YANKEE NEWS 2019 SEASON

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Re: YANKEE NEWS 2019 SEASON

Postby BigGuy » Sun Jul 14, 2019 11:31 am

The Yankees’ bullpen depth hurts their trading prospects

Creative reliever usage is harder to do when your bullpen is already the best

By Joshua Diemert@JoshuaDiemert Jul 14, 2019, 10:00am EDT

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Photo by Rob Tringali/SportsChrome/Getty Images

We’re in the thick of trade season, and not a day goes by without a rumor, a whisper, or a full-length post about another player the Yankees have kicked tires on. With the obvious need for pitching, New York’s been tied to Madison Bumgarner, Marcus Stroman and others. As has been their MO for the past number of years, the Yankees have also been linked to the top available relievers like Ken Giles and Shane Greene.

Relievers have become the most sought-after commodity come trade deadlines, and in fact, the Yankees were one of the catalysts of this trend when they traded Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller for a king’s ransom back in 2016. The logic behind the Reliever Premium is pretty straightforward; you can leverage relief pitching in the playoffs more than you can any other player group.

A position player plays pretty much every game in the regular season and pretty much every game in the postseason. A starter is held to a firm schedule in the regular season, and can sometimes be leveraged to pitch more often in the postseason, but there’s still a highly defined regimen. Relievers can pitch a whole lot more in the postseason, with more off days and every inning a high-leverage one, so you get more value “per pitch”, or per appearance, than the other two groups.

In 2016, Miller appeared in 10 of Cleveland’s 15 postseason games, throwing 19.1 innings. That same year, Chapman worked 13 of 17 Cubs playoff games, for 15.2 innings. Just last season, Josh Hader threw 10 innings over seven games for the Brewers, only resting for three of Milwaukee’s postseason dates. This shows how teams can leverage relievers like no other players in the postseason.

This ability to get creative with relief pitchers, however, might actually work against the Yankees. Their bullpen is already so deep that it’s hard to find ways to achieve greater leverage with a new reliever. If Ken Giles ends up in Minnesota, Atlanta or Houston, he becomes one of the top three options in their bullpen. If he comes to the Bronx, he’d be one of five or six options, roughly on par with Chapman, Zack Britton, Chad Green, Adam Ottavino and Tommy Kahnle.

On one hand, this is truly quite something. The Yankees could just trade for Giles or Greene and roll out an even more ludicrous relief corps, everyone working one inning and combining to strike out somewhere around a dozen batters. The diversity of options, however, means a new reliever can’t be leveraged the same way, which introduces a question of value to the Yankees.

The ability to leverage an acquired reliever makes him more valuable to a buying team, so they’re going to be willing to pay more. A team like the Twins, Braves or Astros can be more creative and ask more of a prospective reliever than the Yankees can, because the latter team just has so many other options that will all be used in a postseason run. As such, the Twins, Braves or Astros are likely to be willing to pay more than the Yankees, and trade talks are effectively an open auction: all participants make public bids and the highest bid wins.

This doesn’t really matter in discussions around starting pitching, since the potential for creative use is a lot lower, and the Yankees could easily slot a higher-performing starter into CC Sabathia or J.A. Happ’s spot. On the relief front, the Yankees’ indomitable existing bullpen might introduce a structural obstacle to trades, and perhaps further emphasizes that Brian Cashman’s focus should be on the rotation as July 31 approaches.
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Re: YANKEE NEWS 2019 SEASON

Postby 1955Yanksfan » Sun Jul 14, 2019 2:37 pm

I've seen cleaner games by little league teams than what the Bombers are doing today.
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Re: YANKEE NEWS 2019 SEASON

Postby BigGuy » Sun Jul 14, 2019 5:36 pm

Marcus Stroman can handle the Bronx, just not the Yankees lineup

By KRISTIE ACKERT| NEW YORK DAILY NEWS |
JUL 14, 2019 | 4:34 PM

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Marcus Stroman showed he can handle the Bronx, but the Bombers’ potential trade target couldn’t contain the Yankees lineup. The Blue Jays ace pitched six solid innings, but the Bombers beat him 4-2 at the Stadium on Sunday.

