Im a huge fan of rookie Aaron Judge. Judge, whose offensive slump since the All-Star Break is well-documented, took his struggles with him to right field. Now he’s a .166 hitter with a 41% strikeout rate (August stats) who also makes mistakes on defense. Whether a shoulder injury is bothering him or not, the big slugger needs a break. Girardi’s best move is to give Judge a few days off and let him regroup for the playoff push. Yes, Judge would probably help the Yankees most by sitting on the bench. Time for a right field platoon.
While Judge began struggling in July, his power and on-base stats for the month (7 HR, .847 OPS) remained strong enough to keep him hitting third in the lineup every night. In August, the situation became dire. Judge posted a .663 OPS with 32 SO in 80 plate appearances (18 G). That figure equals two strikeouts in every five at-bats, which is the worst in baseball over that span.
The power disappeared as well. After notching at least 7 HR per month, Judge managed 3 HR and 5 RBI through the first three weeks of the month. Worst of all, his numbers continued declining as the weeks passed. After August 8 (including six games against Boston), Judge hit .149 with a .641 OPS and a 39% strikeout rate. We can’t see how trotting him out every night will help him exit this funk.
During what was likely the roughest week of Judge’s career, we saw mistakes become a part of his game in right field. The first came during what looked like a blowout at Citi Field. With the Yankees leading 7-0 in the seventh and looking to complete a four-game sweep of the Mets at Citi, Judge dropped a fly ball in right field for a two-base error. Luis Severino, who had mowed down the Mets lineup to that point, gave up two singles and left the game leading 7-1. A few days later in Boston, Judge made a mental mistake that allowed Mookie Betts to take third base on a popup to right. Judge simply didn’t take him seriously and lobbed the ball in, sacrificing the base. Girardi later acknowledged he might be bringing his struggles with him onto the field. If that’s the case, Judge legitimately needs a break.
After what I thought was a ridiculous amount of time for the obvious, Joe Giardi finally moved him out of the 3 hole. Things haven’t changed much, This past weekend against the Mariners, in 12 Abs, he had 1 hit, he struck out 5 times, with no RBIs and zero home runs.
While the Yankees will need Judge playing well to make any noise in the postseason, they need to get there first. There are four games against the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium on Labor Day weekend, winning that series gives them a clear path to winning the AL East. Currently, they are just 2.5 games out. The question is: Will the Yankees go down that path? They showed the commitment to winning in the demotion of Chapman. Now they need their best option in right field every day. Right now, I hate to say, it’s probably not Aaron Judge.
So Gary Sanchez hits another home run and the next time he’s up, all hell breaks lose. This one had many guilty parties, especially the umpiring crew who opened the door for one of the ugliest games in recent history, if not the most embarrassing game of the season, definitely the stupidest. The Yankees lost Thursday’s series finale 10-6 to the Tigers, and the two teams got into a beanball war. Who cares about the postseason race when you can stoop to the level of a fourth place team? Not like the Yankees have anything to lose. Five Yankees were ejected and chances are suspensions are coming as well. Hard to think of a worse possible outcome. A true lose-lose affair. Everyone was to blame here, everyone, especially the umpires who never took control.
If you remember back to when these two teams played in Yankee Stadium a few weeks ago, there was a bit of a beanball war in the first game of the series. The Yankees plunked Mikei Mahtook twice in the game, unintentionally, and Michael Fulmer retaliated by hitting Jacoby Ellsbury in the hip. And that was that. They played two more games in the series and nothing else happening.
Fast forward to yesterday. Fulmer plunked Sanchez in the fifth inning, right in the hip, and I thought it was unintentional (at first). No warning from the home plate umpire. The Yankees had a man on base and Fulmer was missing way off the plate. It looked like a pitch got away from him. The umpires had to be aware of the last series they played. Yet, nothing was said. The dugouts empty.
