About Last Night: The Yankees Edge the Red Sox 3-2
By Tim Kabel
August 14, 2022
The Yankees needed to win last night. They do have a 10-game lead over the Blue Jays in the American League East but, considering how they have been playing lately, they had to start turning things around. Although they had the fourth best record in baseball going into last night's game, it used to be the best, by far. They have been slipping, and it is very easy for a slip to turn into a fall. The Yankees are once again 30 games over .500 and if they turn things around, the team and the fans can feel more confident as they head into the playoffs. However, that could be a big if. They have played mediocre baseball f or over a month. As impressive and exciting as last night’s win was; it was just one game. They need to return to their winning ways on a consistent basis.
The Yankees were 7-14 since the All-Star break going into last night’s game.
Aaron Hicks came into the game in a 5-49 slump. He went 0-4 last night, with three strikeouts. including one with two runners on in the 9th inning. Someone, please remind me why he's on the team. Estevan Florial deserves more than 11 scattered at-bats as a showcase.
Andrew Benintendi’s diving catch in the bottom of the sixth inning helped validate his acquisition by the Yankees. His double in the ninth inning sealed the deal. Remember, he replaced Joey Gallo, so the bar is not that high.
Gleyber Torres entered the game hitting .181 since the All-Star game. He went 0-4. It seems that he and Hicks are doing their version of, “Anything you can do, I can do worse.”
On yesterday’s date in 2016, Aaron Judge hit a home run in his first Major League at bat.
Aaron Boone won his 400th career game as a manager last night. That just proves the old saying, “Even a blind squirrel finds 400 acorns eventually."
On yesterday's date in 2007, Phil Rizzuto passed away. I offer you my favorite Scooter quote in his honor, “A day without cannoli is like a day without sunshine.”
The Yankees plugged the leak in the ship as they sail toward the playoffs. Well, at least they plugged it for one night. During their tremendous run earlier this season, the Yankees excelled in winning one run games. Lately, they have been losing those games. Last night, they returned to their earlier form. They did not tear the cover off the ball but, they did get some timely hits and they played small ball. Frankie Montas was not spectacular but, he wasn't horrible either. This could be a step in the right direction. I just hope it’s not like the steps Tim Conway used to take as the old man on the Carol Burnett Show.
Player of the Game:
Isiah Kiner-Falefa had three hits, including his first home run as a Yankee, and three RBI. He made some good defensive plays too, and it was his squeeze bunt that drove in the winning run in the ninth inning. The only person more excited than Kiner-Falefa was John Sterling because he could finally break out his new home run call.
Aroldis Chapman. had another solid outing, pitching 1.1 hitless innings, with two strikeouts.
Better to Forget:
Gleyber Torres and Aaron Hicks were hitless. Torres at least made some solid contact and was robbed of an extra base hit by Alex Verdugo in the fourth inning. Torres might benefit from a day off to get his head straight. Hicks might benefit from the rest of the season off to get everyone else's head straight.
The Yankees and their fans can heave a collective sigh of relief after last night's victory. All is not right in the world but, it would have been a lot worse if they lost again last night. The Red Sox have not won a series of more than one game against any American League East team this season. It will be bad news if they end that skein against the Yankees. The Yankees need to win tonight and get back in the habit of doing it consistently. Although they are in first place by a wide margin, there are still some major concerns with this team.
I have written many times that I am not a fan of Aaron Boone. I think he is a mediocre manager who happens to have a very talented team. One of the main reasons he was brought in was his purported skill as a communicator. Gabby Johnson communicated more clearly in Blazing Saddles than Boone does. He does not seem to express himself well to either his team or the media. On top of that, he can often be condescending, dismissive, and somewhat pompous. You can be pompous if you have achieved something. Boone has not. Larry Bird was apparently very pompous but, he backed it up with his play and victories.
The Yankees tremendous start was essentially Boone-proofing. They were doing so well that his weaknesses were masked and irrelevant. Now, the team is struggling, and his flaws and inadequacies are completely visible. Boone frequently appears to be lost; if he were driving in the Indianapolis 500, he would stop halfway through to ask for directions. Replacing Boone at this point is not an option. The only option is to improve the team and its performance to the point where Boone can do no harm. Bringing up Estevan Florial and Oswald Peraza could make a big difference. At the very least, it wouldn't hurt. There are also other moves that could be made.
Pitching, and in particular, the bullpen has been an issue, particularly since the injuries to Chad Green and Michael King, and the regression of Clay Holmes. Therefore, I'm puzzled by the fact that two highly effective pitchers are in Scranton. Perhaps they like to eat scrapple for breakfast. Other than that, please tell me why Ron Marinaccio and Clarke Schmidt are in AAA. I understand they are trying to stretch Clarke Schmidt out for a possible starting role but, Domingo German has been more than adequate after his first start against Houston. What good does the fact that Clarke Schmidt pitched six no-hit innings the other day do for the Yankees on the Major League level? The answer is, absolutely none. He could be on this team pitching two or three scoreless innings. Would you rather see him or Albert Abreu in a high-pressure situation? The same goes for Marinaccio. I'm aware that Albert Abreu seems to be a pet project of Boone, or someone. He has shown progress but, either Marinaccio or Schmidt would be a major upgrade. The Yankees are also trying to straighten out Jonathan Loaisiga. I don't believe you should have two projects in your bullpen during a stretch run for the playoffs. The Yankees need to bring Schmidt and/or Marinaccio up immediately and put them in the bullpen.
The trading deadline may have passed but, there are still moves the Yankees can make internally to improve the team.
Tonight, the Yankees wrap up the three-game series against the Red Sox in Boston at 7:08 PM. Boston’s Michael Wacha (6-1 2.69 ERA) will face Jameson Taillon (11-2 3.95 ERA).