Friday, June 23, 2017

THE ANGELS ARE FUNNY


Photo: NJ.com
The Yankees aren't a force like they were earlier in the season, and they lost last night again. This time Dellin Betances fell apart.

Look, I'm not gonna get into some kind of break down of what the Yankees did or didn't do.  What you need to know if they lost the game, and if you want to see the standings... here they are.


The story is this tiny nugget that came from the Angels on social media:
Now, look... that's funny. Gotta admit it. Sure you don't want to see the Yanks lose, or our coveted Aaron Judge get a mild razzing, but that's what happens when organizations praise their players publicly... you get it back once in a while.

Sure, not a big story, but a fun one.  The best part? Judge is such a class act, he'll let that one roll off.

Happy Friday.  Let's hope the Yankees can turn it around.

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

EVEN JOE GIRARDI WANTS TO REPLACE CHRIS CARTER!

(May 27, 2017 - Source: Elsa/Getty Images North America) 
The Yankees have a lot of issues to solve right now, especially if they want to upgrade the roster to position themselves for a run in the playoffs. Pitching has been a big focus lately. The Yankees need help with starting pitching but since they have been so ineffective the bullpen is just burned out and needs some middle relief help. It's unusual to hear Yankee brass and Joe Girardi on very different pages.....and right now they are.

Brian Cashman and Yankee brass are looking for ways to upgrade the pitching, but Joe Girardi has asked them to go another direction and look for another first base option, ready that HERE. Girardi has spent a lot of time defending him all season, and then suddenly that stopped on Tuesday night after the game. After Chris Carter's second inning error on a routine play gave up two runs and then going 0-3 at the plate Girardi actually pulled him for pinch hitter Austin Romine.

(June 20, 2017 - Source: Jim McIsaac/Getty Images North America)     
Then after the game when he was asked about the performance coming from Carter at first base he responded with “That’s what we have.” “That’s what we have.” That stings a little and it's not a typical Girardi answer. That is the answer from a manager with no confidence.

So we've all been saying it, the Yankees need another option at first base since it sounds like Greg Bird won't be back anytime soon. For now, Cashman sounds like they are going to hold with Carter but says "I think he's in line with it" in regards to Girardi's request. For now, Cashman says sticking with Carter over Tyler Austin or anyone else "an organizational decision." 


(May 23, 2017 - Source: Elsa/Getty Images North America)
So for now, I guess we keep searching and it at least sounds like Cashman will look until he sees something that he and Yankee leadership both like. "I think he'd like to come up with a better option, but we don't (have one), so he's asked the questions, which is normal. Listen, at first base we are at the bottom of the production list for the position despite entering the season thinking we had more than enough coverage. But that's baseball. Joe wants to impact that win column like we all do. So we'll focus on getting what we have right and trying to get them to maximize their potential because they haven't reached it in pinstripes -- at least in Carter's case. And if there are alternatives that are easily acceptable and declare themselves, I'm all-in."


Source: Patrick Smith/Getty Images North America
I seriously hope an acceptable alternative presents itself soon because I can't take much more of Carter. I really hope that at some point Austin gets his shot because we are such huge fans of Wonderboy. He may not be ready now and I guess I have to continue to trust in their judgment with Austin.....but Carter being the best option for us right now is a completely different story.



--Jeana Bellezza
BYB Managing Editor
Follow me on Twitter: @NYPrincessJ







EVERYTHING LOOKS NICER WHEN YOU WIN, BUT DOES IT?

Photo: Getty Images
"Everything looks nicer when you win", Billy Martin said. The girls are prettier, the cigars taste better, and the trees are greener.  So raise a glass of your favorite beverage  and toast sweet victory. Smoke 'em if ya got 'em and enjoy the view.

Eight days is a long time between wins for Yankee fans who haven't suffered through a seven-game losing streak in more than 10 years -- or ever, depending on their age and entry point in our Universe. And it felt especially long coming directly on the heels of a six-game winning streak powered by big hairy bats that actually had many in the fan base under the delusion this happy ship  might steam its way deep into the playoffs while short starts and long relief use took their collective toll.


But took their toll they have. And while Wednesday's win by Montgomery was sweet indeed, he still failed to complete six innings and  required a rescue from the pen. And despite solid work from Dellin and  Chad Green -- who was abducted from a promising starter's trajectory down on the farm  for bullpen duty when Chapman went on the DL and appears to have been Jobacized for good now that Warren's hurt and Clippard's melting like a snow cone in the Sahara -- Joe insisted on giving the clueless Clip yet another chance to blow a seemingly blow-proof 8-2 lead in the 9th. Which he promptly set about attempting to do, forcing the need to bring in Chapman.


So once again, even on a night when the bats scored  eight runs and the team was coasting with a six-run lead heading into the 9th, all the Yankees' highest-leverage horses in the pen had no rest.

