Do the Yankees already have their stopgap shortstop on the roster?

gleyber torres, gio urshela, yankees

The New York Yankees are on the hunt for a new shortstop after the failed Gleyber Torres experiment. Management desperately wanted Torres to become their long-term solution at SS, but his defense became a liability, posting a dismal .952 fielding percentage in 2021.

However, reports have indicated that the Yankees could address the shortstop spot in a variety of ways. Either they can go after a big-money target like Carlos Correa, settle for a tier-2 option like Trevor Story, or even execute a trade to find a solution.

Rumors stated that the Bombers were interested in speaking with the Oakland Athletics about a potential trade for third baseman Matt Chapman. Chapman would transition to shortstop in this scenario, but that might not be necessary for a prospective deal.

Theoretically, the Yankees could use Gio Urshela at shortstop, having spent 28 games this past season filling in for Torres. Urshela posted a. 970 fielding percentage during that small sample size with just a -1 defensive run saved above average. If the Yankees are confident Gio can hold it down over the short term, they could theoretically DJ LeMahieu to the hot corner permanently and bring in a star first baseman.

The expectation is that the Yankees will retain Anthony Rizzo on an extension, but pursuing Atlanta star Freddie Freeman isn’t out of the question if they have more money left to spend.

The Yankees could save a ton of money by moving Urshela to shortstop and shifting LeMahieu to third base if not trading for Chapman. This financial flexibility would allow the team to extend Aaron Judge, make a run at Freeman, and land a starting pitcher.

Urshela is considered a starting infielder moving forward, whether it be at third or shortstop. He batted .267 this past season with 14 homers and 49 RBIs. He did host a career-high 24.7% strikeout rate, but he’s more than capable of being an above-average hitter who can get on base and hit double-digit homers.

Yankees could fill shortstop position with surprise Oakland trade, but with a twist

matt chapman, yankees, athletics

The New York Yankees have an interesting decision to make at shortstop, and as we know, finding a long-term solution would be an ideal result. However, depending on how management feels about two young prospects climbing through the minor-league system, Oswald Peraza and Anthony Volpe, the player they find to solve the spot could be a stopgap.

Of course, landing an option like Carlos Correa would inject an elite player for years to come, but the Yankees would have to overspend. Some might say that ownership has skimped in recent years on spending big money given the amount they bring in per annum, but Correa would command a 10-year deal worth over $300 million.

Names like Andrelton Simmons and Elvis Andrus have been presented as potential targets for the Bombers in a short-term scenario. Trevor Story still remains of interest, but one player that recently bubbled to the surface is third baseman Matt Chapman.

Buster Olney of ESPN stated that the Yankees “have talked a little bit…internally” about potentially trading for Matt Chapman of the Oakland Athletics.

What would Matt Chapman offer the Yankees?

Chapman is undoubtedly an intriguing player given his defensive qualities. However, he’s not the offensive maestro the team may prefer. He is a double-digit home run hitter that sacrifices batting average in exchange.

Management tends to lean toward long-ball specialists, and since Chapman is coming off a year where he posted 27 homers and 72 RBIs, they could be interested in his services. The star defensive infielder also struck out 32.5% of the time over 622 plate appearances. The Yanks would undoubtedly be sacrificing contact-hitting for homers when it comes to Chapman, but he does seem to fit their mold at the very least.

Defensively, though, Chapman has never played shortstop over a prolonged period of time. He spent 150 games this past season at third base, recording a .987 fielding percentage and six errors. He posted a +10 defensive runs saved above average. Chapman has three Gold Gloves to his name in five seasons, including an All-Star appearance in 2019.

However, some believe that Chapman could make a move to the Yankees in a potential trade to play shortstop, but I have a different theory. Considering Chapman is a proven third baseman, it is possible that management moves Gio Urshela to shortstop as a stopgap solution.

This past season, Urshela spent 28 games at shortstop, posting a .970 fielding percentage with two errors. He doesn’t have a ton of experience at the spot, but he played good enough defense to consider a permanent move in this scenario, the Yankees acquire a third baseman like Chapman. At the very least, let the two battle it out.

Most would agree that Urshela has a solidified spot in the infield at this point in time, and having hit .267 with 14 homers and 49 RBIs this past season, he’s also a sufficient batter. It would certainly be interesting to see Urshula spend his time at short, but this theory could work considering Chapman’s dominance at the hot corner.

Yankees News and Rumors 12/15: Everything you need to know in one place

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

Aaron Judge locked down; now what?

The New York Yankees homegrown superstar Aaron Judge locked down his personal life with the marriage last weekend to Samantha Bracksieck in a tropical setting in Maui, Hawaii. The only question to be answered in his life is whether he will have a marriage with the Yankees.

