Tonight the Blue Jays start a four-game series with the Yankees at Rogers.
The Yankees are 23-19, which only has then fourth in the AL East, 2 games back of the Jays and 8 games back of the Rays.
The Yankees are eighth in the AL in runs scored per game at 4.57 (Jays are sixth at 4.80). And they are seventh in the AL in runs allowed per game at 4.19 (Jays are eighth at 4.25).
I sent some questions to our friend Joshua Diemert from Pinstripe Alley (but he hangs out with us a bunch because we are such great people) and he did a great job answering them.
I guess I should start off with ‘Why is today’s starter marked TBD’?
We don’t really have five starters right now. Jhony Brito probably gets the ball, but that hasn’t been confirmed at the time of this writing.
While on starters, can I get a quick scouting report on the starters we are likely to see?
Brito is what he is: a likely quad-A long reliever that’s been pressed into the rotation because of injury. He can get MLB hitters out, especially if he can throw his changeup for strikes, but he’s also liable to get absolutely rocked. Four innings of shutout or one-run ball would be golden, but the Yankee bullpen is also pretty well-used.
Domingo Germán has settled into a league-average, bottom of the rotation pitcher that can surprise you when his curveball is on and frustrate you with his fastball.
Gerrit Cole is as good as it gets in the American League, although his sudden rash of home runs raises eyebrows - maybe it’s just Rays Syndrome, maybe he’s back on his 2022 form where too many balls left the yard.
The jury is out on Nestor Cortes. I personally think he has a huge problem with the pitch clock, but whatever the issue is he’s just about the best pitcher in the AL the first two times through before melting down the third time in his last six outings.
Can we ask for injury updates on some guys. You have a lot of guys on the IL. Giancarlo Stanton? Oswald Peraza? Josh Donaldson (is he finished as a Yankee?), Carlo Rodon? Luis Severino?
Whoa boy. Let’s start with the easy ones.
Severino and Peraza are both on rehab assignments with minor league affiliates, so they should be back within a week or so. Donaldson should begin his rehab assignment this week as well.
Stanton’s timetable is a little more cloudy. although the slugger has been doing baserunning and defensive drills to test his lower half. Officially, Carlos Rodón got a cortisone shot and is targeting a July return. Unofficially there’s a little more doubt as to when the lefty will be back.
It’s tempting to write off some of these guys because of age and accumulated injuries, but the Yankees are going to give all of them a chance at regular playing time. As recently as last year they were all league-average players, even Donaldson, and that is so much better than what their replacements have played like.
What are your thoughts, is someone going to catch the Rays, or are they going to spend the season in first place?
I wrote a whole post about this (https://www.pinstripealley.com/2023/5/12/23719803/yankees-mlb-al-east-rays-blue-jays-wander-franco-yandy-diaz-tyler-glasnow-playoffs-postseason)...;long story short I think the Rays are the most likely division winners, and the tough part for the Yankees is that to get to the Rays they have to pass the Blue Jays and Orioles. I still think the Yankees are a probable playoff team, but they’ve ceded a lot of ground in the first two months, especially in the division race.
There are a few of guys not hitting at all for the Yankees. Are you worried about Isiah Kiner-Falefa, Jose Tervino, Anthony Volpe and Aaron Hicks?
Ah well, you see, I intensely dislike both IKF and Aaron Hicks. Hicks especially seems like a guy the Yankees are done with and just haven’t pulled the trigger on a DFA yet. Trevino’s mildly concerning, taking a step back both offensively and defensively from last year, and I’m not worried at all about Anthony Volpe - the guy is so much fun when he gets on base. He’ll torment every pitcher.
Who is your favourite Yankee to watch?
I said two weeks ago that the only Yankees worth watching right now are Cole, Volpe, Michael King and Aaron Judge. Of those four, there’s just something to a dominant starting pitcher that is very appealing to watch, especially because Cole seems to have adapted well to the pitch clock - get ball, chuck ball, get out, get ball again.
Four games above .500, but in fourth place, how are Yankees’ fans feeling? Are they calling for Cashman and Boone to be fired, or is calm prevailing?
There’s a section of Yankee fandom won’t be happy until the team goes 175-0 in a 162 game season. Having said that, there’s definitely some frustration with Brian Cashman and his struggles building depth - when you have Judge and Stanton and Rizzo and Donaldson, guys that you know are going to need IL time, your bench has got to be better than the pretty motley crew the Yankees have had the last 3-4 years. Personally, I’m coming around to the idea that the Yankees could just use some fresh blood in the GM chair.