Thursday, April 11, 2024

AARON BOONE EJECTED & GETS A PIECE OF BACON!



Or maybe a SLAB of bacon or just the whole pig! I thought Aaron Boone's game ejections last year were intense, but something tells me this year will be more of the same. The Yankees are only 13 games into this young season, and Baboonie already has his first ejection of the season!

That certainly didn't take long, did it? Last season Baboonie had an AL-leading SEVEN ejections, so who wants to guess what this year will be? Higher? He's off to a good start. I think six more of those will be easy peasy for him. He's got 33 ejections to brag about in his time as manager, so he's got a good chance to make another record this year.


I rarely defend Baboonie, because I'm just not a fan but after watching this game I can understand why he got fired up. It was a tough game to watch because home plate umpire John Bacon was just off all night. Alex Verdugo was called for a strike on a pitch that looked low and outside in the seventh inning. Baboonie's antics from the dugout was enough to piss Bacon off and toss him but before Baboonie left the field he had to give Bacon a piece of his mind and then Verdugo struck out. 

I think clown Commissioner Rob Manfred has a real problem on his hands. The umpire situation isn't getting better but worse. The idea of animation to control and decide the strike zone is uncomfortable for some even though it has been tested in the minor leagues and MLBPA isn't going to just let him have his way. This bad call by Bacon just continues the narrative we've been hearing for a long time....so many of these umpires are just terrible!

So, I like that Baboonie showed some passion and got his money's worth and got a piece of Bacon. I just wish that would also fire our boys up more and MLB would create some accountability for these ineffective umpires. 

Baboonie may have been tossed, but he also got a piece of Bacon....and he deserved it. #BEBETTERBACON

It's early in the season....but I'd say Baboonie is in 2023 prime ejection form.



--Jeana Bellezza-Ochoa
BYB Senior Managing Editor
Twitter: @nyprincessj





Wednesday, April 10, 2024

JUAN SOTO'S LOVE AFFAIR WITH YANKEE FANS

 

Source: AP

Juan Soto is certainly winning over fans' hearts. And the young right fielder appears to love them right back. Soto's first homestand has become more than a roll call homage to the superstar—it is more like a romance. It's fun to watch; but how long will it last?

"They’ve been showing love every day and it’s been amazing, day in and day out, and in the entire game," Soto said about Yankees fans, per NJ.com's Randy Miller. "It’s been pretty cool." Soto is set to enter free agency come the end of the 2024 season. So, in many ways, Soto is just an AirBnb — a rental that the fans may have to give back at the end of the summer.


"In his first year in New York, Soto is slashing .366/.471/.561 with 10 RBIs. The three-time All-Star hit his first Yankees homer in a 5—3 win against the Houston Astros on March 30. Soto is playing in the final year of his deal this season and could potentially command a contract starting in the $500 million range in free agency," according to The Athletic.

The Yankees need Soto to have a monster year. So far, they are getting their wishes and then some. The fans are coming out in droves to watch the new right fielder perform. He gave them a show on Monday with his first home run at the Stadium. Besides his ability to hit the long ball, Soto gets on base. He walks, he hits for average, and he has speed. And despite the scouting reports, he can play a heck of a right field. Which he is certainly banking on to improve his AAV (average annual value) when hitting free agency.

Source: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

"How many teams will be interested in that kind of a mega-deal? On one hand, clubs have grown increasingly wary of mammoth contracts that can weigh down a payroll for decades. But Soto projects to age well because of his eye, his steady on-base percentage and the ripple effect his at-bats have. Teammates marvel about the way Soto works, how he never seems to take a pitch off," reported The Athletic.

For now, we are two weeks into the season. There's a lot of time between now and what would hope to be a long postseason for the Yankees. Besides the love affair is just heating up. And Soto seems all in on the relationship. Will that and a World Series ring keep Soto in the Bronx for the long haul? Now, now, let's not get ahead of ourselves...but we can wish. 



--Suzie Pinstripe
BYB Senior Managing Editor
Twitter: @suzieprof







Monday, April 8, 2024

GERRIT COLE TAKES BIG STEP WITH INJURY REHAB



It's the first step to getting back on the mound again. Gerrit Cole will start playing catch this week, it's good news. We can always use all the good news we can get and even though there is still a long way to go, it's the right direction to getting our ace back.

So far, it looks like Cole is on schedule. His initial diagnosis called for a three-to-four-week shutdown. Yesterday marked three weeks and one day since he stood in front of his locker and told all nervous Yankee fans what was going to happen next. I know it's only been three weeks, but for me it has felt a lot longer.

