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Around the Empire: Yankees news - 8/21/22

Aaron Boone sick of poor play; Oswaldo Cabrera continues to flash leather; Matt Blake addresses Frankie Montas’ rough outings; Giancarlo Stanton targeting return date; Clay Holmes injury update

New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

Sports Illustrated | Zach Koons: The Yankees offense continues to stall, scoring three or fewer runs in 13 of the last 16 contests as part of a 9-20 stretch to start the second half. They’ve seen their lead in the division shrink from a season-high of 15.5 games to just seven games after another uninspired loss to the Blue Jays yesterday afternoon. And in the postgame comments following their loss Friday night, the normally even-keel Aaron Boone finally began to show some frayed nerves.

“We should be ticked off right now and we need to start playing better. Plain and simple... I don’t give a crap about the [divisional] lead. Play better. We’ll handle it. You can talk about that — eight, nine, seven, 10 — we need to play better. If we play like this, it’s not going to matter anyway.”

New York Post | Greg Joyce: The rest of the team may be caught in a funk, but recently called-up rookie Oswaldo Cabrera has been doing his part to try to inject a spark into this lifeless stretch. The 23-year-old was brought up for his bat, but it’s his glove and defensive versatility that’s opened eyes. He started in right field on Friday, becoming the first player in Yankees history to start at three different positions in his first three big league games. A day after he made a spectacular catch to rob a home run, Cabrera made another highlight reel play, snagging a foul ball before crashing into the rolled-up tarp and suffering a bloody nose for his troubles.

New York Post | Greg Joyce: The start to Frankie Montas’ Yankees tenure has not gone how he or the team had hoped. The hard-throwing righty has surrendered 14 runs across his first 14 innings in pinstripes, taking the loss in Thursday’s series opener against the Blue Jays after ceding six runs in six innings on eight hits. Yankees pitching coach Matt Blake believes Montas is out-of-rhythm with his delivery and has leaned too heavily on the four-seamer and splitter at the expense of the sinker. The Yankees essentially swapped Montas for Jordan Montgomery in the rotation, with the latter thriving — 3-0 in his first three starts with the Cardinals giving up one run against seventeen strikeouts in 16.2 innings — since his deadline day trade to St. Louis.

Sports Illustrated | Max Goodman: We gained a little more insight into the timetable for Giancarlo Stanton’s return from Achilles tendonitis that has cost the slugger four weeks on the IL. He’s expected to get three-to-five ABs in each of two rehab appearances for the Double-A Somerset Patriots and is possibly targeting a return to the major league team in time for Thursday’s series opener against the Athletics. He can’t come back soon enough, with the offense seriously scuffling in his absence — in 80 games, Stanton is slashing .228/.309/.498 with 24 home runs, 61 RBI, and a 127 wRC+.

New York Daily News | Kristie Ackert: Clay Holmes has resumed throwing after heading to the 15-day IL with back tightness on Wednesday. Holmes was one of the most dominant relievers in the league through his first 38 appearances, pitching to a 0.46 ERA including a 29-game streak without allowing a run. He’s been nearly unplayable, particularly in the closing role, over his last 11 appearances with 11 runs allowed and ten walks. The Yankees pitching coaches identified that Holmes’ stance was been too wide and he’s been too crouched over during this rough patch leading him to become too rotational, and Holmes believes this may have contributed to his back issues.