I decided to blog on Mondays this year to recap everything that happened the week before. Since there were only three games in the Red Sox series, the first of them is today. And I have to tell you guys, it’s pretty brutal that my first blog of the season comes after that disgusting posting in Baltimore. But we have a lot to recap, so let’s get to it.
The offense is (still) bad
The big concern coming this season was the Yankees offense. Their roster finished 2021 19th in runs scored and 13th in OPS. With no impact bats outside of Josh Donaldson being acquired, Brian Cashman has been betting heavily on his inside options to be better. Full seasons of Rizzo/Gallo, DJ/Gleyber bouncing back, healthy Hicks. Early returns on this bet aren’t great, as the Bombers rank 25th in runs scored and 16th in OPS.
Good news is that LeMahieu & Hicks were productive (although Hicks had terrible ABs with runners in scoring position). Rizzo was also solid, sporting an .896 OPS and 3 HR early on.
Let’s come to Rizzness. pic.twitter.com/i7mIGD7mUz
— New York Yankees (@Yankees) April 8, 2022
But that’s about where the good news ends. Gleyber looks more like the 2020-21 version of himself than the 2018-19. Gallo had a combination of bad luck and brutal abs that contributed to his .424 OPS. Donaldson was horrible at first. The icing on the cake is IKF & Kyle Higashioka creating an absolute black hole at the bottom of the order.
Giancarlo Stanton has calmed down a bit, but still leads the team in RBI with 8. I’m not worried about him at all. However, our other slugger is on my mind right now.
The judge may be in a hurry
Aaron Judge did not sign the Yankees’ 8-year, $230 million contract offer on opening day. I have no problem with that – if Judge wants to test free will, he has the right to. What will give me a problem is if his contract situation weighs heavily on his mind and causes him to suffer a lean year. And how could he not? The guy just turned down a quarter billion dollars. I hope Judge has a huge year and gets the contract he’s looking for, whether it’s here or elsewhere. Just help the 2022 team. Unfortunately at first he didn’t help his case.
In 10 games, Judge has a .779 OPS, more than 150 points shy of his career mark of .937. The big guy has just one homer (also his only RBI) and is just 1-9 in his 11 “high leverage” plate appearances.
Do I expect Judge to be this disappointing all season? No I do not know. But this Yankees team has no desire to do anything without a vintage Aaron Judge season. We need to see him start creating more attack as soon as possible.
The pitch was fantastic
The Yankees currently lead the AL with a 2.53 ERA, 4th in MLB. Their starting ERA of 3.00 is behind only the White Sox in the AL and 5th in MLB. The bullpen’s ERA of 2.08 is second in MLB, behind only the Rockies. And yet they have a 5-5 record to show for it. But let’s give the pitching credit where it’s due.
Luis Severino has looked like his old self so far, and that’s huge. He’s barely pitched since 2018, but when he’s on, he’s a legit starting pitcher. Seeing Sevy looking so good is not only a good sign for the Yankees’ chances this season, but it warms my heart.
You obviously have an emotional attachment to the guys who come with your team, but especially to Sevy with everything he’s been through. Seeing him back on the mound looking like his old self is so awesome pic.twitter.com/biQajh8Ig9
— Stanzo (@ncostanzo24) April 15, 2022
Jordan Montgomery and Jameson Taillon have also looked good so far. Monty had a tough first inning against the Red Sox on Sunday Night Baseball, including getting drilled with line drive Xander Bogaerts. But he settled in and kept the Yanks in the game. He followed that up with five scoreless innings in Baltimore on Friday. Unfortunately, in classic Yankee fashion, the offense failed to support Monty in both games, ultimately losing both.
Taillon had a pair of strong starts against Toronto and Baltimore, allowing a pair of two-run homers to George Springer and Cedric Mullins. Along with two of the AL’s best hitters cutting it, Jamo is pitching great so far.
And Nestor Cortes jr., what can you say? He’s rapidly changing the narrative from “quirky southpaw who pitches softly, it’s a great story” to “legitimately good starting pitcher.”
