Perspectives: Some Thoughts After Game 2
by Paul Semendinger
October 15, 2022
Uggg. Watching the second game last night was frustrating. The Yankees lost and they lost in the manner in which they have often lost in the post season - not great managerial decisions, not great defense, and not much hitting.
Here are some quick thoughts;
I said Cleveland would be tough. They had a better record in the second half than the Yankees. They also had a better September. In addition, they had a winning record against many of the teams in this year's playoffs. They are a good team.
When a manager has a quick hook for his relief pitchers, even when they are pitching well, he usually stumbles upon a pitcher who has little to nothing. That eventually happened to the Yankees last night. Aaron Boone had a quick hook. He kept taking out pitchers who were doing well. He eventually found a pitcher who gave up some runs. This is going to happen more often than not. Every relief pitcher won't be able to shut down the other team. Aaron Boone eventually found the pitcher, Jameson Taillon, who gave up a few hits.
That being said, I agreed with Boone's decision to go to Taillon for the 10th. He was the best pitcher, I felt, available. He didn't pitch poorly: 2 bloops and a bomb, but it was just bad enough to lose the game.
What made no sense, and I missed this at the time, was that Clarke Schmidt was warming up as Taillon pitched. It made no sense to burn out a pitcher in the bullpen as another pitched. One reason I liked bringing in Taillon was that he'd give the rest of the pen (presumably) the night off. I figured he could easily go five to six innings if necessary.
On the big 10th inning double, it has to be said, Harrison Bader took a bad route to the ball and then made a poor throw. If we're going to give Bader all sorts of credit because his defense is going to be such a difference maker, we also have to point out when his defense is poor. He did a bad job on that play. The Yankees were already down at that point so this didn't cost them the game. But.... All we heard about was how Bader's defense was going to help the Yankees in a big spot in the post season. The big spot came last night and his defense didn't help there. Everyone is allowed a bad play, but, the talking point, for months, was that Bader's defense was going to be THE difference. It wasn't.
Also... just saying... if the series goes to a fifth game, it would have been nice to have a rested Jordan Montgomery for that game. I said at the time of the trade, the Yankees stating in August that Monty wouldn't pitch in October was ridiculous and absurd.
The frustration with the Yankees is that in the post season, all too often, they resort to three-true-outcome baseball, but the only of the three outcomes we seem to see are strikeouts.
I can't understand why Tim Locastro batted in the last inning. Aaron Hicks should have been brought up. Hicks gets the platoon advantage and one of his skills is taking pitches and working walks. There was no reason to have Locastro batting in that spot. If Hicks isn't used there, why is he on the roster?
Josh Donaldson's ill advised throw off the bloop double in the 10th allowed Jose Ramirez to get to third with no outs. Seeing plays like that is frustrating. More often than not, we don't see the teams the Yankees are playing against making bad plays in the post season, yet we see the Yankees do this, again seemingly, much more often. The Yankees seem to play back, on their heels, the other teams seem to play with more confidence. The Yankees seem to play with less confidence as if they are waiting for something bad to happen. They play "tighter." A lot of different players have gone through the team these last five years, if there is a trend on how they perform in the post season, one has to look at the constant in that - the manager.
Aaron Judge has looked terrible. He is completely lost at the plate. I never felt he should be a lead off hitter. I don't even like him in the number two spot. (But that's another discussion.) That being said, I think Boone has to keep him where he is in the lineup for Game Three. This isn't the time to start moving players around. And Judge is not the only guy who isn't hitting.
I also don't believe in booing players. It's not like Judge isn't trying.
We have seen this before from Judge in the post season. In 2017, against Cleveland, he went 1-for-20 with 16 strikeouts. That might be the worst post season performance by any player ever. In 2020, he went 1-for 9 against Cleveland. Then, against Tampa Bay, the next series, he went 3-for-21. Last year, against the Red Sox, he went 1-for-4 with just an infield single. Judge has not always been great in the post season.
But, my bigger point... I understand the frustration from the fans. I don't get booing your superstar, but... I have made this point a lot, often, and always... if the fans are already frustrated with Judge, after just two bad games, all should see the writing on the wall. I know, I know, "Pay The Man." I get it. He deserves it. BUT, I would not pay Judge for a 10-year deal. I wouldn't give him eight years. No way. Not for $36-40+ million a year. No way. Everyone right now wants to pay Judge, but in a year, or two years, or five, when he's batting .225/21/53 for the season in late September, no one, zero fans, none at all, will say, "Man, he's a drag on the lineup right now, and the Yankees are losing, but I'm sure excited about that 62nd home in 2022."
The fans also might be making it easy for Judge to walk. If I'm Aaron Judge, and I'm getting boos after two bad games, would I want to spend the next ten years as a Yankee?
Again, I never understand booing a team's own players - especially their stars. It makes no sense. Does booing help a player do better? Don't we want the player to perform better?
If the Yankees could retroactively pay Judge for his great 2022 season, they should, but they shouldn't pay Judge in 2027 for his 2022 season because in 2027 he won't be the Aaron Judge of 2022. It is that simple.
The Yankees looked bad last night. Tonight they have an opportunity tonight to right the ship. There is no reason they can't win tonight.
Let's Go Yankees!