Then in the sixth, Tommy Kahnle retaliated by throwing behind Miguel Cabrera. Kahnle was immediately ejected, and Girardi stormed out of the dugout because warnings hadn’t been issued after Fulmer hit Sanchez. Girardi was tossed too. A few minutes passed as Aroldis Chapman warms up. Cabrera gets in Austine Romine’s face, words were exchanged and he pushes Romine....benches empty again..Romine and Cabrera were both ejected. Romine cursed at the umpiring crew and left the field in a rage. And to make matters worse Sanchez is seen throwing punches at Cabrera who’s on the ground. Bad move Gary. He’s gonna miss sometime for sure.
Tensions escalated again in the seventh after James McCann was hit in the head by a 98 mph fastball from Dellin Betances leading off the inning in a tie game. No way it was intentional, but he’s tossed as he should have been. Bench coach Rob Thompson comes out to argue and is ejected. Both benches emptied and words were exchanged, but no punches were thrown this time around.
In the eighth, Alex Wilson hit Todd Frazier, causing the benches to clear for a third time. Brett Gardner was hot and appeared to be going at Brad Ausmus. Wilson was ejected. The Yankees lose and await suspensions. The umpires lost control of the game, yet will only get a hand slap.
Baseball’s biggest officiating issue is the lack of public accountability. Im sure yesterdays crew will receive a report documenting how poorly they performed. I understand that umpires don’t want to be publicly criticized…no one does. However, they work a very well-paid, public position, and their counterparts in the NBA and NFL are publicly corrected when they perform poorly. By refusing to ever publicly acknowledge when an umpire or crew has a bad day, gives a public perception that MLB doesn’t care about the performance or is willing to do anything to improve it.
"The Angel Hernandez solidarity tribute" was laughable if not embarrassing. These guys just don't understand that if anyone was as bad as they are on a daily basis they would lose their job, but they know their powerful union is behind them. Yesterday’s performance is just another example of complete and total incompetence which is on full display nightly. Something has to change. Rob Manfred should make it a priority.
So Odell gets nailed in a preseason game and has what could be a leg injury. The hit was low but legal and Odell was able to walk off the field under his own power. But in typical Beckham fashion, with cameras following him into the locker room after he walked off the field and as soon as he got into the tunnel near the locker room he dropped to his knees as if in severe pain. Odell being Odell.
For the first ever the Little League Classic between the Pirates and Cardinals was played in Williamsport, PA on Sunday night. The kids played earlier in the day and then went over to the local minor league park to watch. The game included a pre game ceremony with all the little leaguers involved. Very cool!
Fox had several changes in store for its 2017 NFL broadcast lineup, including the debut of Jay Cutler on the network’s No. 2 team. Obviously, those plans changed when Cutler decided that he didn’t want to be a retired NFL quarterback just yet and signed a one-year deal with the Miami Dolphins. Another former player with no broadcast experience, almost getting a position with a top broadcast team, yet Phil goes to the CBS studio, not a booth where he belongs.
So now Derek Jeter is set up to become Boss Jeter in Miami, a long way from the field at Yankee Stadium. The captain of the most famous team in American professional sports now gets his chance to run a team of his own in South Florida. It’s a long way from shortstop at the Stadium, and a lot more than money on the line.
Ezekiel Elliott said on social media Friday night that he strongly disagrees with the league’s decision to suspend him for 6 games. You can imagine how strongly his ex-girlfriend must have disagreed with getting bounced around by Elliott, which the NFL clearly believes she was.
So Joe Giardi finally relinquished his “Aaron Judge bats third” stance. He moves Judge down one spot to 4th. Judge, who entered Tuesday hitting .169 since the All-Star break, singled and walked three times, and his strikeout streak ended when Jacoby Ellsbury was sent up to pinch-hit for him in the seventh inning. Girardi said he did not have the streak in mind when he made the decision. Yeahrite!
When you only have 3 base hits in a game, regardless how good or bad your pitching is, you can’t expect to win. The Yankees didn’t, losing 5-1. Again the Yankees had an opportunity to put pressure on the Red Sox by winning a series and they failed. They are likely going to be a second place team this year and they looked every bit the part against the Red Sox yesterday afternoon. Out-hit, out-pitched, out-defended, out-managed. Pretty bad effort all around.
