Rare Colon meltdown costs Yanks series opener

Phelps strong in SWB win
The Overworked Relievers

Meh. Coming off two straight wins over the Mets (the last of which included that great comeback and eight-run inning) and five wins in six games, I have a hard time getting worked up over a loss like this. The Yankees didn’t hit well and they didn’t pitch well, a combination that will often lead to bad things.

Meltdown

Bartolo Colon has pitched so well this year that he gets a pass for having a meltdown inning like he did in this game. It all started with a Corey Patterson leadoff double in the sixth, which was predictably followed by a intentional walk to Jose Bautista. What followed was a little … odd. Yunel Escobar bunted the two runners into scoring position, and for whatever reason Juan Rivera was deemed too dangerous to pitch to, so he was put on intentionally as well. This is the same Juan Rivera that came into the game with a .225/.315/.331 batting line. Furthermore, it set up the bases loaded situation for Aaron Hill, who is one of the most extreme fly ball hitters in the game. He’s not exactly a double play candidate.

(AP Photo/Paul J. Bereswill)

Ironically enough, Hill did hit a ground ball, but it scooted through the 5.5 hole for a run. Okay fine, it happens, but four-pitch walks with the bases loaded to Eric Thames (the next batter) should not. The game was essentially over when J.P. Arencibia jumped all over a first pitch fastball for a bases clearing double.

I mean, when there’s men on second and third with one out, you’re going to give up a run. It’s basically inevitable. But why would you walk one of the worst hitters in baseball to give the other team a free baserunner? That just doesn’t add up. Bottom line though, Colon can not be walking some kid with the bases loaded on four pitches in his sixth big league game. The double was just salt on the wound.

Even More RISPFAIL

Two hits in 15 at-bats with runners in scoring position this time around, and those hits came back-to-back in the eighth. Alex Rodriguez‘s infield single didn’t even score a run. The offense was basically Curtis Granderson (who drew three walks) and Robinson Cano (who drove Grandy in each time), who teamed up for all three Yankees’ run. Blah blah blah, can’t manufacture runs, whatever. At least they didn’t waste a strong starting pitching performance this time.

It's only fun when he does it to someone else. (AP Photo/Paul J. Bereswill)

Leftovers

Heh, you think Michael Kay needed a new pair of pants after Jeter’s long fly ball to end the fifth? Yeah, I thought it was gone too, but at least I can blame the YES camera work. They made it look like it was going to land 14 rows deep.

Remember when I wrote about Colon and whether or not he’d stick to the fastball-heavy plan of attack against the Jays? Well PitchFX was not working early in the game for whatever reason, but it had Colon throwing 20 sliders and one changeup out of the 79 pitches it did record. He threw nine sliders and five changeups in his first start against the Jays, so yeah, they definitely incorporated a few more offspeed pitches this time around.

Bautista’s first inning homer sucked was sheesh, it was a first inning solo homer. Who cares? I saw people saying that they should have intentionally walked him in that spot, and I’m sure a few of them were serious. Even the Walk Bonds Chart says to pitch to him there. One run in the first, what’s the big deal? Just complaining for the sake of complaining.

Brett Gardner had two hits and two stolen bases, but the second steal was a joke. It was basically a defensive indifference in the ninth inning. Total gift from the official scorer. He’s up to .274/.344/.422 on the year, and it’s about time they move him back up to the leadoff spot. You know, 1. Gardner, 2. Granderson … etc.

Hector Noesi tossed three garbage time innings and gave up his first big league run. For shame, I thought that 0.00 ERA was sustainable. Oh well, for some reason this loss doesn’t bother me that much. I guess it’s easier to take when the Red Sox and Rays lose as well. Colon’s allowed a stinker every now and then, it happens. Just forget about it and go get ‘em tomorrow.

WPA Graph & Box Score

MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs has everything else.

Up Next

Same two teams in a battle of ace left-handers tomorrow. CC Sabathia gets the ball against Ricky Romero, so that should be fun.

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Phelps strong in SWB win
The Overworked Relievers
  • dkidd

    bautista is doing something completely unprecedented (non-steroid era division): a journeyman transforming into an mvp at age 29

    incredible

    • bakekrukow412

      You could make a case for Big Sloppy.

      • http://www.retire21.org first name only male (formerly Mike R. – Retire 21)

        “(non-steroid era division):”

        • bakekrukow412

          Whoopsie. My bad.

    • A-Rod’s Wingman

      Paul O’Neill?

