For long stretches of this Yankees season, fans have been begging for someone — anyone — to join the lineup and prove that the team was only one spark plug piece away from looking better and more energized.
On Tuesday, the Yankees responded, “Would you accept two spark plugs?”
In an almost hilariously obvious turn of events, following months of the lowest common denominator of the fan base claiming, “Just give us some lefty bats and some athleticism! It’s that easy!”, the Yanks showed in their opener against the Phillies that … whoops, it might just be that easy.
Unfortunately, it’s mid-July and not early May. But there’s still time on the clock. And for the time being, this team runs now, thanks in large part to ex-Indian Greg Allen and top prospect Estevan Florial.
The Yankees’ first two runs in a 6-4 victory over the Phillies on Tuesday came in ways they never would’ve scored one month prior: an Allen leadoff triple and productive RBI grounder from Florial, followed by Allen working his way all around the bases step by step (walk, stolen base, tag up on a shallow fly, baiting an error on a lineout).
Once the floodgates were open and the pitcher was spooked, the long ball started flying out of the yard, too. Funny how that happens.
The Yankees woke up thanks to Estevan Florial and Greg Allen.
If the Yankees trade Florial now, after he finally helped wake this roster up, it’ll be like the Sixers trading Mikal Bridges while his mom cried on draft night. Know this.
This roster is by far as interesting as it’s been all year, but not thanks to any stroke of genius from the front office or grand managerial decision. Forced into action by an utter disaster of a COVID outbreak that rendered Aaron Judge and Gio Urshela isolated, the team called up a wave of Triple-A talent … then called up a second wave once Tim Locastro and Trey Amburgey got hurt against the Red Sox over the weekend.
It never ends … but maybe it also starts now.
Though Hoy Jun Park hasn’t gotten any real chance to shine since being promoted (and definitely deserves one over Tyler Wade), Allen showed all weekend long that his quick-twitch bat and threatening feet could play a role in enhancing the athleticism of this team. “The Yankees just need a different LOOK!” is the most reductive criticism of all time, but at the same time … it’s fairly embarrassing for everyone involved when inserting a contact bat with a little bit of pop and elite speed just works.
And don’t forget Florial, one of SIX lefties in Tuesday’s accidental lineup (thanks to Rob Brantly!), who provided the necessary contact with runners on base and found the short porch with a liner to right in the eighth, showing the team exactly the dimension they’ve been missing.
His wife knew it’d happen before we did, FYI. Add another person to the list of folks who knew more than Brian Cashman when building this roster.
How long will this last? Who knows? Allen’s engine probably isn’t eternal.
But after four months of screaming into the void about adding balance to the lineup and emphasizing different skill sets, it’s certainly ironic that it worked immediately once the Yankees were forced into it.