Offense lifeless again in loss to Royals

A loss at every level
Swisher back in lineup at DH


Source: FanGraphs

Well, so much for building off Friday night’s win. The Yankees lost to the Royals on Saturday because their starting pitcher didn’t provide a quality effort (again) and the offense did nothing in particular (again). They’ve lost four of their last five games, all to the Orioles and Royals. Yuck. To the bullet points…

  • Hirok-a-nope: Hiroki Kuroda labored in the first inning (1-7 hitters), had an easy time in the second (8-1 hitters), labored in the third (2-7 hitters), and then had an easy time in the fourth (8-1 hitters again). You see the pattern? Kuroda didn’t make it out of the fifth, though I suppose he deserves a tiny sliver of credit for only allowing three runs (two earned) and not ten or something.
  • Bright Spots: The Yankees didn’t do much on offense, but the two bright spots were Curtis Granderson (2-for-4 with two doubles) and Russell Martin (3-for-4 and a triple shy of the cycle). The Russ Bus has five hits in his last two games plus another one hit taken away on a great running catch at the warning track, so maybe he’s coming around. Other than that, the Yankees had no answer for Felipe Paulino — who was behind in the count to everyone in the first two of three innings — and various relievers.
  • The Bad Pen: We got our first real look at how the Mariano Rivera injury impacts the bullpen, and it’s not in the late innings. Cody Eppley was pitching in what is usually a Cory Wade spot, and he ended up allowing two tack-on runs in the sixth after walking Chris Getz (on four pitches!) to start the inning. Boone Logan had a hand in that, giving up a booming double to lefty Alex Gordon. Freddy Garcia threw two nice innings late, but Yankees relievers walked three and struck out just two.
  • Leftovers: Apparently the Yankees don’t have a scouting report on Jeff Francoeur’s arm yet, because Granderson got thrown out trying to go from scoring position to slightly better scoring position in the sixth … with just two walks and nine strikeouts on the night, the lineup has a 44/9 K/BB ratio in the last six games; that’s not Yankees baseball, get back to working the count fellas … MLB.com has the box score and video, FanGraphs the nerd score, and ESPN the updated standings.

The Yankees really need Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner to get healthy just to inject some life into the offense. I’m not asking for a miracle, just a placebo effect. Unfortunately, it appears as though we’re going to have to wait until at least Tuesday for those two. The series finale will be played on Sunday afternoon, when Phil Hughes gets the ball against Luke Hochevar. It feels like it’ll take a minor miracle to keep them from their fifth loss in six games and eighth loss in 12 games.

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A loss at every level
Swisher back in lineup at DH
  • Paul VuvuZuvella

    Perhaps you let the Confidence Poll scale run to negative numbers on Monday ??

    • Robinson Tilapia

      ….and then, when they cast their negative votes, we lower the net.

    • Jesse

      I’ll still be at my usual 8.

  • Kramerica Industries

    Hey, at least the Rays lost!

    Small consolation’s are all we’ve got right now.

    • Jesse

      And Boston, too.

      • Get Phelps Up (formerly Freddy Garcia’s 86 mph Heat)

        And Toronto!

  • http://yes jim

    Girardi says, “What, shake up the lineup?” Hell yes! How about Jeter, Cano, Grandy, Rodriguez, Swisher, Tex, Ibanez, Wise/Nix, Martin.(Gardner in 9 spot instead of Nix/etc. Hate waiting for Jones to hit a homer. One bad call goes against him it results in a K. Can you research how many of the Yankee homer total is of the solo variety. Gotta’ be better than 50%. Also, why do we need two lefties if neither can get a lefty out?

  • flamingo

    This offensive funk is moving past “there are slumps every season” to flat-out frustrating.

    Team, you are talented. Start hitting to prove that.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Yes. If they were just looking to make it more interesting, I hope they got what they wanted already. Start hitting.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    Terrible game indeed. Kuroda’s inconsistency thus far has been a pretty big disappointment for me. I was expecting a ton more out of him, and there’s certainly been glimpses of it, but the bad has been terrible. I agree that the team could do a lot to minimize the loss of Mo, but not when the bullpen needs to be in there half the game. That can, and will, tax any bullpen.

    I’ve written here that I worry about filling three rotation slots in 2013. I was always more bullish, even with the setbacks, as to getting it done in 2012. Kuroda has to step up, though, for that to happen. Otherwise, the margin for error is even less.

