Yankees observations after ugly loss | Keep Domingo German as starter, not Frankie Montas

MILWAUKEE – It was a bad loss for the Yankees on Friday night. They trailed the Milwaukee Brewers 5-0 in the second set and ended up losing 7-6.

Frankie Montas was once again a big disappointment.

Clay Holmes was not close to him again in the first half.

Isiah Kiner-Falefa once again made a very expensive boot.


And yet again the Yankees sweat another injury to an important player. All-Star receiver Jose Trevino injured his knee on a foul, couldn’t finish the game, and the bad night ended with the Yankees hoping it wouldn’t turn into something serious.

“It got his knee pretty good,” manager Aaron Boone said.

Here are 5 observations from the Yankees:


The main reason the Yankees lost was their organizational decision not to pick their top five starters when Luis Severino returns next Wednesday. The setup for the rotational mix already has Domingo German, one of the Yankees’ most consistent rotational pieces, in the bullpen and Montas, their supposed big trade deadline upgrade, still starting. and once again bringing back memories of Sonny Gray, who couldn’t pitch in New York after being All-Star for the small market in Oakland.

It’s too early to tell if Montas can handle New York, but his six-week sample size is pretty horrendous. His ERA after eight starts with the Yankees is 6.35.

Like it or not, Montas is going to get a ninth start next week, then probably a 10th and an 11th heading into the playoffs because, in manager Boone’s words, “the record and the recent record.”



His last start was a 3 1/3 innings, four runs, four hits and four walks nodecision. Montas was lucky to come out of the first 3-0 because Milwaukee charged the bases before they didn’t score. After the Yanks scored two more in the second, Montas returned it, then some threw a Gopher three-pointer and two-out to Willy Adames. Two innings later, Boone unplugged that stench when Montas walked nine-hole rookie third center Garrett Mitchell, who entered the game with four hits on 29 career at-bats. That essence turned into fire when Lucas Luetge came on and Milwaukee scored two more to tie things up.

Later, German made his first bullpen appearance of the season and went 1 2/3 scoreless innings to keep the game 5-5. In the process, the right-hander lowered his season ERA to 3.12, less than half that of Montas as a Yankee.

The playoffs aren’t far away and the German is well past Montas, but he’s in the bullpen. How can that make sense?


Kiner-Falefa blamed himself for the Yankees’ loss. It goes too far because Montas’ early struggles and Holmes’ bad ninth inning are what really got them, but IKF’s bad mistakes are piling up. He has 15 errors for the season and it looks like most of them have been very costly.

But Boone is in the IKF corner to the point that he barely plays shortstop called Oswald Peraza.

“He was one of the best defensive shortstops in the league with a handful of bad mistakes or whatever,” Boone said of Kiner-Falefa ahead of Friday’s game. “Add it all up, he’s been a really good defensive shortstop for us and got a lot of big hits for us down our roster this year. And I think right now he’s playing really, really well for us.

Kiner-Falefa hit really hard. Counting his 1 for 3 with a ribbie and a sack on Friday, he’s a 333 hitter with two home runs and eight RBIs in his last 11 games. He’s also made a lot of good defensive plays over the past two weeks, but he’s had four errors in his last nine games and two have contributed to losses, the other being an August game at Anaheim.

Friday’s game was tied when IKF missed a backhand pick attempt from Adames’ two outs, runners on the corners to the hole. He thought he had to rush because Adames runs well, but he got hit enough that it should have been routine.

Peraza, by the way, hasn’t started a game or even been substituted for two Fridays. He could start short on Saturday, but if that happens it won’t be because Boone is on the IKF bench. Boone said before Friday’s game that he was considering playing Peraza.

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Aaron Judge’s pursuit of Roger Maris’ American League home run record has slowed over the past week. He hit Nos. 56 and 57 last Tuesday in Boston, but those were his only home runs in his last eight games, taking him five in the Yankees’ last 18 games to beat Maris’ 61 in 1961.

All the while, Judge has worked his way up to being a serious contender to become a Triple Crown winner. The club’s only Yankees are two all-time greats, Lou Gehrig in 1934 and Mickey Mantle in 1956.

Judge will be the runaway winner for the AL home run title, his 123 RBI puts him 12 over Guardians third baseman Jose Ramirez for the league lead and he’s suddenly trying to win a title at bat. A .489 hitter in his last 12 games, Judge’s batting average is .311. That ranked fourth in the AL through Friday and was just eight percentage points behind Twins utility player Luis Arraez’s best .319.

Judge had another strong performance Friday night with two singles and an intentional walk.

“I think I’ve stopped being amazed,” Boone said. “It’s been a remarkable season and a remarkable player.”


Aaron Hicks isn’t a dead walking Yankee even though Harrison Bader thinks he’s out of IL and handed over the starting center job early next week. That was Hicks’ position and he’ll probably never get it back even though he still has $39 million and three years left on a $70 million contract that was disastrous for the Yankees.

Just a few days ago, there was a lot of speculation that Hicks would never start another game for the Yankees and be traded or DFA after the season. It fueled Hicks’ new rock bottom, his terrible left-field play at Yankee Stadium that led to fans chanting Joey Gallo’s name and an in-game bench.

Due to Yankees injuries, Hicks has started his last three games after having had no at-bats in the previous three. His last two have been two-hit games. Friday. he narrowly missed adding a third hit, a game-breaking homer in the seventh inning. His drive to the right was long gone, but his bent foul just a few feet. He retired on the next pitch, but that at-bat was a reminder of what Hicks can bring to a team when healthy and well.

Two good games won’t clean the slate for what has been a terrible season — Hicks is hitting just .212 with six home runs and 36 RBIs in 118 games — but it could give Boone renewed faith.

Andrew Benintendi may or may not return from his wrist surgery before the end of the season, and if he doesn’t, rookie Oswaldo Cabrera will likely get the first shot at playing regularly on the left. Hicks could also be there. Perhaps Hicks’ last two games lead to a long hot streak that at least allows him to finish the season strong. And then the Yankees can figure out what they want to do with Hicks, who still has $30.5 million and three years left on his seven-year, $70 million deal.


Boone took offense after Friday’s game when asked if he was worried again about Holmes, who missed the game allowing a ninth-inning run on two hits and two walks, the final blow being a Mitchell single.

“Tonight was a struggle, but other than that he’s throwing really well,” Boone said.

Very well?

It’s exaggerated. Holmes’ last scoreless outing was in five appearances. Last Tuesday, he entered the 10th inning with the Yankees up three runs in Boston and Boone had to call on Wandy Peralta to sideline the Red Sox in a 4-3 win.

Overall, Holmes’ command is much closer to what it was during his spectacular first half than it was during his five-out streak from July 31 to August 14, when he threw a 15.75 ERA with four walks and three hits for four. sleeves. But he’s allowed four runs, three earned, in three innings in his last three outings and Boone still says his closer situation is fluid.

This is not an endorsement for Holmes. It’s also a scary situation for the Yankees, who are about three weeks out from the playoffs without having a ninth-inning guy to tidy up the teams. The Yanks badly need Holmes to get back to where he was in the first half when nearly every hitter he faced either hit or beat grounders into the dirt because his lead was so good. They’re running out of time for Holmes to come back, and that could be a problem going forward, as Boone has better options in his bullpen unless Aroldis Chapman winds his clock back a few years or turns his recent two good ones. rehab outings in a hot sequence. .

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Randy Miller can be reached at [email protected].

James R. Rhodes