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  • Writer's pictureAndy Singer

About Last Night: Yanks Drop Series Opener To The White Sox, 5-1

By Andy Singer

August 8th, 2023

Photo Credit: Melissa Tamez, Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Big Story

Once again, the Yankees were unable to score runs against one of the worst teams in baseball. It would be one thing if this were merely a case of the Yankees continuing their run as possibly the worst offense in baseball, but the Yankees were asked to face not just the other team’s pitchers, but home plate umpire Laz Diaz as well. Aaron Boone was ejected in the 8th inning for arguing balls and strikes (more on that in a minute), but it did little to spark the Yankees’ struggling offense. If you’re looking for a silver lining, at least we can talk about failure with runners in scoring position, like the old days, instead of just abject failure, as the Yankees only scored 1 run after loading the bases on 3 separate occasions.

Oh, and Gerrit Cole was very good despite the fact that his final line shows 4 ER allowed; he ran out of gas in the 8th inning, and Tommy Kahnle allowed both inherited runners from Cole to score. It was yet another frustrating night to be a Yankee fan.

A Deeper Dive

Different Strike Zones for Different Teams

Laz Diaz is a bad home plate umpire with a known bias for pitches in the left-handed batter’s box. Surely MLB knows this and has done nothing to help Diaz improve over the years. Or worse, they’ve worked with Diaz to help him understand the flaw, but now he applies that knowledge selectively in such a way that he calls an uneven game. Whatever the case, it led to a frustrating strike zone for the Yankees on Monday night.

Don’t believe me? Here were the called balls and strikes against the White Sox with Cole on the mound:

Here were the called balls and strikes for White Sox pitchers:

Diaz was more even with the strike zone after Boone’s ejection in the 8th inning, but by that point the damage was done. Diaz allowed White Sox starter, Dylan Cease, to pepper the left-handed batter’s box with outside curveballs for strikes early in counts, which put Yankee hitters on their heels immediately during at-bats at crucial moments of the game.

I actually fault Boone here; he should have gotten himself tossed earlier, as Diaz was more even late in the game. I can’t help but think the Yankees would have another run or two if the strike zone were fairer to both teams.

A Bad Offense

Let’s get one thing straight while we’re here, though: the Yankees should have scored more than one run on Monday night, bad strike zone or not. When you load the bases 3 times, there’s very little excuse to come away with just one run on a sac fly. Sean Casey has been around for a few weeks now…I can’t say I see a difference in the results, even if anecdotally I see a bit more fight during at-bats.

Sometimes, You Just Have To Tip Your Cap

It looked like Jake Bauers had ripped a 2 or 3-run double 100 MPH down the RF line with 2 outs and the bases loaded in the top of the 6th inning, but first baseman Andrew Vaughn had other ideas. He made a fantastic diving stop deep in the infield at the line, then outraced Bauers to first base by an eyelash.

The hit would have at least tied the game, and possibly given the Yanks the lead, but alas, the Yankees can’t catch a break.

Player Of The Game

Gerrit Cole? It’s hard to pick, honestly. He didn’t have his best stuff, but he kept the Yankees in the game, which is all you can ask from your ace when he’s working with his “C” game.

Notable Performances

Aaron Judge got on-base 3 times, with 2 hits and a walk.

Volpe had a hit and a walk, getting on-base twice in 4 plate appearances, as did Harrison Bader, DJ LeMahieu, and Gleyber Torres (though Torres’ hit was a generous gift from the official scorer).

Better To Forget

Tommy Kahnle’s performance, and a smashed water cooler won’t help him forget either. He allowed both inherited runners to score, and he allowed a run of his own, just for good measure.

My Take

This is a bad team, and while I tend to be the optimist in the room, the magic isn’t coming. A game like this is as much proof as anyone should need of that. Even when the Yankees get gobs of baserunners, they can’t finish the job and score. Sure, Laz Diaz was partially to blame, but that’s not a good enough excuse. The Yankees are making the old, “round ball, round bat, hit it square” axiom look even harder than one would imagine.

