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  • Writer's picturePaul Semendinger

About Yesterday: Rays 2, Yanks 0

By Paul Semendinger

April 21, 2024


About Last Yesterday: The Yankees had very good pitching for nine innings. That should be enough. They had no hitting. None, basically. Volpe, Judge, Grisham, Cabrera, Jones and Wells all went hitless.


Quick Stats:

  • WP - Jason Adam

  • LP - Caleb Ferguson


Big Story:

This was a close game, zero to zero, heading into the tenth inning. The Rays figured out a way to score. The Yankees didn't.

I said this the other day when the Yankees lost a winnable game, every team loses games, but you have to win the games that are winnable. The Yankees' offense, save for Juan Soto has been absent for a bit now. The Yankees should have won this game.

The Yankees' bullpen is short. If they had one more starter, maybe they wouldn't have to rely on the bullpen so much. If only Corbin Burnes had been available. (Oh yeah, he was.)

Player of the Game:

  • Nestor Cortes. He did everything he was supposed to do to get the team the win.

Notable Performances:

  • Nestor Cortes had his best game in a long long time. He went 7 full innings with nine strikeouts. No runs. Impressive!

  • Juan Soto: 2-for-4


Better to Forget:

  • Aaron Judge struck out in each of his four at bats. He is hitting .179 for the season. He has struck out 27 times in 21 games.


My Takes:

  • Ok, I'll admit it. My eyes might not have been dry during the John Sterling tributes before the game. I have to be honest with this - I usually dislike these tribute events. They are often done very poorly. They are often painful to watch. Yesterday's was well done. But it wasn't that, exactly. It's that a big period of my baseball life has ended. For decades (until the Yankees changed something in the broadcasts so the radio and the TV didn't align) I would listen to Sterling on the radio while watching on TV. He was a big part of my Yankees life. I'll miss his game calling and unique style. An era has passed.

  • I love John Sterling, and he deserves all the accolades he has received, but if he goes into Monument Park before Roy White and Graig Nettles, that wouldn't be right. I have a simple solution. Put all three of them in this summer. It's the right thing to do. It's way beyond time for the Yankees to step up and do the right thing here.

  • Regarding Aaron Judge. It is time. It is past time. We should all be concerned about Aaron Judge. Absolutely. 100%. More than a week ago, I showed how this was the worst start of his career. It's only gotten worse. Since the All-Star break last year, he is batting .226. This isn't good. No one can say it's good. It's not just a few games... this is over 270 at bats. This cannot be spun. "He walks a lot" doesn't cut it. There is a problem there. It's up to the Yankees manager, coaches, and, if necessary, the medical personnel to figure this out. This reminds me of last year with Anthony Rizzo. The Yankees ignored the problem for far too long last year. The same thing might be happening again. Whatever it is, something's not right. Aaron Boone is supposedly a great communicator. Communicating means talking and listening - having real conversations. Boone needs to have some real honest communications with Aaron Judge. Something is wrong.

  • Here's another problem. When Judge is the DH and they pinch hit for Trent Grisham, they then have to play two players out of position (or lose the DH by putting Judge in the field) because Alex Verdugo moves to center and then they take a different player (Taylor Trammell yesterday) and put him into left field. This process weakens the team in a close game (and the only time you'd pinch-hit late is in a close game).

  • By the way, going into his at bat, Giancarlo Stanton was 3 for 40 lifetime as a pinch-hitter. That isn't and has never been his strength. What did he do yesterday as a pinch hitter? He grounded into a double play. His lifetime batting average as a pinch hitter is now .073.

  • Austin Wells is batting .091. I want everyone to dwell on that for a moment. .091. Remember the talking point. "Wells will hit in the big leagues. No doubt." Remember how so many said he should even play some first base. (Anything to get his bat in the lineup.) They all said, "hitting isn't a concern." Obviously, it is. He also didn't hit last year (In 19 games, be batted just .229). Again, dwell on this for a moment. Wells was a "sure thing" as a hitter. He was a top prospect. He was one of the shining stars in the system. "The only question is can he be a catcher," they all said. AND maybe he'll figure it out. But he hasn't yet. A year ago, he was seen as a sure thing as a hitter. Right now, he's a sure out. Maybe he'll come around. But, for all the Spencer Jones lovers, and the lovers of other prospects, this is what prospects are. This is what they do. Some figure it out. Most don't. That's the reality. They're sure things, until they're not. Fans buy into this all the time, without, mostly, ever seeing these players. They hear about a guy. They buy the hype. They see him hit a home run in Spring Training and they think, "He can't miss." They get all excited about him. They tell everyone that he's untradeable. ("You'd give up Jones for Corbin Burnes? What are you... nuts?") then the player pans out, as most do, and instead of saying, "You know, I'm not going to just jump to the next would-be star," they instead go crazy about the next guy. "That guy, he's going to be the real deal. I know I was wrong about the last 632 guys, but this guy, oh my... I wouldn't trade him for anyone. He's a star in the making. In fact, I'd call him up... right now." (Forgive the hyperbole.) It's just not that easy to be an impact player in the Major Leagues. Wells might turn it around. Spencer Jones might be a star. But right now, they are prospects. And, sadly, most don't pan out. That is just the sad reality.

