About Last Night: The Yankees Beat the Rays 6-2
About Last Night: The Yankees Beat the Rays 6-2
By Tim Kabel
August 26, 2023
The last-place Yankees opened a three-game series against the second-place Tampa Bay Rays last night. The Yankees were 1-9 in the 10 games prior to last night. They just lost two of three games to the Washington Nationals. Last night, they looked like a first-place team. Unfortunately, looking like a first-place team for one game and being a first-place team are not the same thing. They won a game with Gerrit Cole pitching, which is what they are supposed to do. The Yankees are still four games under .500 after last night's victory. Let's not make this win into more than it was. It was a great game and a solid win, but it was just one game.
Quick Stats -
Gerrit Cole bounced back after his clunker against the Red Sox. It was his 20th start this season in which he allowed two runs or fewer.
DJ LeMahieu had his first multi-home run game since May 2021.
The Yankees have lost 17 of their last 24 games.
The Yankees showed some sparkling defense last night, particularly by Oswald Peraza and Anthony Volpe. That is a positive sign heading into next year.
Gleyber Torres trails only Robinson Cano with the most seasons with 20 or more home runs by a middle infielder in team history. Torres is tied with Joe Gordon with four seasons, while Cano has five.
Before the game, Josh Donaldson was taking batting practice. He is on the 60-day IL and will not be eligible to return until September 16th. Aaron Boone stated that it is a distinct possibility he could return to the team and play in games in the last two weeks of the season. That makes no sense whatsoever. If it's possible to make negative sense, that's statement does it. Why would the Yankees even consider giving Josh Donaldson at bats at the expense of Oswald Peraza? As Yul Brynner said in The King and I, “is a puzzlement."
On August 25th, 2011, The Yankees became the first team in Major League history to hit three grand slams in one game. The home runs were hit by Robinson Cano, Russell Martin, and Curtis Granderson. The Yankees beat the Oakland A's 22-9.
The Big Story -
The Yankees are no longer contenders. They have virtually no chance to win the division or even make the playoffs. Their season will end on October 1st when they play the Kansas City Royals. However, they can play the role of spoiler when they play the other teams in the division. They can thwart the playoff aspirations of the Rays, the Red Sox, and the Blue Jays. In order to do that, they will have to win. It's certainly not the role the Yankees wanted to play this season. It is not something they have done often or recently. They wanted to be in contention for the playoffs. They wanted to go to the World Series. They need to accept what they have become and what they are this season and do their best with that while they build for next season.
Player of the Day -
DJ LeMahieu had three hits, including two solo home runs.
Notable Performances -
Gleyber Torres and Anthony Volpe each had two hits.
Better to Forget-
There wasn't much to complain about, except for the fact that Aaron Boone was still sitting in the dugout blowing bubbles.
My Take -
When the president of the United States loses an election, or finishes out his second term in office, he continues to serve until the next president is sworn in, which happens on January 20th in the year after the election. During that time, the president is referred to as a lame duck. (I'm sure the people at PETA will come up with another term sooner or later.) He occupies the office, giving his successor time to prepare to be president.
Quick question: Who is the only person to have both taken and administered the presidential oath of office? (The answer will appear at the end of this article.)
The manager of the baseball team is not an elected position. There is no reason for him to stay in that job through the end of the season unless it is unclear if he will return. It should be very clear to everyone that Aaron Boone should not and will not return next year. There is no point in having him remain at the helm. That is like removing the sails from a ship or the oars from the oarsman and allowing the vessel to drift aimlessly at sea.
The Yankees are having a dreadful season. The general manager has gone on record to describe it as a disaster. In order to make sure that next year is not a disaster, decisions need to be made as to which players will return and which players will not. Despite the fact that many fans, me included, believe that Brian Cashman's tenure should be coming to an end, Hal Steinbrenner has stated that he will return. Now, he could change his mind, but he is much less mercurial than his father, and changing his mind is not something Hal seems to do very often.
If we accept the premise that Cashman will be returning, it is fair to say that in addition to changes to the roster, he will be making changes to the coaching staff, including the manager. There is no point in keeping Aaron Boone as the manager now. They should bring someone else in to help with the evaluation process of the young players. Right now, Oswald Peraza, Everson Pereira, and Anthony Volpe will be playing regularly. Oswaldo Cabrera will be playing sporadically. The Yankees may bring up Austin Wells when the rosters expand.
As I have written many times, Aaron Boone has not shown the ability to develop young players. He has not even demonstrated the ability to communicate well with them. He seems to be out of touch in many ways. I found it interesting that after Aaron Judge had his first three home run game the other night, Boone managed to work in the fact that he, himself had two three home run games in his career. As Archie Bunker used to say, ‘’whoopty doo.” Honestly, no one cares about that. Boone always seems to find a way to inject himself into the moment. He was not a great player, and he is not a great manager.
The Yankees should turn the reins of the team over to one of Boone's current coaches or perhaps Shelley Duncan, the Scranton Wilkes-Barre manager. There are many people who have advocated for Duncan to get a shot as the team’s manager. He is young, has paid his dues, and seems to be able to blend both analytics and traditional methods as a manager. There may be other choices but, he is already working with the team and is quite familiar with several players who will hopefully play major roles in 2024. The Yankees do not have to wait until the season ends and have a major ceremony to swear Duncan in. Although Boone has functioned like a lame duck for years, he doesn't need to be one any longer.
Next Up -
Today, the Yankees play the second game of the three-game series against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field at 4:10 PM. Clarke Schmidt (8-7 4.68 ERA) will face Tampa Bay’s Tyler Glasnow (6-4 3.35 ERA). Hopefully, Clarke provides the Yankees with a safe landing the way his father did piloting the Yankees flight to Tampa.
The answer to the question above is William Howard Taft, who was the only man to be both Chief Justice of the Supreme Court and President of the United States. The former was a job he always wanted; the latter was a job he never wanted.