All posts by thomaswevcu

The 2019 Yankees: Rolling with the Punches

The New York Yankees have won 14 of their last 19 games and are two games behind the Tampa Bay Rays in the AL East. Who do they Yankees have to thank for their recent success? Aaron Judge? Giancarlo Stanton? Luis Severino?

Those are the players who you think of when the Yankees come to mind, but the team can thank players like Gio Urshela, DJ LeMahieu, Luke Voit, Clint Frazier and Brett Gardner for this spur of wins.


Urshela, Voit and LeMahieu all stepped up in the Yankees road trip out West. The Yankees won six of nine games in their series against the Angels, Giants and Diamondbacks.

LeMahieu currently leads the team in batting average at .321 and Voit is leading the team in RBIs with 29.


Veteran pitching has come into play as the Yankees have won every start that CC Sabathia has made this season. In his 18th and last season, Sabathia continues to play a part on this young Yankees team.

Although the Yankees will ride these wins as long as they can, the timetables for return of their stars is up and down.

The Yankees activated Clint Frazier and Miguel Andujar from the injured list on Monday. Neither had a hit in their return, but bringing key components back to this team will continue to be a step in the right direction for the Bronx Bombers.


This is a Yankees team that currently only has four opening day starters in the lineup that are healthy. The Yankees were happy to welcome back catcher Gary Sanchez who missed 11 games before returning.

The most notable players who continue to stay on the IL are Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, Dellin Betances, Luis Severino, Aaron Hicks and Didi Gregorious. These are all major impact players who the Yankees are going to need going forward.

Their timetables of return range from June all the way until August. Stanton was on pace to be back this week, but is now nursing a shoulder injury. The upside for Stanton’s return is that his bicep strain is completely healed.


Judge’s injury is being treated very carefully at this point by the Yankees organization. There is currently no timetable for his return. Yankees manager Aaron Boone confirmed Judge’s injury was significant and little has been determined on when he can play again.

Betances and Severino are both having to deal with injuries to their throwing arms. Betances has been shut down since early April and Severino was scratched from his opening day start. He will make his return in June right now, but Severino will be sidelined until at least July.


Hicks enjoyed a large contract extension of seven years, $70 million this offseason but has not featured in a game this season. Hicks is dealing with back pain and currently is looking to return at some point in May.

Gregorious’s injury is a lot more fragile than a lot of these other injuries. He underwent Tommy John surgery after the Yankees lost in the AL Division series last September. Gregorious had been one of the most consistent players for the Yankees all last season. Depending on how he progresses, the Yankees will have to make a decision on when to bring him back.


The Yankees should enjoy this win streak as long as they can. Many players are having to step up for the team with all of these injuries. They hope to continue their success in a three-game series with the Mariners, which they started with a 7-3 win last night.

LeBron’s Near Triple Double not Enough in Lakers Debut

An interesting stat ran across the screen as the TNT crew talked about how LeBron James’ teams have won at least 50 games in the last six seasons – the Los Angeles Lakers have not won 50 games since the 2010-2011 season, in which Kobe Bryant was still a major part of their team.

LeBron came out to a mix of cheers and boos from the crowd in Portland as he geared up for his first game as a Laker. LA made many moves in the offseason including signings of James, Rajon Rondo, Javale McGee, Lance Stephenson and Michael Beasley.


The Lakers came out looking like they had put the pieces together, but their play declined after every quarter. LeBron finished with 26 points, 12 rebounds and 6 assists in his debut for the Lakers, but this collective team showed that they have a long way to go. Josh Hart led the bench in scoring with 20 points, Brandon Ingram added 16 and Kyle Kuzma put up 15. These sound like fine outputs, but the stat lines do not show how much this team struggled. They made their first three pointer in the third quarter and were outrebounded by the Blazers big men.

Here is a quarter-by-quarter analysis of how the Lakers started their season:

It did not take long for LeBron to get things going, throwing down back-to-back tomahawk slams in the first three minutes of the game, instantly making Moda Center come alive. LeBron picked up right where he started as he continued to show his leadership and court vision in the first quarter. The King seemed as though he had a hand in every possession, just as he has done for most of his career. LeBron had no problems getting to the basket and continued to get the ball to his young teammates for easy scores. Taking his first break with three minutes to go in the first quarter, the Lakers went into the timeout with a six-point lead. The Blazers immediately took advantage of his absence and went on an 11-2 run to take control of the game. This development shows the kinds of game plans that Western conference teams will take against LeBron’s Lakers, while also showing just how big an impact LeBron had been having on the LA offense.


The Blazers started off the second quarter just how they finished the first. Frustration from the Lakers became evident as they turned the ball over and continued to take bad shots. The pressure mounted for the Lakers as they went down by double digits. LeBron also picked up his third foul in the first half, which did not help the Lakers’ case as they continued trying to get back into the game. The Lakers rallied as LeBron sat on the bench for the last four minutes of the second quarter, surging off of solid play from youngster Josh Hart and veteran Rajon Rondo. The entire team failed to score a three pointer for the whole first half. Despite going 0-12 from beyond the arc, they only trailed by two heading into the second half.

The Lakers continued to struggle from the three-point line in the second half, a main contributor to their loss. They saw Brandon Ingram come to life in the third quarter (off of many LeBron passes) to bring the Lakers back into the game. The third quarter turned out to be the most exciting one so far as the Lakers and Blazers both upped the tempo and traded baskets back and forth.


LA looked sloppy for the first six minutes to open the fourth quarter. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum caught fire for the Blazers as it seemed that the Lakers just did not have it. They got within two possessions throughout the fourth quarter, but just could not get over the hump. This was their 16th straight loss to the Portland Trail Blazers, but they will have three more chances to break this streak throughout the season. The Lakers and LeBron have their home debut on Saturday against the Houston Rockets.