"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice
Category: Game Thread

Dem O’s

The Orioles are the team to beat in the AL East. What a difference a few years make, eh?

Let’s Go Yankees!


Yankee Privilege

Just a few weeks ago the team was in disarray, and some of the less optimistic members of the fan base were giving up on the season (in May!) and predicting an October without Yankees baseball. The rotation was in a shambles, the bullpen was running on fumes, the reigning MVP was on the injured list along with several other important cogs, and Aaron Boone was being booed at the big ballpark in the Bronx. The mighty Yankees were in last place in the American League East. The End Times had arrived.

But over the past two weeks the Yankees have won 11 of 14 games and climbed out of the cellar and into third place. You may ask yourself, “Well, how did I get here?”

First of all, Aaron Judge is good, and it’s good to have him back in the lineup. All he did upon his return was earn A.L. Player of the Week honors by slashing .500/.621/1.273 with five home runs, eleven RBIs, and a stolen base thrown in just for fun.

The home runs, though. A couple of them were the types that mere mortals might hit, standard shots that landed in the first few rows of the bleachers, but two in Toronto traveled over 450 feet each. The first broke Toronto hearts as conspiracy theorists were certain he had peeked into the dugout to get information about the pitch as it was being delivered, while the second broke an actual Toronto Maple Leaf, a plastic display beyond the bleachers in straight away center field, a problem park designers never could have foreseen.

We also got more evidence of something we’ve seen for quite a while from our new Captain. He’s never said anything remotely controversial in any postgame interview, but he’s secretly a low-key shit talker. We first saw this back in 2021 when Judge homered in Houston and clutched his jersey tightly as he rounded third. He was clearly referencing José Altuve’s similar (and controversial) gesture following his series-ending home run the previous October; after the game Judge “diffused” that talk by explaining he was just a bit chilly since the Astros always had the air conditioning on full blast. Sure.

After all the buzz about the dugout peek before that home run in Toronto, Judge took lots of abuse and cheating accusations from the fans in the bleachers as he stood at his post in right field. When he went deep again the next night, he pointed out towards those same fans while rounding first base and heading towards second; after the game he explained that he was actually pointing at the Yankee bullpen to acknowledge their hard work. Right.

Later in the dugout the cameras caught him celebrating with his teammates, and now he covered his eyes with his hands. No peeking.

Is he petty? Yes. Do I love it? Hell, yes.

Harrison Bader is also back, and he’s brought both his bat and glove. The added length to the lineup makes a huge difference — his big home run on Sunday turned the game for the Yankees — but anything he does with a bat in his hand is gravy. Last year we all convinced ourselves that Aaron Judge was a great center fielder, but this year we’ve seen that Bader is elite. Your eyes will tell you that, but the numbers back that up. Five days ago Katie Sharp tweeted that when balls are hit to him with a 75% catch probability or lower, Bader has caught seven of the nine, the highest success rate of any outfielder in baseball.

With Judge in right and Bader in center, the Yankees have Gold Glove caliber fielders in those two spots, which leaves… left field.

When the Yankees signed Aaron Hicks to a seven-year, $70 million deal prior to the 2019 season, it looked like a brilliant move. He was a high level centerfielder with an excellent arm and he had just hit a career-high 27 home runs with an OPS of .833. I don’t need to tell you this, but it was all downhill from there. Instead of providing solid defense in left and a switch hitting bat with pop towards the back end of the lineup, Hicks became an overpaid albatross and the target of merciless booing at the Stadium — and even on the road.

Hicks was finally released a few days ago, a disappointing end to a Yankee career that once held so much promise. I always rooted for him — both because he’s from my hometown, Long Beach, California, and because it’s always good to have someone who looks like me wearing the Yankee pinstripes. It was the right move, but I’m still a little sad about it.

There are other things swirling about. All members of the starting rotation not named Gerrit Cole remain an enigma. Nestor Cortés has been inconsistent, the legend of Carlos Rodón has yet to materialize, and Clarke Schmidt is Clarke Schmidt. Domingo Germán has shown brilliance on a few occasions, but that only makes him more maddening; he’s currently serving a ten-game suspension for pitching with an illegal substance on his hand. He had been checked and warned before, and Schmidt was checked and warned during Germán’s suspension, so it seems like the blame lies as much with the organization as it does with the players.

