Yankees can’t finish off sweep, fall to A’s

Sunday Night Open Thread
Fan Confidence Poll: September 24th, 2012

Source: FanGraphs

Walk-off Weekend fell one short. The Yankees were unable to complete the sweep of the Athletics on Sunday afternoon, losing a sloppy 5-4 game that they led into the fifth. The seven-game winning streak is over, but New York has still won a dozen of its last 17 games. Let’s recap…

  • Kuroda Struggles: Hiroki Kuroda carried the Yankees for a few weeks earlier in the season, but now the rest of the team isn’t reciprocating when he needs the pick-me-up. Kuroda allowed five runs (four earned) on seven hits and three walks in 5.2 innings, struggling with his location all day. He was missing up and away from lefties and off the plate from righties quite a bit, and he bounced a few breaking balls for wild pitches. The umpires and his defense didn’t help him out, but at the end of the day Hiroki wasn’t all that good. He’s now allowed 20 runs in his last 32.1 innings (five starts).
  • Four In The Fourth: The Yankees did all of their scoring in the fourth inning, when it became pretty apparent that they had figured A.J. Griffin out. Nick Swisher crushed a two-run homer like he knew what was coming, then Curtis Granderson (single) and Raul Ibanez (double) followed with rockets to right. The other run scored when Eduardo Nunez plated Russell Martin (infield single) with a ground out. Griffin left the game shortly thereafter and the Yankees did score again despite chances in the fifth (first and second, one out), sixth (first and second, two outs), seventh (runner on first, one out), and eighth (runner at second, one out).
  • Sloppy: The entire series was messy, especially the finale. There were five total errors in the game, including two by Eduardo Scissorhands. The first — a two-base throwing error — allowed Josh Donaldson to reach base before he came around to score the game-winning run. Each team had a pitcher throw a ball away on a pickoff play as well. The umpires also got in on the fun, as home plate ump Mike Estabrook had a wacky strike zone and first base ump Larry Vanover blew a call in the second that led to a run. The throw beat Donaldson by a half-step if not more. Wasn’t particularly close.
  • Leftovers: Derek Jeter singled twice to extend his hitting streak to 17 games, but Ichiro Suzuki only had one hit. His multi-hit game streak ends at five … Jeter, Swisher, and Ibanez were the only Yankees with multiple hits, though Robinson Cano (single, walk) and Martin (single, walk) also reached base twice … Boone Logan retired all three men he faced (two strikeouts and a line drive double play), his 76th appearance of the season. That leads the AL, is the most by any reliever under Joe Girardi, and the tenth most in Yankees’ history … the bullpen (Logan, David Phelps, Clay Rapada, and Cody Eppley) allowed one hit and one walk in 3.1 scoreless innings.

MLB.com has the box score and video highlights while ESPN has the updated standings. The Red Sox actually managed to beat the Orioles, so they remain one back in the loss column. The Rays beat the Blue Jays to creep within six games. The magic number to clinch the division is down to ten, but the magic number to clinch a playoff spot remains at six. The Yankees are off to Minnesota for a three-game set with the Twins starting Monday night. Andy Pettitte will make his second start off the DL in the opener and be opposed by rookie right-hander Liam Hendriks.

Sunday Night Open Thread
Fan Confidence Poll: September 24th, 2012
  • https://twitter.com/Mattpat11 Matt DiBari

    I think a team in a pennant race needs to seriously evaluate whether it can keep putting Eduardo Nunez in the field and hoping for the best.

    • Get Phelps Up

      He should be the DH.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        He should learn how to field.

        • http://thecarsboneblog.tumblr.com Raul Ibanez AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle

          +1 you can never take too many fielding drills if you’re eduardo nunez.

          • Robinson Tilapia

            I get the whole “DH” thing because people don’t want to see guys like Jones out there but, past the rest of this season, Nunez as primary DH would be absolutely silly.

            I wish he’d have a stretch without silly errors so that we could actually sell him on another team as a starting SS option.

            • RetroRob

              When he filled in when Jeter went down for several weeks last year he was good. I thought maybe regular play at SS, his regular position, was the reason. Doesn’t seem to be the case this year.

