Yanks’ offense MIA yet again, fall to Jays in 11

Tampa, Staten Island walk-off with wins
Yanks looking to improve bench

There are few things in baseball more frustrating than stranded baserunners, blown leads, and losing in extra innings, and yet Friday’s game against the Blue Jays managed to hit the trifecta. Sadly, it was more just of the same from a team that suddenly features only two sure things (CC Sabathia, Mariano Rivera). The Yankees are 7-8 in their last 15 games, a 76 win pace over a full season, and they look every bit the part. Boston took down the Orioles, trimming the Yanks lead in the AL East down to a half-game.

I guess we should be happy he only allowed one run on Friday. (Photo Credit: Frank Franklin II, AP)

I Was So Sure That First Inning Run Would Hold Up

As has been the theme for the last week or so, the Yanks were all about squandering opportunities in this game. The 1st inning started with walks to Derek Jeter and Nick Swisher, who then moved over the second and third on a Mark Teixeira ground out. Alex Rodriguez got a run with a sacrifice fly, but Swisher was stranded at third. Yay.

The 3rd inning started in much of the same way: single by Jeter, walk to Swisher, and then a walk to Teixeira to load them up with nobody out. Teams are expected to score more than 2.4 runs in that situation, and you figured the Yanks could best that with the 4-5-6 hitters coming up. Instead they got a big fat goose egg. A-Rod struck out after being up 2-0 in the count, swinging through an 82 mph changeup and a 91 mph fastball for strikes two and three. Robbie Cano followed that up by swinging through three straight fastballs up and in and out of the zone for just his seventh three pitch strikeout of the season. Jorge Posada spared everyone the embarrassment of three straight strikeouts, grounding out to second to let the obviously off-his-game Brett Cecil off the hook.

But wait folks, there’s more. With the score still standing at one-love, Posada singled and Curtis Granderson walked to lead off the 6th inning. With two hits already to his name, Frankie Cervelli stepped the plate in what appeared to be a bunting situation. “You have a slow runner at second,” said Joe Girardi after the game. “You have a lefty on the mound that’s falling off toward third base. It’s got to be a perfect bunt. Cervi’s got two hits off this guy. Lefties are hitting .180 (against him) and there’s a left-hander (Brett Gardner) on deck. The wind’s blowing in. A sac fly is going to be difficult.” Sounds like fine reasoning, and you all know I despise the bunt, but sure enough Cervelli clanked a 1-1 fastball into the ground for a 5-4-3 double play. Posada would be stranded at third.

The Yankees really didn’t put up much of a fight after that. Just one of the final 16 batters the Yankees sent to the plate after Cervelli’s GIDP reached base, and Posada was the only Yankee to make it to second base (and beyond) after the 4th inning. Blue Jays pitchers threw five pitches in the 7th, nine in the 8th, 11 in the 9th, 14 in the 10th, and 13 in the 11th. That’s a total of 52 pitches to record the final 15 outs. They went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position, and haven’t picked up a single hit in their last 19 at-bats with RISP dating back to who knows when.

Over their last 38 offensive innings, the Yankees have pushed nine runs across. Nine. That’s a 2.13 ERA if you were a pitcher. Granted, there’s no shame in losing to Cliff Lee and Felix Hernandez, but the constant non-capitalization of opportunities is something that dates back to the series in Arizona. They let Dontrelle Willis off the hook then, and let Brett Cecil and his six walks off the hook here. I know teams go through slumps, but we’re talking about complete offensive ineptitude here. Guys are obviously pressing, others are giving at-bats away, and of course there’s basically four automatic outs in the lineup every night because of the lack of a real designated hitter.

The Yankees are hitting .245/.332/.405 a a team since June 1st, a forgettable .323 wOBA. That’s like having nine Cliff Pennington’s in the lineup for over a month. Yeah, exactly. No more excuses, no more tipping your cap to the other pitcher, man the frig up and get the job done.

