LADY AT THE BAT

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Disappointment But Pride After Game 7 ALCS Loss

The disappointment is there. It certainly is. But what a season for the 2017 New York Yankees. I am never going to get tired of saying how proud I am of this team.

To come this far in a rebuilding year? Simply unheard of. And this team is only going to get better. As columnist Joel Sherman indicated recently, this 2017 team is the worst of all the ones in this new era. The organization is stacked, and you know the front office will make any other deals that need to be made to keep the team in the hunt in 2018.

Of course, nothing is guaranteed. Look at other teams who were in the position the Yankees are in now. You never know what could happen to derail things. But, now's not the time to think about all of that. It's about looking at how bright the future is.

The team itself is too bummed out to see that brightness at the moment. That's a good thing, apparently. Several former Yankees have mentioned how it motivated them to succeed in the following years. Take it and run with it, guys.

More to come on the end of the 2017 season later this week, along with a look at the upcoming off-season. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

Dodgers Await If Yankees Finish Off Astros

Imagine we are back on February 20th of this year. If I had told you that day that the Yankees, in exactly eight months, would be one game away from the World Series, what would you have said? What would you have said to the same question on May 20th? How about on July 20th when it appeared the June Swoon might have taken the Yankees out of playoff contention? The Yanks were starting a series in Seattle July 20th and were 48-45 on the season. It didn't look great for making the playoffs at that time. So what can we say now that it is October 20th?

Here we  are!!

Okay, lets get the concerns regarding the Yankees opponent, the Houston Astros, out of the way first. While it's true any win by the Yankees, who lead the ALCS 3-2, would place them in the World Series against the newly crowned NL champion Dodgers, all the Astros need to do is win two games in a row at home. When was the last time that happened?

Exactly.

But make no mistake, the Yankees took apart the Astros in those three games in the Bronx, like it was the Yankees who won 101 games in the regular season and the Astros were the also-ran. The Yankees did it with pitching. Lots of great pitching from the first inning to the 9th. Both the rotation and bullpen dominated throughout the series. So here we are. If the Yankees can figure Justin Verlander out like they figured out Dallas Keuchel (who was gone after 4 2/3 innings with 4 runs allowed) then it may be over in six games. If the series goes seven then it's all hands on deck, especially for the Astros. Expect even Keuchel to make an appearance in Game 7 if there is need for a Game 7. In this day where pitch count is king, Keuchel might be good for say, thirty pitches?

But first things first. Luis Severino gets the call tonight at Minute Maid Park against the Astros' Verlander. Verlander was magnificent in Houston in Game 2, and looks to duplicate that effort again tonight. That was the plan for Keuchel, too, but we know that didn't go as the Astros planned. If the Yankees lose tonight, then it is CC Sabathia for maybe five innings in Game 7, and a great bullpen to follow. The Astros will likely counter with an "all of the above" approach. Advantage Yankees, it would seem.

In any case the World Series, possibly involving the Yankees is nearly here. I certainly didn't expect this to happen. The Cleveland Indians are already home doing their winter stuff, probably wondering what the heck happened, and soon it may be the Astros doing the same thing. As for me, I had fully expected to have my season summary and off season objectives article written and posted by now.

That article will have to wait.   

Notes
Did you see that Gleybar Torres has resumed baseball activities, including hitting? Figure Torres for a healthy start at AAA next spring, with a possible mid season promotion. Already a good team, the Yankees will likely be all the better when Torres arrives.
Several Yankees prospects are currently playing for Scottsdale in the Arizona Fall League. Among them are OF Esteven Floriel, IFs Thario Estrada and Kyle Holder, 1B/OF Billy McKinney and Ps Albert Abreu and Justus Sheffield. All of these Yankees farm hands have made notable contributions through the first nine games in Arizona. 

If the Yankees win the pennant they will meet the Dodgers for a record twelfth time in the World Series. The Yankees have met every National League team that has ever played in a World Series at least once, with two exceptions. One is the Rockies, who have played in one World Series. The other is the Astros who also have played in one World Series and are no longer in the National League. The closest the Yankees will get to playing the Astros deep in the post season is right now in the ALCS.

I mentioned the pitching has been excellent through this ALCS, but the hitters have been coming around as well. We all know Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez are becoming stars but Didi Gregorius deserves much more attention than he is getting. And there is a lot to say about a healthy Greg Bird. First base is suddenly not a problem for the Yankees. All four players have made significant contributions and with the pitching, have the Yankees on the brink of a World Series. Brink of a World Series. Take a moment to let that sink in. 

And finally, I know of no one who predicted this success for the Yankees in 2017. Then there's the  chain of events that led to the whole "thumbs down" movement: It starts unfortunately with a Florida hurricane. The Tampa Bay Rays, needing a place to play their home series with the Yankees agree to come to New York to play in the Mets' Citi Field. A deadline trade acquisition, Todd Frazier aka "The Toddfather" hits a home run against the Rays and this Mets fan shows his disapproval with the thumbs down gesture. Siskel and Ebert would be confused at what happens next. It catches on in the Yankees clubhouse and becomes a symbol of team unity and winning.  

So, all that's left to say about the Yankees chances in Houston is 👎

And we all understand perfectly. Now win this pennant! 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Yankees Take Game 5, Could Clinch Pennant Friday

One win away from the World Series!

Never, in my wildest dreams, did I envision this. While I thought the Yankees would be competitive during the season, this was definitely not what I had in mind. And anyone reading this who says they did is a liar. Plain and simple.

What a pitching performance by Masahiro Tanaka. And how about Tommy Kahnle, who shut the door? Big time. Absolutely big time. Put all of that together with clutch hitting from the Baby Bombers, including Gary Sanchez's cake topping homer, and you have a 5-0 shutout against one of the best offenses in baseball.

Across the field, in the visitors' dugout, things must have been really tense. In fact, I'm convinced they absolutely were. The Astros played tight last night, no doubt about it. Their offense couldn't square anything up against Tanaka, and Dallas Keuchel was very pedestrian.

The Stadium crowd got to Keuchel. He all but said so in his postgame comments. But the Yankees seemed to change their approach against him, as well. It all worked out to 4R on 4H over 4.2IP. 

Speaking of the crowd, I think it has been the best part of the entire Yankee postseason. So many people blamed the New Yankee Stadium for the fact that it wasn't as loud as the Old Stadium. But, it wasn't the Stadium, after all. It wasn't even the fans. It was the team, and this season they set things right.

Is Luis Severino right? Last I heard he'd checked out fine the day after his injury scare in Game 2. Fingers crossed that he gives the team a good outing. Better yet, let's hope he pitches his team right into the World Series.

Travel day today, then back to the chase Friday. 👎