Arizona just beat the Mets twice in New York while the Yankees split two games in Boston. The Yankees and Mets now have identical records: 57-56. For the wild card tournament spot in their respective conferences: Yankees five behind Boston in the loss column, Mets two behind Miami and St. Louis.
In the final week before the Aug. 1 trading deadline, the Mets "bought" outfielder Jay Bruce, while the Yankees "sold" relief pitchers Aroldis Chapman and Andrew Miller, then DH Carlos Beltran, the best hitter on the 2016 Yankees.
The Yankees claim to be simultaneously contending and playing top minor league players to build for the future. A casual view of last night's Mets lineup suggested minor league players. The Yankee lineup, which contains that extra spot for the DH, had only catcher Gary Sanchez but at DH, not catcher. Austin Romine caught for the Yankees with starter Brian McCann (.739 OPS, 15 HR) on the bench. Sanchez got four hits including a home run. Romine had two hits.
Sanchez has been DH in half of his Yankee games since replacing Beltran on the roster. It's unclear how he is gaining valuable experience by not catching but as DH he blocks Alex Rodriguez, who will play his final YANKEE game Friday Aug. 12 at the Stadium, which will be packed for the occassion.
The Yankees have only two players on their AAA SCRANTON/WILKES-BARRE RAILRIDERS who hit well enough to bring up. Here are their numbers in last night's 10-0 win over Lehigh Valley (70-47):
Tyler Austin: 1B, 3 (2 2B) for 5, OPS 1.061
Aaron Judge: RF, 2 (HR) for 4, OPS .844
So, whether it's Austin (also plays OF) or Judge, neither of whom has played in the major league, who is blocking that player? Rodriguez? Sanchez? Or Aaron Hicks, who again played right field for the Yankees yesterday?
Hicks was 0 for 2 when Yankee manager Joe Girardi had Rodriguez PH for Hicks in the 7th inning, Yanks down 4-2, with two runners on base. Rodriguez flied out but the Yankees scored five and won 9-4. Hicks is 26 years old and general manager Brian Cashman continues to have Girardi put Hicks in the lineup and not start Rodriguez. After the game Girardi said “My job description does not entail a farewell tour,” - New York Times
Hicks: 261 PA, .550 OPS, 4 HR
Rodriguez: 235 PA, .606 OPS, 9 HR
And what about the two utility players taking roster spots, one a former top prospect?
Rob Refsnyder: 144 PA, .664 OPS, 0 HR
Ronald Torreyes: 83 PA, .604 OPS, 0 HR
Torreyes plays so little he's almost completely forgotten by media people who mindlessly repeat the Cashman line that Rodriguez is blocking the potential future starters from getting major league experience this August. Obviously, Rodriguez could block only one player and only at DH, which is not a position for a young player anyway.
So, who is blocking whom?
And isn't all this more contradiction and deceit by people whose most positive attribute is expediency?
O, what a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive!