As a matter of principle, I refuse to do one a mid-season report card. You read about the team here every day (or at least we hope you do), so there’s no reason to recap half a season’s worth of posts. Plus, at this point, we all know the state of the team: we need to go on a ridiculous run to have any shot at the playoffs. And by ridiculous run, I mean two out of three every damn series. That, my friends, is the definition of “easier said than done.” These are the Yankees, though, and we all know that anything can happen.
What makes this even tougher is that many players will have to completely turn around their seasons in the second half. So imagine that you’re having a shitty season when expectations are high. You’re already under a ton of pressure. Now the pressure is magnified because the team is depending on you to stop playing shitty baseball and have a monster second half. Let me explain further.
The most uttered line this weekend is that many guys are going to have to play to the back of their baseball cards in the second half for the Yankees to make any kind of run. In particular, this means Johnny Damon, Bobby Abreu, Hideki Matsui, and to a lesser extent, Robinson Cano.
Bobby Abreu is on pace for 715 plate appearances this season; he currently sports a line of .264/.352/.373. In order to bring that up to his 2006 season (combined NY and Philly) — .297/.424/.462 — he’d have to hit, .332/.502/.561 to match that. Ain’t happening. He can still salvage the season and not reach his numbers from last year, but it will still take a .310/.450/.500 second half. He proved last year that he could do it…
We know Johnny Damon won’t hit his power numbers from last year — it was an outlier. However, his .359 OBP and .285 BA should certainly be the goals, especially if he’s in the leadoff role. Let’s then set his goal slugging at .439, his 2005 mark. He’s currently on pace for 145 games played with 597 plate appearances. To hit his .285/.359/.439 mark, he’d have to hit .329/.381/.544. Once again, not happening, but if he actually starts hitting, the BA and OBP are do-able.
For some reason, people were ripping Hideki Matsui for poor play as recently as a week or so ago. This I never understood. Yeah, he’s having a below average year by his standards, but he hasn’t been bad by any stretch. This is even more true when you compare him to the rest of our outfield. Anyway. Our purposes are best served by using Hideki’s career numbers, which are .294/.370/.482 — he’s currently at .274/.358/.464, so he’s not too far off. He’s on pace for 555 at bats. He’ll have to hit .313/.381/.502 over the remainder of the season. That is very achievable for Hideki, who should flash more power as his wrist heals more completely (I’ve heard that it’s 18 months from break to full strength recovery).
Then you have Robbie, who is hitting .274/.314/.427, which isn’t so hot. We’re not even going to discuss how he can get back to .342/.365/.525, because it’s damn nearly impossible. However, he’s hit like a beast this month. This is the Robbie we all know. He’ll have to keep up that pace in the second half. Once again, he’s demonstrated that he can do it.
We’ll touch on the pitching tomorrow. For now, I’ll leave you with the Yanks numbers this month, in which they are 5-3:
Phillips: .455/.500/.591 — who is Mark Teixeira, anyway?
Abreu: .440/.429/.640 — yeah, now just keep that pace up…
Melky: .405/.421/.514 — .328/.379/.466 since May 31
Posada: .267/.371/.333 — cooling down, but still a huge contributor
Cano: .323/.364/.645 — 3 taters last week
Damon: .200/.351/.233 — probably the worst DH in the league
Alex: .179/.281/.429 — slumped a bit, but picked it up in the Angels series
While some people are fearing the arrival of Shea Hillenbrand in New York, I think the new backup first baseman will be none other than Erubiel Durazo come the end of the All Star Break.
Yesterday, the Yanks signed Durazo to a minor league contract. This move came a day after Miguel Cairo’s three errors led to a Yankee loss.
It’s expected that the Yanks will cut a member of the bullpen. While it would nice to see Ron Villone or Mike Myers let go, Brian Bruney still has options, and the Yanks would like him to work out the problems he’s faced due to
overuse a recent loss of control.
Durazo, meanwhile, has never lived up to his billing. He’s marginally better than Shea Hillenbrand and not nearly as big a malcontent as Hillenbrand. This move, however, is fine. It’s probably temporary until Mientkiewicz comes back, and it carries a low-risk/high-reward potential as long as Durazo doesn’t take innings away from Andy Phillips.
â€œThe system is now one of the stronger ones in the minor leagues, and at some point, as those players become major-league-ready, the Yankees will have the most deadly combination of depth of young talent combined with elite payroll resources at the major league level.â€That sure-to-get-a-smile quote comes courtesy of Indians’ GM Mark Shapiro, a guy who knows a thing or two about building great teams. Go read this article by Tyler Kepner in today’s NY Times, you won’t be disappointed. · (2) ·
Thank goodness for Generation YouTube…
Triple-A Scranton (6-5 win over Ottawa in 12 innings, walk-off style)
Justin Christian: 2 for 5, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 BB, 1 SB – hitting .324 with Scranton
Kevin Reese: 1 for 4, 2 R, 2 BB, 1 SB – walk-off ground out to short with a throwing error on the throw to first in the attempted double play…
Shelley Duncan: 2 for 5, 4 RBI, 1 K – 70 RBI in 83 games puts him on pace for 112 over the full season
Eric Duncan: 0 for 5, 1 E (interference)Â - had been 4 for his previous 10…
Bronson Sardinha: 2 for 5, 1 2B, 1 K
Andy Cannizaro: 1 for 5, 3 K,Â 1 CS
Tyler Clippard: 5 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 WP – 33-33 K-BB ratio in his lastÂ 53.2 IP
TJ Beam: 2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 1 K
Chris Britton: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 3 K, 3-0 GB/FBÂ - 2 walks in his last 19.1 IP
Charlie Manning: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K
Jorge Posada caught a marathon of a game on Friday night. Then he caught 13 innnings of a Saturday day-game-after-a-night-game. Now, he’s back in the lineup tonight and behind the plate. Sure, tomorrow begins the All Star break. But if Joe Torre can’t find a way to rest Posada with Nieves on the bench for a game this weekend, then the Yanks need a new backup catcher. · (5) ·
The 9th annual Futures Game takes place today at 4pm EST. Joba Chamberlain last pitched on Tuesday, so you can go ahead and bet your 401k on him throwing an inning today. As you may remember, Phil Hughes got lit up his inning of work last year, coughing up 3 runs to theÂ World Team andÂ was almost decapitated by Jose Tabata. The game will be on ESPN, so find a comfy chair and watch the best prospects in the game strut their stuff. · (5) ·
That quote comes from Staten Island Yankees’ manager Mike Gillespie in this article from the Daily News, and he’s talking about none other than Dellin Betances. Great piece on what Dellin was up to this winter, how he spent his 7-figure signing bonus, what scout’s think of him, and how he feels to be a part of the Yankees’ future. · (3) ·
Teams that make five errors don’t deserve to be playing in the 13th inning.
Also, why would Joe Torre call for a suicide squeeze when up by three runs on Friday night but not in the most obvious of obvious spots when down by a run in the 13th inning on Saturday? Anyone?