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  • Mike Whiteman

About Yesterday: Yankees 8, Royals 5

By Mike Whiteman 7/24/2023 *** July 24th is a significant date for some of the bizarre pieces of Yankees’ history.

1978 – The resignation of Yankee manager Billy Martin, after stating “the one is a born liar, the other convicted” about one of his his star players (Reggie Jackson) and his boss (owner George Steinbrenner).

1983- His team down a run to the Yanks at The Stadium with two outs in the top of the ninth, George Brett of Kansas City smacked a two-run home run to take the lead. Or did he? Manager Martin (he was back, again!) emerged from the dugout and pointed out the excessive pine tar on Brett’s bat. The umpires saw his point and called Brett out, game over, Yankees win. We all know that the call on the field was later overturned after the Royals protested, and the game was competed August 18th with the result being victory for Kansas City. Who can forget this?

1992 – Commissioner Fay Vincent announced that George Steinbrenner’s lifetime ban from baseball would be lifted in March 1993. The Yankee owner ceased active involvement with the team in disgrace during the 1990 season, but seemed to be a changed man upon return, as the Yankees had a much more peaceful existence, and put together one of the great dynasties in the history of the sport. QUICK STATS With yesterday’s win the Yankees are 53-47 on the season. They are fourth in the American League East, eight and a half games out of first place, two out of the Wild Card. Their .530 winning percentage would amount to 86 wins over the course of a whole season. Luis Severino is 2-4, 6.46 on the season. BIG STORY For the first time in what seems like forever, the Yanks came out hitting, putting four runs on the scoreboard in the first inning on the strength of a Gleyber Torres home run and RBI hits by Anthony Rizzo and Harrison Bader. The next time Rizzo came up, in the third, he homered, his first round tripper since May.

The other positive development was that Luis Severino was keeping Kansas City off the scoreboard. The beleaguered Yankee pitcher had another positive outing, and was a pitch away from getting through six innings with a four run lead, but Michael Massey touched Sevvy for a two run homer and that was the end of his day. Ian Hamilton closed out the sixth and spun a scoreless seventh. Now, the perfect ending to this game would be that the Yanks kept piling on runs while the bullpen stymied the Royals’ batters. Well, these are the 2023 Yankees, and nothing comes easy for them. While they took what the Kansas City gave them to score three more runs in the eighth, both Mike King and Ron Marinaccio were a bit shaky in relief, keeping us from totally relaxing, but in the end the Yanks walked away with the win. Yankees 8, Royals 5. Yankees sweep series.

PLAYER OF THE GAME Rizzo had four hits on the day. His lefthanded bat, his glove, and his leadership skills will all be needed if the Yankees are to make a late run. NOTABLE PERFORMANCES GleyberTorres' homer was his third in the past week. He’s hitting .325 in July. He left the game in the seventh after his hip tightened up, per Aaron Boone. Boone had no status report during his postgame remarks other that Torres was saying “it feels better already” after the game was over. BETTER TO FORGET Ron Marinaccio yielded two home runs in the ninth. He has a 6.75 ERA in July.

THEY SAID IT “He’s definitely an anchor for the offense.” – Giancarlo Stanton on Anthony Rizzo’s importance to the team. MY TAKE I know, I know, these are the Royals and the Royals stink, and this sweep feels more like a relief than a win. But it is a sweep. Three more wins. There was a lot to like about yesterday for Yankee fans. . - Before the game, Aaron Judge took live batting practice against Jonathan Loaisiga, who is also working himself back from injury. The session was broadcast in full by YES! Judge’s body language was good, and he seemed to be enjoying himself, which I’m guessing (hoping) is indicative of his feeling physically good during the session. Here's hoping he wakes up this morning feeling good.

Getting Judge back is clearly a big deal – the team is 35-25 with him in the lineup, on average scoring almost five runs per game, one more than when he’s on the bench. A quick count indicates nine losses of a run or two since Judge left the lineup after injuring his toe. I’d say a healthy Judge could have meant at least half of those games moved into the win column. - In Hartford, the Somerset Patriots beat the Yard Goats (!) 7-2, the big takeaway being what sounds like a successful rehab outing by Nestor Cortes. I’ve said that I’d like to see the team as designed last offseason get a sustained shot. With Judge and Cortes getting closer, we’re almost there, and possibly with some upgrades as well. - Andy Pettite was seen hanging around during Judge’s BP session, and evidently has been hired in some sort of advisor role. It’s interesting to see the Yanks bring in seasoned players (Sean Casey, Pettite) during this rough patch. I like the move. How about adding Willie Randolph as well?

Two other things on my mind…. Do you play Immaculate Grid at Baseball-Reference? If not, give it a try. Essentially, you fill in the grids with players who meet the criteria horizontally and vertically. For example, check my completed grid below from Saturday.

The grid starts blank, and then you add the players. The upper left spot needed to be someone who played for the Angels and the Braves. I chose Mark Teixeria, but I could have picked Garret Anderson, or Andrelton Simmons. The next row over was someone who played for the Angels and the Tigers. I chose Jason Thompson. The last square of that row needed to be an Angel who won the MVP award. I chose Don Baylor. For the final score, add up the percentages in each picture – the more likely chosen answers have a higher percentage. For example, Mike Trout would have likely been chosen more than the 5% Don Baylor was chosen in the upper right square. So, I like to choose the more obscure answers, and go for the lower score. This grid had a score of 41, which from what I’ve seen is pretty low. Finally, all those years of collecting baseball cards and playing Strat-O-Matic has paid off! I’ve had friends and family big into computer games, things like Wordle, Words with Friends, etc. and they haven’t really interested me. Immaculate Grid though is a bit addictive, and thank goodness they only post one grid per day! Finishing up my ramblings, yesterday was Hall of Fame induction day, and I enjoyed watching some of the festivities over the weekend. Scott Rolen and Fred McGriff were both favorites of mine when they played. I can’t remember seeing anyone as happier than McGriff to enter the Hall.

Next Up: A day off today, then tomorrow and Wednesday the Yanks host the Mets. I’ve often thought the Yankee-Mets games were more for show than anything, but in this case, these games mean something, and both teams could really use a sweep.

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