The 2017 Rookie of the Year had his second-best year with the Yankees last season. He stayed healthy and basically carried the team on his back with consistently good play all season long. Judge has often been called the face of the Yankees and the face of baseball. But Judge will become a free agent after this season, and it’s time for the Yankees to make him a lifelong Yankee with a handsome contract extension.

Although the Yankees have been mostly quiet on the subject, they are well aware of the need to address the Judge situation sooner than later. Part of their delay in propping up the team pre-lockout could be because they need to see what monies will be available for their needs, including an extension for Judge. Once a new CBA can be reached, the Yankees will have to pounce on these needs quickly.

Appreciating Jordan Montgomery

Yankee pitcher Jordan Montgomery has gone under the radar the last few years but has been a mostly solid player for the Yankees. Over five seasons with the Yankees, one out for Tommy John surgery, he has a winning record. Monty has been their only constant in the pitching rotation throughout the period, with the loss of Luis Severino to surgery, CC Sabathia to retirement, seeing Masahiro Tanaka lost to Japan, and now the loss of 2 time Cy Young winner Corey Kluber.

Montgomery is a good pitcher, although not flashy; he never enjoyed the hype of a Joba Chamberlain but has been solid for the Yankees. Montgomery’s career stats are not bad. 388 IP – 15.8 K-BB% – 1.27 WHIP – 3.90 FIP – 7.3 fWAR, which is nothing to sneeze at. Last season, he was 6-7 with an ERA of 3.83 in 30 games. That record is not representative of how he pitched; he got absolutely no run support in over half of his games. Montgomery could be big for the Yankees in 2022 in the third spot in the rotation.

Anthony Rizzo is enjoying free agency

At the trade deadline last season, the Yankees got the long-time Chicago Cub to replace the ailing Luke Voit at first base. Rizzo started out like a superstar for the Yankees, but his hitting cooled off. One thing that didn’t cool off was his defense at first base, the best since Mark Teixeira. So now Rizzo is a free agent for the first time in his baseball life, and he is enjoying it.

The Yankees, as of the lock-out, do not have a starting first baseman for the new season. They retained Luke Voit, but with his health, he is not the best option, nevertheless having him reduces the priority for the Yankees. Rizzo, meanwhile, has made it known that he likes New York and would like to stay here. Other names that have been mentioned for the Yankees to act on once the lock-out is over are Matt Olson and the best in the business, Freddie Freeman, among others.

Is Trevor Story a fit for the Yankees?

Even before the World Series was over, the Yankees announced that they would be spending money and that their number one priority was to sign a star-like shortstop. To date, that has not been done, with some ambiguity as to if the Yankees will do that or go the way of a stopgap purchase, waiting for either Anthony Volpe or Oswald Perzaza to become major league ready.

Several names the Yankees have been looking at are already gone. Corey Seager went to the Texas Rangers, and Marcus Semien went to the Angels. That leaves the big prize of Carlos Correa still unsigned. Correa is not the best fit for the Yankees because of a lingering mysterious back ailment and involvement in the Astros sign-stealing that could have cost the Yankees a World Series appearance.

There are other options, and one of them is a shortstop the Yankees have looked at previously; Trevor Story. Trevor Story remains an intriguing prospect for a team with a current need at SS but less of a need in the future. The Yankees once very high on Story seem to have soured on him somewhat. Nevertheless, they made a play for him at the trade deadline but could not come to an agreement with the Colorado Rockies.

Story had an unexpected down season in 2021; (.251/.329/.471/.801, 24 home runs, 75 RBIs). However, Story has solidified himself as one of the top offensive shortstops in the game, and he is not far from out of the headlights on the Yankee horizon.

Is a shortstop already in the system?

The New York Yankees could blow off the shortstop need and avoid spending money as they look for a number two starter for the pitching rotation, a first baseman, and help in center field. However, to do that, they would have to recognize how good Gio Urshela was replacing Gleyber Torres at short. Although a small sample, Urshela proved he can play the position to upgrade Torres.

Should the Yankees take the stopgap option, Urshela could slide in at short until Yankee prospects Anthony Volpe and Osward Perzara are ready for the big time. Last season in 28 games, he hit .267 with a better fielding percentage than at third base, his usual position. Urshela is not the perfect option for the Yankees, but for one year, it could work. With Torres penned in at second and moving DJ LeMahieu to third base, where he played adequately last season, that would let the Yankees concentrate on a long-term upgrade at first base.

Luke Voit; trade piece or first baseman?