      • MikeD

        Not sure if this is a serious question. O’Neill was a top prospect who the Reds (and Piniella) wanted to be a HR hitter, but as Yankee fans know, he was a line-drive hitter with power. Big differnce.

        He was a productive player in his years for the Reds (certainly not a journeyman moving from team to team, such as Bautista), posting six straight seasons of 100+ OPS+ seasons, including a couple in the 120 range, with a high of 127, before coming to the Yankees, where he posted a 136 his first year. He was a good player who reached his peak potential once away from the Reds.

        Bautista, on the other hand, was a journeyman player, playing for four teams in four years, with six straight seasons of below 100 OPS+ (although the first two years he had few ABs) before skyrocketing to a l166 last year to a so-far Bondsian 265 this season.

        We really are in unchartered waters here.

        I’m agnostic on the issue if Bautista is a juicer.

        • ChrisS

          I’m agnostic on the issue if Bautista is a juicer.
          It’s tough without the physical evidence. Bonds was a great hitter before he mysteriously gained 50lbs of muscle at 35 years old and his hat size increased by a 1/3. Bautista wasn’t very good and he hasn’t changed physical appearance at all as far as I can tell. Now he’s a monster.

          • CMP

            I’m not saying he juiced but I wouldn’t be one bit surprised if some day it comes out that he was.

            • jayd808

              I keep hearing how he transformed his swing but no one gives an example of what that meant.

              • Mister Delaware

                Literally less than 30 seconds from the time I read your post to the time I verified this article would give specifics: http://www.aolnews.com/2010/08.....run-binge/

                • V

                  The article points out one player that everyone needs to look at when discussing mechanics:

                  Alex Rodriguez.

                  When ARod’s mechanics are on, he’s one of the top 5 hitters in the HISTORY OF BASEBALL.

                  When ARod’s mechanics are off, he’s a minor leaguer.

                  I find it somewhat amusing that everyone must jump to the steroids conclusion with no physical (Bonds’ head) like evidence.

        • A-Rod’s Wingman

          Well he is probably the closest thing to a Jose Bautista type breakout that I can remember.

          • Mister Delaware

            Zobrist is a decent comp in terms of transforming the approach. And his career high HRs (27) is only one less than O’Neill (28).

    • MikeD

      I can’t grant the “non-steroid era division” status to any players after the so-called steroid era arrived. The steroid era (which really should be known as the PED era) has a beginning, even if it’s not exact, but it has no ending, even if the media likes to create a nice tidy 1994-2003 timeline. Those may represent the peak years, but PEDs existed before 1994, and they are stilla round today. It will never have an ending.

  • Freddy Garcia’s 86 mph Heat

    Probably the best part of the game was Noesi getting Bautista out twice.

  • Will

    Have to say the intentional walk to Juan Rivera was the most irritating thing I’ve seen Girardi do this year, even more than pulling Colon after 8 in Baltimore. I didn’t even think they should have walked Bautista in that inning—even if he hit another homerun, it’s still a 3-1 game and Colon gets to start fresh with the bases empty.

    Essentially, what might have (worst case scenario) been a 2-run inning got turned into a huge inning by goofy managing decisions. Colon didn’t really even do a whole lot wrong in that inning until the walk to Eric Thames, at which point his manager had left him no margin for error.

    • Tim

      It turned into a huge inning when Colon failed to retire any of three poor offensive players – Hill, Thames, or Arencibia. Getting two of those guys out even with deep fly balls leaves you with only a one run deficit. The inning did not get ugly because of the IBB.

      Sometimes it just seems like people NEED to throw rotten cabbage at a pilloried Girardi to make themselves feel good or something. Is Juan Rivera a good hitter? No. Was there a greater likelihood of getting out of the inning unscathed by IBB him? Yes. Are the Yankees scoring runs in bunches or consistently doing anythig offensively? No. Seems like a reasonable strategy to me.

      This isn’t about optimal or not optimal, right or wrong. It was reasonable to walk Rivera in that spot. Didn’t work. But stop pretending like it was a terrible decision.

  • http://www.CarlsYankeeDugout.com Carl

    That big inning may very well have been prevented if Bart got Hill or Thames to swing at a ball low enough to be a weak grounder for the infield to turn the DP, but he did not do that and it cost him.

    • JohnnyC

      This.

  • A-Rod’s Wingman

    The reason why this team struggles at making comebacks is OBP. There aren’t enough batters getting on base. Rough loss, I give Bartolo a pass, but hey Boston and Tampa lost.

    • JohnnyC

      they’re third in the league in OBP (behind Boston and Cleveland). It’s rispfail, that’s all.

