Yankees Perspectives – May 28, 2019
The following are some of my perspectives on the Yankees right now:
Sometimes as a fan, our rooting interests become illogical. This Yankees team – without Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, Didi Gregorius, and (so many) others – has been amazing. The Yankees are in first place, two games ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays. They have the second best record in the entire American League. They win and win and win in amazing ways. Because of this, in some ways, against logic I think, we hope and think that it can continue without the big stars coming back. Is it possible that the Yankees are a better team without their big stars? No, it can’t be. But, that being said, each time a star returns, one of the players who has helped them get to this point, loses a tremendous amount of playing time. There is a part of me that wants the Yankees to let this all play out before the big guys all arrive back. It won’t happen, of course, Didi is close… there was good news about Judge over the weekend (he is now pain free according to the NY Post)… but, since whatever they are doing is working, I hate to see the magic upset. Will the Yankees continue to win when they are at full strength? Would they have continued winning with the team they’ve been running out there? Who knows? All I know is, to date, this has been one fun ride.
The thing I am least looking forward to when Stanton and Judge return are all the strikeouts. Watching the big guys whiff as often as they do is just no fun. The big homers are a lot of fun, the strikeouts no so much. Really, not at all.
Didi Gregorius begins playing at Triple-A today. I hope the Yankees don’t rush him back. I understand the logic (“Get the best player back on the team as soon as possible.”) but I’d give him a bunch of games in the minors before bringing him up. Gleyber Torres, Thairo Estrada, D.J. LeMahieu, and Gio Urshela have been amazing. The Yankees haven’t really missed Didi. Because of that, there is no need to rush him back. It seems that Aaron Hicks was rushed back. His swing and timing still are not there. The Yankees have no need to do that with Didi. Let him get all his skills and routines back, 100% – then bring him up.
I hope when Didi Gregorius returns, that spells the end of the Troy Tulowitzki era. The Yankees have been so great at finding good young talent. They have proven that they are extremely deep at shortstop and second base. There is no reason to give valuable playing time to Tulowitzki. I admire a player who can work his way back to the big leagues and who battles through injuries. I love the stories of the guy who never gives up. I hope Tulowitzki can find a home in baseball and excel. At the same time, I don’t his playing time to come at the expense of the guys the Yankees currently have. The Yankees need to be focusing on their young talent, not on a player whose best days are behind him.
I love Miguel Andujar. I think he is a super super super ballplayer. The guy just knows how to hit. I even believe that, given enough time, he can become a passable defensive third baseman. All that being said, if Gio Urshela continues to play the kind of defense we have seen this year, and if he continues to hit the way he has, I’d make him my third baseman going forward. I don’t think he’ll ever hit as well as Andujar, but his defense is just too good to ignore.
On Sunday, the Yankees came back to tie the game against the Royals and brought the game to extra innings. The first pitcher Aaron Boone went to was… Nestor Cortes Jr., to pitch the bottom of the 9th in a tie game on the road. That inning was also be his fourth of the day. I didn’t understand that move at all. Once the game is tied and in the bottom of the 9th on the road, my logic would demand that the Yankees bring in their best available pitcher. The only objective at that point is to get to the next inning. If a run scores, the game is over. You have to go with your best. Cortes Jr. actually got them to the tenth inning, but then, in that inning, Aaron Boone went to Jonathan Holder. Why? What are they saving the best arms for? They were saved them for the save opportunity that never came. In situations like this, the manager should forget about the save and just focus on getting the game to the next inning. I’d rather lose a game with a lesser pitcher failing to get the save later in the game than with the best arms waiting in the bullpen for an opportunity that never comes. If a pitcher can get three outs without giving up a run in an extra inning tie game, he can surely also get three outs to preserve a win later in that game.
I get the opener logic. Use a better pitcher to start the game and then go to the long-man type pitcher. But, with this, I’d also stay with the hot hand. The Yankees won yesterday so the point is moot, but Chad Green struck out the side in the first inning. Since he did so well, that should have let him pitch the second as well before going to David Hale. Green was electric. The Yankees should have ridden that hot hand. Sometimes, it seems, Aaron Boone makes a plan before a game or series and sticks to it no matter what happens. He needs to read the game better, at times. That was a perfect example.
Another example of sticking with a plan no matter what was Boone’s decision to sit Gleyber Torres (who was on FIRE) in the last game of the Baltimore series. No, no, no, no. Play the hot hand. They guy was hitting everything on those nose. He didn’t need to sit. He’s a young kid. Play him. Ride the hot hand. He was in the Orioles’ collective heads. Just by standing in the batter’s box, he was a weapon. A manager should never take that edge away from his team. As it turned out, the Yankees were rained out the next day anyway. That game, on Friday, should have been the one to give Torres off. If Boone had looked ahead to the weather reports, he would have seen, at best, a wet game against a different opponent. That’s a good game to sit a guy, but there was also the chance that, with the weather forecast, the game would be rained out anyway. That’s the day off the player needed (if he needed one at all) but I’d argue that a guy hitting multiple homers a game isn’t giving any indication that he needs a day off.
The Yankees just keep rolling. And it’s great. I’ve always been a big fan of the superstar line-up. Give me Judge, Stanton, Bryce Harper, Reggie, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and more. I want all the best players – always. That being said though, watching the lesser names over-perform is a lot of fun. A lot of fun. Maybe there is something to this – like in 2017. The young energy, the enthusiasm, the athleticism, and more…. it makes each game “must watch TV.” I was critical of Aaron Boone above, but, to be fair, he is doing a remarkable job with this team.
Let’s go Yankees!