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Yankees GBU – An up and down week

The New York Yankees wrapped up a series with the Indians over the weekend and a mini Subway Series with the Mets in a day-night doubleheader.  Neither was that successful, although the Yankees did flex their bats in the first game of the doubleheader.

The Yankees have now lost or split the last three series after winning nine in a row, and have lost five of their last eight games.  A lot of these losses have been pinned on the bullpen, but overall it’s been a combination of untimely pitching and too many mistakes in the field.  Let’s take a look back at the last week of baseball for the Yankees.

 

The Good

Gio and Didi are swinging hot bats

The Yankees’ bats went cold in Cleveland despite jumping out of the gates early in the first two games.  While the pitching let them down, the offense wasn’t so hot sans an offensive overload on Tuesday afternoon.  The two bats that have been hot during this slump have been Gio Urshela and Didi Gregorius.

Urshela may not have the hits over the past week or so, but he’s been extremely productive despite that.  With six RBIs in four games, Urshela is making the most of his opportunities.  He only has three hits in that span but has used a combination of hits with RISP and sacrifice outs to be productive.

As for Didi Gregorius, while his glove has a little catching up to do his bat has been impressive.  Gregorius had been out for nine months after recovering from Tommy John surgery.  He has six hits and two RBIs in his last five games and his bat speed is better than most expected.

Tarpley gets his first save

It’s not the way the Yankees drew it up, but Stephen Tarpley got his first Major League save on Sunday afternoon.  After the Yankees blew a 5-0 lead, then a 6-5 lead in the ninth, Tarpley came in to replace Aroldis Chapman, who would wind up winning the game despite giving up the game tying run.

Tarpley worked an easy 1-2-3 inning with three strikeouts.  It was the first three strikeout inning of Tarpley’s professional career as well and a good confidence boost for the young lefty.  Unfortunately for Tarpley, he was sent back down from the Majors on Tuesday after the Mets’ doubleheader.

Power surge on Tuesday and Sunday afternoon

Really the only games worth talking about from a positive standpoint are Tuesday afternoon against the Mets and Sunday afternoon against the Indians.  The Yankees had seven against Cleveland and 12 against their cross-town rivals, with a few home runs sprinkled in.

On Sunday the Yankees jumped out to a 5-0 lead early thanks to a two-run Brett Gardner homer, a D.J. Lemahieu single and two run double by Luke Voit.  The Indians came storming back to tie the game twice but a Clint Frazier sacrifice fly (before the Indians tied it up) and an Aaron Hicks double sealed the deal.

On Tuesday, the Mets took an early 4-1 lead thanks to a three run home run by Jeff McNeil.  However, the Yankees strung together a five run fourth inning to take the lead (after a Kendrys Morales and Gary Sanchez single) with a Gio Urshela two run home run and a three run home run by Luke Voit.  The Yankees piled it on with some more RBIs by Gio Urshela, a Gardner triple and a monster Gary Sanchez home run.

The Bad

Just about the entire starting pitching staff

Even in the Yankees’ two wins, the starting pitching wasn’t anything to scoff at.  Masahiro Tanaka gave up four runs and Chad Green looked good but the rest of the “staff”, especially Tommy Kahnle, was rough at best.  Domingo German went six innings of four run ball, C.C. Sabathia five innings of five run ball, and James Paxton had his most disastrous start as a Yankee, going 2 2/3 innings of six run ball.

James Paxton in particular was terrible as he didn’t even get out of the third inning in a 10-4 blowout loss.  The game was well over before Chance Adams came in because of Paxton, and if the Yankees are going to get back to their winning ways they absolutely cannot have their starting pitching fail them now.

After losing Dallas Keuchel to the Atlanta Braves, the Yankees now have a major issue.  They don’t have a reliable starter as Domingo German is now on the 10 Day IL with a hip flexor injury, and the rest of the gang has been inconsistent at best.

The bullpen wasn’t great either

The bullpen pretty much failed the Yankees all weekend as well, with the only two pitchers going unscathed were Nestor Cortes Jr. and Zack Britton.  The following pitchers in the Yankees’ bullpen gave up runs in either the Indians or Mets series;  David Hale, Jonathan Holder, Luis Cessa, Tommy Kahnle, Adam Ottavino, Aroldis Chapman and Chance Adams.

It’s a bit of an understatement that the Yankees’ bullpen hasn’t been good lately.  What was once the strong point of the team has become a bit of a mess, especially with the setback to Dellin Betances.  Betances was supposed to join the team soon but had a setback and now his timeline is unknown.

They need him more than ever because the usually reliable Tommy Kahnle and Adam Ottavino faltered against the Indians, with Kahnle giving up four runs.  Kahnle was so bad that it was the first time in his career that he gave up two home runs in one outing.

The Ugly

The errors are starting to pile up

Probably the worst part of the Yankees’ week in review has been their absolutely awful defense of late, namely Tuesday afternoon against the Mets and a specific error made in Sunday’s win against Cleveland.  The Yankees have made six errors in five games, and three were made in their 12-5 win against the Mets.

The first and most prominent error made was Didi Gregorius’ goof at shortstop.  Didi is usually as sure a fielder as possible, but he turned an easy ground ball to short into a game-tying run, as he booted a grounder to him and it went into the outfield.  Aroldis Chapman also made a pickoff error in the very same inning, and although his run wasn’t earned he didn’t help out his own cause.

As for Tuesday, Gary Sanchez dropped a pop-up behind the plate, Didi Gregorius missed a throw to first base and Kendrys Morales misplayed a throw to first.  Tuesday night was more of the same as Gio Urshela, who is usually sure-handed, dropped a fly ball.

 

The Yankees are going to have good weeks and they’re going to have bad weeks.  This was a bad week, as they lost another series and only were able to salvage a split against a struggling Mets team.  If things couldn’t get any worse, Brett Gardner had to get stitches in his mouth after hitting himself in the face with a helmet.

Hopefully the Yankees can get their mojo back against the Chicago White Sox on Thursday.  If not, it’ll be another long week as the Tampa Bay Rays are now tied with the Yankees for first place.  We shall see what the next series holds but the Yankees need to get on the right track before they start losing some real ground.

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