Where does one start?...Ok, a strange start for Sonny Gray. The right-hander worked slowly and deliberately, walking two (one intentionally) and scattering 7 hits over 5 innings. Most bizarrely in a record-setting year of strikeouts, Gray couldn’t sit down a single batter. Gray didn’t pitch particularly well, but aside from a Jackie Bradley Jr. triple in the second, he was able to avoid damage. The triple into Fenway’s center field triangle plated 2, which in hindsight was all the Red Sox needed.
Then there was the bullpen…Adam Warren was the first up to soak up some innings after Gray’s early departure, and couldn’t quite get the job done, recording 2 outs while surrendering 2 hits and a run to push the lead to 3-1. With Brock Holt due up, Joe Girardi brought in ex-closer Aroldis Chapman for a lefty-on-lefty matchup. He struck out Holt on three pitches. After that, Chapman wasn’t very good. Mookie Betts walked to start the seventh, and while the next three outs were recorded without giving up a run, Chapman threw 20 pitches to retire three batters. Chapman’s appearance was shoddy and did little to inspire confidence that he’s “back” as a trusted reliever.
Then there was the offense, of lack of….Just 3 hits! Enough said, one of those days. I always thought your best all around hitter bats in the 3 hole. Didi Gregouris, Chase Headly and even Gary Sanchez are currently the hottest hitters on the Yankees. Yet “inflexible” Joe insists in leaving Aaron Judge there and watch him strike out in big spots, again and again, and again. Yesterday he went 0-for-4 with a strikeout and a rare mental lapse in the field. He went 1-for-12 with five strikeouts in the series — and is 3-for-40 with 17 strikeouts against Boston in the second half, with no homers and no RBI. His MLB-record strikeout streak stands at 37 straight games.
Saturday Giardi said he had no intention of moving his prize rookie out of the 3 spot. He is driving this Ferrari into the mud! Please!? Someone slap some common sense into him. We need a leader that’s not afraid to hurt people’s feelings to win a damn division championship already!!
The Yankees pushed Steven Matz’s face into the dirt Thursday, completing the second season-sweep of their crosstown rival in the 21-year history of the Subway Series with a 7-5 victory at Citi Field. The gap between the Yankees and Mets has seldom been wider in the interleague era. I remember all the way back to spring training when this was going to be a Mets town and the Yankees were supposed be rebuilding. Not So Much!
Luis Severino (10-5) gave the Yankees their best pitching performance of the 2017 Subway Series, limiting the Mets to one unearned run on four hits over 6 ¹/₃ innings. It was a rebound performance for the right-hander, who had an abysmal outing against the Red Sox last weekend, when he surrendered 10 runs — eight of which were earned — in 4 ¹/₃ innings.
Gary Sanchez brought the offensive thunder, matching a career high with 5 RBIs, bludgeoning Matz and carrying the Yankees to a 4th straight victory in the series. The better news is Sanchez is showing flashes of last year’s rookie call-up sensation. In 15 games this month, Sanchez is 17-for-51 (.333) with 6 homers, 13 RBI, three doubles, 11 runs and six walks. It couldn’t have come at a better time, with the Red Sox idle, the Yankees (65-55) now sit four games behind them for the AL East lead and head up to Boston for a huge three-game set.
The team with the self proclaimed “Best pitching staff in baseball” are as far off the rails as at any point this year, unsure about the physical and/or mental state of all of the prized starters not named Jacob deGrom who were supposed to make NYC a Met city in 2017. They sit 19 games behind Washington in the NL East and 13 out of a wild card spot. They are 10-28 against teams in a playoff spot. Sorry Met fans, it’s not a Met town, instead the Yankees again own Baseball New York.
I know, I know, I’m beating a dead horse here…
The Bombers did everything they could on Tuesday to deliver a manageable lead to their closer, Aroldis Chapman. Sonny Gray fired 6 solid innings in his Yankee Stadium debut, Jacoby Ellsbury and Gary Sanchez each homered to power the offense, and Tommy Kahnle and Dellin Betances held the visiting Mets scoreless in the 7th and 8th innings. Then the Yankee manger looked at his book, you know, the chapter where it says: “No matter what, Chapman is our closer”, and headed to the mound with his left hand up.
