Thin Hope And Acceptance

The 2016 season of the New York Yankees has not gone well. Those of us who watch the games every day have a sense of doom every inning, every pitch, every at-bat and every bullpen decision. Nothing has gone right and everything has gone wrong. Joe Girardi‘s body language in the dugout looks like a man being leeched by some 19th Century doctor. For this generation of Yankee fans, this is unprecedented and shocking. Perhaps, what is needed is a new perspective to get us over these troubled waters.

First of all, this is a fan generation that has not seen a Yankee team with a losing record since 1992. That first season under Buck Showalter saw a team finish ten games under .500 and twenty games back from first place. This is also a fan generation that has not only seen consistent above .500 teams but also teams that only failed to make the playoffs three times since 1995.

You all know that such sustained success is impossible right? You understand it is also unnatural, right? That kind of run doesn’t happen in sports. Perhaps the closest thing to that kind of sustained success would be the New England Patriots. And sooner or later, that run will come to an end too. It has to. Continue reading Thin Hope And Acceptance

Do Not Trade Andrew Miller

[caption id="attachment_79693" align="aligncenter" width="550"]Miller vs TOR II Courtesy of Getty Images[/caption]

There have been rumors for weeks that the Yankees were having conversations with teams about Andrew Miller. A lump built in my throat. What!? Rumors fly around all the time so I did not take it all that seriously. And then there was this sentence from Buster Olney in his ESPN blog (behind a pay wall): “The Yankees got very deep into conversations about Andrew Miller with the Houston Astros, before Houston’s acquisition of Ken Giles.” Very deep into conversation seems a bit beyond a rumor. My knee-jerk, unprofessional reaction is, “Please say it ain’t so!”

There is some logic behind my emotional leap. While I have often echoed a former ESPN SweetSpot leader that relief pitchers are fungible, great relievers are not. The Astros, one of the most stat driven front offices around, made it clear this winter that good relief pitchers were the big area of need after bowing out of the playoffs last year. The Royals have basically followed a Yankee (and before that, Tony La Russa) strategy to make the game a six inning game and get lots of strikeouts in those last three innings.

The one-two punch of Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances was as good as it gets last year in the late innings. Betances did prove that he can close games if needed. But Miller, in his first year as a closer, was stellar. The Yankees have already traded away Justin Wilson and Adam Warren. So the sixth inning, seventh inning guys are up in the air right now. Trade away Andrew Miller and then you have the eighth inning to worry about too.

Sure, you could get lucky with a home-grown guy or with a spring training invitee. If this is about money, Miller’s $9m salary is not that big of a deal–or at least it shouldn’t be. And yes, we’ve been hearing that 2016 is a transition year and you don’t really need two great relief pitchers for that. I don’t see a whole lot of separation in the AL East, so competing is not out of the question. If the Yankees fall hard, then the trade deadline can revisit the idea.

But if there is a chance to compete–and I believe there is–then having a strong bullpen is essential these days. And by a strong bullpen, I mean guys who can miss bats regularly.

Perhaps it can be stated that Betances deserves to be able to take the next step. I do not think the “closer” title is as important as it was even a couple of years ago. Plenty of non-closing relievers have been picking up nice paychecks lately. Darren O’Day is just one example this past week. Betances, to his credit, has not made such demands. But it goes even beyond this reasoning.

Many thought that Dellin Betances was the Yankees’ MVP the last two seasons. It is scary to think of where the Yankees would have finished the past two seasons without him in his role. He wasn’t the closer. Similarly, Wade Davis and Kelvin Herrera have shown the value of relief pitchers not labeled as closers. A point can even be made that Davis, Herrera and Betances were more valuable than the closers. Let’s look at that for a second.

In 2015, Dellin Betances pitched in 39 high leverage situations and 21 medium leverage situations. Miller (in fairness, he did miss some time) pitched in 30 high leverage situations and 15 medium leverage ones. There is a stat called RE24 which is runs saved in bases occupied situations. Betances had a RE24 of 24.7 and Miller was at 16. Betances had an 11.8 WPA score and Miller a 9.

There are two observations you can make about those numbers. First, Betances in his role was every bit (and perhaps more) important as the closer. Moving Betances to the closer position would greatly diminish the ability of the Yankees to fill his current role effectively. And his role saved a lot of forest fires.

I am not exalting Betances over Miller. Miller has earned his salary not from being a closer in the past, but by being the kind of before-ninth inning relief pitcher that Betances is. Miller’s role was super important to the Red Sox and then the Orioles in what they accomplished the years Miller was with them.

