Yankees need more from bench players

In today’s world of professional baseball, no player is going to play every game of every season. Players like Cal Ripken, Jr., who famously played 2,632 consecutive games for the Baltimore Orioles, wouldn’t set such records for durability today. Studies have shown resting players periodically is more beneficial for teams, because they are fresher after a day off. “Load management” is a thing in MLB, minor league baseball, and other sports as well.

When the New York Yankees tweeted out their lineup for yesterday’s game against Tampa Bay Rays, I didn’t have a good feeling.

Let’s finish this series?

I was hoping for “Let’s sweep the series”. The Rays started a soft-tossing lefty in Rich Hill, so I didn’t expect to see Mike Ford and Brett Gardner, who bat left handed. Aaron Hicks (sore wrist) and Luke Voit (that load management thing) weren’t able to go, necessitating the lineup changes. Let’s just say it didn’t go well. The 41 year old Hill pitched into the seventh inning, holding the Bombers to three hits.

I understand keeping players fresh, but that lineup was a white flag more than two hours before first pitch. The results were predictable. Mike Ford and Brett Gardner are hitting .095 and .192, respectively. Clint Frazier has a .141 average and is an automatic out.

If this is how the Yankees are going to get through the season, then they need players who will produce off the bench. As tough as the AL East is, every loss matters. The Yankees didn’t compete last night. I’m not saying they weren’t trying, of course they were. However, it wasn’t competitive.

There was a point in the game where Ford came to the plate vs. Hill in the top of the 6th inning. Runners on 1st and 3rd with one out. The game was in reach, only 4-0 at that point. In this case, it’s a perfect time for Voit to pinch hit, right? Nope! Manager Aaron Boone kept Ford in there, and what does he do? He grounded into an inning-ending double play and “Yankees Twitter” lost their collective minds. The Rays went on to blow the game open in the bottom of the 6th with a 3-run blast from Randy Arozarena.

Although the Yankees ended up winning the series from the Rays, which is big in it’s own right. I just thought it was a good opportunity to keep their foot on the gas and sweep the series. That lineup told me the Yankees were content to just win the series. Thus, that 9-0 loss washed away every good feeling I had about the first two Yankees wins. The team needs more than what the likes of Mike Ford, Clint Frazier and other bench players are providing.

If Clint doesn’t get himself going, he could find himself back in Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre. On the other hand, Estevan Florial, already on the Yankees 40-man roster, was promoted from Double-A Somerset to Scranton. He’s knocking on the door. 

Posted in MLB