              • Robinson Tilapia

                Doesn’t play good enough defense to be a part-time guy. I don’t see him sticking around for a couple of years in other to be “the guy” once Jeter retires/threatens to sign somewhere else *snicker*. Other options will come up by then and, honestly, you can have Jayson Fucking Nix (or his equivalent) play once a week for Jeter in the interim.

                I wish someone out there saw him as starting SS material now and that he’d spare the team from including a valuable MiLB piece in a trade. Always felt that way about him, but I digress.

                • RetroRob

                  Right, which is my issue with him. In order to maximize what value he can deliver with the bat and especially his legs, he needs to play regualrly. The partime middle-inflielder type (think of Jason Nix) may not be a great fielder, but he can’t be coasting wins by throwing away the ball.

                  There will totally be teams interested in Nunez, especially more second division clubs who will believe they can fix him and he’ll settle down by playing reguarly (perhaps they’re right), but not sure how much the Yankees could expect back. He’s probably more likely to move as part of a package of players, I guess.

                  • RetroRob


                    No coasting allowed either.

        • Get Phelps Up

          Well, I wasn’t talking about long term or anything. Just for the rest of this year.

          • Robinson Tilapia

            I get that. I don’t think I disagree, but I also would be just fine having Ibanez or Chavez get the ABs there. I tend to gravitate towards the old vets a lot more around this time.

            • https://twitter.com/Mattpat11 Matt DiBari

              Its not like Nunez is hitting either. On the year or since he’s come back.

  • http://thecarsboneblog.tumblr.com Raul Ibanez AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle

    Okay…somebody help me with the brooks baseball plot. All of the dots are where pitches crossed the plate area, then what do the colors and shapes represent?

    • http://thecarsboneblog.tumblr.com Raul Ibanez AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle

      guys I’m not joking, what’s the difference between a red triangle and a green triangle?!

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

        squares = pitches by the Yankees
        triangles = pitches by the A’s

        red = called strikes
        green = called balls

        • http://thecarsboneblog.tumblr.com Raul Ibanez AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle

          thanks mike that makes it much easier to understand what I’m seeing.

          • Robinson Tilapia

            What the hell is that blue octagon?

            • http://thecarsboneblog.tumblr.com Raul Ibanez AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle


              • http://thecarsboneblog.tumblr.com Raul Ibanez AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle

                Damnit let’s try that again

                ^ your joke is here

                ^ my head is here

        • jim p

          And this is from the catcher’s view, correct? So the ump was particularly missing on inside pitches to right-handers.

  • RetroRob

    I would like to thank E-Nunie for his error, otherwise this game might still be going on. Good to have part of the day back. And, oh yeah, the firstbase umpire who blew the call, and the home plate umpire with the lousy strikezone.

    BTW Is the magic # countdown on the sidebar to make the playoffs, or win the division?

  • Robinson Tilapia

    Didn’t watch a second of the game, and Citifield’s spotty WiFi made following it through MLB AtBat impossible.

    With the Sox pulling off a win this afternoon, it sure would have been nice to have gone into what we think is the easy stretch with a two-game lead. Missed opportunity, but you can’t win every single game. With what the rest of these ten games look like, though, the Yankees hold their destiny in their hands. Just win, and win often, baby.

    • rek4gehrig

      What the heck were you doing at Citifield?

      • Robinson Tilapia

        I can’t believe I actually saw this reply.

        Answer is “sitting in a fucking luxury suite.” :)

  • http://stoogazzo@comcast.net Tom Morea

    Excellent article, Mike. I particularly like your nickname for Nunez.

    • https://twitter.com/KramerIndustry Kramerica Industries

      That’s a long-standing nick-name. In part because Mike has never been a huge Nunez guy, and also because Mr. Eddie always finds ways to fuck up on defense. Almost always on routine plays, too.

      I mean, the aforementioned play on Donaldson? That’s a play Jeter couldn’t make in his dreams. Nunez got to it and drew a frigging dart to first – excellent throw. He’s so much better on instinct plays. Slow-developing, routine plays? That’s where the problems kick in.

      • https://twitter.com/KramerIndustry Kramerica Industries

        I’m not calling him a head-case, either. When I used to play in the past, or hell even nowadays when I go for a nice workout at the fields, I always overthink the easy throws to first, while being quite flawless when I have to range to my left, or charge in on the ball (I usually play 3B).

        It’s probably more-or-less human nature, honestly.

