The Yankees know all about being disliked. As the franchise everyone loves to hate, they certainly get a lot of mileage out of luxuriating in that animosity. For the Tigers, the levels of bitterness have gone down some since the teams stopped sharing a division in 1997, but it’s still enjoyable to poke fun at them.
As they are now, the Yankees are a relatively young, dynamic team, with three of the best hitters in baseball at the core of their lineup: Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, and Gary Sanchez. Basically, they’re a nightmare.
We talked to Tyler Norton, managing editor of the SB Nation Yankees blog Pinstripe Alley ahead of this weekend’s series. We chatted about the 2016 Rookie of the Year rivalry (of course), those Michael Fulmer trade rumors, and the storied history of Tigers/Yankees postseason matchups.
BYB: The season is young, but we’re starting to get a sense for who will be “one to watch.” Who do you think on the team is an unsung hero of sorts? Everyone knows Judge and Stanton, but who do you think deserves more praise this season?
TN: So, the Yankees have this little-known catcher named Gary Sanchez. He was robbed of the 2016 Rookie of the Year Award [Editor’s note: no he wasn’t] but has since grown into a star. The only problem is that he’s overshadowed by the likes of Judge and Stanton. It’s a shame, too, because he’s a real stud.
Or maybe Ronald Torreyes. Can an unsung hero have his own commercial? Because Torreyes does.
BYB: So. Judge and Stanton. They’re not very good, right?
TN: Right. They’re not very good. I mean, the runner-up for the AL MVP plus the NL MVP? The two biggest baseball boys? They’re amazing.
BYB: On a scale of 1 to 10 how much will you hate your mentions if Mike Fiers wins his game this Friday?
BYB: Do you think the Yankees interest in Michael Fulmer was legitimate this offseason? Do you think they’re still interested?
TN: Oh, I think it’s for real. Fulmer fits Brian Cashman’s vision of an ideal pitcher. Young? Cost-controlled? Throws hard? He checks all the boxes. I can’t wait for the Yankees to land him at the trade deadline without surrendering any top prospects. [Editor’s note: rude.] Then he can pitch to the real 2016 Rookie of the Year! It will be a good time.
BYB: Does knowing that the Yankees have never beaten the Tigers in the postseason keep you awake at night?
TN: I still have nightmares about Game One of the 2012 ALCS, true story.
BYB: Which Tigers player do you think is going to be the biggest thorn in the Yankees side this weekend?
TN: Miguel Cabrera is the obvious answer, because he has a knack for tormenting the Yankees. That’s too easy, though. How about Jeimer Candelario, for no reason in particular?
BYB: How do you like Boone as a manager so far? Do you miss the Girardi era?
TN: I like Boone! He’s getting a bad rep for the rough start, but he’s a players-first manager. You can hear Boone rooting for his batters from the dugout. It’s pretty endearing, actually. I loved Joe Girardi, and was very sad to see him go, but Boone has definitely grown on me. How’s Ron Gardenhire working out for you? [Editor’s note: He got ejected in his first game as manager here, so he’s going to fit in just fine.]
Thanks again to Tyler for taking the time to chat with us, and letting us get in some good-natured ribbing at the Yankees’ expense. You can read more of his work at Pinstripe Alley, or follow him on Twitter @TylerDNorton.