About Yesterday Afternoon: The Yankees were Stunned by the Marlins 8-7
About Yesterday Afternoon: The Yankees were Stunned by the Marlins 8-7
By Tim Kabel
August 14, 2023
The last-place Yankees played the final game of a three-game series against the third-place Miami Marlins yesterday. The Yankees were leading 7-1 in the 6th inning. Then, Aaron Boone worked his magic, snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory. His mystifying maneuvers with the bullpen put his team in the position to suffer a humiliating loss. Kenyan Middleton threw 12 pitches in the 8th inning. There is no reason in the world why he could not have come out in the 9th inning with the Yankees leading 7-3, to close things out
The Yankees had to feel pretty secure about winning the game yesterday. If they had won, they would have won the series, and they would have been four games over .500, heading into an important series against the Atlanta Braves, the team that has the best record in baseball. After the collapse, they have to realize this season is most likely lost and they are just playing out the string.
Gerrit Cole was not spectacular yesterday but, he did what an ace is supposed to do. He left the mound with his team in position to win the game. With the pitching staff in disarray, the Yankees absolutely, positively need to win every one of Cole's starts. Yesterday, they wasted his effort and in the words of Clay Holmes, made the mountain they have to climb even higher.
Quick Stats -
Gerrit Cole entered play yesterday leading all starting pitchers in WAR at 4.8.
Clay Holmes surrendered five runs in the ninth inning after giving up just three runs over his last 35 appearances.
The Yankees lost for the first time when leading by four or more runs in the ninth inning since July 2021.
The Yankees are 3-8-1 in their last 12 series and have lost six straight rubber games of three-game series.
Anthony Volpe leads the team with nine home runs with runners on base this season.
Gleyber Torres had a career-high three stolen bases yesterday.
Despite the fact that Jake Burger already had two hits in the game and had been hot against the Yankees all weekend, Aaron Boone elected to pitch to him in the 9th inning with an open base. Naturally, he drove in the game winning run. After the game, Boone smugly stated that he never even considered walking Burger. As Yul Brynner said in The King and I, “is a puzzlement."
On August 13th, 2016, Aaron Judge made his Major League debut, hitting a home run in the second inning. Since that date, he has hit 242 home runs, which is the most in the Major Leagues in that time.
On August 13th, 2007, Phil Rizzuto passed away. He was a tremendous player and broadcaster for the New York Yankees and is in the Hall of Fame. He was also a genuinely lovable character. My favorite story about the Scooter was that he would write WW on his scorecard to indicate that he "Wasn't Watching."
The Big Story -
Some readers have stated that I overemphasize the fact that the Yankees are in last place. Well, that's where they are. They are the last-place team. It doesn't matter what place they would be in another division. To tell a poor man that he would be rich if he lived in another country doesn't help him much. As the old saying goes, "if ifs and buts were candies and nuts, we'd all have a wonderful Christmas."
The Yankees are a last-place team and will remain one until they stop playing games the way they did yesterday. The only way that I and others will stop emphasizing the fact that the Yankees are in last place is for them to actually win enough games to get out of last place.
Player of the Day -
Gerrit Cole was not perfect, but he pitched six innings and gave up two runs. He pitched well enough to win the game.
Anthony Volpe hit a two-run home run.
Better to Forget-
That I actually watched this debacle.
My Take -
Making excuses and avoiding responsibility is not only acceptable behavior these days, but also the norm. Several years ago. I was at juvenile court, interviewing a young man who was facing a litany of charges. He told me that if he stole something from a store, and the clerk didn't catch him, it was the clerk's fault, not his. Another time, I was interviewing a woman who had punched her daughter in the eye. She told me that it was the daughter's fault because she was aiming for her daughter's shoulder, but she ducked.
Aaron Boone recently said after a game that despite the fact the Yankees struck out 18 times, the offense looked pretty good. After yesterday's game, he said that the team had to put the loss behind them and began racking up wins. When you are a losing team, exactly how do you rack up wins?
Before each game, and sometimes during the game, the announcers tell us that the Yankees can turn things around with a few wins. They paint a rosy scenario in which the Yankees will somehow make it into the playoffs and then prevail as they beat up on lesser opponents. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but this season, the Yankees are the lesser opponents. They are a mere two games above .500. It is highly likely that they will end this week with a record below .500.
It is time to face facts and accept reality. This season has been a disaster for the Yankees. It is virtually impossible that they will make the playoffs. If by some miracle they do, they will be eliminated in very short order. Their starting pitching is in shambles. The bullpen is inconsistent and unreliable. The offense goes into the witness protection program for weeks at a time.
To continue to trot out the same tired, subpar veterans is foolish. In 2016, the Yankees gave Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge, Tyler Austin, and others a chance to get their feet wet in the major leagues. Many people felt that Aaron Judge was not ready for the Major Leagues at the end of 2016. However, he learned what he needed to do and in 2017, he was the Rookie of the Year and should have been the Most Valuable Player.
I'm not saying that Everson Pereira and Oswald Peraza will turn into Aaron Judge. However, the Yankees need to begin developing and nurturing their young talent. Brian Cashman holds on to his prospects the way Silas Marner held on to gold. Just like Silas Marner, he never uses the gold. Why keep these young players, if the Yankees are never going to give them an opportunity?
The Yankees are losing games as they are currently constructed. What would be the disadvantage of playing the younger players? Is there a place lower than last place? That is a question the late George Carlin would have asked. The answer is no, there is not. Not playing the young players is wasting time and stunting their development. The Yankees need to stop making excuses and take responsibility for this season. Denying that this season is a disappointment serves no purpose. The only way to improve is to accept it and make changes. That needs to happen now.
Next Up -
Tonight, the Yankees open a three-game series against the first-place Atlanta Braves at 7:20 PM Truist Park. Clarke Schmidt (8-6 4.23 ERA) will face Atlanta's Max Fried (3-1 2.50 ERA). The Braves have the best record in baseball, so this series has the potential to be unpleasant for the Yankees.