About Last Night: Sox Score 3, Yanks Get Zero
by Mike Whiteman
August 15, 2022
By Mike Whiteman 8/15/2022 Happy Birthday Scott Brosius! One of my favorite Yankees, he was an underrated player who did a lot of things well. His 1998 season was just remarkable, a 5+ WAR with 98 RBI while batting primarily in the eighth and ninth spots in the order. His great year was capped with a 1998 World Series MVP performance. Who can forget this moment in 2001?
Now THAT was a rocking Yankee Stadium.
The Yankees are 72-43 on the season. They lead the American League East by ten games. They have the second best record in the American League – behind only Houston. They are 10.5 games ahead of AL Central leader Cleveland in the pursuit of a first round bye in the playoffs.
As of this morning they are on pace for 101 wins.
The Yanks are 8-15 since the All-Star break, and 3-9 in August.
The Big Story: The Yankees offensive woes continued, as they only scratched out two singles in a 3-0 loss to Boston.
Player of the Game: In his first action since June, Michael Wacha retired the first fourteen batters he faced, then thereafter allowed only two hits, completing seven scoreless innings while striking out nine. He is a stellar 7-1, 2.44 in his injury interrupted season. Notable Performances: Jameson Taillon deserved better – seven IP six hits, zero walks, three earned runs. Three of his last four starts meet the quality start criteria (six innings pitched, three runs allowed). Better to Forget: The anemic Yankee offense has scored three or less runs in each of the past five games. It sure feels like that 22-6 June record was a long, long time ago. They Said It: “It’s baseball. You’re going to go through stretches like this. Every team does” – Aaron Judge on the Yankees recent slump. My take: There has been a lot written about how to “fix” this team. My humble opinion is that there are two main steps to making this team whole again: 1. Get healthy 2. Straighten out the bullpen Getting healthy may be the “easy” part, as there’s not a lot the team can do but wait and hope. I really think the most damaging injury has been the one to Giancarlo Stanton. Getting Matt Carpenter and Harrison Bader in the lineup will be nice, but I think Stanton is the real impact player. With the slugger on the shelf, the Yanks lose his power, his swagger, and lengthening of the lineup. If Stanton were healthy, he could be in right field, Judge in center, and Aaron Hicks on the bench. It seems to be taking longer for Stanton to come back than initially hoped, and even though the team has been scuffling, I’d take it slow with him out of an abundance of caution. I think the team will want/need to have the option to put Stanton in the outfield in the postseason and should hold him out as long as needed to in order to ensure full health. If Carpenter comes back, I suspect he’s almost guaranteed to be in a DH/pinch hit role, so let’s get Stanton right and in the field. The bullpen is a bit more complicated, and frankly more concerning to me. Looking at the Yankee relief corps, I’d use the adjective of “nice”. There are several “nice” pitchers, but no real monsters who can just dominate hitters as Mike King and Clay Holmes did in the first half. Who will be the nasty pitcher from the pen that nobody wants to face in the later innings? In the past, Aroldis Chapman has qualified but the aura has gone away along with some of his fastball velocity and occasionally his command. Can Holmes get his control and confidence back and dominate again? Aaron Boone will need to figure this piece out and figure it out relatively quickly, with just under a third of the season left. I felt like Boone did an excellent job of piecing a pen back together last year after injury and poor performance, and these skills will be needed again. Next Up: Back to the friendly confines of Yankee Stadium, where they are 41-15 in 2022, tonight at 7:05. The pesky Rays come to town, and Gerrit Cole (9-4, 3.38) tries to string another dominant outing against the ever elusive TBA for the Rays.