Aug
08

Thoughts after another one-run loss

By

(Leon Halip/Getty Images)

The Yankees slogged through yet another one-run loss last night, their eighth such defeat during this 6-12 stretch that dates back to the start of the West Coast trip in Oakland. They went from having a 13-9 record in one-run games to a 13-17 record in the span of two weeks. It’s unbelievable how they continue to fall short in tight games like this, it really is. I suppose the good news is that they haven’t been getting blown out of the water during this ugly 18-game stretch, but that really doesn’t make me feel any better.

Rather than put together an organized, reasonable, and well-thought-out post on the Yankees’ struggles, I’m just going to riff a bit. This seems more therapeutic.

* While the Yankees are busy embarrassing themselves in one-run games, the friggin’ Orioles are now 23-6 (!) in those affairs following last night’s extra-innings win. They’ve won a dozen straight extra-inning games, dating back to their first home series of the season when the Yankees beat them in extras twice. Maybe it’s luck, maybe it’s just good timing, maybe they’re just oh so clutch, but whatever it is it sure is annoying. At some point the other shoe will drop, and hopefully it will happen before next season.

* You know what else is annoying? The Yankees’ pitchers seem to give back every run the offense gives them in the span of an inning these days. Phil Hughes did it last night, Ivan Nova did it the night before, Nova did it again in spectacular fashion in his last start before that … the whole “shutdown innings” thing seems to have gone out the window. This has become one unwelcome habit. Maintaining a lead for more than one inning should not feel like a miracle.

* Last night’s start notwithstanding, Hughes has pitched pretty well for the last three months or so. I’m going to have a little more on him later today at some point, but for now I’m just going to post a slightly scary graph…

That is Phil’s strikeout rate as the season has progressed, and as you can see it’s been trending downward. I didn’t expect him to flirt with a whiff-per-inning all season, but after last night’s showing he’s down to 7.66 K/9 (20.0 K%). It wasn’t that long ago that he was among the AL’s top five with a 4.00 K/BB ratio, but it’s now down to a still strong 3.61. It keeps going down though.

* The Yankees have absolutely missed Alex Rodriguez, who even in his declining state serves as a steady contributor in the middle of the lineup. But did you know that during his absence, a span of 12 games, the replacement third basemen have hit a combined .359/.409/.744 with four homers? Obviously it’s a small sample, but damn. That’s pretty awesome. Only problem is that most of the other positions are hitting like they’re blindfolded.

* Eric wrote about this last week, but I can’t help but look around the league at the trade deadline. Every other AL contender — the Angels, Rangers, Tigers, and White Sox — all improved themselves in significant ways via trade. The Yankees got Casey McGehee and the reanimated corpse of Ichiro Suzuki. I despise the whole “the best trade they could make is getting their own players back and healthy” idea, it seems to lazy. I want to think that 40-year-old Andy Pettitte will come back to reinforce the pitching staff and that 37-year-old A-Rod to will return to anchor the lineup, but I just don’t buy it. Settling for Ichiro may hurt more than it helps.

* I think my ideal lineup right now would have a top five of Derek Jeter, Nick Swisher, Robinson Cano, Mark Teixeira, and Curtis Granderson. The more I think about Granderson leading off the less I like it only because his power is wasted with Ichiro and the catcher batting ahead of him. Plus it’s not like Curtis has been doing a great job of getting on-base himself these last few weeks. The lineup doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things, but I am a fan of tinkering. It could mean a lot in an individual game.

* Of course, my proposed top of the lineup means a whole bunch of lefties will be stacked in the lower third, and the baseball universe might collapse upon itself if that happens. Seriously though, who cares? With McGehee, Andruw Jones, and Jayson Nix, the Yankees have right-handed pinch-hitters aplenty on the bench. Having a strong group of reserves is only an advantage if you’re willing to use them liberally.

* The lead in the division is down to five games in the loss column over Baltimore, the smallest it’s been since the end of June. Five games is a scary number because it seems so small compared to the nine and ten-game leads New York held a few weeks ago, but five games is pretty significant. Do you know when the Yankees held their first five-game lead last year? September 19th, after their 152nd game of the season. The magic number to clinch the division is just 49. Losing 12 of 18 and still being able to have a lead that size is pretty awesome … if that’s the right word.

Categories : Rants

187 Comments»

  1. DERP says:

    Great post. One of the best I can remember.

    • Greg says:

      Great post, excellent points. And, wow, there are so many warning signs that we’re a first round exit waiting to happen it’s not even funny. 1) We’re not good in one-run game 2) we don’t hit well with RISP 3) we can’t make adjustments in an at-bat. two strikes and runner on third, let me swing out my pants and just hope something good happens 3)we have no true ace who can shut a team down, at least nobody like Verlander, King Felix, Weaver and the such 4) the Yanks CAN be shut down by another team’s ace. You don’t have to look far for examples of that 5) if we don’t hit multiple homeruns we lose, etc… We are so built for the regular season.

      And for the love of all that is holy, stop batting Grandy first!!!!! Girardi is insane. And he doesn’t even let Grandy steal a base in the rare times he leads off with a hit or walk.

      • Brian S says:

        What were you thinking of Verlander and Weaver when we destroyed them the first two times we saw them this year?

        • Cuso says:

          destroyed?

          Yes, we destroyed Weaver by intentionally straining his back after 12 pitches.

