Swept: ChiSox beat Yanks 2-1

Heathcott & Austin have big nights in Tampa loss
Thoughts following the sweep in Chicago

The Yankees went from winning seven of nine to losing five of seven in short order. The White Sox finished off their three-game sweep of the Bombers on Wednesday night with a 2-1 win that frankly didn’t feel all that close.

Amazing. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Follow The Leader

For the first time in his career, Derek Jeter has homered in three straight games. All three homers were pulled as well, which just isn’t something you’re going to see the Cap’n do very often. He’s suddenly raised his season line to .324/.364/.450 and has been, by far, the club’s best offensive player for the last few weeks.

Jeter’s homer tied the game at one in the sixth and was only the second run the Yankees scored in the final 17 innings of the series. As a team, they struck out a season-high 15 times against Chris Sale and Addison Reed (with a little Brett Myers mixed in as well) on Wednesday night while twice stranding runners on second base with less than two outs. The bottom five hitters in the order went a combined 0-for-15 with one walk (Andruw Jones) and nine strikeouts. Sale’s really good but I don’t want to give him all the credit — the Yankees swung at an awful lot of balls off the plate. Good way to suffocate the offense.

(REUTERS/Jeff Haynes)

Fly Ball Phil

He wasn’t as good as Sale, but Phil Hughes was pretty damn effective on Wednesday. He allowed two runs in seven innings, the first of which scored after the umpire blew a call on a Dewayne Wise bunt. That would have been the first out and maybe they score the runner from third anyway, but first-and-third with no outs is an entirely different animal than man on third and one out. Anyway, the other run came on an Alex Rios solo homer in the sixth, a whole three pitches after Jeter tied the game. That was incredibly annoying.

Hughes struck out five and walked two — two of the first four batters of the game –while getting a dozen of his 16 ball-in-play outs in the air. He retired nine of the last ten batters he faced with the one exception being the game-losing homer. Phil hit a bit of a wall about two weeks ago, throwing back-to-back dud starts against the Tigers and Blue Jays, but he’s since rebounded with a pair of solid seven-inning efforts against the Red Sox and first place ChiSox. Tough luck loser in this one.

(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Leftovers

David Robertson allowed a single and plunked Kevin Youkilis in the eighth, but otherwise escaped the jam thanks to a nice double play turn by Robinson Cano and Jeter. He was just getting work in after having a few days off, otherwise Hughes might have thrown another inning — he was at 98 pitches after seven.

Cano went 2-for-4 with a booming double into the right-center field gap and a hot-shot ground ball through the third baseman, which are hopefully indications that his bat is coming around. He came into the game in a 3-for-34 slump and is part of the reason why the Yankees haven’t been scoring as many runs as they should despite Jeter and Swisher doing great things hitting one-two.

That’s pretty much it. If it makes you feel any better, the Yankees lost three straight August games to the White Sox in Chicago back in 2009, and that season ended happily.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings

MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs the extra nerdy stuff, and ESPN the updated standings. The Rays beat the Royals, so they are now just three back in the loss column. Yankees need to get themselves straight and soon. The magic number remains 36.


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next

After playing 20 games in 20 days, the Yankees are off on Thursday. They’ll open a three-game series with the abysmal Indians — they’ve won four of their last 25 games — in Cleveland on Friday, when CC Sabathia is expected to turn to the rotation in his old stomping grounds. He’ll get the ball against rookie right-hander Corey Kluber.

email
Heathcott & Austin have big nights in Tampa loss
Thoughts following the sweep in Chicago
  • Brian S.

    At least I’m not missing much.

  • captain kiwi

    even if it’s against a shitty team, i want to see the yankees beat up on somebody. friday is a good day to do it.

  • Rich in NJ

    They have too few hitters that are good at making contact, and that weakness is exacerbated against quality pitchers.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting

      definitely needed more Ichiro-like hitters today

      • Rich in NJ

        What are Jeter and Cano?

        • Need Pitching & Hitting

          So they need more hitters who are either the best hitter on the team or the hottest hitter on the team? That would sure be nice.
          They need more productive hitters. I would prefer high average, but more productive in any way would be fine. Chris Stewart makes more contact than Cano. It’s not all about the contact.
          The lineup against LHP is just very thin in productive hitters right now. That’s much more of an issue than what type of hitters they are.

          • Rich in NJ

            No, you’re right, we need to judge 38 year old declining LH hitters v. one of the toughest LH pitchers in MLB.

            What would be nice is to have more hitters that hit for AVG because when you put the ball in play, you give yourself a chance for good things to happen.

            Instead, they have very few hitters with an AVG > .270.

            • Need Pitching & Hitting

              Having a chance for good things to happen and good things are happening aren’t the same thing. Production counts, how it happens makes little difference.

              • Rich in NJ

                I suspect that there is a high positive correlation between high AVG and production.

                • Need Pitching & Hitting

                  Sure. But stats like OPS or wOBA have a higher correlation to scoring. Obviously both of those would be helped by a higher average, but neither are dependent on a higher average for high values.

                  • Rich in NJ

                    Which is a limitation of those metrics, imo.

