Should we be excited about 2 straight wins, or worried?
Quick Stats -
Winning Pitcher: Greg Weissert (2-0, 8.10 ERA)
Losing Pitcher: Trevor Megill (3-2, 3.96 ERA)
Save: Clay Holmes (19, 2.38 ERA)
Home Runs (New York): Marwin Gonzalez (4), Aaron Judge (54), Isiah Kiner-Falefa (2)
Home Runs (Twins): Gary Sanchez (14)
Big Story - There is no one "big story" of the Yankees right now. It seems as though whoever it is on the team or involved with the organization has one thing or another being asked about them. To go over all of it would take forever. So, without further ado, let's get into forever.
Okay, not really. I don't have the time, patience, or energy to devote to writing an essay about each failing piece in the 2022 Yankees organization as of September 5th. However, I do have a lot to say about what is going on with the Yankees, starting with the line-up they put out there yesterday. Let's take a quick look at my pre- and post-game thoughts.
(1) Gleyber Torres - 2B
Pregame: Since the All-Star Break, had been hitting to a .187/.218/.293/.511 triple-slash going into yesterday's game. This is a very worrying sign. With DJ LeMahieu being rested after he had a 2-34 stretch at the plate over his past 9 games, and with Andrew Benintendi out for at least 10 days after breaking the hook off his hamate bone, the Yankees have nobody else to turn to as a lead off hitter.
Postgame: A single at the right time brought Gleyber home on an Aaron Judge home run. Some would say "the Yankees told you so", but I'm not putting any stock into 1 hit in 4 at bats. In those 4 at-bats he's saw just 13 pitches, swinging at just 4 (two fouls, two balls in play for outs). Maybe it's nitpicking, maybe it's Gleyber starting to show some patience at the plate, but I have no faith that he'd go away from his "swing at the first pitch" approach in a line-up spot that demands a high average and long-worked at-bats.
(2) Aaron Judge - CF
Pregame: The only reason many of us are watching Yankees games. He's getting quite literally zero line-up protection to the point where the only thing to do is to play him as the lead-off hitter. Maximize the amount of at-bats he gets as he chases down the 61 home run mark until another batter (and hopefully more than just one) can prove to hit competently enough to compliment Judge before and after in the order. It's also time to put Judge back in right field. Don't risk him with injury at this point.
Postgame: Like I said, the only really truly exciting thing is watching Aaron Judge go for 60/61/62 home runs. He had a little bit of a slump going there, but 3 home runs in 3 games will definitely help put his numbers and pace back where they need to be. There is no time to let up if Judge wants to have that milestone (and an MVP) on his back for negotiations come this winter. I think he'll get both.
(3) Giancarlo Stanton - DH
Pregame: Arriving back on the scene after his yearly time off due to injury, he has managed to collect just 4 hits (all singles) in his 9 games (35 at bats) since returning. Not much of a scary threat behind Judge at the moment.
Postgame: And back to the IL Giancarlo is likely to go. Unfortunately, this is just the way that he is. A heck of a ballplayer and a heck of a home run hitter when healthy, but he just can't seem to stay on the field. It's one of the biggest "hidden tools" that a player can have is that ability to avoid injury and it's something that is going to eat at the Yankees each and every year going forward. It's also a cautious tale vis-a-vis Aaron Judge. Remember Stanton's miraculous 2017 season with 59 home runs? Since then over the last 5 seasons he's hit just 104...in almost 5 seasons he hasn't even been able to double that home run total. Just something to think about.
(4) Josh Donaldson - 3B
Pregame: Defenders will say his attitude is a good thing to try and spark some emotion into a lifeless Yankees team. Attackers will say that he isn't playing well enough to be able to chirp at opposing teams. Ultimately, both are right because while his personality on the field is moving the Yankees players, it is doing so in a way that seems to turn them off from Josh. How he's become the "clean-up hitter" is beyond me as he's hit just 3 home runs since the All-Star break.
Postgame: Things were much better today for Donaldson, who collected 1 hit and 2 walks in 2 at-bats/4 plate appearances. Maybe it's time to let him focus solely on hitting to make sure that this isn't an outlier type performance. Now that Stanton is likely to sit for a few days (or even go on the IL again), it opens up a place for, lets say, Josh Donaldson to become the everyday DH? It would open up third base to allow the Yankees some room to play good baseball in the field again too. Just wait.
(5) Jose Trevino - C
Pregame: Up through this June, Trevino was the sign of yet another diamond in the rough for the Yankees of the late-2010's and early 2020's. Since then he's taken a huge step back to push himself down to a .260 AVG. Having a catcher hit near .300 in todays game of baseball is to be unexpected (unless their name is JT Realmuto), however of all the things going wrong, Trevino is the least of my worries. Truthfully, I am happy that they are finally moving him up in the lineup. For what it's worth, he has a better SLG since the All-Star Break (.400) than Donaldson (.345).
Postgame: Truthfully, I have no additional comments for or about Trevino after today's game. It's clear he's closer to a .260/.270 hitter than a .300 hitter (which isn't bad or not to be expected) and I'm perfectly okay with that coming from the catchers spot.
(6) Oswaldo Cabrera - RF
Pregame: He's getting his shot to become a major leaguer. Tasked with batting 3rd in the Sunday game against the Tampa Bay Rays he came through with a sac fly to score Aaron Judge (which isn't nothing) and unlike Donaldson, his fire comes from a sheer desire to play well, to impress at the MLB level, and to enjoy the game. My only problem with Cabrera isn't his fault as he's become a defacto right fielder for the Yankees. Why they are testing him so often their instead of giving actual outfielders (Estevan Florial) a chance drives me nuts, but he's playing the position well and I cannot be mad at a rookie hitting .200 through 17 games when the team (minus Judge) hit nearly .200 in the entire month of August.