          4 runs in 6 innings vs. Verlander is a great effort back in April, but hardly destroying anyone. He only gave up 7 hits and no walks in those 6 innings, as well

  2. RR says:

    The signs are there to see – the Yankees are a team without discipline, and without the winning spirit. They are a team of Dave Winfields.
    Poor clutch hitting (esp. Swisher, Teixeira, ARod), the inability to come back and win games in which they are behind late, poor baserunnning, can’t bunt, poor coaching and poor managing. Showalter plays to win every day and inisists on excellence, Girardi follows the book, even if it means a loss.
    Nick Swisher exemplifies, in reverse, what winning Yankee teams have always been about. Less flash, less self-aggrandizement and more clutch hitting. All business when it comes to winning.
    Has a team that fails consistently to hit in the clutch, and can’t come back to win late in games ever won the World Series?

    • Jon says:

      Yankees 15 Red Sox 9

      coming back down 9 in the 5th says hello

      • Mike Axisa says:

        Doesn’t count, didn’t happen late. Neither did any of their other league-leading 33 come-from-behind wins.

        • the Other Steve S. says:

          What are you guys always saying? Small sample size? It happened once, and a long time ago.

        • Tremont says:

          Are you suggesting that the fact that they haven’t come back in the 9th has predictive value? Last night, Granderson was inches away from hitting a game winning double.

          I understand that 1 run losses are more frustrating than blowouts. In another season, they might have proven to be costly. But moving forward, I think it augers well that so many of their losses have been determined by a bloop here and an at ‘em ball there. I really don’t see the Yankees losing this division this year, and in the playoffs 1 run losses in August don’t matter.

      • RR says:

        The 5th is not late in the game.

    • Brian S says:

      Sign me up for a team full of 1988 Dave Winfields.

      • RR says:

        Let me guess – you either root for a team that doesn’t win a lot of World Series (Red Sox, Cubs) or you are too young to have seen Winfield play.
        The stats have never told the whole story. Ask anyone who saw both Munson and Winfield play, and who they want up in a big game, big at bat. I don’t know any Yankee fan who actually saw the games who would select Winfield, yet his stats are far and away better. Baseball is not a computer game.

  3. Jon says:

    Granderson has essentially become Adam Dunn that actually plays a position but he seems average at best in CF: Ks, BBs, HRs

    Moving him down in the order…5th!! Would make to much sense, he has an all or nothing swing right now and that does not belong at the top of the order.

    • Steve says:

      I think a better analogy for Granderson is Carlos Pena or Mark Reynolds. Granderson might not be a great CF but he isn’t the butcher that Dunn is at any position on the field.

      • Jon says:

        I went with Dunn simply because he is a guy that everytime he comes to bat you feel like he can put one out, a offensive force. That is the way I feel about granderson most of the time, that he is still an offensive force.

        Pena, Reynolds…they might get you here or there but I really dont view them as power guys you can built a line up around. Granderson could be one of those guys like Dunn that has plus power potential and you could built a lineup around but that lineup better be quick, contact hitters that get on base and can manufacture runs…cuz granderson is gonna K ~30-35% of the time just like Dunn.

        • YanksFanInBeantown says:

          Grandy’s never K’d more than 28% of the time…

          • Jon says:

            Do you predict/expect that he is going to improve on his K% as he gets older??

            • YanksFanInBeantown says:

              Well, seeing as how this is the first time his K% has been over 25% since 2006, I’ll treat this season, which is not yet over, as an outlier and expect a regression to his career norms rather than a further 3-8% leap.

              If he’s still striking out like this at this point next season, I’ll re-evaluate.

              • Stan the Man says:

                Stop making excuses for Granderson he is having a tough time putting the ball in play, which is why he has a consistently low avg and high strikeout rates. This year isn’t an outlier it is following his career norms. His ability to hit HR’s is the only value he brings to the line up.

  4. Chris says:

    Why didn’t they send Ichiro on Martin’s double isn’t that why you acquire speed to put pressure on the defense?

    • Eddard says:

      Because he was just getting to 3rd when the throw was made. He would have been out.

      • RR says:

        He was slow getting into third because he was given the “hold” sign and slowed down. If he was going full tilt, it would have been close IF a perfect throw was made and IF the catcher held on. Girardi’s Yankees are risk-averse to a fault.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      The relay man had the ball by time he was at third base. He would have been out by 30 feet had they sent him home.

  5. Eddard says:

    We’re in a lot of trouble. Granderson is not a lead off hitter, he’s a power hitter. Get that through your head, Joe. Someone needs to shake things up. All Cashman did at the deadline to make a splash was a trade for a guy who doesn’t even play. When things get tough the aces of the staff are supposed to step up so we’ll see if that happens the next two games.

    • Stan the Man says:

      Granderson has 29 HR’s but only 14 other XBH’s. He clearly is all or nothing and that is something that needs to change, he should have more gap to gap power and should be able to hit balls into LC for doubles at Yankee stadium instead of trying to yank everything 314 ft down the line.

  6. Robinson Tilapia says:

    Nicely worded post, Mike. I kept on reading over your Ichiro comment, and the way you phrased it was just spot-on. Ichiro himself isn’t the problem, and is fine as a fill-in pick-up. SETTLING for that and hoping for pixie dust is, though (I added pixie dust in there just for added emphasis.).

    It’s still a big lead. It’s still a lot of games lost. Whether you want to look at it as “it was always going to be close” or “they’re choking” is up to you. I can see how folks would feel either way right now.

    • jjyank says:

      I try to look at it this way:

      If you had told me in March that the Yankees would be 4.5 games up in August, and ask me if I’d take that, I would say “yes” without hesitation.

      That said, there are problems with the team, of course. I still believe it is a team capable of a championship if a couple guys get hot and A-Rod and Pettitte successfully come back.

