The Yankees had more outgoing pitchers than batters in the trade deadline clear out but there were less new faces on the pitching staff than there were batters with starters, Luis Cessa and Chad Green who had been around on and off since the beginning of year suddenly thrust into the limelight. Let’s see who over-achieved and who under-achieved…
I would be the first to admit that I didn’t expect to see the Yankees have their best month of the season in August. With the departure of Andrew Miller and Carlos Beltran it seemed so unlikely. Just as unlikely as Ronald Torreyes leading the team in batting average. Who could guess?
What: King Lear by William Shakespeare
Who: Royal Shakespeare Company
Where: Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-Upon-Avon, UK
In the recent Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) presentation of Hamlet, a classroom scene is created at the beginning at which the title of the play is spoken to announce young Hamlet’s graduation and then the scene is cleared and the play proper begins. I think it was meant to be clever but really it served no purpose. At the beginning of this performance of Lear a group of maybe 10 actors take the stage shrouded in something like lepers’ attire or flimsy beggar garb as shelter against the cold night. When the actors enter for the first scene proper they leave hastily too – shooed away. But this time the importance of this scene is not lost on the rest of the production. Rather, it adds. And like most everything here, it is solid and meaningful.
If the Yankees made some radical changes to their batting line up in July with the departure of Carlos Beltran that was nothing to the way that they changed their pitching staff around.
Let’s recap… At the end of last year, the Yankees signed Aroldis Chapman for 4 minor league prospects including Caleb Cotham who had seen some action in the Majors in 2015. Now, Cotham has hardly set the world alight since joining the Cincinnati Reds (0-3, 7.40 ERA) but even so Chapman was a controversial signing. He was being investigated under the Major Leagues’ domestic violence ruling, was likely to be suspended and anyway, he was a closer – and the Yankees had one of the finest closers in all baseball, in 2015, in Andrew Miller.
When I was writing my coverage of the New York Yankees in Spring Training and April, I mentioned that this team looked like it could be an echo of the team that represented the Bronx Bombers in 1989.
(see for example my article “And on the Eighth day the Yankees did nothing” https://twilightdawning.com/2016/03/04/the-new-york-yankees-off-season-update-january-february-2016-and-on-the-eighth-day-the-yankees-did-nothing/ )
Little did I realise how much…
What: Bob James Quartet
When: 1-3 August 2016
Where: Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club, London
Whenever you hear mention of Bob James one of the above will inevitably be mentioned. But when you come to see a Bob James show like this series of dates at Ronnie Scott’s, there is little in sight or sound that would fit that description. Sure, Mr James is keen to come up with carefully arranged material but that was never a crime and the solos and improvisation are as adventurous if not as radical as much you will hear in modern jazz. So why does Mr James have such a rough ride from some reviewers who have filed him under “bland” forty years ago and left him there?
In June, some of the pitchers that the Yankees felt they could rely upon started to creak. Meanwhile, some of those who looked like they weren’t going to perform began to improve. Rollercoaster. The team ERA during June increased from 3.75 in May to just below 5. No point in your batters improving if this is going to happen!