But just as the lineup has benefited from the reinsertion of Judge and Bader, the rotation suddenly looks a lot more viable with the addition of Luís Severino, who was virtually unhittable in his season debut against the Reds on Sunday.

As much as we like to wring our hands and worry that this team can’t possibly play with the Rays or the Dodgers or the Astros or whichever team is the scariest, the cupboard is far from bare. The surge of the last two weeks has allowed everyone to breathe, and with Cole on the mound tonight to start an important series with the Baltimore Orioles (and when was the last time the Yankees and O’s played an important series?), things are looking up for the first time in weeks, maybe for the first time all season.

So if you were born in the shadow of the old Stadium, if a parent or grandparent brainwashed you in your youth, if you were drawn by Mantle or Munson or Mattingly or Jeter, or if you fell in love when you convinced your parents to take you to a game during a family vacation to New York City, take a minute to be grateful that you hitched yourself to this team way back when. Have there been frustrations and heartbreak and incomprehensible trades? Sure, just like any other team. But through it all, we’ve been the luckiest fans in the world.

The Darling Buds of May

If Shakespeare was right, and rough winds do shake the darling buds of May, perhaps this current Yankee slide, like all things, is temporary. We all saw what happened yesterday. Just as we were foolishly putting a win in the bank and thinking about winning a series against the best team in baseball, everything collapsed in the worst possible way. A 1-0 loss would’ve been bad enough, but to watch Gerrit Cole cough up a six-run lead and then watch the Rays celebrate a walk-win a few innings later… Well, it was a bit too much to take. Cole hasn’t just been the best pitcher in baseball, until Sunday afternoon he had been the one truly consistent player on the Yankees roster. The one sure thing.

But then suddenly he wasn’t.

This happens in baseball. Aaron Boone summed it up well after the game, I thought. He acknowledged that it was a tough loss, but he also pointed out something we tend to forget — this is baseball. There will be crushing losses like this one, just as there will be improbable comebacks. We just tend to remember the former rather than the latter. The Rays, no doubt, are telling themselves that they deserved yesterday’s win because they refused to give up, and while that may be true, I can’t imagine they’ll remember this game come September. This is baseball.

So if we can convince ourselves to move past the improbability of this game — even the improbability of this current string of injuries — maybe we can begin to see some positive signs. The most obvious one is Harrison Bader, who has suddenly become one of the most productive players on the team. Tuesday should bring the return of Aaron Judge, maybe, and not long after that we could see Josh Donaldson. (I’m not a fan, but he would add consistent play at third along with a bat that pitchers would at least have to pay attention to.) There’s hope.

My Magic 8 Ball has nothing encouraging to say about Giancarlo Stanton (“Ask again later”) or Carlos Rodon (“Outlook not so good”), but Luís Severino is about to start a rehab stint, which is something, I guess.

But if you really want some good news, there’s this. The Oakland A’s are in town, and they just might end up being the worst team we’ve seen in years. Sometimes the schedule smiles.

If This Is It

The Yanks are down 3-0. Here’s hoping they can make us happy at least once more. One they lose, the panic about signing Aaron Judge, followed by Aaron Boone’s inevitable dismissal will set off a long, weird off-season.

Never mind hot stove:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Dread Not

The most difficult part of the playoffs from a fan’s perspective is that the narratives are crafted so quickly that they become fact before anyone has a chance to question them. After two games in Houston most people have decided that these Astros are simply too good for the Yankees, that their dominant pitching staff is untouchable, that the Yankee bullpen is a dumpster fire, that this team from the Bronx simply isn’t very good.

Perhaps it’s time to back away from the ledge and remember that we’re talking about two games, and those two games weren’t all bad. Consider, for example, that the mighty Astros only scored seven runs in those two games, and that the three runs they scored on Thursday night came courtesy of one mistake — a two-out, two-strike fastball that Luís Severino wasn’t able to get up in the zone. There’s also the fact that Aaron Judge nearly grabbed Game Two right back with a laser that might’ve been a home run were it not for the winds that were whipping through Minute Maid Park.

