May
28

Hard to beat a good team three times

By

With the way the Yankees have scored runs lately, we should be thankful that the Yankees’ pitching held up in the first two games. Javier Vazquez couldn’t make like A.J. Burnett and Andy Pettitte, and that was clear from the beginning. The Twins hit the ball hard all night, while the Yankees’ bats languished. Again, this one would have stung a bit more had the Yanks not taken the first two, especially with the way they won last night.

Biggest Hit: Cano the deficit hawk

Photo caption: Andy King/AP

There was a point during last night’s game where the Yankees stood a chance. They had been down on the scoreboard all evening, but they had hit Nick Blackburn fairly hard, though the effort only resulted in one run through five innings. The Yanks threatened to change that immediately in the sixth. Mark Teixeira drove a first-pitch changeup to right-center for a leadoff double. Alex Rodriguez popped up to second, leaving the job up to Robinson Cano.

Blackburn delivered a first-pitch curveball right over the plate, and Cano pulled a grounder down the right field line. It went all the way to the corner, allowing Teixeira to score and Cano to reach second without a throw. Cano had cut the deficit in half and gave the Yanks two more chances to pull within one. But neither Nick Swisher nor Juan Miranda succeeded in his attempt.

Cano also drove in the Yankees’ first run, singling home Brett Gardner in the fourth.

Jason Kubel, Yankee killer

Photo caption: Andy King/AP

The lead here is easy. Kubel shocked the Yankees 11 days ago, spoiling a sweep at the Stadium. The follow up didn’t sting quite as badly, though the bar was set pretty high. It started in the second inning when Michael Cuddyer flied one into the gap in right-center. That brought up Kubel, who ran the count 2-2 before hitting a low curveball that caught a bit much of the plate. His gap shot put the Twins up 2-0. With none out in the inning, the Twins were still able to bring home Kubel when Alexi Casilla grounded into a double play.

An inning after Cano put the Yankees to within two, Kubel struck again. Javier Vazquez, who had settled down since the two-run second, stayed away from Kubel, laying three fastballs around but definitely outside the zone. On the 2-1 Vazquez went to his curveball and delivered it to nearly the same spot as he had the previous time against Kubel. This time he got all of it, sending it well over the wall and extending the Twins lead to 5-2.

In the seventh he had a clear advantage. Chad Gaudin does not pitch at all well against lefties. Kubel already had a double and a homer against a righty pitcher. Gaudin went to work, careful stay away from Kubel’s pull zone. He mostly succeeded, but on the ninth pitch it didn’t matter. Gaudin delivered a fastball outside, and Kubel got his arms extended. If there was any chance of a comeback at that point, it disappeared with that swing.

Wasted chances

Photo caption: Andy King/AP

The Yankees collected 10 hits in the game, but had trouble putting together rallies. That seems to be the theme of the past few weeks. They had a chance to break the dry spell in the first, but Alex Rodriguez couldn’t get it done. With runners on the corners and one out he grounded one to short, which wasn’t the easiest double play but it was quick enough to beat A-Rod to first. He’s not going to succeed every time, but when runs are scarce his failures hurt plenty.

Nick Swisher followed Robinson Cano’s RBI single in the fourth with a single of his own, setting up the Yankees with runners on first and third with two out. Juan Miranda got a chance to give the Yanks another run and keep the inning going, but he instead grounded weakly to second.

Those were the only times the Yankees had more than one runner on base. After the Miranda groundout they went 1 for 12 the rest of the way.

Bad Javy

Photo caption: Andy King/AP

At the beginning of the season Javy Vazquez pitched poorly. Then he pitched very well in two starts. Now he’s pitched poorly again. Can we create the Good Javy, Bad Javy designation, too? Because that’s so much fun.

Vazquez had the same problem with his fastball as he had earlier in the season. The lack of velocity is a concern secondary to his command, but velocity is a concern nonetheless. It looked like a slightly more contained start from earlier in the year, which is just what the Yanks can’t afford while they slump. Yanks have a streaking A-Rod and Teixeira? This start is a bit easier to stomach. But when the offense hasn’t worked, the Yanks need their pitchers more than ever.

Thankfully, Javy has a few easier starts to bounce back. He’ll get the Orioles next, though the Blue Jays have been hitting very well so far.

Said Girardi after the game: “He left some breaking pitches up.” Exactly.

WPA graph and box score

I have nothing nice to say about this WPA graph, so I will say nothing at all.

More at FanGraphs. Traditional at MLB.com.

Next up

It’s quite an upcoming stretch for the Yankees. This weekend it’s a four-game set against the last-place Indians. Then the last-place Orioles come to town. The Yanks then fly up to Toronto, which will be their toughest games in this stretch. Then it’s down to play last-place Baltimore, and then back home for a weekend set against last-place Houston. If there is ever a time for the Yankees’ bats to wake up, it’s during this stretch.

The rejuvenated Fausto Carmona takes on Phil Hughes tomrrow night.