What I am saying is that Miller and Betances together are a formidable duo that improves the Yankees’ chances of winning significantly. And since I still believe the Yankees have just as good a shot in the AL East as their competition, keeping them intact is certainly my preference. Continue reading Do Not Trade Andrew Miller

Random baseball thoughts on a World Series off day

This is going to be a little different than the usual random thoughts post. Instead of one or two sentence thoughts, I figured I’d behave like an actual writer for a change and compose full paragraphs.

I know, wow. Here we go.

The Relentless Royals

We are two games into the 2015 World Series and the Kansas City Royals find themselves up two games to none heading back to Flushing. They were able to beat Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom and got a tremendous pitching performance from Johnny Cueto last night. And I mean, tremendous. He’s one of only seven pitchers to pitch more than eight innings and give up only two hits in a World Series start in the past 60 years. The last guy to do it was Greg Maddux in 1995. He’s also the first American League pitcher to throw a complete game in the World Series since Jack Morris did it in 1991.

With the way Cueto pitched, the Royals didn’t need seven runs but they got them anyway. And how did they do that? Like they always do. They hit and they keep on hitting. Just when a team thinks they may have the Royals in a spot where they may not get anything done, the Royals will put up a four-spot – including scoring three runs with two outs.

It’s actually a lot of fun to watch.

Praising A-Rod

If you had told me even three months ago that Alex Rodriguez would be working for Fox Sports as an analyst during the playoffs, and that he would be getting nearly universal praise on the job he was doing, I would have said that you were insane. But it’s actually happening. He’s getting so much praise that they’re starting to have him talk to the booth during the game to give his thoughts on in-game situations and more importantly, taking time away from Harold Reynolds. It’s stunning. In a good way, of course.

It’s really a treat to see people who would normally be doing something as silly as calling A-Rod “A-Roid” actually complimenting his work on Fox. Some people even went so far as to say that they were hoping he’d permanently replace Reynolds in the booth for the rest of the World Series. I am beside myself with joy.

Oh, and Michael Kay even tweeted about Alex:

I told everyone that Alex would be good. What’s great right now is that he’s explaining baseball in a smart way but that is still easy enough for people to understand. He hasn’t been told to dumb down his analysis which is what seems to happen to a lot of guys who make the jump from playing baseball to broadcasting.

Pissy writers

There are a lot of pissy baseball writers on Twitter right now. It’s mostly tweets complaining about the airport in KC or the airlines they’re using. From the way people tweet and complain about air travel these days, I’m glad I haven’t set foot on an airplane in five years. It sounds truly miserable. People strangle their fellow passengers for reclining seats! What a world!

Rapid fire thoughts:

  • Last night, A-Rod said that it would be important for the Mets to have Yoenis Cespedes start hitting again. He added that while it’s been nice to have Daniel Murphy on such a hot streak, Cespedes is the better player and he needs to get going.
  • Pete Rose needs to be reined in a bit on the pre and postgame show. Frank Thomas joked about Cueto being one of Pete’s stepsons and Pete responded with, “My stepsons speak English.” Oy.
  • No, really, two days off? What the heck am I going to watch?
  • Maybe I can catch up on this season of The Affair. Does anyone else watch that show? It’s pretty intense and I am way behind.
  • I predicted the series would go 6 but if the Royals win on Friday or Saturday, it may only go five. I don’t see them losing two games in Citi Field.

Happy Thursday! Continue reading Random baseball thoughts on a World Series off day

To root, root, root, or not to root, root, root for the Mets, that is the question

The 2015 New York Mets have shocked nearly everyone, including their own fanbase by winning the National League pennant and making it into the World Series. And a lot has been written this past week with regards to Mets fandom, Yankees fandom, bandwagons and rooting interests, so I figured, we could do point/counterpoint type of post the morning the World Series begins, which also happens to be the 29th anniversary of the Mets clinching their last World Series win and the 30th anniversary of the Royals clinching their last World Series win.

Funny how that worked out for everyone, right?

This originally started as a solo post, but then I got the bright idea, thanks to our many IIATMS email trails, to have someone else join me to write the opposing viewpoint and voila! So without further adieu, my colleague Scott Moss will be giving you a few reasons why he will be rooting for the New York Mets in the 2015 World Series, and I will be giving you a few reasons why I will not be rooting for them.

