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Sal's Take On the Yankees

By Sal Maiorana

June 17, 2024

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Sal Maiorana, a friend of the site, shares some of his thoughts on the Yankees.


For Sal's complete analysis on the New York Yankees, you can subscribe to Sal Maiorana's free Pinstripe People Newsletter at https://salmaiorana.beehiiv.com/subscribe.

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On Saturday, Carlos Rodon was brutal in the first two innings and that ultimately decided the game. The Red Sox jumped him for three runs in the first and two more in the second, adding several dents to the Green Monster as they looked like a team seeking redemption after getting lit up by their former teammate the night before.


Rodon had his MLB-best seven-start winning streak snapped, during which time his ERA was 2.08. He threw 62 pitches in the first two innings and across his five innings allowed seven hits (including four doubles), two walks and threw a wild pitch. Two of the hits came on 0-2 pitches.


Some Observations:

➤ Rodon did one thing to help as he got it together and pitched well over the next three innings so he saved some wear and tear on the bullpen as all the Yankees needed were two innings from Ron Marinaccio and one from Victor Gonzalez to finish the game. True to form lately with the bullpen, though, Marinaccio gave up a run in the seventh and Gonzalez was lousy in the eighth as he allowed two big insurance runs, just after the Yankees had pulled within 6-4 in the top half. One of the runs, though, came when Trevino threw a ball into left field trying to pick off Jarren Duran at third and Duran trotted home to make it 8-4.


➤ The Yankees had traffic on the bases but they went 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position.


➤ In the fifth the Yankees loaded the bases on an error and two walks with one out, but Verdugo grounded into a forceout at home and Stanton struck out with three absolutely horrific swings at pitches way out of the strike zone to waste a great threat. Seriously, Stanton’s strikeouts are usually epic fails. I’ve never seen a guy swing at more terrible pitches than him, and he never learns his lesson. Just maddening. I don’t know why any pitcher would ever throw him a fastball. Throw breaking pitches off the plate all night and he’ll get himself out every time.


➤ Anthony Volpe's recent slump deepened. By Saturday night’s end Volpe was down .267, the lowest he’s been since May 12 because he’s in a massive 4-for-37 rut.


➤ Soto, who is playing left field at Fenway because right field is tougher and Verdugo has more familiarity with it, reported all is well his forearm. He told reporters, “It’s been pretty good. I’ve been making a couple throws, like today I made a couple throws and it was pretty good. It’s been reacting really well. Like in the morning when I wake up, it’s really loosened up. We don’t have to do too much work on it. We’re still working, but little by little, we’re getting to 100 percent.” Soto has now reached base at least twice in 11 straight games, a career-long for him.


➤ Then, last night Marcus Stroman stunk; Caleb Ferguson stunk; Luke Weaver stunk; Ian Hamilton stunk; Gleyber Torres made me want to throw the remote through the TV as he capped a truly egregious and hitless series for himself; the Red Sox embarrassed Trevino and the pitchers by stealing a franchise-record nine bases; and a bunch of bearded Boston guys who could walk down Boylston Street and not even be recognized shredded the Yankees all night, just as they did Saturday.


➤ All you needed to see was the second inning to know how this was going to go. Just a terrible job by Stroman to turn a 1-0 lead courtesy of a Aaron Judge homer in the first into a 2-1 Boston lead, one that it never relinquished. He got the first two men out, then walked Valdez, a .213 hitter, and Dominic Smith blooped a single to right field and it looked like either Judge or Verdugo could have caught it but neither did. Smith, not exactly a speedster, stole second which began a night at the races for the Red Sox on the base paths, and thus he and Valdez both scored when Rafaela, down 0-2 in the count, singled on the eighth pitch of his at bat. Had I had any common sense, I should have turned it off right there.


➤ In the top of the seventh inning, the Yankees loaded the bases with no outs on singles by Verdugo and Stanton, and Rizzo reached first on an error but in doing so fell on his wrist and had to leave the game. He’s getting imaging, but it looks like a wrist injury that could cost him some time, not that the Yankees would really miss him given the way he has played this season. Here, the Red Sox sent in Zack Kelly who quickly fell behind Torres 3-0. And then this happened: Torres took two perfect meatballs for strikes, then swung at a pitch in the dirt for a Stanton-esque strikeout. Appalling is the only word for it, that is until Trevino looked even worse on his three-pitch whiff. LeMahieu, who just can’t hit anymore, ended the threat by flying to center. No runs. Loaded the bases with no outs, had a 3-0 count, and did not score a single run so the score remained 4-3. That’s almost impossible to do, and it proved costly a few minutes later.


➤ The Red Sox stole a franchise-record nine bases. As I said, just a ridiculous, ludicrous performance from the Yankees in every way.