Early in the post-season, the Yankees decided to hold onto first baseman Luke Voit. The question is, why? He is not a great defender at first and can’t seem to stay healthy. There are two answers to that question. They are going to concentrate on a new expensive shortstop, or they are holding onto Voit as a trade piece to fill one of the team’s needs, at short, in the outfield, or at first base.

With a questionable health record, in 2020, he led all of baseball with 22 home runs in the shortened season. But last season, he regressed playing in only 68 games, hitting .239 with only eleven home runs. He couldn’t stay healthy below the belt with foot and knee problems. There is no question that the Yankees are concerned about Voit and who will play at first base. The Yankees attempted to trade Voit before the trade deadline but were unsuccessful. The Yankees have several first-base options, including keeping DJ LeMahieu there. They also could resign Anthony Rizzo, get Olson, or go after the superstar Freddie Freeman. At his point, Voit does not seem like the best option as we advance.

 

The Yankees might already have their future starting shortstop on the roster

gleyber torres, gio urshela, yankees

The New York Yankees are heading into the 2022 off-season with one goal in mind, finding a starting shortstop for the future. While they wait for young prospect Anthony Volpe to reach the major leagues, the Bombers must find a supplement with quality defense to fill a position that Gleyber Torres simply couldn’t hold down.

Torres struggled considerably during his two seasons at SS, earning a .952 fielding percentage this past season over 108 games. Torres picked up 18 errors on the year, falling well below the league average of .974% in the fielding efficiency category. At this time, we can expect Torres to shift over to second base, with DJ LeMahieu potentially filling in at first base depending on what the team does with Anthony Rizzo and Luke Voit.

The infield could realistically endure a few changes this off-season, but one big piece of the puzzle is Gio Urshela.

“I played my entire minor leagues [and major leagues] at third base. Then, moving to shortstop, I kind of liked it,” Urshela said Tuesday, per the NY Post. “I really enjoyed playing shortstop because you get more involved in the game. Every play, you’re going to be involved. Third base, I just wait for the [ball] and that’s it. You don’t move that much. It feels a little bit different, like you get more tired probably after a game [at shortstop].

Urshela stated that he liked playing shortstop after Torres was moved, as he was able to be a more important part of the defense. The 29-year-old infielder posted a .970 fielding percentage and allowed just two errors over 28 games and 200 innings. Urshela clearly offers more sufficient defense compared to Torres, but should the Yankees give him the starting job without considering other options?

There is no question that Gio is an important part of the Yankees’ team, hitting .267 with 14 homers and 49 RBIs this season. He missed a handful of games, which hurt the team defensively at times. The front office could target bigger names like Carlos Correa, Trevor Story, Corey Seager, or even Javier Baez.

Depending on how much money management wants to spend on a potential supplement, they could stick with Urshela and reduce the cost exponentially, moving LeMahieu to third base and retaining Rizzo on an extension.

While fans would likely prefer to bring in a big-name free agent, general manager Brian Cashman is running out of opportunities to spend big in free agency, and ownership may not allow him to cross the $210 million luxury tax threshold this off-season.

With more starting pitching needed and a few supplemental options for the back end of the roster, the Yankees need to be extremely careful unless they’re willing to push beyond their comfort zone and spend aimlessly to build a winning team in 2022.

New York Yankees 9/30: 4 Takeaways from Yankees loss to the Blue Jays

New York Yankees, Jonathan Loaisiga

After an incredible run of winning seven games in a row, the New York Yankees hoped to win another one last night by taking the series from the Blue Jays. The Yankees swept the Red Sox and retook the number one berth in the wild card race, gaining home-field advantage and putting the Red Sox two games behind. With five games to go in the regular season, the Yankees sent their ace Gerrit Cole to the mound at Roger’s Center in Toronto to face the Jays Jose Berrios. At the end of the night, Berrios acted like the Toronto ace and Gole didn’t; the Yankees lost when Bo Bichette hit a homer in the eighth, the Blue Jays edged the Yankees 6-5.

Gerrit Cole is no longer a sure thing

The outlook for New York Yankee ace has changed. After three poor games in a row, when Cole takes the mound, there is no reason to believe the Yankees will win the game. Please make no mistake about it; he is still probably the Yankee’s best starter, but it appears that he has tired; he is not as sharp and not as quick to make the adjustments that he is known to create.

In the past month, Cole lost as many games as he has won; his last three are the worst of the month as the team tries desperately to be in the postseason for a chance at a 28th World Series win. On September 24th, he got a win going six innings only giving up three runs. But also walked three and was taken out before giving up another two runs. In the other two games, he gave up 12 runs, including five home runs. Last night he gave up two home runs, and a total of five earned runs as the Yankees winning streak ended. Cole’s September ERA is 5.13, not the signature of an ace.