  7. Mark L. says:

    This is indeed very much an unYankee type of offense. No patience, no speed, poor fundamentals, just lots of strikeouts and home runs. I’m looking forward to a dramatic overhaul of this lineup over the next offseason. The organization desperately needs some athleticism.

  8. blake says:

    Great Rant!

    on a positive note…..is Robinson Cano the best 2B at relays ever? Has anybody ever seen a 2B that can throw the way he does…..just flip the ball 150 feet off balance on a line like that?

    • jjyank says:

      I don’t pretend to have comprehensive knowledge of every 2B in the game, but I would think he’s got the strongest arm of the bunch. Dude has a cannon.

  9. Tim says:

    If the Yankees were to totally collapse and miss the playoffs, would it be a bigger collapse than the Red Sox last year or the Mets a few years ago?

    • Eddard says:

      It would be the biggest collapse in the history of sports. A 10 game lead over an Orioles team who nobody takes seriously and a Rays team who has been without their best player for 3 months. That has been cut in half. Aces are paid to stop the bleeding so it’s up to CC tonight to give us a W.

  10. Kosmo says:

    great riff Mike !

    When the Yanks went on a role in June they got great SP and timely hitting.
    Granderson and Swisher are not clutch players. Period. When the game is on the line I prefer not to have either of them standing at HP with a bat in their hands.
    Tex was doing well until he injured his wrist.

    • Heisenberg's Hat says:

      I guess it must be true because you wrote “Period” after it.

      • Kosmo says:

        is there anything that you´ve seen recently to suggest that they are indeed clutch players ?

        • Heisenberg's Hat says:

          The concept of “clutch” is mostly garbage. Were they clutch when the team was winning? Somebody had to be getting those hits. Remember the unclutch 2-run homer Swisher hit off the Braves, right after unclutch ARod hit a grand slam?

          • Klemy says:

            Well, some people struggle with Heisenberg. Look! Here’s a toy! It goes up and down on a string, doesn’t that look like fun?

  11. Bam says:

    ibanez, ichiro, freddy garcia, ARod, would be excellent additions to some team in 2001. seems like cashman is writing off this year and the next few for those great kids on the farm

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      FACT: They’ve booked soccer matches at YS3 every night throughout the month of October already through 2022.

  12. The Real Greg says:

    People keep talking about regression like it its going to happen.

    This is the same league in which the Colorado Rockies went on the hottest of all stretches to glide into the WS.

    How are we all certain that the Orioles are going to regress?

    • TomH says:

      It’s a form of the question I asked last night: by what statistical law or principal is it assumed that regression must occur during the current season?

      This notion of a Baltimore team that “nobody” takes seriously should be reexamined. It may be that nobody should take nobody seriously.

      • thenamestsam says:

        There’s no statistical law that tells you when regression is going to happen, that isn’t how regression works. Here’s what I see with the Orioles:

        One look at their run differential will tell you that this is not a good team. A look at their record tells you that they’ve been extremely lucky so far. Regression doesn’t mean that they’re about to start having horrible luck. What it means is that if we’re predicting their luck going forward we should predict that it will be basically average. Average luck is far more likely than extremely good luck. And this Baltimore team with average luck is a last place team. The most likely outcome is that this Baltimore team will play like a last-place club going forward. Could they do better? Sure, but you’re either betting on their amazing luck continuing or claiming that their amazing ability to outplay their Pythagorean record is something other than luck. The first is unlikely (but possible), and the second I don’t see.

        • Chad Gaudin the Friendly Ghost says:

          Good to see someone with a head for the way probability works. This is one of the reasons why there’s no need to panic. In a 162 game season a lot of strange things are going to happen. The fact is it’s improbable that those strange things last all season.

          Combine that with the fact that every team has its problems, and I don’t get what all the doom and gloom is about. The Yankees have a decent lead in the division which will allow them to weather some of the down times they are bound to have. If this is the worst that it gets then that’s pretty damn good.

          • Darren says:

            Except for one thing. It’s August 8th, not May, or June. At what point is it reasonable to say the Yankees have to be genuinely concerned that Baltimore might catch them? if they’re 3 back? 2? 1? Only at the end of September?

            I mean, I agree that they PROBABLY will not catch up, but I kind of think we’re way past the point of saying they’re clearly, obviously, definitely going to come back to earth.

  13. thenamestsam says:

    I really don’t think there’s reason to panic here. The Yankees run differential over this 6-12 streak still stands at +6. Are they world beaters right now? Obviously not. But if you’re scoring more runs than your opposition you’re still playing pretty good baseball. If we can get back to even average luck the win/loss column should start to reflect that.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      Panic? No. Concern? Yes.

      • thenamestsam says:

        Sure, some concern is appropriate. I see a lot that goes a lot closer to panicking than I think is warranted for a team that every available piece of evidence shows to be not only very strong overall, but currently playing much better than their recent record indicates.

    • Tremont says:

      Excellent point. If the Yanks are still outscoring their opponents in their worst 18 game stretch of the season, I’d say things are looking pretty good.

    • Heisenberg's Hat says:

      Oh cool, they have a good run differential.

  14. blake says:

    perhaps the Yankees get clutch hits a lower percentage of the time because they have players that get hits in general a lower percentage of the time?

    • Mike Axisa says:

      Stop it with your logic.

    • The Real Greg says:

      Exactly, which is why batting average still matter in the league.

      2009 Yankees: .283
      2012 Yankees: .264

      • TomH says:

        You, sir, are correct. The widespread skepticism of batting average’s statistical usefulness is one of the illusions generated by the sabr revolution. One would expect soon to find this confirmed as sabr enthusiasts begin insisting they never doubted batting average.

