"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Houston, We Have a Problem

If the Yankees were 54-32 and comfortably cruising towards the playoffs rather than 44-42 and desperately clinging to dwindling hopes, this weekend’s series with the Houston Astros would be filled with drama and secondary storylines. We’d be gnashing our teeth heading into a three-game set with a team that isn’t just the class of the American League but a true Yankee nemesis filled with villains up and down the lineup.

But as things are, the Yankees can’t afford to worry about which team is in the opposing dugout. Whether it’s the Astros or the Orioles, the Yankees need wins and lots of them. They’ve put themselves in a position where they’re essentially already in the playoffs, but instead of a five-game series they’re engaged in an eleven-week crucible that demands they win five of every eight games at a minimum. They’ll either eliminate themselves early and limp to the finish line, or they’ll arrive in October battle scarred and forged into a team no one will want to play.

Can this team pull off such a feat? That’s the true value of a series like this. The Yankees can’t afford to think about revenge. Should Aroldis Chapman wind up facing José Altuve with a one-run lead in the ninth inning (gulp!), it won’t make sense to think back to how the Yankee season ended in 2019. Winning two or three games this weekend obviously won’t change the outcomes of either 2017 or 2019, nor will it guarantee anything this season. If the Yankees manage to win twice this weekend, it will simply mean that they’ll need to win just 48 games the rest of the way instead of 50. First-half mediocrity brings nothing but second-half pragmatism.

The good news? It’s possible. Sure, Thursday saw the Yankees fall into old habits as they made a rookie pitcher look like Sandy Koufax and failed to close the deal on a potential series sweep, but there are positive developments that give reason for optimism. Luke Voit had seven hits in eight at bats during the first two games of the Seattle series, Gary Sánchez is a serious offensive threat again, and were it not for the most anti-climactic MVP race I can remember, Aaron Judge would be a strong candidate for the award.

So buckle up, everybody. We’re about to learn something.

Categories:  1: Featured  Hank Waddles  Yankees

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1 rbj   ~  Jul 9, 2021 7:18 pm

Ugh , tomorrow is a Fox game, Sunday it’s TBS.

2 rbj   ~  Jul 9, 2021 7:21 pm

More RISP failure.

3 rob_smith_51   ~  Jul 9, 2021 8:26 pm

Gritner! I was just thinking how Gardner might get a walk, but probably an easy out. Way to prove me wrong, Brett!

4 rbj   ~  Jul 9, 2021 8:30 pm

Brett is only mostly dead.

5 Hank Waddles   ~  Jul 9, 2021 9:05 pm

If things stay where they are, it’s going to be really interesting to see if Boone goes to Chapman in the ninth.

6 rbj   ~  Jul 9, 2021 9:27 pm

[5] Chad Green. Chapman has to figure things out and the team doesn’t have wins to give away.

7 Hank Waddles   ~  Jul 9, 2021 9:44 pm

Agree totally — I’m just not sure Boone agrees.

8 rbj   ~  Jul 10, 2021 6:57 pm


9 rbj   ~  Jul 10, 2021 7:25 pm


10 rbj   ~  Jul 10, 2021 7:31 pm

Huh, Greinke out.

11 rbj   ~  Jul 10, 2021 7:42 pm

Rats, no no is gone.

12 rbj   ~  Jul 10, 2021 7:43 pm

Cole getting squeezed.

13 Boatzilla   ~  Jul 10, 2021 9:03 pm

They are not putting Chapman into this game. Please, God, no.

14 rbj   ~  Jul 10, 2021 9:08 pm

They better not. Chad Green.

15 Boatzilla   ~  Jul 10, 2021 9:12 pm

Motherfucking Altuve. Little twerp.

16 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  Jul 10, 2021 9:12 pm

Wow,they left Cole in. I like it, but..

17 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  Jul 10, 2021 9:13 pm

Professional Hitter™ Brantley worries me..

18 Boatzilla   ~  Jul 10, 2021 9:16 pm

It's never good when a player talks a manager out of a decision.

19 Boatzilla   ~  Jul 10, 2021 9:17 pm

Game Settoh!

20 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  Jul 10, 2021 9:18 pm

Oh man, this is ballsy..

21 rbj   ~  Jul 10, 2021 9:18 pm

Back to back shutouts? Is that allowed?

22 Boatzilla   ~  Jul 10, 2021 9:18 pm

I guess Cole is out of his slump.

23 Mr OK Jazz Tokyo   ~  Jul 10, 2021 9:20 pm

Awesome! What an effort, great game!