A quick note about those two balls, Alex Bregman’s towering fly ball that landed in the seats for a three-run home run and Judge’s line drive that was caught at the wall by Kyle Tucker. Those two balls determined the game, so the postgame analysis naturally focused on the differences between the two, and the Yankees came out looking a bit petulant as one after another they stood in line to tell us that they thought Judge’s ball was going out. (In their defense, they had to answer the questions.) Severino even went so far as to say the Astros had been lucky because Bregman’s ball had been only 91 MPH off the bat while Judge’s had been 106. (Ever the diplomat, Judge said he never thought it was going out. He had hit it to the wrong part of the yard.)

Alex Eisert at Fangraphs provides some quick analysis on the data behind those two balls:

After the game, Severino expressed surprise that Bregman’s looping 91.8 mph fly left the park and Aaron Judge’s 106.3 mph shot to right didn’t. He mentioned the wind as a factor; the roof was open at Minute Maid, and the swirling air currents may have brought balls back into the park in right field but lifted out those hit to left. Yet, it’s hard to discern the ultimate impact environmental factors had on the game’s outcome; there were plenty of Astros who flied out to deep right as well, notably Peña, who hit a 99.2-mph, 22-degree drive that stayed in the yard. Besides the wind, batted ball spin may have caused Judge’s knock to fall short.

The whole discussion was interesting because it pointed out how exit velocity and launch angle haven’t just changed the way the game is played but the way it’s perceived. When you’re sitting in ballpark, every ball hit in the air looks like it’s going to be a home run, so we’ve all quickly learned to watch the outfielders, not the ball. Knowledgeable fans have been doing that for generations, but the players don’t do that anymore. With stadium scoreboards posting exit velocity and launch angle the instant a ball is struck, all eyes in the dugout immediately look to those magic numbers. It’s no longer the crack of the bat but the flash of the scoreboard that triggers celebration in one dugout and despair in the other. The game has changed.

Today will determine whether or not this series changes. If I’m being honest, I’ll admit that the narrative being written right now actually isn’t based on just games one and two. We all know that Houston beat the Yankees five out of seven games this season, without Yankee pitchers throwing a single pitch while holding the lead, and we all bear the scars of 2017 and 2019. These Astros, whether cheating or not, have ripped our hearts out of our collective chests over and over.

Ah, but this is baseball, and sometimes the action doesn’t follow the script — just ask the Dodgers and Mets. Gerrit Cole pitched and won the biggest game of his Yankee career six days ago in Cleveland, and today he takes the mound for a game that’s probably even bigger. (No, it’s not an elimination game, but to my knowledge no team has ever come back to win an ALCS after being down 0-3, right?)

I have faith in Cole because I have to. There is no other choice.

There are a few tweaks to the lineup — Rizzo moving into the leadoff spot, Carpenter back at DH, and Cabrera at short. I’ve gotten used to Boone’s constant shuffling of the batting order, so I have no thoughts on that, but I wonder about playing Matt Carpenter. He looks hopelessly lost, bringing to mind the days of Gary Sánchez. The only hope is that he might run into one and accidentally put a ball into the seats. Here’s hoping. Anyway…


  1. Rizzo, 1B
  2. Judge, RF
  3. Stanton, LF
  4. Torres, 2B
  5. Carpenter, DH
  6. Bader, CF
  7. Donaldson, 3B
  8. Cabrera, SS
  9. Trevino, C


Yanks still have a chance to swipe a game in Houston—and yes, Game 1 was within reach, a missed opportunity, dammit.

Sevi on the hill tonight.

Never mind the brisket:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Game Five in the Bronx

Nail-biting time for the Yanks and Guardians in the Bronx tonight. The weather looks lousy. The fans will be noisy. We will be rooting.

Never mind the Hot Stove:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!


On the Edge

Last night’s game was difficult.

There are any number of things that could’ve been done differently, and all of them were hashed out and beaten into the ground in the minutes and hours after the Cleveland Guardians scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat the Yankees 5-3 and take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series.