Scott:

Mets-Royals is a tough one for a Yankee fan. The Royals were big playoff rivals of the Yankees when I started following baseball in the 1980s; then they were mainly non-entities in the 1990s-2000s. The Mets similarly have spent most years as non-entities, but their brief successes include the insufferably arrogant and coke-addled mid-late 1980s Mets, then the 2000 team that faced the Yankees in a World Series that was less a friendly Subway Series than a bad-blood, bat-throwing grudge match.

I’m getting flashbacks to the 1986 World Series: I was about 20 rows back of first base on the field level at the infamous Game Six, screaming “nooooo” at E-Buckner because I was rooting for the Red Sox – just because, as a Yankee fan at a World Series between my two least favorite teams, New York’s fair-weather Mets mania jumped past my Sox hatred on my rage list. Mets-Royals 2015 is a tick less bad for Yankee fans than Mets-Sox 1986: the Royals are an old rival but not like the Sox; the 2015 Mets, though still the local rival, aren’t insufferable like the 1986 Mets.

And the 2015 Mets have swung me around to rooting for them. I wasn’t sure whether to root for Mattingly’s Dodgers or the Mets in the LDS, but then Chase Utley shivved the smallest guy on the Mets because gamers gonna game or some such bullshit, and I got sucked into pulling for a really interesting team. Whatever my annoyances about the 1986 or 2000 Mets, the current Mets were mostly age -5 to 10 at the time. The only way this Mets team reminds me of the 1980s is that Syndergaard and DeGrom would fit right into Hair Bands like Motley Crue and Whitesnake. Yoenis Cespedes, whom you may know from such music as Yoenis Cespedes’s privately commissioned walk-up song, is the only Met whose public arrogance may match that of the “Get Metsmerized”-singing 1986 team, but his arrogance is comically harmless — unlike, say Daryl Strawberry and Keith Hernandez playing “mean girls” by constantly insulting Gary Carter for signing autographs and not “partying” like his degenerate teammates. Big, young hard throwers (Syndergaard, DeGrom, Marvey, Matz) are fun to watch, as is their Bizarro-world opposite, big (in a different way) Bartolo Colon. Several of their young position players have interesting skill sets worth watching to see if they become superstars (Conforto, D’Arnaud) or can pull off a lopsided glove-first (Lagares) or bat-first (Flores) profile. Then there’s a guy I’d viewed as their Jeter, but who may be more like their Mattingly: David Wright, the Hall-of-Fame talent struggling through a degenerative back condition (I cringe when I see him dive) and miscellaneous injuries that make it remarkable he still holds his own at third base at age 32.

So for a Yankee fan, yes, the Mets are “the other team” — but they’re not playing against the Yankees, and they’re a fun, interesting team I’ll be pulling for.

Stacey:

As a Yankee fan, growing up in the 1980s, I dealt with a lot of ribbing from Mets fans when their team made and won the 1986 World Series. My team only made the playoffs one time, in 1981, and they lost the World Series while theirs made and won the World Series. Advantage Mets. I also had a 7th grade homeroom teacher, Mr. Peters, who constantly ribbed me for being a Yankee fan. And you know what? I could have easily jumped ship. I was an impressionable 12 year-old girl who caved into peer pressure daily, but I held my ground, and I remained a Yankee fan. Because that’s what you do. You don’t switch alliances when your team is down which brings me to the next reason why I am not rooting for the Mets in the World Series.

I do not jump on bandwagons. And if you do, that’s perfectly fine, whatever floats your boat, but I do not, and I never did. I took my lumps when my team wasn’t good, and as I already said, I never made the jump. I also do not adhere to this whole, “I’m rooting for the Mets because they’re a New York team!” nonsense. Mets fans never root for the Yankees when they make the playoffs. If anything, they root for the Yankees to fail. This internet meme sums it up pretty well:

12111997_10154302549037564_7616555125420478593_n

And they don’t need us to root for them. They have their own strong and proud rooting section. So let them enjoy their time in the sun without trying to grab onto some of the glory. Because that’s how a lot of them are viewing your sudden need to root for their team. In fact, the New York Times published an article last week about Mets fans being angry with Yankee fans feeling the need to cheer for their team.

This was my favorite passage:

At Union Grounds in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, where the Mets’ march to victory blared from three walls of TVs, Jamie Meyer, 31, a film editor, used a drastic metaphor to make his point.

 

“It’s like postwar Germany,” he said. “ ‘Yes, I was a member of the Nazi Party during the war. But sure, I’ll come over to your house.’ No, you can’t. Some really horrible things have happened.”

