The Yankees had built momentum during an recent 8-2 stretch, moving within six games in the American League East and four games of an AL wild card spot, but a loss Wednesday in Houston and two losses Friday and Saturday against the last place Rays took the wind out of their sails, apparently convincing Brian Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner to raise the white flag of surrender. Gone is one of my favorites - Andrew Miller. The Indians will send in return, highly touted outfielder Clint Frazier, along with 3 others.
The big question now is whether the Yankees will trade Carlos Beltran before Monday’s 4 p.m. ET non-waiver trade deadline. After trading both Aroldis Chapman and Miller, it feels like a foregone conclusion that more moves are on the way. I only wish it would be possible to rid themselves of Alex Rodriquez and Mark Texeria. Unfortunately, I doubt that happens, which slows down the process for working on the future of this once proud franchise.
It’s been a long time since the Yankees were sellers. Selling admits you’re out of it and it’s time to rebuild. In the Yankees case, admitting that is something they prefer not to do, but rebuild is what they must. As much as I hated to see Miller go, it is the right move to finally move forward. What that means for Yankee fans (providing it’s done right) is to grin and bear it watching young prospects learn the game and hopefully be successful over the next 3-4 years. I for one have been spoiled by their run of contending teams and will have to adjust and be patient. Uggh. This won’t be easy.
It must be something in the drinking water. Again both New York teams lost because they couldn’t score runs. The Mets went 0-8 in a 6-1 loss last night, and the Yankees went 0-6 in their loss to Tampa Bay. Ten hits, all singles. A combined 2 runs, it doesn’t get any worse than that. The Yankees are 4.5 out of a playoff spot, the Mets 2.5. The Mets are 4-6 in their last 10, The Yankees 6-4. Hardly the steak both teams need right now.
Forget about the Mets’ historic playoff run last year. Forget about the fact that somehow the Yankees scored the second-most runs in all of baseball last year. Forget all of that, because it’s a distant memory. Both teams are in trouble.
Whether you’re a baseball fan who roots for the Bronx Bombers or the Metropolitans, one thing can’t be denied: You’re falling asleep watching these anemic offenses try to score runs. As we approach the stretch run of this regular season, both the Mets and Yankees are struggling when it comes to offensive production, and it’s costing them both in the standings.
As for the Yankees that recent hot streak was a total mirage built on unsustainably great pitching. The trade deadline is Monday and hopefully the Yankees do the smart thing and don’t stop selling at Chapman. This isn’t a postseason team. Not even close. And appears, neither are the Mets.
For most of this baseball season we focused on the lack of offense that the Yankees have produced. Well, as bad as they have been, the Mets have been worse, especially in recent times. In the last 13 games the Mets have scored 37 runs, less than 3 runs a game. In 101 games this season, the reigning National League champions have only scored 291 runs. Dead last in all of baseball. And the worst stat of all is their .204 average with runners in scoring position. A perfect example of that was their game against the Rockies yesterday.
A great effort from starter Jacob deGrom was wasted as his offense and closer betrayed him in the 2-1 loss to the Rockies. Seven innings of shut out ball and nothing to show for it. This game was a collection of bad decisions, poor execution, and horrendous at-bats. After striking out 6 and walking just 1 batter, manager Terry Collins pinch hit for him when the Mets had the semblance of a rally going. Once again Collins over managed.
Back up catcher Rene Rivera and de Aza led off with back-to-back hits setting up second and third and nobody out. Collins then pinch hit for deGrom with Cespedes (nursing a sore groin) even though he admitted he knew they would intentionally walk him. Still, that set up bases loaded with nobody out. The next batter was Juan Lagares and since a righty came into the game, Collins pinch-hit for him with Kelly Johnson, even though Michael Conforto was available off the bench. Despite getting ahead in the count, Johnson grounded out weakly to short. The throw came home and now the bases were still loaded but with one out. Curtis Granderson was clueless at the plate all game and it showed when he struck out in that critical situation. He finished the day 0-4 with three strikeouts. That left it up to Wilmer Flores who could not come up with the big hit either. No cheers for Wilmer today, instead he ended the inning among boos when he popped up to center. Bases loaded and no one out, and…no runs scored!
