Mariano Rivera Hall-of-Fame Day turned out to be a tough game for the Yankees, they battled and battled, and won 6-5 in a close and exciting game that, unfortunately, was over shadowed by the umpires and their quick hooks to eject players for things that have been part of the game since its inception.
Let’s get to the major points.
Paxton in the First - First inning troubles continue to plague James Paxton. The Yankees cannot continue to sustain and overcome the fact that his performance at the start of most games is horrible. Abysmal. Here’s the stats:
Paxton did settle down and took the Yankees through five innings. He allowed only one batter to reach base in innings 2, 3, and 4 combined. Then, in the fifth, he allowed a two-out double to Francisco Lindor and then he walked Oscar Mercado before facing Carlos Santana. On an 0-2 pitch, Paxton seemed to have frozen Santana with a hard strike three, but it was called a ball. This was a close pitch that didn’t go the Yankees’ way that probably got them all fired up (more on that later). Santana then had an rbi single.
Paxton left the game with the Yankees up 4-3 and earned the eventual win.
He must, must, must, must do better, though to begin the game.
Gleyber Gleyber - Amazing. Torres hit two more homers. This was his seventh multiple homer game this year. Only three Yankees have ever had eight multi-homer games in a season. Those guys were Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, and Alex Rodriguez.
Torres leads the Yankees in homers in 2019 with 29.
DJ on Both Sides - DJ LeMahieu had two more hits today including his 20th homer of the year. He also turned a key double play in the top of the 8th, with one out and the tying run on third. This man is a great player having a remarkable season.
Didi Gregorius - Didi also homered. His blast gave the Yankees a 3-2 lead. Torres followed his blast with his first homer of the day.
22-0 -After Paxton, the Yankees went to their four-man ace bullpen strategy going (in order) to Adam Ottavino, Tommy Kahnle, Zack Britton, and Aroldis Chapman to close out the final four innings. When the Yankees go to this foursome, they are 22-0. Amazing.
103 - According to the YES coverage, Chapman hit 103 MPH with his fastball in yesterday’s game.
15-3 -The Yankees are now 15-3 in August.
Aaron Judge - This was the second time in a week (or so) that Aaron Boone planned to rest Aaron Judge only to see Brett Gardner get ejected (more on that below) from the game. In order to get Judge the whole day off, Thairo Estrada played right field the final innings of the game. That was a risky strategy, but it worked, or at least it didn’t come back to haunt the Yankees.
David Robertson - Former Yankee, David Robertson will have Tommy John surgery and will miss the rest of 2019 and all of 2020. I always liked D-Rob. We wish him all the best.
Willie Randolph - I wish Willie Randolph was used on every telecast. He’s so professional and gives such great insights.
Umpires - This is getting out of hand. Completely out of hand. Frustratingly out of hand. First off, the umpiring all around the game has, at best, been very inconsistent.
Case and point, how many times have strikes been called on Aaron Judge that weren’t strikes? The fact that this happens so often, and has for years, speaks poorly to the umpires, their supervisors, their accountability, and baseball in general. Baseball works very hard trying to assure that the game’s integrity is sound while at the same time, they allow, time after time, the umpires to a poor job of calling balls and strikes on one of baseball’s bright young stars. It’s inexcusable. For years the Yankees have seemingly accepted this. (Until recently. And, quite rightfully so.)
But, not only are the umpires doing a poor job, they are now seemingly going out of their way to throw out players. A week ago, Brett Gardner was ejected for banging hit bat on the dugout roof or for yelling at the umpire. (But replays showed that he did not say anything to the umpire.)
It happened again today. Cameron Maybin was called out on a strike three that was borderline at best. The home plate umpire then looked to the Yankees dugout seemingly waiting to throw someone out. He tossed Aaron Boone. After Boone returned to the dugout, Brett Gardner banged his bat on the dugout roof and he was tossed. In the mix, C.C. Sabathia said something and was also tossed. Three Yankees thrown out of the game.
This is crazy.
While I am not a fan of it, players have been banging equipment since the dawn of the game. We have seen players bang bats, water coolers, the bench, and more. They don’t get thrown out for this. The fact that they have now thrown Brett Gardner out for this (seemingly twice) is unacceptable. As he noted in the press conference, Aaron Boone stated that there has been no notifications from the league office that banging the bat is not acceptable. The umpires cannot just make up rules for actions that cause immediate ejections. The umpires could have asked him to stop and issued a warning. That didn’t happen.
The other big point that was made and reiterated on the YES broadcast and on the WFAN radio broadcast…and stated by Aaron Boone is the fact that, to the Yankees, it seems that the umpires are looking for reasons to toss Yankees players. They see an action or hear words and immediately toss the manager and/or players. This is unacceptable.
Umpires should not be targeting teams or players. Umpires should not be making hasty and seemingly arbitrary decisions to throw players or managers out of the game. An umpire’s job is to call the game fairly. Period. Part of the job of the umpire is to rise above the “chirping” from the dugout and, as stated, if the comments get to be too much to first issue a warning.
We’re seeing umpires not always doing a great job and then exacerbating the problem by then making it personal and tossing players.
In addition, as noted on WFAN, these umpires have been “vacation relief umpires” from the minor leagues. To me, it seems that they are not ready for prime time.
There is an old adage that the rookie batter or pitcher doesn’t get the close call when battling against a veteran player or pitcher. (I, personally, don’t like that approach. A strike is a strike no matter who is pitching or batting, but the point stands.) In Major League Baseball there seems to be the sense that the rookie must earn respect and must earn the ability to get the close calls to go his way. I would think that the same standard should apply for rookie umps. Rookie umpires should have a longer fuse. Also, if it seems to be too much, the crew chief should jump in and calm the situation before a player (etc.) gets ejected.
The other frustrating aspect of all of this is that the umpires are also not accountable. They do not face the media and there is never a notice from MLB that states that an umpire did a bad job or acted too hastily. Bryan Hoch Tweeted the “Pool Quotes” from the Crew Chief:
It’s just a bad look all around.
Instead of focusing on back-to-back one run wins after being humiliated by the Indians…
Instead of focusing on another multiple homer day from Gleyber Torres…
The focus is on the umpires and the way they are infusing themselves into the story line.
Aaron Boone indicated on the post game conference that he’ll have to talk with the Yankees so they do their part to avoid these situations. I agree with that. I understand firing up the team. I understand passion and getting into the game, but the Yankees also don’t want to be seen as poor sports. But, likewise, MLB has to do the same with the umpires. It goes both ways.
Today - C.C. Sabathia comes off the I.L. to pitch in a 1:o5 p.m. game. Let’s go Yankees!