    Can’t wait for Swisher and Gardner to come back. Also can’t wait for Robbie Cano to come…..oh, wait….

    • Bavarian Yankee

      don’t worry, I just got news that Cano’s bat is making the trip north from spring training :D

    • Rek4gehrig

      I thought that too but in reality he only gave up 3 runs. Johan Santana gave up 3 runs and the mets scored 4 so they won.. I think its the offense more than kuroda

  • Plank

    It’s at that point in the season where you have to start wondering if the team is playing at its real talent level or not.

    What positions could they realistically expect improvement from going forward? Whatever the answer is, it would have to be balanced out by the likely decline by Jeter and (probably) Granderson.

    They are on pace for 84 wins right now. I would put them at 90 or 91 or so. By that measure, they are only a game behind a 90 win pace. The Yankees aren’t slumping, they just aren’t that great this year. 189 here we come!!!

    • Havok9120

      Do you believe that or are you just positing a theory? Not being snotty, just curious.

      • Plank

        I think they are a 91 or 92 win team. So they are basically playing as well as expected overall, maybe a touch below their talent level, but not much.

        • Havok9120

          I mean the part about not slumping right now. Do you expect Nova and Kuroda to continue their trends (along with the back end just being a mess) and the offense to be middle of the pack over the course of a year?

          • Plank

            Hiroki is pitching great, probably better than his real talent level. Nova is pitching poorly, probably worse than his talent level. I don’t think any of the pitchers are pitching unexpectedly other than Garcia, but I wouldn’t bet on a comeback from him (or more likely the Yankees having the patience to wait for a comeback from him.) CC started slowly, but he’s a good bet to be CC the rest of the way.

            The offense is 3rd in the AL in R/G. They are certainly not middle of the pack. I don’t think they are playing above or below their skill level.

            Losing Pineda and Rivera for the year drops them 6-7 wins for me. That puts them at 91 or so.

            • Havok9120

              Fair enough on all points I suppose.

              • bpdelia

                Yeah i mean i had pineda as a 4 win pitcher in my head and rivera as a two ish wins. I had the yankees winning 93-97 games. You cant expect anything more than that with the al east strength of schedule. There is no way to minimize it,, losing pineda was a huge huge huge crushing blow to this team. Losing rivera hurts even more. Basically the margin for error has now evaporated by early may. One more bad injury to a crucial player could very well doom them to fighting for that secon wild card. Hypothetically losing say sabathia for 3 starts or losing swish for a month now “ould be a killer. Man that pineda injury changed the whole season. Nova pettite as your 4 and 5 was a 98 win teqm. Noga pettite as your 3 4 with a rotating who stinks least thing at number 5 is a whole different team. Dammit

  • Aarp

    I am not throwing the towel in as yet (mlb tv package cost mea good 120 bucks and yes i know its sunk). However, with aging players in long term deals, and several 1st round picks for much of the remaining div teams, it is likely that one of thes yrs will start the onset of a team that looks more like retirees in fl driving their ferraris at 20 mles an hour.

  • pistol pete

    Yanks have tons of money and 5 years left in older declining players like Tex and Arod . Add to that our best hitter isn’t hitting, we have two outfielders on the dl, a catcher playing poorer than he can and a dead spot in the lineup at dh. There are no minor league players ready to help since the trade of Montero. If the Yankees are not willing to increase their budget and they say they won’t I don’t know where the hitting will come from. The only open spot last year was DH and the Yanks settled for a 40 yr old player in decline because he only cost $1m. If the current guys don’t improve we’re in trouble. I never thought I’d live long enough to see Tampa Bay actually a better team than the Yankees but you know what they really are, incredible.

    • Sweet Dick Willie

      I never thought I’d live long enough to see Tampa Bay actually a better team than the Yankees

      You weren’t alive in 2008?

      • JohnnyC

        Damn impressive post for a 4 year old!

  • Manny’s BanWagon

    I can’t believe this team added Kuroda and Pineda, brought back Nova with a years experience under his belt and a healthy and in shape Phil Hughes and got rid of the abomination known as Burnett and now a week into may, they have exactly 1 dependable starting pitcher.

    6 weeks ago, Pettitte was going to be maybe their number 5 starter. Now they need him to pitch like a number 2.

