When we left off after the Yankees 50 game report, the team was playing much better. The offense was still lagging but they were getting good pitching and just enough offense to win seven of their ten games from May 17 through the 27th. To quote a worn-out cliché from manager Aaron Boone, it looked like the Yankees were turning the corner.
Fast forward another ten games later, and the team is back where they were three weeks ago, treading water and playing barely over .500 ball. The Yankees played three games against the Tigers in Detroit and got swept. They returned home to play a four-game set against the Rays, which they split, followed by three games at home against the Boston Red Sox. In any case, it ended in a demoralizing sweep in front of the Yankee Stadium faithful.
Let’s go over the carnage.
The offense – let’s just say it was offensive. To save the aggravation of re-living it, I’ll just summarize. Yankees hitters need to be better. When they weren’t striking out, which was often, they were hitting into double plays. When they weren’t hitting into double plays, they were making dumb outs on the base-paths. And that’s only when they were finding ways to get on base.
Yankees beat-writer Sweeny Murti summed it up well.
I’m beginning to think the Yankees could hit a home run and still find a way to be thrown out on the base paths.— Sweeny Murti (@YankeesWFAN) June 3, 2021
(And, yes, I’m well aware of passing the runner, Tim McCarver, blah blah blah).
Honestly, it’s been painful. To save space, I’ll just say that Aaron Judge, Gleyber Torres and Gio Urshela are really the only hitters that are performing as expected. The rest are spinning their wheels in the mud.
Pitching – the rotation and pitching staff as a whole suffered a tremendous blow when Corey Kluber went on the injured list. He left his start against the Blue Jays after three innings on May 25. Just six days prior, he pitched a no-hitter against the Texas Rangers in Arlington. Diagnosed as a shoulder strain, Kluber has reportedly sought 2nd and 3rd opinions. Kluber played catch on June 4 and felt good, which is encouraging.
Corey Kluber is back with the #Yankees and played catch today, Aaron Boone says.— Max Goodman (@MaxTGoodman) June 4, 2021
Boone says he’s not getting ramped up right now, but he’ll play catch for several days until he “graduates” to the next step.
“He’s doing really well and feels really good.”
Gerrit Cole was roughed up at home against the Rays on June 3, giving up five runs in five innings. Uncharacteristically, a pair of lead-off walks in the 4th and 5th innings ended up scoring. Additionally, his spin-rates were down, which made some ask if he was curtailing his supposed use of sticky substances in the wake of MLB’s announcement that they are going start randomly checking pitchers for illegal use.
‘If MLB is going to crack down on sticky substances, just how is that going to work?’ by @DPLennon for @Newsday: Thursday’s meeting of the MLB owners… https://t.co/JlxixCzcue pic.twitter.com/oSIMjU835V— New York BBWAA (@NYBBWAA) June 6, 2021
The bullpen is beginning to show signs of wear, with Chad Green and Justin Wilson suffering poor recent outings. Green let in four runs against the Red Sox while recording just a pair of outs in a 7-3 loss on June 5. Wilson was walked off in the 10th inning in Detroit on May 28, when Robbie Grossman hit a two run shot. In essence, Wilson should have been out of the inning with a save and a Yankees win. Home plate umpire Vic Carapazza had other ideas. According to MLB Gameday, Wilson hit his spot which should have been called strike three. Carapazza called it a ball.
Murphy’s law took over and Grossman ended the game on the very next pitch.
ROBBIE GROSSMAN WALKS OFF THE NEW YORK YANKEES #DetroitRoots— Ben Verlander (@Verly32) May 29, 2021
To be sure, it was a tough 10-game stretch, with the Yankees losing five out of seven at home. The Yankees started an eight game road trip with an 8-4 win against the Twins, with the offense looking much more like themselves. By and large, it’s a good head start for the next ten game stretch. Like YES Network broadcaster David Cone says, “Home runs are a great deodorant”. So is winning!
See ya next time!