Yanks offense can’t get going, settles for split with Boston

Montero hits walk-off HR as SWB ekes out a win
When Brett Gardner didn't steal

The first six innings of this one were fairly uneventful. Phil Hughes had a rough second. The Yanks didn’t get a hit until the fifth. Even then, things didn’t get interesting until the seventh, and things heated up for the final three innings. But the Yanks couldn’t capitalize and ended up dropping a tough one 2-1.

Biggest Hit: Thames almost gets it done

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Teixeira’s homer, being the lone run, is probably the biggest hit. But, just for fun…

Low-scoring affairs always produce odd results in WPA. For instance, the Red Sox won the game and had a 2-0 lead for most of it. Yet their highest WPA play was Bill Hall’s RBI single, which was only the eighth highest WPA play of the game. Jacoby Ellsbury‘s single that moved Hall to third was actually a bit more valuable. The top six WPA plays all came from the Yankees. Go figure.

The biggest swing came in the seventh. Jorge Posada singled to start the inning, bringing Marcus Thames to the plate. He was in the lineup specifically to face the lefty Jon Lester, but list most of the Yankees was 0 for 2 at that point. This time around he got an outside pitch and went with it, driving it over the gap in right-center. The ball hit the top of the wall and bounced upward, leaving us uncertain for a second whether it would bounce over the fence or back into the field of play. It was the latter, which allowed Posada to move to third.

With second and third with none out it looked like the Yanks might finally break through. Things looked even brighter when Austin Kearns took one off the foot and strolled to first. But three strikeouts later, they had nothing going.

Strikeouts get the best of ’em

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

There were plenty of wasted opportunities late in this game. There was the situation in the seventh, where Lester and Dan Bard struck out three straight Yankees to prevent even a single run from scoring in a bases loaded, none out situation. The first came with Curtis Granderson up. He’d made decent contact off Lester in his first two plate appearances, but this time couldn’t handle him. It was Lester’s last batter and I’m sure he knew it, so perhaps he was giving that little bit extra.

Next up was Derek Jeter, who struck out swinging on a high fastball from Bard. Ditto Swisher. The Yanks had a shot there — in fact, their WPA in the bases loaded, no outs situation was actually above 50 percent despite being behind two runs. But the three strikeouts eliminated the threat, moving the win expectancy down 38.8 percent.

A few other strikeouts hurt in particular. Mark Teixeira‘s game-ender, with the tying run on second, was the biggest negative WPA swing of the game, -15.3 percent. The batter before him, Nick Swisher, had the second highest negative swing of the game, -14.5 percent. Curtis Granderson’s ninth-inning strikeout moved the WPA down 9.6 percent. Only Derek Jeter raised it that inning.

It looked like a disaster at first…

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

I was fuming over Phil Hughes’s first two innings. While he didn’t allow any runs in the first, he didn’t look particularly sharp. That came back to haunt him in the second, when he threw 37 pitches to seven Red Sox. But a lot of that wasn’t his fault. He hadn’t after all, given up many hard-hit balls.

In the first J.D. Drew got a base hit on a grounder. David Ortiz had a well-struck ball, but that was all they’d get in that frame. Then in the second he allowed another single on a grounder, which was followed by another poor throw-down by Jorge Posada on a steal attempt. With Ryan Kalish at third, Bill Hall hit a groundball infield single, plating the first run. Jacoby Ellsbury then hit one just out of Jeter’s reach, and it was a ball that maybe he gets to if he’s not at double play depth. The walk is inexcusable, but then Hughes got another grounder. Cano had to hustle to the hole to get it, and so didn’t get the double play, which resulted in another run. And, of course, Hughes ended the inning with another groundball out.

After that, though, he settled down nicely, throwing 16 pitches in the third before getting the Sox on seven in the fourth. He ended the day with 114 pitches through six, having allowed just one hit after Ellsbury’s single. He struck out just three, but he did get nine ground balls and kept all nine fly balls in the park. Considering the poor luck he had in the second, it’s hard to hold this one against him.

Graph and box

The peaks represent frustration.

More at FanGraphs. Or you can check out the traditional box.

Up Next

The Yanks will travel to Texas, sans Mark Teixeira, to face C.J. Wilson and the Rangers. A.J. Burnett will make his delayed start.

