Last night the Yankees won the battle of the instant replay in a 5-4 win at Cleveland. Two overturned calls in the Yankees favor and the fourteen game stretch against first and second place teams begins with a win.
The battle to stay in the race for a playoff spot is dubious at best for these Yankees. Consider the Yankees recently lost two of three at less than power-house San Diego. The 9-0, twenty hit attack Tuesday night in Chicago was sandwiched between two demoralizing defeats and the Yankees were 2-4 on the road trip before arriving in Cleveland.
Manager Joe Girardi has suggested the Yankees might just get on a streak and make up some ground. Girardi has made some changes recently, which might only be temporary, but at least show, for the time being, the Yankees are willing to make necessary moves to keep the team's hopes alive. Alex Rodriguez has been relegated to the role of designated hitter against only left handed pitchers. If Girardi sticks to the plan, Rodriguez will not get a start in any of the three remaining games in Cleveland. Nathan Eovaldi has been replaced in the rotation by Chad Green, who is Friday night's starter. Seems as if this is only a temporary move but whether Eovladi remains in the bullpen or returns to the rotation might well be determined by the performances of Green and others. including Thursday's winning pitcher, Ivan Nova. Eovaldi, who throws 100 mph heat, could make a case for himself as a late inning phenom. We can hope, because a return to the rotation for Eovaldi doesn't appear to be on anyone's wish list, given his recent home run prone starts.
Then there is the case of Rob Refsnyder, who got the call to start in right field over the struggling Aaron Hicks last night. Refsnyder has proven he can hit and has earned more playing time and should play, especially if the Yankees continue to use Carlos Beltran in the left handed platoon of designated hitter.
So while the wheels are turning in Girardi's daily lineup, the elephant in the club house remains the upcoming trade deadline and the daily rumors. As the Yankees struggle to just get above .500 for the season the rumors persist, as well they probably should.
This is actually a fun time to be a Yankees fan, though the struggles we can do without. This trade deadline could be one where Brian Cashman could begin to reshape the Yankees for some years to come. Anything is possible when it comes to trades, though don't expect any veteran players with no trade clauses to be moved. Cashman has performed in recent years in unexpected ways, making under the radar type deals.
We'll take a closer look at that a week from today, on the eve of the second half of the season.