The Yankees lost a game Friday night while Brian Cashman was holding a press conference to discuss the latest batch of injuries and physical setbacks. The 2019 season, to date, hardly could have been summarized better.
Eloy Jimenez and James McCann homered consecutively off Chad Green with one out in the seventh that widened the White Sox lead to 9-6. Rain that had been falling all evening worsened. The game was delayed at 9:51 p.m. The Yankees announced Cashman would have a media availability a few minutes later, ostensibly to discuss Dellin Betances’ injury setback. But it turned into a 20-minute session on the state of the club.
Cashman mentioned the team was not getting competitive play from the healthy guys during this injury storm. I followed up by asking him why and if he still had faith in those players. Cashman followed with a six-minute filibuster during which he noted he expected the game would ultimately be postponed and the Yankees stuck with a loss. At that moment, he was informed that already had occurred.
“See, everything is going my way right now,” the Yankees general manager joked.
The final was 9-6 and another moment to capitalize on an expected punching bag had come and gone. The White Sox had lost five straight, getting outscored 45-14. But J.A. Happ, one of the remaining frontline healthy players who needs to perform, wilted for the third time in three starts.
The Yankees staked Happ to 4-1 and 5-3 leads the veteran lefty gave away between walks and too-delectable pitches the White Sox smacked around. Happ was part of a spread-the-money-around offseason that was designed to make the Yankees more bulletproof. But he has an 8.76 ERA.
The Yanks received criticism from groups of fans and media for what was portrayed as being too frugal and not pursuing Bryce Harper or Manny Machado with relentless fervor. But the Yanks had position players they believed in or wanted to see more of. They categorized starting pitching as their main area of need and Patrick Corbin as their preferred free agent.
It is here in which they were financially cautious. They did not want to go beyond four years, and Corbin got six from the Nationals. On Friday night, while Happ withered, Corbin held the Pirates to one run in seven innings with 11 strikeouts to lower his three-start ERA to 2.84.
There is a long way to go in this season and those contracts (Happ got two years at $34 million), but so far he and James Paxton (imported in a trade) are not helping the rotation weather the sustained absence of ace Luis Severino.
“We have people who are capable, it is just a combination of, yes, are we hurt? We are are hurt, but we are still capable,” Cashman said. “But we have a lot of poor play going on simultaneously on the current active roster.”
The Yanks get their first injured player back Saturday when CC Sabathia makes his 2019 debut. But Gary Sanchez (calf) was placed on the injured list Friday, so the number out will still be 11. And the Yanks announced Betances did not feel good in a Thursday simulated game. Following testing Friday, it was determined he needs a cortisone shot that will keep him out at least another six or seven weeks.