May
12

Filing Some Complaints

By

Games like last night’s happen throughout the course of a 162-game season, but that doesn’t make them any less frustrating. The Yankees are still in first place and (more importantly) still have the second best run differential (+39) in the league. It hasn’t been pretty over the last few weeks, so let’s break out the old complaint box…

(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

.208/.330/.299

That’s what the Yankees are hitting with men in scoring position over the last two weeks or so, since the second game of the Detroit series*. I usually don’t put an overwhelming amount of stock in performances with RISP since it’s generally a small sampling of plate appearances (just 90 over that time, which is nothing in context of the entire team), but that doesn’t mean the Yankees’ failures in those spots don’t drive me insane. Last night was the epitome of RISPFAIL, as they went just 2-for-16 with men on second and/or third and stranded 15 runners in 11 innings. Just awful.

A-Rod‘s Slump

Popup-Rod. (AP Photo/Matt Strasen)

The newer, slimmed down version of Alex Rodriguez was a monster at the outset of the season, hitting .385/.500/.821 with four homers in his first 13 games before missing one game and part of another with a stiff back/oblique. He just hasn’t been the same since, hitting .194/.260/.269 in his 17 games back. The grand slam in his first game back against the Orioles seems like a distance memory. It’s clear that Alex’s timing is off at the plate; he’s fouling off pitches he should crush and completely whiffing on others he should at least hit hard somewhere.

Other slumps of note: Robinson Cano (six for his last 30), Russell Martin (six for his last 40), and the year-long ugliness of Jorge Posada (.162/.273/.352) and Nick Swisher (.217/.336/.296).

David RoBBertson

I had some fun with David Robertson‘s knack for pitching out of other people’s messes yesterday, but you know what? The guy has a serious walk problem. He’s always been a little wild, sure, but this year he’s unintentionally walked nine men in 14 innings (5.79 uIBB/9), and that includes eight walks in his last 5.2 IP. Robertson’s walked at least one batter in his last six appearances after walking just two in his first ten games. Is it possible that warming up practically every game in April is taking a toll on his arm now? He’s never been known as a control freak, but the sudden spike in free pass rate is a nice piece of anecdotal evidence. That leads me to this…

Innings Roles

I hate ‘em. Mariano Rivera in the ninth? Perfectly fine with me, no issue there whatsoever. $35M setup man in the eighth? Fine, I can live with that. But having a designated seventh inning guy? Now we’re really pushing the envelope of common sense. There needs to be more flexibility with Joba Chamberlain, David Robertson, and even Boone Logan in those spots, if for no other reason than to avoid wearing one or all of them out given all these close games the Yankees have been playing.

D'oh. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Fundamentals

How many rundowns have we seen the Yankees botch this season, especially when pitchers are involved? Whatever the number is, it’s too many. Rundowns have to be viewed as guaranteed outs, and they’ve not only failed to convert a number of them, but they’ve often ended up costing the team runs. We’ve also seen instances of pitchers forgetting (or being too lazy) to cover first base, or just muff balls grounded to their area. Did they just skip PFP in camp because four-fifths of a rotation is made up of veteran guys? Whatever it is, the sloppy play needs to be cleaned up.

* * *

These are just a few of the more … annoying aspects of the team right now, but there’s certainly several others. Those include the heavy use of the sacrifice bunt, Buddy Carlyle’s presence on the roster, Logan’s general inability to get out lefties, Cano’s hackiness, so on and so forth.

* Cherry-picking at its finest.

Categories : Rants
  • MannyGeee

    forget about the rundowns… how about the number of times the pitchers have thrown it into the stands on a throw to 1st.

    the devil is in the details, boys… get it together, because this shits gonna kill you come September

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

      /Tigers’d

      • nsalem

        c. October 2006

      • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com bexarama

        /Kazmir and Angel fundamentals’d

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

          /KevinJepsenLastNight’d

    • Big Apple

      you got that right….a team like the yanks can get away with this sloppyness during the long season but things tighten up like tom thumbs ass in the playoffs…no room for this shitty play…

      same with bunting…Mike hates it, Joe hates, hell, we all hate it…but if they were successful 80% of the time it wouldn’t matter. time to drop that strategy.

