Royals grab 2-1 win as Yankees can’t get big hit over and over again

Sunday Night Open Thread
DotF: Refsnyder picks up two more hits; Cervelli continues rehab in Triple-A


Source: FanGraphs

Ho boy. One hit in 17 at-bats with runners in scoring position? And the one hit didn’t even score a run? Looks like I picked the perfect day to spend outside and far away from baseball. I mean … 1-for-17 in a nine-inning game? I’m not even mad. That’s amazing. The Yankees seem to sink to a new low every week. Sunday’s game was a 2-1 loss to the Royals.

On the bright side, Hiroki Kuroda did turn in a dandy, surrendering only two runs in seven innings of work. He quietly has a 3.30 ERA in 43.2 innings over his last six starts, so he’s giving the team both quality innings and a lot of innings. That’s exactly what they need from him with Masahiro Tanaka taking over as the ace. Just be reliable and eat some innings to rest the bullpen. Kuroda’s done that of late.

Offensively … yuck. The Yankees managed to not score after having the bases loaded with no outs in the second, and overall they had a runner in scoring position with less than two outs in every inning but the fifth and eighth. James Shields threw 49 pitches in the first two innings and only 61 pitches in the next four innings. Brett Gardner, Yangervis Solarte, and Ichiro Suzuki all had multiple hits, but it did little good. The one run scored on a ground out.

MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs has some other stats, and ESPN has the updated standings. The Yankees have lost six of their last eight games and 21 of their last 37 games dating back to the start of the first series with the Mariners. That is not good. Not at all. They’ll try to earn a split of this four-game set in Kansas City on Monday night. Vidal Nuno and Jason Vargas will be the pitching matchup.

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Sunday Night Open Thread
DotF: Refsnyder picks up two more hits; Cervelli continues rehab in Triple-A
  • Dr. Martin van Nostrand

    I’m not even sure how 1-17 w/RISP in a nine-inning game is even possible, but this Yankee team does do some seemingly impossible things.

    • Larrym Fl

      I’m usually a supporter of Girardi but the ineptness of the offense is indicative of a managerial change in tactics. He has a punch and judy offense. It is time to play small ball create havoc when possible.

      Did Perez the catcher for KC win the gold glove award last year? If so the state of catching in the AL is at a low standard. IMHO could have run a bit more yesterday but we would have had too many guys on second base with no way to drive them in. (joke, funny in my head)

  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    That second inning was atrocious. Shields was off to a shaky start and the team could have gotten ahead early.

    I’d feel that much worse if it was a much lesser pitcher than Shields, though. I said this on the open thread, but this would be the type of performance I’d expect from him if he were on my team.

    Nice job by Kuroda. There’s that.

    Now let’s bitch about Jeter some more.

    • WhittakerWalt

      And the very next comment is….

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        100% internet fronting.

        They can come on the internet and pretend that they’re above the fray and not impressed by Yankee lore, picking complete low-hanging fruit like “legend in his last season” and be all, “oh, that doesn’t impress me.”

        It’s not enough that the majority of the commenters here are just fine with him batting somewhere else, or even not playing every day. No, you must demean him because it makes you some sort of more discerning fan.

        How many wins would Derek Jeter swapping lineup slots with Yangervis Solarte, in the end, mean?

        • Farewell Mo

          Exactly.

          This team is going nowhere fast this year with or without Jeter. No need to embarrass a true legend, just drop him a bit in the order and give him a few extra days off.

          • Dirk Diggler

            “just drop him a bit in the order and give him a few extra days off.”

            Except that hasn’t happened yet — nor will it.

        • WhittakerWalt

          Well they’ve won 5 championships with Jeter at short and in three of those seasons he could have been league MVP (if we’re being fairer and smarter than BBWAA voters). The other two years he was unanimous rookie of the year and the MVP of the actual World Series. They probably still win in 1998 and 2009, but I wouldn’t bet on those other ones.
          And that’s not even counting the wins he contributed in the regular season to get them to the playoffs.
          But yeah, let’s just talk about what a selfish bum he is for wanting to play one last year.

          • OldYanksFan

            It’s not about Jeter and “what a selfish bum he is…”.
            It’s about what Girardi and the Steinettes want for this team.

            I have no doubt that Ryan would be better than Jetes.

            I don’t think batting 6th is an insult. Ask Posada.
            He could still bat 2nd against LHP.

            Love Jetes…. but he’s hurting this team.

          • Dirk Diggler

            This is about what I expected from Jeter. However, Girardi and/or the front office’s reluctance to do anything that may damage his ego for whatever reason is an absolute embarrassment to both Jeter and the organization.