A.J. Escapes From Eiland Of Doom

You did good, A.J. (Photo Credit: Frank Franklin II, AP)

How’s that for a pun? Or is that even a pun? I dunno, whatever. Either way, there was some silver lining in this game, and that was Burnett’s return to being an effective starter. We all know his June was ugly and we all looked every which way for an excuse, and blaming the absence of pitching coach Dave Eiland fit. Sure enough, A.J.’s first start with Eiland back in the fold went rather swimmingly. Maybe there was something to the narrative after all.

With a fastball that topped out at 95 on the nose and a curveball that actually dropped off the table instead of hanging out to dry for the first time in the month, Burnett escaped a two on, two out jam in the 2nd with a strikeout and a two on, no out jam in the 3rd with a pair of harmless fly outs and a ground out. He cruised from that point on. The Jays went down 1-2-3 in the 4th, and just as easily in the 5th when a Fred Lewis baserunning mistake resulted in a 6-1 double play following a hit by pitch. Burnett retired 13 of the final 16 batters he faced, striking out six total.

We’re not completely out of the woods yet, because A.J. did walk three, hit another batter, and recorded just three outs on the ground against nine in the air. Whatever Eiland did with him over the last few days, well bravo. The Yanks are going to need Burnett to not just take the ball every five days, but to take the ball pretty deep into games to avoid the tragedy known as the middle relief corps.

Photo Credit: Frank Franklin II, AP

Schtuff

I don’t even know where to start. I guess with the bullpen.

Yeah, I know Joba Chamberlain‘s peripherals are pretty damn good, but this was the sixth time he’s allowed the opponents to score in his last 18 appearances. Keeping the opposition in check just two out of every three appearances simply isn’t good enough for a late inning reliever. I don’t know what the Yankees do with him from here on out, but there’s only so much longer they can can tolerate this.

I know it’s only been three months, it’s time for the Chan Ho Park era to come to an end. This friggin’ guy has allowed runs in four of his last five outings, and in 11 of his 19 outings overall. Wanted it to work, was a big fan of the signing, but sorry, it’s just not happening.

Is there any better example of Nichols Law than Cervelli? He can’t hit (.208/.283/.245 since May 20th even with Friday’s 2-for-4 effort), can’t block pitches in the dirt (three got by him on Friday), can’t throw runners out (28 steals in 35 attempts, 80%), what exactly does he contribute? His .375 BABIP fueled April was fun while it lasted, but now he does nothing. If he’s going to play once or twice a week as the backup catcher, fine. But having him in the lineup every day so Posada can DH is ri-damn-diculous.

Big ups to Granderson for his catch in the 4th and to Gardner for his catch leading off the 8th. Easily the highlights of the day.

WPA Graph & Box Score

The lolpen strikes again. Here’s the box score, here’s all that other stuff you probably don’t look at anyway.

Up Next

Third day game in a row tomorrow, featuring a matchup of lefthanders: Andy Pettitte vs. Ricky Romero. Over/under on runs scored by the Yanks is set at 3.5.

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Tampa, Staten Island walk-off with wins
Yanks looking to improve bench
  • Jimmy

    We played the Blue Jays not the O’s. Hell they may as well been the O’s.

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

    This game was very annoying to listen to on the radio, can’t even imagine watching it. The only good thing about all the sucky missed opportunities is that these things even out over the season, I guess. /eternal optimist’d

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

      Also,
      The Yankees are hitting .245/.332/.405 a a team since June 1st, a forgettable .323 wOBA. That’s like having nine Cliff Pennington’s in the lineup for over a month. Yeah, exactly. No more excuses, no more tipping your cap to the other pitcher, man the frig up and get the job done.
      a. yikes
      b. We’re still, what, 17-11 over that period? That’s not totally amazing but it’s kind of scary that they can mostly win while being that sucky.

      • Total Dominication

        Javy, CC and Andy have been excellent recently and Hughes got good run support.

