Yankees Thoughts: Meet the Mess

The Yankees and their two-man offense were no match for the mediocre Mets as Gerrit Cole got rocked in a 9-7 loss.

Here are 10 thoughts on the Yankees.

1. When the Yankees posted their lineup on Tuesday for this season’s Subway Series opener, all I could do was laugh. I challenge any team in the majors to put together a worse 4 through 9 this season:

Gleyber Torres
Alex Verdugo
J.D. Davis
DJ LeMahieu
Jahmai Jones
Jose Trevino

I feared if the first three hitters in the lineup didn’t put the Yankees on the board, the Yankees weren’t going to get on the board even against a starter as mediocre as David Peterson. My fear came to fruition in the top of the first inning.

2. Anthony Volpe singled on the first pitch of the game and Juan Soto and Aaron Judge followed with walks. The Yankees had the bases loaded and no outs. They had a chance to win the game in the very first inning and potentially destroy the Mets’ bullpen for the next night as well.

None of that happened.

    Gleyber Torres struck out. Alex Verdugo struck out. J.D. Davis struck out. Peterson struck out the side, stranded the top third of the lineup and the Yankees never recovered.

    3. They never recovered because Gerrit Cole turned in his worst start as a Yankee. Cole allowed a run in the first (could have been more if not for Verdugo throwing out Pete Alonso at home to end the inning), two runs in the second and three more in the third. Cole lasted just four innings in his second start of the season, gave up six earned runs on seven hits and four walks, allowed four home runs and didn’t strike out a batter.

    “This was a pretty tough night,” Cole said, “and I didn’t really give us a chance to win.”

    No, you didn’t. The Yankees have now lost both of Cole’s starts and he has only recorded 12 outs in each. It’s nice that he, his manager and his teammates keep making excuses for him and referring to this time as his spring training, but it’s not spring training. It’s the end of June.

    4. The Yankees are spiraling at the exact time in the exact way they did two years ago: injuries, underachievers, bounceback candidates that haven’t bounced back and bad managing. The pitching staff’s health and early-season magic has worn off and nearly every hitter not named Soto or Judge might as well not bring a bat to the plate and hope the pitcher can throw four balls before three strikes.

    By the time the Yankees scored their first run in the fifth inning on Tuesday, it didn’t matter as they trailed 6-0. When they scored for a second time in the seventh, it didn’t matter because they trailed 9-1. When they scored five times in the eighth thanks to a Judge grand slam, it didn’t matter because Soto and Judge’s spots in the order weren’t going to come up again in the eighth or ninth.

    5. Soto and Judge finished the game 3-for-6 with a double, two home runs, six RBIs and three walks. The rest of the lineup went 4-for-28 (all singles) with 12 strikeouts and four walks. One of the four hits and the only run the rest of the lineup drove in was from Austin Wells, who didn’t even start the game.

    6. Cole was awful, Phil Bickford was bad (I can’t believe a guy who couldn’t crack the roster over Dennis Santana, Victor Gonzalez or Ron Marinaccio didn’t pitch well) and the Yankees lost … again. (Why did Boone go to Michael Tonkin at 7-1, but not 6-1? Why did Boone go to Tonkin at all? Why did Boone go Bickford then Tonkin then Tim Hill? Does anyone care to ask what he’s doing or how his lineup and in-game decisions are being made?) It was their eighth loss in their last 11 games.

    7. Torres batting cleanup was inexplicable. How could a guy with his slash line with no plan or discipline at the plate be considered an option to bat fourth? He went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts and a walk as his average inches closer to below .200 (.215) and his OPS to below .600 (.627). For the icing on the cake, Torres added an error to his American League-leading total (12) in the sixth and then decided to jog out a ground ball in the eighth. His manager was there to make excuses for a player he has started in all but one game this season by saying Torres is dealing with a “quad/groin” injury. Ah, yes the old quad/groin injury.

    “We need him to be a presence in the middle of our lineup. We’ve got to get that out of him.”

    That doesn’t exist. There’s nothing to get out of him.

    “It’s not easy,” Torres said. “I know I’m a guy that can do a better job right now.”

    No, you’re not. If you were you would already be doing a better job.

    8. Boone decided to sit Ben Rice against the left-handed Peterson and start the newly-acquired Davis. Rice started against Chris Sale on Friday and Max Fried on Sunday (arguably the best two lefties in the world), but Peterson presented too much of a challenge for Boone’s liking.

    Davis struck out with the bases loaded in the first inning. He led off the fourth with a strikeout. He hit into an inning-ending double play with two on in the fourth. Finally, he was removed from the game in the eighth for rice. Rice singled in another hard-fought, six-pitch at-bat.

    9. LeMahieu added another game without an extra-base hit, Verdugo continued his free fall (now four percent worse than league average), and Jones went 0-for-the night. Trevino did have a hit in the game and managed to hold the Mets to only two stolen bases on two attempts.

    10. Luis Gil, coming off the worst start of his young career (and unlikely to have a start as poor for the rest of his career) will try to prevent a Citi Field sweep. The Mets will counter with the mediocre Sean Manaea. Unfortunately, mediocre starting pitching and mediocre offenses are more than enough to the beat the Yankees in their current state.