                    • Need Pitching & Hitting

                      How so?

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

                  The Yankees have the fifth highest AVG in baseball and the eighth lowest strikeout rate. Contact isn’t a problem.

                  • Rich in NJ

                    Without A-Rod, Jeter, Cano, and Chavez are the only hitters batting over .270, with Swisher being close because of an out of context high streak.

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

                      So if you take away all of the guys hitting .270+, they only have one player hitting close to .270? Good observation.

                  • Heisenberg’s Hat

                    But wouldn’t it be nice if they were like first or second highest in average, and had the second lowest strikeout rate? These are both good but not great.

                  • Reverse Mormon

                    5th highest average in the AL, not all of MLB. Big difference. AL comparison better given pitchers hitting in NL. 5th in AL is certainly nothing special.

                • Brian S.

                  Out of the triple slash line numbers, slugging percentage has the highest correlation, followed by OBP and then batting average.

                  • Rich in NJ

                    Highest correlation to runs scored?

                    Well sure, but that may overlook a situation-specific context.

                    • Need Pitching & Hitting

                      Isn’t the idea to score as many runs as possible?
                      All of these stats, including avg, ignore specific situations. For example, Robbie is hitting over .300, but he’s been rather lousy situationally this year.

                    • Rich in NJ

                      The idea is to be able to score runs in as many situations as possible, not just in the aggregate.

                      Who would you rather have up in a big spot other than Cano though? Maybe Jeter? His plate coverage is why I want Cano up in any spot.

                    • Need Pitching & Hitting

                      At this point, I’m not sure I’d want Cano up in a big spot. Yeah he has great plate coverage, but he’ll get himself out swinging at bad pitches.
                      I’m not against high average hitters. I’d prefer they have more. But total production (as reflected by something like wOBA) means much more than AVG.

  • forensic

    6-11 in their last 17 road games.

    I think their last 12 or 13 homers have all been solo shots.

    Lots of yuck around this team right now.

    • Kevin

      I really do think the Rays will overtake us next week,I really do.
      And that road record..yuck!

  • tipsie

    silver lining to the day: at least Nova has been dropped from the rotation, and the outlook for the next 5 games just became brighter (CC-Hiroki-Phelps-Freddy-Phil)

  • your mom

    Only 38 games left, need to beat shitty teams like the Indians here on out.

  • wow

    screw 189

  • Kramerica Industries

    Very rarely do I place any expectation on road sweeps, but this is about as close as it gets.

    Cleveland is an awful baseball team, the Yankees swept them already once this season, and some easy wins against the chum on the schedule would be really, really needed right about now.

    Time to get back on the horse on Friday. I will enjoy tomorrow’s off-day.

  • forensic

    They’ve never seen Corey Kluber before, who is scheduled to start for Cleveland on Friday, but at least he’s a righty. Hopefully they do to him what just about every team has done to him so far in his short career.

    • forensic

      Of course after that they face Masterson and Jimenez, who have won 3 of those 4 games that they’ve won in their last 25. You’d certainly like to see a sweep of a terrible team like this, but the way the Yankees have been playing on the road and facing those two pitchers, I almost just hope to win the series and start to turn things around with some good baseball.

      3 righties is nice though. Hate the lineups they’re almost forced to throw out there vs. lefties right now.

      • Need Pitching & Hitting

        “3 righties is nice though. Hate the lineups they’re almost forced to throw out there vs. lefties right now.”

        Agreed. Very thin lineup against lefties, especially with Jones not getting his job done. Ibanez, Chavez, and Ichiro are all platoon players at this point. Nix seems to have been exposed with the increased playing time.

        • forensic

          Yeah and as of now, though a lot can change in a week or two, after the Cleveland series it’ll be 2 of 3 lefties (Laffey and Happ) in Toronto, 0 of 3 vs. Baltimore, 1 of 3 vs. Tampa (scheduled to miss both Price and Shields, would face Moore), and then 2 of 4 vs. Baltimore.

          That’s only 3 lefties in 9 games and 5 in 13 games, so hopefully they’ll start to turn things around and figure something out in that time.

          For what it’s worth, after those series’, the Yanks would see 0 of 3 lefties against the Red Sox (miss both Lester and Morales) and 1 of 3 lefties (Moore again) against the Rays.

  • Anthony

    Guaranteed that people will write this off as another bad performance by Phil simply because we lost. I’ve seen some posts not entirely sure whether Hughes is better than Nova… I think its becoming exceedingly clear who the better pitcher is.

    • Anthony

      Okay fine, that was a bit rash. People won’t be saying its a terrible outing tomorrow but in a week or two they’ll just cite the loss without mentioning the stats.

  • Rich in NJ

    Mike Axisa says:
    August 23, 2012 at 12:30 am
    So if you take away all of the guys hitting .270+, they only have one player hitting close to .270? Good observation.
    __

    (I can’t reply above.)

    Way to skew what the point. They have too many feast or famine hitters and that leaves them vulnerable when they aren’t feasting.

