Sep
22

Despite blip, Yanks have matters well at hand

By

Are the Yankees on their way to a September collapse? Depending on who delivers your information, that might be the case. The Yankees are 4-6 in their last 10, and the Red Sox are 8-2. That’s allowed the latter to gain a few games, four since the end of play on September 9. The Yanks had a nine game lead at that point, and it division seemed wrapped up. Now with a five game lead, it might not seem as much of a lock.

This reeks of specious logic. From September 10 through September 21, the Red Sox gained four games. That’s 12 days. For the Red Sox to take the division, they’d have to play just as well and the Yankees would have to play just as poorly as they both are right now. While that’s a possibility, it’s far from probable. The Yankees have the best record in baseball. They even have a winning record in September — a convincingly winning one at that. Are we really to expect a full collapse?

The reason many people thought the Yankees had the division wrapped up on September 9 was because of the massive lead. Even if things didn’t go quite a well from there on out, they still had a huge margin of error. Some of that margin has slipped over the past few weeks, but there’s been another change: there are fewer games left in the season. So while the Red Sox have crept closer, the Yankees are actually closer to a division win: their magic number has gone from 14 on the ninth to eight today.

As the Yanks work through a small slump, the pundits are active. I’ve seen more than one comparison to the 2000 team lately, one which played particularly poorly in September. They entered the month with a 74-56 record, first in the AL East by five games, and went a paltry 13-18 over the season’s final 31 games. The Red Sox tried to play catch-up, but finished 85-77, 2.5 games back, after a 16-16 month. The difference, of course, is that Boston is playing quite a bit better this season than they were in 2000. So should the Yanks be scared?

Hardly. Even with the Yankees losing six of their last 10, they’re still 12-8 this month, and still have a five game edge on the Red Sox. The latter has gained some ground, and while four games is a significant margin in such a small time, it’s difficult to expect them to continue this pace. The Yankees have proven that they’re a good team, and we can expect them to shake this slump soon enough. With 11 games left and 13 for the Sox, the Yankees just need a combination of eight wins or Sox losses to wrap this up. It seems almost a certainty.

In fact, the Yankees might be slumping at just the right time. The last time they lost six of their last 10 was from June 12 through the 23 (or 13 through 24, but whatever), when they lost a few games to the Mets, Nationals, Marlins, and Braves. What did they do after that 4-6 stretch? They ripped off seven straight wins and 13 of their next 15.

These Yankees don’t slump for long. They’ve shown that they can win games, and it would seem a bit rash to think that a small slump, coming off a stretch where they were playing better than .750 ball in the second half, will alter that. Nothing is guaranteed in baseball — as our magic number says, it ain’t over ’til it’s over. But the Yankees have things pretty well in hand right now. It would take an uncharacteristic collapse for them to lose the division. I’m not sure why anyone would expect that.

Categories : Rants
  • Makavelli

    The Yanks had a 9 game lead on Sept 10th too. So that’s 11 days technically…

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

      Fair enough.

      • Makavelli

        Either way, you’re right. It’s hard to envision your club who was playing over .800 ball over a long stretch of time all of the sudden playing .400 ball or worse at the end to lose the division…

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Yeah.

          After all, we’re not the Mets.

          • Russell NY

            Even if we didn’t win the division we still wouldn’t be the Mets. Missing the playoffs and division are two different monsters.

  • Makavelli

    last time they lost six of their last 10 was from June 12 through the 23 (or 13 through 24, but whatever), when they lost a few games to the Mets, Nationals, Marlins, and Braves. What did they do after that 4-6 stretch? They ripped off seven straight wins and 13 of their next 15.

    These Yankees don’t slump for long.

    The stipulations were entirely different then though…Joba wasn’t being misused and didn’t have a career high number of innings under his belt, other pitchers didn’t have over or nearly 200 innings pitched…etc.

    Although one would think this would be similar with other teams and our offense should be mashing opponents pitching right about now…so who knows what it is…

    • Ed

      Just because you don’t understand/agree with how Joba is being used doesn’t mean he’s being misused.

