankees are always behind. In the last two games, you even had the feeling that another no-hitter could be coming. (Still suffering PTSD from the last one.) 

If the post-season began today, the Gammonites would all pick Houston. It's galling that we cannot seem to beat the Astros or get Jose Altuve out.  

But now it's Fenway on our minds. Falter there, and the sirens will be blaring. Boston is a scary place when the Redsocks are backed against the wall. And that's where they will be. 


C... said...

Can florial play CF? With Andujar in left? Would that be an improvement?

Mildred Lopez said...

Keeping the horse in front of the cart, a split with Pittsburgh would sure be nice.

JM said...

I still think our OF should be Miggy, Judge, Stanton. Florial could spell one of them for DH duty or the infamous "rest day."

Boston is close to getting Sale and Eovaldi back. Just saying.

This team better snap out of it, and fast. Looks like all that winning has tired everyone out.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Amen, Duque!

I don't like it to say 'I told you so, but—'

Aww, who the hell am I kidding? I LOVE to say 'I told you so!' Even when it comes to our NY Yankees.

Exactly, JM! Sale and Eovaldi? Any team with 2 tough pitchers (for us), is a major threat. If deGrom comes back, the Mets are much, much more likely to end their fall with the parade down the Canyon of Heroes (and, in the 1950s, obscure, Third World potentates).

Maybe the OF should be Florial, Judge, Stanton. Or Miggy, Judge, Florial (The mystique of letting Giancarlo run as free as the grass grows in the OF seems to have worn off. Ol' Mechanical Swing is just going to swing as he pleases, every at-bat, and mail in the rest of his game.)

Put him back at DH. Or put Miggy there. Or put Miggy at third. Or mix and match him with Carpenter.

But regularly keeping Gallo and Donaldson in the lineup ain't gonna work. Yes, we CAN blow a lead this big, with those two palookas out there on a regular basis.

DickAllen said...

Some fresh (younger) legs would certainly help. Especially as the summer gets longer into August. The Intern seems to be trying to squeeze every last drop of blood out of these old horses. What a waste of a bench to have Gallo sitting at the end of it.

BTR999 said...

Florial has always been a CF. He is not considered a a plus defender, but is certainly better than Hicks, whose defense has deteriorated with the rest of his game. Although Florial leads SWB in every category save HR’s, his accelerated K rate as a non power hitter gives one pause. Scouts love to knock his inability to handle changing speeds, a flaw which would undoubtedly be exploited by MLB pitching. Can he give the offense a jolt in the “once around” scenario cited by Duque? Of course! He projects to be a valuable 4th OF type who could be a legit starter with better control of the SZ. He will steal 30-40 bases this year at SWB. Next year, MLB will increase the size of the bases, which will give the running game a jolt. He has earned an opportunity this year; if not, sell high and try to move him for someone who can help us in October.

The Archangel said...

Florial is better than Gallo.
Miggy is better than Gallo.
Steve Whitaker (circa '67) is better than Gallo.

Gallo is the most inept MLB player at the moment who still gets major playing time.
I would rather see someone with a possible future and some excitement than someone who future is actually his past.

But , then again, what do I know? I can't even spell analytics. (Thank you spellchecker.)

EDB said...

The Yankees will stumble when it counts in October. The problems, the starting pitching has come back down to earth and the problem for several seasons now, the bats or lack of them. Politician and BS artist AaRon Boone, says it is all about scoring more runs than the opposing team. A .236 team batting average with lots of holes. And if anyone is watching, Judge has slumped quite a bit. The Yankees ass backward thinking. Barren Hicks and Joey K. continue to play and Andujar remains in the minors. The latest hot topic is Florial. He is hitting homeruns, but only batting .218 at Scranton. That would not equate to much on the major league level. Genius Cashman will be hesitant to make moves. Then it will be the same in October.

Parson Tom said...

Mildred is right: our first concern must be salvaging a win in Pittsburgh.

BTR999 said...

I must point out that Florial is batting .308, not .218 as posted above.

Carl J. Weitz said...

Joey Gallows is just a few AB away from a 50% strike out rate! He makes Dave Kingman seem like a contact- hitting Wade Bogs.

And I wish the YES announcers would STFU about the soon-to-be unleashed talent of Aaron Hicks. For God's sakes, he's been in the league for 10 years, never hit higher than .266 with a career BA of .232! And as Zach has illustrated several times, his power and fielding have declined precipitously. I mean WTF! Bring someone up already. Or somebody else in NOW.

JM said...

Ah, if only Steve Whitaker was available. Cashman would trade the entire farm system for him.

DickAllen said...

My real concern going forward is Sevy.

Back in the day, he pitched 133 innings over two seasons (15, 16), then threw 384 the next two years (17, 18) that led to a significant meltdown, costing him three years of his baseball life, during which time he threw all of 18 innings.

He's thrown 78 innings this year which projects out to 170+ IP

Is he older and stronger? Will that arm last the season and into the playoffs?

I fear another breakdown. I'm hoping against it. At this point the Yankees got more out of him than anyone could have predicted. He's only 28, so who knows what we'll get out of him going forward? A warning: look for a few Buc home runs sailing out of the park tonight.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Very true on Hicks, CJW.

And I share your concerns about Sevvy, DickAllen.

JM, you know the story about Steve Whitaker getting caught in the minors, having sex in the old WW II plane, placed in the center of the town as a memorial? And with the mayor's daughter?

Yeah, he'd fit right in today!

Hazel Motes said...

Has anyone noticed that with the substitute play-by-play guys, SUZYN NEVER SHUTS UP FOR TEN SECONDS? The pbp guy barely has time to describe the pitch and and the count. He often has to announce a hit or an out without having described the windup or the oncoming pitch. And she usually has nothing of interest to say--it's compulsive babbling, gratuitous self-assertion. She's just strutting the ego that has for so long been leashed to the even bigger ego of Sterling, who essentially keeps her at his heel until she is sparsely cued with a "Suzyn?"

This whole deranged tag-team of incompetence and psychopathy needs to go, and the sooner the better.

The Hammer of God said...

I think the annual meltdown has started. The team is starting to breakdown, guys starting to fall down like flies in an alcohol filled killing jar. Hitters have stopped hitting and pitchers are getting beaten like drums. And it's all just in time for the hated Bo-Sux.

Yankee Daddy Roger said...

I have noted what Barney has noticed, and thought the same thing--it is almost like she is trying to impress the play by play guy with her knowledge of baseball, except:

It is always the same tropes. So and so is "terrific" -- "that ball was right down the middle, it should have been hit" "he didn't try to do too much with that pitch" (This particularly galls me--they are all trying to do the same thing --they are trying to hit the ball hard, no one goes up to the plate trying to hit the ball soft, unless they are bunting to a wide open left or right side, which never happens) "he tried to do that" "there's something about the Yankee uniform"" lousy players turn into "terrifi players" --sure, like Hicks, and Gallo, and Travis Ishikawa, and Stephen Drew. Well that's just me. Say, has anyone noticed IKF makes as many errors as Gleybar? Does anyone I warned about Pittsburgh? Of course not. I am ignored until an animal sacrifice is needed. But I am not bitter.

Carl J. Weitz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Carl J. Weitz said...

Yankee Daddy Roger.....LOLOL!