        • lightSABR

          As I argued a few days ago, it’s a symbolic thing. The team knows the batting order doesn’t make that big a difference, so they keep Jeter second as a symbol of appreciation and respect.

          The commenters, on the other hand, are really angry because to them it’s a symbol of Girardi and the front office “not caring enough about winning.” As if the people with literally billions of dollars at stake care less about the team’s success than the fans.

          I wish Jeter had the self-awareness to realize he’s dragging the team down and to ask to bat lower. And his last couple of contract negotiations have been galling to me, with the total disconnect between his value on the field and his demands at the negotiating table.

          But it’s not worth getting angry about. I just wish the front office had been a bit smarter – and a bit less focused on the $189 million – these last few years.

          • forensic

            I still just don’t buy that changing the lineups, especially when it’s a huge difference in spots and production, don’t make much difference.

            And, what’s more amazing, is that so many of the real sabermetric people here say that your best hitter should be in the #2 spot, while right now some of them are fine with the Yankees having arguably their worst hitter there.

            • lightSABR

              I guess I should read up more about it. I believe that sabermetric conventional wisdom is that the difference between the best possible batting order and the worst possible batting order is about a win per season. But I think some people might be arguing that it’s bigger than that.

              But I don’t know what methods they’re using, or what the cutting edge of the analysis is. Sometime I should look it up.

              • Dick M

                Don’t know what the Sabre says but I gotta admit, that lineup the other day with Ellsbury and Gardner at the top gave me a little woody.

                And I haven’t felt that way (about the Yank lineup)in a while.

        • hornblower

          The Yankee problems this year have little to do with Jeter. It is easy to understand what Cashman was trying to do with this team. Injuries and poor performance by players he thought had one good year left have really put them in a bind. Also it looks like short term (Beltran) and long term (Tex and CC) free agents are breaking down. Probably they will ride out the year and push the Jeter story as a way to sell tickets. Some fans who follow it everyday would like them to bring up some younger guys. Unfortunately, they owe money to Johnson, Sori, Ichiro and Roberts and hope to recoup a little at the deadline or before. Meanwhile they hope to hold our interest since the league is not very good. It remains to be seen if they can.

          • Dick M

            Lots of good stuff here Horn.

            I would have added that what Cashman was trying to do was misguided. Those injuries are no surprise. 3 years from now we’ll be lamenting the injuries to Ellsbury and McCann.

            It IS all about holding our interest. Frankly, I’m starting to fade. There are better things to do than watch an old, broken down baseball team.

    • lightSABR

      I was about to argue that the offense really wasn’t that bad today, just unlucky. Then I ran the numbers. The Yankees as a team hit .223/.270/.351.

      Then I thought, well, they were up against James Shields, so that explains it. Then I ran those numbers, and batters facing James Shields this year have hit .261/.314/.425.

      I give up. My baseball team sucks.

      • mustang

        Looking at the AL 10 out 15 teams have negative DIFF 9 of them are double digit.
        7 out 15 teams are above .500

        Yes your team may suck but they have a lot of company.

    • The Guns of Navarone

      Oh my sweet God, get off your high fucking horses already. If moving Jeter down in the lineup gives the Yankees even one extra win, isn’t it worth it? I guess it’s not to you all but it is to me, and that’s our fundamental difference, I suppose. And no, back in reality (which you all are seemingly not a part of) Jeter’s “lore” or whatever you want to call it literally means nothing this season. His five championships mean nothing to the 2014 team, his….ahem, rookie of the year award (lol) means nothing to the 2014 team. What matters to THIS team is how he performs THIS season.

      Reading all these comments about how butt-hurt you all are about people complaining about Jeter is hilarious. They’re known as “opinions” in the English language. This is mine, for instance. I’m glad I was available to teach you all this important lesson.

      And not for nothing, it’s bad enough Mariano went out without one last postseason run, but now Jeter will suffer the same fate. To me, that’s the best way you can honor a Yankees and postseason legend.

      • lightSABR

        Well, Jeter’s past performance means something to the fans who are spending money to go to the games, and how many fans spend money determines the Yankees’ revenue, which determines what they can spend on players, etc. (Yes, obviously, winning does a ton for revenue, too, and the playoffs do even more.) And controversy (like what happened the last time the Yankees tried to play hardball with Jeter) eats up time that Cashman and co. should be spending on improving the team.

        But my main response: yes, if it were my decision, I’d bat Jeter lower. It may not lead to even one more win, but there’s a chance it would, and I’d go for it. But anybody who thinks that one win is going to make a difference this season is fooling themselves. As it stands, this is not a playoff team.