The Yankees (59-32) won their 19th series of the season, beating the Blue Jays (35-59) in two of three. They maintained their six-game lead over the Rays, who come into the Bronx on Monday, in the American League East.

Gio Urshela drove in two runs and scored another while Mike Tauchman hit his fifth home run of the season to lead the Yankees’ offense. Masahiro Tanaka allowed two runs, both on solo home runs in the fifth inning. He gave up two other hits over six innings, striking out five and not walking a batter. It was his 11th start with two runs allowed or fewer this season, the fifth most in the big leagues.

But almost everyone was watching Stroman Sunday, the one exception was Aaron Boone.

“I mean I guess in some way you’re watching and scouting everyone you play against, formulating an opinion on someone. What you make of their stuff and matching up against you and kind of game-planning for a club,” Boone said when asked if he can allow himself to imagine Stroman in pinstripes. “Frankly everyone you go up against and formulating an opinion. I don’t think necessarily I am really locked in on that with that kind of speculation.”

Most everyone else in Yankees Stadium Sunday was, however, wondering about the future with the trade deadline 17 days away.

The Long Island native is one of the starting pitchers the Yankees and other contending teams have been scouting as a possible addition heading into the July 31 deadline. Last month, when Toronto visited, Stroman made it clear that he would more than welcome a trade here.

“I am built for this. I mean anybody can say whatever, but I am built for the big lights and the moment. I am not scared of it. I have never been,” Stroman said last month. "I’ll take that ball each and every time with the pressure on it. I love it.”

Sunday, Stroman battled a powerful Yankees lineup.

He held them to three runs on seven hits. The 28-year old walked two and struck out seven. Pitching on 14-days rest because of the All-Star Break and an issue with his pectoral muscle, Stroman did not allow a home run — a trait that has set him apart this season with the ball flying out of the park. He has allowed 10 homers over 19 starts.

Stroman has struck out 88 over 110.2 innings pitched this season and posted a 3.25 ERA.

The Yankees had to grind out their runs against him.

Gio Urshela singled in the Yankees first two runs in the second inning and then scored the go-ahead run in the bottom of the fifth. He was initially called out trying to score on a wild pitch, but replays showed he slid around Danny Jansen’s tag.

Tauchman homered off Derek Law in the seventh — the first homer the Yankees have hit in the last three games.

Tanaka was burned by the home run Sunday.

Randal Grichuk, who came into the day hitting .375 against the Yankees this season, hit a lead off homer into the right-field bullpen in the fifth. Eric Sogard hit his 10th home run of the season, a shot into the right-field seats, with two outs in the inning.

But he overcame the sloppy defense behind him.

Gleyber Torres was charged with two errors Sunday, a bad throw on a terrific stop on Freddy Galvis’ ground ball in the first and a bad flip attempt on Danny Jansen’s grounder in the third. DJ LeMahieu’s throwing error allowed Galvis to reach in the fifth.
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Re: YANKEE NEWS 2019 SEASON

Postby BigGuy » Mon Jul 15, 2019 8:19 am

Marcus Stroman shows Yankees all they need to see

By Ken Davidoff July 14, 2019 | 6:57pm

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Doing nothing can’t be an option.

No option ranks as a slam-dunk, can’t-miss, blame-the-baseball-gods-if-it-doesn’t-work situation.

Such is the vise in which the Yankees find themselves as they approach the July 31 trade deadline, understanding full well that their pitching requires an upgrade. That vise turned Sunday in an interesting way, if nothing else, when they saw Marcus Stroman put on one hell of an audition right in front of them.

Stroman is not 2017 Justin Verlander, nor 2014 Jon Lester, nor 2008 CC Sabathia, to name three ace-level starting pitchers of recent vintage who switched teams midseason and excelled. Yet the diminutive right-hander, a Long Island native, must merit ultra-serious consideration from the Yankees right now because of these two significant assets: He possesses high upside, and he embraces the stage and the moment.

