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July: Baseball’s Best Month

July is arguably the most exciting month of the Major League Baseball season.

Next week is the All-Star Break, highlighted by the Home Run Derby and All-Star Game in Cleveland. This year, there will be an added incentive to swing for the fences on Derby night, as the winner will take home a prize of one-million dollars.

So far, the confirmed participants are Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the Blue Jays (youngest ever participant), the Carlos Santana of the hosting city Indians, Pete Alonso of the Mets, Christian Yelich of the Brewers, Josh Bell of the Pirates, and Ronald Acuna Jr of the Braves. The remaining two participants are expected to be announced sometime later this week, with Gary Sanchez and Luke Voit as potentials to round out the field.

Sanchez told reporters Friday that he has not yet decided whether he will do the Home Run Derby this year. The Yankee catcher took part in the 2017 contest and was eliminated in the 2nd round. Last month, Voit indicated that he would really like an invitation to the Home Run Derby. But, as of June 30th, MLB had not reached out to the slugger.

How would you feel about one or both of these Yankees taking part? After Aaron Judge won in 2017, he claimed that it had negative effects on his swing the rest of the season. With the current field, my pick to win is Acuna Jr.

 

Given that Sanchez will be starting at catcher for the American League in this year’s Mid-Summer Classic, I suspect that he may decide to sit out the Home Run Derby.

Regardless, he and D.J. LeMahieu are very much deserving of their starting roles next week. Aroldis Chapman will be joining them in Cleveland. But, to the surprise and dismay of many, Gleyber Torres and Luke Voit did not get the call.

I have long felt that the fan voting is flawed, but I do understand MLB’s desire to make things interactive and allow us to have a say in who plays. At the end of the day, I think the Yankees are more focused on staying healthy and winning the division than they are about their representation in the All-Star Game.

 

The third Sunday in July will be one to remember for Yankees fans, as Mariano Rivera and Mike Mussina will take their rightful place in the Baseball Hall Of Fame.

There are sure to be buses and buses and buses of fans coming up from the city to be a part of the historic day, and I can’t wait to hear what these great pitchers have in store for their speeches.

 

Given the most recent setback for Luis Severino, the Yankees will surely be in pursuit of a starting pitcher as we approach the trade deadline. For Game 2 in London, the Yankees deployed Stephen Tarpley as the “opener,” marking his first ever MLB start/open.

The southpaw gave up four runs in the first inning, including three home runs. Although Domingo German is expected to return to the rotation this week, reports are that Brian Cashman has been in talks with starting pitchers Madison Bumgarner, Marcus Stroman and Matthew Boyd, among others.

The obvious trade piece is Clint Frazier. They bench/send him down when he’s going good or bad. It’s time for him to go.

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