About Late Last Night- Yanks Lose Again
By Paul Semendinger
July 18, 2023
About Last Night:
It is not easy to stay up for the west coast games. This is especially true when the Yankees are playing so poorly. Why give up hours of sleep and fight the urge to close one's eyes when the end result of all of that is to watch one's team lose?
The Yankees have great difficulty scoring runs. They scored twice in the sixth inning. The Angels came back with one run. The Yankees then scored once in the seventh inning. The Angels came back with two runs (on a Shohei Ohtani homer off Michael King). For the Yankees, that was it for the scoring. They were done. The Angels got a run in the 10th inning to win.
The Yankees are now 50-45. With the Red Sox winning last night, the Yankees are in sole possession of last place in the American League East. If the season ended today, the Yanks would end up 2.5 games out of the Wild Card.
What I want to know, and understand, is how anyone can have any hope or faith in this team. What do they do that inspires confidence? Anything?
Over their last nine games, the Yankees are 2-7.
Luis Severino gave up only one run in six innings.
Gleyber Torres had two hits (in four at bats) and is the only Yankees regular batting over .260.
Shohei Ohtani's game-tying homer was his 35th of the season. He leads the AL in homers.
Nick Ramirez took the loss.
Even though he has not played in over a month, Aaron Judge still leads the team in home runs and runs batted in.
I think no decision demonstrates that the Yankees decision making is seriously flawed any more than the fact that their lead-off hitter last night was Oswald Peraza. Yes, this was the same player who when called up last season sat on the bench, a ton. Yes, this is the same player that when he was tearing up Triple-A baseball this year was never called up. Yes, the same player who lost the starting shortstop job to Anthony Volpe in Spring Training and was only called up as a third baseman because Josh Donaldson, the player who the Yankees put there game after game after game, is injured. It is very safe to assume that if Donaldson wasn't hurt, that Peraza would still be in the minor leagues. And yet, he was called up and, instead of bringing him into the lineup slowly, the Yankees inserted him right at the top. "Hey kid, you are the one who has to make our offense work. We have no one else." Peraza, who has been passed over again and again, a player with fewer than 85 big league at bats, and who was hitting just .212 heading into the game, was the best choice the Yankees felt they had last night to be at the top of their lineup. This is how the Yankees operate.
Now, the good news was that Peraza was on base five times! He went 1-for-1 with four walks and a run scored. It worked! The Yankees' plan worked. That does not mean it was the right decision. But, for one night, a decision that seemed ill-advised, at best, worked.
The Yankees' #6 hitter last night was Anthony Volpe. Volpe who was mired in a big slump (2-for-33, .060), and who was batting just .208 on the season, was the #6 hitter. He went 1-for-5 with a run scored, but he also struck out four times.
In consecutive games, against sub. 500 teams, the Yankees went into extra innings, and even with the ghost runner, couldn't manage to score a run in the tenth inning in either game.
The other big story was that Luis Severino, who has not pitched well this season, gave a solid performance. He pitched six innings, allowing six hits and three walks. He struck out three and allowed only one run.
Michael King, held out of the previous afternoon's game so there would be a fresh arm out of the bullpen last night, then gave up the 3-1 lead. The Yankees' bullpen, which has been worked hard all year, is now starting to wear down.
Player of the Game:
Luis Severino. If the Yankees are going to get into the race, they are going to need Severino to pitch well. (On the other hand, the trade deadline is two weeks away. The Yankees seem very far away from contention. Luis Severino will be a free agent after this season. He has had short periods of time in his career when he has been dominant. His trade value might never be higher than right now.)
Better to Forget:
That is not just Shohei Ohtani's uniform number, it's also the amount of strikeouts the Yankees batters had last night. 17. They struck out 17 times. The Yankees whiff leaders last night were: Anthony Volpe (4), Oswaldo Cabrera (3), Giancarlo Stanton (3), and Anthony Rizzo (2).
It's over. It's clear that it's over. This was the stretch when the Yankees were supposed to win - a lot. This is the soft spot in the schedule. The Yankees are not playing down to the level of their competition, they're playing below the level of their competition. The Yankees are 5-9 over their last 14 games.
A smart baseball team, a well-run franchise, would look at all the evidence, and the results, and see that this is a team that is old, unathletic, and sinking. This is not a team that has a playoff run in them. Much of the players on the wrong side of 30-years-old who will not be part of the next championship core (which seems very far away). The manager never seems to have any answers except, "We know what we have to do" and "It's right in front of us."
It is time for big changes. BIG changes. It's time to tell all of baseball that the Yankees are sellers. At this point, I think there are very few untouchable players on the big league roster. Very few. Maybe just the kids - Volpe and Peraza. Aaron Judge is a special case. He can't be traded anyway since he's injured. If I ran the team, every other player, even Gerrit Cole in the right deal, would be available. It's time to sell.
Here's my biggest take - in no way, shape, or form, should the Yankees even consider rushing Aaron Judge back at this point. Judge's long-term health is much more important than any long shot playoff hopes this year. The Yankees should shut Judge down completely. No more testing the foot. No more outfield drills. No more batting practice. Shut him down. Let him heal. Completely. It's time to look to 2024 and beyond. It's silly to chase a fading dream. Baseball Reference gives the Yankees a 1.2% chance of winning the World Series this year. It's over.
The Yankees play at 9:38 p.m. tonight against the Angels. Domingo German will be on the mound for the Yankees. He should be well rested after being lifted early in his previous start on way back on July 9.