        • YanksFanInBeantown says:

          Well, singles are weighted more than walks in wOBA, so there’s that.

          • David says:

            wOBA also weighs RBOE above a single, which is totally absurd.

            • YanksFanInBeantown says:

              Depends on which version of wOBA. Fangraphs doesn’t include RBOE but Tango does.

              And reaching on an error has a higher correlation to scoring a run than a single does, and it is a repeatable skill, to some extent.

        • Tremont says:

          Batting average is essentially counted not once, but twice in OPS. It isn’t being ignored. It’s just taken seriously in isolation anymore, unless it’s extremely high or extremely low.

    • blake says:

      Batting average isn’t everything….it’s not the most accurate way to evaluate a hitter….but it does matter and when you have 6 of the 9 hitters in the lineup hitting under .260 it really limits the ways you can score runs…..especially when the opposing pitcher doesn’t walk you.

      The Yankees got 4 walks in the Oakland series….and only 1 last night…..pitchers are challenging them to hit their way on base and they are struggling to do so.

      • JonS says:

        It either matters or it doesn’t matter. Which is it?

        • Robinson Tilapia says:

          It can matter some, just like wins as a stat for pitcher don’t matter as much as some people think, but matter more than those who want to completely dismiss them think. You can be overrated AND underrated at the same time.

        • YanksFanInBeantown says:

          Have you ever seen Donnie Darko? Specifically the scene in health class where the teacher asks everyone to classify actions as stemming from either hate or love?

          That’s what you’re doing right now.

      • Greg says:

        This…exactly.

  15. JohnC says:

    Everyone is assuming the Yanks are going to collapse. Like this team couldn’t possibly right the ship and go back on a winning streak. Welcome to the quitter forum!

    • JonS says:

      No. Everyone is not assuming that the Yankees are going to collapse. People are freaking out because the Yankees ARE collapsing (since the ASB, SSS I know). And it’s not their hitting that the problem. It’s their pitching. They are actually averaging more runs per game without Arod, so it’s not his absence.

      Can it continue? Will it continue? Will they miss the playoffs? I hope not, but unless they start getting better pitching, no.

      To rephrase James Carville’s popular phrase, “It’s the pitching, stupid” (not directed at you).

      • Stan the Man says:

        The line up isnt the same at all without AROD, so they are missing him. Chavez batting 7th is better for the lineup than having him batting 5th.

  16. Chris says:

    I’d rather have Granderson 2 or 3. He K’s at a high rate which keeps them out of the DP and he has good speed if he does put it on the deck.

  17. TomH says:

    We’ll see how large and impressive the Yankees’ lead is after they’ve finished with Texas, Toronto, Boston, and Chicago. 15 games can cut a 5 game lead to zilch.

  18. The Real Greg says:

    This also goes to the problem why the popularity of baseball is less compared to football. The regular season basically means nothing. The playoffs are such a crap shoot that a 120 win season can be considered a failure if you don’t win it all.

    In football, every game seems to mean something because there are only 16 of them.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      That’s because you can’t separate actually enjoying the sport for what it is from how you’re going to manage your emotions on the comment section on some blog as to the results of the season. This is your issue, not mine.

      Whether the Yankees win the WS or not has no bearing on how much I enjoyed watching the regular season. It has a bearing on how I feel for about 1/3 of the offseason before I start excited over Spring Training and the Hot Stove all over again.

      • TomH says:

        How do you manage to get to all of this personal business (what you take to be my emotions, what you proudly identify as your enjoyment, etc.) from this:

        We’ll see how large and impressive the Yankees’ lead is after they’ve finished with Texas, Toronto, Boston, and Chicago. 15 games can cut a 5 game lead to zilch.

        I’m going to let you in on a secret of logic: you can’t!

    • TomH says:

      There’s some truth to this, probably. However, there is more truth, in my view, to the notion that football’s popularity owes much to the increasing coarseness of N. American culture since the late 1960s, its demand for a kind of insistent and obvious form of stimulation–and a demand for a form of “action” far less subtle than that of baseball. I say this, by the way, as a 60-year fan of college football.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        Yup. Always interesting to look at sports from that perspective.

        I have a friend in academia who is vehemently anti-college-sports who talks a lot about college sports as a “Cold War” phenomenom that’s run its course. I disagree with him wholeheartedly, but I always find it interesting to expand the lens in that manner.

        • TomH says:

          I’ve encountered your friend’s argument about college sports. The thing is that college football was a very big deal in the 1920s and 1930s, when “pro football” was something for people who hadn’t satisfied their football fix on Saturday. I still remember the preeminence of the college game into the early-to-mid 50s. Then it all began to swing to the NFL’s favor. It’s enough to make me think it was the NFL to which the cold war metaphor should apply.

      • Tremont says:

        I would also like to add that football’s growing popularity can be largely attributed to the fact that it is the perfect television sport. As the production technology has improved, so has football’s popularity.

        Also, it’s the most convenient sport in the world to follow. There are 16 games and they are played on Sunday afternoons in increasingly unpleasant weather as the season progresses. What else are people doing on Sunday afternoon in December?

    • Tremont says:

      How did the Packers feel about about their 15-1 season after they lost in the playoffs to the 9-7 Giants? I don’t understand the point you’re making.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        Frankly, I’d feel WORSE about the Pack’s 15-1 regular season, if I was a fan, than watching a 100-win team not make the WS.

