New York Yankees start at 3 game series with the Minnesota Twins
With the New York Yankees‘ disastrous homestand going 2-5, they have dug themselves into a hole that is becoming increasingly more difficult to climb out of. If the Yankees can climb out, each new series becomes even more important that they take that series. One-third of the season’s games have already been played, and the Yankees after this homestand have slipped back to fourth place 6 1/2 games behind the AL East-leading Tampa Bay Rays.
The New York Yankees are 31-29 in fourth place in the AL East. The Minnesota Twins are 24-35, sharing the bottom of the AL Central with the Detroit Tigers. The Yankees suffer from underperforming hitters; the Twins suffer from everything, nagging injuries, and the worst bullpen in baseball.
Today at 8:10 pm, the Yankees will meet the Twins at Target Field in Minnesota with Jordan Montgomery on the mound for the Yankees. He is 3-1 with a 3.92 ERA over 11 games this season with a strikeout per inning. Montgomery will face Michael Pineda, who was with the Yankees from 2014 to 2017. Pineda is 3-3 with an ERA of .3.40 ERA. He is coming off on June 1st, when he lasted only three innings, giving up five runs.
Wednesday night Gerrit Cole will face the Twins’ Randy Dobnak, a righty 1-5 with an elevated 6.19 ERA. Then, on Thursday, a yet-to-be-announced Yankee pitcher will face ex-Yankee in J.A. Happ, 3-2 with an ERA of 5.61. Happ was with the Yankees for three seasons, including last year when the Yankees did not offer to keep him in pinstripes.
Gary Sanchez inching his way back?
After an abysmal start to the season, the always controversial Gary Sanchez lost his starting catcher position in what was called a shared start with Kyle Higashioka. In 26 games since Aaron Boone called the team’s catching situation “a day-by-day thing” and said Kyle Higashioka had “earned more playing time,” Gary Sanchez has improved by simplifying his hitting approach. He has five doubles, four homers, and an OPS of .781. This performance, although not ideal, is something the Yankees can deal with.
At the same time aiding Sanchez, Kyle Higashioka’s performance at the plate has dramatically dropped since April 27; he is 6-for-51 with three extra-base hits and an OPS of .426. His power has also seemed to disappear. At one point, he had the most home runs per game. Instead, slugger Aaron Judge has taken over that stat.
Yankees targeting Rangers’ Joey Gallo?
With the New York Yankees in dire need of a permanent centerfield with the loss of Aaron Hicks for the year with wrist surgery, there are all kinds of talks about trades before or at the trade deadline. One name that keeps popping up is the Texas Ranger’s, Joey Gallo. Being a left-hand hitter makes him the perfect fit for the Yankees.
Gallo was a Gold Glover last season and, in 2018, an All-Star. He had hit 40 home runs in 2017 and 2018. The downside to Gallo is that he is more of the same for the Yankees. Although he hits home runs, he leads the AL with 79 strikeouts and has a lousy batting average of just .207, which is pretty much in line with his career batting average of .208. However, he is a patient hitter and is tied for the most walks (45) in all of baseball. He also has 10 homers on the season.
Oswald Peraza promoted
Another Yankee getting closer to playing a game at Yankee Stadium is the possible future shortstop Oswald Peraza. He is considered one of the top New York Yankee prospects. In 127 plate appearances with High-A Hudson Valley, Peraza leads the team with a .917 OPS. As far as his defense is concerned, he is stellar.
Yesterday Peraza announced that he had been promoted to the Double-A Somerset Patriots. Still very young, he will turn 21 this month and was the youngest Yankees during spring training.
Alex Rogriguez voiced what’s wrong with the Yankees
With the Yankees playing so poorly of late, many opinions are expressed as to what is wrong with the Yankees. They are 31-29, fourth in the American League East, and have been swept in each of the last two weekend series: first in Detroit to the rebuilding Tigers, and then in the Bronx to surprising Red Sox. On Sunday night, they struck out 11 times and left 12 runners on base in another loss.
After Sunday night’s loss Aaron Judge had this to say: “We’ve still got about 100 games left in this season, that’s what we’ve got to focus on, is the bigger picture. We can’t sit here and listen to outside noise telling us we’re this and that.”
Also, Sunday night, former Yankee and ESPN broadcaster Alex Rodriguez added to the noise. Rodriguez, no longer a Yankees adviser, knows the team and management really will after spending 12 seasons with the team and was unsparing in his criticism of the roster. It was refreshing candor from Rodriguez, whose knowledge of the game is undeniable, despite his tangled history within it. In so many words, he said the team must diversify and separately needs life-handed bats.
“Sticky” issue again names Gerrit Cole
Here we go again. Gerrit Cole has again been criticized for using sticky substances to increase the spin rate. Going into a 3 game series with the Minnesota Twins, the Twins Josh Donaldson has suggested that Cole is suspect with sticky stuff. He cited how Cole’s spin rate dropped considerably after an AP story stated that four minor leaguers were suspended for using foreign substances. Manager Aaron Boone responded to the allegation.
“I don’t make much of it, Gerrit, as well all of our staff members, I believe are mostly above board and will be able to handle this situation in the right kind of way,’’ Boone said. “And it’s not gonna affect the kind of pitchers they are.”
MLB owners met last week and agreed on the need to crack done on pitchers that potentially increase their spin rate with greater revolutions using illegal and prohibited foreign substances.
New York Yankee expectations turn on their head
This season, now a third of the way completed, has been full of surprises. One of the biggest of those surprises is that the New York Yankees are not the team that was projected to be the team to beat on their way to an inevitable World Series appearance. However, now it appears if they continue to play the way they have so far, they might not only lose the division, but they could lose it badly.
Fast forward two months, and New York is looking up in the standings at the division-leading Tampa Bay Rays, the surprising Boston Red Sox, and even the Toronto Blue Jays. The only team worse in the East is the Baltimore Orioles. The Yankee pitching rotation and bullpen have been more than adequate. The problem is that the lineup projected to be the team’s strength is nothing short of lousy.
Those projections at the beginning of the season have been turned on their head. The opposite has played out at home and away. New York ranks among the lowest-scoring teams in the majors and has had to lean heavily on its starting pitching to win any games. At the same time, the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays have been playing better than their projections, and the Yankees don’t seem to be able to win against the teams they are trailing. The Yankees have given no one in baseball any reason to believe that will change.
Miguel Andujar heating up for the Yankees
Miguel Andujar has been living in no man’s land ever since his surgery on his shoulder. His everyday position at third base has been lost to Gio Urshela. While he spent time at the alternate site, the Yankees have struggled to find a place for him on the team where he could contribute. So they tried him at third and first base and in the outfield.
Injuries and underperformance forced the Yankees to give him some playing time. Most of it was in the outfield when Aaron Hicks went down to wrist surgery. With some significant time in left field, Andújar seems to be settling in. The problem, he wasn’t hitting. However, he seems more comfortable at the plate in the past week and appears to be heating up. Andujar was one of the team leaders before his surgery. Last Monday, he hit an exit velocity 102.2 mph home run; he also hit a single in the game. On Tuesday, he hit another hard-hit home run. On Wednesday, a single. On Thursday, he had a 110.2 mph groundout.
On Saturday, he went hitless, but on Sunday, he hit a double. So far, for the season in 85 at-bats, he has 20 hits and 3 home runs, two of them last week. His is hitting just .235, but he appears to be trending up. If he can return to form, it will be big for the Yankees that direly need hitting.