24 yankintexas   ~  Jul 10, 2021 9:21 pm

I Like angry Cole

25 Boatzilla   ~  Jul 10, 2021 9:21 pm

Half Empty Dude: Hundreds of men LOB.

26 Boatzilla   ~  Jul 10, 2021 9:22 pm

[24] Yes, we need more of that.
The "stoic Yankee" thing has not been working.

27 Ara Just Fair   ~  Jul 10, 2021 10:02 pm

Hot damn! Been outta town for 8 days and found the 8th inning on the tube in a Harrisburgh hotel. Go Yankees!

28 rbj   ~  Jul 11, 2021 1:30 pm

Oh joy, TBS.

29 rbj   ~  Jul 11, 2021 2:41 pm

Ah, the “take parents for ice cream then walk the terrorists” ploy worked.

30 rbj   ~  Jul 11, 2021 2:46 pm

Charlie Brownish.

31 rbj   ~  Jul 11, 2021 3:17 pm


32 rbj   ~  Jul 11, 2021 3:56 pm

I could get used to this scoring.

33 Ara Just Fair   ~  Jul 11, 2021 3:59 pm

2 games in a row. I'm just going to turn the tv on starting each 8th inning from now on. Go GARY! GO YANKEES!

34 Boatzilla   ~  Jul 11, 2021 4:12 pm

Kraken released!

35 rbj   ~  Jul 11, 2021 4:29 pm

German for the ninth. Three inning save.

36 rbj   ~  Jul 11, 2021 4:40 pm

Well, yup, pull him.

37 rbj   ~  Jul 11, 2021 4:41 pm


38 Boatzilla   ~  Jul 11, 2021 4:42 pm


39 rbj   ~  Jul 11, 2021 4:43 pm


40 Boatzilla   ~  Jul 11, 2021 4:44 pm

Why did I wake up so early....

41 Boatzilla   ~  Jul 11, 2021 4:45 pm


42 rbj   ~  Jul 11, 2021 4:50 pm


43 Hank Waddles   ~  Jul 11, 2021 4:52 pm

It actually did occur to me heading to the ninth that a five-run lead didn’t feel nearly as comfortable as a five-run lead should feel. Damn it all.

44 Boatzilla   ~  Jul 11, 2021 4:53 pm

I hate fucking Altuve.

45 yankintexas   ~  Jul 11, 2021 4:55 pm

Boone: {Cole throwing darts} I better go pull him.

Boone: {Green throwing batting practice} *crickets*

46 Hank Waddles   ~  Jul 11, 2021 4:57 pm

On the one hand, I would’ve signed up for a 4-2 road trip, but this loss stings more for what it takes away than anything else. This could’ve been an almost perfect series sweep, and the ideal way to head into the second half.

It could’ve been worse — it could’ve been Chapman giving up that homer. I still have faith in Chad Green, so long as he isn’t pitching to Altuve.

47 Ara Just Fair   ~  Jul 11, 2021 4:58 pm

Game of the year followed by the crusher of the year. Yankees 2021 style!

48 Hank Waddles   ~  Jul 11, 2021 5:01 pm

So the Yankees have lost three games in the last three weeks by yielding 7, 6, and now 5 runs in the opposing teams’ final at bats.

49 Boatzilla   ~  Jul 11, 2021 5:51 pm

I think the narrative of this season is that this team finds ways to lose.

It's said that great teams (and we've seen great Yankee teams) somehow, someway find a way to win. Remember Mystic and Aura?

This team is not a great team and time and time again, they have proved it by snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

50 rbj   ~  Jul 11, 2021 6:23 pm

Al Leiter’s just got drafted. #2 overall.

51 OldYanksFan   ~  Jul 13, 2021 8:29 pm

Could the AL uniforms be any uglier?

52 YankInEugene   ~  Jul 13, 2021 10:54 pm

The first thing I noticed was the terrible uniforms. Players should wear the team uniforms. The second thing I noticed is that Cole didn't get a chance to pitch in the all star game. Does Cash hate the Yankees so much that he didn't pitch one of the games best pitchers in the All Star game?

53 Hank Waddles   ~  Jul 14, 2021 12:23 am

Remember, Cole threw 129 pitches three days ago. There was no way he was going to pitch in the All Star Game.

54 YankInEugene   ~  Jul 14, 2021 3:09 pm

Oops, forgot about that. Still steaming from the final game against Houston. Thanks Hank.

55 rbj   ~  Jul 15, 2021 4:12 pm

Sigh game postponed.

56 mhoward120   ~  Jul 16, 2021 6:03 pm

At least Meredith Marakovits is looking more luscious than ever.

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver