As Yankee fans wake up today they find their beloved Bronx Bombers in sole possession of last place in the AL East. Now I'll be the first person to tell you division standings this early mean next to nothing. July 4th is when I really start to care. That doesn't mean you're not allowed to look at how your team is playing and panic a bit, but for the most part you gotta chill and accept it's a long season. Hell, last year the Yankees were on a historic win pace only to fail to reach 100 wins. It's a grind and you gotta accept that even if the losses feel like death right now.
The reality is that the Yankees have a laundry list of issues. They've been decimated by injuries. Every team has injuries, but what they're going through is a special kind of fucked up. Even with the injury bug plaguing them, the play on the field so far has been so uninspiring it's unacceptable.
Brian Cashman neglected to go out this offseason and improve an offense that needed to get kicked into another gear. Yes, they brought back Aaron Judge and Anthony Rizzo, but they didn't add anywhere else, in fact they got worse with Andrew Benintendi walking. Yes, the kids are here, but they need time. In a perfect world the injury wave doesn't hit and they're allowed to adjust at their own speed. Combine the early struggles with the mangled and there's no time for patience. New York doesn't know the word patience when shit is hitting the fan.
While all this is going on you've still got to deal with Aaron Boone and hope he's able to get out of his own way when it comes to crucial decision making. If George was still around Boone would probably be back at ESPN or in a booth somewhere. With Hal running the show there's less urgency to make swift changes, even if they may be painfully obvious to even the casual eye. It seems that as long as Cashman is running the show that Boone will be there as well in the dugout. That allows things to happen like last night.
Coming off a 15-2 drubbing in Texas on Sunday, the Yankees flew back to New York in desperate need of a spark. When you're rolling out a lineup that features Willie Calhoun as your 5 hitter, you gotta hope for a magical performance from your starter to carry the way. Domingo German took it upon himself to be that source of magic. His half innings went by so quick on Monday that if you quickly glanced down at your phone you likely missed one or two batters make an out. It was Greg Maddux-esque and just what the team needed. Something to just take a step back from this miserable stretch and take a breather. He entered the 9th inning with the Yanks up 2-0, and his pitch count in the 80s. German struck out the 9 hitter Straw on four pitches, before serving up a single to Kwan which brought the tying run to the plate.
Boone emerged from the dugout, met with boos, to get his starter who he felt was nearing the end of his gas tank. As I explain in the video below, I didn't hate the idea of pulling German in that moment. I get the thinking and while you'd love to get him his masterpiece of a complete game shutout, you do run the risk of Cleveland's 2-3-4 hitters seeing him for the 4th time around and getting the best of him with the tank emptying. That being said, if you're pulling German there the one guy you cannot replace him with is Clay Holmes. Allow my stupid face to verbalize the frustration with this decision, or tell me to die, either works.
Clay Holmes set the world on fire in the first half of 2022. Since that point he has not been the same pitcher. He constantly struggles to find his release point on his sinker and the results have been rather eye-opening. His lack of control kills him and you truly never know what you're going to get. He's more unpredictable than Aroldis Chapman was.
While he is a ground ball machine, that only works when he knows where the sinker is going. We're now 10 months removed from the last time we all felt comfortable with him getting consistent outs. The fact that Boone believed he was the man for the job there shows you that he is very much part of the problem with the Yankees. There's not one person who watches this team consistently that felt good with Holmes coming in there. If you leave Domingo in and he gives up the two run bomb you can live with that. If you bring in by far your best reliever in Michael King and he blows the game, you can live with that. Forcing Holmes there for god knows what reason is so far from the correct decision it's alarming. I couldn't believe it when I saw him jogging out from the bullpen. Three batters later the game was tied and not long after that the Guardians took the lead for good. In the blink of an eye a refreshing, much needed win to get you back on track turned into the worst loss of the season.
Now is Aaron Boone the main reason the Yankees are 15-15 here and in the cellar of the AL East? Of course not, but he's definitely part of the recipe of disaster that's led to the bleak results over the years. In a way Boone remaining the manager is a microcosm of the organization's inability to recognize when to move on from a negative. Aaron Hicks continues to find his way onto the field. You know what his OPS+ is? 7. If you're 100 that means you're league average. 105 means you're 5% better than league average. He's a 7. They refuse to admit their mistake and move on because of Cashman's ego. Josh Donaldson is a negative and they still decided to enter the season with him starting at 3rd. IKF isn't a starting baseball player. I appreciate his "whatever the team wants" mentality and he's held his own in center while Bader has been out, but his bat is a complete zero. Those are three players who shouldn't be sniffing the lineup of the New York Yankees. Combined they count more than $40 million towards the Yankees luxury tax bill.
Aaron Boone's results as the manager of this team shouldn't warrant him this job. Brian Cashman's inept ability to build a functioning roster with the large payroll he's allotted should not be tolerated. It's the same shit every year. I don't think this is a .500 team of course, but it's really hard to see it all coming together and resulting in a true World Series run. They'll get healthier and I'm sure at some point rip off a 10 game winning streak that tricks my brain into believing, but at the end of the day we know what we're getting here.