Yankees GBU – A best case scenario split
The New York Yankees went to Chicago for a series with the White Sox. After a tough loss in Game 1 and a brutal Game 2, they salvaged the series with back to back wins over the Sox, including a 10-3 thwomping in the last game. There were ups, there were downs and for some reason Clint Frazier was sent down to AAA. We’ll get to that.
Brett Gardner and Austin Romine prove their worth
Brett Gardner had an excellent series, breaking out of a slump and raking in six RBIs in four games. He also drew three walks in Game 3 and was key in the Yankee’s five run third inning. Gardner had been feeling the heat with the addition of Edwin Encarnacion and the returns of Giancarlo Stanton and Aaron Judge.
Gardner proved his worth this weekend and showed that he’s still a very capable outfielder. He will most likely be the fourth outfielder as EE will be almost a full time DH and Stanton will most likely play left field for most of the season. Gardner is one of the best veterans on this Yankee team and has been the heart and soul for a decade. Having him produce is a bonus but now that he’s been getting consistent at-bats he’s been much better.
As for Austin Romine, he hasn’t had much playing time thanks to Gary Sanchez being one of the best power hitters in baseball this season. However, Romine nearly tied a career high in RBIs on Sunday with a four RBI performance. Romine knows his role and knows he won’t get much playing time going forward, but he’s taking advantage of his opportunity with a great day Sunday.
Cortes Jr. starting to shine
Nestor Cortes Jr.’s day wasn’t perfect but he worked through some trouble to pitch five strong innings of two run ball in the Yankee’s 8-4 win. It was an “opener” as Chad Green started but Cortes Jr. was strong for all five innings. Cortes struck out seven in those five innings and used his off-speed pitches effectively.
Cortes is on the list of middle relievers that are completely unknown entities. He could be the best thing since sliced bread but since guys like Luis Cessa and Jonathan Holder have proven over and over again they aren’t to be trusted in high leverage situations, there leaves very little room for Cortes to work.
Perhaps this start, along with his string of good pitching lately will push him up in Aaron Boone’s rotation of arms. With Dellin Betances still on the shelf and not many other multiple inning arms available, Cortes Jr. fills a desperate need. If he can continue to pitch the way he has, he’ll be relied upon in future situations.
The reinforcements are coming
Along with Edwin Encarnacion coming to the Yankees via trade, they will most likely get back both of their big sluggers this series. The first, Giancarlo Stanton, is slated to come back at some point during the Rays series. The circumstance surrounding Aaron Judge are a bit murkier but it’s believed that after his stint in the minors that he’s ready as well.
Stanton and Judge bring hope to a team that’s been down in the dumps the past two weeks. The Yankees had an incredible run of nine straight series wins in May, but June hasn’t treated them too kindly as they’re only 5-5 in their last ten and have lost two of their last three series to sub-par competition (TOR, CLE). The reinforcements are coming in at the right time, as the Yankees desperately need a boost. It may not be pitching, but having three of the top sluggers in the league can’t hurt your lineup.
Send Luis Cessa and Jonathan Holder to the moon
This has been said pretty much every week for the past five or six series, but the Yankees need to end the Jonathan Holder and Luis Cessa experiments. Considering they sent down Clint Frazier to AAA (we’ll still get to that) instead of DFAing one of these pitchers, it seems like the two of them are essentially immune from ever being punished.
Cessa pitched on Friday to a wonderful statline of one inning, five hits, and four runs. He had absolutely nothing going for him and made what was only a four run deficit into an insurmountable comeback. In his past five outings, Cessa has only had one where he hasn’t given up at least one earned run.
Holder hasn’t fared much better, nearly making the Yankees 8-4 Saturday victory a close one. The Yankees held a 7-1 lead when Holder came in a gave up a home run that put the White Sox within striking distance. Holder hasn’t been nearly as bad as Cessa but the fact that Aaron Boone still uses him in high leverage situations is puzzling at best.
Mike Tauchman is struggling hard
It’s nice that John Sterling has given an affectionate nickname to Mike Tauchman, because his play certainly hasn’t warranted any fanfare. Tauchman went 1-for-9 in this series and the “Sock Man”, while solid defensively, doesn’t bring anything to the table that Cameron Maybin hasn’t.
He’ll likely be the next man sent down once Stanton is activated and quite frankly he doesn’t deserve to be on this team if he’s striking out three times a game. Maybin is more than capable defensively and now that Clint Frazier has been sent down there’s no need for an extra defensive replacement. The Yankees have a great outfield and Tauchman is just another guy. It’s one of Brian Cashman’s few misses.
Clint Frazier gets sent down
It’s a numbers game but it’s completely unfair that Clint Frazier was sent down instead of one of the aforementioned bullpen arms. Frazier has produced immensely while he’s been up, has batted .345 with RISP and was 6-for-16 in the series against the White Sox.
Frazier was upset but stoically took reporter’s questions after learning of his demotion. He said all the right things and hopefully will be back but one wonders if the way he acted in the Red Sox series didn’t seal his fate with the franchise. If Frazier hadn’t been outspoken would he still be with the club?
Sabathia has lost his fastball
No pun intended, but C.C. Sabathia, usually the reliable veteran, has certainly lost a lot of his mojo that regained last season. His latest outing wasn’t great, going 4 2/3 innings of ten hit, six run (five earned) ball. He only gave up one home run but the three run home run by Eloy Jimenez doomed him.
Sabathia hasn’t been great at all this seas but he’s been pushed into a more prominent role with all the injuries to the pitching staff. His 3-4 record isn’t terrible but his 4.42 ERA is ugly and there hasn’t been much positive to come out of his final season so far. Hopefully the big lefty can turn it around and be a part of the Yankees rotation for the rest of the season.
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