June 28, 2021

Schadenfreude 302 (A Continuing Series)

Red Sox versus Yankees, 2021

June  4 @ NYY - Red Sox 5, Yankees 2
June  5 @ NYY - Red Sox 7, Yankees 3
June  6 @ NYY - Red Sox 6, Yankees 5 (10)
June 25 @ BOS - Red Sox 5, Yankees 3
June 26 @ BOS - Red Sox 4, Yankees 2
June 27 @ BOS - Red Sox 9, Yankees 2

The Red Sox never trailed in the just completed three-game sweep.

After the All-Star Break, the Red Sox and Yankees will face each other eight times in 11 days:
July 15-16-17-18 in New York
July 22-23-24-25 in Boston

Kristie Ackert, Daily News:

Gerrit Cole squatted behind the mound. The Yankees ace had just given up a three-run bomb to Rafael Devers. It was the second home run he had given up Sunday and there was still just one out in the first inning. Cole crouched and tried to regroup after taking the punches to the gut.

But, Cole and the Yankees could not figure out a way off of this nightmare rollercoaster ride of a season. Cole gave up a home run on the first pitch he threw Sunday and the Bombers tried to catch up all day. The Red Sox blew out the Yankees 9-2 to complete the series sweep in front of a packed house at Fenway Sunday. . . .

"It's a pretty brutal feeling, to let the team down like that," said Cole, who gave up six runs, five earned in five innings pitched.

The Yankees (40-37) were swept by the Red Sox (47-31) for the second time in two series they faced them this season. It was the fifth time they were swept this season . . . The Yankees lost four of their last six games and find themselves fighting just to stay above .500 while the Red Sox and Rays battle for the division.

"That's a serious punch in the mouth," Aaron Boone said. . . . "[W]e've got to keep our foot on the gas."

The Yankees came in here with momentum [but their usual problems] resurfaced this weekend. They couldn't convert baserunners into runs.

[Trailing 2-6,] the Yankees had the bases loaded and one out in the seventh. DJ LeMahieu was called out on strikes and Judge popped out to first. The Bombers went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and stranded seven runners and they grounded into a double play.

They made sloppy defensive mistakes.

Miguel Andujar threw to third instead of second to hold the runners in the first. Clint Frazier's throw to home sailed up to third base in the third. There was also Gleyber Torres' wild, wide throw to first in the third ... and again in the fourth.

Cole's struggles, however, were a new twist.

He got dinged from the get-go. The first pitch he threw Sunday, to Enrique Hernandez, was crushed for a lead-off home run. It was the first time in his career that he gave up a home run on his first pitch. It was the first time he gave up two home runs in the first inning and he tied a career-high allowing three home runs on the day. . . . The five earned runs tied the most he has allowed as a Yankee, having done it twice already this season.

It had to be what the Yankees can only hope was rock bottom for Cole. Over his last five starts, which happen to coincide with when the league made it clear they were going to crack down on illegal substances on the ball, Cole has pitched to a 4.65 ERA. He's allowed 16 earned runs and allowed nine home runs. . . .

It's a sharp contrast to his first 11 starts of the season, when he posted 97 strikeouts to nine walks and five home runs allowed over 70.2 innings pitched [1.78 ERA]. . . .

Dan Martin, Post (4:32 pm):

The Yankees have lost all six meetings with Boston this season, quickly becoming an afterthought in the AL East.

[Gerrit] Cole was knocked around for four runs in a disastrous first inning, out-pitched by left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez, who entered the game with a 6.07 ERA.

The problems started immediately for Cole and the Yankees.

After Rodriguez retired the side in order in the top of the first, Cole had his first pitch of the game hit out by Kiké Hernandez. The shot over the Green Monster set the tone for the day.

Alex Verdugo followed with a double to right-center and Cole walked J.D. Martinez.

After getting Xander Bogaerts on a fly ball to left-center — on which Miguel Andujar threw to third, allowing both Verdugo and Martinez to move up — Cole gave up his second homer of the inning, a 451-foot blast to right by Rafael Devers, as Boston took a 4-0 lead just five batters into the game.

Cole crouched behind the mound to collect himself, but it was too late.

The Yankees had first and second and one out in the third . . . but Aaron Judge struck out looking and second baseman Marwin Gonzalez robbed Luke Voit . . . with a terrific play . . .

Cole ran into more trouble in the third, with Martinez crushing a long homer to center.

Gleyber Torres, struggling at the plate, had an ugly day at shortstop, where he made a throwing error on a Bogaerts' infield single . . . Bogaerts scored on a Christian Vazquez sacrifice fly to put the Red Sox up 6-0. . . .

