Thursday, April 22, 2021

We Gotta Get Out of Last Place

Before this 2-game home series with the Atlanta Braves began, I was willing to accept a split.

But after winning the 1st game, the way the 2nd game worked out feels rotten. The words "damp squib" come to mind.

Corey Kluber started for the Yankees, and, for the 1st 4 innings, he looked pretty good, allowing just 1 hit and 1 walk. But he fell apart in the 5th, allowing single, strikeout, walk, walk, sacrifice fly, walk to load the bases. Cliche Alert: Walks can kill you.

Then Aaron Boone brought Nick Nelson in to relieve. Why would you ever bring Nick Nelson in to relieve? He walked the next batter, forcing home a 2nd run, before getting a strikeout to end the inning.

The good news: Aaron Boone did something I was hoping he'd do: He shook up the batting order. The bad news: It wasn't in the way I'd hoped. He moved Aaron Hicks from 3rd to 7th. But he moved Giancarlo Stanton from 4th to 3rd, and Gio Urshela from 6th to 4th.

I understand punishing Hicks and rewarding Urshela. But why would you reward Stanton?

The Yankees went down 1-2-3 in the 1st, stranded men on 1st and 2nd in the 2nd, stranded a man on 1st in the 3rd, wasted a leadoff single by Urshela in the 4th, went down 1-2-3 in the 5th, and wasted a leadoff single by Judge in the 6th.

Nelson got the Braves out 1-2-3 in the 6th, and Boone brought Luis Cessa in to pitch the 7th. Why does Boone hate me? What followed was single, error, sacrifice bunt, intentional walk to load the bases, unsuccessful double play that got a run home, groundout.

Frankly, I was impressed that Cessa got out of that inning having allowed only 1 run. And I was really impressed that he pitched a 1-2-3 8th. But that 3-0 lead looked completely insurmountable -- by this Yankee lineup.

Gleyber Torres led off the bottom of the 7th with an "excuse-me check swing" that dropped the ball right in front of the plate, weaker than a bunt would have been. And he seemed to just stand there, like Kenny Dalglish after the Michael Thomas goal, before finally jogging down to 1st base, and being thrown out by Braves catcher Travis d'Arnaud (a former Met).

Somebody on Twitter wrote, "Run Gleyber what the actual fuck?" An actual fuck is something Gleyber appears unable to give. He is philosophically impotent.

Judge led off the bottom of the 8th with a walk. In the kind of event that proves John Sterling wrong whenever he tells Suzyn Waldman, "You know, Suzyn, you just can't predict baseball," Stanton was completely predictable: He struck out. Stanton is now 3-for-his-last-34. That's an .088 batting average. The guy Cashman traded away to get him? Starlin Castro is currently batting .281. Judge ended up stranded.

Boone brought Brooks Kriske in to pitch the top of the 9th. He must have figured the game was already lost, so let's give a guy who can't pitch some work. Kriske gave up a leadoff home run to Austin Riley, and it was 4-0 Braves. Then Kriske walked the next 2 batters. But he got out of it without further damage.

The 1st pitcher the Braves used was Ian Anderson, not to be confused with the lead singer of Jethro Tull. The last pitcher they used was Will Smith, not to be confused with the Fresh Prince.

An appropriate chant to use on a pitcher named Will Smith might have been, "Who's your Daddy?" Instead, there was a chant of "Derek Jeter!" A reminder that the Yankees once had hitters who could been part of the erasing of a 4-run 9th-inning deficit.

Instead, Mike Ford flew to center. Hicks drew a walk. Gary Sanchez struck out. With Clint Frazier up, Hicks took 2nd on defensive indifference. Frazier singled him home. In 17 games, this was the Yankees' 1st 9th inning run of the season. They also came into the game, and left it, having not scored a run in the 1st inning.

DJ LeMahieu flew out to short left, and that was it. Braves 4, Yankees 1. WP: Anderson (1-0). No save. LP: Kluber (0-2).


I realize it's a different sport, but Bill Parcells says, "You are what your record says you are."
The Yankees are 6-11. That's .352. That's 57-105 over a full season. Right now, the Yankees are a .352 team. They are in last place in the American League Eastern Division, 5 games behind the hated Boston Red Sox. Only the Minnesota Twins (also 6-11) and the Colorado Rockies (6-12) are in as bad a shape as the Yankees at the moment.

On Twitter, in a question having nothing openly to do with baseball, music publicist Eric Alper asked, "What song describes what you're feeling right now?" I told him, "I'm watching this year's Yankees, so... " and posted a video of The Animals singing "We Gotta Get Out of This Place."

The song was written by the husband & wife team of Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil, and they first offered it to The Righteous Brothers, who turned it down. The Animals, out of Newcastle in the North-East of England, recorded it, and it was a big hit in 1965. Along with "Paint It, Black" by The Rolling Stones and "Fortunate Son" by Creedence Clearwater Revival, it's one of the songs that has to be in every movie about the Vietnam War.

The Yankees now go on a roadtrip: 4 games against the Cleveland Indians, 4 games against the Baltimore Orioles.

"We Gotta Get Out of This Place"? Yeah, last place. Maybe that many days away from New York will be just what the doctor ordered.

Which doctor? The Witch Doctor? Jekyll? Frankenstein? Strangelove? Moreau? Scholl? Martens? John the Night Tripper? Joyce Brothers? Laura Schlessinger? Ben Carson? Bruce Banner? Frank Burns? Gregory House? Doogie Howser? Who knows.

Right now, the Yankees are reminding me of one of the classic jokes:

Patient: "Doctor! Doctor! It hurts when I do this!"
Doctor: "So don't do that!"

Or, how about this one:

Doctor: "You need surgery."
Patient: "I want a second opinion."
Doctor: "Okay: The Yankees stink."

(Originally, it was, "Okay: You're ugly, too.")

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