Yankees bats wake up in decisive win, Sanchez benched, Severino excels
The Yankees weekend series with the defending American League Champions ended on a high note today as the Bombers began bombing again in a decisive 8-1 win at Progressive Field in Cleveland.
The Yankees continue to both baffle and delight their fans with an uneven brand of baseball that leaves everyone scratching their head and wondering just who these guys really are. What they are, though, is the first Wild Card team and a team also in the hunt for their first Division title in seven years.
Proving once again how difficult it is to gauge this team, and how close they get to your heart sometimes, I wrote a column this morning justifying the need for the Front Office to give the team a jolt. And specifically, to send both Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge to the minors for a breather and a chance to “think about it” for a few days.
Girardi Steps In
Joe Girardi, a candidate for Manager of the Year in my book, had some other ideas though. And with Sanchez, he took a public step in the right direction by sitting him down today, removing him even from the DH spot, creating a day of half-rest for Brett Gardner.
It was Girardi’s forthrightness and candor in his pre-game press conference that caught my attention when he spoke about Sanchez. Asked pointedly if withholding his catcher from the lineup was meant to “send a message,” Girardi didn’t blink, answering tersely, “I sent him that message verbally.”
Girardi also gave high praise to Austin Romine for catching a perfect game Saturday with Jordan Montgomery on the mound. Romine repeated the same today calling a perfect game for Luis Severino, who was mystifying with his mix of pitches that included a put-away changeup that Romine called for in just the right spots.
Under the direct supervision of Girardi, Sanchez caught the bullpen session of Sonny Gray. In answering questions about Sanchez, Girardi maintained faith in his catcher, indicating at least, for now, he is still the Yankees number one catcher. The tutelage will go on, leaving it all in the hands of the 24-year-old Sanchez.
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Judge Gets A Hung Jury
Demonstrating his ongoing faith in Judge, Girardi sent him out there for another day of misery that ended with a hung jury. Judge blasted an opposite field three-run home run (watch the video) in the seventh inning to put the game out of reach for the Yankees, but he also struck out three times.
Judge continues to look indecisive in his at-bats, but like the rest of the team, he’ll get a day to clear his head with a day off Monday in the city of Toronto where the Yankees begin a three-game set against the Blue Jays the following night.
The win today pushes the Yankees back up to eight games over .500, and coupled with wins by both the Red Sox and Tampa Bay, the standings remain unchanged with the Yankees three games back.
The Yankees continue to wrestle with my heart and perhaps yours as well. As poorly as they played on Thursday and Friday, they bounce back with two games that dominate over a team they could well meet again in the Playoffs.
Next: On the Devaluation of Pitching Stats
And just maybe, the jolt I was referring to earlier today has been administered in his inimitable way by Joe Girardi. I defer to the master.
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