Offense falters again as M’s take rubber game

Update: Andy Pettitte leaves game with tight left trap
Mailbag: Cano, Mo, Overbay, Joba, Montero

The injuries are really starting to the catch up to the Yankees offense, as the club failed to score more than three runs for the seventh time in the last eleven games. You can’t win like that, not playing in a small ballpark in the AL East. The Mariners won Thursday’s rubber game by the score of 3-2.

(Al Bello/Getty Images)
(Al Bello/Getty Images)

Pettitte’s Back Hurting, Again
Andy Pettitte leaving the game with a tight left trap is the major story of the game obviously, and we have no idea how long it’s been bothering him. He wasn’t particularly sharp before leaving the game, throwing 48 of 79 pitches were strikes (61%) and falling behind in the count quite a bit. That could easily be the result of the trap tightness, but Andy hasn’t really been on top of his game for a few starts now. He hasn’t been bad, just a little off.

Pettitte held the Mariners to two runs on four hits and three walks in 4.2 innings, and both runs scored with two outs. Not just with two outs, with two outs and two strikes. Not just with two outs and two strikes, with two outs and two strikes and the hits came from Dustin Ackley (66 wRC+) and Brendan Ryan (6 wRC+). I don’t think it’s asking too much of a pitcher to finish those guys off in two-strike counts with men on-base. It took a great catch from Ichiro Suzuki to save some runs in the first inning as well.

The Batting Order Strikes, Twice
In 22 of the team’s first 40 games, Robinson Cano batted second. It was glorious, he batted with a ton of men on-base and squeezed in an few extra two-out at-bats during a rally at the end of an inning. On Thursday, Jayson Nix batted second against a right-handed pitcher for whatever reason. The batting order doesn’t mean a ton over the 162-game season, but in this individual game, it cost the Yankees on two occasions.

First, with the Mariners up by one, Nix batted with two outs and runners at the corners in the fifth inning. He popped out in a 1-2 count to end the inning. Second, with the Mariners still up by one, Nix batted with the tying run at third and one out in the ninth inning. He struck out, swinging and missing at three Tom Wilhelmsen fastballs. Instead of having Cano bat in those situations, the Yankees had their … eighth? best hitter at the plate. There’s no guarantee Robbie would have come through, especially given his recent slump, but I think we all would have preferred to see him up in those spots. Nix finished the night with a -.403 WPA, the worst by a Yankees position player and the seventh worst by any position player in MLB this year.

(Al Bello/Getty)
(Al Bello/Getty)

Curtis Granderson, who was batting way down in the sixth spot for some reason, had three of the team’s eight hits. The top five hitters in the lineup went a combined 2-for-21 with two walks and eight strikeouts. That ain’t good. Brett Gardner singled and stole two bases in the ninth, but he also struck out looking with men on first and second with no outs in the seventh. He’s in a real bad funk. Ichiro, by the way, snapped out of an 0-for-22 slump with a single to center. He’s dangerously close to Tony Womackian levels of offensive production.

The bullpen did a pretty solid job in relief of Pettitte, allowing just one run 4.1 innings. That one run was the game-loser though, a solo homer by Mike Morse off Shawn Kelley. Kelley struck out five of the eight men he faced, giving him 30 strikeouts (and four walks) in 17.1 innings. Silly. Boone Logan retired all four men he faced and Adam Warren chipped in a scoreless ninth. At some point the Yankees have to start scoring more runs, the pitching staff is doing it’s job.

Remember yesterday when I said I wish I could look up the last time the Yankees had five players make their big league debut within the first 40 games of the season? Chad Jennings dug up the answer. It was 1995, when Pettitte, Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter, Brian Boehringer, and Jeff Patterson did it. Impressive group.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
Box score and video highlights? Nerdy stats? FanGraphs. Updated standings? ESPN.

Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The Blue Jays are coming to town for a three-game weekend series, and they’re playing a whole lot better right now than they were the last time they were in the Bronx. Hiroki Kuroda and Mark Buehrle is your series opening pitching matchup on Friday night. Check out RAB Tickets if you want to catch the game in person.