“I know I can compete with anybody out there,” Stroman said after taking the loss in the Yankees’ 4-2 victory over the Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium. “I would give myself the ball in any big-time situation.”

In his first appearance since June 29, having been sidelined by a left shoulder pectoral cramp, Stroman allowed three runs and seven hits to the Yankees’ solid lineup, walking two and striking out seven over six innings. That doesn’t tell the whole story, though. The seven hits broke down this way: Six singles, four of them on the ground, and a double. The Yankees didn’t so much as reach the wall against Stroman, or hit a fly ball to the warning track. The ground-ball specialist (a quality the Yankees really like) lost on a fifth-inning wild pitch that his catcher Danny Jansen retrieved in time to tag out Gio Urshela at home plate, only to muff the tag.

Stroman’s fastball, having averaged 92.7 mph prior to Sunday (thanks, FanGraphs), averaged above 93 mph and reached as high as 95.5 mph (thanks, Brooks Baseball Pitchf/x). His slider looked particularly nasty, as the Yankees swung at 14 of them and missed six.

“I truly believe that I always get stronger as the year goes on,” said Stroman, whose ERA actually ticked upward to 3.25. “I’ve always been a second-half pitcher. I think I’m going to have a pretty special second half. My body feels great. My arm feels great.”

(Fact check: Yup, Stroman now possesses a career second-half 3.37 ERA compared to 4.14 in the first half.)

The “fit” risk comes, as The Post’s Joel Sherman recently detailed, in whether Stroman, who can be flamboyant and has some detractors, would get too caught up in the noise that exists here.

The Yankees won’t make this important decision in a vacuum, naturally. Scouts from the Phillies, Cubs, Braves, Padres and Red Sox witnessed Stroman’s effort. And the Yankees surely will continue to engage on pitchers such as the Indians’ Trevor Bauer and the Diamondbacks’ Robbie Ray as well as Stroman; they haven’t appeared as interested in Giants legend Madison Bumgarner.

The Blue Jays, with a strong core of position players, would prefer to get pitching in return for their pieces like Stroman, closer Ken Giles and shortstop Freddy Galvis. Most of the Yankees’ top trade chips reside at the lower levels of the minor leagues, which shouldn’t be a problem for the Jays, who are eyeing 2020 as another rebuilding season.

In the wake of a strong, victorious start by Masahiro Tanaka, Aaron Boone ardently defended his starting rotation in his postgame news conference.
“I feel like it’s been underrated all year and underappreciated,” the Yankees manager said.

While no harm in saying that stuff, we all know the pitfalls of the current quintet, and that no guarantee exists in Luis Severino’s latest comeback effort set to start Monday with a game of catch. The Yankees need more options in order to attain their goal.

They’ll do something soon to loosen the vise’s grip. It’ll take another three months, however, to extract themselves altogether. Stroman seems as good a bet as anyone else out there to make that happen.
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Re: YANKEE NEWS 2019 SEASON

Postby BigGuy » Mon Jul 15, 2019 8:21 am

Yankees bounce back against possible trade target Marcus Stroman

By Dan Martin July 14, 2019 | 4:20pm | Updated

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The Yankees got their up-close look at potential trade target Marcus Stroman on Sunday and — more importantly — another victory.

Gio Urshela had a two-run single in the second and scored the go-ahead run in the fifth with the help of a nifty slide — and a bad tag — as the Yankees topped the Blue Jays, 4-2, in The Bronx.

The win allowed the Yankees to maintain their six-game lead in the AL East over the Rays, who come to Yankee Stadium for a four-game series beginning Monday.

But what impressed Aaron Boone most after his team won another series was its starting pitching.

“I feel like it’s been underrated all year and underappreciated because by and large, you’re not sitting at this point in the season with as many wins as we have if you’re not getting quality starts,’’ Boone said after Masahiro Tanaka allowed two runs over six innings and the Yankees improved to an AL-best 59-32.

