If not for the Blue Jays losing to the Astros on Friday, the New York Yankees would’ve fallen to fourth place in the AL East following their embarrassing series-opening defeat vs Boston.
The loss was humiliating on multiple fronts, as the Yankees, despite racking up seven singles, finished 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and left six runners on base. That means they’re now 6 for their last 59 (.101 batting average) with RISP over their last eight games.
While the top of the order came to play, their six through nine hitters — Rougned Odor, Clint Frazier, Gary Sanchez and Brett Gardner — finished 0-for-15 with 10 strikeouts.
That just isn’t going to cut it, and made the decision to bench Miguel Andujar all the more questionable.
Luckily for fans, it appears the Yankees have finally come to their senses. Shortly after Friday night’s loss, the club demoted reliever Nick Nelson to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes Barre, which prompted fans to question who’d replace him on the big league roster.
In a move that fans have been quite literally begging for over the last few weeks, the Yankees officially called up slugger Chris Gittens for Game 2.
Yankees fans can celebrate now that Chris Gittens has been called up.
While the Yankees haven’t confirmed the transaction yet, Lindsey Adler of The Athletic is as reliable as they come on the reporting front. The only question remaining is whether Gittens is given the start right out of the gates or New York lets him get his feet wet first.
To say Gittens has been mashing at Triple-A this season would be an understatement, as he’s slashing .283/.486/.585 with four home runs and 11 RBI in just 18 games. With Mike Ford optioned to Scranton earlier in the week, Gittens could be in line to start at first on Saturday.
Given that Odor is 3-for-24 (.124 BA) over his last seven games, he’s a real candidate to be benched in Game 2. That could shift DJ LeMahieu, who started at first on Friday and finished 2-for-4, over to second base, opening up a spot for Gittens at first.
That, of course, is assuming Andujar returns to the lineup and replaces Frazier, who finished hitless with two strikeouts in four at bats in Game 1. If the top five of LeMahieu, Stanton, Judge, Urhsela and Torres doesn’t change, slotting Gittens and Andujar in the bottom half of the lineup would give the Yankees some legitimate depth for the first time in what feels like forever.
We’re not going to call an early-June game against the Red Sox a must-win. However, it’s pretty darn close to qualifying as such considering where New York sits in the division and how languished the lineup has looked over the last several weeks.
Nobody’s saying that Gittens has to be the savior of the Yankees’ offense, but his promotion better serve as the spark plug the entire fan base thanks it will. After all, the club might be out of options if this move doesn’t pan out.