      • mustang

        “And not for nothing, it’s bad enough Mariano went out without one last postseason run, but now Jeter will suffer the same fate. To me, that’s the best way you can honor a Yankees and postseason legend.”

        This really shouldn’t matter since everything they did before “mean nothing to the 2014 team”

      • Jorge Steinbrenner

        You don’t read a fucking word I say.

        It’s not enough to say you’re fine with him being moved down the lineup, or his being benched. No, it has to be the only thing you talk about on here, and it has to be paramount above any other thought you may have.

        …..but commenters like me try to set what other people should say on here, right?

        Disgusting excuses for fans some of you are.

        • Dirk Diggler

          “Disgusting excuses for fans some of you are.”

          Because we don’t want a .612 OPS in the second spot of the order (the optimal spot in the order per sabremetrics)…

          On the contrary, I find fans that care more about a player’s feelings than the team winning sophmoric. Jeter is a big boy, I think he can take some well deserved criticism for his defensive “shortcomings” and offensive nothingness.

          • mustang

            Because we don’t want a .612 OPS in the second spot of the order (the optimal spot in the order per sabremetrics)…

            NOOOOO because for some

            it has to be paramount above any other thought you may have.

      • Dirk Diggler

        Thank you.

    • fred robbins

      Yes– you are both 100% right on the money. 1-17– has very little to do with Jeter. The team on the whole is just absurdly bad at the plate and it’s hard to figure out how any team can be this bad game after game.
      I think at this time, firing Long would at least- hopefully- wake up a few people. It is probably not his fault at the core, but a sacrifice is needed.

  • Dirk Diggler

    I wonder if having an empty, singles heavy .612 OPS getting the second most at bats on the team has anything to do with the team’s offensive struggles…

    But as long as we don’t damage fragile egos and sell tickets we should be fine, right?

    RIGHT?!?!?!?

  • dan genovese

    bad and boring, that is not good………

  • Tanuki Tanaka

    Is it just me or the chart/graph larger than usual?

  • dalelama

    Meanwhile Robinson Cano, don’t you know, is hitting .330 and tearing it up with the Mariners. Thank you very much Mr. Cashman.

    • mustang

      With 2 HR.

    • lightSABR

      Let’s talk about how he’s doing in 2022, when the Mariners will still be paying him more than $20 million.

      • Tanuki Tanaka

        Cashman may or may not have ran over dalelama’s dog but either way he hates Cashman more than the average guy would hate him.

    • Lukasz

      He also has a .420 Slugging Percentage

      The Mariners are paying 20mil+ for a player with Jeter power

    • WhittakerWalt

      Oh, sure. NOW you’re a Cano fan. I’m buying that.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      Oh, go sit on something sharp and multi-pronged…..that twists.

  • mustang

    This team is just not very good right now. This organization is going through a transition right now of leaving a very successful era and trying to start a new one and I don’t know if the path they chose is best one I don’t think anyone does. Before labeling their efforts as a complete failure I like to remind people that the Jays team that has been so successful this year is basically the same team we made fun of last year.
    I just hope the transition period is a short one because last time I had to wait 15 years.

    • dalelama

      Considering all the onerous contracts we are carrying and a completely barren farm system the transition period is not going to be a short one. I would estimate a minimum of 5 years before we sniff a WS title again.

      • GreenArmMike

        Rad, see you in five years.

        You, sir, are gigantic bum-out. I rarely comment and this, THIS comment, made me feel the need to do so. Suck an egg.

      • mustang

        You read right over the Jays part didn’t you.

      • hornblower

        Five years, the WS is not a birthright. Look at the Cubs. It may be way longer but the Yanks have some excellent hitting prospects in their system. While it may be longer than 5 years a barren farm system will not be the reason. They will compete in a year or two and once any team makes the playoffs it a crapshoot.

        • mustang

          THIS!!!

        • Jorge Steinbrenner

          They may even compete this season.

    • mustang

      As far as Jeter I must say that he seem to be playing the game more like a man in mourning of a great career that’s coming to end rather then celebrating it.
      Regardless I can’t condemn a man who brought me so much joy as fan.

  • Jonathan

    Girardi topped leaving Phelps in yesterday…didn’t think it would happen this fast. Also, not only did we strand runners but we left guys at 3rd with less than 2 outs quite a few times as well as Solarte getting thrown out at home, by a mile, for not busting it on a 4 or so hopper to 1st. It was pathetic.