  • Total Dominication

    To make matters worse Cano lost the BA lead. Thank go it wasn’t Beltre that overtook him.

    • Total Dominication

      *thank god

      • Total Dominication

        **thank Mo

        • Jimmy

          Hes only 1 point behind Cano

    • forensicnucchem

      I must be missing who passed him. I looked at the guys who started just behind and they didn’t do much today either.

      • Total Dominication

        Justin M passed him.

        • forensicnucchem

          According to the box scores, Cano’s 0-5 took him to .347 and Morneau’s 0-4 took him to .343.

          • Total Dominication

            Oh, I assumed MLB.com’s standings were updated all together, not player by player. Nevermind, HE LIVES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

            • forensicnucchem

              Yeah, for now at least. His numbers have been dropping over the last month or so now. And Bel-Tray has been on fire, just one point behind him now.

              • CT Yankee

                Bel-Trays regression to the mean is going to be painful for boston fans

  • forensicnucchem

    Joba’s allowed runs in 7 of his last 18 appearances, not six, so it’s even worse.

  • Total Dominication

    i gotta say, Joba is really shocking me. I was a feirce advocate of Joba staying the the rotation, but I simply thought it would be better in the long run for Joba to start. I never in my wildest dreams thought he would do poorly in relief. When he was sent to teh 8th, I didn’t expect a 2007 redux but I did expect him to be one of the top set-up men if not the top set-up man, in the game, A la Hughes last year. In my opinion, go Halladay on him.

    • Captain Jack

      His location and stuff is too inconsistent for him to be in the pen, and the questions about him aren’t questions that you can answer in the bullpen. One night he’ll have top shelf stuff and locate it, the next night he’ll be throwing 94 and missing his spots, of course he’ll get hit hard on those nights, because of this I don’t think his FIP is a good barometer of how he’s performed this year in the bullpen. The questions regarding Joba were:

      Can he stay healthy for a full season?

      Will he get his stuff back?

      Can he maintain plus stuff over a full season and stay healthy?

      So far it’s looking like he hasn’t gotten the stuff that we all knew and loved back, and the Yankees just pushed his development back another year. He needs to start, it’s not like Papelbon where his shoulder is mush and they should try to salvage what they got with him. He’s been a successful starter before, and there’s reasons to hope that he can do it again. Scranton, and hope he can start in 2012.

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

    Oof. Just oof.

  • BigBlueAL

    Is the over/under runs scored by the Yanks at 3.5 for tomorrow or the whole weekend??

  • Dalelama

    Anybody miss Damon and Matsui yet? I do. I think their offense would be more consistent if at least one of those two were still around.

    • Total Dominication

      Clearly you haven’t paid attentions to their stats on the year.

    • whozat

      Damon: .268/.362/.391, average defense in LF
      Matsui: .256/.333/.417, no defense at all

      • forensicnucchem

        But the media has told me that their innate ‘True Yankee’-ness would add at least 50 points to each of those numbers in pinstripes.

    • pat

      Unfortunately Daledouchebag you don’t look at actual statistics before posting.

      You dick.

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

        Whoah.

        But, yeah. It’s not surprising that dalelama would say this because he/she is a total broken record but he/she should have probably looked up their stats before saying this.

        • dalelama

          I did look up their stats, BTW I was shocked by Pats rudeness also. Must be the early Sat a.m. buzz.

      • Cecala

        Don’t even give him the satisfaction. He constantly says stupid things so just ignore him. He actually makes me miss SBGL.

        • dalelama

          Whoooaaa struck a nerve! I knew their stats but they may have done better here with YS and better hitters around them. I know both of them probably would have contributed more than NJ, Thames, Winn, Russo, Huffman, or Curtis. Given the inconsistency of our offense we could use another professional hitter. Especially ones with a proven Yankee and big game track records who just lead us to our first world Series title in 9 years. I miss both of them and still believe my prediction by season’s end you will too.

