About Yesterday Afternoon: Astros Win 9-7
About Yesterday Afternoon: The Yankees Were Defeated by the Astros 9-7
By Tim Kabel
August 7, 2023
The last-place Yankees played the final game of a four-game series against the second-place Astros yesterday. Although the Yankees did fight back, it was a case of too little, too late. They came up short against the Astros in a game in which Carlos Rodon was again ineffective and left in the third inning due to hamstring tightness. He was booed as he left the mound,
although, I'm certain that a good portion of those boos were aimed at manager Aaron Boone.
The Yankees split the series against the Astros and are just four games above .500. They are mercifully no longer in the last place, not because of anything they did but, because the Red Sox lost four games in a row. The Yankees are still on the outside, looking in as far as the playoffs go. They will now play 19 of their next 25 games on the road. I suppose it's better to be booed on the road than it is at home, which would be the one advantage of this road trip. These days, the Yankees are booed everywhere. Until they play better, that situation is unlikely to change.
Quick Stats -
Before yesterday's game, Gleyber Torres was 9 for 18 in the month of August. He hit a home run in his first at-bat and had three hits on the day. Hopefully, he remains as hot as the weather all month long.
Jake Bauers had four home runs in his last seven games headed into yesterday.
19 of the Yankees' next 25 games are on the road.
There are only two players in major league history who stood 5' 6" or shorter who hit 200 career home runs. Jose Altuve and Hack Wilson.
Houston's Chas McCormick and Kyle Tucker are the only two active major leaguers who bat right-handed and throw left-handed.
Aaron Boone, who goes through relief pictures faster than he goes through sticks of bubble gum, left Wandy Peralta in for the sixth inning after he finished the fifth inning. Normally he would have replaced him with one of his other relief pitchers, but he did not. He did not even have anyone else warming up in the bullpen. In short order, Peralta gave up two home runs and four runs. Why did Boone leave Peralta in for the sixth inning, which goes against his normal process? Why didn't he have someone warming up in the bullpen? As Yul Brynner said in The King and I, “Is a puzzlement."
On August 6th, 1979, Bobby Murcer drove in all five runs in the Yankees 5-4 victory over the Baltimore Orioles. Earlier that day, Murcer delivered one of the eulogies for Thurman Munson in Canton, Ohio. That game and Murcer's performance added to the lore and legacy of both men.
The Big Story -
The Yankees are 58-54 after 112 games. They have 50 games left in the season. The assumption is that the last wild card team will win approximately 90 games. That means the Yankees would have to win 32 of their remaining 50 games. That means they would have to play .640 baseball for the rest of the year. So far, they have played .518 baseball. You don't have to be a wizard in math to determine that it is extremely unlikely for the Yankees to make the playoffs. It is more likely that Arnold Schwarzenegger's miniature horse, Whiskey, will win the Kentucky Derby than it is that the Yankees will make it into the playoffs. This is looking more and more like a lost year every day. Even when the Yankees don't lose a series, they don't win it either. They are not gaining ground; they are running in place.
Player of the Day -
Gleyber Torres had three hits, including a home run and drove in two runs.
Harrison Bader also had three hits and drove in two runs. Between him and Torres, they accounted for 6 of the Yankees' 8 hits and drove in 4 of their 7 runs.
Better to Forget-
The pitching performances of Carlos Rodon and Wandy Peralta. Giancarlo Stanton was 0-6, continuing his pattern of streakiness.
My Take -
If you are in a swimming pool or a few feet off the shore in Long Island Sound, and you are treading water, it is perfectly fine. If you get tired, all you have to do is put your feet down. You are not in any real danger. However, if you are doing the same thing in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, it is quite a different matter. Right now, the Yankees are treading water in the middle of a shark infested ocean while wearing chum scented aftershave. To paraphrase Yogi Berra, "t's getting late early out there."
Brian Cashman and Aaron Boone are stubbornly claiming that the Yankees are still "In it to win it." I don't know what they think they are in or what they think they will win. The answer to both appears to be "nothing". At the end of the season both Cashman and Boone should be told, in the words of Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka, "You lose. You get nothing. Good day, sir."
The Yankees continue to play the lineup of shaky, streaky veterans, stubbornly pushing forward on a trip to nowhere. Isiah Kiner- Falefa is actually hitting and having a good season. However, he is not the long-term solution for anything. It is extremely unlikely that he will be on the team next year. He's a placeholder. The Yankee should have moved on from him. DJ LeMahieu has improved his hitting lately but, is he part of the future for this team? I doubt it.
Anthony Rizzo is out for the foreseeable future due to his poorly handled and misdiagnosed concussion. That is not his fault. It is likely that he will return close to the level that he was at prior to that injury. In the meantime, Jake Bauers is doing a very good job filling in. He should remain in that role for now to see if this is just a mirage or if he is actually a player who can help the Yankees moving forward. If he is, Rizzo could be traded before next season, once he demonstrates that he is fully recovered from his concussion. There are rumors that the Yankees may be interested in Luke Voit. That would be a colossal mistake. Voit is a one-dimensional, selfish player, who is in his 30's. The last thing the Yankees need is him clogging up the roster and mugging for the cameras.
The Yankees would lose very little if they brought up Oswald Peraza and Everson Pereira and played them regularly. They need to see what they have heading into next year. They should also play Oswaldo Cabrera more often. If he's not going to play, he should go back to the minor leagues. He has not started a game since he was recalled from Scranton.
The Yankees have a very slim chance of making the playoffs, and it is highly unlikely they would last very long even if they did. However, they still have a lot of viable pieces for the future. They need to determine where their needs are and what they can bring up from their own minor league system. They need to begin that process now.
The larger issue is to decide who will be making the decisions regarding the roster and the team on the field. Aaron Boone and Brian Cashman both need to go. If the Yankees decide to let them play out the string for the rest of the year, they should be gone in October. Unfortunately, that will cost the Yankees time in evaluating some of their young players but decisions can be made based on the minor league performances from this year and what is done in spring training. One way or another, changes need to be made and Boone and Cashman need to be dismissed. It is highly unlikely to survive treading water in a shark infested ocean. Sooner or later, you will run out of luck. That time is here for Cashman and Boone.
Next Up -
Tonight, the Yankees open a three-game series against the Chicago White Sox at 8:10 PM at Guaranteed Rate Field. Gerrit Cole (10-2 2.64 ERA) will face Chicago's Dylan Cease (4-5 4.61 ERA).