Going into the 8th the Mets had a 1-0 lead. Addison Reed and Jerry Blevins kept the Rockies off the board, and that meant Jeurys Familia would get closing duties in the ninth. Then the shit hit the fan. Trevor Story singled to start the inning. He stole second and Familia’s recent control issues continued when he walked Dahl. That brought up Descalso who was called upon to bunt. Rivera who did not field the bunt since he assumed it would roll foul. It stayed fair and once again the bases were loaded with nobody out. After a stike out and then a ground ball that James Loney booted, everyone was safe as the tying run came home. Up next was Charlie Blackmon and Familia uncorked a wild pitch during that at-bat to bring in the go-ahead run. They proceeded to intentionally walk Blackmon to load up the bases again, but that mess would be for Hansel Robles to deal with. Familia’s day was done after blowing his second straight game. The Mets go down 1,2, 3 and another loss. No clutch hitting and a Armando Benitez performance form Familia.
With all the bragging from Met followers, the defending league champs continue to struggle. A 53-48 record in only one better than the Yankees who play in a tougher division. The Mets have now fallen 6.5 behind the Nationals and 1.5 out of the last wild card spot. Sandy Alderson recently said there would be no major trade. Both the Mets’ struggling offense and the heavily-used back of the bullpen make the case that they need one. What do you say Sandy?
Well that was a letdown. The Yankees had a chance to complete a sweep of the red hot Astros on Wednesday, but the offense fell flat (Didi had 2 hits and McCann had a homer The rest of the team went 2-24.with 15 strikeouts) and the pitching wasn’t good enough to compensate. The result was a 4-1 loss and a missed opportunity to gain ground on the Red Sox and Blue Jays, the two wildcard teams who both lost yesterday. Uggh!
A 4 game deficit for the second Wild Card spot is far from insurmountable, but the window is closing on the front office in Yankeeville. 8-3 in their last 11 games makes us all hang on to the dream off grabbing the last playoff spot. But, the reality is that they didn’t make up much ground. So, does Cashman buy or sell? Over a week ago we asked the same question and still don’t have a clear cut answer. No offense again last night. You look at that lineup and I think it was 8 out of 9 averages below.270.We really need help here (if Cash decides were still in it), but will we get it, or do we unload the names most mentioned and think of t reloading for 2017.
This three-game series in Houston is over and the Yankees are heading to Tampa next. But first: an off-day to ponder this very question. . Nova and Jake Odorizzi are the scheduled starters for Friday night’s series opener at Tropicana Field. Will that be Ivan’s final game in pinstripes? My guess is yes. Do others go or do we add? Decisions to be made. Monday 4:00pm is the deadline!!
The Yankees faced nemesis Astro pitcher Dallas Keuchel last night and came away with a win behind Big Mike Pineda. Yes you read that right. Pineda (5-9) pitched seven strong innings to beat Keuchel (6-10), by a slim 2-1 score. Keuchel gave up two runs and six hits with five strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings. Pineda allowed just five hits and struck out eight in his second straight solid outing after throwing six scoreless innings Wednesday against Baltimore. He got some help from All-Star relievers Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller who closed out Houston to help the fourth-place Yankees (51-48) move three games above .500 for the first time this season.