  • jaremy

    Love the cherry-picked timeframe :) still, infuriates me too of late.

  • http://ablogforarod.blogspot.com/ The Captain

    Don’t forget about the constant steam of inning-ending GIDPs. That might be the most frustrating play in all of baseball. And it ties directly to the low RISP numbers recently.

  • vin

    How about Gardner’s woeful SB%? Unacceptable.

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

    The Airing of the Grievances >>>>>>>>>>>> The Filing Of Complaints

    • Esteban

      Yeah, this. Mike naming this post the Filing of Complaints is going on my list for the Airing of Grievances.

    • Thomas

      You, Kruger. My son tells me your company stinks! You couldn’t smooth a silk sheet if you had a hot date with a babe…I lost my train of thought

  • Cuso

    Cano’s hackiness?

    How about Swisher’s complete and utter ineptitude at having a meaningful at-bat?

    The only time this guy gets hits is when the Yanks have a 5-run lead.

    Just about every time in the past month with runners on base & two outs, he has swung at the first pitch.

    His ‘need-to-be-the-hero” mentality at the plate has completely wiped out the only value he had to the team (making a pitcher work).

    This guy (if you can believe it) is only half as valuable as Posada right now. Yes, I’m dead serious.

    Someone tell his ass to stop worrying about his home-run drought and start playing for the team instead of to ‘bust out of his slump.’

    • Esteban

      Do you have any evidence for this point of view? Please, oh please, don’t just say “my eyes” or “watching the game.”

    • Chris

      You know the best thing he can do to “start playing for the team”?

      It’s to “bust out of his slump.”

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

        (gets Jason Giambi’s gold lamé thong)

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

    I wish the Joe Girardi would do something about how fat I am.

    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com bexarama

      /Mondesi’d?

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

        I laughed.

        • http://www.twitter.com/JoeRo23 The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          I bless you people with my presence today and this is the thanks* I get.

          *Proper thanks would be in the form of deep-fried twinkies.

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

            Deep fried twinkies? What are you, some kind of homophobe?

            Sincerely,
            Ted Nelson

  • http://twitter.com/AndrewLeighNYC Andrew

    I know a post has already been dedicated to it and the overreliance is mentioned briefly in this post (and has, in general, been beaten to death), but the total failure at actually bunting pitches should be included in the Fundamentals complaint section, too.

    Not only should they drastically reduce the number of bunts, but they should actually work on getting to where, when they’re going to try it, there can be some confidence that it will actually be successful and not be popped up to the pitcher or fouled off repeatedly.

    Derek Jeter in particular, frequently praised for being pitch perfect with his fundamentals, should be able to sacrifice successfully when he’s going to attempt it.

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

      Agreed.

      The only thing worse than a superfluous sac bunt is making an out on a sac bunt attempt while failing to advance the runner.

      If you’re going to give up an out to advance the runner, at least actually advance the runner.

      • Chris

        Look on the bright side, at least they haven’t bunted into double plays…

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

          We may be communists, liars, and pornstars, but we are NOT the Mets.

  • Monteroisdinero

    Robertson’s curve is devastating (with the exception of Betemit getting a hit off it last night). I think he doesn’t throw it enough. If he can throw that for strikes by throwing it earlier in the count it will take the pressure off his fastball. Last night, he was wild high with the fb-perhaps a mechanical problem. Maybe he doesn’t have his previously discussed “super-extension” on a 2nd night in a row and his release point is too high.

    My 2 cents.

  • Mike Myers

    can you please change the title of this column to

    “The Airing of Grievances”

    feats of strength can be another time…

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

      Bart: What’s haggis?
      Willy: You read my mind, boy. You’ve got the “shinning”!
      Bart: You mean, “shining”?
      Willy: QUIET, BOY! Do you want to get sued?

  • David, Jr.

    ARod – No complaints. No worries. He will come blazing back.

    Robertson – No complaints here. He walks many. He strikes out many. The bottom line is he is a top quality reliever.