The Yankees’ rotation has a 2.67 ERA in nine games since returning from London, where there was a barrage of runs in two wins over the Red Sox.

“It hasn’t always necessarily been deep into games, but for the most part, our starting pitchers have given us a chance to win every single day,’’ Boone said. “I feel like sometimes that gets glossed over a little bit. Those guys are very capable and right now they’re healthy and throwing the ball really well.”

After dropping three of their previous four games sandwiched around the All-Star break, the Yankees made three errors, but still beat Stroman, who will almost certainly be traded before the July 31 deadline.

In his first outing since leaving his June 29 start with a left shoulder pectoral cramp, Stroman gave up three runs in six innings, though was hardly hit hard.

Urshela singled in two runs with a one-out single in the second to give the Yankees a 2-0 lead before Tanaka pitched out of trouble in the third. Gleyber Torres made his second error of the day in the third, but rebounded with a diving play to end the top of the sixth.

Tanaka made the first of two mistakes with his fastball when Randal Grichuk opened the fifth with a long homer to right-center to make it 2-1.

Tanaka had allowed just a pair of singles entering the inning, but Toronto tied the game later in the fifth, when Eric Sogard took Tanaka deep with two outs.

Urshela put the Yankees ahead again in the bottom of the frame.

With one out and runners on first and second, DJ LeMahieu grounded into a force out, but a poor throw to second by Sogard slowed the turn and allowed LeMahieu to beat the double play.

With Aaron Judge at the plate, Stroman fired a wild pitch that went to the backstop and bounced right back to catcher Danny Jansen.

Urshela looked to be out easily at the plate, but the Yankees challenged the call and replays showed Urshela slid under a woeful tag attempt by Jansen to put the Yankees up, 3-2.

“That’s the ball game right there,’’ Judge said. “Especially against a pitcher like Stroman. … [Urshela] took a chance and it paid off.”

Adam Ottavino came on to start the seventh and gave up a one-out hit to Jansen. With Rowdy Tellez pinch hitting for Teoscar Hernandez, the Yankees stalled before bringing in Tommy Kahnle to face the lefty-swinging Tellez — despite Ottavino having thrown just five pitches.

Kahnle, excellent against left-handers, whiffed Tellez. The right-hander then walked Sogard, but got Freddy Galvis to end the inning.

Mike Tauchman gave the Yankees an insurance run with a solo homer in the seventh — their first in three games.

Zack Britton pitched a scoreless eighth and Aroldis Chapman closed it for his 25th save of the year.

The Yankees will almost certainly pick up a starting pitcher before the end of the month, but Toronto manager Charlie Montoyo left the series with a mindset similar to Boone’s.

“I tell you what, the pitching we faced these three days, it’s pretty good,’’ Montoyo said. “I don’t know what to tell you about what they’re thinking, but what we saw these three days is good pitching.’’
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Re: YANKEE NEWS 2019 SEASON

Postby BigGuy » Mon Jul 15, 2019 8:23 am

Luis Severino and Dellin Betances finally cleared to throw again

By Dan Martin July 14, 2019 | 12:20pm | Updated

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Luis Severino and Dellin Betances are finally ready to begin throwing programs following extensive shutdowns due to strained lats that came after shoulder injuries, but Aaron Boone isn’t ready to place a timeline on when either might be ready to make their season debuts.

Both right-handers underwent MRI exams and were cleared, which is why they are slated to throw on Monday, and the Yankees hope the comebacks for Severino and Betances go more smoothly than earlier in the year, when they suffered lat injuries while rehabbing from shoulder issues.

“I think we’re confident with where they’re at as far as their recovery,’’ Boone said Sunday before the Yankees faced the Blue Jays in The Bronx. “We feel they’re in position to be ready to start this step. Their feedback and how they feel and bounce back is always a major part of the evaluation and how they lay out the program. … They’re ready to graduate to this point.”