This is not the way the Yankees wanted to head into an off day, knowing the Orioles are in town starting Tuesday for three games. The last two nights in Boston were terrible, just so many things to bang your head against the wall, and at the same time, the Orioles took two of three from the Phillies in a high-leverage series in Baltimore and come to the Bronx flying high.


My mind has not changed one bit on this: While this has been a great start for the 50-24 Yankees, there’s no way that they’re better than the 47-24 Orioles. It just so happens that they lead by 1.5 games, but by season’s end, I can almost guarantee you that Baltimore will be sitting atop the AL East. If things go really poorly this week, the division could get flipped for good.


If it seems like I’m overly pessimistic today, it’s because I am. I hated an awful lot about this Boston series and now the Yankees are home this week to play the Orioles, a team that leads MLB with 114 homers and is second to the Yankees in runs (364), and is second to the Yankees in team ERA (3.07).


The Yankees would seem to be catching a huge break in the pitching matchups because they are missing Baltimore’s top three of Corbin Burnes, Kyle Bradish, and Grayson Rodriguez, so they have to take advantage of this. The problem is, they won’t be missing any of the Orioles’ outstanding hitters.


The matchups look like this: Tuesday at 7:05 on YES it’s Nestor Cortes (3.59 ERA) against Albert Suarez (1.61); Wednesday at 7:05 on Amazon Prime it’s possibly Gerrit Cole against Cade Povich (4.76); and Thursday at 4:05 on YES it’s Luis Gil (2.03) against Cole Irvin (3.03).

50 comments

50 Comments


jeff
Jun 18

Sorry to hear that Rizzo was diagnosed with a fracture of his arm. As far as who now plays 1B, being that DJ is not hitting that well either right now, I would say, go with Ben Rice for now, since they are saying he's a major league ready hitter. If his defense becomes an issue, then they can try TJ Rumfield.


A fracture is not a promising thing for Rizzo. I am not sure if he is going to play another game in a Yankee uniform at this point. If not, and the Yankees don't re-sign him, maybe he can stay with the team as a coach. That way, they will still have him around with the team, …

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fuster
Jun 18
Replying to

Cabrera is likely to get more time at 3B, given that LeMahieu will be given more time at 1B

unless Rice is an immediate hit.

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Alan B.
Alan B.
Jun 18

Well, who gets first crack at 1B before the trade deadline, Rumfield or Rice? I also do no want to hear about those guys not being in the 40 man roster right now. I'm not against putting Rizzo on the 60 day, or even DFA Peraza if need be. But both Clay Andrews and Jake Cousins are still both on the 40.

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Mike Whiteman
Jun 17

The Red Sox series was not fun, but let's remember that they had a 4-3 road trip. Give me .571 road winning pct any day. They have had the best pitching in the American League and the reigning Cy Young award winner joins the team this week. Joining the team with the best record in baseball.


There are weak spots on the team but reasonable options on the farm and/or via trade.


It's still not a bad time to be a Yankee fan :)

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fantasyfb3313
Jun 18
Replying to

very much agreed. there are still plenty of reasons to be positive and hopeful. right before an important and potentially defining series vs Orioles, was / is definitely a frustrating and inopportune moment to allow some of the cracks in their armor to be highlighted!!


a bad showing this week will NOT be an automatic death blow to the season, but it will definitely turn up the heat to a painful and dangerous degree.


the best thing is Cole comes back to help stabilize the ship. others recognize, some error in their ways, in recent games, and everyone comes out with appropriately renewed focus and they play their best baseball of the season against the young Os who threaten t…


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popsmcp
popsmcp
Jun 17

Last night’s Yankees performance certainly did stink but unless the Orioles humiliate them this week , I’m not ready to press the panic button. I am on board to see if the minor league fellows can be a help at first base. Hopefully Cole will be Cole when he returns and an upgrade to the bullpen (either internally or via trade) would be welcomed. Maybe not pair up Stroman and Trevino anytime soon.

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etbkarate
Jun 17

The next 45 or so games will tell us a lot more about this team than the first 70 or so games. Age, health, consistency all come into play in July and August. We will see if Rodon's and Gil's May translates to July success or if they breakdown. We are also approaching the time of the year when Stroman historically takes a few steps back. Cole will make up for some, but not all, and I don't think the O's are going to fade. They have youth on their side. It should be fun to watch unfold.

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fuster
Jun 17
Replying to

it's been quite a fine, fun season


and slightly more likely to stay a fun season than not.


the record is excellent the pitching has been excellent and might soon get better

the offense has been very good and has produced an average of 5 runs/gm

only the Orioles have an offense as good

and the Orioles might not have a sufficient number of healthy pitchers


enjoy the good times


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