Friday, June 30, 2017

Yankees Lose a Game and a "Prospect"

Dustin Fowler is one of those Yankee "prospects" you've been hearing so dang much about. A guy who's already being compared to some of the great names in baseball history.

Well, for the moment, he's being compared to 2 guys: Gleyber Torres, who's out for the rest of this season with an injury, before having reached the major leagues at all; and Archie "Moonlight" Graham, the guy who played 1 inning in the outfield, without coming to bat, for the 1905 New York Giants, and never played another major league game, and was eventually immortalized in W.P. Kinsella's book Shoeless Joe and the film based on it, Field of Dreams.

With 2 out in the bottom of the 1st, Jose Abreu hit a fly ball down the right field line. Fowler, playing right field, placed 6th in the batting order, and wearing Number 34 in his major league debut, chased it, saw it go foul, and crashed into the short sidewall. He got up, and discovered he couldn't put any weight on his right knee.

A tendon had been severed. He had surgery after the game. He's out for the season.

This is why you don't pin your hopes on "prospects." Things happen. They've now happened to Torres and Fowler within a few days.

Of course, the likeliest thing to happen to any of the Yankees' "prospects" is that they simply will not pan out. There's more Hensley "Bam-Bam" Meulenses in my lifetime than Brien Taylors. But there's been enough of both for me to tell anyone excusing the inexcusable trades Brian Cashman made last year that there is no such thing as a "can't-miss prospect."

It is worth pointing out, though, that Fowler was not one of the "prospects" Cashman threw last (and this?) season away for last July. He is a Yankee scoutee and draftee. More a Gene Michael product. Gee, maybe "Stick" should be the general manager again. Hell, even his initials are GM.

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As for the game: Luis Cessa was the starting pitcher for the Yankees, and he didn't get out of the 5th inning. Between them, Chasen Shreve, Ronald Herrera, Tyler Clippard (seriously) and Tyler Webb (ditto) pitched 4 1/3rd innings, allowing just 1 baserunner, an infield single by Willy Garcia off Herrera in the bottom of the 6th.

But it was too late, because the Yankee bats couldn't do much against the ChiSox starter, our old pain in the neck from the Tampa Bay Rays, James Shields; or their bullpen: Dan Jennings, our own former pathetic reliever, Anthony Swarzak, who pitched a scoreless 8th inning; and our own former closer, who would come in real handy right about now, Brian Cashman: David Robertson.

The Yankees got a run on "small ball" in the 1st, a run on a long single by Ronald Torreyes in the 4th, and another on a Jacoby Ellsbury triple and an Austin Romine groundout in the 6th. But that was it. White Sox 4, Yankees 3. WP: Shields (2-1). SV: Robertson (12). LP: Cessa 0-3.

With the loss, and the Boston Red Sox winning last night, the Yankees are once again a game behind the Sox in the American League Eastern Division, although tied in the all-important loss column.

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Now, the Yankees have to play a weekend series away to the team with the best record in baseball, the Houston Astros. The Astros also beat the Yankees in the 2015 AL Wild Card Game. They got good the old-fashioned way: Not by trading away their best players for prospects like Brian Cashman is trying to do, but by stinking for several years, drafting well, and keeping their good players.

Here are the projected starting pitchers:

* Tonight, 8:10 PM New York time (7:10 Houston): Michael Pineda vs. Lance McCullers Jr.

* Tomorrow, 7:15 (6:15): Jordan Montgomery vs. Francis Martes.

* Sunday, 2:10 (1:10): Luis Severino vs. Mike Fiers.

This could easily be a sweep. For them, not for us. We need good pitching, good hitting, good defense, and no more injuries.

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