Some points after 14 games:
- I guess the season hasn’t officially become serious until a bench-clearing brawl against the Red Sox! My take was that while Austin went in with spikes up, he did not lift his leg and he clearly didn’t go even slightly out of his path; so it was clean. Cora didn’t try to get out of the way and then said FU to Austin. As for the retaliation, it was an odd way to do it in that Kelly threw a slider and then a fastball inside that didn’t connect and then came back with another slider before hitting Austin with a fastball. I don’t love this part of the game, but I like that Austin charged the mound because I thought what he did was pretty clean and in general we get plunked far more than the Red Sox over the years. Further, we have a team that should intimidate you and perhaps it will make a pitcher think twice about putting himself and the team in jeopardy when Judge, Stanton and in general a pretty big team come out there to push you around. Austin got a 5 game suspension and Kelly got 6 games for hitting Austin.
- Speaking of Austin, I mentioned earlier about him needing to drive outside pitches the other way and while he has not done it well, he did take a fastball a few games back and drove it to RC for a single. That is a great sign and overall he has hit well (3rd player on the team with a .859 OPS)· While on hitting, I had mentioned how I felt Tyler Wade looked like a deer in headlights last year and played terribly. The scouts all said that we didn’t see the real Wade and I am hopeful they are right…but he has been even worse this year so far and maybe he just can’t handle it in the majors? Who knows, but he has an anemic/pathetic line of .094/171/156. An OPS of .328 is a fast pass to the minors, and let’s not forget the awful throw home he had the other day on what should have been an easy out. I expect Gleyber Torres to be called up after April 18th as waiting until then gives us another year of control over him (which we have lost with Andujar).· Ronald Torreyes has earned more playing time, as he is swinging so well right now (1.000 OPS), until Torres is up. BTW, so we don’t get confused, remember Ronald as “Torre Yes” when we have GleyberTorres called up.· Speaking of Andjuar, he has not swung the bat well; a little out of synch with his pitch selection and not able to square enough balls up. While his OPS of .426 is horrible (still almost 100 points higher than Wade) he has shown a little life since his 0-12 start. Still not lighting up, but some life is good· Good to see Hicks come back and get in a groove. This can be really important to us if he can be more like the player in the 1st half of last year rather than the rest of his career type of player.· Neil Walker has been terrible at the plate as well with a .472 OPS. He has been a proven hitter and I would expect him to straighten it out, but with the injury to Bird and now Austin out, we need him to hit better.· Sanchez has only been a little better defensively this year IMO. He has blocked balls better, but still doesn’t use his chest protector (he tries to use the glove). That being said, he made a tremendous throw to 2nd base on a steal. His release was good and he threw a bullet to 2nd base that was caught and tagged at the same time; absolutely perfect!· Why are we booing Stanton? I never understood booing a player unless it was for a lack of hustle or a very stupid decision on the field. You could boo a player for an off-field issue; for example, something he said or did that is detrimental to the Yankees..· I hate to say it, but Boston has a very good club and it has nothing to do with their record. Their lineup is decent/solid and they have excellent pitching. There is a reason why they won the division last year. We have to get into a much better groove for extended periods to win the division and/or hope for some injuries to them. I was very impressed with the way Porcello had his ball moving everywhere against us, he made it very hard to get a good swing.· Finally, while on the Red Sox game, I really hated the way we handled the 5th inning. We were up 8-2 and Tanaka was struggling a little, but I would not have taken him out. Boston had 2nd and 3rd with 1 out and Tanaka got a shallow fly out for the 2nd out. Now Hanley Ramirez steps to the plate. Up 8-2 you can decide whether just to walk him to load the bases or you go after him trying to get him but being careful. To me those are your only options. I wanted to walk him which is not always the case as why add another base runner when you are up but I didn’t have confidence in Tanaka there as Ramirez seemed to be locked in on Tanaka. What they did was the worst idea. The asked Tanaka to make stressful pitches trying to ensure he threw a ball but tried to keep it close enough to see if Ramirez took a crazy swing at a ball. I would have just auto walked him to save the stress on Tanaka, but I could see to try 1 or maybe 2 pitches to see if he took a cut at something he didn’t, but after 2 balls why have Tanaka throw any more pitches? The other thing it did was wear him out a little and then he threw a meatball to JD Martinez on the very next pitch and he hits a GS. It is impossible to know, but if you just walk Ramirez, I don’t think Tanaka makes such a bad pitch. Really thought that was stupid.· Betances can’t be used in any high leverage situation until he gets himself straightened out.· 7-7 and we can hit better and we definitely will see a much better performance from our pen. It has been cold, so I am not going crazy now, we are not even 10% into the season