Yanks’ shortcomings against mediocre pitchers

Why listen to Francesa's B-Jobber rants?
Open Thread: Talk about the game

One theme we harp on a lot is the Yankees’ recent history of laying down against mediocre starters whom they haven’t seen yet. But is it a real trend, or like B-Jobbers are we falling victim to the confirmation bias? Jay at Fack Youk takes a look at a statement by Ken Singleton on last night’s YES broadcast:

In the past two years (since 5/27/07) the Yankees have faced 31 rookie pitchers for the first time. In that span, those pitchers have a combined record 3-18 in those games (after the Yanks beat Derek Holland last night).

But is the frustration limited to just rookie pitchers the team is seeing for the first time? No. It really extends to scrubs that the Yanks should dominate, but for some reason they end up going quietly. This is horribly frustrating. Yet Jay adds some interesting commentary:

When they [beat a mediocre starter], we think nothing of it. But when they don’t it tends to stick in our craw. When something goes according to plan, it’s easy to forget about. You can eat sushi 100 times from the same place and hardly be able to tell each one apart, but if you ever get sick from it, you will remember the exact order for years to come.

That’s some quality reasoning right there, and it’s easy to forget in the heat of the moment. Thankfully, we have minds like Jay to take a step back and see the forest for the trees.

Why listen to Francesa's B-Jobber rants?
Open Thread: Talk about the game
  • John

    If someone could just find our performance against those scrubs?

    • http://www.bronxbaseballdaily.com Bronx Baseball Daily

      I’ve known this, alright I just assumed this was the case, for years. His sushi analogy is right on.

      I hear the same thing with Ranger fans, somehow the Rangers are supposedly always giving up a guy’s first career goal or his first goal in 50+ games. But in reality, they aren’t paying attention to the hundreds of players who doesn’t pick up his first goal or the guy who hasn’t scored in 46 games. The bad news always sticks out.

      When people say stuff like this, especially on message boards, I just put a mental note in my head to remember that person doesn’t use his brain the proper way and I should ignore him.

  • ARX

    Yeah, I’d like to see:
    -Stats from those 31 games, not just the w/l records (could be 2-1 ‘wins’ in there but that doesnt mean we didn’t get dominated)
    -Our record against the scrubs/dregs that we havent seen before, not just rookies.

    Not saying those losses aren’t just sticking out in our memories more, they probably are…but I’d bet our record in such games the last 3 years is far worse than it should be.

    • bbal capper

      Agreed. Too bad they did all the work of compiling a number, but not the right one. Still, even this is all interesting… at worst, Yankees are 18-13. By contrast, this year White Sox are 1-8 vs. pitchers not faced before. (Not just rookies. And also, more valuable for that very reason.)

  • JohnnyC

    It’s an important bit of research since it would reveal a lot about the ability of our advance scouts and coaching staff to impart useful information to our hitters. There’s no shame in letting a Halliday or Santana dominate your line-up but when the Scott Feldmans of the world trip you up while pitching to an ERA of 8 versus most everyone else, there’s something wrong going on.

    • http://www.bronxbaseballdaily.com Bronx Baseball Daily

      Of course the other 10 times the Yankees crush some Joe Scrub you don’t even pay attention because after all, what was that guys name again?

      • whozat

        I’ve had this same thought too…it’s the same thing that leads people to believe ARod isn’t clutch. When he is, you forget because you expected it. When he isn’t, you remember because it was dramatic and frustrating.

        But, merely because there’s a plausible explanation for this being “all in our heads” doesn’t mean that it is :-)

        We need data!

  • JohnnyC

    Of course, it would help even more if our coaches could steal signs the way the Red Sox and Angels do.

  • Tank the Frank

    Yeah I’d like to see how many GAMES we won out of those starts. Ten no decisions. Seems a bit high vs rookie pitchers, no? That means a lot of those rookies are at least keeping their team in the game.

    Plus, it’s not just rookie pitchers. It’s pitchers we haven’t seen before, fill-in Triple-A starters. Especially lefties.

    Or so it seems.

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

    I’d be happy to do the leg work and analysis if someone could point me in the direction of a list of those rookie pitchers.

    • http://www.votepaulformayor.blogspot.com jsbrendog

      you’d have to go through all the game logs to see what pitchers were throwing. not worth it

  • Accent Shallow

    I suppose if you wanted to be exhaustive, you could compile a list of all starting pitchers to face the Yankees from 2007-2009, filter out the “scrubs” (perhaps by some combination of career ERA+, time in majors, etc), look at the Yankees performance against them, the rest of the league’s performance against them, and the Yankees offense relative to the other offenses said pitchers faced, but that would be a bit of a headache.

    Not to mention, how are you going to filter out the scrubs?

    • http://www.bronxbaseballdaily.com Bronx Baseball Daily

      And what constitutes a scrub?

      • Accent Shallow

        Exactly. Do we go by career ERA+? Major league experience? Clearly you also have to factor in stuff, since Derek Holland is not the same as Matt Palmer.

        • whozat

          Seems to me we want little MLB experience, and a minor league ERA+ (is there such a thing?) between 90 and 100. Or so. Are there MLEs for pitching? We’re kinda looking for guys who look like back-end starters at best with little MLB exposure.

          Like…I’m not too bummed if the Yanks get dominated by Rick Porcello in his fourth MLB start. I get pissed when they lose to Alfredo Simon in his last start before he goes on the DL, you know?

          Also, my sense this year is that they’ve been doing better with this. Or, at least, in the last couple of weeks there have been several times I’ve thought “crap, some yutz they’ve never seen before” and they’ve proceeded to knock him out in the 5th inning or earlier.

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

            Scott Richmond was my favorite.

            • Accent Shallow

              This was awesome.

          • Accent Shallow

            Minor league ERA+ isn’t listed anywhere, AFAIK, but you could calculate it yourself using the ERA of that league, the park factors of that league, and the relative difficulty of the league.

            I like where your head’s at, but I’m assuming the only way to filter would be to get a list of all starters to face the Yankees between ’07 and now, and select who are your ‘scrubs’, and don’t leave anyone out. Perhaps put it to a vote somewhere.

            • Accent Shallow

              By “don’t leave anyone out”, I of course mean “don’t leave out a scrub [such as Scott Richmond] because the Yankees ended up smacking him around.”

      • pat

        A guy who hangs out the passenger side of his best friends ride.

        • pollo

          trying to holler at you.

        • Spaceman.Spiff

          pat wins!

    • whozat

      Don’t we want to filter _in_ the scrubs? We’re frustrated because we seem to see the Yanks getting dominated by bums, just because they’ve never seen the guy before.

  • Manimal


  • My Pet Goat

    This is actually a pretty well documented psychological phenomenon: it’s the slow lane/aisle syndrome. Frustration often inspires conscious and contemplative thought of the given situation. A lack of resistance by opposing pitchers, traffic patterns, or check-stand clerks requires no reflection or problem-solving attention and therefore passes unnoticed. You can also factor in duration impact as well as these frustrations often give you more time to reflect and stew in the moment.