Add to that 5 shutout innings with 12K yesterday. Absurd. pic.twitter.com/DfXuCBk64F
— Stanzo (@ncostanzo24) April 18, 2022
It’s crazy how good the rotation was despite Gerrit Cole’s performance – I’ll join him.
The bullpen is incredibly deep. Lucas Luetge, Wandy Peralta, Chad Green and Miguel Castro are all legit guns. Clay Holmes is currently in “baseball’s best reliever” territory. Johnny Lasagna had a tough outing yesterday and hasn’t been that sharp so far, but I’m not worried about him just yet. Depth options Ron Marinaccio and JP Sears performed well in their chances. And what can you say about Mike King? Two absolutely heroic outings on Opening Day and Thursday against the Jays.
What a job from Mike King. It took him five pitches to get three outs, block loaded bases and secure the split for the Yankees. What a legend. pic.twitter.com/EmRDXFuKJC
— Captain Rougie (@CaptainRougie) April 15, 2022
Aroldis Chapman is a mental dwarf loser and I hate that he’s on this baseball team. But other than him, this bullpen is just amazing.
What’s wrong with Cole?
Gerrit Cole was disappointing in his two starts, allowing 6 ERs in 9.2 innings, including 3 homers. To be fair, he settled into both and gave the Yanks a chance to win the game. And the guys who cut it in Rafael Devers and Vlad Guerrero jr are two of the best in the game. I mean, look at the pitch where Vlad hit his second homer:
lol Vladdy hit that 427 feet pic.twitter.com/GZef4HU0y1
— Andrew Mearns (@MearnsPSA) April 14, 2022
So am I still worried? No I’m not. But at the end of the day, we need Cole to be better. He got paid $324 million for a reason. He has to get these guys out, give us more length and be dominant. Obviously the discussion around him is what he will be after the spider tac. My honest answer is that after struggling in two starts after the 2021 crackdown, he was fantastic until his hamstring injury. But there are no more excuses. Be the dominant ace we pay you to be. It’s better to start Tuesday in Detroit.
Yankees “in the sun”
I air my grievances with some Yankees every Sunday, so I’ll add that here too:
First tranche 2022:
6 runs in 29 innings against the Orioles means everyone on the roster deserves a trip to the sun.
Two outings where Chapman couldn’t throw any shots. Sun.
Hal wouldn’t add any big FAs and Cashman gave Chapman/Britton $30 million this year. Repugnant pic.twitter.com/M68l4ndKhU
— Stanzo (@ncostanzo24) April 17, 2022
The Yanks play three in Detroit Tuesday-Thursday before returning to the stadium to face the Cleveland Guardians (I still haven’t forgotten that horrible name). Pitch matches should look like this:
Tuesday: Gerrit Cole (0–0, 5.59 ERA, 9 SO) vs. Tyler Alexander (0–0, 5.06 ERA4 SO)
Wednesday: Luis Severino (1–0, 2.25 ERA, 11 SW) against Eduardo Rodriguez (0–1, 5.87 ERA7 SO)
Thursday: Jordan Montgomery (0–0, 3.24 ERA, 6 SO) vs. TBD (Casey Mize was just placed on IL)
Friday: Jameson Taillon (0-1, 3.72 ERA, 8 SO) vs. Cal Quantrill (1–0, MRE3.72, 4 SO)
Saturday: Nestor Cortes jr. (0-0, 0.00 ERA, 17 SO) vs. Aaron Civale (0-1, 6.14 ERA, 8 SO)
Sunday: Cole vs. Shane Bieber (0-0, 2.70 ERA, 9 SO)
Cole/Bieber round 3 on Sunday should be very interesting. Simply win both series. I can’t ask for a scan as much as we might need right now. In the end, you are better than both teams, but they are still competent. Take 2/3 of each, have a 4-2 week, and straighten that ship.
Check back next week for what will hopefully be a better update. In the meantime, follow me on Twitter @ncostanzo24 for up-to-date Yankees news and terrible jokes.