Where has this team been all year

Game 137: A Labor-ious road trip
Another year in the books for full season leagues

Ben might check in later with a longer and more elaborate game post, but I wanted to make note of this. The Yankees today rallied for 17 hits. That’s remarkable itself, considering the offensive dearth we’ve witnessed for the better part of the season. Yet there’s something else behind this onslaught.

Of the 17 hits, just one went for extra bases, and that was a solo homer for Johnny Damon in the 2nd. That is one of the Yankees 13 runs. The other 12 came the hard way. Walks, singles, sacrifices, errors. This is something we’re not quite used to seeing.

The Yankees were 8 for 16 with runners in scoring position today with two sac flies. Alex Rodriguez, Mr. Unclutch himself, was 2 for 3 with runners in scoring position, and recorded four RBI. This is the kind of performance that leads to wins, even with Sidney Ponson on the mound. Unfortunately, this is an aberration for the 2008 Yankees. They’re hitting .258 with runners in scoring position, 10th in the American League.

Now for a tangent. Many people believe that the Yankees woes are centered around the offense, in particular the lack of hitting with runners in scoring position. Will you venture a guess as to who has the worst team average in the AL in those situations? None other than the first place Tampa Bay Rays. They’re hitting .246 with RISP. Yet, they’re still atop the division. Sure, it doesn’t hurt that they’ve had their top five pitchers going every game from early May through now. But they’re finding ways to win even though their numbers with RISP are the worst in the AL. They Yankees, well, just aren’t.

(The Yanks have had 76 more at bats with RISP, but does that make a huge difference when we’re talking 1,100 or 1,200 at bats for the season? Oh, and Baltimore is second in the league with runners in scoring position.)

I wish there was a way we could pinpoint the one thing that has hampered the Yanks this season, but one doesn’t exist. It has been a concoction of circumstances, not the least of which being their numbers with RISP and the fact that they’re trotting out the likes of Sidney Ponson and Darrell Rasner on a regular basis. You could list more than a dozen factors. I’m sure we’ll get to all that in the off-season. For now, though, let’s enjoy a win.

I wonder if they’ll be up for a Lynch Sidney Ponson night out in Seattle on Saturday.

Game 137: A Labor-ious road trip
Another year in the books for full season leagues
  • A.D.

    Ponson experiment should be over, his number after 7+ run starts haven’t held up

    • Steve

      I can’t imagine any hesitation to put IPK in his spot, Ponson’s pitching like Ian was at his worst in April.

      I understand if they want to send Phil Phranchise to the AFL, I think they still view him as a work in progress with his new repertoire and they want him to gain confidence against lesser competition. I just recently found out that Phil himself said the expectations of being the team’s #1 pitching prospect who wasn’t traded for Santana affected him earlier this year. That’s a clear sign he needs to stay away from the big stage for a while.

      IPK, on the other hand, has pitched great in AAA since being sent down (2.22 ERA) and is busting his ass to get back.

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

        Either him, or Aceves. Either way, there are options now. No reason to start Ponson. None at all.

        • Steve

          I agree. But will Girardi trust a rookie to start who has already shown a tendency to be timid in what he’s still refers to as a “pennant race”? I don’t think so, although I also don’t think he really believes this team is in a pennant race. He just might view ‘playing the kids’ as a big white flag that he isn’t ready to raise just yet.

          Oh well. By the time this road trip is over, he very well might be ready.

          • Ron

            IPK is starting game 2 of the playoffs for SWB, so forget about him for now.

  • E-ROC

    Well done Joe. The opportunities to score runs have been there all season; the Yanks just cashing in more often than not.

  • Steve

    “Oh, and Baltimore is second in the league with runners in scoring position”

    . . . and BALT is 4th in runs scored in all of baseball (3rd in the AL). I know they have a lousy record, but that’s because they can’t pitch (28th in team ERA).

    Tampa Bay doesn’t hit with RISP and they don’t score many runs (9th in AL/15th in Baseball), but that’s not how they win games. TB has the second fewest Errors, they’re #2 (in all of baseball) for team ERA.

    The Yankees this year were designed to outscore their opposition in order to win games. Even if their pitching was healthy, they brought back the exact same lineup that led Baseball last year in Runs Scored by almost 100 runs. They were 8th last year in Team ERA and they are 8th again this year. Whats different? They went from 1st last year to 9th this year in Runs scored. Why? They haven’t hit with RISP, mainly out of the #4 and #5 spots. Damon, Jeter, Abreu, Matsui, Nady, Cano all have good RISP numbers. A-Rod and Giambi don’t.

    Geez, way to completely misread the entire league just to shoehorn your “Don’t blame A-Rod” argument into everything you see. A-Rod will be lucky to get 100 RBIs this year, on a team where the guys hitting in front of him have produced. He’s having a bad year (for him), lets just admit it and move on.

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

      I’m not trying to take the blame off A-Rod. Just throwing out some numbers, and how perplexing it all can be.

      • Steve

        Well, don’t take it personally, but there’s a lot of that going on around here. And some have been referring to team RISP as being “stupid” among other things. If someone is going to dismiss RISP as a bad stat when it tells them something they don’t like, then don’t turn around and use it to support another point you’re trying to make. Its either a bad stat or it isn’t.

        And I believe it not only isn’t, but it is among the MOST meaningful of all stats because it is so directly tied to producing runs, which is the whole point of Baseball. Producing and suppressing runs. We have sucked at it all year, and its because we have a poorly designed lineup where the main run-generating spots are simply not producing. The top of the lineup has produced, but they have consistently hit a brick wall behind them. Its one thing to have Alex hitting .246 in the middle of rallies, I can live w/that. Its another to have him backed up by someone hitting .204 in Giambi. It has killed us all year, and Girardi still refuses to drop Giambi in the batting order.

