Mike Francesa: Yankees need ‘major shakeup’ after weekend sweep by Rays

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NJ.com 19 April, 2021 - 04:05am 31 views

Did Jay Bruce retire?

Yankees' Jay Bruce, 34, retires just weeks into 14th season. NEW YORK (AP) — Jay Bruce had seen enough. Having made the New York Yankees' opening-day roster, he couldn't stomach his poor start to the season. So the three-time All-Star outfielder decided to retire Sunday, just 15 days past his 34th birthday. USA TODAYYankees' Jay Bruce, 34, retires just weeks into 14th season

Who is Jay Bruce?

If you haven't heard, and can't read titles, Jay Bruce retired from baseball at the age of 34 years old. ... The 2007 Baseball America #1 prospect in all of professional baseball. A guy that made his Major League debut at the age of 21 and played center field right next to Ken Griffey Jr., his childhood idol. Red ReporterJay Bruce Retires

Why did the Yankees trade for Rougned Odor? A puzzling move.

Pinstripe Alley 19 April, 2021 - 07:10am

The Yankees are prioritizing payroll over defense, and it shows.

The addition of Odor to the roster also meant a demotion for Tyler Wade. While Wade doesn’t contribute much offensive value, he was the only true backup infielder on the team. That is a worthwhile asset to have when Gleyber Torres, the starting shortstop, continues to struggle when it comes to making routine plays. Considering the Yankees’ injury history and the new extra innings rule, Wade’s versatility and speed aren’t negligible, either.

In all likelihood, the Yankees wouldn’t have traded for Odor if they weren’t hell-bent on avoiding the luxury tax hit by way of creative accounting. Having a player take up a roster spot when he isn’t an upgrade to what the team already has is a pretty clear-cut example of the Yankees’ payroll taking priority over putting together the strongest possible roster. As The Athletic’s Lindsey Adler pointed out, Yankee fans “don’t care about the front office saving George’s son, Hal, a few bucks.” They care about what Hal’s father, The Boss, prized above all else: winning.

Ballplayers (and most professional athletes, really) thrive on consistency and routine. Repetition and preparation are key elements to success in baseball—any player will tell you that. It’s easy to wonder if shuffling the lineup and infield on a daily basis is hurting the Yankees. That said, how much can you fault a player for not looking graceful and deft at fielding a position he doesn’t typically play? I imagine it’s more difficult for the players to focus on doing their job when their job is trifold and not clearly defined.

If the team re-signed DJ LeMahieu to play second base, why did they trade for Odor? Why swap out Mike Ford at first for someone like Jay Bruce, who was ostensibly a good presence to have in the clubhouse, but nonetheless a natural outfielder who turned out to be weeks away from retirement? It’s still early in the season, but the Yankees’ focus on optimizing their payroll has hurt the team’s synergy and defensive strategy. Why demote Tyler Wade when Gleyber Torres has yet to look fully comfortable at shortstop?

The team’s approach to roster construction is fundamentally flawed. The Yankees aren’t getting big home runs right now, which means the team must prevent errors in close games from costing the Yankees wins. Until they start hitting, the Yankees need to do the little things right in order to be competitive. It would be one thing if the difference in defensive value among Odor, Wade, and Torres wasn’t huge, but it is. Using Statcast’s Outs Above Average metric to compare their defensive skill to one another highlights this not-so-small gap:

Torres’s questionable defense reared its ugly head again on Saturday afternoon against the Rays. In the top of the seventh, the Yankees were still in the game with a chance to win. With two outs, Gleyber Torres had a chance to end the inning by tagging out Manny Margot when he made a run to steal second base.

However, even with a solid throw from Kyle Higashioka, Torres couldn’t handle the tag and the ball skipped under his glove. The Rays then went on to hit a two-run homer. The go-ahead blast felt especially deflating, as the inning could have been over were it not for Gleyber’s subpar defense. If Wade was in the game at shortstop with Torres at second and Odor on the bench, maybe that doesn’t happen.

It’s hard to know where the Yankees should go from here. The infield is a mess. They need to find a solution.

Game 15: I Hope You Did Something Else Today

Views from 314 ft. 19 April, 2021 - 07:10am

By Bobby

On April 18, 2021

In Game Recaps

If you are reading this, I’m sorry. It probably means that you, like me, care a lot about the New York Yankees. And it probably means you watched them limp to a 4-2 loss today to Tampa Bay. It’s their fifth consecutive loss, dropping them to 5-10 overall. They got swept by Tampa Bay in the Bronx. It is bleak right now.

It won’t last forever but good lord is it frustrating to be a Yankee fan right now. Let’s get to today’s takeaways, for some reason.