    I don’t understand how you can justify not bunting Roberts in the 9th inning. Ichiro immediately hits a line drive through the left side and on the next pitch goes to 2nd on a wild pitch. At that point we had Brian Roberts up with a man on 2nd and no outs and behind him was Teixeira/Gardner/Jeter/Ellsbury. Roberts is easily one of the worst hitters on the team and was hitting 8th although Tex pinch hit so he would have been 9th had Tex started. Against a really tough Holland they had a golden opportunity to get fast as hell Ichiro to 3rd with less than 2 outs for arguably two of our top 3 hitters so far this year, and all they’d have to do was hit a routine fly ball or a grounder through the pulled in infield to tie the game. I know the fallacy of the predetermined outcome and all but it was nauseating to see Tex end up moving Ichiro up a base with a ball that would have been through with the infield in and they wouldn’t have had a play at the plate with the infield at any other depth.

    And Kuroda pitched extremely well. We had all those hits and baserunners but couldn’t pull off a routing flyball or grounder but the Royals scored their two runs on a solid double (Cain has hit at least 4 ROCKET liners right in line with the second baseman at various heights this series) and two duck snorts. They just flat out beat themselves today and it was a shame to see Kuroda not be rewarded for how well he pitched.

    • Tanuki Tanaka

      I say I would bunt but I like bunts more than I should, as someone who’s neither entirely old-school nor entirely new-school. Heck, with this team I’d bunt any time there’s no one out and a man on and it’s not Gardner, Teix, Ellsbury or Solarte up. Not sure if the bunt-hater parts of the RAB crowd would see it differently.

      • Jonathan

        I think no matter how pro or anti bunting you are that you can see the reasoning behind the other’s thoughts. I’m generally a little anti bunt but if you can’t bunt a guy over to third with one out against one of the best relievers in the world with your worst hitter up in a 1 run game and with an offense that’s really struggling…I dunno why you’d ever bunt.

        Yost pulled a move in the first game of the series that I was dumbfounded with as well. Down 2 in the bottom of the 9th and Billy Butler gets a leadoff double. Then they pinch run for him. Why would you do that? In essence his run doesn’t matter down 2 so why risk tying the game up and losing your DH for extra innings? It’s a small chance in general that they’d tie it up but certainly not impossible. Dunno why you take a minor risk for zero gain.

  • Tom

    I wonder if people would have an issue with Girardi starting to bat either Roberts or Soriano leadoff? That too I guess wouldn’t matter, because that would barely “move the needle” one way or another.

    The reason I ask is because batting either of them leadoff would have less of a negative impact on the offense than continuing to bat Jeter 2nd.

    Let that settle in for a second.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      So we can’t even ask if it would have an impact.

      Yup. Me, gonzo, jjyank……always telling everyone elsewhere what to say.

    • Jorge Steinbrenner

      My point, since so many of you are focused on your reply rather than what you’re actually replying to:

      1. Question his position in the lineup. Don’t disparage him or call him a bum. As a Yankee fan, it’s a pretty questionable thing to do.

      2. Certainly he’s an issue, but he’s not the biggest issue, not on a team whose infield we knew was an unfinished product. Not on a team using swingmen types and a guy with five MLB starts under his belt as 3/5 of their rotation. Not on a team handcuffed by veteran injuries and veterans who are over pressing to compensate.

      I’ve broken it down as simply as can be for you all.

      • mustang

        THIS!!!!!!

        Let that settle in for an hour and it still wouldn’t matter.

  • 461deep

    This idea that Jeter or any player is owed a free pass in their last year to underperform grossly is insane and demeans the game. Every season has meaning and doing this distorts it. No 1 player is the reason for the team’s problem. It is too old in important areas to have a very good season. Solarte and Tanaka are young yet and their relative youth and consistancy is a big facter in the team’s staying afloat.

  • rogue

    .254/.312/.300/.612

    Yeah, that’s a #2 hitter. This and his wonderful defense make his $14mil a real bargain.

    This is what happens to ANY former superstar that lingers too long.

  • Joe C

    Ya know what I am just going to come out and say it. It’s time to ditch the analytics. It’s time to ditch the entire philosophy of you can’t give away outs outs are preciious because it’s actually costing us run. It’s time to ditch the strikeouts don’t hurt you mantra because they do. It’s time admit that strikeouts are actually worse than double plays. And most especially, it’s time to bring back the bunt.

    Seriously, how many times yesterday did the Yankees have a good bunter at the plate, who could have laid one down and could have given the Yankees a run. How times? Too many to count. You mean to tell me that with a runner on third and less than two outs Derek Jeter can’t lay down a bunt? Really? You mean to tell me that Brett the Jett can’t bunt or Kelly Johnson can’t bunt because they can and if they had the Yankees might have won the game yesterday. All it really would have taken was one bunt. Just one bunt. AS John Sterling said Joe Girardi doesn’t like to bunt.

