After the Yankees won the first two games of their series with Toronto rather handily, it was the bullpen’s doing in losing the final two games, throwing away decent starts from CC Sabathia and Sonny Gray. Here are my four games, four thoughts from the weekend series above the border:
1. Let’s lay off Boone shall we? – The same thing that got Joe Girardi fired is what is putting Boone on the social media hot seat: overreacting and micromanaging. Did he make poor decisions regarding Saturday and Sunday’s games? Sure. Bringing in Dellin Betances yesterday and walking Josh Donaldson today were not ideal moves by the rookie manager, but they weren’t job-deciding. Kevin Pillar stole THREE bases on a reliever who throws high-90s and Justin Smoak fouled off three consecutive curveballs before lifting a knee-high fastball over the centerfield fence. They were incredible individual efforts that came after the decisions. If he is still making the same questionable moves in June and July, then maybe come questioning can be validated.
2. Roles reversed – For the first weekend, it was the starters that had the upper hand on the bullpen, with the combination of Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, Sabathia and Gray combining to allow just three earned runs, while the bullpen allowed 11 in the four-game stretch. Betances let in three, but usually reliable Tommy Kahnle (two runs) and David Robertson (four on the Smoak slam) were also not sharp. Not time to panic, but interesting of note when the bullpen is the strength of the team.
3. First base turning into deepest position, not thinnest – After Greg Bird’s injury, the major question was: who’s going to replace him at first base? This weekend proved that there are many worthy replacements with Tyler Austin going deep, Neil Walker reaching base four time out of 12 at bats and Billy McKinney going 1-for-4 before getting hurt. Personally, I enjoy the Walker/Wade combination on the right side of the infield. If he can learn to hit, that combination of speed and fielding is going to be very beneficial.
4. Judge, Stanton slow down – After both had impressive opening days, Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton struggled the rest of the weekend, only recording two hits combined after they tallied five on opening day. They are both hitters who are known to go into slumps, so this should be expected throughout the year at some point, but it is devastating to the offense if they go at the same time as they did in the final three games of the weekend.
Now, I understand it is only the first weekend, so a lot of these could change. These are designed as just observations from the four games this weekend, not big picture looks as a whole. Let me know what you think below or tweet me @lilboon where I’ll be commenting on Yankees baseball all summer long!