  • The other sad reality is that, for some, Juan Soto can't do enough. Most of their comments on blogs or the radio or in Tweets critique something about his play. How much better can the guy be? He plays every day. He brings positive energy. His teammates love him. He interacts positively with the fans. He is coming up huge in big situations time and time again. Oh, and he leads the American League in OPS, On Base Percentage, and Walks, is 2nd in RBI's, and is 4th in Slugging Pct, Hits, and Batting Average. Offensively, he's been the player carrying the Yankees. If fans can't appreciate Juan Soto for what he brings to the team, or if they continually find fault in his play, I don't really know what to say. The guy has brought life to this team. He's a joy in every sense - a true superstar who is living up to every expectation and beyond. Many players new to the Yankees struggle - especially big time players. Not Juan Soto. He's been on fire from the start. We should appreciate his greatness. There has been plenty to be concerned about with the Yankees - not Juan Soto. At all.

Next Up:

The Yankees play the finale of the series tomorrow afternoon at 1:35 p.m. (Next up for me, I get the start at 9:00 a.m. in Ridgewood, NJ. We're playing a super talented team full of young and very talented players - a team that defeated us 10-0 last week.) For the Yankees (is that more important than my game?) Luis Gil will take the mound. He needs to throw strikes.


Apr 21

Judge is hurt IMO... Soto will have an MVP year in NY but when you look at this.... Trevino/Wells/Rizzo/Torres/Judge are all struggling right now but the season is long and some of these players can come around, so the offense collectively can't be this bad over the course of the season. Things will get better!


Cary Greene
Cary Greene
Apr 21

The offense struggles to eek out runs, it's going to be a theme this season I think - at least until\/if Cashman can muster up some upgrades. I don't see the Yankees being able to sustain a winning percentage of over .650 as the season rolls along but also keep in mind, three other American League East teams have harder remaining schedules (Rays ((opponents winning-percentage is .523)), Jays ((.519)) and Red Sox ((.516)) than the Yankees (.512) and the Orioles (.503) do. So presently, the American League East is easiest for the Orioles to win and if it's a close scrum, this data will absolutely factor in, though it's very early still for this sort of talk.

That said, though…

Apr 21
Replying to

What was most impressive about Nestor Cortes, is that he pitched as well as he did despite MLB cracking down on some of his shenanigans on the mound. The MLB said that Cortes's "pump fake" in his last outing is illegal and would be called as a "Ball" if he ever does it again. I am wondering if they will at least still let him do his "windup fakes" and "leg kick fakes" that have also been his trademark.


Alan B.
Alan B.
Apr 21

for Wells... unlike Judge, Wells doesn't look clueless at the plate when swinging. Oh, and he is generating some walks too. Judge still in the lineup today. I'm just shaking my head in disbelief. Talk about a man who needs a day or 2 off. With $5.5M man Grisham still here and newly acquired Trammell here, why not?

The rotation so far has been fine. My only issue is how the Yankees got these guys ready for the season. Not good at all. Then everyone complains about an over-used pen. Really? That's by design. The faster all talking heads admit it, the better.

Didn't really understand why Trammell didn't go into CF.

Apr 21
Replying to

Verdugo is far more central to the team

than is Trammell

at this point.

Trammell is a newbie and they're unsure of how he'll react to things.

probably thought it prudent to put him in the corner

and allow any butterflies to escape


Apr 21

Judge will hit

Wells will hit.

hopefully, Wells will be doing his hitting for Pittsburgh.

as for winning a game being winnable because your pitcher held the other team scoreless,

it's best to remember that those games are less winnable when the other team's pitcher

pitches even better than your own.

go out to Ridgewood, Paul, and hold them scoreless.... but remember to hector your own squad into clubbing a few in support of your efforts.

sic 'em, tiger

Apr 21
Replying to

True. The Pirates need to BUILD AROUND guys like Oneil Cruz. He is one of the building blocks, along with #1 draft pick, catcher Henry Davis, so when other hot Pirates prospects, like pitching phenom Paul Skenes, and numerous others are called up and in place, they can be good enough to make a run for it. The Pirates trading Oneil Cruz would be the equivalent of if the Orioles traded Gunnar Henderson this season if they hit the skids, which of course, they would never do.


Apr 21

I think another Chicken Parmesan dinner is in order at the Volpe house, except this time around, it will be Volpe pointing out the flaws in Wells stance and swing and Volpe getting Wells hitting the way the Yankees expect him to hit.

Apr 21
Replying to

I HOPE so, because Wells gives the Yankees something I really CRAVE.....if he pans out the way he is SUPPOSED to pan out....A Yankee catcher who is ALSO an offensive threat. We haven't had one of those since the days that Gary Sanchez was a dangerous part of the Yankee lineup before he regressed as a hitter. I have high hopes that Wells could be that guy, but SOMEONE, be it Volpe over a Chicken Parmesan dinner, or hitting coach James Rowson has to unlock his hitting potential that they say he has within him.

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