Wednesday, October 12, 2022

By pulling pitchers before they cracked, Boone managed a flawless game. But with a thin, leaderless bullpen, how long can this continue?

A hallmark of Aaron Boone's 2022 chess master managerial style has been to leave pitchers in for one too many batters - especially Gerrit Cole. Generally, this led to disastrous HRs, blown leads and hostage video postgame shows. 

Last night, somehow, we skated. Cole threw a great game, leaving in the 7th with a 3-run lead, pulled even if he seemed to have a few pitches left. Everything worked.  

Now, can we repeat it?

Reason I ask: Jonathan Loaisiga looked shaky: two hits and a Christmas gift DP grounder. Wandy Peralta pitched well - four outs, nothing. And Clay Holmes looked shocked - SHOCKED - to find himself out there, having missed the last two weeks. Hitting the first batter had everyone fearing the worst - but it never happened.

Yep, it worked. The Death Barge needs two more wins over the Indians Commanders Guardians, fuck it, Cleveland. But Yank fans fear the final three innings like Putin's critics view an open 15th floor window. Boone's "Circle of Trust" has become a dot. Between now and Halloween, if we reach that far, somebody - Tailion? German? Wessert?- must step from the darkness and go Jamie Lee on Michael Myers. If we're depending on Boone to have flawless games, we're in trouble.  

And damn, Seattle couldn't put Houston away... 

Other scattered takeaways...

1. Trot Donaldson tossed cold water on the "savvied veteran" theory for postseason excellence. He admired himself all the way to No Man's Land - between first and second base - before realizing that balls don't bounce that far unless they hit a wall. 

This year, Donaldson has been an easy target - a huge offensive disappointment. His glove saved him from the bench (and, on that note, he made a nice play last night, beyond third, with a laser throw to first.) But if the Yankees had lost, probably by one run - fans would never forget his screw-up. Never. After all, we still remember Knobby's brain freeze, right?

2. So, now there's talk that Aroldis Chapman might throw in Florida, regain his command, reappear in the next round and drink from the Chalice of Redemption - assuming the Yankees advance. Yeah, and I'm the Easter Bunny.  

Listen: I feel sorry for El Chapo. Another easy target, a magnet for our hostility. He's been bad now for two years. The cardinal sin: He got old. Since 2020, he's been trying secondary pitches. None worked. Bringing him into the ALCS will be a mistake. He's gone, we made a decision, let him go. 

That said, I get it: The situation is Fucking Dire. It was dire when they had Scott Effross. Now, without him, it's hard to imagine the bullpen holding through October. I understand why they'd roll the dice on El Chapo. But we know where that goes: Another season ending with him grinning at the cosmos, as the opposing team celebrates at home plate. Nope. Can't do it. Please, no.

3. Effross' looming Tommy John surgery nearly closes the book on Brian Cashman's worst set of deals in trade deadline history. (Harrison Bader came through last night, but considering Jordan Montgomery's ascension to Cy Young candidate, that's still a hard deal to support.)

I remember our first impressions of Effross - he'd already pitched in 47 games, among the league leaders. The Cubs used him like dish towel and then peddled his ass when they got an offer. He'll miss all of next year, while we watch the next phase of Cashman's Deadline of the Dead - when the prospects we gave up become full-blown major leaguers. 

If the Yankees fail this month, how in Creation does Cashman keep his job? 

At the least, he needs to be kicked upstairs - given a dart board, putting rug and Miss Bixley from the typing pool - and replaced by the Jeter/Mattingly option. It's time.

4. Everyone has their own key moment last night. Here's mine: Jose Trevino's sac fly to center, which scored IKF from third, giving us the lead. He's done it all year - a strange, rare Yankee phenomena called situational hitting. 

What a concept? Instead of letting Gary Sanchez, Joey Gallo, Mike Ford, Aaron Hicks, et al, swing for the fences... you move the runner. Wait, is that legal? 