You see that, Yankee fans, we’re like the Nazis. And while I do realize he was being hyperbolic, he’s the one who decided to use that really awful metaphor. Good Lord. How can I root for a team with fans who dislike me that much? No thanks.

And it’s a shame, really, because the 2015 Mets are pretty fun to watch.

So with all that being said, I say let the Mets and their fans have their moment in the sun. It’s been a long time coming for them and we have our own team from New York to root for.

***

Please tell us your thoughts on this subject in the comments. As usual be respectful to us and to your fellow IIATMS readers. Continue reading To root, root, root, or not to root, root, root for the Mets, that is the question

The House Is Not A Home

The New York Yankees are now only one game over .500 since the last day of July and it has been tough watching the team crawl to the finish line. This really isn’t the way you want to watch a team eek into a playoff spot (if you still consider the wild card game a playoff spot). And just two things are on my mind this morning:

  1. I remember Buster Olney doing a column on favorable schedules after the All Star Break and the Yankees having one of the most favorable because of the number of home games..
  2. I have to watch Yankee games against the Red Sox on NESN because of blackouts and one of the text questions on their broadcast last night was: “Does the new Yankee Stadium give the Yankees the same home field advantage.”

Olney’s conclusion did not work out, obviously, because of the nearly .500 clip the Yankees have played the last two months. And if I would have texted my answer to NESN’s question, I probably would have said no.

I haven’t been to the new stadium. All my memories of going to games were in the old place. That place always seemed to rock. Since I cannot really tell now as I have not actually been there. Watching the games on television, the crowds a the new stadium just seem different…quieter…pensive….reserved.

Jerry Remy answered NESN’s question with an unequivocal NO. That doesn’t mean he is necessarily right, but he has seen games in both places, so I feel stronger about his response than mine. But what do the numbers say?

I tracked the winning percentage of the team’s overall performance versus the home record for all the years in the new stadium and the last few years of the old stadium. At the bottom of the post you can see my results.

One thing easily seen is that the Yankees still had a big advantage at home the first few years of the new stadium. There was a healthy difference between the overall record and the home record. But the last two years have been a different story.

I don’t have time to dig into the differences right now, nor do I probably have the skills to discuss this intelligently. But something is different the last couple of years and home has not been as wonderful a place to be as it was in the past. Whether it has to do with the make ups of the teams or the way they are fielded, I have no idea without digging further.

I simply wanted to show what I found and open the discussion. And while these numbers are not as comforting as you would want knowing the one-game-wild card-play-in-Russian Roulette is at home (we hope), it is still more comforting than having to have that game be played away.

yankees home record Continue reading The House Is Not A Home

A year ago tonight or why I can’t watch Jeter’s last walk-off

daddyandme92514

[Throughout the course of the day, you may see a lot of stuff on social media about Derek Jeter’s last at bat at Yankee Stadium because if you can believe it, it happened a year ago tonight.]

A year ago tonight, I was with my father in his hospital room, watching the Yankee game. I made it a point to be with him that night because I figured who better to watch Derek Jeter’s last home game with than my dad. He was the one who introduced to baseball when I was a little girl, and he was the one who turned me into the rabid Yankee fan I am today. Dad wasn’t feeling well that day and had a fever, but he was able to see Jeter’s double in the first inning. He even pointed at the TV as Jeter made it to second base. He fell asleep sometime in the second inning and didn’t wake up again until about 30 minutes after Jeter’s walk off, but I held his hand almost the entire time. The only time I let go was when Jeter hit his walk off, and I jumped off the chair and quietly celebrated in dad’s room so the rest of the people in the burn unit at Weill-Cornell couldn’t hear me. If you can picture it, I was jumping up and down and pantomiming screams. Thank goodness no one saw me.

What I didn’t know that night was that it would be the last time I’d see my father “alive.” I put alive in quotes because the next morning, my dad coded. The doctors were able to bring him back, but the damage was too much and he suffered catastrophic brain damage. We’d find out a few days later that it was irreversible and that he wouldn’t be my dad ever again, and a week after he coded, we said goodbye.

For me, the Jeter walk off is hard to watch because at the time, I had no idea what was in store for my dad or for me and my family. That night I was euphoric. I left the hospital after saying goodbye to my dad and watched the replay of the last hit and even stayed up to watch the Encore on YES. And about 15 hours after the walk off, I was devastated because even though we didn’t know exactly what had happened to my dad that morning or the extent of the brain damage, I saw what he looked like and saw how his eyes were fixed on the ceiling and how when you picked up his hand, it was limp, and I knew things wouldn’t be the same for any of us again.