Pitching: Who’s hot and who’s not

To the delight of Yankee fans, Jonathan Loaisiga was activated and back off the IL. He has been missing from the Yankees bullpen for 22 days. Last night arguably, the Yankees’ best reliever was back, and he announced it at the bottom of the seventh inning against the Jays; Springer struck out on a 99 mph slider. Semien ground out to LeMahieu. Guerrero ground out to LeMahieu for the 1-2-3 inning.

Last night the usually dependable lights out Clay Holmes gave of the losing run when he allowed Bo Bichette his second homer of the night. But due to how he has been pitching, he can mostly be forgiven. Likewise, most of the bullpen has been doing a great job. Andrew Heaney has proven he is not primetime and has been assigned and is now with low-A Tampa. After a period of undependability, Chad Green and closer Aroldis Chapman seem back on track.

Hitting: Who’s hot and who’s not

For most of the season, especially during the last month, Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton have been on a rip, carrying the team on their backs. Stanton, for the first time in his previous five games, didn’t hit a home run. Judge, for his part last night, did drive in his 95th RBI but was also homerless.

Joey Gallo last night was the poster boy for why the Yankees lost. The ordinarily defensive great let a ball drop in front of him when neither he nor the advancing Gio Urshela called for the ball. Gallo was also 0-2 after being 0-5 the previous night. The bottom line is that neither Gallo nor Rizzo are doing the job the Yankees thought they would when they added them at the trade deadline.

Last night with the hot Brett Gardner due up in the seventh, Boone decided to pinch-hit Luke Voit, that failed as the injury-prone Voit struck out and limped off the field. Gio Urshela has been pretty hot this month, but last night he made what might be the defensive play of the season. He managed to dive for a ground ball, caught it, and threw a laser to Rizzo while lying on his back for an out.

Where do the Yankees stand in the wild card race?

Even with the loss last night, the New York Yankees still own the home-field advantage in the wild card game. But with the Red Sox win last night over the Baltimore Orioles, they are just one game behind. So if the Yankees lose tonight and the Sox win, they will be tied for that first spot. Because the Red Sox have the better season record over the Yankees, the home field advantage would revert to Boston, and the game would be played at Fenway Park.

In the race, the Yankees indeed are watching the Seattle Mariners, as the Mariners are just a half-game out of the wild card, and the Jays are just a half-game behind them. The Yankees must win 3 of the season’s last four games to secure a wild card appearance. In the worst-case scenario, if the Yankees don’t win tonight, the Tampa Bay Rays adding an insult to injury after taking the division could also decide the Yankee’s 2021 wild card fate. The Yankees, to save face, must avoid that at all costs. If the Yankees don’t pitch and hit well in these last games, even “Bronxie” the turtle won’t save them.

 

New York Yankees Recap: Yankees lose a squeaker in the eighth at Rogers’ Center

yankees, gerrit cole

After an incredible run of winning seven games in a row, the New York Yankees hoped to win another one tonight, taking the series from the Blue Jays. The Yankees swept the Red Sox and, with the win last night, retook the number one berth in the wild card race, gaining home-field advantage and putting the Red Sox two games behind, but the Yankees couldn’t get complacent as the Blue Jays, and Seattle Mariners were nipping at their heels.

With five games to go in the regular season, the Yankees sent their ace Gerrit Cole to the mound at Roger’s Center in Toronto to face the Jays Jose Berrios. At the end of the night, with a homer by Bo Bichette in the eighth, the Blue Jays edged the Yankees 6-5.

The game started with DJ LeMahieu at the plate and Jose Berrio on the mound; LeMahieu went down on strikes. Anthony Rizzo also went down on strikes. Aaron Judge made it three as Berrios stuck out the Yankee side. At the bottom, George Springer doubled. Marcus Semien got a two-run homer into the left-field stands. Vlad Guerrero, with no outs, flew out to Gallo in left. Bo Bichette doubled. Teoscar Hernandez ground out to second, but Bichette went to third. Two outs. Lourdes Gurriel ground out to short. Blue Jays 2 Yankees 0.

The top of the second saw DH Giancarlo Stanton ground out to Bichette at short. Joey Gallo, who went 0-5 last night, flew out to the far center. Gleyber Torres also ground out to short to end the half scoreless. At the bottom, Cory Dickerson flew out to Gallo in left. Santiago Espinal doubled easily up the left-field line. Reese McGuire went down swinging. Springer singled, scoring Espinal. Semien struck out. Blue Jays 3 Yankees 0.