[New York trailed 2-6] when Andujar walked with one out in the seventh and Clint Frazier singled to bring up pinch-hitter Gary Sanchez against former Yankee prospect Garrett Whitlock. Sanchez walked to load the bases for LeMahieu, who struck out looking. Judge followed by popping to first and the Yankees stayed down by four runs as their inability to produce with runners in scoring position helped doom them again.

Mixed in was another shoddy play at short by Torres on a Danny Santana grounder in the fourth that was initially ruled an error but later changed to a hit. And in addition to Andujar's issues in left, Clint Frazier, playing right, threw the ball to no one on the Vazquez sacrifice fly in the third . . .

The Yankees are now 21-23 against teams above .500, have a negative run differential and are in the midst of their fourth losing streak of three or more games in less than a month.

Red Sox Revel In Owning The Yankees

Peter Botte, Post:

A second three-game sweep of the Yankees this month has the Red Sox back in first place in the AL East.

Boston manager Alex Cora called his team's weekend trouncing of the Yanks "all around probably the best series we've played the whole season," featuring three home runs against Gerrit Cole in Sunday’s 9-2 win at Fenway.

What's worse was Cora's complimentary — almost patronizing — tone when asked about the difference between this sweep of the reeling Yanks and the one the Red Sox executed in The Bronx in early June.

"I think that's a good baseball team. You can see the quality of the at-bats are a lot better now than they were a few weeks ago. They're getting there," Cora said . . . after the Sox improved to 47-31, widening their lead over their fourth-place rivals to 6½ games. . . . Overall, it was a really great series for the entire team."

And another clunker for the Yanks, who fell to 11-12 in June. . . .

The Yanks got the tying run to the plate after loading the bases in the seventh, but former Yankees farmhand Garrett Whitlock struck out LeMahieu and retired Judge on a pop-up to escape the jam. . . .

"[Y]ou love to beat the Yankees any chance you get," Whitlock said. "To take six off them so far this year, hopefully we take a lot more than just six."

Peter Botte, Post:

Gerrit Cole's much-discussed spin rates ticked upward on all four of his pitches Sunday, but the Red Sox sent three balls spinning over the varied-sized walls at Fenway Park in the ace's worst outing of the season.

Cole was tagged for two home runs in the first inning and three in all in spotting the Red Sox a quick six-run lead in what turned out to be a series-sweeping 9-2 loss in Boston.

The $324 million righty admittedly didn't have much command of his slider or his four-seamer from the start, coughing up a first-pitch homer to leadoff batter Kiké Hernandez and a three-run bomb to the right-field bleachers by Rafael Devers (four RBIs) on a 101 mph fastball. . . .

Cole, who was checked by the umps for foreign substances following the 26-pitch inning, gave up two more runs in the third, including a dead-center blast by J.D. Martinez. . . .

The outing marked the first time the 30-year-old Cole has surrendered at least six runs — although one was unearned — in 31 starts (playoffs included) over two seasons with the Yankees. The three homers also matched a career high done three previous times, most recently last August against Atlanta.

Ken Davidoff, Post:

When did it reach the tipping point for you?

Was it Gerrit Cole's very first pitch of the steamy afternoon, clobbered over the Green Monster by Kiké Hernandez?

Was it the Houdini-like escape work of Red Sox reliever Garrett Whitlock — plucked from the Yankees last winter when they left the right-hander unprotected in the Rule 5 draft — as he struck out DJ LeMahieu and retired Aaron Judge on a pop out to first to strand three Yankees runners in the top of the seventh inning?

Was it the throwing error by Gleyber Torres, his defense regressing just as his offense showed signs of life, in the third? How about Xander Bogaerts' high double to left field, with an expected batting average of .030, that Miguel Andujar couldn't handle?

Regardless of when you arrived, this absolute masterpiece of ugly baseball, the Yankees' 9-2 loss to the Red Sox Sunday afternoon at Fenway Park surely got you there by the end, to the tune of Bosox fans chanting, "Sweep! Sweep! Sweep!"

And it's time for the patient-to-a-fault Yankees to act, if not by firing people then at least by demoting them. By sending a message to this group that what's going on is unacceptable. . . .

Back in fourth place in the American League East, 0-6 against the Red Sox this season, the Yankees (40-37) again exhibited a glass jaw, entering New England on a 7-2 upswing, losing a pair of close games and then suffering Sunday's blowout. It's just a terrible look, compounded by the reality that the Yankees exhibited similar streakiness during the 2020 COVID-shortened schedule. . . .