        • http://thecarsboneblog.tumblr.com Raul Ibanez AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle

          I always over thought at I was getting the ball. Once I had possession of the ball, throwing it was never a problem for me, I always over thought as I was running towards the ball “don’t over run it, play the ball though don’t let it play you, see it into the glove, don’t drop it”

        • Rocky Road Redemption

          I was an awful player because I was a “head case”. I actually had the bat speed and form to be one of the better hitters, but I was AWFUL at baseball, and I mean awful. Never once caught a fly ball in a game, and I’m dead serious.

          At the plate, I COULD hit, but I’d psych myself out. Classic case of being scared of the ball. I’d be so scared at taking a strike or swinging at a ball. I’d swing at balls over my head and let strikes go right down the middle.

          Needless to say, as soon as my Dad was okay with it I stopped. Loved soccer though, tried out Freshman year of HS and came close but didn’t quite make it. Then I did cross-country and track and that was my sport until Senior year when I tried lacrosse.

          • http://thecarsboneblog.tumblr.com Raul Ibanez AKA Tom Marvolo Riddle

            I was the same way most of the time…however if I squared up on a pitch and drove it, even it was caught, I all of a sudden became a different player. For the rest of that game I felt like I could hit anything, and would do a pretty good job too, until I got behind in the count again. If I ever found myself 0-2 I’d swing at just about anything…then the next game the cycle started all over again. Nervous as anything 0 confidence, praying the ball wasn’t hit to me, until if/when I got a hit.

            • Rocky Road Redemption

              I drove my Dad nuts because I couldn’t (and still can’t) throw a baseball. We would practice for hour and hours before games, after games, before and after practice, on days off…never figured it out. Couldn’t throw for the life of me.

              • https://twitter.com/KramerIndustry Kramerica Industries

                A few years back, I was really trying to get back in a baseball regimen with my older brother. We worked on a daily basis from mid-February through June. My brother is a perfectionist in the worst way, and always wanted to see improvement out of me, be it mechanical or behavioral or anything.

                Everything was actually going quite nicely until there was one week where every day got rained out.

                After that, my mechanics during warm up tosses got screwed up again, and I could never re-gain them. His phrase “down, back, and around” still dances around my head even now. When I tried to throw naturally, he always picked up on some flaw. When I tried to compensate for the flaw, I invariably was prone to opening my front side before releasing the ball. Being a bit hot-tempered already (while he is the brother I relate best to, we don’t exactly have personalities that perfectly mesh together), I became increasingly frustrated by my inability to get my mechanics in order, and eventually we just kinda stopped doing the stuff.

                One of my biggest regrets, really. I love(d) going to the fields every day, throwing, catching, fielding, hitting, everything. And my brother really does know his stuff about the fundamentals of the sport. Unfortunately, as wit a lot of things in life, I have trouble reigning in my temperment, and this really wrecks a lot of my endeavors. Really, really impatient in regards to long-term goals.

                Oh well. Maybe one of these days, I can start doing that stuff again. Maybe this post was all the motivation I need to realize that I’ve created a void in my life by not getting the rush of being on the field and playing the very sport that I (and we) talk about every day on this blog.

  • Rocky Road Redemption

    Nunez shouldn’t be near the baseball field when the opposing team is hitting.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      He should be the designated “jump and catch high liners” guy.

  • OldYanksFan

    You guys REALLY think Nunez, our BU-SS, our 25th man, is the problem???

    For September:
    Cano: .234/.337/.403/.740
    Grandy: .186/.265/.475/.740
    ARod: .292/.346/.444/.790

    Last 7 days:
    Cano: .222/.276/.296/.572
    Grandy: .111/.280/.167/.447
    ARod: .280/.321/.280/.601

    It’s amazing we’re still in this thing.
    Our September heros have been Ichiro, Martin and Raul. Think about that.
    Jeter needs to seriously kick Cano in the ass, and hopefully he’ll land on Granderson.

    • DT

      Arod has been fine out side that 0-8 double header. Cano and Grandy are bigger problesm because they look lost at the plate.

      • dalelama

        Arod has been his usual Purple Lipped gag artist, another game with no rbi production out of the clean-up spot.

        • Jim Is Bored


      • http://stoogazzo@comcast.net Tom Morea

        How can you say A-Rod has been fine? He was the third hitter in the lineup yesterday and took the Sombrero!

