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The four adjustments that have turned the Yankees into a juggernaut

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Joey Gallo hits at the end of the lineup and Clay Holmes pitches at the end of the game. Aaron Judge is the center of attention — in more than one way — while Jose Trevino has navigated from backing up Kyle Higashioka to potentially starting the All-Star Game.

A baseball team is a living organism. It evolves persistently from the first day of spring training onward. Thus, the Yankees who reach the statistical midway point Tuesday in Pittsburgh are different from the team imagined at the outset of camp.

These Yankees are challenging history — on pace for a record 117 victories — in part because Aaron Boone has ad libbed well from April Fools’ Day (when Trevino was not even with the team yet) to Independence Day. So to celebrate The Fourth, the four biggest amendments to this Yankees season.

1. Perhaps with a 6-foot-7 player starting in center and shortstop (Oneil Cruz for the Pirates), an adjustment is necessary to the concept of what stature athlete can play where. Judge did start in center in the second game this season, but Boone’s selling point early was that it gave flexibility to play others.

Judge started 13 of the Yankees’ first 44 games in center, but then 27 of the next 36. It enhanced not just that flexibility, but Judge’s already strong MVP case. The value to the Yankees of Judge moving to center has been substantial. He is better defensively at the position than Aaron Hicks, which has further fortified the overall Yankee fielding upgrade from recent years.

Aaron Judge hitting a walkoff home run against the Astros on June 26, 2022.
Aaron Judge hitting a walkoff home run against the Astros on June 26, 2022.
Robert Sabo

It also has enabled Boone to rotate Gallo, Hicks and Giancarlo Stanton into the outfield corners. Stanton has started 32 games at DH and 31 in the outfield, freeing the DH to be shared by others. This has helped Boone alleviate a preseason concern — how could he get enough at-bats for so many experienced players? Nine Yankees are on pace for 450-plus plate appearances, and that does not include the catchers or the rising usage of Matt Carpenter and Marwin Gonzalez (more in-season improvisation).

Judge’s move to center has improved the Yankees’ offense, defense, flexibility and his MVP candidacy.

2. The Yankees not only gave Aroldis Chapman and Zack Britton two of the largest relief contracts ever, but guaranteed even more when they had chances to opt out of those deals. The obsession was to have closers pitching the eighth and ninth innings. Now, they have closers working the seventh, eighth and ninth innings embodied in still two relievers — Michael King and Holmes.

Holmes and King rank 1-2 among AL relievers in Wins Above Replacement (Fangraphs) while Britton rehabs after Tommy John surgery and Chapman returns from an Achilles injury and what might be a case of the yips. Chapman has walked 16 percent of the batters he has faced the last two years (third most in the majors, minimum 70 innings).

Would the Yankees love to fix him and get Britton back for September and October? Of course. But they are positioned to play meaningfully into October because King and Holmes have so effectively stepped into the late-inning roles, especially considering Chad Green was lost for the year (Tommy John surgery) and Jonathan Loasiga was ineffective then injured.

Ron Marinaccio, who surprisingly made the team out of the shortened camp, was developing a more vital role before a shoulder ailment put him on the injured list. Before Saturday night, opponents were 1-for-44 when reaching two strikes against Wandy Peralta (it is now 3-for-48).

But King and Holmes have been the bulwark. King has delivered more than three outs 15 times and struck out 34.5 percent of hitters faced (third most in the majors, minimum 40 innings). Holmes has essentially been prime Britton. Fangraphs has tracked groundball percentage since 2002 and going into this year, Britton had six of the top 11 in that span, including the top three with a high of 80 percent in 2016. Holmes is currently at 82.6 percent.

3. The Rangers had the defensive duo of Trevino and Jonah Heim last year and wanted to upgrade offensively, so they obtained Mitch Garver from the Twins. This year Trevino and Heim have been two of the best hitting catchers and still rank 1-2 in Baseball Prospectus’ metric for defensively evaluating receivers.

