Sonny Gray, New York Yankees

Yankees Road Trip From Hell Ends In Texas – Then Schedule Toughens

The Yankees road trip from hell ends on Wednesday against the Rangers, followed by a scheduled day off. When the team returns home, things will get intensely interesting with six games against the two premier teams in the AL West Division.

During the past week, the Yankees survived climbing over Clint Frazier who was stretched out sleeping in the aisle of their grounded plane in Washington and being blocked out of any hotel within a 90-mile radius of our nation’s capital. Nary a complaint was heard, and the team rallied like a family does when the lights go out in their home.

That was the worst of it, though, and following today’s afternoon game in Kansas City (a 10-1 blowout win for the Bombers), the Yankees move on to Texas for three games against the Rangers before flying home to welcome the Angels and Astros to Yankee Stadium, back to back.

Six games in all, played with the knowledge that one of these teams is likely to be the Yankees final hurdle before reaching the World Series (I didn’t forget the Red Sox, I just don’t care about them). ESPN has already tagged two of Houston games for telecast and will be fighting like hell to snag the Sunday night contest against the Angels (scheduled for 1:05 PM EST), even though the Angels need to fly to Detroit that same night.

The Angels, of course, will be bringing Shohei Ohtani to New York for the first time, and that alone should be a media circus for the ages. Ohtani is pitching today, but the Angels schedule does not list their rotation that far out.

Standing by for some genuine early season excitement and quality baseball.

Yankees Bits And Pieces

****  Yankees manager, Aaron Boone, has quietly inserted Sonny Gray into the number two position in the rotation, moving Masahiro Tanaka to number three. With no hoopla behind the move, Gray responded today with eight innings of one-run ball and doing it all on just 92 pitches, two-thirds of which of were thrown for strikes.

This start by Gray is almost an exact duplicate of the one made by Luis Severino yesterday in the Yankees win over the Royals. It’s no secret, and the Yankees have not been shy in being vocal about it, the team needs Sonny Gray to be Sonny Gray. Fingers crossed, this is a start in a better direction.

****  While the Yankees are in Texas, I’m wondering if they will employ the same defense the Astros used in facing Rangers slugger, Joey Gallo. Gallo pulls the ball a la Mark Teixeria, refusing even to attempt to hit a ball the other way. This is what the Astro’s defense looked like the other night:

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Here’s another suggestion, though. Maybe the Yankees should take one of their infielders positioning him behind Gary Sanchez to scoop up passed balls (seven leads the league again). C’mon, a little levity now and then can’t hurt.

****  Greg Bird is on the last leg of a trek he is all too familiar with and has landed safely at Triple-A Scranton. Next stop, Yankee Stadium and first base as a regular in the lineup for as long as he produces. It’s interesting to note, though, that a check on the box score from Sunday’s game shows Tyler Austin (Bird’s main fill-in) with two home runs (total of eight now) and four runs batted in. The Yankees depth continues to plague them, but isn’t that an excellent problem to have?

****  Did Gregorius was given what is most likely a mental health day. All answers to his continued slump are still coming in blank. Super-sub Ronald Torreyes filled in for Gregorius, and in case you have looked lately, Torreyes is batting .339 as a once a week player. And while we on that theme, Austin Romine took the catching duties yesterday, going 2-4 with a home run and four batted in, lifting his average to .326.

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