Categories : Game Stories
  • http://twitter.com/YankeesGalaxy YankeesGalaxy

    This game SICKENED me. I hope Rally Hudson can carry us through the Indians series. GO YANKEES!

  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime (Optimovelist Primus)

    As bad as the Yankee bats have been, um, they’re not the Phillies.

    However, that strand rate has got to change. Can’t win too many games on solo home runs. Yankee pitching is good, but it’s not that good.

    • http://www.soxandpinstripes.net JGS

      Can’t win too many games on solo home runs

      Repeated for emphasis (the paragraph right above the pozterisk)

  • tradejavy

    This Javy experiment is a total loss. He cannot get patient AL batters out with his mediocre stuff. He is not good enough to survive AL East. It is just so frustrating to see a meek, sweaty, supposed star, turn a possible close game into a no doubter for the opponent.

    Dodgers are in need of a veteran pitcher, maybe trade Javy for a younger pitcher and an outfielder before his stock hits the pile of horse shit, which is where it is headed and possibly belongs. He will be fine in NL west and feel like an ace…we dont need this shit anymore.

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

      Blah blah blah.

    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

      Your argument is that Javy’s sucked this year. Fine. He generally has. His stock is pretty much, as you so poetically put it, horse shit already. The other part of your argument seems to be that the Dodgers would be really happy to take this current horse shit stock for “a younger pitcher” (Kershaw?) and “an outfielder” (Kemp?). That’s not happening. You’ve gotta see the logic flaw there.

      • mike c

        i’d trade javy for manny straight up. a sick DH that would also give us big OF flexibility > a 5th starter

        • Sean C

          Great, so we can get another bat that’s “good” and an outfielder that is mediocre at best? We need to keep Javy. Once the bats put up the 4, 5, or 6 RPG that they’re supposed to, we’ll be just fine.

          • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUvg7Empjfg Captain Jack

            Really…

          • mike c

            why? we have 4 aces. our lineup is weaker than our pitching staff

      • A thought

        Obviously, not. No one is going to give up a portential dimond mine for a pile of shit, but just think that a NL team needs less convinving to take Javy (more so Dodgers as most of the contending teams , other than the Dodgers, have diminished offense).

        We wont get Ethier/Kershaw/Kemp. Ethier is the face of the franchise. Maybe Ely and a minor league prospect outfeilder.

        Problem in the AL divisions is that the top teams are patient and they are rarely going to swing at slow stuff away from the zone, even when they are sharp. This leaves Javy with only his mediocre, inconmsistent fastball which gets drilled. So unless there is something that changes, fundamentally in his approach he is NOT going to be successful, at least not consistently successful in AL.

        So get rid of him while you can.

    • Salty Buggah

      You’re right! 2 + 2 DOES equal 5.

    • BigBlueAL

      I think if they throw in Boone Logan as well the Dodgers would be willing to give up Ethier.

    • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUvg7Empjfg Captain Jack

      Well he really can’t be traded for anything of value, especially with a double (well, eight) digit salary this year. He’s been pretty awful, allowing a run an inning before his start in Detroit on extended rest, then had a nice start on extended rest in Citi Field, then…did this. If you want an outfielder from the Dodgers Reed Johnson is the only one you’ll end up getting, and even that’s a stretch. Young pitcher? Back when Bills was pitching poorly there was a chance that they could get him, but it’d take a hell of a lot more than just Javy…but that’s moot now, he had a couple of stellar starts and back to about where he should be.

      • A thought

        I agree. But it might be worth trying to dangle him before potential takers, if not we are stuck.

        I cannot imagine Joba being worse than this, he would have been 4-4 at worse in the first 8 starts, guaranteed. Like I said (under a different name, for emphasis) this Javy experiment is a total failure.

    • Jammy Jammers

      Don’t bash him! SSS!!! He’ll be the WS MVP!!!

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

        What’s funny about this statement is that around this time last year, we had a lot of “DFA Matsui!” comments.

        • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUvg7Empjfg Captain Jack

          Yeah…BUT, Matsui was good in April and mediocre in May. Vazquez has just been…bad, not even mediocre.

      • http://twitter.com/Cnight_UP Cnight_UP

        Bash away, what is the alternative?

      • http://twitter.com/Cnight_UP Cnight_UP

        Bash away, however, who do you propose he be replaced with?

        • http://twitter.com/Cnight_UP Cnight_UP

          Wow, apparently there is a good chance i developed a studder, p-p-p-please don’t do this to me.

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

            T-t-t-t-t-t-today junior!

  • BigBlueAL

    I will forever remember this game for the Yankee fan eating Kim Jones’ pork chop.

    • http://twitter.com/YankeesGalaxy YankeesGalaxy

      yup me too

      • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime (Optimovelist Primus)

        Thirded.

    • Kiko Jones

      Um, “chop-stick”?

      Yeah, that dude was tacky as all get out. It was funny, tho.

    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama
      • dkidd

        what kind of idiot brings a hairbrush to a broom fight?