    • Havok9120

      Its why I have a hard time blaming Cashman for the lion’s share of this. How could you realistically predict that everything that could go wrong with the rotation, would? Sure, smart money said Pineda would get hurt at SOME point, but immediately? Hughes and Garcia I expected to be decent-to-good on the back end, but not a rolling train wreck. Kuroda has not been perfectly mediocre overall, but in reality has been either very, very good or terrible. Colon? Meh. I didn’t care either way. I can see the arguments for both sides, but Garcia was certainly the safer bet to give you 180 decent innings over Colon’s likely 60 dominant 40 mediocre, 20 crap and which you prefer is subjective.

      They did everything they could have to improve the rotation, and it didn’t work. *shrug*

      • Bavarian Yankee

        So true. You just can’t predict baseball and that’s one reason why baseball is so much fun. Last year we thought that the rotation is horrible and they pitched so good that nobody cared about the “bad” signings a few weeks into the season. This year it seems like it’s the exact opposite.

  • tipsie

    Tex has a 265 OBP – enough said

    • OldYanksFan

      No…. not enough said.
      Along with Teix’s .656 OPS…
      ARod has a .768 OPS.
      Cano has a .657 OPS.

      Let me repeat that.
      Cano has a .657 OPS.

      Even with the shit that is our SR, if these 3 averaged an .800 OPS (still WAY lower then expectations), I bet we have 2 or 3 more wins (like the late night in Baltimore?).

      If these guys simply showed up, we are easily 17-10.

  • Jesse

    Stupid game is stupid. Stupid week is stupid.

  • eephus_pitch

    Wake me up the next time Boone Logan gets out a lefty in a tough spot.

  • pistol pete

    Swicher is a free agent next year and Martin doesn’t have a contract. The two best free agents at htose positions are Josh Hamilton and Mike Napoli. Both will be expensive but huge upgrades. over what we presently have. No other spots except DH are available Both will help the offense. Fisrt base, second base, third base, ss, left and center field are all signed. Will Hal open the checkbook next year or watch Tampa Bay widen the gap.

    • JobaWockeeZ

      Good luck fitting that into 189 million.

      • Havok9120

        And that doesn’t even say anything about the merits of the ideas themselves.

        • OldYanksFan

          Why? You don’t want to spend 150m+ for 8 years of an oft injured, addicted Josh Hamilton?

    • RetroRob

      Yeah, I’d “love” to see that disaster come to NY.

    • Pat D

      Napoli isn’t much of a catcher and Hamilton can’t stay healthy.

      Tampa Bay would widen the gap…how, exactly? They aren’t signing those guys.

      • Havok9120

        I think he’s assuming we’ll spiral toward crap if we stand pat while they improve in every way.

    • Sweet Dick Willie

      Josh Hamilton and Mike Napoli. Both will be expensive but huge upgrades. over what we presently have.

      Just out of curiosity, how old are you? Because if you’re 14 or 15, I can excuse this line of thinking, but if you’re older… just wow!

      Hamilton is a talented player who has fought addictions his entire adult life, and just had a relapse this past off season. Add to that, he has missed substantial time due to injuries each of the last 3 seasons, will be 32 next season, and has said he is looking for a 6 year deal. Still want to sign him?

      • JohnnyC

        Pete’s angling to get the job of shadowing Hamilton 24/7 to keep away from temptation…definitely a lucrative sinecure.

    • TomH

      Will Hal open the checkbook next year or watch Tampa Bay widen the gap.

      That’s the Big Question, and central to knowing whether in the long run they will continue to think of the team as an annual contender for the WS. We can be pretty confident what The Old Man’s decision would be: “#@!# your luxury tax.”

  • RetroRob

    Missed the game, but just checked in for the recap. Sounds, ummm, depressing. Glad I missed it.

    • Havok9120

      Worst game I’ve seen this season in terms of emotional impact, except maybe for the Opening Day blown save.

      Sigh.

      • Jesse

        Oh dammit, I forgot about that game, thanks for bringing it up.

  • Brian S.

    Cano needs to hit like the last two years or this will be a long year. I’ve lost hope for Teix, he is just plain bad at baseball.

    • Havok9120

      Except for that whole “he’s the only thing that makes our poor defensive left side serviceable,” thing.

      • Plank

        Are you talking about Teix or Cano? Either way, they are both on the right side.