Update: Andy Pettitte leaves game with tight left trap
Mailbag: Cano, Mo, Overbay, Joba, Montero
  • Kramerica Industries

    Oh g-d dammit.

    Fell asleep in the 1st inning tonight.

    Yankees lost, Pettitte hurt, AND Jayson Nix totally fucked up with a chance to tie the game in the 9th? Losing two of three at home to Seattle, when the one win was against Felix no less, just plain sucks. Seattle has been surprisingly good at the new Yankee Stadium. 9-12 is a losing record, but it’s a better win% then most teams have.

    On top of that, the Rangers blew a 3rd period lead and lost to the Bruins in OT, too?


  • Havok9120

    Boo. :(

    Oh well. We’ll end Toronto’s streak tomorrow.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    Seemed like more a failure of the offense capitalizing on potential run-scoring situations to me, but whatever. Like blaming individuals means anything. They lost. They lost 2 of 3 to the Mariners. Shit happens.

    I just hope Andy’s able to rebound and, again, liked what I saw from Kelley and Warren. Adams looks like he could do a pretty nice job once he gets a few months under his belt.

  • Dalek Jeter

    I really think the order should be:

    Going forward, then once/if Pronk is ready to go again, mix him in at DH with Wells and Ichiro splitting time in the OF.

    • Winter

      I hope they don’t straight up platoon Wells and Ichiro. Wells is a better hitter than Ichiro, against lefties and righties.

      • Dalek Jeter

        I agree 1000% but we all know that Girardi isn’t going to relegate the *cough*”great“*cough* Ichiro to 4th outfielder duties. I can see them playing Wells/Ichiro against the super tough lefties like Price, Wells/Pronk against middle/back end guys of both arm sides, and then Pronk/Ichiro against tough righties.

        I would use Ichiro as a straight 4th outfielder, but we know it ain’t happening.

        • trr

          If Ichiro continues his current level of play, they will soon have no choice

          • WhittakerWalt

            Even with no choice they’ll continue to play him. Bank it.

            • TomH

              No they won’t. It was pretty embarrassing last night. Hell, even Kay remarked on it when he said they went after him directly in the 8th (?), as if they weren’t afraid of him. Eventually, the boos will begin too.

    • http://RAV I remember the CBS years!

      In the post game, the great girardi was asked about Hafner being able to hit. His response…”Who would catch?” He never thought of pinch hitting for the mighty nix. He had gonzalez on the bench to play short, Pronk hits a fly to tie. Ah, maybe he was saving him to pitch the tenth.

  • BigBlueAL

    Yankees have scored 79 runs in 22 home games. Thats pretty pathetic.

  • Pat D

    Office Finale FTW!

    • FIPster Doofus

      ‘Twas excellent. The quality of the show decreased over time, but when you spend eight years watching something and it goes away, a big void is left. I’ll miss it very much.

      “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.”-Andy

  • Brett

    Who was the third guy in the booth with Al and Kay? Only caught the last two innings on tv and couldn’t place him. Thanks

    • Havok9120

      David Cone.

      • Brett

        Really? I thought that at first, but it didn’t sound like him

        • Havok9120

          It might have been Flash, but I’m 98% certain it was Cone.

    • Rolling Doughnut

      Cony for sure

  • Brett


  • Tom

    For all of the talk about small ball and manufacturing runs in the offseason:

    – Dead last in MLB in productive outs
    – 3rd to last in MLB in getting a runner from 3rd home with less than 2 out (to me, this is the painful one)
    – 4th to last in getting a runner on 2nd with no out to 3rd base (given the failures with runners on 3rd this is probably less important)

    I hope the slugging keeps up, but if it doesn’t this offense is going to be in trouble. Even with the HR’s they currently have a team wRC+ of 95 (only 4 teams in the AL are worse). The pitching has been solid, but the Yankees will need more out of their offense.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting (but mostly hitting)

      Yeah, the situational hitting has been dismal. They’ve somehow managed to get much worse than last season.

