Yanks frustratingly lose again

An abbreviated DotF
Couple of minor promotions

Consistency, thy name is not the Yankees.

Tonight’s game was one that, on paper, the Yanks win. They had Andy Pettitte — who, before tonight, was something like 71-33 when pitching the day after a Yankee loss — facing off against the maddeningly frustrating Paul Byrd. I can’t stand watching Byrd pitch against the Yankees; they just can’t get to him despite his array of 82 mile-per-hour fastballs.

Well, tonight seemed a bit different. The Yanks seemed to have overcome an early unearned run and were up 3-1 when Pettitte ran out of gas in a four-run fifth. He exited the game after that inning with a Hughesian 99 pitches — only 56 were strikes. Tonight’s outing was not one of Andy Pettitte’s finest.

Meanwhile, in came Billy Traber, and he did what Billy Traber does best: one inning pitched, one run on one hit and two walks. It would matter little as the Yanks lost 6-4. I have to believe at this point, if the Yankees feel they can survive without a token lefty in the bullpen, they will send down Traber when Shelley Duncan is activated later today. To those of you flipping out at this idea, ask yourself this: Haven’t the Yankees survived so far without an effective lefty? They haven’t been killed by lefties, and they don’t need to waste the roster space.

But all the harping on pitching is moot. The Yankees bats were once again largely silent. Take Jason Giambi‘s 2-for-3 performance out of the equation, and the Yanks were 4 for 29 (.138 BA) with only Hideki Matsui mustering much in the way of offense. It was just one of those nights when consistency from this maddeningly inconsistent Yankee team was nowhere to be found.

Game Notes:

  • The Yanks are 1-12 when trailing after six innings this season. Wake up, folks. Game’s not over until the 9th.
  • Jason Giambi is 6 for his last 13 with 3 home runs. He’s been on base 9 times over his last 16 plate appearances, and his ISO power — a measure of his extra-base hit prowess — is an off-the-charts .306. While his fielding is terrible, we can’t write off his offense yet at all.
  • Derek Jeter is 2 for his last 18. Look no further than Derek for a reason why the Yanks have been struggling offensively recently. He’ll snap out of it.
  • Congrats to former Yankee and one-time RAB whipping boy Wil Nieves. He hit his first Big League home run last night, and it was of the walk-off variety. Wil will be forever remembered as going 10 for 71 in three seasons in the Bronx and for being a completely inadequate backup catcher last year. He’s doing well with the Nationals in limited duty while Paul LoDuca is injured.
  • As the Indians did tonight, teams that are not the White Sox will run off of Jorge Posada until he starts throwing guys out. It’s tough to blame his shoulder for tonight’s stolen bases; Sizemore is a legitimate threat. But Jamey Carroll had no steals prior to tonight, and both runners scored after their stolen-base attempts.
An abbreviated DotF
Couple of minor promotions
  • IsiahThomas

    Game’s not over till the 9th? Peter Abraham also mentioned the 1-12 stat and said it was “largely” due to a lack of energy late in games and lots of lineup changes. Your “wake up, folks” line seems to imply that you agree with the idea that they lack energy late in games.

    I think you are all wrong. This has nothing to do with lack of energy late in games.

    First of all, I don’t agree that there has been a lack of scoring in late innings. A lot of times it seems that the games are out of hand by the 7th inning due to horrible pitching, so the offense has been scoring in later innings but it’s not enough to counter the initial poor pitching.

    Here are how many runs the Yankees average per inning this season:

    1st inning: 0.42 runs
    2nd inning: 0.29 runs
    3rd inning: 0.38 runs
    4th inning: 0.83 runs
    5th inning: 0.63 runs
    6th inning: 0.54 runs
    7th inning: 0.67 runs
    8th inning: 0.50 runs
    9th inning: 0.42 runs

    So ranking from best to worst, the innings rank as follows:

    4th, 7th, 5th, 6th, 8th, 9th, 1st, 3rd, 2nd

    It seems painfully obvious that the Yankees offense has been lacking in the first 3 innings, not the last 3 innings. So the 1-12 record has nothing to do with lack of energy late in games or changing lineups.

    Here are the number of runs the Yankee pitchers average giving up each inning:

    1st inning: 0.38 runs
    2nd inning: 0.29 runs
    3rd inning: 1.00 runs
    4th inning: 0.46 runs
    5th inning: 1.04 runs
    6th inning: 0.63 runs
    7th inning: 0.42 runs
    8th inning: 0.50 runs
    9th inning: 0.12 runs

    So you can easily see that the Yankee pitching has been beyond awful in the 3rd and 5th innings. The 6th inning also isn’t good. I don’t think it is coincidental that the Yankees have had issues with starters not going deep into games and middle relief getting pounded. This is the real crux of the problem. Once again, it has nothing to do with a lack of energy late in games or changing lineups.

    And you haven’t grasped the more important meaning of the 1-12 record when trailing after 6 innings. The Yankees have played 24 games. They have been trailing after 6 innings in 13 of them, which is a very high percentage for a team that is expected to compete for a playoff spot. As the above numbers suggest, the Yankee offense has been lacking in the first three innings, and the Yankee pitching has been getting hammered in the 3rd through 6th innings. This is why they have trailed after 6 innings in more than half of their games.

