The slumping New York Yankees limp home now trailing the red hot Boston Red Sox by 4.5 games in the American League East. The last thing this team needed was another injury, yet that’s exactly what they are dealing with. The club announced today that LHP CC Sabathia will be placed on the 10 day DL with knee inflammation. Sabathia lasted just three innings in the 4-2 loss in Toronto Tuesday night. CC surrendered a pair of two run homers to former AL MVP Josh Donaldson in those three innings. Despite CC’s MRI coming back clean, the team will still place the veteran lefty on the DL for the second time this season.
With Sabathia on the DL, Jordan Montgomery’s time on the farm is short lived. The Rookie LHP, who is having a strong opening campaign (7-6 4.05 ERA), has been called up from AAA Scranton. Jordan currently leads all American League rookies in wins (7) and strike outs (111). Montgomery was sent down in part because he was the odd man out with the acquisitions of Jaime Garcia and Sonny Gray and in part because the Yankees wanted to monitor his innings in a more relaxed environment. The Yankees have to realize that this bullpen cannot endure many more short outings, so if Montgomery is up here he must be allowed to throw more than 65 pitches, especially when he is being effective. I know the bullpen is very deep, but as you saw in Wednesday’s win, Chad Green and Tommy Kahnle weren’t as sharp as they’ve been and that could be from overuse. In that game, Masahiro Tanaka labored through just 4 innings before Joe Girardi went to the bullpen. In the first two games of the series the Yankees got just seven innings from their starters. Last night, Sonny Gray battled through six innings and was once again besieged by bad defense (part of it was his doing) and a nonexistent offense. Chasen Shreve was able to eat up the last two innings to give the other guys in the pen a needed break. Speaking of the nonexistent offense, much of that is at the feet of Aaron Judge. Joel Sherman of the New York Post posted these scary numbers before last night’s game:
Judge 2016: 84 ABs, 15 hits, .179 BA, 4 HRs, 44Ks
Judge since the All Star Game 2017: 84 ABs, 14 hits, .167 BA, 5 HRs, 38Ks
Judge did little to improve on those numbers by going 1-3 with another pair of strike outs. When you see those numbers side by side like that you have to wonder if the first half of 2017 was a fluke. There are a lot of naysayers out there that believe that Judge’s first half was indeed a fluke. GM Brain Cashman certainly didn’t even expect that out of Judge. He said in more than a few radio interviews (and I’m paraphrasing) that the Yankees envisioned him as an everyday MLB outfielder that could make a few All Star teams. There were reports that internally the Yankees would’ve been happy if Judge hit .260 this year with 30 homers and 100 RBI. Certainly his first half gave not only the Yankees, but the fan base, much higher hopes for Aaron than that. Judge has reverted back to the player he was in 2016 and with Matt Holliday and Starlin Castro currently on the DL the Yankees need Judge to be the player he was before the All Star Game when he struck fear into the hearts of opposing pitchers instead of just striking out. Tonight would be a great time to start as the Yankees desperately need to get the offense going with Boston in town.
When the Yankees get shut down by Corey Kluber you live with it. The Cleveland Ace is one of the best pitchers in all of Major League Baseball. What you can’t live with is getting shut down by pitchers who have ERAs over five. Since Game 2 of the Detroit series the Yankees have gone 3-6. Four of those losses came to pitchers with ERAs over five. The Yankees scored just 5 runs against those pitchers including being shut out twice.
I mentioned injuries at the top of this column and yet another occurred Wednesday when Clint Frazier strained his oblique which landed him on the DL yesterday. Aaron Hicks was activated to take his spot on the roster. The Yankees fans spewed a lot of venom (and rightfully so) at Brian Cashman for saying “Red Thunder” had to be optioned out when Hicks was ready to return. It’s funny how these things always seem to work themselves out in baseball. One guy returns just in time for another to get injured so these roster controversies never really happen. Frazier was just one of many the Bronx Bombers stuck in a nasty slump before the injury occurred.
The Rivalry is renewed in the Bronx this weekend as Boston is in town for a crucial three game series. If the Yankees want to stay in the AL East race they have to at least take two games this weekend. The series opens up tonight with Jaime Garcia making his second start for the Yankees. He opposes fellow lefty Eduardo Rodriguez for the Red Sox.
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