      • Makavelli

        Agreed. And if I were in a courtroom I probably would have worded it differently…

        I’m willing to bet the majority of fans, analysts, etc…disagree with at least some form of ANY of the versions of “Joba Rules” that have been issued…

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          And if I were in a courtroom I probably would have worded it differently…

          You don’t know what it was, and you didn’t know what it looked like, but can you describe it?

          http://www.duhaime.org/LegalRe.....Court.aspx

          • http://tomorrowsnewsyesterday.wordpress.com/ JMK

            I don’t even have to click the link to know what the answer is.

    • Thomas

      Joba wasn’t being misused and didn’t have a career high number of innings under his belt, other pitchers didn’t have over or nearly 200 innings pitched

      Much of the same can said about our opponents. Their veteran pitchers are also at or approaching 200 innings and their younger ones are probably near career high innings limits.

      I suspect the Yankees have just hit a rough spot and hopefully it will clear up soon.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

    Hardly. Even with the Yankees losing six of their last 10, they’re still 12-8 this month, and still have a five game edge on the Red Sox.

    And again, we’re one Ichiro stunning homer off of Mariano and one horrendous called Ball 4 against Nick Green away from being 13-7 this month compared to the Sox being 12-7, having a 7 game lead instead of a 5 game lead, and having a magic number of Joe Torre instead of Yogi Berra.

    Keep that in mind too. This race is two very small, highly improbable, freakishly rare, happens 1 times out of 100 moments away from being a laugher already.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      +1.

    • Makavelli

      Propaganda Machine – 2
      Yankees Fans – 0

      • TheZack

        But, of course, those happened and the magic number IS 8 and not 6. Those arguments don’t help either way. There are lots of games you can point to and say, well, it could have gone the other way and THEN things would be better/worse.

        If it comes down to it, the Yanks will turn on the guns and win the games they need to win. Hopefully, they won’t need to and they can still rest/relax a bit, but 5 games can also be three games in two days…

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          There are lots of games you can point to and say, well, it could have gone the other way and THEN things would be better/worse.

          No.

          There’s a reason those two were highlighted amongst all others.

          Not all games are created equal. Some are better examples of an anomaly.

          • TheZack

            No, actually, they aren’t. They are still loses. Sure, going by win expectancy they were wild swings, but they were still loses and they still happen. And they count just as much as unexpected loses in April or last nights “expected” loss in Anaheim. If the Yankees had one a few of those first 8 loses to the Sox, they wouldn’t be here either. But they didn’t. If Mo were perfect, ditto. But he’s not (but close).

            Anomaly or not, your point doesn’t stand. Sure, they were rare loses that were close to being wins for the other teams, but in the end, they were loses. And in the end, the Yankees could very easily enter the series with Boston with the division literally on the line. Probably won’t happen, but its not all that far off…

            • Mike Pop

              You can’t predict baseball.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              Anomaly or not, your point doesn’t stand.

              You only think my point doesn’t stand because you don’t understand the point I’m making.

              • Makavelli

                The title of this blog should be “Agree To Disagree” with a subtitle “River Avenue Blues” and so forth…lol

                Way too much animosity sometimes…

    • Ed

      Keep that in mind too. This race is two very small, highly improbable, freakishly rare, happens 1 times out of 100 moments away from being a laugher already.

      And if Luis Castillo knew how to catch a routine popup, Boston is only 3 back in the loss column with 3 head to head games left, making it a tight race.

      Freak things happen, but they go both ways and tend to balance out over a season.

  • jsbrendog

    1. we are not the mets. don;t worry

    2. they will slump and then cashman will have a talk and they will go undefeated in the playoffs.

    • jsbrendog

      ok fine, they lose 1 game in the playoffs

      • Mike Pop

        1. we are not the mets. don;t worry

        Most important thing to remember in this situation.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          I can’t wait for the Mets to get everybody back and healthy next year, reup Carlos Delgado, go back into the 2010 season fully healed and intact… and still finish fourth.

          Comedy.

