The Yankees were likely to defeat the Twins in the ALDS anyway, but Minnesota manager Rocco Baldelli’s uber-bad decision regarding Game 2 clinched the deal. The Twins were behind the eight-ball right from the start in Game 2 due to manager Baldelli’s selection of rookie Randy Dobnak as the game’s starter over veteran pitcher Jake Odorizzi.
Though he hadn’t been as consistent as he was in his All-Star first half, Odorizzi would have given the Twins a better chance to win than a pitcher who started the season in ‘A’ ball. Dobnak’s stuff looks like it’s dynamite but he doesn’t have a portfolio against a tough-hitting lineup like the Yankees.
Odorizzi can be inconsistent but he got off to a great start this season, including a 7-4 defeat of the Yankees on May 4. In that game, though he walked four batters, he limited the Yankees to two hits and struck out eight in six shutout innings.
The right-hander wasn’t as fortunate when the two teams met again in July. Pitching in his home ballpark, Odorizzi got toasted for nine runs in four innings in a 10-7 Yankees win. The pitching wasn’t good for either side in the high-scoring four-game series.
However, from that point forward, Odorizzi allowed 18 earned runs over 56 innings pitched (2.89 ERA). He also struck out 70 hitters during that stretch and surrendered only two home runs in his final 10 starts of the year.
Simply stated, Baldelli erred in choosing the unknown rather than the known. Thinking an experienced lineup might be thrown off by someone they had never seen before was too big of a gamble with the stakes being as high as they were.
Yankees Uber-Crazy Blowback
The criticism of the Bronx Pinstripes-led “Uber” chant at Dobnak, the former Uber driver, were over-the-top and ridiculous. No one was deriding Dobnak’s former profession or anyone who drives an Uber now.
Then, at the series conclusion, outfielder Cameron Maybin tweeted that he gave the ALDS a 4.99/5 rating. Some people, especially Twins fans, took this as a slight directed towards Dobnak because his Twitter profile included the fact that he had a 4.99 Uber rating. But, Dobnak took it with good humor and in fact tweeted back that Maybin should “Hit Me Up” if he ever needed a ride.
Dobnak’s comeback was fantastic and done in good fun until someone Photoshopped it to include a picture from Maybin’s DUI arrest back in March. It went viral of course, despite Dobnak having nothing to do with it, and as usual, people bought into it despite the fact Dobnak had nothing to do with the altered version.
Maybin never intended to disrespect Dobnak, tweeted his apologies to the pitcher, and deleted his tweet.
It’s time to put the Yankees Uber nonsense to bed…or at least back in the garage (until the Yankees Uber movie comes out).
Managing to Get a Job
With Philadelphia’s dismissal of Gabe Kapler on Thursday, the total number of managerial openings in MLB rose to eight. The Mets, Chicago Cubs, Pittsburgh Pirates, Los Angeles Angels, Kansas City Royals, San Francisco Giants, and San Diego Padres are the teams looking to hire a new skipper.
And, former Yankees players and managers are clearly in the running for one or more of the open spots.
Buck Showalter, who helped to build the Yankees dynasty prior to Joe Torre taking the helm, has been mentioned as being in the running for several of the openings. To date, he’s been interviewed for the Angels’ job and has thrown his hat in the ring for the Mets’ gig. He’s also been mentioned as a good fit for the Phillies’ job.
Additionally, San Diego’s Manny Machado, who played for Showalter in Baltimore, reportedly recommend his ex-manager for the Padres’ job.
Another popular candidate right now is Joe Girardi. The former Yankees catcher and manager of the 2009 World Series title team has long coveted the Cubs top dugout spot.
Girardi said he was “happy” after his eight-hour interview with Chicago. He’s also scheduled to interview with the Mets shortly and is probably in the running for other spots as well.
Former Yankees outfielders Raul Ibanez and Carlos Beltran are highly regarded and both were thought to be under consideration for managerial jobs. But, Ibanez has pulled his hat out of the ring, saying that the time is not right for him.
Beltran, on the other hand, is getting ready to interview with the Cubs and the Mets, the latter being another one of his former teams.
Ex-Yankees and Mets pitcher, and current YES Network analyst, David Cone has let it be known that he would like to interview for the Mets’ job. If nothing else, the Mets would be smart, from a public relations point of view, to talk to their former player.
Houston Bench Coach and former Yankees third base coach Joe Espada is reportedly on the Cubs’ list of interviewees as well. The job is said to be David Ross‘ if he wants it.
The current favorite for the Angels’ job is their former bench coach, under Mike Scioscia, Joe Maddon. The Angels should hire him if they want an overrated manager.
A’s coach Mark Kotsay is reportedly the front-runner for the Giants’ managerial position.
With the MLB playoffs in full swing, the Arizona Fall League (AFL) doesn’t receive much attention. But, for one Yankees’ prospect, the AFL has meant a lot.
First baseman Brandon Wagner is the lone Yankees representative in the AFL All-star game after his selection to the Western Division All-Star squad.
The Yankees plucked the Princeton, NJ native/Immaculata High School (Somerville, NJ) graduate out of Howard College in Texas in the 6th round of the 2015 MLB Amateur draft.
Though he struggled this past season playing for the Trenton Thunder, Wagner tore up the desert to the tune of a .932 OPS. and 16 RBI in just 10 games.
Playing primarily for Tampa (‘A’) in 2018, Wagner put together a 21 HR, 67 RBI campaign in 124 games.