To make the playoffs, the Yankees need to play .625 ball the rest of the way…I just don’t see it.

Looking To Tomorrow

Clarke Schmidt takes on Touki Toussaint as the Yanks look to even the series. Game starts at 8:10.

13 Kommentare

Alan B.
Alan B.
08. Aug. 2023

This coach and play by the analytics gets more embarrassing every day. Zero in game adjustments. How about trying to just foul the ball off, or his about taking a step closer to the plate in a more upright position to reach the outside pitch that is being called a strike? Or how about some longer bats? The Yankees for the most part of about a decade or longer haven't really hit well with RISP. No game plan to deal with it, EVER?

The entire process as I outlined here in some detail last week need an overhaul. It needs to start now. Tell Cashman to start making changes today, and I'm willing to give him until October 2. If…

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Andy Singer
Andy Singer
08. Aug. 2023

Just a quick comment: Diaz's calls did hurt the Yanks - see the official grade below. It doesn't change the fact that the Yanks are bad offensively, but the umping last night didn't help, and wasn't fair to both sides.

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Paul Semendinger
Paul Semendinger
08. Aug. 2023
Antwort an

Good job Andy.

The problem, though, isn't the umps (as you said).

Maybe, on one night it was, but overall... it's not.

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08. Aug. 2023

Good points, Andy. I agree, forget the umpire, he was bad for both sides. The only thing that matters here is 1-12 with RISP. I do not see a path for them play .625 ball the rest of the way. I can't remember a less athletic NYY team. Not to beat a dead horse, but I can trace all of these problems back to 12/11/2017. That was the date they decided to acquire Stanton and the remaining 11 years and 260MM of his contract. That put them in a hole that have yet to come out of and started a series of deals and trades that have put them where they are today. It was bad then, and its terrible…

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Paul Semendinger
Paul Semendinger
08. Aug. 2023
Antwort an

They're back. Sometime WIX is funky.

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08. Aug. 2023

Laz Diaz wasn't behind the plate when the Yankees were leaving the bases loaded against the Astros this past weekend. They're just not getting it done.

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Andy Singer
Andy Singer
08. Aug. 2023
Antwort an

No argument from me there. I agree that this offense simply isn't getting it done - my reference is related only to last night's game.

This team's biggest problem offensively is falling behind in the count. Here is the MLB average batting line in 1-0 counts:

.352/.357/.638 .995 OPS

Here it is in 0-1 counts:

.316/.325/.505 .830 OPS

Significant fall-off, right?

Here's where the Yankees stand on those fronts:

1-0: .345/.348/.697 1.045 OPS

0-1: .274/.283/.417 .700 OPS

The Yankees are better than league average in 0-1 counts, but one of the worst in baseball when they fall behind 0-1. That speaks to an issue with their approach as an offense in those situations, but it also highlights the way that weakness can be exploite…

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Paul Semendinger
Paul Semendinger
08. Aug. 2023

It gets more embarrassing by the day. I'll have more on this tomorrow or Thursday, but...

I know that people love Boone's theatrics. I though he embarrassed himself.

I believe he should be suspended.

When your team is in last place, the problem isn't the umpire(s).

Oh, and the tired trope that, "The Yankees would be in first place in the AL Central" is no longer true.

Twins: 60-54 .526

Yanks: 58-55 .513

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Andy Singer
Andy Singer
08. Aug. 2023
Antwort an

Typically, I would agree, as I'm not one for theatrical managerial outbursts. However....

Laz Diaz was embarrassing last night behind the plate, and fascinatingly, he was more even after Boone was tossed. Given the outcome, Boone should have argued earlier, for a team claiming that they want to make the playoffs.

Agree on all other points, though. This team isn't good, and I don't really care about division alignment even given the circumstances.

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