    • forensic

      You just need to hit the reply button on the last comment before it cut it off because of space purposes. Then it’ll show up as the next comment at the bottom of the line. Not convenient because you can’t see the post you’re replying to, but it is what it is.

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

      Which makes them different from every other team how, exactly? Why does everyone assume that batting average doesn’t slump? Given their total offensive production, they feast a heck of a lot more than pretty much every other club.

      • Rich in NJ

        For one the payroll, which should offer more flexibility in terms of options than other teams.

        Instead, the LH DH, the starting catcher, the CF, and the 1B v. RHP are not good AVG hitters.

        Then there is situational hitting. IOW, there a times when shortening your swing and being willing to go the other way can help produce a big hit in a critical spot. The players above, and often Swisher, seem unwilling/unable to do that very often.

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

          You’re right, Swisher is very unwilling/unable to do that. Those big hits on the homestand were actually Robinson Cano in disguise.

          • Rich in NJ

            If he wants that $100m contract, he needs to keep the costume on.

            • MannyGeee

              He should prolly buy an A-Rod 2007 mask…

      • Need Pitching & Hitting

        They’ve been held to 5 runs or fewer 72 times – fewer than any other team (2 teams tied at 74). 4 runs or fewer 54 times – fewer than any other team (Arizona next at 61). 3 runs or fewer 39 times – fewer than any other team (Detroit next at 45). 2 runs or fewer 24 times – also fewest (Detroit 25).
        They’ve been very consistent offensively, compared to other teams.

        • Rich in NJ

          Let’s compare them to themselves. On this date in 2011, they had scored 675 runs. This season they have 607.

          • Need Pitching & Hitting

            Yes. The offense definitely isn’t as good as last year. It’s still one of the best in the game. Of course they can be better.

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

            The season started in March last year.

            • Rich in NJ

              In 124 games in 2012 they have scored 607 runs.

              In 125 games in 2011 they scored 675 runs.

              • Get Phelps Up

                That 607 run total this year is still the 2nd most in baseball.

          • forensic

            The overall offensive environment this season is lower than it was last season though. Not sure of the exact comparison, but I know that was the case at least a little earlier in the season.

            Though I can get behind some of your other points.

        • Get Phelps Up

          How do you find that? BBref?

          • Need Pitching & Hitting

            Yeah, I had to go to each team’s scoring page and add up the runs. It’s a bit tedious. I stopped after the top 19 scoring teams, but I’d assume the bottom 11 wouldn’t factor into the rankings.

            • Get Phelps Up

              OK, thanks.

    • Mister Swackhammer

      They have the fifth highest avg in baseball. Most teams have a few good hitters for average like the Yankees do with Jeter, Cano, and A-Rod, it’s not just us.

      • Reverse Mormon

        5th highest in AL. Big difference.

  • Heisenberg’s Hat

    I wish the Yankees could have treated Brett Myers the same way he treats his wife.

  • forensic

    If it makes you feel any better, the Yankees lost three straight August games to the White Sox in Chicago back in 2009, and that season ended happily.

    Well, 2 of those 3 losses were in July, but they did drop them to 20 games over .500, same as these 3 even though it was 20 games earlier in the season.

    But, after those three losses in 2009, they won 7 straight and 12 of 13 games, so here’s hoping that repeats itself.

  • dalelama

    Face it this team just isn’t that good…Let’s just hope they can hang on to the wildcard and maybe win one round in the palyoffs if we get lucky.

    • Christopher

      Would you say Texas sucks as well? How do you think they felt leaving the stadium last week? This time of year the good clubs are hard to beat at home.

    • Jim Is Bored

      Haha do you ever say anything different? Your act is not only idiotic, it’s tired and played out. Find a new bit, talk about Jeter using PED’s being the only explanation for his year, harp on Cano’s lack of grit, make outlandish trade suggestions. We’re depending on you.

    • MannyGeee

      yup, the team at the top of the league is “not that good”…

  • Wil Nieves Number 1 Fan
    • Christopher

      Girardi just went up ten notches in my opinion with that move. Very cool. Then he returns and finishes his answer!

    • MannyGeee

      awesome. just awesome

  • Eddard

    We’re only in trouble because the Rays are playing so well. A 10 game lead reduced to 3. CC will be back and Andy in a few weeks. We’re playing the Indians next, losers of 8 straight so I expect them to right the ship. And we just came off beating Texas 3/4 so it’s not like this is a big losing streak or anything. Nova’s gone which is addition by subtraction and should help the club tremendously.

    • Get Phelps Up

      24 hours can really do a guy wonders.

  • Reverse Mormon

    Let’s get one thing straight. The Yanks have the 5th highest avg in the AL, not MLB. Texas, Detroit, LA Angels and Boston, probably the 4 most comparable teams to the Yanks (certainly in the AL) in terms of payroll, expectations, how the team is built, etc., are ahead of them. Comparing their average to the TBs and Oaklands of the world, who go about building their team in a different way, is less useful. The Yanks are clearly underperforming in this area if you look at it a little more deeply.

    That said, like others have pointed out, average is only one metric and certainly has its limitations. But if you are trying to make an argument that the Yanks are performing well in this area, you would be wrong.