      • A-Rod’s Wingman

        They’re still a good .30 points behind where they were in 2009. I realize that the league average has changed, but maybe in the new deadball era comebacks just aren’t as likely.

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

          2009 might not be a fair comparison, because 2009 looks to be the end of the high offense era and 2010-2011 is a lower offense era.

          Even comparing this year’s team to the 2010, team, though, the team OBP is still .017 off of last year’s pace (.333 down from .350). Most everyone on the team is still just a bit off their 2010 baselines, likely due to early season BABIP vagaries. It’s certainly not walks, the team walk rate has held steady at 10% for three years straight.

          I don’t expect the team to rebound to its 2009 .283/.362/.478 (118 wRC+) numbers, but somewhere around the vicinity of the 2010 numbers of .267/.350/.436 (113 wRC+) is probably doable in this new offensive environment, once the balls start dropping in for hits a little more often.

  • hornblower

    No American League team that expects to win anything can carry so many outs in its lineup.
    Offense has fallen off around baseball but the Yankees with their pitching need some consistent hitting. They can only go so long with a weak corner outfielder and little production from a DH.
    Expect a shakeup soon!

    • It’sATarp

      Montero to replace Posada would be nice, but i don’t see swish going anywhere until the end of the year. We might get another impact bat ala Berkman style but i don’t expect anything big

      • Monteroisdinero

        I think we would be getting just as much out of Golson as we are out of Swisher except much better defender and baserunner but…..those don’t count.

        He strikes out too much.

        • Accent Shallow

          Can Golson put up a .650 OPS? Sure!

          What are the chances Golson puts up an OPS over .800 (as Swisher should)? Zero.

          Anyway, Swisher is far from this offense’s biggest problem . . .it’s too bad that Nunez and Pena both suck, and there’s three years on the deal after this one.

          • Cris Pengiuci

            Swisher is far from this offense’s biggest problem . . .it’s too bad that Nunez and Pena both suck, and there’s three years on the deal after this one.

            Gotta disagree to some extent on this. From a $$ standpoint, sure, Jeter is the bigger disappointment, although it was expected. Looking at batting stats for the season, Jeter is out-producing Swisher in most areas. That certainly wasn’t expected. Should Jeter be batting leadoff? No. Is it more likely that Swisher will recover than thinking that Jeter will? We would exect that, but to say Jeter is a bigger problem than Swisher is incorrect. To say Jeter, given his position in the batting order and salary is a bigger problem, I’m probably able to agree with that.

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

          I think we would be getting just as much out of Golson as we are out of Swisher… [Swisher] strikes out too much.

          Nick Swisher, career major league K%: 25.3%
          Greg Golson, career MINOR LEAGUE K%: 25.7%!!!

          You think we should bench Swisher for Golson because Swisher strikes out too much.

          Batshit insane.

          Greg Golson would make Nick Swisher look like Joe DiMaggio.

        • David, Jr.

          Swisher’s defensive ratings are exceptional. I believe second best to Gardner on the entire team.

          • Jim S

            Monteroisdinero has minor-league shaded sunglasses.

  • Salty Buggah

    Silver lining: Bartolo still K’d 8 in 6 IP with only 2 unintentional walks. These type of games happen, so whatever. On to the next one.

  • It’sATarp

    Gardner and Grandy at top would be nice rather than having Mr.311 OBP…but too bad that guy’s name is Derek Jeter…sigh Even jorge has been hitting better than jeter in his last 10 games and their OBP for the season is insanely close despite a huge difference in BA. Oh yeah Posada has a higher OPS…so who exactly should be the one being demoted?

  • Chuck

    I think Swish will turn around. Or I guess I hope he does. Jeter should start heating up along with Posada, but that doesnt mean Montero shouldnt replace him. Dickerson has been pretty impressive despite a key strikeout.

    • Monteroisdinero

      Dickerson will not hit at the major league level. If Golson was healthy, he would be the better call up. Better defense/more speed.

      We have enough HR hitters on our team-don’t we?

      I guess we’ll give Posada till the end of September to get a hit right handed then we’ll GET RID OF HIM.

      • http://twitter.com/AndrewLeighNYC Andrew

        Golson doesn’t even hit at the minor league level, in 3 seasons in AAA his triple slash is a whopping .259/.306/.380. The obsession with Greg Golson is pretty comical, he and C-Dick are both 5th outfielders on the Yankees and nothing more. Defense and the occasional start when a guy needs a breather.

        • Monteroisdinero

          We’ll give Swish a few more months to get it together. What’s he hitting against righties this year?