So now, that night symbolizes a lot more for me. It was the last night that I made eye contact with my dad and I will never forget the look on his face. And because I was the last one with him before he coded, I still go over in my head, every single moment from that night and wonder if I missed anything. I don’t exactly blame myself for what happened, but I feel like maybe I missed a sign from him. Maybe in that last look, he was trying to tell me something and I didn’t pick it up.

While everyone else is posting about Jeter’s last walk off and celebrating it, and they have every right to do so, I’m thinking about my dad and how I wish I could have one more moment with him. Just one more. Maybe we could talk about baseball and I could tell him about all of the stuff he’s missed this past year. Or I could just tell him how much I love him and miss him.

So please do me a favor today. After you watch Jeter’s walk off for 500th time, hug everyone close to you and tell them how much you love and appreciate them because you never when they’ll be taken away. Continue reading A year ago tonight or why I can’t watch Jeter’s last walk-off

Sorry, Mets fans, but New York isn’t yours just yet

When this weekend’s half of the Subway Series began, I was actually pretty irate. I thought it was absolutely ridiculous that the Yankees would have to play in an National League park while in a division race and while trying to lock down a playoff spot. It was clear from the first night’s lineup that the Mets would have an obvious advantage head to head at Citi Field because the Yankees couldn’t start their team leader in home runs. On Friday night, I actually wanted to find the person who made this season’s schedule, drive them to the Bronx Zoo, and throw them into the African Plains exhibit to see how they fared against the lions.

Saturday was a rough day for me. It was my dad’s birthday – the first since he passed away last October. I went to the cemetery and when I was left alone at his grave, I filled him in on what was happening in baseball. I always do that when I go. I vowed that morning that I wasn’t going to watch the game or even look at the score updates because I knew I’d be an emotional wreck and didn’t want anything adding to it. That changed when I arrived home from dad’s grave and my brother told me that the Yankees were up 3-0 on Noah Syndergaard after the first inning.

I didn’t watch the game in its entirety but I ended up watching the last two innings. I also thanked my dad when the game ended because I feel like he had a hand in the outcome. I know, that probably seems silly but it makes me feel better to think that way.

I actually wasn’t planning on watching last night’s game because I figured CC Sabathia vs. Matt Harvey could turn out to be a nightmare matchup. I was also kind of forced into it thanks to my brother and his girlfriend. But at the same time, I had this odd feeling that the game would turn out to be okay for the Yankees. It felt like a reverse lock in a way because people were expecting CC to be terrible, even though he’s been pretty good of late. I also felt that since Harvey was on some sort of limit, and that if CC could do his part and limit the Mets’ scoring, the Yankees could hang around and win the game late. I love when my thoughts are correct. Don’t you?

And let’s be real, CC’s first inning could have been so much worse than how it turned out. I even said to my brother, “Maybe the first inning will be his one bad inning.” My brother scoffed at that notion but again, I was right. CC settled down and pitched pretty damn well. He looked like the CC Sabathia of old.

And I was thrilled to see the Yankees’ offense take advantage of Harvey’s early exit from the game. That’s what good teams do. You pound the other team into submission and you don’t let up. Five runs in the sixth inning weren’t enough for the Yankees. They had to score another six in the next two innings combined with another five coming in the eighth inning alone. That was fun.

After Greg Bird’s three-run home run sailed into the left field seats in the top of the eighth, I raised my arms in triumph as if I were signaling a touchdown. First, because nothing makes me happier than the Yankees rendering Mets fans speechless which is what happened when the Yankees went up 11-1, and secondly, because I had just finished saying, “I’d like for Greg Bird to hit a home run right now and shut those people up,” about a second before he hit the home run. My brother’s girlfriend couldn’t believe it. Her eyes bugged out of her head, she pointed at me and said, “Oh my God you called it.”

So thanks to last night’s victory, the Yankees won this year’s edition of the Subway Series 4-2. Clearly, they are not ready to give up the city to the team over in Queens just yet.

Can I just say how ridiculous that whole notion is anyway? It’s going to take a lot more than one good year by the Mets to take over anything. And it would also have to happen in a year when the Yankees aren’t in the playoff hunt themselves. The sad truth is Mets fans will find any silly ol’ thing to cling to and then proceed to pound it into the ground. This year it’s “taking back the city.” They even made t-shirts about it after completely falling hook, line, and sinker for a narrative that was concocted by obviously bored New York sportswriters. Silly geese.