That doesn't bode well for the pen, the rotation or the team's prospects this season.  But as I've continued to point out -- and as one or two of the beat writers seem to finally be coming around to grasping - it's a rebuilding year and this team was never intended or constructed  to compete; and the only way Brian and Hal will possibly make any deadline moves is if they make sense for the future plans and payroll. Not for just this season.

Mike Mazzeo at the Daily News is one of those beat guys who gets it.


"Masahiro Tanaka has a 6.34 ERA, CC Sabathia is expected to be out at least six weeks, and Luis Severino and Jordan Montgomery (5.2 IP, 5 H, 2 ER) could potentially hit the wall later this season as their innings totals increase. Cashman has not gone public with any innings limits, which seems like the right move. Acquiring an impact, controllable arm like Gerrit Cole, Sonny Gray or Jose Quintana would be nice for both now and in the future. Of course, the prospect cost would have to be right.

"Recently, the rotation hasn’t provided enough length, taxing the bullpen. No Yankees’ starter has gotten through seven innings since June 10, the return of a troubling trend that plagued the team earlier in the year. Tyler Clippard and Adam Warren haven’t been the same since Aroldis Chapman went on the DL...

“Hell, you could talk about first base, you could talk about anything -- the bullpen vs. rotation -- but I’m always open to trying to improve ourselves,” Cashman said. “It remains to be seen. We’ll have our discussions and if I can acquire something outside the franchise that’s better than we already have and it’s an acceptable cost, then we can talk to ownership about it.”

Acceptable cost. That's Brian's and Hal's escape clause right  there.  Acceptable cost. Two words that justified building a rotation around a pair of arms attached to a knee brace and a torn ULC  and an unfinished one that's getting all kinds of kudos today for ending our losing streak -- but ironically is a textbook illustration of the larger problem with this club. It not only couldn't last six innings but it's well past the halfway point on its odometer for innings in a season despite lasting seven innings only once this year. Just another arm that likely won't go the distance.


Acceptable cost. Two words that explain why the Yankees were willing to risk playing their fragile injury-prone one-year rental designated hitter Matt Holliday at first base Wednesday in the hope he'd produce  more offense out of the position -- and  why Chris Carter, the strikeout-prone bust-of-a- one-year rental first baseman who got benched Wednesday, was signed in the first place and is still here.

Acceptable cost. Two words that Hal has used a hundred times to describe his determination to join the league of ordinary franchises that have managed to win championships without paying a cent in competitive balance taxes -- and how meeting that threshold is not only a key component of this current rebuild but was the inspiration for it and remains the driving force behind it.

Acceptable cost. Two words likely never uttered in the same sentence by his dad.

The  cost of the Yankees rebuild has been accepting the loss of some good players and the likelihood of losing still more before it's over.

The cost of standing largely pat last winter in the pitching department has resulted, predictably, in mounting rotation problems, concurrent bullpen problems and a slow, inexorable regression that will likely make the rebuild an agonizing torture test for awhile longer.


As Mazzeo and I agree, how much longer depends on how soon  Brian gets the green light from Hal to start shopping for replacements for CC and Big Mike, at the very least, if not also for Tanaka. It would be an amazing and awesome coup on Brian's part if he pulled something off of the magnitude Mazzeo mentions. But honestly, I just have a hard time seeing Hal going for it this season, don't you?

And that's not necessarily a bad thing. That means he's sticking strictly to the original, disciplined rebuild plan and a brighter future for all of us Yankee fans. The bats are pretty great now and they can cover up a lot of sins and omission until the rest of blueprint catches up. An outside shot at the playoffs maybe if the rest of the division happens to crash and burn perhaps.

That is, if someone else in this now-tightly packed division doesn't decide to go all in and try to buy it with a massive trading and spending binge. I'm fine with that too.

Maybe we could interest them in Clip and Carter.

By the way, more on Chris Carter and another perspective from BYB Senior Managing Editor Jeana Bellezza soon. Be sure the check it out.





--Barry Millman
BYB Writer
Follow me on Twitter: @nyyankeefanfore









Wednesday, June 21, 2017

DESPAIR IS SETTING IN

Source: Mike Stobe/Getty Images North America

Before we left for California, I had confidence in our team.  I would watch games, see the score, and breathe a sigh of relief.  The relief was centered around confidence; confidence we would win; confidence that we could put up enough runs from the team as a whole, to buffer the poor pitching performance.  But after the absolute nightmare of California, despair is setting in and I can't help it.

Source: Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

I guess the lynch pin for me was the news about Gleyber Torres and his season ending surgery; one from which I hope he can rebound.  "The Yankees announced Monday that the 20-year-old Torres will undergo Tommy John surgery on his left elbow but is expected to recover in time for spring training next year.

"It is unfortunate." Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said. "I'm thankful that it is a correctable problem," reported ESPN on Monday. If there is a sort of white knight in this painful situation it is that the injury came to Torres's non-throwing arm, but still...a terrible injury none-the-less.

