Two things about the Yankees never seem to change. Gary Sanchez is unreliable behind the plate, and Giancarlo Stanton is on his way to the IL again.
The Yankees are safe at home following a semi-disastrous 2-5 road trip that mercifully ended Sunday in Tampa with another closely contended loss to those pesky Rays.
This time, the key play came on a wild pitch from Zack Britton that allowed Brandon Lowe, the runner on first to advance to second, after which he was brought home on a walk-off single by Michael Perez.
Almost immediately, Aaron Boone seemed to feel it necessary to jump in defending Britton’s catcher at the time, Gary Sanchez, for not blocking the pitch in the dirt that put the winning run in scoring position.
“Sinker in the dirt. Because it’s Gary, it’s gonna be a big deal,” Boone said. “But a sinker in the dirt to the other side is usually gonna end up at the backstop.” (New York Post)
No kidding, is that what this has come to with Sanchez? Yankees pitchers can soon expect to be charged with a wild pitch for doing their job by trying to entice a batter to swing at a bad pitch.
Yes, Aaron Boone, because it’s Gary, it is a big deal, and it’s high time you owned up to it. – Or at least stop embarrassing yourself with another lame defense on a play major league catchers are expected to make more than “usually”, and especially when a game is on the line.
True to form, Zack Britton, a veteran of many wars and ever the supportive (I mean enabling) teammate took any and responsibility:
“That’s a tough pitch for anybody to block,” Britton said. “Obviously, that’s a pitch I use to try to get a swing if I feel like the hitter is going to be aggressive. That one was too short. That’s a tough pitch to block”.
“Not many guys are gonna block that ball. That’s on me to make a better pitch in that situation, so the guy doesn’t advance.”
Yes, Zack, we get it – that is a tough pitch for anybody to block. But again, this is the big leagues where big boys play, and that’s what catchers are paid to do at this level.
At the risk of beating a dead horse, let’s move on to something else.
Yankees Endure Another Case Of Lost Baggage
Giancarlo Stanton is once again out of the Yankees lineup. And once again, the injury is not a knock-out punch but another one of those nagging hamstring things that move ominously from day-to-day, all of a sudden to Aaron Hicks territory with an extended loss of time.
The Yankees have enough outfielders to pick up the slack, and one could argue that Mike Tauchman (.310 with four stolen bases) had the left-field job won anyway.
Plus, the word is Clint Frazier will finally get the call to make the trip from Scranton, but that’s not the point.
The Yankees present a far more menacing lineup with Stanton and Aaron Judge hitting back to back. The mere presence of these two baseball giants standing in the batter’s box is enough to give any pitcher a severe case of agita.
For the moment, the two-week party is on hold, and Judge will need to carry the team while Stanton mends. To state the obvious, sure would be nice to have Gary Sanchez hitting his weight, but for now, the tandem of Frazier, Tauchman, and Brett Gardner will suffice.
Yankees’ eyes will be focused, especially on Clint Frazier, who has taken on the unwanted tag as the last man out whenever final rosters are drawn up.
Seriously all-grown-up now, Frazier impressed both teammates and Aaron Boone during Spring Training I and II with a calm yet determined demeanor.
The Yankees will look for adequacy when Frazier plays in the field. While his bat displays a ferocious instinct and speed, his play in the field continues to be tentative at best.
If he can hit, Frazier will stick.
Yankees: The Schedule Remains A Key Link To Success
Settling in at home, the Yankees have the Atlanta Braves (11-7) coming in for two interleague contests, followed by another off-day before the Red Sox arrive for a weekend series. After that, it’s back with the Rays for three games at the Stadium.
The Yankees have been open about their need for more pitching. Aside from Gerrit Cole and an abbreviated Masahiro Tanaka, the remainder of the starting staff (James Paxton, J.A. Happ, and Jordan Montgomery) is not delivering much of anything.
Paxton did turn in a stellar six-inning outing on Sunday, but the velocity on his fastballs is still down. If the location is slightly off as they were on a couple that landed in the seats, he’s going to get hammered, no matter how many good change-ups he throws to offset the deficiency.
Brian Cashman has not ruled out bringing someone in from the outside, and Happ’s days with the Yankees could be winding down.
The Texas Rangers, who seem to live at the .500 mark, may finally be ready to part with Mike Minor, a 32-year-old 6’4″ lefty.
Minor has lost all three of his starts this year, and his ERA is equally unimpressive at 6.89 – but he’s better than that, and everyone in the league knows it – making Cashman’s job harder.
In the meantime, it’s Aaron Boone’s job to piece everything together with what he has. Oh, and one other thing. Boone is also charged with the onus of providing daily updates on Stanton, regardless of whether or not there is news to report.
Some things never seem to change.