Game 38: Dear Yankees

(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Cut the crap and win a game. Love, Mike.

Derek Jeter, SS
Curtis Granderson, CF
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Alex Rodriguez, 3B
Robinson Cano, 2B
Nick Swisher, RF
Andruw Jones, DH
Russell Martin, C
Brett Gardner, LF

Freddy Garcia, SP

Boo for another ESPN Sunday Night Game. This one starts a little after 8pm ET, so please try to enjoy. Oh by the way, Rafael Soriano probably isn’t available tonight because his elbow is barking. Again.

Fans Divided

Nope. (AP/Matt Strasen)

This morning, I was talking with the wonderful and amazing Joe Pawlikowski (also known as my boss), and he brought up a very valid point to me: there are only really two fan-related sides to the Jorge Posada story, and they are not at all exclusive to Jorge Posada.

The Yankees (and Yankees fans) have been blessed by players who are consistently great all the time, and have the money to retain these players for, theoretically, as long as they want. The upside is that the team builds a core of players that they can reliably depend on to provide a potent offence. When you’ve got guys who come in every year and tear the snot out of the ball, it’s something you never have to worry about. It’s stress off everyone in the organization’s shoulders. The additional great thing is that you have fans that grow up with these players, building both the team and the player as a brand. As a result, you have a great player who contributes to the team, an easy answer to the question of who plays every year, and a person who the fans adore.


Time is not kind to athletes. Players who perform at extraordinary levels for extended periods of time are expected to, day in and day out, perform at that level. They are expected to be immune to absolutely everything: situations off the field (“Everything sucks in my life right now.”) or the very fact that everyone – yes, even Albert Pujols – slumps. There’s nothing the players or the coaches or anyone can do about that.

A struggling franchise player puts teams into two individual camps, and depending on how long and how public and how dramatic that struggle gets, those camps get more and more divided. Now, correct me if I’m wrong on these two camps:

Camp 1: A franchise player should get special treatment due to how well they’ve performed thus far. This includes (but is not limited to), an extended period of time to work themselves out, a fat contract, and the ability to, effectively, do what they want (within reason).
Camp 2: All players should be treated the same when they struggle, regardless of who they are.

Like I said, these two camps aren’t exclusive to Posada. These are the same groups that have been rallying for (or against) a drop in the lineup to the great and mighty Derek Jeter. These are the same groups that wanted one or five years on Derek’s new contract, five or twenty million dollars. I wonder if these people who fall into either camp took similar stances in regards to Bernie, who ended his career batting 6th, not cleanup. Granted, 6th isn’t the nine-hole, but it was probably still a demotion to him.

I don’t think going either way makes you more or less of a fan (and what a ‘good fan’ and a ‘bad fan’ is might be a post for another day), but I think it’s interesting to see where people fall.  People in camp one look over at people in camp two and say that they can’t stick by the guys who’ve done great and, statistically speaking, are better than their numbers and are ticketed for improvement. People in camp two say that those in camp one are too emotionally attached to these players to do what they think the team needs to do regarding them to improve the team.

Personally, I’m torn up on the matter. On one hand, no one can deny how poorly Posada is doing, even though I think it’s a terrible slump and he’ll figure himself out soon, and moving someone batting an absolute pitiful .165/.272/.349 to the ninth spot isn’t an unreasonable thing to do. MLB 9-hole hitters average .209/.262/.295 (including pitchers!) and have wracked up a thousand strikeouts already (AL only: .246/.310/.360). On the other hand, Jorge Posada is a quintessential New York Yankee, and it doesn’t take a giant leap of faith to see how being moved to ninth could be perceived as an insult, even given the circular lineup that the Yankees use day-in and day-out.

Which side do you fall on? For Jeter? For Posada? And if you fall on different sides for two different players, why?

(Side note: This absolutely terrible team that includes both Posada and Jeter and can’t hit with RISP still leads the AL in runs/game, OBP, and SLG, and is second in walks and OPS+.)

Sherman: Yankees have no intention of keeping Posada after 2011

Via Joel Sherman, the Yankees have no intention of keeping Jorge Posada beyond this season, and the former backstop knew this from the outset of Spring Training. The problem is that Posada doesn’t want to retire nor does he want to play for another team. Aside from his poor performance this year, I’m certain this is another thing on Jorge’s mind, and I can’t imagine it feels good. It’s always ugly at the end of a legacy player’s career, and the past 24 hours are really just the beginning (of the end) for Posada.

When do the standings start to matter?

It’s a popular topic every year, especially at times like this, when the Yankees completely suck. When does a team’s record really start the mean something? Steal of Home took a look at the correlation between end-of-month winning percentage and end-of-season winning percentage, and found that it isn’t until the middle of August that we really know which teams are contenders and which are pretenders, though the great teams and the terrible teams will stand out by the end of June.

Since the Bombers are always playing in the great team end of the pool, we’ll get an idea of how good they really are around about five or six weeks from now. I recommend reading the post though, that’s some very interesting stuff. (h/t FanGraphs Community)

Another day, another loss: Yanks drop fourth in a row

Same shit, different day. The Yankees lost their fourth straight game on Saturday night, getting shut out for the fourth time this season and the second time by Josh Beckett. To make matters worse, Jorge Posada pulled himself out of the lineup for reasons that vary depending on who you ask. Neither the team nor Jorge needed the distraction, but that’s another post for another time.