1. Sloppy is as Sloppy Does: The Yankees are inexplicably sloppy. This is not an overreaction to 15 games, either. It’s been true since 2018. They play sloppy baseball even when things are going well, most notably with lazy defense on routine plays. It’s a different person each game, too, so there’s not one person to blame. It’s been really bad in 2021. Today was just another example, and it came in the third inning. Here is the breakdown of events:

On its face, that doesn’t seem to be that bad. The Rays strung together some hits and made a good pitcher pay, right? Wrong. It was bad and it was made significantly worse by horrendous and inexplicable defense. I marked the offending plays with asterisks. Now let’s go through those.

Here is the Kevin Kiermaier single, if you want to call it that.

What the hell is this? Honestly. First, it looks like Hicks thinks he can catch this, which makes sense – it was a looped, lazy fly ball. Here is some photo evidence:

Looks routine. Except, approximately half a second later, the ball landed several feet in front of Hicks, short hopping him:

Hicks was clearly not prepared for this or in a position to field it clearly. It’s pretty clear that something bad is about to happen based on that alone, and, sure enough, that’s exactly what happened. Hicks bobbled the ball not once, but twice, which is best exemplified by this screengrab because it highlights the next bad part….

…because you can see Gleyber Torres pointing toward second, telling his teammate to throw the ball there. Mike Zunino, a slow-ass catcher, was obviously stuck in the middle on the play here. Because it was unclear if Hicks going to catch it or not, a clean play would have resulted in him being thrown out easily at second. Instead, the bobble prevented that chance. It meant there were runners on first and second with nobody out instead of on first with one person out.

Now, let’s make matters worse, shall we? Here is the very next play:

This one doesn’t necessarily merit a full frame-by-frame look. It’s just a bad play. It also had consequences, though: it allowed Kiermaier to get to third base with nobody out. Obviously, that gives the Rays two chances to get him home on an out. As someone reading this blog, I am confident you can guess what happened next. That’s right: the Rays scored on an out. It also had a baffling defensive decision. Here is that one:

Horrendous. What is Clint doing there? Again, this allows a Rays runner to advance. Hicks is obviously the man who will take most of the blame here, and he should – the Rays scored twice as a direct result of his defense. But Clint had a role to play, too, by making Cole pitch with runners in scoring position.

He threw 23 pitches in the inning, 20 of which followed the leadoff single, making them high-stress pitches. Cole gave this game everything he had but lazy defense from the Yankees once again cost them. This about says it all:

I genuinely thought Gerrit Cole was going to chuck this ball back out to Clint Frazier pic.twitter.com/GzxCihLFDq

2. The Yankees Don’t Deserve Gerrit Cole: The Yankees, at least so far throughout 2021, do not deserve Gerrit Cole. That should be obvious from the above, but let’s go a layer deeper here. The man is disgustingly good at pitching. In 2021, he’s decided to just make his changeup – previously his 4th best pitch – and dominate with it:

Gerrit Cole, Wicked 89mph Changeup. 🤢 pic.twitter.com/G73GBvew9B

He used his changeup 17% of the time today and got 6 whiffs on 10 swings. It continues a trend in which Cole relies heavily on the pitch in 2021. The rest of the arsenal was working for him today too, as he induced a 33% whiff rate against the Rays. A 2-strike HBP in the 2nd – it was a slider that just got the foot of the batter – and the 3rd inning added pitches to the final line, but this was a great performance from Cole today.

I say this because Boone correctly tried to steal an inning from him in the 7th when he had 98 pitches, but it backfired. Cole gave up back-to-back hits including a double to Tsutsugo (owner of a proud .187 MLB batting average) to give up a run and break the tie in the 7th. Cole will say that he should have gotten them out, and it’s true. But it’s also true that his defense failed him today and made the early innings more stressful.

Still, even with the 7th, Cole’s line is more than enough to win a game. In fact, if any other Yankee pitcher went 6.1 IP with 5 H, 10 K, and and 3 R (2 ER), we’d probably call it the best non-Cole performance of the season. That should be enough for the Yankees to win at home. Alas, it is not. But here is a fun fact, at least:

3. The Offense is Capital L-Lost: God, the Yankees are absolutely lost at the plate right now. They’re just lost and there’s no other way to put it. I noted a trend before the game, and it’s that the team just cannot hit middle-middle pitches.

Today's challenge to the Yankees: stop taking, missing, or fouling off middle-middle pitches. Here are their infuriating charts from the last two games. So much pink, orange, and green over the plate. pic.twitter.com/EuTrH7qtCW

They did not pass the test or step up. Aaron Judge is the key culprit, as exemplified by this at-bat in the first:

Inexplicable. It really is. But it’s not just him. There are a number of statistics I could list out right now – Judge’s last 30 at-bats, Torres’ entire season, Hicks’ stats as a LHB, and on and on and on – that would help illustrate this point in fine detail. They are not necessary. The only chart you need to see is right here. Be warned. It is ugly.

