As the Yankees fell to the Blue Jays the past three days in Toronto the conversation turned to the anemic batting order and bench in the Bronx. Rightfully so, the Yankees were not hitting and a check of the batting averages up and down the lineup demonstrated the hitting malaise. What is Brett Gardner hitting? Starlin Castro is batting that low? Not to mention the mega slumps of Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez that have the Yankees struggling to win every time out.
Then the conversation shifted to Michael Pineda, who is on the shortest leash imaginable. There's talk of Pineda still having options to the minors and that that window will apparently close on June 14 because of accrued service time. So the discussion has become should Pineda be sent to AAA Scranton to join Luis Severino?
Pineda pitched 5 2/3 innings of one run ball last night, and the conversation changed to his next start for the Yankees--not in Triple A. Realistically, Pineda is still living in the world of "you're only as good as your last start," but at least there was progress.
So instead of talking about the offense and possible trade deadline moves it could lead to, there is the new conversation of how can we keep Rob Refsnyder in the lineup every day. Refsnyder had the first Yankees hit of the game with a sixth inning double. He later came around to score the tying run. Refsnyder was part of the four run uprising in the seventh that gave the Yankees the runs they needed on a night the big three of the bullpen, Dellin Betances, Andrew Miller and Chapman, were touched up for a run apiece. Hey, even the great Mariano Rivera had some struggles in getting at least a handful of his saves.
Pineda will get another start and Refsnyder deserves a regular spot in the lineup, be it at second base as on Thursday, resting one of the middle infielders, or at third base, right field or perhaps a new position, first base, where the offensive production continues to frustrate. With the season ending injury to Greg Bird and the major struggles of prospect Aaron Judge, Refsnyder is currently the Yankees best hope of help from the farm offensively.
We know the conversation can change again tonight in Baltimore, but this Refsnyder talk should continue for awhile. Hopefully, it does.