Despite Chapman’s struggles, Girardi has stood behind him amid questions about potentially switching Betances to the closer’s role. Chapman has converted 80 percent of his save chances this season, the lowest of his career as a full-time closer. Yet there he was on the mound for the 9th, protecting a 3 run lead. After striking out Wilmer Flores to begin the inning, Chapman coughed up a single to pinch-hitter Jose Reyes and then a two-run homer to the Mets’ rookie shortstop Amed Rosario. It was an 85 mph slider that didn’t slide. He has now has given up 5 earned runs in his last 3.1 innings.
After the surrendering the blast, Chapman crouched near the mound, his back to home plate, and breathed heavily. Cather Gary Sanchez hurried out to the mound to console him. Yes, console him. Even though Chapman eventually completed the save, his 16th of the season, that image of the Yankees’ $86 million closer was lasting. He had almost cost the Yankees a win, again.
Chapman has allowed a run in 3 straight appearances. And, like Sunday, a rookie took him deep to the opposite field. On Sunday it was Rafael Devers. Last night it was Rosario. But wait! It gets worse. Chapman got hurt. He hurt his right hamstring covering first base on the final play of the game. It actually happened during the pitch. Replays showed him grimacing after releasing the ball and before breaking to cover first base. He said it’s nothing serious. Joe Girardi said he’ll go for tests Wednesday. Either way, healthy hamstring or not, Chapman has not been very good lately, and that has been the case for far too much of the season. But apparently, nothing will change, because as Joe said: “He’s our closer”!!
Can someone tell the inflexible Joe Giardi that it’s ok to go with your gut once in a while instead of “what the script says”? When Giardi was asked why he once again brought in the struggling Aroldis Chapman in the 9th allowing him to blow another save, his response was "He's my closer”, Really Joe? Are you kidding???
Despite the hard-throwing left-hander's struggles in back-to-back to back appearances, Giardi continues to risk the Yankees playoff chances by not using common sense and continually bringing him in in critical spots late in a game. Should Girardi wish to make a change at the back end of his bullpen, he does have options. David Robertson has converted 131 career saves, and served as the Chicago White Sox closer before being traded back to New York. Delin Betances in his last 3 appearances has been lights out.
Last night, the Yankees were in a prime position to beat Chris Sale again. It’s incredible that that’s true, but it is true all the same. It was right there for them with only three outs separating New York from an important series win over the Red Sox. Then thanks to Giardi, Aroldis Chapman happened.
Chapman started the inning with a strike out of Hanley Ramirez that made him look like the pitcher a team was willing to spend $86 million on. Then rookie Rafael Devers launched a ball to the deepest part of Yankee Stadium to tie the game. Girardi decided he hadn’t seen enough from his closer and sent him back out there for the top of the tenth inning. The results were predictably bad. Something about, doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results!
The Yankees are now 5.5 games behind the Red Sox in the AL East. Their closer looks incredibly shaky and their bats are still struggling to find that big hit. It’s disappointing and frustrating. They are still a game and a half up in the Wild Card, but they can absolutely hear footsteps behind them.
Oh and by the way Joe, keep batting Aaron Judge in the 3 hole and watch him continue to swing and miss the same pitches over and over. Ever consider a change in the lineup? Or do you prefer doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results?
Aaron Judge is slumping big time. Every rookie phenom gets the attention of major league scouts who then work with coaches of their employer to expose flaws. Every rookie or veteran for that matter has flaws in their swing. The idea is for the rookie is to realize the adjustments the teams are making on them and with the help of their coaches, make their own adjustments. For some reason, Judge doesn’t recognize this or can’t make the necessary adjustments. The great rookie phenoms have. And, they have gone on to greatness. (see Mike Trout, Derek Jeter, and Brice Harper)
Judge was been trying to pull the ball more since the All Star game. He has kind of said so in his recent comments, that he got away from driving the ball toward right center. What took so long to figure that out? Watching on TV it is obvious. He is trying to pull and lift everything. Kind of hard to do that with a pitch 6 inches off the ground and 6 inches or more off the plate. What really amazes me is that in the course of one game he will see that slider over and over and yet he will swing and miss it every time. Pitch recognition may be part of the problem. Also there must be a conspiracy that you cannot talk about the effect of the home run derby, because Judge has changed his approach, that’s obvious.
