Judge and Cole not enough, Yankees leave it to Cashman to do the rescue act

Gerrit Cole and Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees

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In what was deemed a must-win series, Gerrit Cole reached the pinnacle of his season, delivering an extraordinary performance with seven shutout innings. The return of Aaron Judge to the lineup since June 3 injected further hope into the team, as he managed to get on base three times.

However, despite their best efforts, the Yankees found themselves facing a daunting reality by the end of the night that ended in a 1-0 loss. The Orioles had extended their lead to nine games, leaving the Yankees trailing significantly in the division race. Even more pressing was their position in the wild-card race, where they now sat 3.5 games out. The situation had shifted from concerning to critical, demanding immediate action.

The focus now squarely falls on Cashman, the Yankees general manager, who holds the responsibility of acquiring reinforcements for Aaron Judge and the team. If there was any hope for a miraculous turnaround with Aaron Judge’s return, the time for wishful thinking is over. With only three days remaining before the trade deadline, it’s imperative that the Yankees wake up to the urgency of their situation and make decisive moves to strengthen their chances in the playoff race. The stakes have never been higher, and the clock is ticking loudly for the Yankees’ postseason aspirations.

Yankees lack firepower despite Judge and Cole leading them

On a night where Aaron Judge’s bat remained silent with an 0-for-1 performance but demonstrated excellent plate discipline with three walks, the rest of the Yankees’ offense failed to ignite, mustering only four singles. Unfortunately, this squandered a remarkable outing by the formidable Gerrit Cole, who once again proved his worth on the mound. Despite Cole’s sterling performance, the Yankees (54-49) found themselves stifled by Orioles’ rookie right-hander Grayson Rodriguez and four relievers.

The current Yankees roster appears to lack the firepower needed to propel them back into the wild card race. Their offensive struggles are evident, currently ranking 13th in the American League in runs scored this month, even trailing the Royals in production, which is a source of great embarrassment.

In truth, manager Aaron Boone’s lineup seems burdened with several easy outs, all of whom were exposed by the young Orioles’ sensation, Grayson Rodriguez. Credit must be given to Rodriguez for his impressive close-to-100-mph throws and the ability to match Cole inning for inning. His can-do attitude is seemingly turning the Orioles’ season into a miracle.

Yankees ace Gerrit Cole starts against the Orioles at Camden Yards on July 28, 2023.
ESPN

However, the Yankees should not have fallen victim to this onslaught, especially when their ace, Gerrit Cole, was in Terminator mode, relentlessly delivering zeroes on the scoreboard. A genuine contender must capitalize when their star pitcher performs at such an elite level. To see Cole end up with a no-decision in such circumstances is truly unforgivable, leaving the team longing for greater consistency and execution to complement their ace’s brilliance.

As the devastating walk-off home run by Anthony Santander unfolded in the ninth inning on Friday night, it surely evoked the same agony in Yankees GM Brian Cashman as it did in the hearts of the team’s passionate fans. The 1-0 loss to the Orioles felt like a meticulously crafted plan to break the spirit of the entire franchise, from ownership to the players and even those watching from the comfort of their homes, who may have felt the urge to hurl their TVs in frustration as the Orioles jubilated.

Aaron Boone, the Yankees’ manager, recognized that merely labeling the defeat as “tough” would not suffice. He emphasized this point twice, yet even then, words failed to fully capture the depth of dejection permeating the clubhouse.

While speaking eloquently about bouncing back on Saturday against the Orioles, Boone’s assessment that the Yankees had given their best was remarkably accurate. Up until the critical moment when Tommy Kahnle’s change-up met Santander’s resolute bat, soaring over the right field wall, the Yankees had executed nearly flawlessly, doing everything right.

It was a night of heartbreak for the Yankees and their fans, with the agony reverberating from the field to the front office. Despite the resilience displayed by the team, the anguish from the crushing defeat will linger, leaving everyone searching for answers and seeking redemption in the next encounter with the Orioles.

The Orioles’ bullpen, along with their rookie sensation, received invaluable support from some truly splendid defense that denied the Yankees of multiple potential hits. Notably, in the top of the eighth inning, Anthony Santander’s remarkable diving effort in right field prevented Anthony Volpe from achieving an extra-base hit. Shortly after, second baseman Adam Frazier showcased his defensive prowess with a spectacular diving stop on a ground ball from Anthony Rizzo, potentially saving a run from scoring had the ball gone through.

The Yankees’ hopes of mounting substantial rallies were thwarted in the fourth and seventh innings. With runners stationed at first and second and only one out, the potential for momentum-building rallies seemed promising. However, the hopes were dashed as Giancarlo Stanton and Harrison Bader consecutively grounded into double plays, extinguishing the chances of turning those situations into fruitful scoring opportunities.