And when people refer to the Yankees as big brother to the Mets, they’re not lying. It goes for the fanbases as well. Mets fans will probably get mad at me for this, but I’ve been watching baseball a long time and I know it to be true: they have a younger sibling mentality when it comes to the Yankees and rooting against them. Mets fans will openly root against the Yankees even when the Yankees’ results have nothing to do with the Mets or their position in the standings where Yankees fans, or at least most of the Yankee fans I know, couldn’t care less about what the Mets do against the Braves or Marlins in July.

I think I have mentioned this story once before, but I will tell it again for new readers of the blog because it proves my point about some of the more annoying Mets fans in existence. When I was working at NBC, the Executive Vice President of my division and his assistant were huge Mets fans. And they were the worst kind of Mets fans, they were relentless shit talkers. In 2007, if you recall, the Yankees started off the season playing terrible baseball and it actually continued well into June and July. During those early to middle months of the 2007 season, I never heard the end of it from Rich and Darlene. And it wasn’t just in passing, they’d make it a point to walk all over the way over to my cubicle, which wasn’t even anywhere near Rich’s office, and trash talk.

And I took it. What could I say? The Yankees looked awful and the Mets didn’t. But slowly as the season went on, the Yankees got better, and actually locked up a playoff spot before the Mets could.

On the last Sunday of the season, I sat in my apartment and gleefully watched as Tom Glavine gave up six runs to the Marlins in the first inning of the Mets’ “if we don’t win, we’re out of the playoffs” game. I laughed my ass off.

The next day, I walked into the office, though the double glass doors, looked at my coworker and fellow Yankee fan Joe and yelled loud enough for everyone to hear me, “Isn’t it a glorious Monday morning?” He laughed, we ‘high fived’ each other and I walked to my cubicle.

That’s all I did. I didn’t run over to Rich and Darlene’s area and gloat. I ignored them. By noon, I guess Darlene couldn’t take it, and she walked over to my cubicle. She said something to the effect of, “Come on, let us have it.” And I told her that I don’t gloat until I have something to gloat about. I also said that the Yankees could lose to Cleveland in the first round so why should I gloat about anything? There’s one time when I wish I wasn’t right.

So what’s the point to all of this blathering on and on? Oh, right, the point is, I get enjoyment out of Mets’ fans misery when they gloat too soon. And I am not actually gloating. While I’m happy the Yankees were able to win the Subway Series and shut some people up, I know that there’s a lot more to be done. More important things like playing an actual, legitimate rival up in Toronto.

And with that said, LET’S GO YANKEES! Continue reading Sorry, Mets fans, but New York isn’t yours just yet

Daily News layoffs could affect how sports fans get their information

The New York Daily News was one of my go-to news sources for several years when it came to reading about the Yankees. I would check the game recap, read quotes, consider columnists’ concerns and opinions. It would provide fodder for my conversations whether we were praising and downplaying the article in question.

Now with the likes of Mike Lupica, Teri Thompson and others from Daily News gone, I wonder how that is going to affect coverage of the Yankees. The day-to-day stuff will be there, but it’s the peripheral articles and columns that are going to change. Continue reading Daily News layoffs could affect how sports fans get their information

Quick hit: 5 off day observations after a 5-1 road trip

The Yankees completed a successful 5-1 road trip and while they’re still in second place – because Toronto is ridiculous and won’t lose and when they do lose the Yankees lose – they have a few things to be happy about.

1) Didi Gregorius is on fire! I wrote about how well Didi has been doing since the All-Star break and he continued his hot hitting in Boston. He hit a home run yesterday, went 2-4 on the day and raised his season BA to .272.

2) So is Stephen Drew! Can you believe it? Drew is now batting .211 on the season which seemed like an impossibility just a week ago.

3) The Yankees did what they needed to do. They beat bad teams. Sure, they dropped that frustrating game on Monday night and lost the chance to gain a game on the Blue Jays, but they came right back and beat Boston two out of three after sweeping Atlanta. This is how they need to play in order to make the playoffs. They must stop playing down to their opponents and walk all over them instead.

4) Chicks still dig the long ball. I’m easy to please when it comes to watching baseball. I like home runs and I got five of them yesterday.

5) #DnA. If you don’t recognize this, it’s the hashtag the Yankees like to use when referring to the Dellin Betances/Andrew Miller combo. Yes, they pitched in a game that you didn’t want to see them in yesterday afternoon but they are money and Joe Girardi knows that. It’s not his fault the rest of the bullpen couldn’t lock down a win.

Happy Thursday.
Continue reading Quick hit: 5 off day observations after a 5-1 road trip