That was the case with the key members of the pitching staff as well when they went down initially, which caused general manager Brian Cashman to say the organization would reevaluate their rehab protocols to try to prevent similar setbacks.

There’s still no telling when Betances or Severino will rejoin the roster- or what Severino’s role might be whenever he does return.

Cashman said on SiriusXM’s MLB Network Radio on Friday that Severino could be limited in terms of his pitch count or be used out of the bullpen if he doesn’t have time to throw enough to be a full-time starter for the stretch run, since he’ll need at least a six-week spring training-like period before he returns.

Boone wasn’t prepared to speculate much about how Severino would be used.

“I think we’re way too early in the process,’’ Boone said on Sunday. “I’m sure that’s possible. I think there are a number of things potentially on the table, based on how he progresses, what he gets to and then we’ll see where we’re at as he builds himself up.’’

At this point, Boone is pleased to get positive news on the two pitchers who were supposed to be vital members of their rotation and bullpen, but instead have been out since spring training, with Severino being looked at as a potential key addition to a starting unit that is still in search of an ace.

“I’m just really interested and excited about [Severino] starting a throwing program and seeing where that progresses,’’ Boone said. “How is he responding? How is he bouncing back? I haven’t begun to put a timeline on what it’s gonna take to have him built up to be a starter for us or any kind of option for us.’’

That process will include long-tossing, throwing off flat ground and then advancing to pitching off a mound.

Boone believed they would spend the “bulk” of their early rehab with the Yankees before moving to Tampa depending on where they are in the process.

“Hopefully this is the start of their way back,” Boone said.
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Re: YANKEE NEWS 2019 SEASON

Postby BigGuy » Mon Jul 15, 2019 8:25 am

Gio Urshela’s acrobatic play still has Yankees in awe

By Mollie Walker July 14, 2019 | 7:56pm

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As Aaron Judge came to the plate in the bottom of the fifth with DJ LeMahieu and Gio Urshela on the corners, a wild pitch from Toronto pitcher Marcus Stroman sent Urshela racing toward home plate. Blue Jays catcher Danny Jansen scrambled for the ball and reached too high on Urshela, who extended his left leg in attempt to beat the tag.

Home plate umpire Ryan Blakney called Urshela out.

But Aaron Boone knew he was safe. Judge and Urshela knew it, too.

The Yankees challenged the play and it was quickly overturned, giving them a 3-2 lead just after the Blue Jays had tied it in the top half of the inning.

“I haven’t seen anything like that in a while,” Judge said following the 4-2 win Sunday. “He kind of snuck his left foot in there, but I had a good front-row seat of it, and right when I saw him slide I thought he got that foot in. Challenge the play and that’s the ballgame right there.”

Jansen said he was caught off guard, and Stroman was impressed with Urshela’s ability to avoid the tag.

Urshela simply thought, “I’ve got to do something to make it safe.”



Boone wasn’t surprised as he’s been watching Urshela’s immeasurable effort for the past 91 games, and he joined Judge in saying the Yankees might not be where they are — six games ahead of second-place Tampa Bay in the AL East — without the third baseman.

Urshela went 2-for-4 Sunday, knocking in the first two runs of the game on a ground single to left field in the bottom of the second. The 27-year-old is now hitting .362 with 30 RBIs with runners in scoring position.

“I know when he came over here last year, he did some really good things down in Triple-A toward the end of the year. But I think it’s a lot of Gio, too, really on his own,” Boone said in response to how the organization has affected Urshela’s play. “When he was coming up through the minor leagues, he was always a guy that made good contact, which can be a really good sign and sometimes takes a while to blossom.

“I’m sure there’s a lot of people that have followed his minor league career that aren’t surprised that he’s starting to swing the bat now at the major league level.”

