As Yankee fans, there are certain matters that need to be discussed, and my disposition has come close enough back to functional to be able to do so now.
In no particular order…
Despite feeling more – pick your adjective: stunned, angry, hopeless – than at any time since Game 6 of the 2019 ALCS, I’m still somewhat optimistic about tonight’s game. Although Cal Quantrill is an excellent pitcher, Gerrit Cole is better, and the Yankees’ lineup is still better than Cleveland’s.
Keywords: “tonight’s game”. I’ll come back to that in a minute…
I’m not sure there’s even a point in discussing Isiah Kiner-Falefa anymore. The Yankees organization has hitched themselves to him as their shortstop, and that’s the baseball equivalent of waking up handcuffed to a dead hooker and yet still insisting everything will work out.
IKF misplayed two more balls last night: One that allowed a run to score and another that put a runner on base who eventually came around to score. Neither play was unusual, as we’ve seen IKF do the same things all season long: Get caught between hops on a batted ball as he did on the first mishap, then double-tapping the ball and hesitating before throwing a changeup over to first base, as he did on the second mishap.
Had the second misplay been converted into an out as it should have, the sixth inning would have ended without harm. Luis Severino, who righted the ship after a slow start, had retired 11 batters in a row at that point and would have gone into the seventh cruising with a 5-2 lead. Instead, Cleveland registered back-to-back hits after the shortstop’s miscue, to cut the lead to 5-3 and get into the Yanks’ bullpen.
As a historical reminder, depending upon your definition of such, it’s been seven years since the Yankees have had a shortstop who could actually, you know, field the position. Ongoing, tonight’s lineup needs to have either Marwin Gonzalez at shortstop or Oswaldo Cabrera at short with Aaron Hicks in left field. Putting a player at short who clearly can’t field the position, as IKF clearly cannot, is simply asking to lose.
Furthermore folks, for the umpteenth time, DO NOT use fielding errors as a barometer of fielding ability. Neither of the balls that were hit to IKF that should have been converted to outs were, and neither was scored an error. (This also makes one wonder if IKF knows someone in the league office because that seems to happen a lot.)
Another historical reminder: In addition to handcuffing himself to IKF, Brian Cashman gave Aroldis Chapman and Zack Britton a combined $125 million dollars. Predictably (well, to everyone besides Cashman and Hal Steinbrenner) those contracts turned out to be colossally stupid deals whose end result was Clarke Schmidt on the mound last night trying to nail down an ALDS win after inheriting two baserunners. That’s no disrespect to Schmidt, he’s probably going to be a good MLB pitcher but he’s not built for that situation at this point in his career.
To summarize: The baseball team with more resources than any other in the sport was in a playoff game last night with IKF at short and Clarke Schmidt as the closer. Well done, Mr. Cashman, well done.
Back to my optimism for today…
As I said, the Yankees have the edge in pitching tonight (FYI: Cole has a lower career postseason ERA than career regular season ERA – neither World Series-winning aces Justin Verlander nor Max Scherzer can say that) and I expect the Yanks to force a Game 5.
From then on, I’m not optimistic. Even should they win the coin flip Game 5, they’d be off to Houston to face what will be a rested and loaded Astros team. I’m preparing myself for frustration and disappointment – I just don’t know when it’s coming.
Did I miss something? Let me know. Leave a comment below or yell at me @mybaseballpage1 on Twitter or the “My Baseball Page” on Facebook.
Buy me a coffee?
If you like the blog and would like to see more of it, feel free to buy me a coffee. Starbucks, tall, dark, no room. It may not seem like much but every little bit goes a long way toward keeping the blog rolling – thanks in advance!