      • Mike Axisa

        This probably has to do with them replacing good hitters with inferior hitters at like, five positions.

        • Dalek Jeter

          But…Swisher is only good in Garbage Time, Martin hit .200, Tex is like the most overrated player to ever put on a uniform, Only after A-Rod of course…and don’t even get me started on Kurtis.

        • Get Phelps Up

          Five? More like 2 unless you want to count the injuries which they had no control over.

        • Need Pitching & Hitting (but mostly hitting)

          That definitely doesn’t help.

    • Kramerica Industries

      In fairness, I’m sure I don’t need to remind you how injuries have flat out decimated the lineup.

      I mean, we rag on people like ARod, Tex, Swish, etc. all the time. But those guys are better than Nix, Ichiro, etc. You almost have to wonder where this team would be without the miraculous re-birth of Vernon Wells, and Overbay not being a total zero on offense (though his contributions overall have been greatly exaggerated).

      • Havok9120

        We don’t need to wonder. We’d be something between the Orioles and the Rays in terms of ceiling. And injured, to boot.

    • Tom

      To clarify… the quality of the hitter does not frequently track with situational hitting. The Yankees had a dominant offense last year and were slightly below to far below league average on the three items I mentioned.

      Nunez has been the best hitter getting runners home from 3rd with less than 2 out. Ichiro has also been good (and very good getting guy on 2nd, 0 out over). Admittedly the individual stats are noisy (the team level stats are starting to get significant though).

      Cano, Hafner have been just as bad as Nix and Overbay situationally this year. Wells, in keeping with all his other stats has been great. The lack of situational hitting is not simply due to injuries.

      (The wRC+ on the other hand speaks to Mike A’s point above)

    • WhittakerWalt

      Ordinarily, I could give a rip about productive outs. Leading the league in productive outs feels to me like the kind of thing Mike Scioscia dreams about. Not interested.
      However. With this lineup, as depleted as it is, outs are one of the few things we can do with any frequency. It’s not a problem asking these guys to make outs. Might as well accomplish something with the outs.
      That’s what is most maddening, that they couldn’t even get anything done with their outs tonight. I wasn’t expecting Nix to hit a game-winning homer or anything. A weak grounder would have been enough. A fly ball to medium depth would have been enough. Even those minor things were obviously too much to expect from the “man who always does something to help the team win.”
      It’s funny, when Nix came up and Gardner stole third, Sterling said “the Yankees could tie the game on an out” and I thought “are you HIGH? You really think they’re going to?”

      • Get Phelps Up

        Nix has been particularly bad with RISP, he now has 16 strikeouts in 38 PA’s with RISP and just 14 strikeouts in other instances (69 PA’s).

        • Need Pitching & Hitting (but mostly hitting)

          So you’re saying he should hit 4th tomorrow

          • Havok9120

            It’s brilliant. They’ll never see it coming.

  • Brian in MA

    You know its a bad night when the terrible catcher who gets injured part way through the game leads the team in WPA

  • Laz

    You hit on what annoys me. Ideally Cano would be in the #3 hole, BUT that is only if you have someone good in the #2 hole (Jeter). Nix doesn’t get on base that much anyways, so it isn’t like you are creating opportunities for Cano to bat with people on base. You just make it so he has fewer outs to get stuff done.

  • Wil Nieves #1 Fan

    So I double-checked to see if Brendan Ryan’s weighted runs created of 6 wRC+ was a typo. It’s not. He really has a 6 wRC+.

  • Kosmo

    Maybe I´m not reading the tea leaves correctly but Girardi might be letting Adams get his feet wet before moving him into the 2 hole where IMO he is better suited than Nix or anyone else not named Cano.

    It appears to be a golden opportunity for Romine if Stewart takes a week or so off, same holds true for Nuno if Pettitte is placed on the DL.

  • JohnC

    All these little nagging injuries and aches and pains is probably convinced Andy to hang it up for good after this season

  • Long-Past-His-Day-Rod

    Having only happened upon this blog towards the end of last season, I’m certainly a RAB rookie. As such, I was a little put off by the seeming bashing of those who had a negative opinion of the team duing the offseason by many of the regular posters here. I thought some people certainly had much too high of an opinion of the team and were too quick to dismiss those with negative opinions as trolls or idiots.

