Monday, July 10, 2017
Travis Shaw homered and drove in four runs, and All-Star closer Corey Knebel worked overtime to atone for Saturday’s blown save as the Brewers held off rally after late-inning rally to beat the Yankees on Sunday, 5-3, in the finale of the first half.
Shaw’s booming shot off Yankees starter Masahiro Tanaka gave Milwaukee a three-run home run in the first inning for the second straight game, and unlike Saturday, the Brewers’ bullpen held the lead. Knebel threw 33 pitches for a four-out save to seal Milwaukee’s ninth win in 10 games, pushing the Brewers into the All-Star break a season-high 5 1/2 games ahead of the second-place Cubs in the National League Central.
This marked the 8th straight series that the Yankees went without without winning a series - a remarkable 0-7-1 in their last eight series, a feat that they haven’t accomplished since 1991, also known as one of the worst seasons in Yankee history.
The Red Sox lost, though, so the Yankees enter the All Star break in second place in the American League, two games back of the Red Sox in the loss column and two games ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays in the loss column (but two games back in the win column, as well, so the Yankees are nominally tied for the first Wild Card with the Rays). 45-41 is certainly not where we all thought that they would be a month ago, when they were just destroying opponents left and right, but obviously a few notable things happened since then, namely:
A. CC Sabathia got hurt, leading to Luis Cessa pitching a few games, all of which were horrible
B. Tyler Clippard becoming one of the worst relievers in baseball
C. Dellin Betance and Aroldis Chapman going on a week and a half stretch where they could not pitch with a lead, including some horrific losses where the Yankees were up multiple runs late only to see their All-Star set-up man and their former All-Star closer pitch terribly.
D. Adam Warren missed most of the time due to injury, robbing them of one of their best relievers
E. Aaron Hicks, who was having a breakout season in center field, got hurt, rushed back, sucked and then got hurt even worse
F. Matt Holliday, who was having a great rebound season, came down with a mysterious disease that took the Yankees weeks to diagnose. He is set to return after the All-Star break.
G. Starlin Castro, who was having an All-Star season at second base, pulled a hamstring muscle and missed a few weeks. He appears ready to return after the All-Star break.
H. Greg Bird’s mysterious ankle injury, suffered at the end of March, has caused him to be unable to return since he went on the DL on May 1st. His replacement, Chris Carter, was so bad that he was cut. Then Tyler Austin came up, but then he was hurt, so then Chris Carter was brought back. Then Chris Carter was so bad that he was cut again.
I. The Yankees’ top prospect, Gleyber Torres, injured himself on a slide at home plate, requiring Tommy John surgery which will keep him out until next season.
J. One of the Yankees’ top prospects, Dustin Fowler, was called up to play center field and then horrifically ruptured a tendon in his knee that will keep him out until at least next season and has a decent chance of never playing again.
K. Michael Pineda went from a good pitcher to a shitty one
Okay, balance that against:
A. Aaron Judge continued to hit really well.
B. Jordan Montgomery continued to pitch very well
C. Luis Severino has pitched pretty well.
D. Gary Sanchez has hit very well for a second-year catcher, pretty well for a player overall (although he’s slumping big time)
E. Didi Gregorius hit well enough to almost make the All-Star team (although he’s slumping big time)
F. Ji-Man Choi was called up to play first base and has hit well.
G. Clint Frazier was called up when Fowler got hurt and eventually (after his swing was fixed) started hitting really, really well.
H. Chad Green has pitched very well in relief (although, of course, he also blew a one-run lead against Toronto because all Yankee relievers blow leads now).
So, as you can see, there are some positives to look forward to in the second half, and a lot of the negatives will hopefully go away, so there is something to be somewhat happy about with this team. They just need to play well after they get swept in their opening series after the break (where they go to Boston for four games against the Red Sox, including a doubleheader on one of the weekend days).
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