Boone is confident in Urshela’s progress, noting that hitting coaches Marcus Thames and P.J. Pilittere have worked well with him. And with the adjustments he has made, Boone believes Urshela has gone to another level as a major league hitter.
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Re: YANKEE NEWS 2019 SEASON

Postby BigGuy » Mon Jul 15, 2019 8:28 am

Yankees’ pitching upgrades could come from within

By Dan Martin July 14, 2019 | 10:21pm

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Luis Severino isn’t the only addition the Yankees may make to their pitching staff for the stretch run.

Right-hander Deivi Garcia is slated to make his debut with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Monday against Columbus. The 20-year-old was promoted from Double-A Trenton after starting the Futures Game in Cleveland last week.

Aaron Boone also noted Sunday, before the Yankees beat the Blue Jay 4-2, that left-hander Jordan Montgomery is throwing again after being shut down with inflammation in his left shoulder last month. He had Tommy John surgery over a year ago and Boone said it was “possible” Montgomery could get back to the Yankees during the regular season.

After the Yankees went two straight games without a homer, Boone said it was “a little odd.”

“I actually thought about that [Saturday],’’ Boone said. “They were hot days in The Bronx, too.”

Earlier this season, the Yankees set a major league record by homering in 31 consecutive games, a streak that ended June 30.
“Over 162 games, you’re gonna have games when you’re not always gonna do it, even for our club, where you come to expect it day in and day out,’’ Boone said.

The Yankees just played the Rays in Tampa Bay before the All-Star break, but the second-place Rays will be in The Bronx for a four-game series beginning Monday.

“There’s no question those games take on more meaning because of where we are in the standings and them being in our division, so of course they take on more importance,’’ Boone said.

That’s one of the reasons he rested Aaron Hicks, with the Yankees opening the second half with 17 games in as many days.

Edwin Encarnacion also didn’t play Sunday, a day after being hit by a pitch on his left arm.

“He’s OK,’’ Boone said before the game. “He’s a little sore.”

Encarnacion underwent X-rays on Saturday that were negative.

Gleyber Torres made a throwing error in the first and a fielding error in the third before he recovered to make a good diving play while shifted into short right to rob Justin Smoak of a hit in the sixth.

Torres now has 13 errors this season, with eight of them coming in 61 games as a shortstop and five in 25 games as a second baseman.
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Re: YANKEE NEWS 2019 SEASON

Postby BigGuy » Mon Jul 15, 2019 8:31 am

Why Yankees’ Aaron Boone sat 3 starters for 3rd game after All-Star break

Updated Jul 14, 3:35 PM; Posted Jul 14, 12:43 PM

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Yankees manager Aaron Boone explained on Sunday why he's resting players so soon after the All-Star break. (Gerald Herbert | AP)

By Randy Miller | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

NEW YORK — The Yankees just had four days off last week for the All-Star break and already manager Aaron Boone is resting regulars.

Catcher Gary Sanchez, center fielder Aaron Hicks and designated hitter Edwin Encarnacion all were out of the Yankees’ lineup for Sunday’s game at Yankee Stadium against the Toronto Blue Jays.

What’s the thinking?

For starters, Encarnacion showed up to the ballpark on Sunday a little sore from being drilled in the left hand with a pitch during the eighth inning of Saturday’s 2-1 loss to the Blue Jays.

As for Sanchez and Hicks, they were being rested on day three of a stretch in which the Yankees will play 17 games in 17 days from June 12 to July 28, the first 10 at Yankee Stadium and then three in Minnesota and four in Boston.

“I’m just trying to be a little strategist right now where we’re at the beginning of a 17 in a row,” Boone said. “Hicks is a guy that I’ll get days (off) here and there (due to his early season back issues). I felt like a day game here (on Sunday) heading into the (four-game) Tampa series made some sense to have him down and periodically through this stretch to have different guys down on different days.”

Encarnacion not starting on Sunday was just a precaution.

