The Yankees dropped another game Tuesday night, a brutal 5-4 loss that included Andrew Miller’s first blown save in pinstripes and lasted 16 innings. It was New York’s fourth consecutive loss and its fifth in six games, dropping them to 3-6 in the nine games since the trade deadline. The Yankees let the non-waiver trade deadline pass by while only acquiring slumping former Mariners utility man Dustin Ackley. At the time the Yankees had a sizable advantage in the loss column over the Toronto Blue Jays for the American League East division lead, but now with the Jays surging that lead has shrunk to just a half game (still two ahead in the loss column).
It’s becoming increasingly difficult to understand the Yankees’ decision to essentially stand pat at the trade deadline, especially in contrast to what the Blue Jays did by acquiring David Price, who the Yankees had reported interest in, and Troy Tulowitzki. In the last nine games, New York has played like a team that could use some upgrades. Three areas that stand out are second base (obviously), the bench, and pitching (either starting or relieving).
The Yankees were in talks with the Padres to potentially acquire reliever Craig Kimbrel and second baseman Jedd Gyorko, but a deal never materialized. Despite Gyorko’s hefty and lengthy contract, he would’ve been a fine platoon option with some pop at the keystone. Craig Kimbrel is Craig Kimbrel. He’d be just fine wherever he goes.
While the Yankees pitching has been good, Ivan Nova’s return to the rotation bumped Adam Warren to the bullpen and manager Joe Girardi hasn’t found a way to use Warren effectively out of the bullpen. Last night’s appearance in a tie game in extra innings broke a streak of seven consecutive games Warren entered with a Leverage Index below 1.0 and instead of letting the former starter work multiple innings he was pulled after just one (likely necessitating a roster move for a fresh arm today).
The Yankees can’t afford to keep wasting Warren in low leverage situations. The most egregious recent example came last Saturday when a clearly gassed Nova, who was above his season high pitch count and had allowed three consecutive base runners, faced Justin Smoak with the bases loaded and one out in the sixth inning. It was time to use Warren before the Jays scored in that inning, but he came in after the grand slam with the Yankees already down 4-0.
As Kenny Ducey wrote in his last BP Bronx post, it isn’t time to panic yet. When the team is losing, it’s easy to criticize them for their shortcomings, especially when Ackley and Garrett Jones are the bats coming off the bench in extra innings. Still, the pitching has been very good for the most part and that’s very important. They could use some more runs, though, and that starts with the top of the order making some noise.
(Photo: Andy Marlin-USA Today Sports)