There were questions about bullpen usage and defensive strategy, but we never got any actual answers from Aaron Boone. Rookie Clarke Schmidt, and not All-Star Clay Holmes, was tasked with getting the final three outs of the most important game the Yankees had played up until that point in the season. When asked about it afterwards, Boone said that Holmes was only available in an emergency. When Holmes was asked about it, he said that he had showed up at the park prepared to pitch. When Luís Severino was asked about it, he said that Holmes was the closer, so of course he was surprised. Then he expanded: “You’ll have to ask Boonie and Blake about that.”

It was a bad look. The Yankee house was burning, and everyone one was taking turns tossing kerosene on each other.

Some also wondered about Oswaldo Cabrera’s play in left field. He had had a great game and certainly would’ve earned first-paragraph mention in most recaps had things not imploded in the ninth inning. His double ahead of Aaron Judge’s home run was important, and his own two-run home run in the fifth inning gave the Yankees the lead in a game they were poised to win.

But for the second time this series we saw him make a tentative approach on a ball hit in front of them, and this time it started that rally in the ninth. Why, people asked, was Aaron Hicks on the roster if not to play defense in the ninth inning of a two-run game? That double was a ball that Hicks likely would’ve caught.

There were also questions about shortstop Isaiah Kiner-Falefa, who continues to struggle in the field. He botched a ball that led to a run in the second inning, then misplayed a grounder that should’ve been the third out of the sixth inning. Instead, Severino was lifted early and the Guardians plated a run.

Boone wouldn’t admit concern about either Cabrera’s defense in left or IKF’s fielding at short, but tonight’s lineup indicates something different; IKF is out, Cabrera is at short, and Hicks is in left. Too little too late? We’ll see.

If you’ve made the mistake of wandering through Yankee twitter in the last twelve hours, you know that the natives are restless. I get that, but there’s one theme that I disagree with. When the Phillies play the Padres in the NLCS, Bryce Harper will be facing Manny Machado, and many Yankee fans are convinced that one of those two players would’ve been the balm to heal all these wounds. (This summer it was Carlos Correa, but since the Twins didn’t make the playoffs, I suppose people have forgotten about him.)

The reality is that this is baseball, and this is the playoff structure that baseball wants. The 162-game regular season tells us who the best teams are, but that isn’t exciting enough for Rob Manfred and his minions. They don’t believe that October provides enough drama on its own; they want ALL the drama. But it’s a double-edged sword. The scene in San Diego last night was epic. I apologize for using that word, but that’s truly what it was. It was everything that baseball wants.

But on the other hand, by allowing a team into the playoffs after finishing 22 games out of first place, baseball now moves to the LCS without one of the greatest regular season teams in the history of the sport. They will see this as validation of the expanded playoff system, but it shouldn’t be a surprise. If they expand to 24 teams, there will be upsets galore and even more excitement — precisely because this is baseball. Anyone acn beat anyone in a short series, and that’s exactly what they want. They want the drama.

Will the Yankees be the next victim of this? Or will Gerrit Cole do what he was paid to do? Tune in tonight and find out.


  1. Torres, 2b
  2. Judge, rf
  3. Rizzo, 1b
  4. Stanton, dh
  5. Donaldson, 3b
  6. Cabrera, ss
  7. Bader, cf
  8. Trevino, c
  9. Hicks, lf


  1. Slap hitter, lf
  2. Slap hitter, ss
  3. José Ramirez, 3b
  4. Homer or nothing hitter, dh
  5. Rookie, rf
  6. Slap hitter, 2b
  7. Slap hitter, 1b
  8. Slow slap hitter, c
  9. Bloop hitter, cf

Friday Matinee

Game Two gives a rare afternoon playoff game in the Bronx.

Yanks looking to stay ahead of the Guardians and not turn this into some kind of soggy, misbegotten weekend of horrors in Cleveland.

Never mind the doubts:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Houston. Do We Have a Problem?

There is no greater crucible in sports than baseball’s 162-game schedule, and the New York Yankees are running roughshod on their opponents this season. Today — and for the past two months — the Yankees have the best record in the game. At 64-30 they have a comfortable twelve-game lead in the American League East and are all but assured of winning the deepest division in baseball and advancing to the playoffs. All season long, they’ve just been better than anyone else.

Anyone else but the Houston Astros.

The Yankees and Astros completed their regular season series last night, with the Astros sweeping a double header in Houston and beating the Yankees for the fifth time in seven games.

