“ECKSTEIN!!! MIENTKIEWICZ!!! It’s the American League Championship Series, tonight on Fox!!!”
That’s kind of how the upcoming Red Sox/Yankees series feels:
Kelly!!! Greene!!! It’s Red Sox vs. Yankees, next!!!
The Red Sox have fallen all over their swords in their World Series title defense, while the Bombers have been decimated by injuries during Derek Jeter‘s final season. And yet, the three-game set actually means something to New York, somehow lingering four games back in the Wild Card race. Though it’s a long shot, there’s still a shot.
BSI: What’s the mood around the team? The division seems to be out of reach but the Yanks, against all odds, are just four games out of a Wild Card spot. Is there a chance?
YGY: I would safely assume that after losing two of three to the Blue Jays on the road, and losing two of three to the Tigers as well, the mood around the team has to be gloom and doom. My guess is that reality is starting to set in, and this group realizes they failed miserably in 2014. With the combination of injuries and ineffective bats, it was just more than this team could overcome.
While they are only four games out of the final Wild Card spot, it might as well be 20 games. The Yankees haven’t been able to put it all together long enough to overcome a lead like four games. Again, it goes back to ice cold bats. If the pitching can’t allow any runs ever to win ballgames, you’re going to lose a lot of ballgames.
BSI: If you’re running this team, do you let Masahiro Tanaka pick up a baseball in September?
YGY: If I’m running this team, absolutely no way does Masahiro Tanaka pick up a baseball the rest of the way. After the reported soreness in his arm after a simulated game late last week, I’d be shocked if he doesn’t go under the knife for Tommy John surgery no matter what happens. Supposedly, it’s nothing more than a conditioning issue, but I’d be ordering an MRI on his elbow every time he touched a baseball until next spring training.
BSI: There’s a lot of money coming off the books this winter – $80+ million could field a competitive team – who’s your top free agent target?
YGY: There is a lot of money coming off the books after this season, but the problem is, a big chunk of it is returning in Alex Rodriguez. As you well know, the luxury tax issue is something the Yankees are going to have to deal with until their collection of albatross contracts is all off the books in A-Rod, C.C. Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, Brian McCann and Carlos Beltran. These contracts prevented the Yankees from going all-in on Rusney Castillo, and we know where he ended up.
In a perfect world, and if the luxury tax had no bearing on the offseason plan, I’d re-sign Chase Headley and go all-in for both Max Scherzer and Jon Lester. With a glaring need at shortstop, there is a guy in the State of Colorado who would fit the bill just fine, and he has a nice price tag hanging around his neck as well. Until the Yankees can develop top shelf talent year after year, they’re going to have to spend big dollars and empty the system of what prospects they have to re-tool weaknesses of the big league roster.
YGY: In a way, I feel bad for Jesus Montero, and in a way I don’t. He, like Pineda, has never lived up to expectations. I get the fact that he came to camp overweight and damn near ate himself out of the game. But, with that said, what does it say about the scout who felt it appropriate to represent his organization by mocking a guy who is struggling with his weight? I’d expect that from Yankees fans towards a guy like Mo Vaughn, or Red Sox fans towards a guy like Cecil Fielder, but for a scout, who is a professional in the game? That guy should be embarrassed and now unemployed.
Here’s all the info on the upcoming series:
Tuesday, September 2nd – First pitch: 7:05 PM
RHP Joe Kelly (0-1, 3.86) vs. RHP Shane Greene (4-1, 3.09)
TV: NESN, MLB Network Radio: 93.7 WEEI (check for your local affiliate on the WEEI Red Sox Radio Network)