Hi all. Here’s how I see baseball on this Thursday, May 24.
The Yankees have been certain from day 1 that they could bludgeon every team that’s put in front of them into submission, and in some cases they have succeeded in doing that. They have Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Gary Sanchez (now and then) Didi Gregorius (until recently) and like a good Gleyber, Torres is there at second base adding his thunder to the Yankee hitting attack. But somebody should have thought about getting a pitcher or two to buttress the starting rotation. If that had happened, brutal losses like last night’s 12-10 defeat to the Texas Rangers would be less likely. Yes, the Yankees have hit 21 home runs in the last 4 games, matching the 1977 Red Sox and 1999 Reds, but neither of those teams made the playoffs, and the Rangers beat the Yankees 2 out of 3 in their most recent series. Thunder bats aren’t enough.
The Yankees first had a 4–0 lead on the Rangers, then a 10-5 advantage. New manager Aaron Boone went with sentiment and let CC Sabathia stay out there entirely too long. Even CC himself, who I used to call Commander Calzone said it was unacceptable to score 10 runs and lose. The pitcher who took the loss was David Robertson who gave up 4 runs in the 6th to turn the momentum for good. Of his recent work, he said he’s pitched like crap, and he’s not lying.
The Yankees tried to prop up CC Sabathia on a night when he brought nothing to the table. Didi Gregorius hit a 2-run home run as part of a 3-run first inning, and it was 4-0 Yankees going to the last of the 4th. But in that inning the Rangers put up 5 runs, featuring a 2-run blast by Nomar Mazara and a 3-run home run by Ronald Guzman. Guzman is 23 and has a .206 batting average in this, his first season in the show. Both Mazara and Guzman were boys of 6 in the Dominican Republic when CC threw his first major league pitch in 2001. When these guys hit home runs off a pitcher like Sabathia who is trying to live on his reputation, that’s where his manager has to come out with the trailer hitch to get CC out of the game.
**Digression alert** While CC has a 239-147 record, games like last night tarnish his legacy and lessen his aalready slim chance to reach Cooperstown. The last time he was an All-Star was 2012. He had elbow surgery that October and his velocity has suffered since. He has a cranky knee that has troubled him since 2014. We’ve seen this movie. Whitey Ford and Mickey Mantle both played entirely too long and to the detriment of their legacies. So did Muhammad Ali, Roberto Duran and Larry Holmes in the boxing world. We don’t want our last memory of CC, who in truth had an astonishing year last year (14–5) to be what we saw last night. ** ** End of digression
Manager Aaron Boone left CC in the game though he had given away a 4-0 lead in the 4th. With the score 5-4 Rangers, the Yankees put 6 on the board in the 5th to make it 10–5. That inning featured a 3-run belt by Gleyber Torres to make it 8-5. Not to be outdone, Judge hit a monumental 2-run home run to make it a 10-5 cushion. Even then, with 4 innings pitched, CC could have and clearly should have been pulled, and nobody cares if he got his 240th win. The team needed a win now more than he personally does. The 5-run cushion turned out to be an inflatable one and CC stuck a bottle opener in it. The Rangers put up 2 more runs in the home 5th before CC was finally removed. By then the momentum had shifted. Chasten Shreve did well enough to get the Bombers out of the 5th but Robertson’s performance in the 6th was the stuff that nightmares are made of. The Rangers scored 4 runs that inning, the highlight being a 3-run double by Jurickson Profar to make it 11-10. Profar, who has played in 2 Little League World Series’ is just a .229 hitter, nobody David Robertson shouldn’t be able to manage. But Robertson has had an ERA of over 8 during May and Profar took advantage. From there it was clear the win was going to the team with the star on their caps. By the end the Yankees were swinging at anything, like all they wanted to do was go home. Then they even got rooked out of that. Their charter didn’t leave Dallas until about 5:30 AM Eastern this morning, some 6 hours after the game. This was the second time on one road trip that the Yankees spent a night in an airport rather than flying first class from Point A to Point B.
Today’s docket features some games that would have been either Ladies’ Day or “Businessmen’s Special” back in the day. The Reds host the Pirates at 12:30, and the Angels meet the Blue Jays at the same time in Toronto. The Orioles face the White Sox in Chicago just after 2 PM Eastern, while the Mariners and A’s play at 3:30. In that game, the A’s Josh Lucas makes a spot start against King Felix Hernandez, a game he can tell his kids about later in life. The Astros will start the undefeated Charlie Morton, 6–0 against the Indians’ Mike Clevinger in Cleveland. After dropping 2 out of 3 to the Marlins, one of the league’s worst hitting teams, the Mets now have to face one of the best. They’re playing a series in Milwaukee where Steven Matz starts for the Mets against Zach Davies. Davies has been dealing with rotator cuff trouble. This will be his first start after a stint on the DL.
Around the minors, 11 games will start before Noon today and 3 more will start in the next couple of hours. Teams use these morning games as a way to get school children or summer campers to have an outing at the ballpark. I’ve broadcast my share of those and never heard so much noise that had nothing whatever to do with the action, or lack of same on the field. In a game involving a former employer of mine, the Fort Myers Miracle lost 7-6 in extra innings to the Bradenton Marauders. Bradenton didn’t have a team when I worked in the Florida State League, but my partner and I got to cover an exhibition game there a few years later. After 9 innings last night in Fort Myers, the game was a 5-5 tie. Under the new rule that I believe ruins minor league baseball, a runner began the inning at second base. Bradenton would score 2 in their half of the tenth, and though the Miracle rallied they came up a run shy.