Jose Trevino celebrates in the Yankees dugout.
Jose Trevino celebrates in the Yankees dugout.
Getty Images

The Yankees had obtained Ben Rortvedt along with Josh Donaldson and Isiah Kiner-Falefa, who went to Minnesota in the Garver deal. The idea was to replace Gary Sanchez (who went to the Twins) with a lefty-righty defense-first duo of Rortvedt and Higashioka. But Rortvedt was never healthy in spring and the Yanks obtained Trevino, who is having a career year at the plate. But it is his defense that has served as the spine to the overall defensive improvement of the team (the Yankees lead the majors in Defensive Runs Saved).

Trevino usurped Higashioka, but the duo has guided the Yankees pitching staff to a 2.90 ERA – which would be the best in franchise history for a 162-game season.

4. Gallo did not bat ninth until Game 46, but has done so in more than half the games since. Initially, it was an attempt to further defuse pressure from a player overwhelmed by his surroundings. But it has become obvious that Gallo’s next step is out of the regular lineup and likely off the team.

Gallo had 228 plate appearances last year for the Yankees and hit .160. He has 224 plate appearances this year. He’s hitting .165. The only other time any Yankee has batted that often in a season and had a worse average was Jim Mason hitting .152 in 1975 in 251 plate appearances.

Joey Gallo is batting ninth often for the Yankees.
Joey Gallo is batting ninth often for the Yankees.
Robert Sabo

Since Carpenter’s first game (May 26), he has the Yankees’ best average at .286 (with eight homers and a .1.293 OPS). Gonzalez is next at .283 (with four homers and an .862 OPS and fine defense in multiple spots). Gallo is at .157 (with four homers, a .591 OPS and 44 strikeouts in 89 at-bats). In the improvisation of the season, Carpenter and Gonzalez are gaining increased plate appearances to determine just what the Yankees should be trying to obtain by the Aug. 2 trade deadline.

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What Time Will ‘Riverdale’ Season 6 Be on Netflix?

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The season finale of Riverdale aired in late July on The CW. Notice we said season finale? Thankfully, the beloved series will return for a seventh season, but, unfortunately, Season 7 will be the final installment of Riverdale.

If you already streamed the current season, make sure to read Alex Zalben’s interview with Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa on Decider. If you’re waiting to binge Season 6 on Netflix, well, you better clear your calendar because all 22 episodes are about to drop on the streamer. What time will the sixth season of Riverdale debut on Netflix? What time does Netflix release shows? Here’s everything you need to know.

WHEN IS THE RIVERDALE SEASON 6 NETFLIX RELEASE DATE?

Riverdale Season 6 premieres Sunday, August 7 on Netflix.

HOW MANY EPISODES ARE IN RIVERDALE SEASON 6?

The sixth season of Riverdale consists of 22 episodes.

WHAT TIME DOES NETFLIX RELEASE NEW SHOWS?

Netflix releases new episodes at 3:00 a.m. ET/12:00 a.m. PT.

WHAT TIME WILL RIVERDALE SEASON 6 BE ON NETFLIX?

Netflix is based out of California, so Riverdale Season 6 will be available to stream at 12:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time (3:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time) beginning Sunday, August 7. If the clock strikes 12:00 (or 3:00 a.m. for folks on the East Coast) and you don’t see the new episodes, give it a moment, hit refresh, and then enjoy the show!

WILL THERE BE A SEASON 7 OF RIVERDALE?

Yes! Decider recently covered that very topic.

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Actress Anne Heche Suffers Severe Burns After Crashing Car Into Los Angeles Home

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Actress Anne Heche, known for her roles in such films as Donnie Brasco, Volcano and I Know What You Did Last Summer, was involved in a fiery car crash in the Mar Vista area of Los Angeles on Friday.

According to TMZ, Heche was driving a blue Mini Cooper and had first crashed into the garage of an apartment complex. Residents of the apartment complex tried to get her out of the vehicle but she backed up and sped off.

Footage of Heche speeding down the streets of her neighborhood had been obtained by TMZ as well as her initial encounter at the apartment complex.

In the first clip, you can hear her car crash towards the end. It has been reported that the actress crashed into someone’s home, causing her vehicle and the house to erupt into flames. Heche suffered severe burns and was resisting being taken away in a stretcher. You can also view footage of this via the TMZ article.

It has not been confirmed whether alcohol has been involved in the incident since her condition prevents doctors from performing any tests to determine if she was driving under the influence. She is currently intubated in the hospital but expected to live.