  • Mike Nitabach

    That game was fucking miserable. One more fucking out from Joba, and the ball would have been in Mo’s hands. Ugh.

  • ARX

    I’ll take the over, just to try and be optimistic after a miserable game…but I’d be lying if I said I was confident. They’ll break out of it, of course, but I’m not sure it’ll be this weekend, and it’s gonna suck to watch.

  • DJH

    The Yanks need to send Joba down and have him start in the minors. His stuff hasn’t been electric on a consistent basis since that game he got injured in Texas in 08.

    That means Joba never got a chance to learn in the minors how to pitch without his best stuff and obviously in 07 Joba had the stuff to dominate minor leaguers so there never was a chance to learn how to battle adversity on the mound. He in a way has become like good AJ and bad AJ except he doesn’t have Burnett’s stuff.

    Mike is also right on Joba when he says he has good peripherals so that’s something but if you view Joba’s outings aside from a few dominate performances he has got hit really hard.

    Hell I can think of 4 or 5 outing and mlb.tv archive backs it up where Joba didn’t give up a run or even more then 1 base hit or walk but it was still ugly because he either gave up hard outs or fell behind in the count and got lucky the batter missed a hittable pitch.

    I think it’s clear Joba needs the development time as a starter in the minors he missed out of even if Joba is still considered one of our best relievers on the team which is not saying much. The future of our rotation is more important then the 10 shutout innings he might throw in the 8th inning the rest of the way.

    • TRADE

      No dont waste any more time on him and wait out till his stock falls. Trade him and some other prospects for cliff lee/that A-rod hating midget from Houston. Anyone would do, Joba is not a thrower nor he is a pitcher. He simply sucks.

    • trade

      trade joba (and maybe some more prospects) for cliff lee / that A-rod hating midget from houston and move Hughes to the set up role. He cannot throw strikes when he is throwing hard and lacks the mental makeup of a major leaguer, time to write off the garbage that he is before everyone else does.

      • DJH

        Joba has no value in a trade right now so you might as well send him to the minors to see if he can become useful for NY or see if he can up his trade stock in the minors.

        The big question from your post is why in the world would you send Hughes to the setup role when he’s proven himself as a very good pitcher?

        • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

          You know what bums me out about that post? There are probably a lot of people who agree with it.

  • Stevis

    I was sitting in section 205 enjoying the beautiful weather, the beautiful stadium and the that useless piece of crap Joba ruined my afternoon!
    I can’t believe Little Girardi…why didn’t he take Mr. Useless out before he coughed up the tying run and let Mo pitch a 4 out save???
    Joba the Mutt gave up 2 long fly balls and was lucky getting out of the inning with just 1 run
    Can the Yankees please trade Joba for a decent prospect!!!!!

  • matt nokes

    Granted, Cervelli’s having a rough go at it, but it’s not like Jorgie can do any better behind the dish. Posada damn near ruined CC’s bid at a complete game on thurs. against the M’s when he dropped the 1-2 pitch, which was going right for his glove, and let it roll to the screen. It’s not like Posada can even reach second on the fly anymore either. Always a 1 or 2 hopper as the successful base stealer brushes himself off. Granted, outside of Pettite, no one really excels at holding the runner in our staff.

    The catching situation in New York right now is bleak at best, but Cervelli is easily the best defensive catcher of the bunch and will rightfully handle the bulk of the games going forward. Not many catchers can stop an errant A.J. Burnett pitch, 3 passed balls is bad, but it’s A.J. out there. It’s not like Moeller’s gonna play and Posada is essentially a 1/2 a DH at this point. It sucks, but accept it and wait for Montero & Romine.

  • Mike HC

    Nailed the Schtuff section. Agreed completely.

  • Pete C.

    Joba just isn’t getting it done.
    It’s almost like he thinks that his past performances are enough to cement his position as a starter, and he’s just marking time in the pen till the yanks come to their senses and put him back in the rotation.
    Yeah right.