 Source: Elsa/Getty Images North America

Perhaps the Yankee GM didn't get my despair note and therefore had this assessment of the situation according to NJ.com, “We’re going to stay the course and play our way out of this.” "That means keeping (Masahiro) Tanaka in the rotation, no trade for an available starter like Gerrit Coleman or Jose Quintana, and no call-up for right-hander Chance Adams, despite an 0.93 WHIP at Class-AAA and a .168 opponents’ average."

Source: Jason O. Watson/Getty Images North America

Also countering my despair is Cashman's stake in the team and as NJ.com reported,  "Now it’s a race. Now we’ll find out if the Yankees can handle a suddenly confident opponent (the Boston Red Sox) many picked to win the pennant. Cashman says the Bombers are up to this challenge. “I believe in this team,” he said, knowing that faith is about to be tested."

Source: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images North America

I want to believe...believe me.  Perhaps it is the lack of transparency around the progress of injuries to Aaron Hicks who just returned, Jacoby Ellsbury still symptomatic, Greg Bird apparently not ready and even Aroldis Chapman, who seemed to be taking his time back into the clubhouse only to complain about traveling across the country for one game.  Perhaps what Joe Girardi said about activating Chapman resonated with me, "I just think that, if you're a player that's being paid to play and you're eligible, you'd show up," Girardi said. "This is something I've heard from a couple different people about, `You're going to fly him across the country for one day?' How many divisions have been lost by one game in the course of history? How many playoff spots have not been guaranteed because of one game? Yeah, it's not ideal to be all the way out here, yeah, I get that. But he had a travel day where he didn't play. All our other players had a travel day where they played that day. If you've got people available that are the best, you want them here," reported ESPN.


So hopefully I will battle my despair over the next several days with some home wins, where the Yankees appear to be fairing the best and they will cruise into the All Star Break in a way that makes my faith in the team reappear magically. It certainly didn't happen last night!




--Suzie Pinstripe
BYB Managing Editor
Follow me on Twitter: @suzieprof









I'D RATHER HAVE CLIFFORD THE BIG RED DOG THAN CLIPPARD.....

So maybe that is a bit dramatic, but a this point I have had enough.


It's been awhile since I have reached my boiling point with the bullpen specifically. In fact, the last time I got this fired up over a reliever was back in the days of Chris Capuano. It got so bad that eventually called him Chris CRAPUANO. Thank goodness he is gone...but now I have someone new that has replaced him.

(June 19, 2017 - Source: Al Bello/Getty Images North America)
I don't understand how all of the wheels of this kick ass Yankees team have managed to all fall off at the same time. The Yankees looked lifeless on Tuesday night. The excitement over home runs by Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge (24th!!!) were completely deflated after Tyler Clippard's latest blunder.

I get that every once in a while guy are going to give up some runs or blow a lead. It happens, it's baseball and these guys are human. What I don't get is why Joe Girardi has so much faith in this guy. I watched him long before he was ever a Yankee and I wasn't a fan then either. Clippard is just a hot mess.

Source: Getty Images
This was the third time Clippard allowed the game-tying or go-ahead home run to the first batter he's pitched to in his last seven outings. Ummmm.....hi.....that's REALLY bad. If Girardi's binder doesn't tell him next time "HEY DON'T PUT CLIPPARD IN THIS ISN'T A GOOD MATCHUP FOR HIM" next time then we are screwed. If this doesn't make the Yankees completely lose faith in him I don't think anything will.

Clippard left a 78 mph meatball for Cameron Maybin in the 7th inning which turned into a tie game. But of course, the train wreck didn't end there he then gave up a double to Kole Calhoun and an RBI triple to Yunel Escobar in the same inning. When it was all said and done he was pulled (too late) to a loud exit of "boo" birds. Clippard wasn't the only reliever to implode and I won't say he is the ONLY one to blame but right now he is the only one I want to scream at.

Source: Getty Images
Oh, and the other thing I don't get? Girardi's refusal to use his best reliever for more than one inning! Dellin Betances is going to pitch one inning and one inning only. Forget the high pressure or game changing scenarios. Girardi won't use the best reliever with the best chance to preserve a lead before getting to Aroldis Chapman. NO! Let's just use meatball throwing Clippard!

(Source: Elsa/Getty Images North America)
This seven-game losing streak is their first in ten years and now the longest losing streak in the American League this season. Not a good stat to own. The Yankees really need to re-evaluate a lot of things including the bullpen and upgrading Clippard before it is too late. This is where we need a veteran to stand up, use some command presence and be a leader. It's time to right the ship. We need to start winning again. We need a Jorge Posada team meeting because we ARE better than this.

Oh and Clippard just needs to HIT THE ROAD JACK! And don't come back. At this point, I think Clifford the Big Red Dog is by far more entertaining and useful than Clippard is. That is another sad stat. At least he doesn't blow baseball games.



--Jeana Bellezza
BYB Managing Editor
Follow me on Twitter: @NYPrincessJ





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