Gio Urshela led off the third inning by popping out to center. Brett Gardner went down on strikes. Kyle Higashioka struck out; Berrios was perfect through three. At the bottom, Guerrero ground out to short. Bichette homered to center. Hernandez struck out. Gurriel struck out. Toronto Blue Jays 4 New York Yankees 0.

The fourth inning was led off by LeMahieu, who ground out to short. Rizzo grounded out to second. Judge ground out up the middle for a perfect four innings for Berrios. At the bottom, with Cole still on the mound, faced Dickerson, who flew out to Gardner in center. Espinal struck out. McGuire flew out to center to end the inning. Blue Jays 4 Yankees 0.

Giancarlo Stanton led off the fifth inning by struck out swinging. Gallo struck out. Torres doubled to left to break up Berrios’ perfect game. Urshela singled, driving in Torres as the Yankees got on the board. Gardner got an RBI double driving in Urshela. Higashioka, with one on and two outs, ground out to first to end the half, but the Yankees picked up two runs. At the bottom, Springer led off by doubling to left both Urshela and Gallo let it fall between them as they both backed off. . Semien flew out to right, but Springer made it to third. Guerrero doubled as Springer scored. Bichette struck out. Hernandez few out to Gardner. Blue Jays 5 Yankees 2.

The sixth inning was led off by LeMahieu, who doubled to center. Rizzo ground out. Judge had a sac fly scoring LeMahieu. Stanton ground out to third to end the half, but the Yankees picked up a run. At the bottom Gurriel out. Dickerson lined out to left. Espinal singled. McGuire flew out to Gardner in center. Blue Jays 5 New York Yankees 3.

Joey Gallo led off the seventh inning by facing new pitcher Tim Mayza and was hit by a pitch. Torres, who broke up the perfect game by Berrios, singled on a slow roller to left, moving Gallo to second. Urshela, with two on and no outs, went down swinging for the first out. Luke Voit pinch-hitting for Gardner struck out. Higashioka got a two-run single, tying the game at 5. LeMahieu faced the new pitcher Adam Cimber and flew out to center, but the Yankees scored two runs to tie up the game. New York Yankees 5 Blue Jays 5.

At the bottom of the inning against Jonathan Loaisiga, Springer struck out on a 99 mph slider. Semien ground out to LeMahieu. Guerrero ground out to LeMahieu for the 1-2-3 inning for Loaisiga after coming off the IL and not pitching for four weeks. Yankees 5 Jays 5.

The eighth inning was led off by Rizzo, who flew out to Hernandez in right. Judge tapped back to the pitcher Cimber. Stanton flew out to the warning track in center to end the half. Bo Bichette led off the bottom of the inning by hitting a homer to center to retake the lead. Hernandez struck out. Gurriel ground to short, and Urshela laid out to get it and threw from his back for the second out. Dickerson chopped out to end the inning, but the Jays retook the lead. Blue Jays 6 Yankees 5.

With last licks on the line for the New York Yankees, Gary Sanchez pinch hit for Joey Gallo leading off and went down looking. Gleyber Torres singled to left. Gio Urshela flew out to center. Torres tagged and made it to second. Tyler Wade pinch-hitting for Gardner flew out to center to end the game.

The final score was the Toronto Blue Jays 6 and the New York Yankees 5. The winning pitcher was Adam Cimber, the loser was Clay Holmes and the save went to Jordan Romano.

 

 

 

 

New York Yankees 9/29: 4 takeaways from the Yankee win over the Blue Jays

The New York Yankees were in Toronto, Canada, last night for the first game of three against the Toronto Blue Jays in a three-game series that may decide if they go to the postseason or not. The Yankees miraculously swept the Red Sox in a three-game series with their rival. The Yankees have won their lasts six games in a row. Coincidentally ever since Nestor Cortes Jr. bought the Yankees a pet turtle that they named “Bonxie” the Yankees have won. Bronxie or more likely Anthony Rizzo,  Giancarlo Stanton, Gio Urshela led the Yankees to their seventh win in a row. The score was the Yankees 7 and the Blue Jays 2.

Bad luck for Taillon, but Michael King picks him up

Jameson Taillon has been rehabbing from a strained tendon in his ankle for 22 days missing four of his normal starts. The ankle problem affected his delivery and ability to pitch effectively. But last night, he made his return off the IL to pitch game one of a three-game series with the Toronto Blue Jays in this crucial run for the postseason. Unfortunately, things didn’t go well for the righty. At the bottom of the third inning, Danny Jansen struck out looking. But after that out, Taillon signaled the medical staff and left the game apparently with another ankle problem. Michael King came into the game to replace him.

So far this morning, the status of that injury is unknown, other than they know he reinjured it. It’s a bad break for Taillon because this late in the season, it has probably ended his pitching for the rest of the season, and should the Yankees reach the postseason. Taillon had so been looking forward to pitching in the postseason.