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

          I get you. We just have to separate out what everyone is saying. For instance, Jamal G. is not the voice of RAB. I only mention him because I know he’s one of the most outspoken when it comes to the importance of hitting with RISP.

          You’re right, it is the among the most meaningful stats, when it comes to pure production. No one can deny that. The argument from the other side isn’t that it’s stupid to connect numbers with RISP to production. It’s that numbers with RISP are so inconsistent from year to year that to kill someone over a bad year isn’t right.

          With Alex, yeah, the .248 number isn’t nice, but he has a .395 OBP in those situations. That’s 10th best in the AL for players with 150 or more plate appearances with RISP. So yes, Giambi becomes the goat here. Alex is reaching safely nearly 40 percent of the time. He’s not doing the job of a clean-up hitter, which is driving in those runs. But he’s at least getting on base at an excellent clip in those situations. And yeah, that’s a bit of an apology, I suppose.

          Alex also hit .333 with RISP last year, .302 in ’06, .290 in ’05, though was .248 in ’04. I’d expect he’d be closer to .300 next year.

          • Steve

            “It’s that numbers with RISP are so inconsistent from year to year that to kill someone over a bad year isn’t right.”

            No, individual RISP stats can be small samples which vary greatly and don’t mean much. Such as “Man on 3rd with 2 outs” or “leading by 4 runs or more” That stuff is meaningless. A-Rod had a few bad clutch stats the year he won the MVP in 2005 that some people made a big deal over, but not me.

            Stuff like that is not what I’m talking about. The overall RISP numbers and Leverage stats are much bigger samples and have been VERY revealing about Alex this year. That’s what I’m referring to. In past years, he had a bad rep of having feet of clay, this year he has lived up to it, big time.


            But again, A-Rod isn’t going anywhere, on the team or in the lineup. I can live w/Alex having a down year, its Giambi hitting 5th that really bugs me.

            BTW-Its not Jamal I was referring to. He’s good peeps.

            • dkidd

              weird statistical anomaly: arod has an OPS of .375 when hitting in the 5th inning

    • Berto

      pitching wins baseball games, its been that way forever!! I dont know why big market teams are trying to change that and win through hitting!


      we see it every year……..we see it everyday…..if you want immediate evidence, look at the AL EAST, Rays cant score but pitch and are dominant…..O’s cant pitch but they can hit they are in last place……same with the all star team detroit tigers have out there with NO pitching…….



      • Old Ranger

        Why do you think the Yanks have been drafting pitchers? Everyone knows that old saw about pitching…it’s true. There have been many examples of teams trying to hit their way to the championship…it has worked, a very few times.
        You may have missed it, but many of us have posted the need for pitching, defence, youth and athleticism. The team has the makings of a good rotation (if everything works out); Joba, Phil, Moose/Andy, CMW and any number of farm hands or CC etc.

        • Berto

          Santana would have been a great start to building a dominant rotation that is playoff ready…..we are all basically crossing our fingers hoping on joba,phil,moose/andy, wang…..need at least a good 1,2 punch to win baseball games (especially the playoffs)…….good hitting helps but its never enough to depend on for winning games……….BASEBALL HAS BEEN THIS WAY FOREVER

          • Berto

            we have been top 3 in runs scored for a long long time and it has done nothing but earn us a first round exit every single year…..we are 7th,8th in runs this year and people are crying because they want to score more runs to be on par with the last place texas rangers and baltimore orioles that lead the world in scoring…….


  • dkidd

    i don’t think girardi believes he’s in a pennant race. i think he’ll use 10 games on the road to ease a bunch of the new guys into action

    what’s the prediction on keeping marte versus taking the pick (is he type a?)

    • Steve

      I still think we keep Marte. We’ve been looking for a good lefty out of the bullpen for years. I know he’s been spotty, but he’s also been banged up and was overused in one game. I suspect he hasn’t been 100% healthy or 100% honest with Girardi about how he’s feeling, being on a new team and all.

      He recently got some time off and we’ll see how he does from here forward. Even if we bring him back just as a lefty specialist, its worth it.

      • dkidd

        marte: lefty specialist for 6M
        coke: lefty specialist for major league minimum

        this youth movement has gone to my head

  • dkidd

    also, that joel sherman article has me paranoid that the yanks are going to spend 150M on free agent starters and trade seventeen young pitchers for josh hamilton

    • Steve

      Don’t listen to Joel Sherman.

  • Old Ranger

    The top four in the order has gotten on base, but look at this;
    GDP…Jeter-20, Cano-17, A-Rod-15, Bobby-13, Melky-10=75 GDPs. My goodness 75 Dp by just 5 batters, three of whom are top of the order.
    RISP means; You ain’t hitting that thar tater a-tall, no-way! The entire team is underachieving in clutch situations. A-Rod and more so Jason are in the run producing spots. Therefore their numbers bare more weight then some of the other batters. Key point is; the team is a disaster in clutch situations, right?

    • Old Ranger

      It takes me forever to type down anything. I’m done.

      • Berto

        TAMPA RAYS as a team .246 AVG W/RISP (worst in MLB) yet they all look clutch thanks to their pitching keeping runs allowed very low…………as stupid as it sounds, hitting NEVER wins you ballgames over an entire season………thats just how baseball is constructed……

        • Steve

          You’re overstating it, but on the right path. Hitting and scoring runs DOES win you games over the long haul, the Yanks in recent years are a prime example of that. They were also among the league leaders in Runs Scored throughout the championship run of the late 90’s.

          Individual pitchers can impact the games they pitch more than any other player on the field, which is why pitching wins in the playoffs. Thats why the Yanks would get to the playoffs each year, and then collapse in the playoffs. Not enough pitching.

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