So, what’s next on the trade horizon? Well the Yanks are certainly not waiving the white flag. They have gone 7-4 against some pretty good competition in the last 11 games. I wish there was a way to rid themselves of some less productive players than Chapman who now pitches for the Cubs. Rumor has it the Marlins are interested in Ivan Nova. Nova is not so valuable to the Yanks now that they have recalled Severino and added Warren back in the staff. Then there’s A-Rod. He’s been out of the lineup for the third straight game. Rodriguez, who is 4 for 31 with one home run in July, is batting .206 this season with nine home runs and 29 RBIs. He has done nothing in his few recent at bats and just takes up a spot on the roster. With another year on a bloated contract, no one will take him off their hands, so were stuck with him. Could Tex or McCann be next? I doubt it. Tex in his walk year wouldn’t get the Yankees anything worth while. And MCCann still has that big contract. With that said, we are beating some good squads, who are all above .500.
Ok so 3 games over .500 gives the Pinstripe fans hope. But don’t be fooled into thinking because of the recent run that they aren’t considering all offers. Brett Gardner along with Nova, Betances and even Miller maybe be history soon if the Yanks can’t sustain this recent success.
I still want to build for the future but for now, all is on hold till the weekend.
Even though the Yankees took 2 of 3 from the Giants, the For Sale signs were up as early as this past Friday. The first of what may be several sales occurred today when it was announced that Aroldis Chapman threw his last pitch as a Yankee. Yes, the big flame thrower is now a Cub. It’s the first time in over two decades that the Yanks have become sellers. Top Cubs prospect short stop Gleyber Torres along with along with the returning Adam Warren, outfielders Billy McKinney and Rasgad Crawford.
The Cubs paid a hefty price for Chapman as he basically is a rental. After the season the Yankees, if they wanted to, could resign him. The fact that the Cubs gave up so much tells me that they think this is their year. You don’t give up your top prospect (Torres) unless you think the hardware is within reach.
Warren is has been a pretty good spot starter and long reliever in past seasons for the Yankees who struggled this season with the Cubs following an offseason trade for second baseman Starlin Castro. Lets face it, the Yankees middle relief has been for the most part, a disappointment. Can Warren help the Yankees again? He had a .339 ERA in 147 games with the Yanks from 2012-15, but was a sky high 5.91 this season in 29 games with the Cubs, all but one in relief. It remains to be seen, but Yankee management had to address the middle relief problem. Maybe comfortable familiar surroundings get Warren back on track.
I was not really impressed by Chapman’s 104 mph fast ball. He often struggled with control. When he walked someone, trouble always seemed to follow. (Think June 28th) I always felt better when Betances or Miller took the hill in a big spot. The way I see it, the Yankees are walking away from a little bit of money and they added more prospects into a system that is getting better. They've actually done a decent job in the last two years replenishing. As for the Cubs …the Cubs now maybe win a World Series, but over the long haul the Yankees got back some really nice pieces. What do you think?
Trying to pull off an unlikely sweep against the Baltimore Orioles, the Yankees turned to CC Sabathia who didn’t pitch badly, but Orioles starter Chris Tillman pitched better. Tillman tossed seven innings of one-run ball, allowing just two other hits and two walks while striking out 7 Yankees who only put 4 runners in scoring position the entire game. The O’s won 4-1. So much for the sweep.
To Sabathia’s credit, he settled down after a rough first inning were he gave up 2 runs. He retired 15 of 17 batters from the second through sixth inning, and one of those two baserunners came on Sabathia’s own throwing error. After getting a quick first out in the 7th, Caleb Joseph and Julio Borbon singled to put men on first and second. After a strike out, Jonathan Schoop followed with a two-run double to right to give the Orioles a 3 run lead. The Yankees couldn’t answer. Game Over.
The fact that the Yankees won 4 in a row does not mean that they are realistically contenders. If you have any doubt about that, the Yankees have to face 3 top pitchers on a first place club this weekend. The decision to buy or sell could come at the end of the weekend should the Giants sweep. Based on the way this season is going, the Yanks will now lose something like 5 of 6 after getting their heads over .500. Don’t hate me but you know this has been the trend. Even with these seven wins in their last ten games, the Yankees have gained no ground in the wildcard race. Not one game. Tonight it’s Tanaka vs. Madison Bumgarner. Get the For Sale signs ready.