The Yankee bullpen is stellar

When Jameson Taillon left the game, apparently reinjuring his ankle Michael King was called in to replace him. King pitched the end of the third inning, the fourth and fifth allowing only an additional run. Clay Holmes, Chad Green, and Luis Severino combined for three scoreless innings. At the bottom of the ninth inning, in a non save situation, Wandy Peralta came in to close out the win.

At this point in the season, the New York Yankees need the bullpen to be good if they hope to play in the postseason. The bullpen was stellar, giving up just one run in 6.1 innings. Most encouraging was the close by Peralta. Also, it seems that in recent games, when Chapman pitched, his confidence seemed to be back, and his dominance resurrected. Yankee pitching only allowed 3 hits in the game.

Is there any stopping Giancarlo Stanton?

Obviously, Giancarlo Stanton will not keep hitting a home run in every game, but his August and September had been nothing short of amazing. His recent run can only be described as both shocking and fantastic. Stanton has now hit a home run in every one of his last four games in a row. That has seldom been done in baseball. The only Yankees to hit four or more home runs in consecutive games are Babe Ruth (1930), Lou Gehrig (1931) Joe DiMaggio (1937), Yogi Berra (1956), Roger Maris (1961), Don Mattingly (1987), and Alex Rodriguez (2007). That is some Yankee royalty to join and  Stanton may not be done; he hit 6 straight in 2017 with the Marlins.

In the top of the fifth inning, Anthony Rizzo put the New York Yankees ahead 3-2 with a single driving in Gio Urshela; it would be a lead that the Yankees would not relinquish. Then in the top of the seventh, Giancarlo Stanton came to the plate with two on and crushed one into the second deck of left field at Roger’s Center. It was his fourth homer in four games for Stanton, making him hitting .500, 8 for 16 with 13 RBIs over the span. Stanton also doubled in the game.

Aaron Judge in the third inning also homered for his 37th of the season. When both Judge and Stanton homer in the same game, the Yankees are 17-1. Gio Urshela tacked on a homer of his own at the top of the ninth.

The Yankees advance in the wild card race

With the Yankee win, the Red Sox loss last night, the Yankees are now two games ahead of the Red Sox for the coveted home-field advantage in the one-game winner takes all contest. But there is a new wrinkle to be considered. Well, not really I have been reporting on it for the last ten days. The Seattle Mariners have been creeping up in the standings. With their win last night, they are now just a half-game behind the Boston Red Sox.

While the Red Sox have gone 6-4 in their last ten games, the Mariners have gone 9-1. The Yankees in the same period have gone 8-2 and have won their last seven in a row. With the loss last night, the Toronto Blue Jays are now one half-game behind the Mariners, with two more games against the Yankees.

Notes: Tonight, Yankee ace Gerrit Cole looking for his 17th win of the season, will face Jose Berrios in game two of the Toronto series. Corey Kluber will face Toronto co-ace Robbie Ray in the finale. Tonight’s game will be televised on SNET in Canada, WPIX and its affiliates in the New York area, and ESPN out of market only.

 

 

Yankees: Gio Urshela’s plate discipline has eroded

New York Yankees, Gio Urshela

The 2021 New York Yankees have had unexpected stars and bitter disappointments when we compare specific players to their pre-season expectations. One of those established veterans with a mediocre season is third baseman Gio Urshela.

Urshela plays good defense at the hot corner, and that is valuable. However, his .264/.299/.416 line has left a lot to be desired: he has been a below-average hitter as evidenced by his 95 wRC+, and has just 13 home runs in 408 plate appearances.

His offensive performance has been slightly disappointing considering the fact that he hit over .290 and had a wRC+ over 130 in the last two seasons. His contact quality isn’t the best, but there is another issue damaging his profile: plate discipline.

The Yankees’ third baseman has a 4.7 percent walk rate, his lowest since 2018, and a career-high 25.2 percent strikeout rate. His previous high in that last department was 21.7 percent three seasons ago.

The Yankees’ third baseman needs to increase the walks and cut the Ks

Urshela has been chasing a lot of balls outside of the zone, at 39.7 percent, and his 76.8 percent contact rate is his lowest since 2018. He has been swinging and missing a lot, too: his 12.5 percent swinging strike rate (SwStr%) is the highest it has been since that 2018 season in which he was a below-average hitter, before making the changes that made him productive in 2019 and 2020.

There is absolutely no doubt that the Yankees, if they want to secure a place in the 2021 postseason, need the best version of Urshela to lengthen the lineup. He has been better in his past seven games, with a .346/.346/.500 line.

