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TWiYB: This week in Yankees baseball – week 14

Make it stop! Please make it stop! When will the losing end?! –every Yankees fan.

If there’s one stat to express how badly the Yankees have played for nearly a month, it’s this: The Yankees have not won back-to-back games since June 11-12. Today is July 7! It’s been a brutal 22 game stretch full of injuries, errors, and bullpen meltdowns. The only good thing to talk about is this guy right here:

Here is last week in Yankees baseball if you feel like reading more about how the Yankees have stunk since June 13. Speaking of the 13th…

Alternate timeline theory: June 13

Stick with me on this one: Every bad thing that the Yankees have endured can be traced back to June 13. This play, specifically.

The Yankees and Angels were scoreless in the bottom of the 4th inning with CC Sabathia cruising. He easily retired the first two Angels of the inning and then got Andrelton Simmons to tap weakly to short. As you can see, it did not end the inning.

WARNING: What follows may cause nausea and disgust. Proceed at your own risk.

C.J. Cron singled home Simmons and the Angels took a 1-0 lead. CC finished the inning but would not return because of a tweaked hamstring, which kept him out until July 4. The Angels went on to win the game on a walkoff single by Eric Young Jr. and the Yankees lost the remaining 6 games on their west coast trip by a total of 8 runs. In addition to Sabathia, they also placed Adam Warren on the disabled list.

Things did not get better once they returned home. That following Monday, June 19, was an off day but the Yankees received bad news that Gleyber Torres required season-ending Tommy John surgery. The Yankees won only 2 of their 6 home games before hitting the road to Chicago, where things truly got nutty. Starlin Castro pulled a hamstring of his own and has been out ever since, and Dustin Fowler ruptured his patellar tendon before he could ever bat in a major league game. The Yankees split with the pathetic White Sox, who are looking for excuses to lose ballgames so they can continue to sell players off their big league roster.

During the span of 22 games in which the Yankees only won 6, the bullpen completely fell apart. Dellin Betances allowed 9 earned runs in 5.2 innings while walking an inexcusable 12 batters. Aroldis Chapman returned from the DL but has not had consistent work, and his outings have reflected so. We all know how Tyler Clippard pitched so there’s no need to reopen that wound. The only arm Girardi has been able to rely on is Chad Green, but even he allowed a big home run to Toronto on Wednesday.

I’d like to think there’s an situation where Carter catches the routine throw from Didi, Sabathia does not tweak a hammy, the Yankees do not allow Eric Young Jr. to go all Mike Trout all over their asses, and the Yankees don’t suffer a barrage of injuries that make the battle scenes in Gladiator look tame. Maybe in that timeline the Yankees are still enjoying a comfortable lead in the AL East. Instead, they have pissed-away 9 games in the standings to the Red Sox, whose offense has picked it up after a slow start to the season. Tampa is also hanging around and in danger of pushing the Yankees out of second place before the All Star break. Oh, how it must be nice in that alternate reality.

Aaron Judge made history and it’s only July

Seriously, if it weren’t for Aaron Judge this team would be completely unwatchable right now. Every day Judge goes out there and does something amazing, which is why he’s the runaway favorite for Most Valuable Player, Rookie of the Year, Silver Slugger, and any other award you can think to give him.

Judge’s baseball-reference page currently has a lot of bold print on it. He’s leading the league in runs, home runs, RBIs, walks, OBP, SLG, OPS, OPS+, and total bases. His .331 batting average is also the 6th-best in baseball, and he has a healthy lead in WAR (5.2) over Jose Altuve. Judge is on pace for the first 10-win season by a Yankees player since Mickey Mantle did it in 1961 (Rickey Henderson came oh so very close with 9.9 in 1985, and ARod notched 9.4 in 2005 and ’07). Ten wins above replacement is no joke. It’s only been done 56 times in baseball history, and only seven times (by four different players — Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Alex Rodriguez, and Mike Trout) in the last twenty years. I know Judge is only halfway there, and even if he doesn’t reach the 10 WAR plateau his season can still be historic.

Considering Judge already tied Joe DiMaggio for the most home runs by a Yankee rookie, it’s safe to say he will hold that record. It’s just a matter of by how much.

El Rojo

Debuts with a bang are becoming a regular occurrence for the Yankees. Over the weekend Clint Frazier was called up and began his career with a double and a home run in Houston.

As Gleyber calls him, El Rojo was called-up because the Yankees outfield was decimated with injuries; first Aaron Hicks went down with an oblique and then Fowler’s knee exploded. Frazier made history becoming the first Yankee to debut with a double and a home run. He has been overmatched in the three games since then, however.

We spoke with Donnie Collins, who covers Frazier and the RailRiders for the Scranton Times-Tribune, two weeks ago. Collins said Frazier still needed time to develop in the minors and that he needs to close some holes in his swing — particularly on breaking balls — before the Yankees would call him up. Although Frazier was called up soon thereafter, it was only out of necessity.

Jiiiiiiiii-Man

When Ji-Man Choi went out for the bottom of the first inning on Wednesday afternoon he became the tenth (10th!) Yankees first baseman this season. In fairness, one of them was Bryan Mitchell, but still, ten is a ridiculous number of first baseman to burn through in just half a season. Everybody’s favorite Yankee, Chris Carter, was DFA’d yet again this week, opening to door for Choi to finally give the Yankees some production at first base.

Had Tyler Austin not gone down with an injury just three days after replacing Carter in the lineup, then Chris would have never been recalled from Scranton. The Yankees were in a bind and Carter was the only available option. In his triumphant return, Carter went 3-for-17 and made another embarrassing error on a routine throw from Didi. All the Ji-Man has to do in order to be an immense upgrade over Carter is not screw up in the field and give a competitive at-bat or two each night. We really aren’t asking for much.

 

Follow me on Twitter: @Andrew_Rotondi

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