Injuries just a small part of the problem


"We stink." (Photo Credit: Henny Ray Abrams, AP)

Just 4-8 in their last dozen games, the Yankees have hit their first real skid of the 2010 season. We all knew it was going to happen at some point, but that doesn’t make it any less disappointing. Considering the opponents (Red Sox and Rays, among others) and the fact that the majority of those games were played at home, and yeah, it’s frustrating. All of the recent injuries provide a built-in excuse, because what team wouldn’t be weakened by losing their starting catcher, two starting outfielders, and starting designated hitter?

Of course, the injuries aren’t everything. Every team has injuries, it’s part of the game. The Rays don’t have J.P. Howell or Kelly Shoppach, Boston’s missing Jacoby Ellsbury and Mike Cameron, it happens. In fact, even without Jorge Posada, Nick Swisher, Curtis Granderson, and Nick Johnson in the lineup, the Yankees still managed to score 47 runs during the seven game homestand. And that’s with Mark Teixeira enduring an 0-for-14 stretch. When you score nearly seven runs per game, you should win.

Instead, the pitching staff wasn’t able to hold up it’s end of the bargain, allowing 45 runs during that stretch. Most of that blame goes to the bullpen, which has allowed 20 runs in the last five games (16.1 IP). That’s not quite Arizona Diamondbacks bad, but it’s bad. Even more damning is that most of those runs were charged to Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera, who are supposed to be rocks at the end of games. Maybe it’s not damning, maybe that’s too harsh, because it’s certainly reasonable to expect those two to perform better over a 162 game season. Remember, if they did their jobs on Sunday and Tuesday, it’s a 5-2 homestand instead of a 3-4 homestand.

(Devil’s Advocate: If Jonathan Papelbon does his job on Monday, it’s a 2-5 homestand)

The starters, so dominant early in the season, were just mediocre the last time through the rotation. Sergio Mitre (5 IP, 1 R) and CC Sabathia (7 IP, 1 R) did their jobs, but Phil Hughes (5 IP, 5 R), A.J. Burnett (6.2 IP, 6 R), and Andy Pettitte (5 IP, 7 R) were simply not good enough to win. The defense didn’t help much either, as Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez and Marcus Thames all contributed significant misplays during the recent schnied. The Yanks still have a sub-4.00 team ERA (3.93, to be exact) and have allowed the fourth fewest runs in the league this season, but you wouldn’t have been able to tell that by watching them over the last week or so.

Whenever the Yankees play (and more importantly, lose to) the Rays, we’re always subjected to that usual schtick about them being younger and more athletic and holding track meets on the bases and what not, and of course it’s true. The Rays are a special team, they make everyone look old. It’s not something unique to the Yanks. If the pitching had done it’s job, limiting Tampa to even just five runs a game, the series plays out much differently.

Injuries are certainly taking a toll on the Yanks’ roster, but not let’s not fall into the trap of using that as a scapegoat. The players that are healthy, specifically the pitching staff, haven’t been up to par of late. It’s not a fatal flaw or anything, it’s just a rut. It happens to every team, and it’ll happen to the Yankees again at some point this summer. They’re too talented to pitch as poorly as they did during this homestand for a prolonged stretch of time. The good news is that 16 of their next 22 games come against last place teams, so the ship could be righted in very short order.

Just don’t use the injuries as an excuse for their recent poor play, it’s lazy and a total cop-out.

Categories : Injuries
  • mike c

    it’s not the injuries for the last losses, it’s pitching. one good sign: k-rob looked very good against tampa last night

    • Templeton “Brendog” Peck

      d-rob. there isn’t a k anywhere in the guy’s name. it makes no sense.

      • bexarama

        I’m assuming it’s because he strikes out a lot of people.

        • Templeton “Brendog” Peck

          yeah. lame. there is a k-rod. and i dont want the stupid nickname stink tosuly d-rob’s effectiveness

          • mike c

            no, his real name is karl, david is just his nickname

            • Templeton “Brendog” Peck
              • mike c

                that’s bunk information. it’s karl.
                also, his nickname in the minors was “the mailman”

                • Templeton “Brendog” Peck

                  dis here da karl malone saying don’t get ubducked by aliens

            • Clayton

              Funny, just like Granderson is a switch hitter both these sites have his name as David Alan Robertson.


              Under the bio

          • Thomas

            I think we should start pushing Houdini after this article.

  ;c_id=mlb (safe)

  • Chris

    The last 14 games for the Yankees have been against teams with winning records. Between now and the all-star break, the Yankees only play 15 games against teams with winning records. They actually play more games against teams with winning percentages under .400 than they do games against teams with winning percentages over .500.

  • Andrew

    The starters had gotten off to an unbelievable start as a collective (save for Vazquez). It would have been great for all their performances to continue being on the highest level possible, but I am not shocked that Burnett Pettitte & Hughes experienced hiccups. Just really unfortunate timing considering how much the team needs good pitching right now, as well as who the opponents were. Confident they are still a rotation as good as any in the league, though.

