Two issues resurfaced for the Yankees during an otherwise successful Sunday afternoon at the Stadium. One has an obvious remedy, the other might not.
Sonny Gray’s inconsistency returned, as he entered in the seventh inning with a 7-0 lead, allowed five hits to the eight batters he faced, gave up two runs and left to boos in the eighth. If Jonathan Holder hadn't pitched out of a first-and-third, none-out jam created by Gray in the eighth, Gray's line would have been even worse.
The fix, even though it's far too early to make that decision, might be leaving Gray’s name off the postseason roster.
The second matter is more pressing. Rookie of the Year candidate Miguel Andujar is having defensive problems at third. It didn’t impact the Yankees in their 7-2 victory over the Rangers, but it still bears watching.
Andujar pulled first baseman Luke Voit off the bag after fielding Adrian Beltre’s grounder behind third base in the second inning, and in the sixth, he couldn’t handle a grounder by Elvis Andrus. Voit helped Andujar in the sixth with a nice scoop at first on another errant throw.
Andujar, whose two-out throwing error allowed the Red Sox to tie the score in the ninth inning the previous Sunday, has a team-high 12 errors and is third highest in the league at the position.
Aaron Boone said he isn’t concerned. "It's going to be growing pains and it's going to be tough stretches that you have that's part of being a young player," he said. "I feel like he's made so many strides. I think this lately, maybe just laying back on some balls, letting it get the best of him a little bit. That's one of the real challenges of playing third base: right away reading how to attack the ball. If you're a little indecisive, those kind of plays can happen, and I think that's what's happening a little bit lately. But we've also seen him through this stretch make a lot of good plays . . . "
Andujar, speaking though his interpreter, said, "Definitely a tough game. That’s part of baseball. You're going to have days like that. You just gotta keep working and keep preparing yourself for the next opportunity . . . You gotta forget about it right away because you want to be ready for the next one, so you gotta be ready, right away, for the next opportunity. The game is not over, so you put that aside and focus.’’
Shortstop Didi Gregorius, who had a spectacular day in the field, is trying to encourage Andujar. "Everybody makes errors. It's how fast you let it go,’’ he said. "I always talk to him, 'just let it go and be ready for the next one.' He’s trying to make every play. Not everything goes your way. But you gotta learn to let it go. As a young guy coming up, I used to get like really [ticked] off. One thing I learned: The quicker you let it go, the better you will be.’’
Regarding Gray, who pitched three scoreless innings in relief against the White Sox last week, Boone said his role will not change, but the scenario he described sounded like more mop-up duty for the righthander. "Coming off obviously a huge outing in Chicago, today was a little bit more of a struggle, but we got to turn the page from it. Be that guy [who] we'll go to again in the long situation,'' Boone said. " . . . He’s still going to fill that role and still needs to be ready to fill a number of different roles because in that role, they come in different shapes and sizes.''
Gray had no excuses, saying, "There's no pressure. I came in a seven-to-nothing game. I knew what the deal was. I wanted to go out there and throw three innings in the game, and I wasn't able to do that."