        • DT

          He also had 3 hits and 2 walks the game before…

    • Kosmo

      without Ichiro´s current hot streak which has for the most part carried the team offensively where would NY be in the standings ? Think about that ! Ichiro is at this moment NYs best hitter.

      Granderson and Cano seem like their participating in a parallel baseball universe. I´m astounded how Granderson in RISP situations can foul off easy to handle middle of the plate pitches, pitch after pitch after pitch only to K. OK so maybe he´ll take a walk on occasion but IMO a hit would be more in order. He´s batting .230 !
      It would be great if either/or Cano and K-grand would help carry the team for the next 10 games.

      • gc

        Without Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson on the team ALL YEAR LONG, the Yankees would have never been in first place to begin with.

        • Kosmo

          I think NY has been in 1st place DESPITE Cano and Granderson going south since the All-Star break.

  • tipsie

    Cano pisses me off beyond belief. His head has been up his ass for weeks. So many of his at-bats are garbage, with poor approaches. Today, he missed a hanging slider from Balfour – ball should have been hammered.

    After yesterday’s Nunez walk-off E3, I’m looking @ Cano & wondering if he knows that his at bat sucked (immediately prior to Nunez, when he grounded into the 1-2 force with one out). Can anyone get through to this guy? He’s coasting.

  • stuart a

    Cano has 141 more AB’s the Texiera and has 2 less rbi’s…

    Think about that for a few minutes….Tex has been decent this year and Cqno literally has played 30 + more games and has less rbi’s.. Cano is 4th on the yanks in RBI’s..


    • Need Pitching & Hitting

      who is Cqno……how many rbi’s does he have…..

      • Get Phelps Up

        …not as many as ike davis……

    • Adam Parker

      I’d rather hear your opinion of Arod…

  • vicki

    the patriots are 1-2.

  • to errduardo is human

    With Pettitte going today, it should be easy to turn the page on yesterday’s craptacular display.

  • Stevis

    Cano is a great hitter when he stays within the swtrike zone…..
    when he starts going after bad pitches he is very very average..at best.
    The home plate umpire must have paid by the A’s yesterday….what a terrible balls and strikes zone for this putzwhen the Yanks were up

  • Jose M. Vazquez

    Hiroki Kuroda has become a five or six inning pitcher. The last four or five games the opposition has got to him during those innings. I said it before that he looks fatigued. He has never pitched so many stressful innings in his career and that has to take its toll. So let’s blame every loss on Nunez and not on the pitching and the lack of hitting by our big sluggers. These have made even average and below average pitchers look like aces.

  • http://stoogazzo@comcast.net Tom Morea

    Cano is a half-wit. He has been playing for seven years and still has no knowledge of the strike zone. That’s why, with all his God-given talent, he will never win a batting title!

    • gc

      It really means so much to you that he wins a batting title?? That seems pretty odd. All I care about is that he’s one of the most productive second basemen in baseball. Which he is (6.0 WAR). Even this season, which has clearly not been one of his best. It sucks seeing great players fail, I know. But all players go through slumps. It doesn’t mean they don’t care. It doesn’t mean they’re not motivated. Nobody here knows what’s going on in their heads (even though many like to pretend to). All I know is that we could do a lot worse than having a player like Robinson Cano as our starting second baseman. And not a whole lot better.

    • Jim Is Bored

      Yeah! Someone who doesn’t know the strike zone, which is itself an enigma that differs from game to game, and occasionally swings at pitches that are a few inches outside of this mystery zone and pass by him at 90 miles an hour, must in face be a half-wit!

      Can we stop projecting levels of intelligence on to these guys? How the flipping duck do you know how smart Cano is?

  • Darren

    All you need to know about why relying on SABR as your ultimate arbiter of whether a player is good or bad is to compare Jeter & Nunez’s respective UZR for this year. If you tell me you’d rather have Nunez in the field over Jeter because of Jeter’s lack of range, you should seriously stop watching baseball because you don’t have a clue.

    • Jim Is Bored

      B-Ref has him below average.

      And who has said they’d rather have Nunez in the field over Jeter? Please find me an actual SABR expert who has said this. Or admit you’re building up a strawman.