That physically hurts to look at. The only thing more painful is watching this happen, batter-by-batter, inning-by-inning, knowing what is going to happen before it does. The good news is that it won’t last forever, because it can’t. The Yankees are good offensively and this is hilariously awful stuff, so it’ll break eventually. But man is it brutal to watch right now.

The Yankees are off tomorrow. They’ll be back in action on Tuesday against Atlanta in the Bronx. That game will be at 6:35 pm on YES and WFAN. Try to enjoy the rest of your afternoon, everyone.

Another snoozefest. Most boring Yankee team in as long as I can remember. I appreciate the explitives after striking out as they watch balls down the middle and swing and miss but they need to do a little more to pretend like they care. If you keep saying things will eventually get better I’m sure you are right but give it a break…whatever makes it easier to watch I guess.

Hicks is just a lazy player. He got paid and doesn’t give a damn anymore. That doesn’t take away from the fact though that Cashman was a fool to ever give an oft-injured 4th outfielder 7 years/$70 million.

If Hal had any backbone, he’d be telling Cashman to empty out his office as we speak. The man deserves to lose his job. No other GM who consistently has $200+ million payrolls would be able to survive this.

What happened to the Manager Evaluation Survey?

No excuse for lifeless, lazy and bad fundamental play. Most of that is on Boone, he has consistently gotten less out of more … they won 100 games despite him, not because of him .

I’m aware that batting average isn’t everything and this is not an excuse because the Yankee offense is terrible right now. But offense is down dramatically in MLB. The 30 team average is around .235 and the Yankees are hitting .210 after today’s game. We’re also tied for 17th in team homers with 16. Slugging is supposed to be a strength. Our BABIP is .259 with the league average at .285. I’d like to hope for regression to the mean, but maybe we just aren’t as good as we thought we were.

The constant refrain of “it won’t last forever” misses the point. Maybe the team won’t be this bad forever, but as long as Hal and Cashman are in charge, nothing important is changing. Boone is obviously clueless and can’t manage the team, but he’s ultimately just a puppet of the front office. Even if he’s fired after the Yankees miss the playoffs, the next “manager” will be no different. Not to mention Cashman himself is one of the worst GMs in the game. This offseason was the perfect example of that. All the while, Hal will keep making the conscious choice to intentionally penny-pinch and assemble a sub-par roster each year. Ownership clearly assumes fans are gullible enough not to see through this cynical game, and sadly that’s probably right.

Over the last decade, the Yankees organization has become defined by carelessness and a total disregard for winning. All that matters is profit margin and being just good enough to sell tickets. Occasionally this strategy will lead to a good regular season, but it will never win a championship. Unless the team is sold, this culture of failure will last forever. That is why fans are so frustrated. Ultimately, if the team itself doesn’t care, why should you?

I agree with Jason, Bobby. I’m tired of all the cliche excuses “it’s only April and these games don’t matter” or “they’ll hit because they always have” and the new one is “we’re just a tick off.” Yeah, and I’m just a tick off from winning the NYC Marathon.

There has to be wholesale changes tomorrow, Derek. Thames is doing nothing and should be the first sacrificial lamb. Hicks should be traded for a bucket of warm covid spit. Bruce knows a sinking ship when he sees one and that’s why he’s retiring. I wish Boone would follow his lead. I’ve seen even less fire from Boone this year and I suspect it’s because of the pacemaker. He’s following doctor’s orders but that’s not fair to the club. Hal needs to call up Buck Showalter immediately and beg him to take over this dumpster fire. Buck is the only one that can give this club the discipline it needs and it would allow him to come full circle in his career.

Deivi Garcia and Mike King should both be up here in the starting rotation. If you’re only going to win 1 out of 3 games you’re about a 65 win club so might as well get a look at the kids. I’d start calling around to contending clubs and ask if they want Chapman, O’Day and Judge. This just isn’t a very good team and should be blown to smithereens. Sox, Jays and Rays are all better and the Os might be too.

Can’t wait for the Luxury Tax Reset parade this November.

It’s cute you think these losers are playing October baseball.

Twitter: @Viewsfrom314ft

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Gerrit Cole on Sunday's loss to the Rays

YESNetwork 19 April, 2021 - 07:10am

Tyler Glasnow, Ascending

DRaysBay 19 April, 2021 - 07:00am

or, why Glasnow’s worst start of this young season might have been his most impressive

This was not close to Tyler Glasnow’s best game. Not of his career, or of his season, and not even of this week! But this early season day game at Yankee Stadium, this most likely forgettable start, this game showed us that Tyler Glasnow is ascending to the next level of pitcher.

His final box score reads 5 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 4 BB, 7 K, 13 whiffs on 105 pitches. For those that watched it’s remarkable Tyler was able to survive with such a totally fine line. He went 5 innings when at multiple times it looked like he might need to leave due to wildness, mechanical breakdown, or severe hand cramping. Seriously, what an adventure these 5 innings were, but they also showcased how a dominant pitcher can survive when he doesn’t have the A stuff or even B stuff.