        • Tremont says:

          Agree

          • Chris says:

            Would you have felt the same way if the 98 yankees lost in the WS…or even in the 1st round? If you have a “good” season, say 92-96 wins thats not unusual. If you have 97-100 Wins, then yea you might be pissed you didn’t make it to the WS. If you win 105+ games and are one and done in the playoffs then you are dam right I’d be pissed. I’d say setting the regular season wins record would and getting bounced in the 1st round would be equal to a 15-1 football team getting bounced in the 1st round.

            • Tremont says:

              Yeah, probably

            • Robinson Tilapia says:

              I would have been pissed about losing the WS. Sure. I still would have enjoyed the long, drawn-out regular season that happened beforehand.

              This is more a comment on the quick nature of the NFL season versus the longer peaks and valleys of the MLB season than anything else.

  19. LarryM.,Fl. says:

    We have discussed the players. We all know Swisher is no crunch time player. Granderson is a good CF with Yankee Stadium pop. He does not make consistent contact. He has struck out 5 times in the last two games. A short sample but its been evident all year. He does not run because when he gets on base which is infrequent. Girardi will not send him. I would not make an offer to either Swisher or Granderson. I would sign Cano.

    Its time for the manager to make a difference. We have a strong bench. Its time for Girardi to be more proactive and play for some runs. When players who can run Jeter, Ichiro, Granderson get on base get them moving. We can’t wait for guys to do what they haven’t done all year, have productive ABs. If pinch hitting for someone after a pitching change favors the hitter. Do it. We have been taking our chances in the field all year. Now we know what we have in Ichiro. So don’t play him as if he’s 10 years younger. Watching over these last 2 weeks makes me wonder if the Yankee scouts were even looking at other players to assist the team with a trade.

    • Heisenberg's Hat says:

      I do agree that this team should be running more. Jeter, Granderson, Ichiro should all be trying get themselves into scoring position every time. Make something happen. None of those guys run at all, and it’s maddening.
      But on your other point of letting Granderson and Swisher go, who would you replace them with?

    • RR says:

      Good point. But that would have Girardi being a capable manager, ala Showalter,who isn’t afraid to break some eggs to make omlets. I don’t necessarily feel that the Orioles will fade, on the strength of their manager.

  20. The DonSlaught says:

    “I despise the whole “the best trade they could make is getting their own players back and healthy” idea, it seems to lazy.”

    I cannot agree with this more. If we had the Angel’s pitching staff post Greinke-trade and one of those guys was hurt, then fine. But we had a duct-taped together staff before Pettitte’s injury and we have done nothing but pray that an old man heals quickly.

    Hopefully Cash is working on something, but this pitching staff is not ready to contend in the playoffs. And who would be surprised if Pettitte suffers a setback – either during his comeback or after he has come back.

    CC has been good, not dominant. Kiroda is probably the best pitcher right now. Then who are you giving the ball to? Right now, I’d rather have a good arm and if Pettitte comes back to 100%, that’s gravy. Just holding out hope that he does seems really f’ing lazy.

    • TomH says:

      I agree with this, but it’s hard to know what, at this point, Cash could do–and with what chips–to make that improvement.

      They really do need rapid healing for Pettitte and ARod!

      • The DonSlaught says:

        At this point, Cash probably can’t do anything. I obviously don’t know why we didn’t kick the tires on Josh Johnson more. I feel like the Marlins were in fire-sale mode and he would be a really nice addition.

        Let’s put it this way – if the Yankees make a deep playoff run, it will be because they got really, really lucky. Not regular lucky that all teams need to make a run, but half-court shot lucky.

        • Robinson Tilapia says:

          The asking price for Johnson would not have met the very real injury concerns with him.

          I like Josh Johnson. I’d love to save him from that sinking ship. I don’t know whether Miami would accept the type of package he would have really warranted.

          Imagine the collective diarrhea on here every time Johnson and Pineda threw a pitch if they were both in the same rotation.

        • jjyank says:

          Give up a top prospect for a guy who is on the DL all the time? No. Thank. You.

          • The DonSlaught says:

            Um, we don’t have many game-changing top prospects.

            We have a bunch of back-of-the-rotation starters and some 6-hole hitters.

            I’m all for not giving up the farm, but our farm ain’t that great right now. Even if it’s not for Johnson, I also think that simply relying on our farm to eventually become game-changers also seems lazy.

            Not to mention, the team as currently built does not leave room for anyone from the farm to step in. Tex, A-Rod, Cano (hopefully), Grandy (hopefully) and Jeter are locked up for a while. That leaves C and RF. Maybe C comes from the farm, but not for a while. Hell, our best prospect in years was dished away because he didn’t have a position – and his “position” was Catcher.

            I have no problem at all moving the guys we have in the farm for a proven everyday player.

            • YanksFanInBeantown says:

              Neither do I, but you’re talking about trading them for Josh Johnson.

            • jjyank says:

              We don’t have any guys in the high minors, but trading for expensive, injury prone pitchers and mortaging the farm with $189 budget looming…pass, every day. I’m willing to give up prospects in the right situations, but his injury history scares me away from giving up what Miami’s likely asking price would be.

              • The DonSlaught says:

                Re-read what I wrote. Never did I say that we should mortgage the farm for Johnson. I’m not giving up the entire farm for anyone not named Felix.

                My point was that I don’t feel like we took a serious look when the Marlins were clearly in fire-sale mode – which is a nice time to buy. Naturally, Johnson’s injury concerns would have lessened the pot – and couple that with Miami being a Seller and I “think” something may have been done there. But, we never (reportedly) even approached Miami.

                Instead, we got very serious about Carlos Lee. I hear his xFIP is great.

                U-f-believable.

                • Robinson Tilapia says:

                  Reading tea leaves. We know what was leaked to us, and that’s it.

