Unfortunately, the seven games left against the Blue Jays are going to decide the division. For as well as the Yankees have played for the last two weeks, they haven’t been able to overtake the Blue Jays in the AL East. And since it seems like no team is really going to give the Yankees enough help to get past the Blue Jays and create separation to avoid the one-game playoff and avoid me having to experience a one-game playoff, well, the Yankees are going to have to do it themselves.
Here is another installment of “Monday Mentions” focused on questions and comments from Twitter about the Yankees in the final month of the season.
@NeilKeefe quick- who is tougher: Ells or Tex?
— Andrew (@Yankees_talk) September 2, 2015
This is the hardest question I have ever been asked and there probably isn’t a right answer to it, but surprisingly, I’m going with Mark Teixeira.
For the most part, Teixeira has suffered some injuries over the last few years that have been real. He really had wrist surgery in 2013, he really hurt his hamstring at the beginning of 2014 the way he tore it in the 2010 ALCS and he really fouled a ball off his leg a few weeks ago that his left him with a bone bruise. If these had been the only injuries that had kept Teixeira off the field, I wouldn’t even have a problem with anything other than him not trying at all to hit the ball to all fields since 2011. But when you include the time he missed for rib cage, knee, lat, tired legs from being on the bases(!), light-headedness, pinky and neck injuries, which were all since the beginning of 2014, well, it’s ridiculous. Even after compiling this list, I’m somehow calling him tougher than Jacoby Ellsbury.
Ellsbury has yet (knock on wood) a significant injury with the Yankees. Last year, he played in 149 games, missing 13 for a few Girardis (these are unnecessary days for healthy players) and some minor things, but playing 92 percent of the season when you’re known as an injury-prone player is impressive. This year, however, Ellsbury has been the softest player in the league. He missed nearly two months with a mysterious leg injury and when trying to come back he kept getting fatigued from running, which postponed his return. He has missed games for getting the wind knocked out of him(!), running into the wall on a catch in which he claims he wasn’t hurt and most recently for a sore hip after an innocent sliding catch.
My choosing Ellsbury is also about him hitting .271/.335/.371 with seven home runs, 30 RBIs and 17 stolen bases this season and playing in just 64 percent of the team’s games this season. Ellsbury already isn’t good and this is his age 31 season. The next five years should be awesome.
— Jay Wertheimer (@08Red350z) September 5, 2015
How could I have forgotten this one?! Ellsbury left Friday’s game because he was sick and then Girardi gave him Saturday off only to use him from the seventh inning on. Five more years!
@NeilKeefe CC is added to new 6-man rotation Wednesday. Cuz ya know, why start Severino every 5 games in a pennant race when you have CC?
— Alex (@GrushNYC) September 4, 2015
My favorite part about CC Sabathia being on the disabled list is the way YES has covered his rehab like it’s 2009. The videos they have shown of his bullpen and simulated game work as if anyone is anxiously waiting for his return to the rotation has been remarkable.
Sabathia has made 24 starts this season. He has won four of them. Four. FOUR. F-O-U-R. He is 4-9 with a 5.27 ERA, which is .01 points worse than his career-worst 5.28 ERA in eight starts last season. He hasn’t just been bad, he has been horrible and if his name were anything other than CC Sabathia or if his contract didn’t still have $25 million on it for 2016 with a $25 million vesting option for 2017, well, Sabathia would not only not be in the rotation, he wouldn’t be on the team.
The problem with Sabathia is that you can’t just take him out of the rotation and then hide him in the bullpen because he has never been a reliever and has one relief appearance in his career, which came in Game 5 of the 2011 ALDS. He pitched two innings out of the bullpen in that game, and gave up the run that would turn out to be the game-winning run.
When Sabathia comes back on Wednesday, it’s not going to help the team. It’s hard to imagine that a couple of weeks on the disabled list made him turn some corner and that he will return finally realizing how to pitch with diminished velocity. I guess the only good thing to come out of this is that he will miss facing the Blue Jays in the four-game series at the Stadium that starts on Thursday.
Every time Stephen Drew is about to get benched or possibly even designated for assignment, his bat comes alive. Every single time. And with September call-ups waiting, surely enough, his bat came alive on Aug. 30.
In four straight days, Drew went 9-for-12, with two doubles, two home runs and nine RBIs. He raised his average from .192 to .211. This led everyone to say he finally turned it around, that Rob Refsnyder and Jose Pirela weren’t needed and that Drew was getting hot at the right time. No one said he was beating up on pitching of two last-place teams in the Braves and Red Sox. Instead of thinking that might be the reason for Drew’s four-day success, I saw countless headlines and stories suggesting the Yankees should already bring him back for 2016. So yes, Mugatu, I feel like I’m taking crazy pills.
Since the series finale at Fenway, Drew has returned to being himself, going hitless on the current homestand with his average dropping back down to .203 and headed home to south of the Mendoza Line again.
I understand that Refsnyder and Pirela are unknowns and defensive liabilities, but at worst they would be Drew with the bat and considering he’s as low as it gets offensively, they could be better. Just because the Yankees have managed to stay within a game of the loss column against the Blue Jays for five months with essentially a pitcher hitting in their lineup every night isn’t a good thing. I’m willing to trade some defense for offense in a lineup that seems to score only one run every three games and could use anything that remotely resembles consistency at second base.
— Gregg Sussman (@GreggSussman) September 5, 2015
We are six days away from Giants season, so I have started to think about football, and how I was forced to turn to it the last two seasons in early September because even though the Yankees were in the playoff race mathematically, they weren’t really in it. This season, the Yankees are going to the playoffs, so I won’t have to count down the minutes until the next Giants game while the Yankees play somewhat meaningless baseball.
The scary thing about the 2015 Giants is that once again no one expects them to be good. In 2013, even after they went 9-7 in 2012 and blew the chance to win the NFC East, the expectations turned out to be right with a 7-9 season. In 2014, it was the same way with a 6-10 season. If the Giants are going to continue to rack up the injuries and be a bad, non-playoff team for the third straight year then the Yankees have to make it to the ALDS. If they’re going to the one-game playoff, they better win it because I don’t want the Giants and Rangers to be the only things to watch in October.