Cole has given himself a goal to return on June 1st, which is only four days after his 60-day IL status expires. The Yankees don't want to push him to come back before he is ready and I also don't want to do that but the sooner we can get him back, the better.... but only if he is 100% ready to go. I just hope he will listen to his body and know how to gage that when the time comes.

It's not normal to see Cole spend time on the Injured List, and we all know his level of dedication. The Yankees are going to need him once we hit the dog days of summer, but we can't afford any risky short cuts here. The Yankees have performed better than I have expected so far. I think that can be said for a lot of us, not just me. I love the 8-2 record so far but one thing that has stuck out to me though, is the lack of durability with the starters.


I keep telling myself it is early in the season. Starters are still finding their rhythm and getting stretched out. This is normal, but the Yankees have succeeded so far due to clutch hitting and good pitching, but we all know slumps happen over a long season. So far the Yankees have only managed to get five innings out of their starters in six of their first ten games and Marcus Stroman was the only pitcher to pitch six innings in both of his starts for the season. That is something to watch.


If the Yankees are unable to get length out of their starters and consistent offense that could really put more pressure on the bullpen. We've seen it happen before, and I don't have a lot of trust with Aaron Boone's management of the bullpen. Actually, I don't really trust him with anything related to the game, not just the bullpen. One of Cole's strengths is he can go deep into ball games, which will save the bullpen. Yesterday's game was too close for comfort, that was a game we should've been able to give Clay Holmes a night off and it didn't work that way. We have too many of those, our bullpen is going to be gassed.

This is a baby step in Cole's rehab.... but a good one. If this team can continue their winning ways while Cole recovers, they will be in a great position when Cole returns as long as Baboonie doesn't screw up the team first.


--Jeana Bellezza-Ochoa
BYB Senior Managing Editor
Twitter: @nyprincessj




Sunday, April 7, 2024

HANGING ON FOR DEAR LIFE

 

Source: Noah K. Murray / NY Post

Don't go to sleep thinking that the Yankees have this, but really, they sort of don't. After an amazing offensive effort that gave the Yankees an 8-2 lead into the mid innings, it became a nail biter into the 9th. The bullpen who earlier was showing signs of promise, almost blew it, leaving the Yankees hanging on for dear life.

Aaron Boone in is spin-doctor like fashion shrugged it all off with his statement after the game, "It doesn’t always go according to plan,’’ Boone said. “But shaking hands [after a win] sure solves a lot,” reported the Post. Leaving in pitchers too long or not long enough almost bit Boone in the ass. And with Jonathan Loáisiga out for the season with UCL surgery awaiting, the Yankees have to figure this out. You can't blow a 7-run lead. You can't if you want to win a championship.

"Loaisiga was slated to replace Michael King, who was traded over the offseason, as the Yankees' primary multi-inning bullpen option. He appeared in three of the Yankees' first seven games, logging four scoreless innings," reported ESPN

Meanwhile in his and King's absence, the Yankees needed every one of those runs to hang in there. And it was a rare cold night where all the bats were working. Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton hit diggers and Anthony Rizzo lit of the stadium outfield as well. But it was almost not enough and that's just not good enough. So, what's the plan for this bullpen? How can the Yankees recover and not put themselves into this position?

"In Loaisiga's absence, Boone figures to use Ian Hamilton most heavily to set up for closer Clay Holmes. Boone said that he believes Dennis Santana, who made his Yankees debut in Thursday's 3-0 loss to the Blue Jays, will also play a significant role in the Bombers' bullpen," reports MLB.com.

It is important to note that "Victor Gonzalez, Ian Hamilton and Clay Holmes pitched the final 2.2 innings and after a scare in the ninth where they allowed three runs, New York was able to hang on for the 9-8 win," reported SNY.com. 

Source: The Athletic

The Yankees have an opportunity to win this year. Their start is the best in years. But if they can't hold a good lead, they will falter. So Matt Blake, get your guys together and huddle up. We can't have what happened last night happening consistently. Call it a blimp in the upward line graph if you will and I will for now. But get it together. Can't win if your pitching does not hold up. 




--Suzie Pinstripe
BYB Senior Managing Editor
Twitter: @suzieprof





Thursday, April 4, 2024

JUAN SOTO'S COMMENTS ABOUT HIS UPCOMING FREE AGENCY ARE CONCERNING!


So far, I really like what I see from Juan Soto. I'm not just talking about the good spring he had, or the first games of the season. I like the chemistry I am seeing on the field, in the dugout and what we hear about in the clubhouse. It's too soon to be sure, but Soto could be a good fit for the Yankees....maybe.

