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TWiYB: This week in Yankees baseball – Week 13

If you listened to Thursday’s episode of The Bronx Pinstripes Show (and if you don’t listen, why not?), then you know we dubbed the new motto of this Yankees team: #NutUp.

Why do they need to nut up? Because everything that could go wrong has gone wrong for the Yankees this month. The bullpen, which has blown 14 saves this season, has the fourth-worst ERA in baseball and has walked the most batters since June 13. CC Sabathia, Adam Warren, Aaron Hicks, Starlin Castro, and Matt Holliday — players who have produced a combined 7.7 WAR — have all gone to the disabled list. I didn’t even mention Gleyber Torres, who had season-ending Tommy John surgery, thus solidifying Chase Headley as the Yankees third baseman for the remainder of the season (double whammy).

You can’t use injuries as an excuse because every team goes through them, blah blah blah. It’s about how you manage injuries over the long haul that distinguishes the good teams from bad. The Yankees are in a position to deal with injuries better than most teams because their farm system is deep. Everybody’s favorite analyst, ARod, has said what separates the Yankees from other teams is that they are 30-35 players deep, not just the 25 on the big league roster. That point has been proven true by Tyler Wade and Miguel Andujar filling in and contributing.

It’s a minor miracle the Yankees are still atop their division. They have lost 11 of 15 games, but thankfully the Red Sox and Rays have hovered around .500 so the Yankees have not yet totally flushed their chances down the toilet. The bottom line is, if things don’t turn around quickly, the Yankees can kiss all their early-seasons success goodbye.

Here’s last week in Yankees baseball.

Poor Dustin Fowler

You know, I was wasn’t going to watch the game last night after hearing the start time would be 11:00pm ET, but then somebody tweeted me this and it actually convinced me.

Little did we know that Fowler would never get his first at bat.

It was a long, excruciating night for the Yankees. I can’t remember a team going through so many injuries in such a short period of time. I want to say Next man up, but am afraid for that next man’s safety.

The bullpen is a mess

The one thing I was absolutely sure of entering the season, other than Greg Bird’s MVP candidacy, was that the Yankees bullpen would be a strength. Aroldis Chapman, although probably overpaid, was returning. Dellin betances, although the Yankees botched the PR surrounding his arbitration hearing, was a sure thing in the 8th. Tyler Clippard and Adam Warren provided the Yankees reliable options in the 6th and 7th innings. The rest of the bullpen would be filled with young, hard throwers, and if you’re nit-picking over who will pitch the 5th inning then you probably have bigger fish to fry.

June 13, 2017, will live in infamy as the day that started the Yankees skid. The Yankees pen, which actually held up nicely in that game, was forced to throw 7 innings thanks to Sabathia’s injury. Clippard and Shreve each allowed runs which were enough for the Angels to walkoff. It’s been a disaster ever since.

The next three nights, three games in which the Yankees lost late, featured Giovanny Gallegos, Ronald Herrera, and Jonathan Holder on the mound in big spots. They failed each time. The Yankees home stand wasn’t much better, but everything culminated on Tuesday night in Chicago.

After Clippard escaped the 8th inning I thought the Yankees avoided disaster, but it was just the beginning. The Yankees pen walked 6 batters and hit another in the 1.2 innings it pitched, making it a minor miracle the White Sox didn’t score more runs. Domingo German was totally overwhelmed in the 8th, and Girardi should be criticized for putting a rookie in that position. I’m sure the decision to pull Luis Severino was because of his 105 pitch count, but the game situation warranted that Luis stay in the game. He was mowing-down the Sox hitters and it was the best Severino had looked all month. With Chapman unavailable and Betances relegated to the 9th, Severino was the Yankees best option in the 8th, not German or Clippard.

That brings us to the 9th inning disaster, which falls completely on the shoulders of Betances. I’m sure Randy Levine enjoyed the meltdown but the rest of the Yankees universe died a slow death. Betances walked two batters of his own before surrendering the game-winning hit to Jose Abreu. At a certain point the pitchers Joe puts out there need to step up. After all, the ball was in Dellin’s hands with a one run lead. He simply didn’t get the job done.

The two yutes

Actually, it’s many youtes, but the two that stood out this week were Tyler Wade and Miguel Andujar.

Wade was called up on Tuesday in response to Castro’s hamstring injury. He didn’t start, but immediately impacted the game when he pinch-hit for Refsnyder in the 8th. Wade worked the count full, walked on the seventh pitch he saw, and then came around to score on Judge’s single up the middle. It was an extremely impressive debut at-bat from Tyler, who notched his first big league hit and RBI the following night.

As impressive as Wade was, Miguel Andujar was historic.

Andujar’s bat looks major league ready. That’s not just an overreaction to one impressive game either; scouts around the league say the one thing holding Miguel back right now is his glove, not his bat. His second hit, a frozen rope to left, came off the bat at 112.1mph. He looked poised and confident at the plate, like a 10-year vet not a kid called up because Holliday has the squirts.

How did Andujar follow up his memorable night? Well, you’ll have to check the RailRiders box score for that information because the Yankees optioned him back to the minors for Chris Carter. Yes, you read that correctly. Chris. Friggin’. Carter.

Guess who’s back

Carter was gone for five days. FIVE DAYS!

I want to be mad at this, but it’s too comical. The only reason Carter’s back is because Tyler Austin and Greg Bird are made of glass. Some players are durable and others are not; it would appear Austin and Bird fall into that later category. It doesn’t matter which body part — shoulder, leg, knee, hamstring, ankle, or foot — these guys just seem to break.

What more is there to say? Carter is only on this team because the Yankees are desperate. They won’t keep playing Austin Romine at first consistently, and with Tyler Austin now on the DL, Carter is literally the 7-Eleven hot dogs you drunkenly eat because you’re desperate at three o’clock in the morning.

Carter was gone and out of our lives. The Yankees finally DFA’d him after he failed yet again to simply put bat on ball. It’s clear now what I said from the beginning: Carter does not fit into the 2017 Yankees. He’s belongs in 1997 when the strike zone was tiny and 40 home runs was coveted, not 2017 when athleticism and versatility is as important as hitting the ball over the fence.

It’s not Carter’s fault, though. He is what he is. He is filling the Yankees first base void, albeit poorly. We paid our respects to Carter on Monday’s podcast, but now with him back it just seems sad.

 

Follow me on Twitter: @Andrew_Rotondi

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