    Cano – Can’t believe it is in there. Complaints? Is he not allowed to have a tough couple of weeks? He is the best hitter in the AL.

    Martin – Just returning to reality. Reversion to the mean. He has been a positive factor.

    Swisher – Not sure. Can’t figure him out.

    Posada – We have a DH that is hitting .162 and runs the bases like he is on something. At age 39, he is blocking a guy that every scouting report that I have seen drools over as a hitter. Phrases like “one of the best young hitters that I have ever seen”. Maybe they let it go for another month or so, but it is my biggest complaint about the team. They want to get younger, and this would be younger and better at the same time.

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

      Cano… Is he not allowed to have a tough couple of weeks?

      NEVAR

      162-0 or we DFA everyone.

      #unwashedyankeefanmasses

  • YANKS1FAN

    Jorge Vazquez should absolutely have been called up to New York!! Pena getting the call just weakens a team that is already struggling on offence. Pena was batting .230, 2hr, and was not very good with the glove in AAA. Vazquez is on pace for 52hr, 150rbi and hitting .300!!! Plus, Posada has had enough time, put him on the DL and work on his swing that has a lot of holes. They say they lost a left handed bat when Chavez got hurt…but Chato crushes rightys. They complain about his glove. He has been very good at first this year, and is very playable at third. He is no gold glove, but playable. Who would you want to see right now……eighth inning, runners on second and third, down three, two outs..Pena, Posada, or Vazquez?! They say experience?! He hit behind Cantu and AGON in the WBC and hit a 500ft grand slam his first WBC ab! He was Carribean Series MVP. He was a superstar in Mex lg..Gatorade ads, etc., everyone knows Chato in Mexico, he is like Matsui is to Japan. Just last week he hit a bomb off of the scoreboard against Cy Young winner Peavy, and hit a bomb over the scoreboard against Carrasco!! Both started in the bigs yesterday. He is ready. Yes he strikes out a lot, but a strikeout is just the same as a ground out. It doesnt affect his average. It is not like he strikes out a lot and is hitting .220? It is better than hitting a double play. Correct me if I am wrong, but I think Dunn and Howard K a lot!! He does not walk a lot, but that is not what he is there for. He is an rbi machine with runners on. He is a clutch hitter. Similar to Cano in that department. It is a shame that a player like Vazquez does not get a shot just because of a stupid 40man spot!! There is no reason for Chato not to be in NY right now. I can see if the Yanks were hitting, but the whole lineup is not. AROD .260, Posada .160, Swisher .211, etc. Give ‘El Destructor’ a chance!! He is a BEAST!!!!!

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

      Well played, Mauer.

    • David, Jr.

      Not the one I was talking about. Sorry, El Destructor.

    • JD

      done

    • NYinTX

      I am intrigued by your ideas and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

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

    Did they just skip PFP in camp because four-fifths of a rotation is made up of veteran guys?

    Actually, I think the city of Tampa has a local ordinance banning PFP with Bartolo Colon involved due to the seismic events associated with him running to first base. Our hands were tied.

  • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com bexarama

    I remember the PFP thing being an issue last year too. There were like, a couple of games in a row where CC and AJ didn’t cover first (and CC didn’t cover first in a game this year too, thankfully it was the 15-run blowout against the Orioles). Andy threw away a bunch of bunts. It’s gotta seem worse because just about everyone here pretty much watches every game and not the games of every other team, but it’s pretty annoying.

  • first time lawng time

    1. RISP ineptude won’t win you many games…it’d be nice to win a game that your SP only give up 1 r in 7IP
    2. BP has not given me confidence at all this season. I trust no one in our pen
    3. If we had a fast player that could bunt well, I wouldn’t have a problem with it, but instead we have power hitters so we should focus on hitting
    4. Losing a 4 game series vs Det and we haven’t swept anyone yet and haven’t put together more than 3wins in s row.

    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com bexarama

      2. Really? I know you have this weird thing against him, but you don’t trust Mariano?

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

        He blew those two saves three weeks ago. Duh.

  • Will F.

    When the Yanks finally decide to call up Montero, its gonna get ugly.

    • Neil

      Especially if he starts out 2 for 21.