I've been nervous about this trade since it happened. It's always risky to give up several prospects for a one-year rental. If the Yankees can re-sign him, the trade isn't as costly. If the Yankees can't and we don't win a championship, it's a tough look back in retrospect. So what are the odds of him coming back?


I don't know at this point. He's got slimy Scott Boras as his agent who has a history of hosing teams and getting some fat contracts for his clients. That didn't happen this winter, Boras underachieved if you compare this winter with his long history. Maybe teams are getting smarter about how many years and how much money they are spending....teams not named the Dodgers.

So IF teams are spending less money, and he wants to stay with the Yankees why test free agency? NJ.com had an interesting story HERE (subscription required) and he referenced Aaron Judge for his reasoning. I thought his answer was rather interesting though.

"You cannot be selfish. You have to think about the guys who come in behind you," Soto said in a story that came from The Athletic. "That’s what Judge did (in opting to test free agency). He made a great deal. Corey Seager, Shohei Ohtani, all these guys are setting the market for the guys after them. And if I were to take anything down there (with what the Nationals offered) it would make it different, tougher for guys coming up."


So, does that mean Soto thinks he has to "take anything" more than what the Nationals offered him and what Judge got because Soto came after Judge? I was talking about that a lot at work today. My coworker doesn't view this the same way I do. My coworker thinks it's just part of the business.

On the other hand, I didn't like the "you cannot be selfish" but then you talk about you have to take MORE money because it affects the guys that come after him. The Nationals made him a HUGE offer that he walked away from. That made him look selfish before, and now his comment just rubs me the wrong way. Rumors are that his free agency contract STARTS at $500 million, read that HERE. We've played 7 games this year, so that's pretty rich. Did he suddenly learn how to pitch, too? Because Ohtani's contract (although I think stupid) is driven by the fact that he's a 2-way player and the Dodgers have a money tree apparently.

So, how is he not being selfish? I am really looking for a logical explanation. There are ways of raising the bar for yourself and those who come after you that don't have to be tied to money. Derek Jeter did it just by being the face of baseball during his player days because he was classy and just loved the game and was a good teammate. He didn't care about individual recognition or milestones. He was all about the team and winning a championship. THAT is how you raise the bar. 


So as much as I like what I have seen from Soto so far, I can't help but think he's full of crap. It sounds like entitlement to me. So sorry, I am not buying the crap he's trying to sell. 

I see Juan Soto a little differently now. I'm not the same believer that I was. Maybe I am wrong, and I will own that if I am, but this doesn't sit right with me. If this season doesn't go the way he envisions it and he gets LESS than what the Nationals offered him, he earned that.



--Jeana Bellezza-Ochoa
BYB Senior Managing Editor
Twitter: @nyprincessj






Wednesday, April 3, 2024

ANTHONY VOLPE'S TAKING ON THE LION SHARE OF THE YANKEE OFFENSE

 

Source: Charles Wenzelberg

I am loving watching these Yankee "dawgs" this season. They are truly dawgs...running with conviction, hitting from both sides of the plate, going deep in the counts and just pure hitting. There is hustle, there is pep in their step, and they are showing everyone who's boss. I want to highlight one of the keys of the Yankees' successful opening week—Anthony Volpe. Even though he's the Fox, Volpe is certainly taking on the Lion share of the Yankee offense. And he is just so much fun to watch.

“I just feel like I’m setting myself up to cover a lot of different pitches, different speeds, different locations,” Volpe said after going 4-for-4 with two doubles, two runs and an RBI in Monday's win against the Diamondbacks. “I can kind of match up. I have confidence that where I’m landing and where I’m getting to is going to help me back up my approach,” reported The New York Post

Confidence. Having it is so critical. And with confidence comes other skills. For instance, not only is Volpe leading with his bat, he has speed on the bases and he can hustle. In Monday's win, Volpe motored from first base with some heads up baserunning to score the Yankees third run of the night. He is just having fun out there knowing that his off-season work is paying off on the field.

“I think it’s definitely the swing adjustments he’s made,” Boone said. “Certainly, the experience and his aptitude, baseball IQ. But swing-and-miss was an issue for him last year. As I’ve talked about since early in the spring, you can clearly see he’s worked hard to plug some holes that the league exposed a little bit at times last year,” reported The Post.

Following an amazing pitching performance by Luis Gil, whose fastball touched 100 mph, the Bombers are having their best start in 32 years. And they are doing it as a team—up and down the lineup and across the field from pitching to incredible field work. They are fun to watch and for Volpe, it is not only exciting but affirming. Hard work pays off, Anthony. Keep grinding. 