    And let’s see what the scores of those 13 games have been when the Yankees trailed after 6 innings:



    The deficits can be listed as follows:

    1 run: 2 game
    2 runs: 3 games
    3 runs: 2 games
    4 runs: 5 games
    7 runs: 1 game

    Not surprisingly, the one game they won was one of the games where they trailed by only 1 run after 6 innings. I don’t think any reasonable person can expect a team to win when down by 3 runs or more after 6 innings, especially since lots of teams save their best relievers for the 8th and 9th innings with a lead, which would apply in most of these games listed above. There were 8 games where the Yankees were trailing by 3 or more runs after 6 innings. So there were 5 games where the Yankees trailed by 1 or 2 runs after 6 innings. Or in other words, that leaves 5 games remaining where they had a “shot” to win. They are 1-4 in those games where they trailed by 1 or 2 runs after 6 innings. Certainly you can’t expect them to have a winning record in those situations. So at most you might expect that they could have won one more of those closer games and should maybe be 2-3 in those 5 games. It’s no big deal really.

    The most alarming thing is that the crappy hitting in the first 3 innings combined with the crappy pitching in the 3rd-6th innings have put the Yankees in that hole 13 times out of 24 games. That is what needs to be fixed. There is absolutely no reason to blame things on lack of energy late in games or lineup switches. That has little, if anything, to do with the 1-12 record when trailing after 6 innings.

    • zack

      Nice rebuttal! I think what your analysis shows is that its a double problem: bad hitting AND bad pitching. Let’s be honest, those offensive numbers are atrocious. This offense has been bad all year with a few exceptions. The team is, literally, middle of the pack in almost every batting stat, save overall average. Runs, hits, OBP, Slugging, HR—all middle of the road. Sure, that will probably come around, but if this offense had been clicking as it should, this team would most likely be in 1st right now.

      The one other thing your analysis proves, yet again, is that what this team really needs is reliable starters, not reliable 8th inning guys. They need Joba to get them to the 7th-8th innings, not pick up there.

  • http://pinstripers.blogspot.com Jeff

    I had higher hopes for Billy Traber. He looked sharp early on but has really struggled in the last few games. It’s almost painful to watch his control issues sometimes. I’m not ready to completely give up on him right now but he’s definitely got me worried.

    Then again, if Joe would bring up Rasner so the Yanks have an actual long reliever in the pen, guys like Traber won’t need to come in quite as often and might be a little sharper.

  • LiveFromNewYork

    Earth to Yankee fans: It’s APRIL.

    I wince when I read words like “alarming” in April and all these ridiculous stats being thrown around with such a small sample size when we’ve had lousy weather, bad calls, cold bats, erratic pitching from rookies and injuries.

    I make a motion we all calm down and stop the paralysis of analysis that is going on here. It’s completely ridiculous.

    As if we don’t know they need to get into a groove and stay there. Fine. yes. That would be NICE but that’s not the reality right now. Was last night’s game frustrating? Somewhat. But it’s BASEBALL. Baseball is inherently frustrating. We have a rookie manager, a lot of rookie pitchers with a few erratic veterans. We have injuries to our catchers which means that our rookie pitchers (and veteran pitchers) are not getting the benefit of a regular catcher. We’ve had stupid defensive plays and we’ve had a lot of crappy weather and unforeseeable injuries. We’ve had some relievers not work out and when one was working well (Bruney) he went down with a season-ending injury. But we have more relievers to choose from and develop and work with. Stats don’t pick up all these “intangibles” so the stats are meaningless at this point.

    But we’ve got a closer with a 0.0 ERA. We’ve got more depth in the bullpen and on the bench than ever before. We have a farm team we can call guys up from and send guys down to. These are things we haven’t had in a long time. Luxuries other teams only dream of having.

    What we do have is an over-analytical whiny fan base.

    I’m so tired of Yankee fans who want a smooth ride every game in every month of every year.

    And acting as if the sky is falling when a game goes south.

    How do you guys ever enjoy a baseball game?

    It’s APRIL and we’re 2.5 games out of first. CALM DOWN PEOPLE.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph P.

      I’m sorry. We’ll cease noting trends or anything of that kind. RAB is now 100% cheerleader. Rah rah Yankees!

  • E-ROC

    I agree, optioning Traber for Duncan is the right thing to do. Maybe Duncan will start for Damon while Cabrera will man the lead off spot.

    Any updates on Farnsworth? If he goes on the DL, I guess Rasner would be the next guy up.

  • http://www.myspace.com/j_panama Jamal G.

    I would have to disagree with you, the Yankees have been the most consistent team in the Majors. I posted a season long trend the Yankees have been on in terms of W-L and after last night’s defeat, they are one more L away from completing the circle yet again.

    After the rain game in Chitown, I posted this funny little trend the Yankees have been on:

    “The Yankees are weird, ever since April 4th they’ve Lost 2, Won 2, Lost 2, Won 2, Lost 2, Won 3, Lost 3, Won 3…”

    and after that little 3 game W streak, they lost the series finale to the White Sox and the series opener to the Cleveland Indians. One more L and the trend will continue. Very weird though.

    • Mike P

      Well it wouldn’t be fair if they won more often than they lost would it??