"I just want to take my hands and put them around my entire team's neck just like this, all 25 of 'em at the same time. Is that too much to ask? I don't think it's too much to ask." (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

The Ugly Line That Wasn’t

When everyone looks back at this start in the future and sees 6.2 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 1 WP, 1 HB, they’re going to think Sabathia sucked. But through six innings the Yankees’ ace had held the Red Sox to just two runs on four hits and two walks, which is exactly the kind of start we’re accustomed to seeing out of CC. But a wild pitch, a blown call on what should have been strike three to Jason Varitek, a bobble by Nick Swisher, and a homerun allowed on his 116th and final pitch of the night uglified his line and put a game that was essentially out of reach even further out of reach. That seventh inning ruined what was a valiant effort by the big guy.

Sabathia retired a dozen in a row after allowing the first two runners of the game to reach base, emphatically striking out the side (not in order) to escape the jam in the first. I was ready to flip when they intentionally walked Dustin Pedroia to load the bases for Adrian Gonzalez later on, but a routine double play showed why I’m just some schmuck that writes a blog instead of managing a team. The homerun was unfortunate, but I have a hard time hanging this loss on just CC.

(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Runs? Where They’re Going, They Don’t Need Runs!

Hitless in ten at-bats with men in scoring position and ten runners left on base. Just par for the course these days. The first two Yankees reached base in the first inning, then the next three batters went down like wimps. Red Sox pitchers (mostly Beckett) struck out the leadoff batter in the third, fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh innings, so the Yankees didn’t even put the ball in play and give themselves a chance to reach base. Batting average with men in scoring position isn’t the be all, end all stat, but they have four singles and a double in 39 at-bats with men on second and/or third during this four game suckfest.

The only batter in the Yankees’ lineup to get two hits and/or not strike out at all was Curtis Granderson, who is pretty much the only player worth watching right now. Alex Rodriguez took yet another 0-for-4, and the 5-9 hitters combined for three singles and a walk in 20 trips to the plate. Andruw Jones struck out three times, Robinson Cano twice, A-Rod twice, and Tex twice. At least the first baseman busted out of an 0-for-30 slump against the Red Sox with a dinky little seeing-eye single back up the middle in garbage time. I could go on about the terrible offense, but I’d just be repeating myself from the last few days.


What the hell is Fox trying to do by having Sarah Silverman in the booth while promoting Paul Simon’s music between innings? What’s the target audience there? And is anyone more outdated that Tim McCarver? Every reference that guy makes is to something that happened when there were just 48 states in the union. Relevant information, please.

The Yankees have lost four in a row, obviously, but they’ve also lost eight of their last 11 and have been outscored 54-41 in the process. They’ve dropped six of the last seven against the Red Sox, and eleven of their last 16. The next three pitchers they face? Jon Lester, David Price, and the awesome version of Jamie Shields. These next three days could get ugly.

WPA Graph & Box Score has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs the other stuff.

Up Next

Another ESPN Sunday Night Game, which is what, the fourth of the season? It’s at least the third, I’m sure of that. Freddy Garcia gets the ball against Lester, so maybe reverse lock laws will apply. One thing to remember: a team is never as good as it looks on its best days or as bad as it looks on its worst. The Yankees are better than this, I promise you.

Cashman: Posada removed himself from lineup

Update (11:27pm): Now that Posada’s mini-presser has been aired on YES, I can say the “That’s the way he worked now” comment wasn’t nearly as vicious as it came across on Twitter. Jorge did talk in circles quite a bit though. Bottom line, everyone is in the wrong here. Well, everyone except Girardi, but Posada and Cashman definitely could have handled this better. No doubt about it.

Update (11:01pm): Posada said after the game that he told Girardi that he needed time to clear his head and that his back stiffened up after taking grounders at first, but Girardi said he was never made aware of any physical problem. As for as Cashman saying it wasn’t an injury issue during the in-game interview, Jorge said “[Cashman] made a mis-statement … That’s the way he works now.” Wow, shots fired.

Update (9:14pm): Via Ken Rosenthal, Posada actually sat out with back stiffness tonight. That sounds like a big ol’ cover story, but they can’t turn this into a big mess that divides the clubhouse or something crazy like that.

Original Post (8:00pm): Brian Cashman just told Ken Rosenthal during tonight’s broadcast that Jorge Posada removed himself from the lineup tonight and that it’s “not an injury situation.” Posada is expected to speak to the media after the game, but when asked what tonight meant for Posada’s future for with the team, he said he “didn’t want to speak for Jorge.”

For what it’s worth, Joel Sherman hears that Posada is not retiring. Jack Curry hears that Jorge was “insulted” by people penciled into the ninth spot of the lineup, and that he threw a “hissy fit.” Stay tuned…

Well, at least the Triple-A and Low-A affiliates can beat the Red Sox

Triple-A Scranton (10-2 win over Pawtucket)
Kevin Russo, 2B: 3 for 6, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 K – 15 for his last 41 (.366)
Dan Brewer, RF: 1 for 6, 1 K
Jesus Montero, C: 3 for 5, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 HBP – I wonder if he would complain about hitting ninth
Jorge Vazquez, 1B: 2 for 4, 2 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K – up to 14 homers on the year
Justin Maxwell, CF & Brandon Laird, 3B: both 2 for 5, 1 R, 1 2B – Maxwell struck put … Laird drove in a run
Jordan Parraz, LF: 2 for 4, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 K
Luis Nunez, DH: 1 for 5, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 K
Ramiro Pena, SS: 2 for 5, 1 R, 1 RBI
D.J. Mitchell, RHP: 6.2 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 4 BB, 6 K, 6-4 GB/FB – 64 of 113 pitches were strikes (56.6%)
George Kontos, RHP: 2.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 WP, 1 HB, 2-1 GB/FB – 20 of 37 pitches were strikes (54.1%) … fine work

[Read more…]