          • jsbrendog

            I can’t wait for the Mets to get everybody back and healthy next year, reup Carlos Delgado, go back into the 2010 season fully healed and intact… and still finish fourth fifth.

            let’s go nats

            • Mike Pop

              Would you rather have a pitcher’s park, like theirs(Mets) or a hitters park like the Yankees’ for the home ballpark?

              • jsbrendog

                i think i’d much rather have a “hitter’s park” like the yankees. then good pitching really matters and a team with their resources can take advantage of it and really pound on teams with inferior pitching.

                i say no thanks to a stadium that makes shitty pitchers look good (or better, since put a dress on a turd and it is still msot definitely a stinky turd)

                • Mike Pop

                  I would prefer higher walls to left and right. But w/e no big. I love the new stadium, so fresh and so clean.

                  A.J. Burnett would benefit from higher walls and a little deeper parks too!

                • Tom Zig

                  Bro, when AJ is on, you could have the defense of the 2004 Yankees and it’d still be a shut out.

              • toad

                I think it’s good to have an idiosyncratic park, preferably asymmetric. That makes certain types of players – left-handed power hitters, to pick a random example – more valuable to you than to other teams.

              • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

                NYS isn’t that much of a hitter’s park. By ESPN’s Park Factors, it only favors hitters for homers and walks. Runs, doubles, and triples are all suppressed in NYS.

                • Ed

                  How does a stadium favor walks? It’s clear how comes in to play on batted balls, but walks has got to be incredibly indirect at best.

                  Guessing, but…

                  Less foul teritory -> less foul balls turned into outs -> higher average pitches per at bat -> more of everything that’s not a foul out -> more walks ?

                • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

                  I guess the walk rate is just higher there.

                  /shrug

                • Mike Pop

                  I would assume, pitchers are more afraid to give up the long wall. So they’re less hesitant to give a pitch that is more hittable.

                • Mike Pop

                  I would assume, pitchers are more afraid to give up the long w ball. So they’re less hesitant to give a pitch that is more hittable.

                  Fixed.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              When are they on the schedule? I bet Strasburg no-hits the Mets in May.

      • Slugger27

        no, u were right the first time

  • ADam

    This argument begins and ends with starting pitching. Simple

    CC- Locked and Loaded
    AJ – Should get himself some Abilify and get over his good aj bad aj bi polar disorder
    Andy – As always steady in the season, and shows up big in the playoffs… almost always
    Jobber/Gaudin – Competing for the number 4 spot. – My guess is if C.D pitches well tonight, he will shoot ahead of Joba as the number 4 starter. Jobber – Has got to figure himself out.. plain and simple.. and needs to realize that he is not a lock for the post season roster… at least I hope thats what Joe G. plans on.

    In any event or slump or hot streak it begins and with starting pitching, We have the bats, we have the pen, and we have a much improved defense… from here on out its up to the starting rotation.

    • Mike Pop

      Gaudin is my 4th starter as things are right now.

      • ADam

        Cant say I blame you, or disagree

        • Bo

          Why would they even use a 4th starter in the playoffs at this point?

          There are plenty of off days and they would have plenty of options in the pen.

          Id rather see CC go than Gaudin.

          • ADam

            Bo-

            Do you really want to face Justin Verlander and Edwin Jackson twice in a short series?

            Personally Id’ like to see a Gaudin/Joba v. Washburn matchup in a Game 4

            • Ed

              Actually, I would like to see Jackson twice. He’s been pitching terribly for a while now.

              • ADam

                So if it gets to a point where its game 5 and your season rests on the shoulders of AJ Burnett… Your 100% comfortable with that?

                If you can say that with a strait face… God Bless, I guess im just not that blindly loyal…

                • Ed

                  I never said I trusted AJ Burnett.

                  While AJ has been inconsistent, Jackson has been consistently bad for a while now. I don’t trust AJ to pitch good game, but I do trust him to pitch well enough to beat Jackson.

                • Sweet Dick Willie

                  Burnett vs Jackson?

                  I’m 100% comfortable w/ that match-up, seeing as how Burnett would be facing the Tigers line-up and Jackson would be facing the Yankees line-up.

                  And if you’re not 100% comfortable w/ that match-up, ask yourself this question: Would you feel better about that match-up if you were a Tigers fan?