        • Havok9120

          Tex. That he’s on the right side is my point. How many throws per game does he dig out from Jeter that should be bouncing into the stands? How much cheating does Jeter do based on the fact that Tex can cover a lot more of his area effectively then the average 1st baseman? It doesn’t benefit ARod as much (yet), but when his arm isn’t quite getting it done over there how often does Tex save an error by stretching out the extra foot and reeling in a poor throw?

          Anecdotaly, the answers to all those questions seems to be “a hell of a lot.” Its the same in Boston with AGon with regard to Youk. A 1B that can cover a few extra feet between 1st and 2nd or dig out throws that most could not helps the left side of the infield a lot.

      • Brian S.

        We could find a no-hit all-glove first baseman for less than 23.125 million. What’s Mienkevitz(I have no idea how to spell that and I’m not looking it up) up to these days?

        • Plank

          Mienkiewitz

          How close was I?

          • Plank

            Closer than I thought I would be. That name is ridiculous.

            • Havok9120

              PROUD TO BE POLISH!

              For real though. Luckily, mine is pretty simple for a Polish name.

        • Havok9120

          He going to hit 40 homers too?

          No, he won’t earn 20+ million/year hitting with nothing but power. Not claiming he will. But “bad at baseball” is just silly. Even the less hyperbolic “the contract is a bust” isn’t correct methinks. Its an overpay since he changed his game and is no longer one of the top 5 or 10 hitters in baseball, but ~35 homers, a .340 OBP, and defense that good (especially defense that makes Jeter and, yes, Nunez, serviceable) isn’t something we’d get on the cheap these days.

          • Plank

            I don’t think he was ever one of the top 5-10 hitters in the league but agreed that his contract isn’t that bad*. You have to overpay to get the best player on the market.

            *From ownership’s perspective. My biggest pet peeve in sports is when fans automatically and without thinking side with the owners. Referring to contracts where the productions doesn’t equal the money as ‘bad’ is siding with ownership. Teix should make all the money he can. He’s the one who plays the game.

            • Havok9120

              That line of thinking only works if your team has an infinite budget. We didn’t have that even when The Boss ran things. “Bad for the team” often does line up with “bad for ownership” because the money comes from somewhere and has a limit.

              • Plank

                I care about the players more than I care about the Yankees name.

                The players are the team. The Yankees are ultimately a logo and laundry.

                Your line of thinking is only true if all the money the Yankees generate is being spent on the players, it isn’t. The 2014 plan demonstrates that clearly enough. The Steinbrenners spend just enough to where they believe they will maximize their own profits. The players’ wellbeing doesn’t factor into it. 10MM extra to Jeter doesn’t always mean 10MM less to another player.

  • Darren

    I fully expect Hughes to pitch a no hitter tomorrow. if he doesn’t, I will eat my hat.

    /starts constructing nacho hat

  • Kosmo

    “Lackluster“ the only word I can think of for the Yankees at this moment. It could be a hell of a lot worse than it is. Still plenty of time for this team to catch fire. By Mid-June to pre-all-star break we´ll no with greater clarity what to expect from this team. It´s way to early to give the right prognosis for what this team will accomplish.

    I´ve noticed hitting is generally down all around baseball not just with NY.

    • Plank

      Their hitting is fine. They are third by runs/game and third by OPS+. Without looking, I would imagine they are third or so in any hitting metric worth anything.

      They still have a winning record even after this cold streak. As some are fond of saying, things are never as bad as they seem when they are losing or as good as they seem when they are winning.

      Their pitching is exactly league average (100 ERA+) with a slow starting CC and losing Mariano offsetting the skew there, so I think that level of pitching can be assumed going forward.

      Their defense is atrocious both visually (to me) and by every publicly available metric I know of.

      • Kosmo

        At this time Tex-Arod-Cano are not fine but I´m confident they´ll pick it up.
        Their pitching is league average only on the strength of the bullpen not their SP.
        14-10 since dropping the 1st 3 games to the Rays.
        The Yanks will be OK.

        • Plank

          I wouldn’t expect a significant uptick from Arod. Jeter and Granderson should be expected to come back to Earth too negating the bounceback from Teix and Cano somewhat.

          Yeah, their ERA is respectable because of the bullpen, but their bullpen just got a lot worse and their isn’t anything in the future to increase the ability of the starters unless you think a 40 year old Andy Pettitte coming out of retirement can contribute to the team meaningfully, which I don’t. Either way, their pitching is essentially average.

          All together, they aren’t really playing worse than their combined skills even if some players are playing above or below their individual skill level.