However, over that timeframe, he also has a 0/5 BB/K ratio. If he is going to improve and become a reliable offensive contributor, like he was in 2019 and 2020, he will need to take a few more walks and cut down the strikeouts.

New York Yankees 9/20: 3 Major takeaways from the Yankees’ 11 run bashing

New York Yankees, Gio Urshela

After the New York Yankees blew out the Indians with a shutout in the first game, and an embarrassing loss in the second game hoped to at least salvage a game to take the series in the rubber game. Instead, the Yankees played a sloppy game resulting in another 11 run bashing.

Ace Cole bombs out big time

The last thing any New York Yankee fan would have thought going into yesterday’s matinee was that Yankee ace Gerrit Cole would give up seven runs and lose the game for the Yankees. After a disastrous loss on Saturday, Yankees fans were looking to exhale and watch their ace cruise to a win of both the game and the series with the Cleveland Indians, but the exact opposite happened.

Yankee fans woke up Sunday morning bright and cheery as they would watch a game against the poor hitting Cleveland team with their ace on the mound facing a rookie pitcher with an ERA over 6. Unfortunately, that cheery feeling disappeared pretty quickly in the first inning when Cole, right off the bat gave up two runs in the first inning. He hit the first batter he faced; that should have been telling for what was about to unravel the Yankees into a shameful 11-1 loss.

In an after-game interview, Cole seemed to indicate that he thought he didn’t have that bad of a game but was unlucky. However, he did admit that he had trouble finding that put-out pitch. To anyone watching Cole pitch, it was evident that Cole didn’t have control of his pitches. In the end, Cole only went 5.2 innings using 98 pitches, ten of which were hits and giving up 7 runs. Cole, when he is on, gets better and better as the game progresses. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen yesterday; Perez knocked him out of the game when he homered off Cole in the sixth inning.

Where have all the hitters gone?

In the first game of the Cleveland series, the New York Yankees looked like the Bronx Bombers of old, hitting five home runs in the game and getting 11 hits while leaving only one player in scoring position. It was a game that the Yankees shut out the Indians. But in game two, a different team arrived on the field. The Yankees could only bring 3 runs across home plate, and the Yankee pitching failed miserably, with Luis Gil, Albert Abreu, and Andrew Heaney giving up 11 runs between the trio. Gil was rewarded by being demoted to the Rail Riders.

Yesterday, against a mediocre rookie pitcher at best, the Yankees could only plate one home run by Gio Urshela. The Yankees had 8 hits but couldn’t generate them into runs. The Yankees could only score one run against a crummy pitcher. The Yankees showed no urgency in winning as they played sloppy baseball, scoring more errors than runs.

Yankees need to thank the Red Sox, the Wild-Card story

The Yankees are holding on to dear life the hope of reaching the postseason, not winning the division but securing a wild card spot. For ten games, the Yankees held on to home-field advantage securing the number one spot. But then they started to play 5-5 baseball as the Red Sox, and Toronto Blue Jays surged. Many fans don’t realize that the only reason the Yankees have any chance of a wild card berth is because of the Red Sox collapse during August when they went 7-20.

Right now, the Yankees are 1.5 games out of a berth, looking in at the Toronto Blue Jays and the leading Boston Red Sox. Even more unnerving is that the Oakland Athletics are just one game away from taking the Yankees position. During a soft period in the Yankee schedule, they have only gone 5-5, when they should have dominated. The Yankees have just one more chance of dominating, and that starts today over the Texas Rangers, another team under .500 (.369).

It is a near must for the New York Yankees to sweep the Rangers. After that, they face teams that are ahead of them. They play three against the Boston Red Sox and three against the Toronto Blue Jays, all six away. Then the best the Yankees can hope for is to return to Yankee Stadium for the last three games of the season against the Tampa Bay Rays still in contention.

Last night after the embarrassing second loss to the Indians, manager Aaron Boone who has spent the entire season boasted about the Yankees’ potential, uttered the truest words to come from his mouth.

“We’ve got to get better in a hurry. Period.”

New York Yankees Recap: Gerrit Cole bombs, Yankees lose again to the Indians

Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees

The New York Yankees continued their roller-coaster season today at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees shamed the Cleveland Indians in game one of the series by shutting them out 8-0, only to be shamed in game two with an 11-3 loss. Today was the rubber game of the three-game series with ace Gerrit Cole on the mound for the Yankees and Eli Morgan for the Indians. This was a must-win game for the Yankees, as with yesterday’s loss, they slipped out of a wild card berth. In a complete shock, Cole gave up 7 runs, and the Yankees lost 11-1.