Montero hits walk-off HR as SWB ekes out a win
When Brett Gardner didn't steal
  • Carlosologist

    Today was a day in which we got BABIP’d to death. Thames’ would be HR is the defining moment. Oh well. Tomorrow we go get Wilson, who does have a pretty high walk rate. (4.4 BB/9)

    • Apollo22237

      BABIP is right. Especially when the Sox scored their runs on a ground ball in between short and third, which Jeter could only stop, and a soft line drive over Jete’s head.

    • Esteban

      Well, if you mean random variation, and not BABIP then yea, because Thames hit actually increased the Yankees BABIP. If it were a HR, it would not have affected their BABIP, as the ball would not have been in play.

      /jerky nitpick

    • Chris

      I don’t think it was so much BABIP as the average with RISP. The Yankees had 6 hits and 5 walks, so they certainly should have scored more than one run. Of course, having the bases loaded with no outs and scoring no runs is also a problem.

      As for the Red Sox, it certainly looked like BABIP was going to be a problem after the first two innings, but then things settled down.

  • Apollo22237

    Also, I want to just bring up the Kearn’s foul ball that went into the stands after the Thames double. I know it really doesn’t matter now, but at the moment a lot of people were celebrating it not being caught. I figured if he caught it, we could have had a run off of it.

    Now if the bases loaded situation worked out, I would have looked stupid, but I’m not just bringing it up because we lost. I’m sure there are some different percentages on the chances of scoring a certain amount of runs based on the outcomes.

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

      Good point. I was kinda upset it went into the stands, because I figured the run would have scored easily.

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

        Easily. Kalish was back, and had he caught the ball, Posada would have waltzed home. That was a key turning point too.

  • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ JMK’s Mystique and Aura

    I’m surprised there’s no mention of the Gardner pinch run (or lackthereof) and how that may or may not have affected the Teixiera at-bat to end the game. More importantly, how much of the blame should Girardi get?

    On the one hand, Gardner has to run early in the count, so he should obviously bear a lot of the brunt of that. One the other, Girardi made the decision to take his most dangerous hitter out of the game and clearly didn’t convey the message to Brett that he should run early.

    Brett has great speed but his base-stealing instincts seem lacking. It may have cost the team today (we’ll never know).

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

      More on the stolen base in the morning. I put that on Gardner. He always has the green light to steal but just isn’t a very dependable base runner in my opinion.

  • wow

    Looking at the next two games, I’m gonna say the Yanks lose both. Tomorrow the story will be Burnett (again) and then since you have Vazquez (who doesn’t get run support) against Lee (who is, well, Cliff “the Yankee killer” Lee) we will score at total of -3 runs.

    Conservatively, of course.

    Hopefully the Rays keep losing as well.

    • mbonzo

      Cliff Lee has a 4.72 Career ERA against the Yankees.

  • Tits Magee

    granderson really sucks. he just cant get it going for more than a game or two and its pretty upsetting. for me its safe to say that id rather have austin jackson all things considered

    • Carlosologist

      Two things:

      1) Your handle is pretty awesome.
      2) I said this in the game thread, but I really don’t understand what is difficult about comprehending that four months isn’t a good way to evaluate a trade. Just because he’s been completely league average over the season doesn’t mean Austin Jackson should have been the starting center fielder for the 2010 New York Yankees.

      • Tits Magee

        well thanks on the first part haha. but im trying to look at the future too and since granderson will be turning 20 soon and jackson is like 23, jackson is likely to improve while curtis may even get worse than he has been.

        • Tits Magee

          *granderson turning 30

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

          How much do you expect Jackson to improve? He’s never hit for power, and he’s striking out a tremendous amount. I still think Granderson’s potential exceeds Jackson’s even if I’m very disappointed in Granderson’s 2010 campaign.

          • Mattchu12


            You can’t judge Granderson on his one season or Jackson on his one season. In the end, it will come down to a few seasons, and I think most of us are of the notion that Grandy will win that contest.

            • RKelly39

              Well, that notion is far fetched. His slugging and OBP numbers have been declining for a few years. Pitchers figured him out — before they did he was overrated. It’s okay to say it. Your eyes do not deceive you. He’s not very good.

          • RKelly39

            Jackson is what he is — fine — but he was a marketable chip and he could have been traded for a player with more ability.

            • RKelly39

              The two years when Granderson was a decent player were a while ago — it in no way sells me on the idea that he will turn into that player again. Baseball is filled with players that start hot and fall off — Wally Joyner, Danny Tartabull, etc — it happens. We remember a couple decent all-star years and move on.

