Week 13 Record: 4-3
Season Record: 50-25 (Tied for 1st in AL East)
Week at a Glance: – Yankees at Philadelphia Phillies (3 Games)
* Boston Red Sox at Yankees (3 Games)
Recap it!: Well, it was going to happen at some point, folks. The Yankees, to the delight of most of the population in the other 49 states, had a horrific weekend in Florida against the Rays, getting swept in three games. Now, as a Yankee fan, I understand that our perfectionist attitude toward this team has made us a bunch of spoiled brats (Don’t believe me? Check Twitter). We can be as maniacal as a Soviet-era gymnastics coach caught in a cocaine blizzard most days out of the week, and that unrealistic, burdensome expectation borders on being pants-soilingly insane. However (and I will say this loud enough for the folks in the bleachers), THIS SQUAD SHOULD NOT GET SWEPT BY A SUB-.500 TEAM!!!!! Now, a 4-3 week (including a home sweep of the surprising Seattle Mariners) is still dang fine by anyone else’s standards, but mind you, this team went 117 games dating back to last season without losing three in a row, according to the New York Daily News. Though the frustration of the series against the Rays has turned my brain to a stew of anger and mashed-up corn flakes, I know that I’m panicking more than I ought to, and the logical part of my mind should take over for the rabid marmoset currently thrashing about in there.
In times like these, it is best to call upon the back catalog of the same comforting Cat Poster platitudes that Yankees manager Aaron Boone is so fond of spouting in his postgame presser. (“It’s a long season GARBLE GARBLE”, “He’s due for a big game BLARG!!!”) However, there’s no denying that the Yankees found all manner of surprising ways to get squirrel-shafted this weekend, including:
* Being able to lose games even though the starting pitching was not terrible. CC Sabathia and Sonny Gray were saddled with losses this weekend despite struggling early and settling in, though German spent a leisurely Sunday getting tagged like a brick wall for six runs. This in turn caused the team to use up most of their bullpen, eventually ending in a Chasen Shreve-delivered walkoff home run by Rays first baseman and background extra in a movie about baseball-Jake Bauers, culminating in a 7-6 win for the Rays. Never mind the fact that Sunday’s matchup is a game the Yankees should have won (OH, WE’LL GET TO THAT!!!), but it’s absolutely mind-boggling that this stating staff spent 72 hours getting pipe-bashed by a veritable “Who’s That?” of baseball talent.
* The fun times didn’t stop there, as the offense looked hopelessly, hilariously futile throughout Friday and Saturday, scoring a grand total of one, count it, ONE run over those two games. They even managed to waste a five-hit game for right fielder/designated hitter/designated shirtless person Giancarlo Stanton. To be entirely honest, I do believe that to this point in the season at least, this team’s home run hitting,
near-lockdown bullpen and ability to comeback late in games has papered over a lot of the cracks in the way this lineup is constructed, being too dependent upon streaky, strikeout-prone hitters. When it works well, it’s glorious, but when it does not, it’s as ugly as sin. Of course, this doesn’t take into account the ways that having more contact hitters at the bottom of the lineup like third baseman Miguel Andujar and second baseman Gleyber Torres has made this lineup more versatile than before, but they will need to pick up more of the slack, especially if the slumpage continues.
Look Out For: Will the Yankees break the losing streak against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park? What craziness abounds when the Red Sox go to Yankee Stadium in an AL East rivalry showdown? Who’s going to tell Chasen Shreve NOT to throw terrible fastballs?
Hey, That’s Unfortunate!: Catcher Gary Sanchez is apparently headed to the 10-day Disabled List due to a groin strain he suffered while running hard to first base on Sunday. Though Sanchez is still struggling, it will still be a blow to lose him for any length of time. Backup catcher Austin Romine will slide into Sanchez’s role, and backing him up will be some form of semi-conscious robot or sentient butterfly net, I assume.
Rant of the Week: Robbed by a speaker. ROBBED BY A SPEAKER!!!!!! In the top of the ninth inning in Sunday’s game, outfielder and cameo artist Clint Frazier hit a ball that StatCast projected would have traveled at least 335 feet, ending up beyond the left-field fence for a go-ahead homer. In a logical, just world, that’s exactly what would have occurred. But because we seem to live in a world where the fabric of reality is apparently controlled by drunk sitcom writers, the ball instead bounced off a speaker bank attached to the rafters way above the infield
dirt. The ground rules for Tropicana Field state that any ball that comes into contact with the rafters (or anything else up there) is playable, so the ball harmlessly settled into the glove of Rays shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria on the outfield grass. I will summarize, for those of you who rightfully may not comprehend the sheer stupidity of what I just described: A HOME RUN WAS TAKEN AWAY BY A SPEAKER EMBANKMENT!!!!! WHAT IN GOD’S NAME IS A SPEAKER DOING IN FAIR TERRITORY? IS THIS A BALL PARK OR A CIRCUS? HOW CAN A BASEBALL STADIUM BE CONSTRUCTED IN SUCH A WAY?!!!? WHAT, DID A GROUP OF CLOWNS DESIGN YOUR STADIUM FOR YOU?!!!? Other teams have rightfully complained about the Trop’s insane scaffolding and its ground rules thereof for years, and what exactly has Rays management or MLB done to fix this problem? I’ll tell you: Absolutely, positively friggin’ NOTHING! What kind of clownshoes baseball organization allows their team and other teams to play in a stadium where man-made structures can literally alter the course of any game? Before you tell me about the Green Monster, or the Ivy at Wrigley Field as a counter-argument, understand this: THOSE STRUCTURES AREN’T HANGING OFF A BLANKETY-BLANK ROOF, WAITING TO SWAT DOWN FLY BALLS LIKE THE HAND OF A WEIRD, VENEFUL BASEBALL DEITY!!!!!
Meme/GIF of the Week: