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Yankees Hot Corner – A Memorial Day Weekend Roundup

First of all, I would just like to wish everyone a Happy Memorial Day to all those who have served our country or have loved ones who have served and made the ultimate sacrifice. It isn’t exactly the happiest day, but a day of remembrance, nonetheless, that our freedom isn’t free.

It’s been a hectic few weeks for the New York Yankees, but they’ve won seven of their last eight series and just took care of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at home. They lost their first game against the Houston Astros Monday afternoon, but they still have the opportunity to win the next two and take the series.

This will be more of a rundown of a few Yankees subjects that have been hot topics over the past week or so. It’s very hard to write something every night with so many series and moving pieces each day.

Tanaka Looks Excellent, Gray Does Not

Masahiro Tanaka and Sonny Gray have both dealt with a lot of ups and downs so far during this young season. While Tanaka has had more good than bad, he’s looked lost in some of his starts. Gray looks even worse, refusing to have two consistent starts back to back. During this latest series against the Angels, it was more of the same.

Tanaka pitched brilliantly in his effort against LA, throwing six strong with only one run given up. His fastball was moving and his splitter was on point most of the game. The bullpen kept the win for him but he deserved the quality start either way.

Gray didn’t make it through the fourth inning, pitching only 3.2 innings and giving up 5 runs, including a home run that broke the game open in an 11-4 loss. He once again fell into the trap of not attacking hitters, getting into trouble with control, and not being able to strike out hitters.

If the Yankees are going to contend for a World Series, they need these two men to be on their game. Gray most likely won’t be in the three man rotation come playoff time, but the Yanks will need him to step up if they’re in lock-step with the Boston Red Sox all season. Another wild card game could mean an early exit for this team as anything can happen in those games.

Torres Moves up in Lineup

After spending nearly every game in the nine hole, manager Aaron Boone finally seems to have enough faith in Gleyber Torres to move him up in the lineup.  Torres rose to fifth in the lineup on Monday afternoon against the Astros and will continue to bat there until further notice.

It’s a two-pronged move, as Torres has been producing, hitting .320 with nine home runs and 24 RBIs. It also gives some relief to Didi Gregorius, who has been struggling of late. The combined move will give one of the Yankees’ hottest hitters an extra at bat, while also sheltering a struggling one.

Torres became the youngest player in Major League history to homer in four straight games on Friday. The promotion to the five spot is well deserved, as Torres has shown flashes of brilliance throughout and does not seem fazed by the big moment.

Bird is Back

Greg Bird made his return to the Yankees on Sunday after missing the first two months of the season rehabbing after ankle surgery. Bird is no stranger to the DL, and after extended rehab stints in Trenton and Scranton-Wilkes/Barre, he is back patrolling first base where he belongs.

Bird comes back into a lineup that was already stacked but desperately needed him back. Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Gregorius have all been struggling, and plugging Bird back into that number four or five spot will bring new life to the lineup.

The 25-year-old’s return isn’t without a little controversy, as his return marked fan favorite Ronald Torreyes being sent down. While it was a necessary move, it sure was not a popular one. Relax though, Yankee fans; Torreyes will be back, and Bird will be an important piece of this run for the World Series.


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