Postgame: I'm going to come down a little strong here and say that I'm hoping Oswaldo can deliver a couple of multi hit games this week. His defense is unquestionable at this point. Unfortunately today dropped his average down to .190 and a quick string of 1/2-hit games back-to-back-to-back would both help this Yankees team end this horrible skid and give him more confidence at the plate. He's pushing a little too hard right now. Get the hitting coaches to help him relax and it will come. Rookies gotta rookie for a little bit. And, even though I can't stand watching Cabrera get shunted around the field I am holding out hope this means Marwin Gonzalez is seeing his last days in pinstripes.
(7) Isiah Kiner-Falefa - SS
Pregame: I'd have no problems with IKF if he was used in the right way. Much like the Yankees tried to do with Gleyber Torres from 2019-2021, he is showing that he is not a shortstop and yet the Yankees continue to throw him to the wolves. Imagine if he was playing third base (where he was a gold glover), helping to rid the Yankees of the Josh Donaldson problem. It may help to swing the tide for IKF to get the fans back on his side.
Postgame: Well, I didn't expect to see IKF hit a home run today and as much as I will argue against the "home run or bust" offense, that doesn't mean I don't like seeing players put balls over the fences. Maybe it's also time to give my idea some more credence about playing IKF at third going forward. Imagine JD as the DH (it's not the worst thing ever), IKF at third base, and a natural shortstop playing shortstop. It's a crazy idea, but maybe, just maybe, the Yankee should play the prospects they bring up...just like Oswald Peraza. Don't let the kid sit. Get him up and moving.
(8) Tim Locastro - LF
Pregame: I'm not going to talk about Tim Locastro. He's only on the team to be a speedy guy for the basepaths and that's all he should be being used for. Instead, I want to highlight that Estevan Florial has played just 1 inning (as a defensive replacement) since being called up. The Yankees love to sell us on their prospects. The Yankees also love to avoid playing those prospects at all cost. If they're good they can play. If they're horrible it makes sense why the Yankees hide them. Watching this happen to Florial makes me question Peraza's abilities too.
Postgame: No additional comments. Florial got 2 innings (wow...) of defensive replacement time today. Signal a changing of the times, the Yankees finally learned. (If you can't sense my sarcasm here, I'm sorry.)
(9) Marwin Gonzalez - 1B
Pregame: Marwin Gonzalez started a game at first base for the 2022 Yankees. That's embarrassing that the Yankees have no other options. Rizzo has a bad back and DJ gets an off day so Marwin Gonzalez takes over. Honestly, this line-up just gives off 2013/2014 feelings to me where nobody in the lineup was any good and it was a hodgepodge of talent thrown wherever an opening was. Maybe it's time to put Cabrera here so he can learn another position on the fly at the MLB level too. Can't mess with the players enough!
Postgame: If you told me that the Yankees would have Marwin Gonzalez and IKF both homer in a game, I'd probably believe you, but I would imagine that happened at the Triple-A level. Hey, fair enough is fair enough. Good on Marwin. My feelings haven't changed though. The Yankees (as told by Brian Cashman) avoiding bringing in Carlos Correa due to the trashcan/cheating scandal and yet Marwin Gonzalez is still on the team? What a hypocritical thing to do! Oi vey. Good on Marwin, but I hope his time here is done soon.
Player(s) of the Game -
Aaron Judge - 2-3, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K - 54th HR of the 2022 Season
Other Notable Performances -
Greg Weissert - 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 2 K
Wandy Peralta - 1.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K
Clay Holmes - 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K
IKF - 2-3, 1 RBI - 2nd HR of the 2022 Season
Marwin Gonzalez - 1-2, 1 RBI - 4th HR of the 2022 Season
Josh Donaldson - 1-2, 1 RBI, 2 BB's
Better to Forget -
Tim Locastro - 0-3, K
Oswaldo Cabrera - 0-3, K
Giancarlo Stanton - 0-3
My Take - The essence of my feelings on the Yankees as a whole are held up in my pregame/postgame comments that can be found above. However, some other notes:
Didn't even see playing time today. Truthfully, I can't determine what is worse between him and Florial. At least Florial is getting time in the field to experience what it is like to play in the MLB. Though, Florial is also not getting any time to prove it where it matters most (starting and hitting). What a shame for both of them.
He played. And he got an at-bat. (He struck out.) At least give Florial the chance to do so.
Guess How Many Guys Are Hitting Above .250?
Aaron Judge. Jose Trevino. IKF. DJ LeMahieu.
Of them, only Aaron Judge has a batting average above .265.
Next Up - The Yankees continue with Game 2 of a 4-game week series tonight against the Minnesota Twins, starting at 7:05 PM (EDT). The Twins are set to start Joe Ryan (10-7, 3.88 ERA) as the Yankees will start Gerrit Cole (10-7, 3.28 ERA).
That is, if the rain stays away long enough for a game to even be played. With a 80%-100% rain forecast for the Bronx tomorrow continuously between 4:00 AM and 6:00 PM, I cannot fathom thinking that a game will be played. Look forward to a doubleheader on Wednesday! (Maybe then we'll see Florial and Peraza actually get an at-bat or two!)