          I like defense and speed and a cannon arm when we already lead the league (easily) in HR’s and Swish has 2!

          Many ways to win and construct a team. Golson is 25 and we all know you can’t get better once you are 25.

          /Werth & Bautista

          • Accent Shallow

            You know what I like?

            Good hitters. Swisher should be one, Golson likely will never be.

            Speed, defense, and a cannon arm? Sounds great – as a guy coming off the bench. I could see this argument if you wanted to put Golson in CF, but Granderson and Gardner have that covered. This obsession with Golson over Swisher is getting close to batshit insane.

            Now, you want to argue for a Montero callup soon – I would be much more sympathertic to that. Just too bad Jesus can’t play short.

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

              This obsession with Golson over Swisher is getting close to batshit insane.

              It’s not close anymore. Frankly, it was never close.

          • David, Jr.

            Disagree. Golson is an automatic out. Nothing more than a pinch runner type. Unlike our two AARP guys, Swisher is right in his prime, and patience will be rewarded.

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

        Dickerson will not hit at the major league level. If Golson was healthy, he would be the better call up. Better defense/more speed.

        Greg Golson, minor league career: 774 G, 3344 PA, .263/.309/.398
        Greg Golson, major league career: 30 G, 31 PA, .200/.200/.267

        Chris Dickerson, minor league career: 669 G, 2812 PA, .263/.366/.417
        Chris Dickerson, minor league career: 178 G, 542 PA, .268/.358/.403

        To paraphrase Thurgood from Half Baked, you have smoked yourself retarded.

        To say that “Dickerson won’t hit at the major league level” while advocating for Greg Golson to take his place, when A) Dickerson HAS hit at the major league level and B) Golson HAS NOT hit at the major league level… that’s some Grade A cognitive dissonance you’re actively denying, my friend.

        You love Golson. Way more than you should, we get it. You’re becoming a parody of yourself now.

        Chris Dickerson is a 4th outfielder. Great defense, fringy bat. Greg Golson is a 6th outfielder. Also great defense, horrible bat. No, any slight defensive upgrade Golson provides over Dickerson (also a stellar defender) does not outweigh the auto-out Golson would undoubtedly be at the plate. A .309 career MINOR LEAGUE on base percentage invariably translates to “He will in all likelihood be the single worst hitter in the major leagues”.

        Greg Golson is bad at the plate.

        As in “cover your eyes” bad. As in “kills a rally every night” bad. As in “worse than Mark Ellis, Yuniesky Betancourt, Rey Ordonez, Rafael Belliard, and Alvaro Espinoza” bad.

        His chances of becoming not-bad are far lower than you think they are.

  • Stevis

    Once again Girardi mismanaged his pitcher…Colon should have been taken out way before the double…for a catcher, where the heck is Girardis brain……..All-Star break see you Jorge..the man is done and he should man up and call it a day ..its Jesus time…oh and that call by Kay !! you thought Jeters fly out to left was hit 420 feet…its time for Girardi to put Jeter in the 9 hole

  • ChrisS

    … second steal was a joke. It was basically a defensive interference indifference in the ninth inning …

    /grammarnazi’d

    • Eric

      Gardy also got robbed of a hit by the same official scorer earlier in the game, so that should even it out at least.

  • Monteroisdinero

    Colon’s meltdown was not that bad. 1-1 in the 6th and risp failure is the way I see it. How about giving Colon a big lead for a change? The guy has been great. I’m still likin’ Bartolo and his stuff.

    We are fortunate not to have played Cleveland yet this year. Be nice to see them once they have cooled off.

  • jayd808

    Who is the huge midseason surprise bat signing from losing 2011 first half teams? Without that we remain in a death throe for first with Boston and TampaBay.

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

      Carlos Beltran? Jason Kubel? Ryan Ludwick? Casey Blake? Marlon Byrd? Kosuke Fukudome? Ryan Doumit?

      • David, Jr.

        They shouldn’t really need a bat other than a pinch hitter, assuming Swisher, Jeter and Posada do something the rest of the year, along with having Chavez back and Montero in the wings. If Posada is still the full-time or nearly full-time DH, where would the bat play?

        The trade that I would like to see would be what would help now and in the future. They would give up a lot, meaning top prospects, but they would get a lot, meaning a young, core starter.

  • Guns of the Navarone (a mushroom cloud layin mothafucka, mothafucka!)

    “I mean, when there’s men on second and third with one out, you’re going to give up a run. It’s basically inevitable. But why would you walk one of the worst hitters in baseball to give the other team a free baserunner?

    Because Joe Girardi is… a bad manager! Example No. 482.