Yankees: The little guy carries a big stick but Yanks bat quiet in loss
The Yankees have a player who’s tagged with the title, Utility Player. In the dictionary, the word “utile” means useful, which is not a bad thing to be. But this guy is taking it to another level.
The Yankees game this afternoon against the Tampa Bay Rays, a loss following six straight wins, represents a microcosm of one player’s achievements which, arguably, make him a bonafide candidate for the team’s Most Valuable Player.
The player, of course, is Ronald Torreyes. I’ve written about him before and in a recent story, I referred to Torreyes as the most indispensable Yankee. I wasn’t joking around at the time, but I realize that’s a mouthful to say about anyone on the same team as Aaron Judge, Brett Gardner, Luis Severino, and maybe a few others.
Having said that though, there is no one the Yankees who brings more energy to the ballpark on a daily basis than Torreyes. He can be seen swinging his bat in the dugout, in the on-deck circle, on his way to the plate, and then finally at the first pitch, he sees that looks hittable.
Today, in the bottom of the second inning with two outs, he drives a ball off Ray’s rookie Jacob Faria for a home run, only his third of the season, to drive in Chase Headley, giving the Yankees a brief lead in the game.
Then in the fourth inning, he comes out swinging again whacking a double to left field that scores Todd Frazier with a hit that raised his batting average to .296.
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And to put some perspective on the season Torreyes is having while appearing in only 69 games, he has more RBI and hits than Jacoby Ellsbury and ranks twelfth on the team in fewest strikeouts.
Communication between Torreyes and his manager, Joe Girardi is superb. To the point where Torreyes simply shows up at the ballpark with the understanding that all he’s asking is, “What do you need me to do today, Skipper?”
On Thursday night, Girardi needed a sacrifice bunt. No problem, Torreyes saw two pitches and laid down a perfect bunt advancing the runner just like it says in the baseball Bible.(see featured image)
Yankees Game Notes (Final Score: Tampa Bay 5 Yankees 3)
Jordan Montgomery did not have one his best day today, throwing 70 pitches in only 2.1 innings and giving up four earned runs. True to recent form Girardi gave him a quick hook, going to his Bullpen By Committee.
Luis Cessa came up big as he held the Rays to those four runs with 3.1 efficient innings of shutout baseball.
Gary Sanchez was charged with another passed ball in the top of the second, allowing runners to advance to second and third. An intentional walk loaded the bases with one out. Sanchez, however, received a “save” when Chasen Shreve and Chad Green struck out the next two batters.
The combination of Green and Sanchez also allowed two stolen bases in the top of the seventh, allowing a run to score when Green could find the right pitch to retire Steven Souza Jr., who doubled in the run make the score 5-3. Editor’s Note: Sanchez still leaves a lot to be desired as a backstop.
Brett Garner threw out Tim Beckham, who was trying to stretch a single into a double.
The Yankee bats went quiet other than Torreyes, going down easily in the 7th, 8th, and 9th innings.
Boston’s loss to Kansas City leaves the Yankees in first place by a margin of a half-game.
The next game for the Bombers is tomorrow night against the Detroit Tigers at Yankee Stadium. Luis Severino (7-4, 3.03) makes the start for the Bombers against, probably, the Tiger’s best pitcher, Michael Fullmer (10-8, 3.35).
The Red Sox draw the Indians, who the Yankees play next in Cleveland for a weekend series beginning on Thursday night.
Next: Will the Yankees eliminate starting pitchers altogether?
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