                • jjyank says:

                  This is what I hate about the trade deadline. How the hell do you know who Cashman spoke to, who he kicked the tires on, how much teams were asking for what players?

                  This is all useless speculation.

                  • Tremont says:

                    Absolutely. To build on the point, nobody sees the trades that the Yankees actually make coming. How in the world can we know about the trades they didn’t make?

        • Mo says:

          “Let’s put it this way – if the Yankees make a deep playoff run, it will be because they got really, really lucky. Not regular lucky that all teams need to make a run, but half-court shot lucky.”

          That is just an absurd statement. Team has the best record in AL, and in their bad stretch have outscored their opponents. We read silliness like this in April, and they went on their insane run. Teams are not as bad as they look in a slump or as good as they look on a streak. The totality suggests the Yankees are a top team, and looking around at the other rosters, I don’t see any team clearly superior to them.

          • JonS says:

            “That is just an absurd statement. Team has the best record in AL”

            Texas has the best record in the AL.

            • Mo says:

              True, by half a game. The point still holds.

              • jjyank says:

                “Teams are not as bad as they look in a slump or as good as they look on a streak.”

                Agreed 100%. Overreacting one way or another just isn’t smart regarding expectations. Nobody should be speaking in absolutes either way, even though that has been happening in both directions pretty consistently (though more recently, the doom and gloom side, obviously).

          • The DonSlaught says:

            I has nothing to do with “right now” but where are they trending towards. And we have the best record in the AL by one game – let’s not act like we’re a million games ahead of the rest of the league with a ton of breathing room.

            Right now, two major contributors are old and on the DL. Expecting them to come back to their above-average output when they do return is very risky.

            While there may not a team that isn’t a team “clearly superior” to them, I would contend that a number of “playoff” teams made some very positive moves while the Yankees stood pat with injuries. I find that to be lazy.

            In fact, I think the Angels are the most dangerous team in the AL now that they picked up Greinke. Their lineup is deeper than ours and their starting pitching is also now the deepest/most talented in the AL. They are set up for a very nice end of season run, while I feel like as we’re set up currently, we are set up for getting into the playoffs on fumes.

    • Stan the Man says:

      Who do you need to give the ball too after Kuroda? If you are up 2-0 in a playoff series then I will take my chances after that.

  21. NYCSPORTZFAN says:

    First off, i see a couple comments about curtis and i said a month and some change ago that the most i’d offer the guy was a 2yr deal, and anything mor would be crazy.. I said that i could see him aging really badly and being a 226ba 22hr 61rbi type player at 34/36 yrs old.. There have been a gazillion players that have had a few really good seaosons but not long term success.. Its just not that easy to be longtime above avg player in MLB, and I don’t believe Curtis is one of those guys…

    As for the team, thank god we went 20-5 in june, because outside of June we’ve been a 500 club and maybe a game below at this point..

  22. cashthegenius says:

    this is the Yankees. They WILL turn this around and win the division going away. BUT, the problems are still the problems. Girardi’s decision to lead off Granderson has been ridiculous, says he went with Grandy over Jeter because of OBP. Jeter OBP is .357 while Grandy sits at a .335. Power hits by power, like the Tigers…Cabrera 3, Fielder 4. PERIOD. Giradi’s has always out thought himself and the team has suffered for it. Cano, Grandy, Tex are as good of a 3,4,5 in ALL of baseball, but stupid line up tweaks are killing this team. Like I said, talent alone will get this team to the play offs, but it will be a quick exit unless the RISP’s failures and starting pitching is fixed.

  23. JonS says:

    For those of you saying that this is normal and no real need for concern, Eric Chavez doesn’t agree with you. From last night:

    “There should be a high level of concern,” Eric Chavez said. “Anybody who says that there isn’t is lying. You’ve just got to win ballgames, and we’re not finding a way to do that, and it should be a concern.

  24. Jose M. Vazquez says:

    Pitcher wins are not important except when they lose. RBIs are not important except when we leave the runners in scoring position and every one complains. Finally, saves are not important and anyone can do the job except when they are blown. First, a team plays to win not to lose so wins are important. Also ballplayers have been payed according to the number of runs batted in and their batting average since baseball was invented. The sabermetrics people have just reversed things.

    • YanksFanInBeantown says:

      But just because something is one way doesn’t mean that it should remain that way.

      And the SABR guys have done all sorts of analysis showing that that wRC has a stronger correlation with winning games than Runs, RBI or AVG do.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        I think his point is that we make stats important when they meet our argument and minimize them when they don’t. I agree.

        I also barely evolved past the stats on the back of a 1985 Topps Baseball card, so I’m the wrong person to discuss wRC with. :)

      • Jose M. Vazquez says:

        That is one stat that I agree with only I have not seen the formula for arriving at the numbers.

    • Jose M. Vazquez says:

      Paid not payed. And pitchers are still paid for their ERAs and their W-L records.

    • Tremont says:

      Jose, sabermetrics have advanced our way of evaluating things. King Felix was 27-26 combined in the 2 previous seasons. If we’re judging him on wins, he was a decent 4th starter in ’10-’11.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        I don’t necessarily agree with the “sabremetricians have reversed things” line of thinking, but I do agree that totally disregarding the “classic” stats is a bit unfair.

        You could have deduced that King Felix was a victim of poor run support by looking at his back-of-a-baseball-card stats. The sabremetrics help to enhance how, however. There was a lot to deduce about, say, Phil Hughes’s 2010 by them as well.

        Anyways….it’s not a huge point I’m trying to make. All I’m saying is don’t piss on the old stats too much.