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

        While wearing #21.

        • Neil

          As I heard in the old Yankee Stadium during batting practice in 1998 from a woman in the field level seats talking to her husband “Who’s number 21 honey? That’s when I knew the crowd was changing.

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

            You say that like it’s a bad thing.

            More chicks: never a bad thing

  • mbonzo

    This team will breakout of its slump soon, but it pretty remarkable that even the slumping Yankees are in first. I’m hoping they breakout tonight or tomorrow, just in time for the Red Sox. Nothing would make me happier after last nights game than to see the Sox nearly 9 games back next week. Its early in the season, but the more pressure what put on them at this point, the more chance they push their players the more likely they fall to injury and overwork.

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

    My complaint: Derek Jeter isn’t black enough.

    Sincerely,
    Gary Sheffield and Bernard Hopkins

    • Neil

      My complaint: Derek Jeter isn’t black enough.
      Sincerely,
      Gary Sheffield and Bernard Hopkins

      Maybe Gary and Bernard can get Jeter some all black batting gloves and show him how to make a fist and hold it over his head for each hit on the way to 3000.

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

        Heh.

  • Billy Mumphrey

    1. Dave Robertson can’t handle the 8th inning. He got scared and walked a couple and eventually gave up the game tying hit. Keep him in the 6th and 7th where there’s less pressure.

    2. Guys like A-Rod, Teixera, Martin, Posada, Swisher need to pick it up if they want to keep their spots in the lineup. The Captain turned his season around and he was written off after 10 games.

    3. Joe Girardi is as incompetent as it gets. He always plays for one run even in the 2nd inning. He brought in Buddy Carlyle who had no business being in that game except as the last resort. If it’s not according to the book Joe won’t do it. He’s scared to take risks and that’s not what you want in your manager.

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

      Mark Teixeira’s been the best hitter on the team not named Curtis Granderson. Saying he has to pick it up to keep his spot in the lineup shows you have no idea what you’re talking about.

    • Big Apple

      1. robertson has gotten out of many a jam…it happens.

      2. yeah..arod, tex and martin are going to lose their starting roles…

      3. what other options did joe have with the rotation? bring in CC?

      • first time lawng time

        Joba? Unless he was used already.

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

          Joba was given the night off for rest.

          • Kevin Ocala, Fl

            “Resting Joba”???!!!! He blew away the side on 8 pitches the night before last! What the hell, did he have the dreaded “Captain Morgan Flu”? Or his he hurt? While I’m ranting, Girardi manages like a man that will never get fired for his moves. He goes by the book, (which people that are a little to in love with stats, aka “risk averse”) and never makes the other side pay with rabbit out of the hat. Well, this what most people on this site wanted for years because of Torre. They’re finding out that “risk aversion” has it’s downside too, or they’ll understand the concept one day..

    • David, Jr.

      Right. ARod and Tex are desperately battling for their spots in the lineup.

    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com bexarama

      1. I don’t think there’s anything magical about the eighth inning compared to other innings. He’s been walking a couple pretty much every time he’s out there, and he’s always got guys on base. Dude got out of bases loaded nobody out in extra innings in the playoffs; I don’t think we have to worry about his intestinal fortitude.

      2. Tex and Martin have been awesome overall. A-Rod needs to pick it up a lot lately, but his overall stats are still good and really, who are they gonna replace him with? Pena, Nunez? And Derek went 0-for-6 yesterday.

      3. Who did you want to see last night when Carlyle came in? Mo for two innings against a non-division rival in May?

  • Mike c

    The tradition of Festivus begins with the Airing of Grievances. I got a lot of problems with you people! And now, you’re gonna hear about it. You, Kruger. My son tells me your company stinks! You couldn’t smooth a silk sheet if you had a hot date with a babe…I lost my train of thought.

  • Kosmo

    Not a grievance but an appreciation -Yogi turned 86 today.Happy B-day.

  • Johnny Bravo

    Posada and Swisher need to get it together.

    A-Rod will be fine.

    Martin is coming back to earth which is also fine. It is his defensive play that makes you realize how incredibly bad we have been at the catcher position for some time now.