  • Steve H

    Just need to ride the storm out. They went thru similar stretches last year, and will likely go through a few more this year.

  • rek4gehrig

    Totall agree. If only pitching would step up during this horrible injury ridden stretch, they’d be fine.

  • Matty V

    100% Agree Mike

  • mike c

    another positive thought regarding injury lineups, miranda might be a sick power hitter, if we get thames back soon enough the platoon DH might be a really nice power bat in the back of the lineup.


  • pete

    well said. this is just a time when it is most necessary to practice Zen Baseball.

    • Steve H

      Especially 41 games into a season coming off a title. And having the 3rd best record in all of baseball helps zen baseball as well.

  • Lucas AA, aka don’t_bring_in_the_lefty

    The last sentence of this piece is great

  • theyankeewarrior

    This is why we shouldn’t be worried. The staff needs to wake up. And Interleague play could be just the thing they need.

    Time to strike some pitchers out, shorten the game, rest the pen, sweep the Queens and get rolling like they usually so in late May/early June.

    Annoyance: Does Tex plan to hover around .200 all season?

    • JobaWockeeZ

      Annoyance: Does Tex plan to hover around .200 all season?

      Really? Do you think he’ll just recover from the April slump in 3 weeks of May? He’s hitting .300 so far in this month, what else do you want?

      • Mister Delaware

        Until he goes back and fixes his April average, consider me dissastified. I mean, c’mon, $20MM!

      • theyankeewarrior

        Really? Tex’s production hasn’t been annoying so far this year?

        The whole reason you deal with a .150 month from your #3 hitter is that you expect him to break out of it in a big way to even it out.

        Going 0-14 and hitting weak grounders to the pitcher with runners on second and third and no outs is not breaking out in a big way.

        He’s one of my favorite players, I don’t doubt that he will be back. But I’m still waiting… And that’s annoying.

        • Templeton “Brendog” Peck

          ::unwraps burrito and wipes down microwave::

          h/t tsjc

          • theyankeewarrior

            Ya know what? You’re right. The fact that I’m displeased with my 22MM first baseman because he’s OPSing .700 and in an 0-14 slump after he hit .150 in April is ridiculous.

            I’m out of control. I’m so irrational and impossible to reason with that you need to reference some freak trying to microwave his burrito.

            Next time you want to steal from TSJC, at least get it right…

            ::unwraps burrito, wipes down microwave::

            … there’s no AND

            • Templeton “Brendog” Peck

              right. stealing. you are very sensitive. maybe we should leave you alone for the rest of the week and let you get back to your normal cycle.

              • theyankeewarrior

                Nope. Not sensitive, just annoyed. Like I said in my original post.

                I’m annoyed that Tex is having an anemic season at the plate so far. I’m annoyed that he’s 0-14. I was annoyed last night when he took a full swing and bunted back to the pitcher with 2nd&3rd 0 outs.

                It’s annoying. I’ll even bet that you shared the same annoying feeling with me.

                • rek4gehrig

                  I did

        • rek4gehrig

          very annoying

      • ZZ

        Tex’s production this month is too caught up in 2 games. On May 2nd he went 4-5 against the WS and the 4-6 with 3 HR game against the RS. You take out those 2 games and he is hitting .220 with 2 HR in May.

        Tex has looked horrible at the plate the entire year aside from at best a handful of games. With an injury filled lineup he is really hurting this team playing below replacement level as their #3 hitter.

        And last night you started to see Alex trying to make up for how bad Tex has been. He started to really press in last nights game and expanded the strike zone. Alex sees how bad Tex looks at the plate and is trying to make up for it.

        I really like Tex and think he will turn it around. However, make no mistake that he has hurt this team especially at a time when they need him most. This is probably the worst Tex has been at the plate to start a season. And it is not just his production. His at bats are just really poor.

        At some point the disproportionate production really starts to matter. This is one of those times for this team.

        • theyankeewarrior

          Not to mention that one of those HR’s is off a AAA outfielder.

        • Templeton “Brendog” Peck

          “Alex sees how bad Tex looks at the plate and is trying to make up for it. ”

          and he told you this? or the media this? cause arod can’t have a bad game too? or maybe the pitcher just was on? or, on his k last night he flailed at a ball out of the zone to look silly immediately after the same pitch at his shins was called a strike incorrctly so he tried to make contact cause he knew itd be called a strike again incorrectly…

          • ZZ

            Last night was the first time all season Alex really looked like he was pressing at the plate. Even when he was struggling to get his leg kick timing down early in the season he still stayed composed at the plate and did not let it affect his at bats.

            It was not just a bad game for Alex last night. He has kept everything incredibly simple at the plate since the playoffs last year. Not trying to do too much with his at bats.

            But last night he was taking long swings and expanding the zone to try to account for the lack of production in front of him.

