Will Leitch wrote a pretty great article in New York Magazine the other day, pretty much perfectly capturing the zeitgeist of Yankees baseball in the early 21st century. The upshot: this year, as in just about every other year in recent history, the Yankees’ regular season has been something of a formality, though not one without problems. The playoffs are basically a formality, even if the team is far from perfect, and those imperfections — rotation problems, etc. — sort of define the April-September portion of the season as a slightly miserable, though by no means bad proposition. An “amiable slog” as Leitch puts it.
Ultimately, Leitch believes, this is the definition of “The Girardi Era,” as he calls it. And he contemplates whether those annoying little flaws can be overcome this fall. But he also notes that like everything else in the postseason, it’s more a matter of good fortune, not design, and that as such, you can’t really do anything about it but sit and wait to see what happens.
I’ll admit it: the Yankees usually bore me. But I may be able to appreciate them as a piece of existential philosophy.
Yankees first baseman Greg Bird gave his team tons of confidence to hand him the everyday job at first base to start the 2017 regular season, batting .451/.556/1.098 with eight home runs in 51 spring at-bats. But he’s followed that up by hitting .107/.254/.214 through the first month of the regular season.
GM Brian Cashman doesn’t have any intent to demote Bird back to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports. Cashman said, “It’s not even an option for me in my mind right now, at all.”
Bird didn’t start Sunday’s game against the Orioles, a 7-4 loss in 11 innings. Lefty Wade Miley started for the Orioles, prompting manager Joe Girardi to put Chris Carter into the lineup at first base. If Bird isn’t able to figure things out, Carter might have an increased role on the team.
Rays starter Chris Archer threw his first pitch to Blue Jays outfielder Jose Bautista behind the slugger’s back with one out in the first inning of Sunday afternoon’s game in Toronto. Bautista and Archer then had a staredown. Home plate umpire Jim Wolf issued warnings to both teams. Bautista ultimately flied out to right field and he appeared to have a quick word with Archer on his way back to the dugout.
Archer could have been exacting revenge — euphemistically known as “protecting his teammate” — because Jays reliever Joe Biagini hit Rays outfielder Steven Souza in the seventh inning of Saturday’s game. Souza was forced to leave the game and underwent an X-ray, which came back negative. He was held out of Sunday’s lineup. Biagini’s pitch did not appear to be intentional.
The Jays won Sunday’s contest 3-1 with no further incident. The two clubs meet again in Tampa for a three-game series starting on May 5, so we’ll see if Sunday was the last of the bad blood between them.