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Perspectives After the Tigers Series

by Paul Semendinger

May 3, 2021

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It is so much more fun writing after wins than loses.

The Yankees needed a strong weekend – and they got it.

Good teams must defeat the bad teams. The Yankees did that against the Tigers.

Some perspectives:

Corey Kluber was amazing yesterday. He did everything he had to do. I said so at the time – I love that the Yankees signed him. I knew there would be some growing pains at the start, but, I have to admit, I thought it might take even longer into the season before he looked as good as he has over his last two starts. He won’t always be this good, of course, but he should be a stable force in the Yankees rotation going forward. By my clock, he is way ahead of schedule.

Corey Kluber is a great pitcher. Great pitchers don’t forget how to pitch. And he hasn’t.

I LOVED that Aaron Boone didn’t manage by the inning number with Kluber yesterday. “We’ll give him six innings” or “We’ll give him seven innings.” He went a full eight. 102 pitches. It was great to see.

The Jameson Taillon story is amazing. I have high hopes for him, and I think he’ll be very good, but I have been less confident in him than Kluber. He also looked very good this weekend.

I love that his win on Saturday came exactly two years since his previous win. It was an emotional win for him. All reports are that he’s a great person and competitor. I think the Yankees found a winner in Taillon. I hope his progress continues and he’s a Yankee for a long time.

I don’t believe Corey Kluber will be a Yankee for a long time. He might be a “one and done.” Let’s not get ahead of ourselves with any of this, but if he has the season I hope he does, I would love if he’d do the year-to-year contract thing after this season. But if he has the year I think he will, there will be many teams lining up to give him multiple years.

Gio Urshela looks great at shortstop. I am not hating the way Aaron Boone is maximizing his use of his infielders. Having positional flexibility is a great thing, and it seems the Yankees have built for this.

I did not like, and I will never like, Aaron Boone’s decisions to sit players who are on fire. Giancarlo Stanton had three consecutive multi-hit games and then found himself sitting. I don’t think that’s smart managing – at all. He then sat Gleyber Torres on Sunday after his three RBI day on Saturday. Play the hot player. If a player is rolling, keep him in the lineup.

I remember last year (or was that 2019?) Gleyber Torres had hit something like 45 million home runs in Baltimore. Everything he hit, he crushed. He even had a chance to set a record for homers against a team. In the last game of the series, Boone sat Torres. To me, that’s just poor managing. I’ll never agree with that thinking.

I understand that one reason Giancarlo Stanton sat on Saturday was that so Aaron Judge could DH. If that’s the case, the Yankees need to be able to play Stanton in the outfield at least sometimes. He can’t be that fragile. If the only thing Giancarlo Stanton can ever do is DH, that’s a big concern. The team needs to have some positional flexibility with that DH spot.

Also, while I understand sitting the fragile players and the players who are getting older, Gleyber Torres is young. One of the things young players should be able to do is play every day.

I wonder what Lou Gehrig would think of Boone’s approach in this regard?

The Yankees swept the series. That’s a great thing, but, let’s just keep it in perspective. It was the Tigers. The Tigers are terrible. In the last two games of the weekend, the Yankees didn’t do much hitting. Of the 16 batter innings, the Yankees cored in just four of them. It’s not like the Yankees dominated a very bad team. They won. All is good. But this wasn’t a referendum that “The Yankees Are Back!!!” This was more that they defeated a very bad baseball team. This was a big series of stepping stones in the right direction.

The Yankees now will play three against the Astros (15-12 as of the writing of this post), Nationals (11-12), and Rays (13-15). At minimum, the Yankees need to go 5-4. That would put them at a game over .500 after this stretch, against against two teams still under .500. Still these are teams with talent. These next nine games should tell us a lot about the 2021 Yankees. If they go 6-3 or better, it will seem that they’re on track. If they play under .500, it won’t be a good look.

I am cautiously optimistic.

Let’s Go Yankees!

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