        /connery’d

      • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

        Oh. My. Mo. That is beyond wonderful.

      • rek4gehrig

        Priceless

  • http://yanksgoyard.com Andy_C_23

    Is anyone else concerned that Javy’s finger injury might be worse than he is letting on?

    • http://www.soxandpinstripes.net JGS

      Not particularly. The Twins have great numbers against Javy and when strikes down in the zone aren’t called, he is going to start elevating

    • Jammy Jammers

      No. He’s sucks as bad as he did before the injury. No difference.

  • Stevis

    Javier…..what a BUM!!!!!
    He looked like a batting practice pitcher last night!He made Jason Kubel(that just over the Mendoza line slugger) look like the Mick in his prime!!
    He has to GO, back to the N.L. where he won’t crap his pants!!

    • Brian in NH

      Obviously this guy didn’t read any of the above comments on Javy and his abilities and our ability to “dump” him.

    • Tampa Yankee

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      • WIlliam

        Did you just do that, or is it a document on your computer? Either way, awesome.

    • rek4gehrig

      It’s all in his head. He looked scared last night but against the Mets he looked so confident.

  • Patrick

    If you would have told me before this 3 game series that NY would average only 2 runs in the 3 games–I would have expected a 0-3 series vs Minny. 1-2 at the best.

    The Yankees did very well to win 2 out of 3 considering the lack of pop with their bats.

    I’m not at all concerned about their pitching right now.

    Their bats on the other hand are another story……

    But as Joe brought up in his story–upcoming teams on the schedule like Cleveland, Baltimore, and Houston may provide the perfect elixir for the Yankees slumbering bats. They should awaken.

    • http://twitter.com/Cnight_UP Cnight_UP

      You are adding Granderson to a lineup tonight and removing one of Thames/Winn/Miranda/Russo, the lineup just got infinity times better. In a week or two we get Posada back, and the lineup gets infinity times better again. Ebbs and flows my friend, this too shall pass.

      • Bogart

        While I agree with your general point, I’m not sure you understand the concept of infinity.

        • http://twitter.com/Cnight_UP Cnight_UP

          Hahahaha, i like most men, tend to exaggerate numbers, most exaggerate in inches, i exaggerate in phantom percentages.

          • rek4gehrig

            Wink wink

        • baby carlos

          isn’t the word “infinite” instead of “infinity”?

          • TheLastClown

            Infinity = noun

            Infinite = adjective

  • http://twitter.com/Cnight_UP Cnight_UP

    The 800 lbs Gorilla in the room for all you DUMP TEH JAVIER11!! crew is who is the starter you replace him with? Mitre?

    I would also like to know the correlation of people that want Javy gone to people that are B-Jobbers. Im willing to bet it is pretty high, and to that I will say, this was your wish.

    • http://twitter.com/dpatrickg Dirty Pena

      All of this.

    • Tampa Yankee

      EXACTLY! That’s the thing about all these Javy haters and BJobbers, all they want to do is bitch but they never come to the table with alternate solutions to the problems.

      Look, am I happy with the way Javy has pitched? Not at all but I do know that I’ve followed him since his days in Montreal and I know he isn’t THIS bad. In actuality, he’s been a really good pitcher his whole career. Something is just not right/is not working.

      I’d love for someone who wants Javy gone to come up with a solution on who to replace him with that is a better option… Mitre? Nova? Oswalt? We all know why those options don’t make sense so please someone give us a REALISTIC solution to this problem instead of whining.

  • http://twitter.com/dpatrickg Dirty Pena

    Not enough Chan Ho Park hate. I gotta say my patience is wearing thin with that experiment.

  • Harold Moskowitz

    Joseph and/or Mike:

    What’s your thoughts on the – cause(s) – of Javy’s speed/control issues?

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

      We’re not pitching coaches, so it’s hard to say. If it were just the velocity it’s easier to point to diminishing physical attributes, but because his command is so clearly off, it’s probably more a mechanical thing. Problem is, that’s never an easy fix.

    • rek4gehrig

      Lack of confidence (except in NL ball parks)….that’s my thought.

  • Nate

    Is it crazy to suggest that swinging a bat helps some pitchers? And no, I don’t know how that would work – maybe if they’re used to it, it changes their delivery? Or it helps remind them of timing, etc?

    • http://twitter.com/Cnight_UP Cnight_UP

      if that was the case, wouldnt he just go to the cage and take some hacks every 8 hitters?

      I think a lot of this has to do with fan perception, and Javy thinking he has to be perfect on every pitch, every time out there. Fair or not, the NY media, and a good number of blogs and message boards gave Javy the Latroy Hawkins treatment before he ever threw his 1st pitch in 2010. I think a lot of his struggles are mental right now, thinking that he has to be perfect on every pitch.

  • Pete

    I. Hate. Jason. Kubel.

  • http://twitter.com/YankeesGalaxy YankeesGalaxy

    We always seem to make Kubel look like the Mick in his prime…