Tuesday Morning "Back From The Nation's Capital" Thoughts And Afterthoughts

So how was everybody's long weekend?  Good?  Good.  I stayed completely away from a computer screen and almost completely away from social media all weekend, but I still managed to see enough of what transpired on the field to know how the Yankees did.  With less than a week to go until the All-Star break and coming off another scheduled off-day to set up the next 6 games, it seems like the perfect time to catch up on what I haven't been writing about. - Let's go back to Friday night, the first of 2 walk-off wins the Yanks pulled out against the Rays.  That has to be the win of the year so far, right?  Down 3 late, tie it up on a big home run, go down 2 in the 12th, come back for 4 in the bottom half and win it on an even bigger home run.  It doesn't get much better than that.

- It was the high of that victory and the bonus of Saturday afternoon's Tampa defense-aided walk-off win that didn't have me all up in arms over Sunday's stinkfest.  Nova didn't look great, the offense did nothing to help him, and the defense did even less, but at the end of the day the Yankees still took 2 of 3 from one of their top division competitors and they wake up today 1.5 games up in said division.  That's cause for celebration and optimism no matter how bad they looked on Sunday.

- On Ivan's Sunday outing, I didn't think there was much to it other than it being his third start back after a year plus off the mound.  He threw some very good fastballs and very good curveballs for swings and misses and big double plays when he needed them.  He also didn't command his fastball on the corners at all and couldn't really command his offspeed stuff up or down in the zone the way he wanted to.  It's part of the TJS comeback process and everybody has to live with it.

- What nobody should have to live with anymore is the Stephen Drew Experience.  Drew is 2-23 over his last 10 games, which has dropped his season slash line back down to .178/.251/.364.  We're way past the point of sample sizes or luck having anything to do with his production.  It just isn't there.  And between his noodle bat and Jose Pirela's mediocre defensive abilities, it's time for the Yanks to make a move.  Call up, trade, whatever.  They can't continue to play with those 2 as their everyday second basemen.

- I'm sure we'll talk plenty about trade targets in the weeks to come, but here's some food for thought on Rob Refsnyder: He's hitting over .300 with an OPS over .870 and only 6 fielding errors since mid-April. (h/t to IIATMS alum Mike Eder on that)

- As you know by now, the Yankees had 2 players selected to the AL All-Star team last night: Mark Teixeira and Dellin Betances.  Both are very deserving based on their performances this season, although it does need to be said that Teix's case was helped by the injury to Miguel Cabrera.  Brian McCann, Brett Gardner, and Alex Rodriguez all failed to get picked.  McCann had stiff competition at catcher, Gardner is in the final fan vote position, and A-Rod fell victim to other guys having years just as good if not better than his.  Stacey will have more on A-Rod later this morning, but I really wasn't surprised that he didn't get picked and I really don't care.  Give that old body a few more days off, I say.

- The other big news yesterday was the announcement that Jacoby Ellsbury will be activated and in the lineup tomorrow.  This comes after he played about a week of on again-off again MiL rehab games.  Maybe I'm over-thinking it, but I really didn't get a good feeling about the decision based on how much rest he's had to have in between MiL games.  I don't like the idea of him going from a rest day or sim game every other day to having to play Major League center field every day so quickly.  Seems like an injury setback waiting to happen.  Guess we'll see.

- Andrew Miller is also close to returning after pitching a scoreless inning for Triple-A SWB last night.  Because he doesn't play every day, he might not need but 1 more rehab appearance before he's ready to be activated.  Getting him back out there at the back end of the 'pen will be huge, as will getting Ellsbury back at the top of the lineup.

- As for who goes down when they come up, I think it will be Gregorio Petit and either Bryan Mitchell or Nick Rumbelow, but I'd like to see it be Petit and Chris Capuano.  Miller's return will give the Yankees 3 lefties in the 'pen, and with those guys' ability to go more than an inning if needed and Warren and Mitchell being able to go multiple innings, the need for a below-average long man is diminished.

- There's also the fact that Mitchell and Rumbelow have looked pretty good in their first few appearances, and could become bigger and more important long-term contributors than Capuano.  They both throw strikeout stuff, which Capuano doesn't, and it would be nice to see one of these Triple-A relief arms stick for longer than a few days.

- The last series against the Oakland A's was a borderline disaster.  The Yankees really can't afford to repeat that outcome this time at home.  The pitching matchups aren't in their favor - Eovaldi against Sonny Gray tonight and CC against Scott Kazmir tomorrow - but I'd like to see the Yanks take at least 2 of 3 from the A's.  A 4-2 week against them and the lowly Red Sox and you're feeling good heading into the ASB.  Anything less than that?  Not so much.