One would think he works with his hitting coach, watching film and learning to recognize the pitch. So far I haven’t seen that since the all star game where everything is a high fastball inside or that slider low and away. Judge, the former resident home run machine, is under .300, having dropped 30 points in just the last weeks. He has now struck out in 25 straight games. 20 of them multiple times.
The big man’s regression has had a corrosive effect on the rest of the lineup; the Yankees leaned on Judge more than anyone knew. He more than anyone was the reason the Yankees got off to that great start. Hopefully, he can turn it around soon. There is still time. Oh, and
before sportswriters, and broadcasters start anointing a player as the next Babe Ruth, let that player put together an entire season of greatness.
Joe Girardi’s squad had just survived a nerve-wracking, nail-biting bottom of the ninth inning to outlast the Indians, 2-1 at Progressive Field, to end their four-game losing streak on Saturday. Brett Gardner and Ronald Torreyes made brilliant defensive plays to bail out Aroldis Chapman, who last pitched here when he helped make Game 7 of the 2016 World Series a contest for the ages, and Carlos Santana missed a probable game-tying hit off the right-field wall by a few feet foul before looking at a Chapman slider to end it. Meanwhile sitting in the dugout was Jordan Montgomery who threw just 65 pitches and was pulled after 5 innings. He gave up 1 run, 3 hits, no walks, 7 strikeouts. Why Joe?
When asked why he pulled his starter so early, his response was “we’re built for this”. Say what?? Montgomery by the way, was sent to the minors yesterday to avoid a 6 man rotation. Did Joe want to save his arm for his next big Railriders start?
If you ask for 4 innings from your bullpen on a night your pitcher cruises through 5 innings, what are you going to do when your starters go through a bad streak and you do need your bullpen to throw some overtime? Why Joe, must you look at your charts and numbers and ignore common sense. Why do you insist on using your bullpen, night after night, even if you don’t need them!?
Joe Girardi’s incessant “by-the-book” bullpen use, could be the down fall of this team’s post season intentions. The Yankees already burned out their bullpen to the tune of a 10-22 slump earlier this season. Just because the unit has been upgraded doesn’t magically inoculate it from overuse. It just means that Girardi would have to work harder to hit such a threshold. And Girardi is well-conditioned enough, we know, to make as many walks to the mound as he desires.
The Met bullpen has been better of late. Unfortunately, Hansel Robles hasn’t been able to keep pace with the rest of the bullpen allowing the winning run in both 5-4 losses in the Rockies series. In the ninth inning Thursday, with the game tied, Robles hit one batter and walked two allowing the Rockies to win by a run. This was one of the more frustrating losses of the season, with the ninth inning playing out in about the most avoidable and yet inevitable way possible.
Robles, 24, later told reporters he had been experiencing pinching and numbness in the fingers on his throwing hand, but did not tell the coaching staff about it until after the game. When asked why he stayed in the game, being unable to feel the ball, he answered, “I was already there so I wanted to get out of the inning.” He didn’t.
Robles already had the training staff out on the mound with him in the 8 inning. He suffered a “pinched testicle” on his delivery in that inning. I swear, Im not making this stuff up.
There is certainly reason for concern. Closer Jeurys Familia also complained of numbness earlier this season and ended up having to have surgery to remove an arterial clot from his shoulder and has missed the last three months. Matt Harvey was suffering from numbness in his hand and finger last season when he was shut down to have surgery for Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. Here we go again with confusion over injuries.
There has been concern about Robles all season. Once considered a candidate to close in Familia’s absence earlier this season, Robles has allowed 18 earned runs on 28 hits and 18 walks in 30.1 innings pitched. He was demoted earlier this year to work on commanding his fastball.
Manager Terry Collins, understands it is he who likely will be the fall guy for this disaster of a Met season, but it’s shame that much of the problems with the Mets has nothing to do with him. The injuries and lack of communication about them, were the biggest of many issues with the team. I’m sure Terry is thinking about the future where he may go off into the sunset stress free and feeling comfortably numb, just like Robles fingers.
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