Yankee manager Joe Girardi handed Michael Pineda the ball for last night’s game against the division leading Baltimore Orioles, and the unexpected happened,- Big Mike pitched 6 scoreless innings and the Yankees won their 4th in a row beating the Os 5-0.
Pineda tossed 6 gritty, shutout innings and Mark Teixeira and Carlos Beltran each drove in 2 runs (each hitting a home run) on Wednesday night, lifting the Yanks 2 games over .500 and 6 games behind the now first place Boston Red Sox. Pineda allowed just five hits,, with eight strikeouts and two walks to a compromised Oriole line-up. (Chris Davis, and AL MVP candidate Manny Machado sat it out with the flu). The bullpen did it’s job with Betances, Nick Goody and Chasen Shreve finishing up without allowing a run. This afternoon the Yanks will go for the sweep.
So the question is…Should this mini win streak be greeted with excitement and enthusiasm, or does it come with a groan and the realization that the only thing a victory does is keep the Yankees from selling sooner. A win today might answer that question.
The Yankees have a heartbeat, a faint one, but still a pulse. Thanks to four RBIs from Starlin Castro and mostly solid pitching, the Yankees have a winning record after a 7-1 win over the Orioles. The win, their third in a row puts them 1 game over .500 for the first time in almost a month. They have now won three straight games and six of nine against the Indians, Red Sox, and Orioles, arguably the three best teams in the AL. Go figure.
We have seen this act before. Impressive wins over very good teams and then bad losses against teams they should beat. If only they could take 3 out of 4 in this series and 2 of 3 against the Giants, I could again be a believer. Hard to have hope. Maybe just maybe this is the beginning of some miracle like in 1995 where they won 19 of 25 games after the all star break. Or, are we once again being teased only to be disappointed as we watch them fall below .500 again as the trade deadline approaches.
Speaking of the deadline, the rumors continue. August 1st is just 2 weeks away. Most of the conversations seem to be about Chapman. The Cleveland Indians, Washington Nationals, and Texas Rangers all have asked about him in the last few days. Other names have been rumored, mostly Beltran, Miller and Evoldi, but now that the Yanks have scored some important wins, these last few days and well, ummm, maybe just maybe, things will be put on hold as it appears the Yankees have a heart beat.
So we hear Yoenis Cespedes prefers to play left field for the remainder of the season, partially to protect his recent quad injury, but he'll slide over to center field on Tuesday in order to get Michael Conforto's bat in the lineup. However, the Mets don't plan to make this a regular thing. Mets manager Terry Collins indicated Monday that Conforto could see time in center field now that he's back from the minors. Cespedes spent most of the year in center but returned to the lineup as a left fielder on Sunday. He won the AL Gold Glove as a left fielder last season so he has plenty of experience at the position. Left field is certainly the less taxing of the two spots and Cespedes said his quad is only about 80-90 percent right now. If Cespedes becomes a permanent fixture in left field, it will be good news for Juan Lagares and Alejandro De Aza but bad news for Michael Conforto and Curtis Granderson, who have been used exclusively on the corners this year.
If they want to get Conforto’s bat in the lineup they may have to play him in center. If you’ve watched him out in left, you’ll know it’s a bad idea. When the Mets drafted Conforto, the draft report said “Conforto’s not good in the outfield and probably never will be.” He did play a little center in college. Nothing has changed, now they want him in center…ouch. Conforto rejoined the major league squad on Monday, after a demotion to Triple-A Las Vegas after a prolonged slump.
The Mets offense has hasn’t done much lately. If it’s not a home run, it’s basically nothing. They very much resemble the Yankees when there are runners on base, they do nothing with men in scoring position.. So putting a weak defensive player out there to hit against righties sounds like a good idea, but is it worth the risk defensively?
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