The Orioles’ stellar defense and effective bullpen combined with the Yankees’ untimely double plays led to a night of missed opportunities, leaving both teams with contrasting emotions as they navigated through the intricacies of the game.

Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees is playing against the Orioles at Camden Yards on July 28, 2023.

Now it goes to Cashman to do the rescue act

Brian Cashman and Aaron Boone are well aware of the situation they face. Cashman now stands at a crossroads, faced with a critical decision that could significantly impact the team’s future. He has two paths before him, each presenting its own set of challenges and opportunities.

The first option is to boldly launch a full-scale pursuit of Cody Bellinger, even if it means going above and beyond to secure his services. The Yankees must be prepared to make an enticing offer that could potentially outmatch other interested parties, preventing them from being left behind in the race for the Cubs’ power-hitting slugger.

However, the predicament lies in the intense competition for Bellinger’s talents. Numerous teams have set their sights on him, intensifying the need for Cashman to be relentless and persistent. The lessons learned from the past, such as the missed opportunity with Luis Castillo in 2022, serve as a stark reminder that there can be no room for complacency.

Cashman must remain proactive and steadfast, ensuring that he doesn’t take “no” for an answer. The pursuit of Bellinger requires a strategic approach, making sure the Yankees remain at the forefront of negotiations, leaving no chance for rival teams to outmaneuver them as they did in the past.

The path ahead demands decisive action, and the outcome will undoubtedly shape the Yankees’ future trajectory. With the weight of the decision resting on Cashman’s shoulders, the stakes are higher than ever as the team seeks to secure a crucial asset that could bolster their chances of success in the seasons to come.

Option Two presents a strategic path for the Yankees: embarking on a re-tooling process for the upcoming 2024 season, necessitating a thorough evaluation of their young talent. Brian Cashman acknowledges the unpredictability of late July, recognizing that while nothing is mathematically impossible, he remains grounded in reality, refraining from overly optimistic expectations. A telling statistic, etched in his mind, reveals that the Yankees once held an 80 percent chance of making the playoffs (per Fangraphs.com), which has now dwindled to a mere 28 percent.

This decline is particularly alarming for a club with an extravagant $240 million payroll. There is a sense of urgency to avoid mirroring the Mets’ woes as a team that struggles despite its financial might.

Fans hold high expectations of Cashman as he navigates a delicate balance between re-building for the future and avoiding the collapse of the franchise. He aims to craft a next-generation contender without allowing the team to falter significantly. The Yankees must not suffer the fate of the 2018 Orioles, a team that endured multiple seasons of losing 100 or more games.

Undoubtedly, the Yankees still boast their pillars – Gerrit Cole and Aaron Judge – providing a solid foundation for the team over the next 3-4 years. However, it is increasingly evident what the 2023 Yankees truly represent: an offense plagued by inefficiency that slowly undermines the team’s performance. Numerous games, such as the recent Friday night defeat, bear witness to this ongoing struggle.

Thus, a critical juncture emerges for the Yankees, necessitating strategic decisions to strike a balance between preserving the team’s core and nurturing young talent. As they chart their course, the franchise must confront the reality of their present challenges while striving to pave the way for a competitive and promising future.

The Orioles showcased their impressive athleticism and speed, which proved to be a significant challenge for the aging Yankees. The offensive struggles were evident as the Yankees managed just four hits, with DJ LeMahieu and Anthony Rizzo contributing two of those hits, and Jake Bauers providing a crucial pinch-hit. The team’s inability to capitalize with runners in scoring position, going 0-for-3, and leaving six men on base further compounded their difficulties.

Gleyber Torres, who had been on an impressive 15-game hitting streak, endured an off-night, going 0-for-4, bringing an end to his streak.

Despite the standout performances by their pillars, Aaron Judge and Gerrit Cole, it was ultimately not enough to secure the victory. The loss served as a tough start to a critical 10-game stretch for the Yankees, as they faced formidable opponents in the Orioles, Rays, and Astros. With the trade deadline swiftly approaching on Tuesday, the pressure to perform and make strategic decisions looms large for the team. As they navigate through this pivotal juncture, the Yankees need to regroup, recalibrate, and find ways to harness their strengths and overcome their challenges to position themselves favorably for the remainder of the season. But decisive decisions are the key.

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One thought on “Judge and Cole not enough, Yankees leave it to Cashman to do the rescue act

  1. Yanks are done. It’s going to take a lot more than one hitter like Bellinger to improve this team. Boone will be gone after the season, a victim of Cashmans incompetence in constructing this roster and inability to develop young players.

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