Perspectives: July 19, 2022
by Paul Semendinger
July 19, 2022
I'm not a huge fan of the All-Star Game. I never have been. I think of these few days as my own break from daily Yankees baseball. Even as a kid, I never much cared about the All-Star game. I cared about who was an All-Star (I care about that a lot less now), but I never cared about the game itself. Will I watch tonight? Probably not.
Boy, a 14-1 and a 13-2 final two games against the Red Sox can sure change a person's perspective on the team. As I watched the Yankees play a mediocre brand of baseball heading into that last weekend before the break, I was starting to get slightly concerned. I was wondering if the team's warts were beginning to show.
Much of the Yankees' success this year has been carried by starting pitching that has been exceptional good, better than can be expected to continue.
Much of the Yankees' success this year has been carried by a few relief pitchers who have been exceptionally good, better, much better, than they can be expected to perform going forward.
And much of this year's success has been due to Aaron Judge having a first half for the ages.
There is ample concern that none of those things can, or will continue in the season's second half. If those players return to earth, the Yankees could have more periods like the last two weeks heading into this break. That's not to say that the Yankees won't win the division or make the playoffs. Of course they will. But, for 2022, it's not about that. This is a team that much reach, if not win, the World Series. To me anything less will be a huge disappointment. The Yankees of 2022 have a chance to be great. That's the standard now. And, in order to get there, to the pinnacle, the Yankees will have to play great baseball in the season's most challenging games.
The Houston Astros scare me. They frighten me. I do not want to see them end the season for the 2022 Yankees. I have heard some fans say, "It won't count as much unless they beat the Astros." I couldn't care less if they beat the Astros as long as they win. IN fact, I'd rather the Yankees not even face the Astros in the playoffs.
Of course, not to be overlooked, also carrying the team in the first half, has been Matt Carpenter. What a story! It's amazing and wonderful and great and special. I don't think there is a person who doesn't hope his success continues. I also don't think there is a person who thinks it can - not at this level.
The Yankees would be foolish to not address their outfield needs because Matt Carpenter, at 36-years-old, is playing like Babe Ruth at 26-years-old. What Carpenter is doing is remarkable and fun and awesome and awe-inspiring. But what Carpenter is doing is unsustainable. I hope it continues. It just won't.
Aaron Judge is having a season for the ages. Or is he?
In 2017, he was actually better in the season's first half. That year he hit .329/30/66 in the team's first 84 games.
This year he hit .282/30/65 over that span.
My concern is that in 2017, Aaron Judge hit .228/22/28 in the second half.
Can the 2022 Yankees march through the playoffs if Judge is a .228 hitter going forward?
Oh, Aaron Judge hit .187 in the 2017 post season.
*** I'm looking forward to the Derek Jeter documentary, but it'll take me a long time to watch it all. I love the series that was done on Tom Brady, but I've only seen about four episodes. I just don't have a lot of free time to watch long TV shows, or any TV shows.
I was all set to watch it last night and then the Home Run Derby was still on. I didn't have the patience to sit through that just to watch the Jeter Show. It's on my DVR, I'll try to get to it soon.
If you're in Hawthorne tomorrow evening, you may like to come hear me talk Yankees and my great (award-winning) book The Least Among Them.
I will also be at the Babe Ruth Museum on Saturday, July 23.
More engagements are coming as well.
On Sunday, my school community threw me an event that I'll remember and cherish forever at the New Jersey Jackals game. All the people who came, over 400, wore jerseys with my name on the back. I threw out the first pitch (from the mound and a wind-up) and it was a strike.
And then it was just a day of hugs and appreciation.
How does one say thank you to the greatest school community in the world? I wish I could give each of them a day like they gave me.
I love them all and will appreciate and remember and cherish the day and all the love they have all given me - each and every day for the last fourteen years..
I have been truly blessed.