        • Tremont says:

          If you want to enjoy the sport that way, I’m cool with it. Not everybody wants to spend the time learning new ways of thinking about baseball. It’s time wasted really, considering that it has nothing to do with our livelihoods.

          So enjoy the sport as you desire. If you choose to rely on demonstrably inferior stats as a matter of convenience, that’s fair. I just don’t like it when I’m told by a less informed person that my grandpa knew a better way of evaluating stats than I do. It’s silliness.

          And I’m referring to Jose in this instance, not Robinson.

          • Robinson Tilapia says:

            Then get Jose’s email or phone number and have a private chat with him if you don’t want other people responding.

          • Robinson Tilapia says:

            You also entirely missed my point and chose to act like a jerkoff in response, which shouldn’t surprise me one bit here. I gave the advanced stats their due respect, but whatever, the world ended because David Phelps didn’t start, yadda yadda yadda.

            • Tremont says:

              You misunderstood. With my last sentence, I was trying to say that I wasn’t speaking ABOUT you when I made the comment. I was speaking TO you and anybody else who wanted to comment. I will not insult you the way you insulted me, but you seem to be more obsessed with the Phelps thing than I am.

            • Tremont says:

              Scratch that. You’ve been enough of a jerkoff on these threads that I don’t feel the need to maintain civility.

            • Stan the Man says:

              Another point for Robinson, you are killing it today sir.

      • Jose M. Vazquez says:

        So he gave his team one win over the number of losses that he had. That is all one plays for wins.

        • Brian S says:

          It’s Felix’s fault that the Mariners have the worst offense in baseball. Good point.

        • Tremont says:

          So pitchers are solely responsible for the outcome of games? That’s good news for me, because now I can live my dream of being a big league 3B! Why would any team pay David Wright a fortune when they could pay me the league minimum and it wouldn’t matter in the standings?

        • Jose M. Vazquez says:

          He gave his team one win over his losses. What does it mean? It means that when he lost, somebody outpitched him. In baseball you cannot point to what could have been, only to what the result is.

          • Tremont says:

            So he was an average pitcher in 2010 and 2011?

            • Jose M. Vazquez says:

              No. He was and still is one of the best pitchers in baseball. What I am saying is that winning games is the most important thing and that is what you play for. I am not totally against sabermetrics and I read the stats. The one thing I don’t like is that you cannot always get the formulas to see how they arrived at their conclusions.

              • YanksFanInBeantown says:

                There’s probably something at Insidethebook.com. The guy who runs that site invented wOBA and he’s pretty active in discussing stats from what I’ve seen.

              • Darren says:

                It’s funny, but if I had to guess, I would say a pretty good percentage of SABR guys, in real life, are not very well adjusted. There’s just something that strikes me about the tone of the comments on this site from those guys as so holier than thou, so righteous. If anyone even tries to bring up points that contradict the SABR way of thinking it’s an insult to their religion. It’s freaking unbelievable that you have to argue that WINS mean something, when in fact, they are the only thing that matter.

                Right, wins dont matter, ERA doesnt matter, batting average doesnt matter, fielding percentage doesnt matter, ther’es no such thing as clutch, a walk’s as good as a hit. Instead of coming up with some great new stats that helped to expand the analysis of what makes teams and players good, people get incredibly turned off by the bullying and one sidedness.

                And just to be clear, I really like you (Jose) as a commentor. One of the few guys to always be civil here (and on PB).

                Seriously, I hate to use the old “Get a life and get out of the basement” tired line, but sometimes that what some guys on here really sound like they need to do. Chill out fellas. It’s only a game.

                • YanksFanInBeantown says:

                  No one has ever said that a walk is as good as a hit. OPS counts hits twice and walks once. wOBA weights a walk as roughly .7 as valuable a hit

                  ERA does matter.

                  Average is important to the extent that it impacts OBP and SLG%.

                  A truly atrocious Fielding Percentage does matter, but it is an extremely limited stat that does not account for range at all.

                  Wins are pretty useless in a vacuum, but they can be interesting if you compare a team’s record in games started by a pitcher to its record in other games, like I did with Felix below.

                  But yeah, people need to differentiate between arguments with a stuart a or a TMN and a discussion with Jose. Not everyone with a different perspective is a troll or stupid.

                • Tremont says:

                  I don’t know where to begin with this post, but I think I’ll start by addressing your misconceptions about SABR stuff. Firstly, batting average does matter. It’s a significant part of a player’s offensive value. It’s a huge ingredient in advanced metrics. However, it is not a great stat to use in isolation to determine the quality of a player.
                  ERA matters when determining what already happened. But there are better measures for determining how a pitcher is likely to happen in the future. A walk is not as good as a hit, unless there is nobody on base. OPS doesn’t even value them equally. That’s your own misperception. You’re kinda right in saying pitcher wins don’t matter. I mean, if you win 20 you probably pitched well. If you lose 20, you probably pitched poorly. But there are so many better ways of isolating a pitcher’s impact on a game. On the matter of a player being clutch, I’m somewhat agnostic. I believe it exists on some level, but that it’s greatly exaggerated. The problem is that you need so many at bats (or innings) to prove or disprove it.

                  As to your larger point, if you don’t want your point countered you probably shouldn’t post it on a message board. Does the tone get a little snarky? Sure. I plead guilty to that. Perhaps I should dial it back at times. However, you just wrote a 4 paragraph post as a response to people who respond to people who respond to a post on a baseball website. Spare me the “it’s only a game” stuff. None of would be here if it were “only” a game to us.