--Suzie Pinstripe
BYB Senior Managing Editor
Twitter: @suzieprof








Monday, April 1, 2024

YANKEES SWEEP OUT THE TRASH!



What a great ending to a Easter holiday weekend! A three-game sweep is hard enough, but we just watched the Yankees sweep a four-game series against the team I hate the most. Now I want to see this team stay hungry and carry that into Arizona.

It's a small sample size, but the Yankees are doing better than I thought they would. Last year the Yankees would be lucky to split a four-game series....and I do mean lucky. Maybe this team is hungrier than I thought. Maybe the ASSTROS are struggling with their new identity. Let's face it, Dusty Baker was an energizer to that team... and now he's gone.


Meantime, the Yankees have a new spark. We all knew Juan Soto was going to add steady offense that this team was lacking, but he exceeded almost everyone's expectations with his 9-for-17 in the series, a double, home run, four RBIs and three walks and add in two game winning hits. Aaron Judge was a cool 2-for-16 in the series, but he started similarly in 2022 and he still finished with an American League record of 62 home runs. I am imagining what it looks like if Soto and Judge go on an offensive run at the same time.

It's no secret, I HATE the ASSTROS and their owner Jim Crane. I think they are the dirtiest team in baseball and their returning cheaters Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and Justin Verlander are disgraceful lowlifes. We've owed the ASSTROS a punch in the face for a long time. We gave them four in a row, and now I hope Verlander is healthy when we play them at home in May so we can smack him around, too. That would make this even sweeter for me.

I'm trying not to get overly excited here, because I know we just barely got started but I am liking what I see so far. The Yankees are headed to Arizona, and I will be at Tuesday's game, so I hope they bring this momentum with them, and sucker punch the Diamondbacks also. Last time they came here, we didn't play well and my husband who supports the Diamondbacks for his NL team wouldn't let me hear the end of it.

Don't let me down boys!


--Jeana Bellezza-Ochoa
BYB Senior Managing Editor
Twitter: @nyprincessj






Sunday, March 31, 2024

THE YANKEES ARE BETTER THAN I THOUGHT!


Source: Kim Klement Neitzel-USA TODAY Sports

I no longer feel like all is lost when the Yankees fall behind early. Well at least for now. The Yankees have depth in the lineup, a good combo of new and old, and even a catcher who can steal a base. Instead of feeling deflated, I am excited and as we enter the final game of the first series of 2024, I think the Yankees are better than I thought.

Now, I am intentionally choosing to not really focus on the fact that DJ LeMahieu's injury is now worse than what was anticipated. This is because Oswaldo Cabrera is doing his job at third base. "Since getting the Opening Day nod at third base in place of the injured DJ LeMahieu, Cabrera has gone 6-for-9 (.667) through the season’s first two games, carrying over offensive changes that helped the 25-year-old wrap his spring on a 9-for-24 (.375) hot streak," reported MLB.com. Yes, this is a very small sample size, but I have to remain optimistic that Cabrera will serve the Yankees well as LeMahieu sits for more time than expected. He did hoist the Yankees back into Saturday's game with a game tying home run in the top of the 7th. Nothing but smiles for this kid. 

Source: The Athletic

The Yankees even showed some small ball and plate discipline during their opening weekend. Their promising young catcher, Austin Wells, can run. And he can steal bases, giving the Yankees more momentum and speed on the bases. Oh and he can bunt. Wells layed down a beauty in Friday night's victory against the Astros. 

Juan Soto has shown he can hit, settling in right away with his new team. His towering home run on Saturday's game against Houston was his first in Yankee pinstripes and certainly not his last. "His process and work ethic and care factor about not just hitting, he takes a lot of pride in his defense," Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. "He wants to be great on defense. He wants to be really good on the bases. And he made a big-time winning play today on defense." Boone is referring to his game saving throw against the Astros in the first day of the season, allowing the Yankees to take a close come from behind 5-4 victory. 


And I was anxious about starting pitching. Maybe you were too. But guess what, the guys grinded and the bullpen got it done. It was incredible the way things just clicked. From Nestor Cortes to Carlos Rodon to Marcus Stroman- the starters did their job and the relievers rolled right over hitters. Jonathan LoáisigaNick Burdi, Luke Weaver, Ian Hamilton, Victor Gonzalez, Caleb Ferguson and Clayton Beeter all came in and kept hitters quiet. Yeah, the bull pen is better than I thought too. 

I realize I write this piece only watching three games. But I have to say, I was deflated early last season. And I don't feel that way. I feel like I can trust this team. And if they fall behind early, they have the depth to overcome, unlike last year when the team simply didn't have enough in the tank. The Yankees are better than I thought, and I really hope it remains that way. 