    Damn, was I wrong. Now that games have actually started it’s amzing to me how violently people’s opinions of the team swing based on some bad luck luck or a couple of bad performances, particularly in the game threads.

    The fact that the team is curently made up of a bunch of career backups, reclamation projects, kids fresh from AAA, and guys on the downside of their careers (plus Cano and now Grandy) and is still fighting for the division lead is a good thing. Yes, there are glaring weaknesses that will hopefully improve as the team gets healthier, but the fact remains that the Yankees have done pretty damn well so far, all things considered.

    Let’s step back from the ledge for a second and focus on taking the Jays and that stupid chicken-wing motherfucker down a couple pegs.

    • jjyank

      Pretty much. I’m sure you’d probably put me in the category of occasionally bashing the doom and gloomers, and part of that stems from what happens in game threads/recap threads. The Yankees still have a .610 winning percentage and are in sole possession of first place in the division. All it takes is one ugly loss, one series loss, and the hate flows from some people like you wouldn’t believe. I don’t understand how those people even survive a full season of baseball.

    • TomH

      I agree with much of this, but I do so as one of the posters who was (and is) gloomy about this team. Romine, Nix, Ichiro, Hughes, et al.–lots of poor performers because of these injuries (and injuries to replacements of the injured).

      However, the point is not to be “negative” or “positive,” or “on the ledge,” or any of these traits referring back to the psyches of the poster. It’s not high school. We’re not cheerleaders. If someone needs to feel good, take a drink, swallow a pill, listen to Bach, read a book, go dancing, etc.

      The point is to take as clear a look as possible at the team itself: its makeup, its talent level, the prospect before it, etc. (Not something one is likely to do in game threads, by the way.) And given the present situation the condition of the Yankees is not such as to make one feel good. The warm glow of April was nice, but it’s late May, and the injuries continue occurring and the reports from Florida about Tex, ARod, and Jeter are not too damned encouraging.

      Yeah, the Yankees are at .610: the whole world is wondering how!

      • Long-Past-His-Day-Rod

        I’m not at all implying people shouldn’t be concerned with the current roster. There are a number of legitimate concerns. I’m not suggesting one has to have a generally optimistic view of the team either.

        I’m merely addressing the nonsensical mood swings I see in almost every game thread, whether the Yanks are winning or losing. Watching the team drop a pair and raising some concerns is one thing, watching two losses and screaming “OMG the Yankees fucking suck, fuck Cashman, they’re all old and useless” is another thing entirely.

      • vicki

        js bach, of course.

    • Rolling Doughnut

      Hear! Hear!

  • Rob in CT

    The injury list, in position form:

    Starting 1B
    Starting 3B
    Backup 3B/1B
    Starting DH
    Starting SS
    Starting C
    Backup C
    3 Starting P (Pineda, Nova, possibly Pettitte)
    RP (Joba)

    So, while that was certainly a frustrating loss, what can we really expect? I can’t get mad at Jason Nix. Jason Nix is a third-stringer. He’s forced into starting SS. Batting him 2nd was dumb, though. Girardi is a pretty good manager, but that’s suboptimal.

    • CS Yankee

      You left out backup SS (Nuney as Jeet was suppose to start on Opening day or after a week)…plus Hughes started injured…plus starting CF (Grandy).

      Plus the injured are getting injured (Jeet)…need mor ducttape and bubblewrap.

  • Drew

    Was Hafner not available at all? I was at the game last night and I was screaming for Joe to pinch hit for Nix in the 9th.

    • CS Yankee

      He likely was scared as he just had possibly two more starters heading to the DL.

      …if Pronk is only “Youk-like” ready and he uses him cold for one AB and he got hurt, he would be run out of town.

    • Rolling Doughnut

      He must not have been available. since pinch-hitting him for Nix was so obvious. On the other hand, Joe works in myserious ways…