                  • Darren says:

                    To clear something up, I don’t mean that SABR stats don’t value batting average at all, or that advanced metrics count a walk as good as a hit. I mean that the comments from the SABR folks on this site often are dismissive of traditional stats — in any and all circumstances, not just when used as an isolated stat — and thus undervalue them. I do think there’s a reason why RBIs for example, while completely dismissed nowadays, were one of the stats given for 100+ years. It wasn’t just a stupid mistake like using leeches to suck your blood.

                    As far as pitcher wins, someone else pointed out that they became so devalued they’re now undervalued, and that’s my only point about pitcher wins. We can agree to disagree. I think using Felix, who is a perfect storm of a great pitcher on a horrible offensive team is sort of unfair to trot out over and over to show why pitcher wins don’t matter at all.

                    Without even looking at their records, do anny current yankee starters have W-L records that are really out of wack to how they have pitched?

                    And as far as the “it’s only a game” comment, OF COURSE I treat it as more than I game, but sometimes the personal attacks are ridiculous. That’s all I meant. Sometimes you can feel the venom coming through the screen and it’s like, really, you’re that pissed off at another Yankee fan because he thinks Curtis has more value than you do? (*not a real example*)

                    Treating everyone like a troll because they come up with a trade or theory you don’t like (I don’t mean you personally) reflects badly on you. I mean, sure, you can say who cares, it’s only a message board, and that’s kind of the nature of the beast of the internet, a duh. But on the other hand, this site has a ton of intelligent and funny comments on all sides of the coin. At best, it kind of feels like a lot of people hanging out in a bar, and if we were having a beer I would hope some of the reactions would be a bit different.

                    Speaking of which, I’m off to watch the game, eat some wings, and have a few Ballantine Blasts.

                    Let’s go Jankees.

                • Tremont says:

                  Jose seems like a nice guy and I apologize if I offended him with my sarcasm.

                  On the other hand, Darren was awfully condescending in his effort to convince others to be less condescending.

          • Robinson Tilapia says:

            You’re losing me here, Jose. You know that’s not the point of it.

          • Tremont says:

            Read my comment above. You’re ignoring the fact that the rest of the team combines to have more impact on the outcome of the game than does the pitcher. Pitching/ defense is 50% of the game. Offense is the other 50%. In the American League the pitcher has NO impact on the offensive side of the ball, so take away that 50%. Pitching is the greatest factor in keeping runs off the board, but defense is certainly a factor as well. Let’s arbitrarily say that pitching is 4 times as important as defense (probably underestimating defense a tad, but let’s go with it). We have offense 50%, fielding 10%, and pitching 40%. Pitchers rarely finish games anymore. So for argument’s sake, it’s not unreasonable to say that the results of a game are determined by 60% position players, 30% starting pitchers, and 10% bullpen. Why does it make sense to put all the credit or blame on the starter? This doesn’t seem that difficult to understand.

          • Brian S says:

            All offenses are the same. Another great point. Keep going.

        • YanksFanInBeantown says:

          But when the team is that bad, I think you have to look at the difference between his Winning Percentage and the team’s Winning Percentage.

          When Felix started in 2010, the Mariners were a .500 team. When he didn’t start, they were a .352 team. That has to count for something.

  25. Buffalo Bill says:

    Isn’t it funny how for a team that is still scoring about 4.5 runs per game over this 18 game stretch, all the complaints on this board are about the offense? Granderson hitting first, Granderson and Swisher aren’t clutch, the whole team doesn’t know how to come back, how we miss A-Rod, Ichiro is a black hole, blah blah blah. Isn’t this recent streak of mediocre play more the result of sub-par pitching, particularly some of the starters (Nova, I’m talking to you) and the bullpen? The fact is, the only guy in the bullpen right now who is actually pitching consistantly well since this run began is Phelps. Everyone else in the pen is throwing to a combined 5.32 ERA in the 12 losses during this span, and no one is without blame. The thing that is killing them is the fact that bullpen hasn’t been able to provide the shutdown innings late in games that the team needs to overcome spotty starting pitching (case in point the Sabathia start against Boston and last night’s game, to name two), or the rare times when the team is locked in a pitcher’s duel and the offense hasn’t stepped up (the two walk-off losses in Oakland).

    This isn’t meant to kill anyone in particular, as those guys for the most part have been huge all season out there in the pen. But how much of a killer is it when Joba is coughing up a run in the 8th last night when they were down 2 already? Or that Orioles game they lost 5-4 when Logan spit the bit in a 3-2 game in the seventh?

    Contrary to popular belief, this team DOES have the propensity for come-backs (as evidenced by their league-leading number of come from behind wins). But comebacks are really tough when the bullpen doesn’t shut the door to late tack on runs. And when the team DOES erase late-game deficits, the “reliable” guys at the back end need to shut the door and keep the momentum going – something that did not happen in the two losses to Boston where Soriano one night and Robertson the other did the honors. I honestly don’t see the primary problem being the offense. The pitchers, particularly the bullpen, HAVE to do a better job. Starting tonight.

  26. A.D. says:

    I despise the whole “the best trade they could make is getting their own players back and healthy”

    It’s a terrible reason to not make a trade since they aren’t exclusive events, you can get your players back and make a trade. If it’s The Yankees couldn’t find value with trading partners, then fair enough they couldn’t strike a deal, but it shouldn’t be because they have injured players who may get healthy.

  27. Ben says:

    I know this might not be your orthodox lineup, and Jeter behind chavez might result in a lot of GIDP but i think this lineup puts your best hitters together while keeping it nice and balanced.
    Chavez
    Jeter
    Cano
    Tex
    Curtis
    Swish
    Ibanez
    Ichiro
    Martin

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