[S]ome roster turnover [is needed] . . . [Clint] Frazier, having lost his everyday outfield job to Andujar, stands as the top candidate by virtue of his highly disappointing .634 OPS and his alarmingly worsening defense in the outfield. Then again, Andujar merely edges Frazier with a .647 OPS and his outfield inexperience shows itself as consistently as the Yankees' overall inconsistency (a correlation exists), so you could make a case for him, too. . . .

Cole, asked to explain his team's roller-coaster nature, offered, "It seems to be something slightly different every time, but the common theme is that we don't get the job done." Agreed. So now it's time to try to do the job differently. Because these guys are running out of time, ideas and, worst of all, relevance.

Bill Madden, Daily News:

On behalf of the Yankee legions who have seen enough, we have here an open letter to Hal Steinbrenner:

Hello, Hal?

Are you there?

Are you aware what an absolute embarrassment this $201 million Yankee team of yours is?

This team that just got swept at Fenway Park to fall into fourth place in the American League East?

This team that leads the majors in runners being thrown out on base?

This team that is hitting .218 and a .632 OPS with runners in scoring position and with two starting outfielders batting under .200?

This team that continues to play sloppy defense and is way too often clueless when it comes to the fundamentals of baseball?

Look Hal — again, are you there? — we know you've always said you're your own person and not in any way like your old man. Okay, we get that. George could get crazy at times, but at no time did Yankee fans think he didn't care, which right now they're wondering about you. They're crying out to you, Hal. They want you to start acting like the Boss. At this juncture, after 12 years of not reaching the World Series despite the highest or second-highest payroll in the game, he would conclude it's time to go in a new direction.

For starters, it's time to put Aaron Boone out of his misery. Not that changing managers is going to make any difference. But when a team plays as badly as the Yankees did this weekend in Boston — in a series where they desperately needed to make a statement that they can compete in this division — it's pretty clear they are not responding to Boone. If the Boss were still alive, there would be a new manager waiting for them in New York Monday.

Let's be honest here. Boone . . . was put into this job without any previous managerial experience because Brian Cashman wanted a manager, unlike Joe Girardi, who would offer no resistance when Mike Fishman and the analytics geeks sent the lineup down to him.

And that's the problem, Hal. Cashman and his obsession with analytics have won you nothing since 2009. This latest team of his, if you've been watching, is a poorly constructed mess. It all started with Cashman's ill-conceived decision to relieve Derek Jeter from a healthy portion of Giancarlo Stanton's $325 million contract in 2017. How has that worked out? In the weekend series against the Red Sox, Stanton, as the cleanup hitter in the all right-handed Yankee lineup, was 2-for-10 with seven strikeouts.

While you can give Cashman credit for finding Luke Voit and Gio Urshela on other teams' scrap heaps, his overall trading record has been less than stellar. He himself has often touted his signature trade to be the 2016 deal in which he sent Aroldis Chapman to the Cubs and got back Gleyber Torres. The same week, he traded Andrew Miller to the Indians for a package including Clint Frazier.

Frazier, hitting .187, has been a complete bust, often looking like a buffoon in the outfield with no idea where he's throwing the ball. Torres, after showing much promise his first two years with the Yankees, has deteriorated greatly both with the bat and in the field and probably should be traded while he still has some value.

Frazier's lack of fundamentals and baseball smarts is endemic to the Yankees player development department, whether you know it or not, Hal. They're doing a terrible teaching job down there but that too starts at the top.  And then you have to ask yourself: What have all of Cashman's analytics accomplished with the pitching?

The Yankees have still not drafted and developed a frontline starting pitcher since Andy Pettitte. Under Cashman's analytics-oriented pitching coach Matt Blake, Jameson Taillon, Domingo German and Michael King have all been inconsistent this year and Deivi Garcia has gone backward at Triple-A. 

(We won't dare speculate as to whether Sunday's disastrous three-homer outing was an indication that Gerrit Cole, your $324 million ace, might actually have been one of the sticky finger culprits these past few years.)

We know this is probably annoying to you, Hal, down there in your bunker in Tampa, and we know you don't like firing people, but you have to take stock of your organization and clean house from top to bottom. If you were watching this series at Fenway Park this weekend, you could have learned something from the Red Sox, who played with a fervor. Besides playing defense, the Red Sox are smart and aggressive on the basepaths, hit-and-run — you know, the old school stuff.  They may not be a great team but they are entertaining, which your Yankees are not.

That alone would be a death knell for the GM if your dad were still here.

1 comment:

Paul Hickman said...

"buffoon in the outfield"