    Now I understand the theory as to why you bunt but I simply think the whole theory is fatally flawed because productive outs are an intergral part of playing winning baseball. Like it or not there are times a sac fly or a ground ball will get you a run. There are times when a double play will be good enough to give you a run. There are times when a ground ball will advance the runner up a base and put them in scoring position. Those kind of outs do not hurt the ball club. They actually help the ball club win.

    The one thing that help the ball club are strike out. They actually do nothing to help you’re ball clubs cause and from what I have observed they actually hurt the ball club worse than a double play. IF you strike out with on out you’ve but yourself in a position where a double play actually ends the inning. IF you strike out with two outs you’ve actually ended an inning. Somebody please tell me how striking out with two outs actually helps the ball club? Yet forwhatever reason Joe doesn’t seem to bat an eye when a player strikes out.

    Nor does he seem to be willing to ditch the analytics even though I think that it has become clear that it doesn’t really help a club like the New York Yankees and in fact contributes to their offensive malaise. For whatever reason Joe seems married to the sabermetrics philosphy and he has decided that that is the way that he is going to maanage this ball club whether it is good for the team or not.

    That’s’ kind of the reason why I don’t think that Joe Girardi should have been brought back. That’s kind of the reason why I felt that Joe should have been told “have fun in chicago” by the front office because it was clear that Joe’s reliance on sabermetrics weren’t helping last years ball club. You simply can’t wait for a homerun when you have a ballclub that doesn’t have a club that has no power. You have to be agressive. You have to steel bases, you have to play hit and run and you have to play small ball. Otherwise, your offense is just going to languish. And that’s what I thought Joe Girardi did last year. Yet somehow he gets rewarded for it. How crazy is that?

    • pat

      It’s time admit that strikeouts are actually worse than double plays.

      Lets take some crazy pills first. How is one out worse than two outs?

  • fred robbins

    1-17 with RISP is the worst I could ever imagine and that can not be blamed on One Person. There are some smart comments here about integrity of the game and all that, but when see the total ineptness of this team, banging on Jeter is not going to make much of a difference. There has to be a change at the top and in the coaching staff, even if it is the proverbial sacrificial lamb.

    It does seem, also, there are a few here who have an unhealthy love affair with #2… pull your tongues out please. This has always been a Team game and it’s no different than telling your manager you have a sprained ankle and that he needs a replacement for the day- that is better than pretending it will be ok and maybe balls won’t be hit in your direction and the other players will hit for you.
    This team does not have the “other” players capable of picking anyone up.. at least so far this season.

    I would bet that not even their minor league team would go 1-17 in a game. someone needs to pay with their head.

  • jmpnny

    Yanks need to move ellsbury back to 1st and go back to the early season lineup. If Jeter is cemented in #2 spot he has to be utilized to move runners with bunting an alot of H&Rs to minimize the DP threat.Move Solarte to 5 and McCann to 6. More manufacturing of runs has to be used. Also, play this lineup everyday with little interruptions, except for a Roberts/Johnson platoon. Hey these guys will break down if you use them 6-7 times a week or 4 times a week. Funny how Roberts has not gotten hurt yet.

  • nyguy

    Okay, so when does the shakeup happen? This team is maddeningly frustrating to watch. Something is needed to light a fire under the players behinds. I suggest the Yankees start by DFA’g both Kelly Johnson and Alfonso Soriano. Both have been brutal at the plate and butchers in the field. They can be replaced, at least in the short term, with Scott Sizemore and Zoilo Almonte. These guys can’t be any worse at the plate than Johnson or Soriano and they are clear defensive upgrades. In my view, that alone makes this move a no brainer

    The next step is to platoon Jeter and move him down to the 7 or 8 hole. I get the whole ‘legacy’ and ‘respect thing’ but this is also a team that is supposed to contend. You can’t do that when the team is struggling offensively and their no.2 hitter is slugging .300 and has a .612 OPS. Jeter isn’t stupid. He knows he is sucking wind. Watch his face each time he fails in a big spot. I can’t believe he would make an issue out of being moved down in the lineup for the good of the team. Hard decisions always have to be made with aging players. It’s never easy, especially with those ticketed for the HOF, but that doesn’t mean such moves aren’t necessary and Jeter is no exception. I love the guy. He has had a brilliant career. What he has done for and meant to the Yankees is no small thing but it’s time.

  • mustang

    Apparently if they move Jeter down the order all the injuries will disappear, they will stop making errors and everyone will start hitting and pitching well.