Cole faced Brad Zimmer leading off in the first inning. Zimmer didn’t get a chance to hit the ball as a pitch hit him. The game was delayed as he tried to walk it off. Oscar Mercado struck out swinging. Jose Ramirez walked. With two on and one out, Bobby Bradley singled, loading the bases for Harold Ramirez, who singled past a diving Rizzo scoring two runs. Yu Chang with men on the corners and still only one out hit into a double play, getting Cole out of further trouble.

DJ LeMahieu led off in the bottom of the first against Eli Morgan and struck out. Anthony Rizzo flew out to right. Aaron Judge ground out to short. Cleveland Indians 2 Yankees 0.

The second inning was led off by Roberto Perez, who ground out softly to second. Andres Gimenez struck out. Ernie Clement flew out to Stanton in right. At the bottom, Giancarlo Stanton went down swinging. Luke Voit ground out to short. Gleyber Torres hit a double off the center-field wall. Brett Gardner ground back to the pitcher to end the inning. Indians 2 Yankees 0.

It was the top of the lineup for the Indians in the third. Zimmer singled up the middle. Mercado flew out to Judge in center. Ramirez singled to center, moving Zimmer to second. Bradley struck out. H. Ramirez singled to the left-center. Gardner and Judge converged, and neither caught the ball, scoring another two runs for the Indians. Chang singled up the middle, moving H Ramirez to third. Perez, with men on the corners and two outs singled, bring in another Indian’s run. Gimenez ground out to second, but the Indian tacked on three more runs.

At the bottom of the third, Gio Urshela led off and homered into the centerfield wall, with Ramirez crashing into the wall; following a delay, it was determined that he couldn’t throw and was taking out of the game. Higashioka gave one a ride to the warning track in center for out number one. LeMahieu got a base hit to left. Rizzo singled to right, with DJ moving to second. Judge with two on and only one out flew out to center. Stanton flew out to the warning track in right-center. Cleveland Indians 5 Yankees 1.

The fourth inning was led off by Clement, who ground out to left. Zimmer stuck out, and Mercado ground out to third. At the bottom, Voit flew out to the center. Torres flew out to right. Gardner flew out to left for the first quick inning of the game. Indians 5 Yankees 1.

Jose Ramirez led off the fifth inning with his 35th home run of the season into the second deck at Yankee Stadium. Bradley struck out swinging. Myles Straw hitting for Ramirez that was taken out of the game, singled to center. Yu Chang at the base, Straw was caught off first for the second out, and Chang struck out. At the bottom, Urshela singled up the middle. Higashioka hit into 4-6-3 double play. LeMahieu flew out to left. Indians 6 Yankees 1.

The sixth inning Yankee crowd was stunned when Gerrit Cole gave up his seventh run to Perez, a homer into the left-field bullpen. Gimenez struck out. Clement lined out to left. Cole was taken out of the game to boos from the Yankee faithful. Zimmer faced the new Yankee pitcher Lucas Luetge and ground out to first. At the bottom, with Morgan still in the game, Rizzo singled to left. Judge struck out. Stanton ground into a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning. Indians 7 Yankees 1.

Oscar Mercado led off the seventh inning by grounding out to short. Ramirez singled to left. Bradley struck out. Myles Straw reached on an E5, with Ramirez moving to second. Chang singled, driving in Ramirez as the Indians tack on another run. Perez stuck out. In the bottom, Luke Voit struck out against new pitcher Trevor Stephan. Torres went down on strikes. Gardner also stuck out. Indians 8 New York Yankees 1.

The eighth inning was led off by Gimenez, who singled to left off new Yankee pitcher Clarke Schmidt. Clement walked. Zimmer singled, both runners moved up on a passed ball by Higashioka. Mercado walked. Ramirez came to the plate with the bases loaded and only one out and singled out to right, allowing two more runs to score. Bradley struck out, and Straw struck out, but the Indians picked up another two runs. At the bottom, Urshela flew out to right. Higashioka doubled to right. LeMahieu singled into right field. Rizzo struck out. Judge with two on and two outs struck out, stranding two. Indians 10 Yankees 1.

At the top of the ninth, Chang singled to left. Perez struck out. Chang moved to second on a passed ball. Gimenez singled with Chang moving to third. Gimenez beat out Schmidt to the base. Clement reached on an E3 sloppy play by Rizzo as another Indian run scored. Zimmer ground out. Mercado ground into a force out. Stanton came to the plate and struck out at the bottom, with last licks on the line for the Yankees. Voit struck out. Torres also struck out to end the game.

The final score was the Cleveland Indians 11 and the New York Yankees 1. The winning pitcher was Eli Morgan, and the loser was Gerrit Cole.