I tend to write articles that emerge out of my interest in baseball analytics. Today, however, you are getting pure emotion. To my eye, Tyler Glasnow’s Saturday performance, gritting it out without good command or his best stuff, was the true performance of an ace.

After two quick outs, Glasnow surrendered a hit, a somewhat tricky error, and a very wild walk to load the bases. Brett Gardner, always pesky, came to the plate. Glasnow was in a battle with Gardner, and despite a brutal missed strike 3 call

“You’re fucking kidding me” -Tyler Glasnow pic.twitter.com/QdFgJWl3xN

Glasnow was able to get out of the jam and induce Gardner to ground out to Yandy at 1B.

It’s a mature and impressive moment to recover from an error and a bad missed call, either of which would have ended the inning, while playing a dangerous team on the road, where extra outs and strikes tend to turn into lopsided innings awfully quick.

This is where the worries really escalated. Glasnow walked Gary Sanchez and Gio Urshella to start the inning. Reading that Glasnow walked the first two men in an inning is a disservice to just how panic-inducingly wild he was in this inning. Just look at these charts for 2nd inning pitches!

Kyle Snyder came out to chat. Glasnow’s dropped his fastball velo to 95 frequently this inning, seemingly in an effort to try and gain command. After getting Rougned Odor to pop-out weakly, DJ LeMahieu got enough contact to lift a ball the other way for a single. Not hard hit still, but enough to get a run in.

Next came Aaron Judge and a chance again for the Yankees to break the game open. After a wild pitch gave the Yankees more runners into scoring position, Glasnow reached back and fired two very good and very pretty fastballs right by Judge for a K. Even without the feel for any of his breaking balls, Glasnow was able to get Hicks to line out into the shift and escape another jam.

After two narrow escapes, Glasnow seemed to lock in a bit. While not showcasing his best command, and with his slider and curve failing to entice any swings out of the zone, he relied on his fastball to notch 3 more Ks with 6 more whiffs in these two frames.

When you have a fastball like this to end the 4th, and you trust it, command issues suddenly can be overcome.

Tyler Glasnow, 99mph ⛽️ ...and K Hop/Velo Check. pic.twitter.com/kQu4Ma3wsJ

And finally, we get to the weirdest affliction to face Glasnow on the day: hand cramps!

Cramps suck.@RaysBaseball righty Tyler Glasnow had to deal with some cramping in his left hand in the middle of the fifth inning today against the Yankees. pic.twitter.com/kmavM7J18o

At this point, it was hard to imagine how much more Glasnow could give. Tyler toughed it out, downed some water, and stayed in. The 5th continued to be a struggle to tame the wild stallion that was his command.

Tyler Glasnow has been one of the very best pitchers in all of baseball so far in 2021. He has showcased a level of dominance, command, and comfort in the ace role that puts him in that upper echelon of pitchers. But when a pitcher is on, when they have their A-game, when they have all their stuff working, things are easy and even the best hitters will struggle. It’s when pitchers don’t have all their pitches working that you can learn a lot about their makeup. What sets guys like Clayton Kershaw, Max Scherzer, and Justin Verlander apart isn’t just their ability to annihilate the opposition when all goes well, it’s their ability to dig deep and find just enough to give their team a chance to win, even when it’s not their day.

In this April start in the Bronx, Tyler Glasnow had plenty of opportunities to go off the rails. He could have easily become frustrated, lost focus, been rattled by the fact that his pitches just weren’t going where he wanted them to go. And plenty of young, talented pitchers can have these things snowball on them. A tough inning can into a disaster in the blink of an eye. Tyler Glasnow had 3 out of 5 innings that could have caused this game to slip away from him.

That was the phrase that kept leaping to mind. All of the issues categorized above, “and yet” Glasnow escaped. Command failing, “and yet” still able to strike out titan pinstriped sluggers. He helped to create a lot of potential problems. “And yet”, Glasnow didn’t let that happen.

He found a way to navigate a dangerous Yankee lineup. He switched up his pitches. He trusted his stuff, and he challenged batters when he needed to. Glasnow showcased the level of mental focus of a 10-year vet. He didn’t let any of the emotions, the panic, the hostile crowd ready to throw more objects onto the field at a moment's notice, get to him. He survived and sometimes even thrived when everybody watching, from the stands, at home, and in both dugouts, knew full well this was not the sharpest he could be.

This felt like the type of start that puts Glasnow into the next level of pitcher.

Tyler Glasnow has the chance to be truly elite. Through struggles and perseverance, Tyler Glasnow showcased flashes of that ascension into the type of pitcher he is capable of becoming. And if this was him not at his best, then Glasnow is well on his way to becoming a true ace.

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