--Suzie Pinstripe
BYB Senior Managing Editor
Twitter: @suzieprof








Saturday, March 30, 2024

MISSION MEN


The Yankees are proving the doubters wrong.  The doubters are people like me.  It's refreshing.  

It's what a competitor does.  Let's hope it continues because I am loving every minute of it.  

And just to be clear; My beef is not with the players. My beef is with the Yankees front office that are not giving this team what they need to deliver.  I am eating crow right now, but that's the name of the game with you're a critic.  But the truth is 2 games don't make a World Series team, but these 2 games do prove that these players will not quit. I appreciate it, love it, admire it.  

Empire Sports Media writes:

"The New York Yankees have won their first two games of the regular season against the Houston Astros... flying under the radar is the impact of Oswaldo Cabrera, their super-utility man who barely even cracked the roster after a disappointing spring training. Cabrera, 25, hit .213/.302/.362 this spring, including two homers and three RBIs over 20 games. "

Who knows why it's guys like Cabrera that are red hot.  I really don't care, as long as the Astros are destroyed.

The other part of this game that made sense to me? Capitalizing on mistakes from their opponent and playing small ball. Two things the Yankees rarely were able to execute last season. In other words, the Yankees aren't playing like the Yankees, they're playing like a small market team... or a team under someone like Bruce Bochy... or a team that typically is not managed by Aaron Boone. The Yankees are actually playing baseball.


" Jeremy Peña fielded a slow bleeder from New York Yankees shortstop Anthony Volpe in the eighth inning, his next decision came a millisecond too late. He tossed to Jose Altuve... but the toss was far behind the veteran infielder.... The error allowed Yankees first baseman Anthony Rizzo, who had singled at the top of the frame, to score from second, and Alex Verdugo to bypass second easily and advance to third. Volpe reached first to put runners at the corners."

"The second domino to fall in that eighth inning occurred after Yankees catcher Austin Wells laid a bunt on a safety squeeze to Astros reliever Parker Mushinski, who misfired to first and allowed Verdugo to score from third. Oswaldo Cabrera followed with a two-run single adding the third and fourth runs of the inning before the Astros called Brandon Bielak out of the bullpen. "

When in the past do we read about the Yankees doing the little things?  Think about it? This is a great start.

More to come today and hopefully a sweep.  I applaud these players... but don't think for a second that I'm not still annoyed at the Yankees front office for dragging their feet on pitching this offseason. I never forget.

Go Yanks.






Friday, March 29, 2024

A BREATH OF FRESH AIR

 


It was a Yankee win, but it was more important than that.  It was a Yankee resilient comeback. I'm not saying we're about to win the World Series, but what I am saying is the Yankees did not quit and found ways to get on base. 

Alex Verdugo has energy. I was happy to see how he operated yesterday.  He's happy to be with us. He fits in.  Juan Soto is a 25-year-old Monster. Nothing huge at the plate yesterday but walks matter and that cannon out of right field is exactly what we want. Defense is going to be huge this year because our pitching staff is still not up to par.

We will not be able to sustain comeback games every day, and I anticipate plenty of days in our season where the pitching gets into a hole we can't get out of. Yesterday I believe, is a sign of more things to come when I talk about those holes though.  Between guys like Cabrera homering and Volpe being extremely patient at the plate, these little things matter and hopefully we continue to fight.

Don't misunderstand me. I am not in some way calling the Yankee front office geniuses. I think they are terrible. Yesterday they got lucky.   But let's also give credit to these players.  They went out there yesterday in Houston and beat those Astros. They never gave up. They never showed defeat and I have to tell you, as a fan of this team for all these years... that was important for me to see.

As you know I have not been kind to this team this offseason.  I have been disappointed, frustrated and people say to me "Well, what do you know what we need? You're not some baseball executive?"  Fair, but as a fan and as a guy that understands small ball, contracts, men on base, we haven't done enough.  BUT... and this is a big but.... this game yesterday is a symbol of hope.

If you didn't see the game, have twitter, live in the mountains and have no way of getting news, this is all you need to know about what this game was all about for the Yankees yesterday. The New York Post writes:

"Soto threw out a runner at the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning to help preserve a 5-4 comeback win over the Astros in Thursday’s Opening Day thriller at Minute Maid Park.

“That was a Yankee classic right there,” Aaron Judge said of Soto’s debut.

The Yankees also took a page out of Soto’s book by putting together tough, patient at-bats all game to shrug off an early 4-0 deficit and start their season off on the right foot."

Let's keep it going boys! Yanks win 5-4. 

But yesterday is now yesterday.  Can you get another W?







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