  • Bavarian Yankee

    hey, just 1 ER in the 1st, so that 1st inning ERA is finally going down. Progress is good, right!?

    btw: the Royals have only won 2 home games this year, both against the Yankees. Yes, the Royals are that bad.

  • NRW Yankee

    1:4 W/L
    win when CC is on the mound, loss when he is not.
    Seems like this is the pattern for the next days until Andy returns….

  • OldYanksFan

    I love guys who always suggest we go out and get the shiniest new object on the FA market, regardless of cost or how bad the contract may ultimately be.

    Sure… we’re rich. Let’s go out and get Hamilton for the OF. I’m sure if we throw in an extra $50m, we can get Pujols from the Angels to be our DH. How about Wright for 3B? We can make ARod the BUDH so we don’t overtax Pujols.

    Felix, Hamels, Lincecum and Yu to back up CC.

    AM I MISSING ANYBODY??????????

  • OldYanksFan

    2009 was a pretty good year. And there’s a reason.
    Of our 9 everyday starters:
    1, ARod, matched his career average OPS. Not bad for an older player.
    The other 8? ALL had an OPS better then their career average.
    Of those 8:
    One, Jeter, matched his career best OPS
    Three others had their BEST career year OPS.

    And this is why you play the game.
    We had a good team on paper, but when EVERYONE has a better then expected year, great things happen.

    This year, we have a pretty good team on paper.
    Even without Pineda and the injury to Mo, we still have a pretty good team on paper. My guess is if everyone was simply playing to their career average, we would be in first place.

    The bottom line is it doesn’t matter how ‘good’ the team is, if everyone has a bad year. I mean, if we had added Pujols in the off-season, we would have a killer lineup. Then imagine, he is batting uner .200 at this point.

    We paid $200m for a pretty damn good team.
    Some guys get paid more than others, because we expect them to produce more then others. The problem is not our team, and the fix is not going out and sacrificing more of our future by overpaying the next stud.

    We simply can’t win if ARod, Cano and Teix suck.
    There are no other fixes.
    If these guys don’t produce BIG, we are playing golf in October.

    • Tom Swift

      I agree. There are years when the team is not that good, even when you spend 200 million. I hope they turn things around, but if they don’t, the answer is not further irrational spending. Instead of spending more on player salaries, the Yanks should spend more on scouting and player development.

      • JohnnyC

        Joel Sherman’s column today offers the thought that no team in history every debuted in a single season 4 players of the cumulative value that the Yankees did in 1995 (Jeter, Mo, Andy, and Posada), two first ballot HOFers and 2 borderliners. And only Jeter was a high draft pick. Gene Michaels makes Cashman look like an amateur.

        • http://riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

          I hate to break it to you, but producing two HoFers and two borderline HoFers in one year is not exactly a repeatable skill. There’s a reason it’s only happened once in baseball history.

    • eephus_pitch

      Very good, very sensible analysis.
      Except too much “we.”
      “We” don’t pay the players and “we” don’t play the games.
      We just watch the games and gripe.

      • Havok9120

        Even Mike doesn’t fight that battle in the comments section anymore.

  • Monterowasnotdinero

    Andy pitching in Rochester today.

  • http://fendersonandhampton.com Cuso

    I, like everyone else, am frustrated.

    However, this morning I decided that I’m not going to assess this team until Cano starts hitting.

    Let’s face it. He IS going to hit. When he breaks out, the lineup is much much different. if he breaks out, and they’re still losing series – yeah doom and all that.

  • ClayDavis

    Yesterday it seemed like Robbie show signs of life. I’m randomly calling a big game from him today. A slump buster if you will.

  • http://none Dimaggio’s Left Shoe

    hughes should be fine for 3 innings then aaaaaarrghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

  • The New York Hat Tippers

    I’m finding it hard to get too pissed about what’s looking like a throwaway season knowing that Mo will be back next season.

    Just tip your hat to the rest of baseball since they’re playing it the way it’s supposed to be played and wait for next yr.

    • Plank

      The throwaway seasons are 2014 and beyond.

      • Havok9120

        You seem to be waking up in an especially uncharitable mood the last couple days.

        • Plank

          Huh? I’ve always been against slashing the payroll in 2014.

    • Sweet Dick Willie

      Yeah, 135 games remaining is clearly not enough time to turn it around.

      May as well wait until next year, and if they don’t get off to a start that meets your expectations, you can wait until the following year.