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These are the vulgar license-plate requests the DMV has rejected

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Stay CL4SSY, New York!

The state Department of Motor Vehicles nixed 3,752 requests for vanity license plates in the last three years because it deemed them too raunchy, radical or simply ridiculous.

New York’s personalized plates go for $60 initially, and then $31.25 annually for renewal. You can get any plate as long as no one else has it and it’s not offensive.

Odds are a request for a plate that marks a wedding anniversary or shows your allegiance to a team — like METS86 — will pass muster with the DMV gatekeepers.

Vulgarity won’t get you to first base.

So plates with the phrase LFGM — the acronym for Pete Alonso’s “Let’s F–king Go Mets” rallying cry — did not make the cut.

And you won’t see anyone driving around with the custom plates MILFDAD, AS5M4N and WLHUNG.

Crude meanings such as “MILFDAD” are unacceptable by the DMV.
Crude meanings such as “MILFDAD” are unacceptable by the DMV.
New York DMV
NYC123
New York state Department of Motor Vehicles denied more than 3.5 thousand requests for license plates deemed inappropriate.
New York DMV
“AS5M4N” was rejected for referring to “Ass man.”
“AS5M4N” was rejected for referring to “Ass man.”
New York DMV

The DMV also put NICEBUNS, FATFANNY, GOTAPOOP and BENDOVER in the rear-view mirror.

One player unsuccessfully tried to score the plate YESDADDY, to no avail.

The DMV also shot down such dark requests as DEADGIRL, GENOC1DE, S8TAN, DETONATE and MURDERM3.

“SUM8ITCH” is not allowed.
“SUM8ITCH” is not allowed.
New York DMV
The DMV thoroughly nixed a request for “CNNLIES.”
The DMV thoroughly nixed a request for “CNNLIES.”
New York DMV
BOOBIE is prohibited.
BOOBIE is prohibited.
New York DMV

Getting political is a dead end too — FJOEBIDN, FDTRUMP and CNNLIES were nixed.

LUDEDUDE, NARCO, GOT METH and BLUNT also went up in smoke.

Staten Island attorney Bill Dertinger said his blue 1995 Jaguar SJS was tagged with ESQLTD after his company and his 2014 Porsche had the plate GHOSTGTS because the sleek sportscar was white.

“The plates can make you stand out — which can be a curse or a blessing,” the 54-year-old Dertinger said. “Make sure you don’t cut anybody off.”

A man attempted to sneak in “YESDADDY” onto his license plate.
A man attempted to sneak in “YESDADDY” onto his license plate.
New York DMV
The DMV stopped a request for “FJOEBIDEN.”
The DMV stopped a request for “FJOEBIDEN.”
New York DMV
The DMV also rejects any license plates referring to politics.
The DMV also rejects any license plates referring to politics.
New York DMV

There must be a New York Jets fan playing referee at the DMV because a request for the seemingly innocent plate GASE was sidelined. Ex-Jets head coach Adam Gase had an offensive 9-23 win-loss record during his forgettable two-year tenure.

The DMV would not reveal who gives the final yea or nay.

“The DMV reviews all custom license plate requests and works hard to ensure that any combinations that may be considered objectionable are rejected,” said agency spokesman Tim O’Brien.

“GLOCKS” referring to guns is not accepted by the DMV.
“GLOCKS” referring to guns is not accepted by the DMV.
New York DMV
“FLYMOFO” is not approved by the DMV.
“FLYMOFO” is not approved by the DMV.
New York DMV

He said guidelines on what plate combinations are restricted can be found on the DMV website: https://dmv.ny.gov/learn-about-personalized-plates. Approximately 50,000 personalized and custom plates are sold per year, O’Brien said.

Bagged Tags

The state DMV has rejected 3,752 requests for custom license plates in the last three years because it deemed them potentially offensive. Here are some:

YESDADDY

FJOEBIDN

FDTRUMP

GLOCKS

FLYMOFO

BOOBIE

AS5M4N

BUDLIGHT

DEADGIRL

SUM8ITCH

GENOC1DE

S8TAN

CNNLIES

DETONATE

MURDERM3

MILFDAD

WLHUNG

Source: NYS DMV

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