Monday, June 5, 2017


Photo: Getty Images
The Yankees lost another winnable game Sunday to end a losing road trip, and I couldn't stop smiling.

In true rebuilding year fashion, the kids did more than their share of the winnable part, and that just cracks me up every time.

Specifically, Luis Severino and Aaron Judge made this frustrating loss watchable; two guys whose very existences defy franchise convention and whose every performance help launch the term "Yankee rebuild"  like a shaving cream pie to the face of everyone around the majors.

Photo: Getty Images
If this is what their rebuild looks like,  team executives, players and members of the media  ask each other  shaking their heads, what in heaven's name will their "built" look like?

It's actually pretty funny when you think about it.

Severino went seven innings strong, outlasting Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman and averaging a K per inning with a single walk before handing the ball and a tie game to Tyler Clippard in the 8th, who promptly coughed up the game-winning gopher ball.

Photo: Getty Images
And Judge helped manufacture the Yankees' first run of the day by hitting a single -- one of only five hits allowed by Stroman -- then stealing his team lead-tying fifth base of the year and alertly advancing to third when the catcher's throw sailed high.  A Holliday double easily drove him in.

The team would only score one more run the rest of the way.

And yeah, you read that right, by the way. On the team with the fourth-most stolen bases in the league and seventh-most in the majors, Judge is tied for the team lead. He also was a damn fine pitcher in high school when he wasn't playing an even finer first base, in case you were wondering what he CAN'T do well on a baseball diamond.

The answer is, quite simply, nothing that he's ever been asked to try -- save for that 84 at-bat cup of cold coffee last year.

Photo: Getty Images
Likewise, Luis has absolutely dominated at every level since the Yankees signed him as a teenager until that regressive blip when they began bouncing him between the pen and the rotation -- as if THAT has fixed a starter for us before.

Had either of them been born just a few years earlier, there's a very good chance neither would be here now doing what they're doing.

But these aren't the Yankees of  just a few years earlier, thank goodness. So instead of becoming just two more forgotten faces of unfulfilled Yankee potential on the backs of milk cartons,  they're two of the poster kids for the Nearly Abandoned Wagon now overflowing with fans who were ready to chuck them and this team into the dumpster barely 10 weeks ago.

Photo: Getty Images
I remember that day like it was yesterday -- 67 days ago to be exact-- with all the  criticism and second-guessing when Joe Girardi announced  Judge and Severino had won their respective spring training competitions for starting jobs with the big club.

If you don't remember, you'd better see a doctor about that case of selective amnesia because there was plenty.

For many Yankee fans and so-called experts, Judge's abbreviated, mostly dismal 84 at-bat call up last year (.179/.263/.345 4HR 42K) was enough of a sample size to render a guilty verdict on the charge of impersonating a big league hitter without any further deliberations.

As for Severino, while he had flashed ace-like promise in his 2015 debut season -- 5-3 2.89 ERA in 11 starts -- he regressed badly last year and looked like more like a  joker than an ace, compiling zero wins, eight losses and an 8.50 ERA over 11 starts -- and was a popular pick for a permanent spot in Joe's bullpen binder bingo shenanigans the rest of his career.

And now look at them.

Luis is looking ace-like again at 4-2 with a 2.90 ERA in 11 starts. Aaron is hitting .324/.429/.681 with 18 dingers and doing things with his legs, log and leather that bellow Rookie of the Year and MVP.

Competing together for a division title this season. Competing together  for rings for years to come.

And less than a dozen weeks ago, competing just to be major league starters in a contest many felt deserved a recount.

Still cracks me up.

--Barry Millman
BYB Writer
Twitter: @nyyankeefanfore

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