      • Darren

        PLENTY of people last year on this very site were calling for Nunie over Jeter. If you mentioned Jeter’s rock solid ability to you know, field the average grounder, you got laughed at.
        Everyone calls Jeter an awful shortstop because he has limited range. Ridiculous. Of course he has flaws but his flaws pale in comparison to his steadiness…and that’s barely taking into account his offense. No wonder he’s so pissy all the time.

        And in all seriousness, help me out here. Look at Fangraphs’ UZR stats for 2012- don’t they have Nunez rated much higher than Jeter or am I reading it wrong?

        • Jim Is Bored

          Firstly, apologies for the snark. Secondly, I’d actually, for real, like to see if there’s a respected SABR guy who thinks Nunez should be starting. Not random RAB commenters, who by no means represent the SABR community.

          In 2011, fangraphs has Nunez as being worth -15.7 runs above average.

          UZR specifically had him at -1.4 with way fewer innings. If he had continued at that rate, he would have actually rated out worse than Jeter. And B-Ref thinks even worse of him than Fangraphs does.

          In 2012, FG does actually have him at +1.2, but with so few innings, the fangraphs authors would admit that it’d be silly to use that to predict who is better at shortstop.
          Combining 2012 and 2011 data has the two at pretty darn even; but UZR doesn’t give any extra credit for being good at the routine plays. Whether it should or not is up for debate, and part of the ongoing discussion about advanced fielding metrics.

          I think it’s pretty obvious that Jeter has more sure hands, and a more accurate arm. It’s also pretty obvious that Nunez is much quicker and can get to more balls. Of course, once he gets to them, only God knows what will happen next.

          • Darren

            That’s precisely my point. Fangraphs has Jeter at NEGATIVE 13.4 and Nunie is PLUS 1.2 for 2012 at SS. Any system that has Nunez rated higher than Jeter is inherently flawed.

            Also, I’m sorry, I don’t see much distinction between the way RAB commenters and a “respected” SABR guy will apply certain stats in a vacuum. Most everyone thinks Jeter sucks at defenseive which just absolutely flies in the face of the obvious. Zero range to his left, never dives for a ball, can make the ocassional great play deep in the hole, amazing at going back for shallow pops to the outfield, excellent at slow grounders he has to charge, very good/great hands, very consistent thrower. Add that up you have a pretty good/very good shortstop. At the bare minimum, extremely dependable. But he is rated as awful because UZR values range over everything else. And then everyone follows along without thinking until everyone spouts the same party line – Jeter sucks at defense.

            Also, no need to apologize for the snark! I know it sounded like a strawman (which is why i’m worked up about it – it’s so crazy to me that it was a legit argument). Only Nunie’s ongoing difficulties have made Jeter seem preferable by contrast.

            • Steve

              Jeter is not an excellent thrower, Tex is an excellent scooper. Jeter also very rarely makes great plays deep in the hole, he makes them look great because his range is pitiful. Nunez is a terrible fielder. So is Jeter. Why should Nunez be penalized for throwing away a ball that Jeter wouldn’t have gotten to within 5 feet of? They’re both butchers.

              • Jim Is Bored

                “They’re both butchers.”

                I’m not sure I agree with this.

                I think they’re both pretty bad defensive shortstops, but for very different reasons. I don’t really want either of them out there, if I had my druthers. But we don’t have any alternatives, so given our options, I’d much prefer the guy who can hit.

            • Jim Is Bored

              “Any system that has Nunez rated higher than Jeter is inherently flawed. ”

              But this isn’t totally true. What if…Chris Stewart hit .500 for 3 games at the beginning of the year, with 2 home runs and a random stolen base. But Granderson started off the year with an 0 for 13. Would you assume that avg, or ops, or obp, are inherently flawed? Or conversely, would we assume that the stats were telling us that Granderson was now a worse hitter than Stewart?

              The conclusion we should draw is that like hitters, fielders can have good games and bad. So over small samples, stats will look weird.

              Fielding stats tend to take longer to flatten out than hitting stats do. I bet if Nunez had as many innings as Jeter, he’d be equally bad according to UZR, as he was worse than Derek in 2011(but also with a very small sample). The real problem here is trying to draw a conclusion from a tiny sample size.

              Also, I don’t love UZR, I do think it values range too highly, and I don’t always go to fangraphs to check on players’ defense. And I would rather have Jeter out there than Nunez. But it’s not totally cut and dry, and I can understand why someone might want a guy who can get to more balls out there.