How often in recent Octobers did the Yankees fail to advance runners in critical situations? Had Trevino fanned, we would have needed a base hit to score the run, and we know how those dice roll. 

One huge difference between this team and others of the past: Our bottom of the batting order puts balls into play. There's something to be said for Small Ball. 

5. No game tonight? Who the fuck devised this playoff schedule, Kanye? Worse, Thursday's game might be rained out or played in a quagmire. When the owners added an extra tier in the postseason, did they think they could magically add another week to the month of October?

I'm getting tired of those ads that claim Halloween Ends, because we all know it won't. The question is, will we still be there when the last body drops?

21 comments:

Publius said...

Duque re "somehow" in your second paragraph above...it's the Indians, or the Guatdians, or the Clevelandians, whatever their called. Against Houston, Cole doesn't get out of that 3d inning jam. A crooked number goes up. Question is, would Boonie have pulled him there against Houston or the Dodgers?

Doug K. said...

I noticed something interesting with Cole last night...

Twice he had "an indecent" that normally would have meant disaster, the IKF error and the bad call, and both times he pulled through.

In both cases he threw over to first several times before returning his attention to the batter. I wonder if they told him to do that. It's like when you are all set to hit a golf ball and you know something isn't right and you step away and reset.



If so, that's a great fix and enabled him to center himself and get the job done.



HoraceClarke66 said...

Good observation, Doug! Though I suspect something like that is a little beyond the ability of the Yanks' crack coaching staff. Maybe he figured it out on his own?

Celerino Sanchez said...

Cole, the 35M man goes 6 innings against a team that can't hit. You'd think he matched David Cones 147 pitch effort against Seatle in 95. Like Publius said Houston would have gutted him in 3 innings.

HoraceClarke66 said...

You're right, Duque: "Halloween," a 44-year-old movie franchise, NEVER ends.

Nor does anything else in modern American life. What used to be the freshest, most scintillating pop culture in the world just repeats and repeats and repeats.

Hip hop/rap is about 50 years old. Rock 'n' roll, nearly 70. SNL plods on, toward its own half-century of mediocrity. Our cars and new buildings are interchangeable. Our sports are mostly playoffs, full of teams with anodyne names mostly interested in selling gear and creating loud noises.

It's the Age of Meh.

HoraceClarke66 said...

That's all right, Celerino. The fact that he recovered himself was crucial.

HoraceClarke66 said...

And the proper name for the Clevelanders is, "Guardians of Traffic."

ranger_lp said...

When we drop Rolaids (18M) and Britton (14M) we save 32M.

If you want to save more drop Montas (5M) and Benintendi (8.5M).

I'm sure we can find ways to use this money better...

Parson Tom said...

worst trade-deadline deals ever ... although Milwaukee tried hard to match.

Doug K. said...

Benintendi is a FA which makes the trade even worse. To be fair injuries like his can't be helped. Effros and Montas should have been checked out better.


That said, Montas at 5M should end up as a good deal assuming his arm heals. Doesn't help us get past Houston this year and Castillo is clearly the guy we should have gotten.

JM said...

We'll never be rid of Cashman in most of our lifetimes. It's a given. And his bad decisions will continue, and continue to haunt us.

One good thing he did: it was nice to see Carp back in the dugout and fired up. As a spectator, but still.

TheWinWarblist said...

Cashman is there to sabotage the franchise for King Hal. To make sure the money flows into Hal's pockets. That is his only qualification. He will never get fired for a losing team or a failed postseason as long as the pipeline of dollars keeps gushing. Neither CashBrain nor Hal care if the Yankees ever win another World Series.

borntorun999 said...

Delighted with last night’s win, which I didn’t see coming. We did it with excellent pitching, which Is how you win championships. The offense was enough even without Judge. BTW, including last night, Judge is 5 for his last 25 with 11k’s. I am concerned because we cannot win without a more significant contribution from him. It appears Cleveland has great pitching, but sporadic offense. I may have to reverse my prediction of a CLE series win. The Astros will be another story.