            • Templeton “Brendog” Peck

              and how do you know this other than you observation that has no basis in any fact? it is your opinion.

              • Mister Delaware

                I’m with ZZ, sometimes you can just see these things. Like what the hell is Cervelli doing thinking about buying a new couch during the 7th inning last night? Focus on the damn pitcher, Frankie!

                • bexarama

                  Eh, hard to blame Frankie. Even from the DL, Posada’s still calling for the home run ball.

  • http://RiverAveBlues Al in Houston

    Things that made me sick during homestand 1) Continued use of Boone L 2) Marte- he has to be the highest paid pitcher, per pitch 3)R Wynn 4) Teix continuing to struggle……its almost June!

    • Chris

      Marte is actually paid less per pitch than CC.

    • Rose

      Couldn’t agree more. I think Girardi has his braces on a little too tight. It’s affecting his decision making. Although, in fairness, everybody stinking isn’t his fault…but him continuing to go to them certainly is.

      But as for Randy Winn, who the hell else is he going to put out there?

      Like I said yesterday. This team is one Royce Clayton away from a Championship.

    • Templeton “Brendog” Peck

      randy wInn

    • Mister Delaware

      The broken toy cannon.

  • China Joe

    A two game series with the Rays doesn’t prove much. The Yankees have handled them pretty well in the past…even in 2008 when the Rays went to the WS and the Yankees missed the playoffs. Even with their speed, I think the Yankees match up with them when the pitching staff is performing at their usual level. Everybody likes to talk about the Rays, and how great they are for baseball. Then they make the World Series and its the lowest-rated series in history. Cracks me up.

  • Rose

    “We stink.” (Photo Credit: Henny Ray Abrams, AP) (SAFE)

    • bexarama

      Whoah whoah whoah whoah whoah what is this? This is so crazy original. My mind is like, totally blown.

      • Rose

        You’re right! It is crazy original! I came up with the idea!

        You don’t see comedians doing brand new material every time they perform do you??

        That’ll be $80 please…

  • Meat Loaf

    Boone Logan is rapidly becoming a bad (worse) Scott Proctor. I would dread Torre going to get him, but it seemed like he would call for him without fail.

    • Templeton “Brendog” Peck

      except proctor was good and that is why he pitched in 80+ games and that is why he sucked ace the next year. he is the poster child for being torre’d. he should go around to bullpens and give motivational speeches

      • Rose

        Scott Proctor, Tanyon Sturtze and Paul Quantrill are actuall all the same person. (SAFE)

        • Mister Delaware

          Troncoso : Proctor :: Logan : Suck

        • rek4gehrig

          Too funny.

      • Chris

        Scott Proctor in 2007: 83G, 86.1IP, 5.30FIP, 5.79xFIP
        Boone Logan in 2010: 5.39FIP, 5.46xFIP

        The difference is that Proctor was used as a primary setup man. Logan is used as the low-leverage lefty matchup guy.

        Besides, Logan’s not much worse than any of the other options.

        • Mister Delaware

          No, the difference is that Proctor had a sub 4.00 ERA and Logan is closer to 6.00 than 5.00. FIP (or QERA, if you’re like me) is fine when quantifying luck or to use as a predictive measure but it doesn’t override ERA when determining past effectiveness. Proctor shouldn’t have been effective, but he was.

  • yoo-boo

    if Yanks stop skipping Vazquez’s turn, they will win again. Simple.

  • theyankeewarrior

    Maybe Yankee pitchers should watch some tape on how the rest of MLB pitches to Carlos Pena. Every other staff in MLB seems to have the guy figured out besides them.

    • JohnnyC

      Hard to tell if it’s just lack of execution by the pitchers in terms of location or if it’s really a problem with advance scouting. Considering the predictability of pitch selection by Yankees pitchers (3-2 slider from Joba, cutter from Hughes, slider from Marte), you begin to wonder.

  • yoo-boo

    just out of curiosity, when is the best time to talk about draft or which free site is including drafts and yanks? thanks.

  • EvoLuTioN aka Jobamania

    regression of aj and andy together hurts

  • jpv

    well said, Mike, well said.

  • nathan

    (Devil’s Advocate: If Jonathan Papelbon does his job on Monday, it’s a 2-5 homestand)

    – well if Mo and Joba do their jobs we have 2 more wins (game 3 against Twins, game 2 against Sox).

    • mike c

      mo was killed by the thames play in that situation

  • misterd

    Blaming the injuries is not a total cop out, only an incomplete assignment of blame. After all, if Thames or Winn could catch the ball, we’d have won at least one more game, and they wouldn’t be there is Swish or Grandy were in the outfield. And I sure as shit never expected to see Francisco Cervelli hitting sixth in the lineup.

    I’d say the blame is about 60% pitching, 32% injuries/players who shouldn’t be playing, and 3% WTF is wrong with Jeter?