  • Jeremy

    Irrational fear that the Yankees could lose the division to the Red Sox is what sells papers and gets people to listen to sports radio. Ignore.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Hey, did you hear that there’s gonna be Death Panels in the new health care reform? That sounds bad, I don’t want that…

      • jsbrendog

        you betcha. death panels.

        • Tom Zig

          Obama is going to kill your grandparents

          /MSM

          • Thomas

            Obama, that son of bitch is ice cold.

            /Jean-Paul’d

      • Makavelli

        Are they going to do a Roman-esque “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” with the patient standing in front of them??

    • steve s

      When does the fear get rational? Another 2 losses to Angels? Tied in the loss cloumn with Red Sox after Sunday’s game?

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

        See where they are at the end of the weekend.

      • The Lodge

        Any fear associated with this team is irrational.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Is fear ever rational?

          /philosopher’d

          • Makavelli

            Fear is where there is no love. Love is where there is no fear.

            /Axl’d

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              Illustrative.

            • Thomas

              I AM NOT AFRAID!!

        • Mike Pop

          Well, not irrational.

          There’s always that little itty bit of fear lodged in the back of the brain somewhere.

          Having to do with injuries, bad calls by the umps, or Girardi calling for the bunt with a guy who is OPSing over .850.

          • Bo

            There should be fear with Girardi managing. Bunting, putting Bruney in a close game, not pitching Hughes/Aceves, letting Molina hit in a close game, etc.

            • Mike Pop

              Yeah, I hope these are only mistakes he made cause it’s September and these games really don’t matter. When the playoffs come around, I can see Bruney is a tight spot. But not a bunt with Nick or Jeter – even if it’s on their own. They should not be bunting unless the situation absolutely calls for it.

              Also, Molina might play 1 game, tops in the playoffs. That’s how it should be.

          • The Lodge

            I mean to say that I am of the opinion that this team is vastly superior to the rest of the Post-Season field based on the body of work this year. Of course – $h!t *could* happen that would make the ball of twine come unwound (uncontrollable things like bad calls, injuries and protracted slumps).

            Don’t fret on Girardi though – if a bad bunt decision here & there is the biggest problem, then things are pretty good.

            At least he hasn’t driven the back-end of the ‘pen into the ground by August.

  • Old Goat

    Its not like the Yankees didn’t have times when the bats all slowed down. It didn’t last long then, and hopefully won’t last long now.

    Slumps are going to happen. I doubt the Sox are going to keep up their pace. Heck, they just lost a very unlikely one last night. Up by a ton of runs and they lose that game? Its not like KC is a hitting machine.

  • Mike Pop

    Slumps, they happen. Just will make it all the more sweeter when the Yankees blaze through the playoffs.

    Please, let them win this year.

    http://images.southparkstudios.....hp?id=7454

  • Frank

    I agree that slumps happen. And maybe getting it out of the way now is a good thing. But there are slumps and there’s beating the Angels. So,the Yanks need to win this series, not just to preserve the best record, but more importantly, to prove to themselves they can beat this team.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      So,the Yanks need to win this series, not just to preserve the best record, but more importantly, to prove to themselves they can beat this team.

      No, they don’t.

      • jsbrendog

        agreed. west coast trips to me are like vacation. i relax, then pick it right back up when the games are on at normal times and i can watch. so unless they’re not in first place after this west coast trip, which is impossible, meh, whatever

  • Bo

    Can we keep in mind just for a second that the Sox have gotten healthy at home and mostly against the Orioles.

    • Tom Zig

      They’ve played some crap teams and some teams that have quit. (Tampa Bay and Chicago, i’m looking at you guys)

      • Makavelli

        Well we did shitty against Baltimore, Toronto, and Seattle…

        Just sayin’…

  • Kiersten

    Rather they slump now instead of October like they did in 04-07.

    • Makavelli

      There was too much pressure on the offense during those years…we didn’t really have any pitching…and we were facing some pretty good teams with pretty good pitching (minus Kenny Rogers)

  • Salty Buggah

    Damnit Joe, you made this world a worse place by saving some people from jumping off the bridge.