“He’s a little sore, but he had X-Rays (on Saturday) and they were negative," Boone said "He’s certainly a player (off the bench) for us (on Sunday). He said he felt pretty good coming in (Sunday) morning. I just decided to give him the day. "


BECAUSE BOONE'S A MORON. These guys could win without any manager. BigGuy
Last edited by BigGuy on Mon Jul 15, 2019 8:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: YANKEE NEWS 2019 SEASON

Postby BigGuy » Mon Jul 15, 2019 8:36 am

Yankees’ Aaron Judge: ‘We wouldn’t be in first place right now if we didn’t have ...’

Updated 8:11 AM; Today 8:10 AM

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Yankees third baseman Gio Urshela (29) received a big compliment from right fielder Aaron Judge (middle) after coming up big again in Sunday's 4-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays. (Frank Franklin II | AP)

By Randy Miller | NJ Advance Media for NJ.com

NEW YORK — If you’ve watched a lot of the Yankees’ first 91 games, you could probably come up with a dozen reasons why they lead the American League East by six games despite having had 20 players on the injured list.

Right fielder Aaron Judge named one after Sunday’s 4-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays.

A team guy through and through, Judge singled out one of his teammates, and it wasn’t the one leads the AL in hitting and is being talked about as an MVP candidate.

Judge definitely is a DJ LeMahieu fan though.

He’s also a big fan of third baseman Gio Urshela, who has been one of the biggest surprises in baseball after starting the season as a non-roster Triple-A player who has been in three organizations since 2017.

“We wouldn’t be in first place right now if we didn’t have Gio,” Judge said.

Urshela was a triple threat in the Yankees’ latest win. He drove in the first two runs of the game with a second-inning single, he made a great play at third to get Yankees off the field after the Blue Jays scored two in the fifth to tie it up and he made a great slide in the bottom of the fifth to avoid being tagged out and score a tie-breaking run on a wild pitch.

Urshela’s slide was talked about in both clubhouses after the game.

“It was crazy good,” Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman said.

“I was trying to sneak around the glove,” Urshela said.

With the game tied 2-2 and two down in the Yanks fifth, Urshela broke for the plate when Stroman threw a wild pitch that bounced off the backstop and right to catcher Danny Jansen, who made a late high tag.

Plate umpire Ryan Blakney called Urshela out, but the call was overturned on a replay review and the Yanks had a 3-2 lead that held up.

“Really breaking it down, it’s a really special slide,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “It was a very athletic play by him.”

Urshela’s snag of a hot smash at third that ended the Blue Jays fifth, just the latest of his many defensive gems, also was pretty athletic.

And once again, Urshela continued his standout season at the plate with a 2-for-4, 2-RBI afternoon that left him with a .302 average in 74 games, 61 of them as a starter at third. His big hit in the second continued tremendous clutch hitting that pushed his RISP average to .362 with 21 hits in 58 at-bats.

Heading into 2019, Urshela, 27, had a reputation as an all-field, no-hit journeyman. Playing 165 games with Cleveland and Toronto from 2015-17, the Colombian was a career .225 hitter over 466 at-bats.

“When he was coming up through the minor leagues, he was always a guy who made good contact, which can be a really good sign and sometimes take a while to blossom.,” Boone said. ”I’m sure that there were a lot of people that followed his minor-league career that aren’t surprised that he’s starting to swing the ball now at the major league level.”

His hitting started making big improvements late last season when he made adjustments in Triple-A after the Yanks purchased him from Toronto on Aug. 4., as he hit .307 in 27 games with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

This year, Urshela impressed the Yankees in spring training, then went back to Triple-A and was 4-for-9 in two games before an injury to shortstop Troy Tulowitzki led to his call-up. Third baseman Miguel Andujar also suffering a season-ending injury early led to a lot of playing time, and Urshela sure has made the most of it to the point Judge is crediting him for being a big reason for the Yankees’ success.

“The adjustments (Urshela) made, it’s finally showing and paying off and there no other place I’d have him be,” Judge said. “He’s something special defensively and offensively. Just get him up there with guys on base, he gets the job done. Like I said, we wouldn’t be in first place without him. “
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