Were it not for Aaron Judge and his walk-off heroics that saved two games in New York, the Yankees would have lost all seven contests with the Astros. In fact, those two swings by Judge were the only moments in a week’s worth of games against their arch rivals (sorry, Red Sox) that the Yankees enjoyed a lead. It’s been that bleak. (Judge did his best to rescue his team again on Thursday night, rocking a massive three-run homer to left to cut a five-run lead to two, but it wasn’t quite enough.)

The mightiest offense in baseball was repeatedly humbled by Houston pitching. The Astros threw a combined no-hitter against them in New York and opened the following game with six more hitless innings, and Houston pitchers, both starters and bullpen, were generally in control in all seven games. The Yankees scored 22 runs in seven games, including a disturbing two runs or fewer in four of the seven.

Not surprisingly, acorns are falling on everyone’s heads. Should the Yankees fall into mediocrity and go 36-32 the rest of the way, they’ll still finish with 100 wins and a division crown, but there are those who will tell you that the season is over. That this team cannot beat the Astros.

I understand this point of view because I carry the same scars you do, but regardless of what happened in this year’s seven-game sample, I’m comfortable saying that right now the Yankees of 2022 are better than the versions that watched their seasons end at the hands of the Astros in 2017 and 2019, and that the Astros of 2022 are weaker. If Brian Cashman decides to spend some capital to add Luís Castillo or gut the farm system to land Juan Sóto, the Yankee advantage over the Astros will only widen.

Let me say this again — the Yankees are better than the Astros. If you refuse to believe this because of that 2-5 season record or because of how listless the Yankees looked in so many of those games, I’ll ask if you also believe that the Cincinnati Reds (who handled the Yankees last week) are better than the 64-30 Bronx Bombers.

Yes, the seven games against the Astros were difficult, but sometimes baseball is like that. Everything’s going to be okay.

Ay Yi Yi…

The team apparently spending a little win-loss capital to refresh and deal with injuries and then take on their biggest competitors to continue the long slog to the mid-season break.  Let’s hope they can manage to stay on top and not stumble over more of their own hubris until then.

How Ya Like Dem Apples??

After a rough start (*ahem*), the Yankees engine suddenly took off like a Ferrari in a Formula One Grand Prix as they reeled off 11-straight wins against middling and tough competition.  Even if their streak was broken right after, their starters have been quite a revelation of late, particular “Nasty Nestor” Cortes with the pronstache holding the Jays to two runs in four innings, which at this point would qualify as an off-night for him (four walks, three Ks), but hey: this season might actually be something to be into, huh?

Let’s have a few more of these long win-streak thingies why not… and how’bout tossing Boone a few more times for good luck?

All of That for This


So, this cockamamie season comes down to the final day of the season: win and the Yanks are in. Lose, and oy veh.

Never mind the agita:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

The Final Week of the Season

Three against the Jays, three against the Rays. Should be more than interesting.

Never mind the nonsense:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Picture by Bags

If They Pimp It, They Will Play

Yanks and the formidable Chicago White Sox play in the Field of Dreams tonight.

Oh, what nostalgia. Not for me. But, still. LOL.

Hope it provides some dumb fun.

Yanks on a little run here. Funski.

Never mind the sentiment:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Once Again


Let’s Go Yank-ees!


Get Your Back Up Off the Wall

Yanks on the brink.

Never mind the preamble:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!


Yanks and Rays on Vacation in San Diego—The Deuce

Yanks won Game 1. Their stud pitcher wasn’t great but he showed toughness; Giancarlo Stanton put the cherry on top in the 9th with a grand slam.

Game 2 tonight gives a rookie on the hill for the Yanks. Exciting.

Never mind the sunset:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Picture by Bags

Yanks vs. Rays: Game One

The Rays handled the Yanks this season. They had the best record in the league and will be a handful for our Bombers. Irregardless—as some citizens in the Bronx still like to say—we’ll be here root-root-rooting for our boys.

Never mind the nonsense:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Picture by Bags

Game Two

First one went well. What about tonight?

Never mind the cardboard cut-outs:

Let’s Go Yank-ees!

Picture by Bags

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