It's getting frustrating out there. Last night, the Yankees began a new homestand by playing the Tampa Bay Rays. With the possibility of having their rotation on the proper rest, the Yankees decided to go with a "bullpen game" last night. And, as it usually is, this was a very bad idea.
This begs the question: Was it the decision of field manager Aaron Boone, or general manager Brian Cashman? Who's actually the manager here? Who's minding the store?
Nick Nelson started, and only pitched 1 inning, because he had nothing. His 1st 3 batters: Walk, double, double. 2-0 Tampa Bay already. He settled down enough to get out of the inning, having thrown 30 pitches, only 15 of them for strikes.
Michael King then pitched 3 scoreless innings -- and then got sent to "the alternative site" after the game. It begs the question: Why wasn't King the reliever-who-started? It also begs the question: Why send down the guy who pitched well, not the guy who pitched lousy?
It got worse from there. Luis Cessa pitched the 5th inning. Never, ever let Luis Cessa pitch the 5th inning. Or any other inning. But if you're bringing him in for the 5th, you are basically saying, "This game's lost, and he needs the work." No, he doesn't need the work. He needs to find a new line of work.
(In all fairness, Cessa's 1st 5 appearances this season were very nice. This was his 1st bad game of the season.)
Cessa's results: Single, strikeout, RBI double, error by Gio Urshela resulting in a run, walk, walk, ground-ball forceout resulting in a run, bad throw by Rougned Odor messing up the double play and allowing another run, strikeout. He gave up 4 runs, but because of the errors, only 1 of the runs was earned. Do not let that fact, or the fact that he got 2 strikeouts, obscure the fact that Cessa took the mound with a 2-0 deficit, and put the game out of reach.
Lucas Luetge pitched the rest of the way, and allowed 2 more runs in the top of the 6th -- and then retired the last 10 batters he faced. I guess that's something. It begs the question: Why wasn't Luetge the reliever-who-started?
The Yankees wasted a 1-out single by Urshela in the 2nd, a 1-out walk by Gleyber Torres in the 4th, and a leadoff walk by Odor in the 6th. That leadoff walk didn't kill anything. Otherwise, they were punchless for the 1st 6 innings.
Torres led off the bottom of the 7th with a single. Then, Giancarlo Stanton did his best impression of Alex Rodriguez, hitting a home run with the game already out reach, for the team's only runs in this game.
Joey Wendle singled to open the top of the 8th for the Rays. He ended up not scoring. But this one hit seemed to push things too far for some people. It was then that things began to boil over. In the left-center field bleachers, a dozen or so fans, among the 10,202 fans allowed in, began throwing things onto the field.
The umpires decided that it was bad enough to stop play. Public-address another Paul Olden warned them to stop. It was much like a late 1970s game, except The Stadium was mostly empty, and the Yankees were terrible.
This begs the question: How bad would the fans' reaction have been if the place had been allowed to be full? We've seen it in European soccer games since a sliver of fans have been let in: How many managers have been allowed to keep their jobs because there aren't 40,000 or more fans on hand, booing the hell out of them?
At any rate, with his homer, Stanton became the last Yankee "baserunner" of the night. The last of 5, along with the single by Urshela, the walk by Odor, and 1 of each by Torres. Rays 8, Yankees 2. WP: Michael Wacha (1-1). No save. LP: Nelson (0-2).
Current Yankee OBPs -- not batting averages, on-base percentages: Kyle Higashioka .455 (in only 11 plate appearances), Brett Gardner .423, DJ LeMahieu .364, Aaron Judge .354, Gary Sanchez .349, Torres .346, Tyler Wade .333, Urshela .298, Clint Frazier .270, Aaron Hicks .255, Stanton .234, Jay Bruce .231, Odor .167, Mike Tauchman .143. The team as a whole: .306.
Current WHIPs (Walks and Hits, combined, divided by Innings Pitched): Chad Green 0.522, Justin Wilson 0.667, Aroldis Chapman 0.750, Jonathan Loaisiga 0.750, King 0.778 (remember, he's the one who got sent down late last night), Gerrit Cole 0.818, Jordan Montgomery 1.000, Albert Abreu 1.000, Darren O'Day 1.125, Cessa 1.174, Luetge 1.258, Jameson Taillon 1.440, Domingo German 2.000, Nelson 2.000 (remember, he's the one who did not get sent down last night), Corey Kluber 2.226.
It's not the bullpen that's the problem. It's the guys, other than Cole and Montgomery, who have been called upon to fill the starting pitcher role. And it's the lineup, not hitting.
The Yankees are now 5-8 on the season, 4 games behind the hated Boston Red Sox in the American League Eastern Division.
This begs another question, how much longer can we afford to have Brian Cashman in charge?
It begs another question Is Cashman a double agent? Has he been working on sabotaging the Yankees on the inside for the last 20 years?
The series continues today. Montgomery goes for us, and... Tyler Glasnow goes for them. Oy vey.