Doug, that was a great observation about Cole! Lets’s watch for it in any subsequent starts.

Peralta threw the ball really well last night. Can he emerge as the key bullpen cog we’ve been waiting for?

I think we covered Donaldson’s antics enough last night, but I haven’t heard that he came under any criticism from the testicularly challenged Boone. The thought that Donaldson will be starting at 3b for the remainder of the post and again next year is enough to make me physically ill.

Peraza should be starting at SS over IKF. Period. (pssst..dont tell anyone, he’s better than Cabrera as well) And yet he didn’t even make the roster! In favor of Martin Gonzalez? With decision making like that it’s no wonder we haven’t won a WS in 13 years.

Lastly, is Carpenter here for show? He should be starting at DH in YS against a LHP. He isn’t because of Stanton. I want to share an amusing take on this from Neil Keefe. You can read him for free at Keefetothecity.com :

“The problem is the Yankees once again won’t let Stanton play the outfield, which screws up their lineup flexibility. On Monday, Aaron Boone said Stanton hasn’t taken fly balls in the outfield, he has only been moving around the outfield without a glove on. What? Like he’s walking around the outfield like a groundskeeper?

Here is the likely process needed for Stanton to return to the outfield:

Days 1-3: Envision the outfield
Day 4: Write the word “outfield” 500 times
Day 5: Walk around the outfield
Days 6-7: Power walk around the outfield
Days 8-9: Jog around the outfield
Days 10-11: Jog around the outfield with a glove on
Days 12-14: Take fly balls in the outfield “

Good stuff. Enjoy the rest of your day everyone.

13bit said...

I don't know if I'd call it "flawless," but Duque has always been more magnanimous, generous and civil than I.

Boone shows the right time twice a day, but it's a long day and it gets late early these days, so take that fork in the road and shove it up Hal's keister.

Something like that. Must. Lie. Down.

TheWinWarblist said...

Benching Donaldson is the appropriate response to his wretched baserunning. A team only gets 27 outs a games, only three an inning. Squandering outs should be a benching offense. And if not benched by Boone, Donaldson should find the humility to take himself out of the lineup for not being mentally prepared to play.

Donaldson is a fuckwit of legendary proportion. If we lose a postseason game due to his fuckwittery, Donaldson will be immortalized as a legendary postseason fuckwit for all time.



IT IS A KIDS GAME! RUN HARD! HAVE FUN! WHAT THE FUCK FUCK FUCK IS WRONG WITH HIM!?!?!?!???

Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...


I'd like to think that if the manager didn't say something to the player who did this, Derek Jeter, team captain, maybe would have. In days now gone by.

But -- maybe not.

Doug K. said...

Joe FOB

Always figured Jorge was the enforcer. Or Thurm on a different championship team.

JM said...

If we don't get fucked by the players' non-performance, we're sure to get fucked by the manager's incompetence.

The 21st Century New York Yankees, your home for general mediocrity and idiocy.

The Hammer of God said...

@Duque, "[Cashman] needs to be kicked upstairs - given a dart board, putting rug and Miss Bixley from the typing pool"

Foul, foul, FOUL, that is a FOUL! I have been waiting to date Miss Bixley for years now. I am next in line. If Cashman so much as looks at her, I'm going to give him a thrashing he'll never forget.

The Hammer of God said...

@TheWinWarblist "Cashman is there to sabotage the franchise for King Hal. To make sure the money flows into Hal's pockets. That is his only qualification. He will never get fired for a losing team or a failed postseason as long as the pipeline of dollars keeps gushing. Neither CashBrain nor Hal care if the Yankees ever win another World Series."

Amen, that is the truth!

Ken of Brooklyn said...

I second that AMEN Hammer, Sir Winnie speaketh the truth!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!