My frustration in previous makeshift competitive years of not winning the division was always seemed to boil down to just how damn winnable the division was. Rebuilding and being competitive for longer than an oddball division title turned one playoff win is a move I’d rather get behind, but boy did this series show the gap between the AL Central and everyone else. With teams that include a World Series hangover, two teams in the twilight of a competitive roster, and a 100 losses squad, it’s really the Indians controlling their own destiny as everybody else replans and rebuilds. The East, meanwhile, is a different kind of rat race. To the Bronx to see how the other half lives.
It’s hard to get frustrated at a game like Friday’s when they’re the losses you expected to happen this year. Getting runners in scoring position in continues to be probably the most aggravating thing, but aside from Anderson through Abreu there really wasn’t a sequence in the lineup I thought could get consistent consecutive hits (and with those two slumping it’s tough to rely on sequences like Wednesday’s fourth inning as much). Continued to be an issue tonight with six left on. Aside from a run off Chapman for the truest Cub haters, not too much to draw from in this. Five unearned runs and more sloppy play at first (Jose getting DH duty the next night probably a good move).
“Live by the long ball” still seems to be the theme here. Red hot Avi has a late three run homer to cut most of the tension, Gonzalez long cruising by then. Both teams seemed impatient this series in their own ways, Yankees by swinging at a lot of early count pitches and White Sox by looking the part most of the bat then tensing up and swinging at bad late pitches. (Overall we’re having less really bad at-bats, but we’re still striking out a LOT). Games like these are where I like Miguel as a pure innings eater- not expecting numbers like 60 pitches through 6, but there’s more upside than not to keeping a pitcher like him around for the rebuild (have only heard a handful of rumors that say otherwise, anyway). The ninth was more stressful than it needed to be, but I’m chalking that up to Gonzalez trying to figure out his limits and Robertson being out of place in a non-save situation.
Going into the rubber match, all that really mattered to me was looking competitive against Tanaka, though that didn’t pan out aside from some nice consecutive hits capped off by an Abreu RBI double (hopefully the three hits gets him going). These aren't the “I’m just trying to find myself” Pinstripes anymore: Bronx bombers unloaded on us, the death punch being Aaron Judge hitting the farthest home run in human history. It’s probably the pettiest thing possible to pick apart one play in an eight run loss, let alone a no-call strike, but it’s tough for a young pitcher to have to adjust the approach then adjust after giving up a leadoff triple. It didn’t open the floodgates, but it doesn’t make life any easier for a pitcher whose second major league start is at Yankee Stadium when a win takes the series. The momentum never comes back the Palehose’s way, Yankees win, thuhhh-uhh-uhh Yankees win.
Would definitely not want to be in the AL East this year (can’t think of a season I ever would have). Any series against their teams will be great to gauge our progress. Right now, progressing as expected.
I'm not proud of the title but it's late and I can't think of a Rangers pun fast enough
(Credit Chicago Tribune, please don't sue)