              Kevin Long is not a genius. He’s an average hitting coach like any other hitting coach. He reviews tape and gives words of encouragement. Hojo isn’t a genius because Angel Pagan is having a good season. Kevin Long isn’t a genius because Nick Swisher is having a career year and he isn’t a failure because A-Rod is hitting like some Joe Crede type in 2010 (with solid RBI numbers).

              The Tigers made a smart move getting rid of Granderson when they did. Give them credit — they foresaw where he was headed and moved him before he became what he is now.

              • larryf

                once in a while, small ball can work. Granted Posada was on 3rd but a squeeze once or twice a year Joe-with a slumping hitter against a top flight pitcher-wouldn’t be so terrible. if it fails, 2nd and 3rd with one out….

  • mike c

    this was a big start for hughes even with the L, battling back like he did after the first 2 IP took some guts

    • Johan Iz My Brohan

      It’s the ace mentality. When you don’t have your best stuff, you find a way to work with what you have and grind through it.

  • kosmo

    I disagree with the Granderson apologists.Ajax has displayed some power in the minors .He was somewhat rushed along this season if he had remained with NY he would have been a mid to late season callup.
    Even though Ajax has been striking out a lot it is no worse a ratio than Granderson has displayed this season and in the past.Ajax has room for improvement while Granderson has hit his ceiling as a ballplayer.It is a mystery to me why no one points out that Granderson is no better than a platoon OF for the simple fact he cannot hit lefties?
    Let´s face it Cashman made 2 bonehead deals.Coke,IPK AND Ajax for Granderson ?Visciano , Melky and Dunn for Vasquez.

    • All Star Carl

      Show me some numbers to back up his power in the minors.

      • kosmo

        Ajax hit 10 HRs in 258 ABs for Tampa in 2007.Small sample size but it does suggest he could develop into a 10- 15 HR a year top of the lineup hitter which is what he was groomed for to begin with.Remember he just turned 23.Ajax this season projects to around 35-40 doubles and 25 SB.
        When and if Ajax learns to be a more patient hitter his SO totals should go down and his power numbers will go up.
        He could very well win the ROY award.

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

          Larger Sample Size: 30 home runs, 2478 plate appearances. That’s a home run every 82.6 PAs, and that doesn’t scream power. Since patience isn’t really a skill that can be taught too well, I wouldn’t expect him to be a power hitter.

          And winning ROY doesn’t mean he’s actually good either. Just ask Eric Hinske or Angel Berroa.

          • kosmo

            I wasn´t suggesting Ajax turns into a power hitter but a top of the lineup 10-15 HRs a year player.If you check Carl Crawford´s MILB numbers and his first 2 seasons in the bigs nothing suggests 15 HRs per which is about what his average has been over the past few seasons.
            I agree winning ROY doesn´t mean Ajax will have a distinguished MLB career but the Tigers seemed to be pleased so far with Ajax and I for one think NY made a mistake.
            I also think if Granderson is a platoon candidate the Yanks will sell low on him, sign Crawford and move Gardner to CF .The Yanks aren´t going to wait another season to see what they ultimately have in Granderson or that Long can turn him around . Can you imagine Crawford AND Gardner stealing 50 each ?

  • Wil Nieves #1 Fan

    I spouted my distaste for Granderson during the game yesterday. So to refrain from repetition, I’d like to point out that Boone Logan needs to retire only one more batter to bring his ERA down below 3.00. Delightful, huh.

  • Betsy

    I’m so glad you decided not to hold the game against Phil.

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

      Who in their right mind would hold the game against Phil? He didn’t exactly get hit around, and after throwing nearly 60 pitches through 2 innings, he managed to throw 50 over the next four. Despite the hyperbole, I feel comfortable saying that anyone blaming Hughes doesn’t understand baseball.

  • Fair Weather Freddy

    More than likely Granderson will be shopped this offseason to make room for Carl Crawford. Hope he finishes strong to increase his trade value.

    • pat

      Ummmm, no.

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

        I wouldn’t dismiss it out of hand, but I think if the Yanks are going to trade an outfielder this winter, they’ll sell high on Gardner instead of low on Granderson.

  • TicoRules

    The non-stolen base was HUGE. Gardner can be infuriating as a pinch runner.