Soon - like, any minute now - the MLB rosters will expand, unleashing upon the Yankiverse the swiftest, fastest, blurriest pinch runner since - well - Brett Gardner. Yes, I'm talking about 26-year-old Jablonski Rico Noel - aka "Rico Noel" - who, no matter what name he uses, is one frickin' fast Jablonski.
Monday, August 31, 2015
“It’s important, because guys feel better about themselves,” Girardi said of the weekend. “A lot of times part of it is mental.”
Hm-mm. Girardi is a master of communication. He used to be a YES announcer, the highest pinnacle of precise, verbal analysis. He's arguably on the same level as Paul O'Neill, (that is, when O'Neill is not gorging himself on the press box buffet. How can America speak about conquering world hunger, when O'Nell in one game consumes what a third world family eats in a month?) What did Girardi mean? This being an analytical Yankee web site, devoted to pure science and the betterment of all Yankeekind... let's crunch some numbers...
"A lot of times..." - He didn't say "most of the time," just a lot. Thus, it's got to be lower than 50 percent. I'm estimating Girardi puts the starting figure at 40 percent.
"... part of it..." - Again, a qualifier. I think this has to be fewer than "a lot of times," because if it were higher, he would have said "a big part of it..." So, I'm saying 30 percent, with a margin of error of - let's say 15 percent.
So, we've got the original 40 percent, divided by the 30 percent - hm-mm, three goes into, carry the naught, hold on, where's my Texas Instruments.. wait.. OK: I got it:
Girardi believes 13 percent of baseball - give or take 15 percent - is mental.
Thirteen. Wait a minute. That's A-Rod.
Hm-mm. A-Rod barely played this weekend. If you take the 15 percent margin of error from the 13 percent part mental, that would roughly be the number of at-bats that A-Rod had. (Which I think was 2.) Is that what Girardi means? He's a complex man. A lot of times, he's partly right.
Sunday, August 30, 2015
Deadspin has found more than 100 accounts at the Ashley Madison cheat-on-your-spouse site, emanating from ESPN's corporate email.
I guess when they're not kissing Nomar Garciaparra inflatable dolls, the frat boys and sorority girls of Bristol are going on line, sniffing for poontang.
OK, Deadspin... how about checking YES? Fox News? Spike? (I'm betting the Disney Channel would have a decent yield.)
Who would be the Yankees one-game wild card starter? Easy. It's whoever pitched well in his last game
But let's be clear: The Yankees have no ace. No Number One. No El Diablo. No Big Chief Ugamugchug. Once upon a time, it was going to be CC Sabathia. Then it was supposed to be Tanaka. Then Pineda. Then - I dunno - the elflike Chris Capuano, or maybe Esmil Rogers, now of Tokyo. Nobody thought of Evaldi, and - yeesh - Severino was going to spend the year in Scranton State Prison.
So here we are, living on stems and seeds, falling in love with whatever pitcher threw the last strike. Evoaldi? Okidoke. Severino? Fine. Keep in mind, if we hadn't traded Eovaldi, Martin Prado would have played 2B. (I'll take Eovaldi.) And if Cashman had dealt for the great David Price, it was Severino they would have demanded.
What's scary? The reality of Kay's remarks. Les Nessman understands the truth: The Yankees are in a wild card race.
"A witness who asked not to be identified said she was seated a row in front of the man when he began shouting at Rodriguez. 'All of a sudden, he just flew right over the rail,' she said."
A fan died last night in Atlanta, falling from the upper deck, apparently while screaming at A-Rod.
We live in a strange world.
Saturday, August 29, 2015
"Shut up! Shut up!"--Carlos Gomez
Fifteen runs. Woop woop. But will that be it? Did our heroes salt their stats to compensate for last week's malaise against Cleveland... or, worse, in advance of their visit to the soreheads of Boston?
How about a little EMPIRICAL RESEARCH, baby, YEP, SCIENTIFIC NUMBER STUFF:
Here are the Yankee blowouts of the 2015 season, followed by their achievements over the next four games.
April 12: 14-4 over Boston. Next four: Average 5 runs, go 2-2.
April 22: 13-4 over Detroit. Next four: Average 4 runs, go 3-1.
May 11: 11-5 over Tampa. Next four: Average 1.2 runs, miserable, get swept 0-4.
May 25: 14-1 over KC. Next four: Average 4.7 runs, go 2-2.
June 20: 14-3 over Detroit: Next four: Average 7 runs, go 1-3. (Pitching breaks down.)
July 28: 21-5 over Texas: Next four: Average 5.5 runs, go 1-3. (This includes another blowout, as follows)
July 31: 13-6 over Chicago, Aug 2: 12-3 over Chicago, Aug. 3: 13-3 over Boston: Huge explosion of runs, everybody happy, YES/Fox News projects Yankees to win AL East! Next seven games: Average 1.3 runs, go 1-6. Yeuch.
Conclusion: Screw this science crap.
You can make numbers jump through hoops. Here's what my penis says: Whenever the 2015 Yankees get hot, they follow it up by going cold. They are a slightly-better than .500 team. Back in May and June, when the AL East chewed moose root, that seemed good enough. Then Toronto traded for Tulo and Price. Ever since, we have been wild carders.
Nothing has changed about the Yankees, other than the fact that Toronto cannot seem to lose. If the Jays keep it up, the Division race is over.
Friday, August 28, 2015
They are too old and battered to depend on.
Neither has done much in the last two years.
They are the reason why we led AL East until a week ago.
Lately, they have sucked.
Listen: We can whine about pitching, or Gardy, or Ellsbury, or Stephen Drew, or even Dustin Ackley. Be my guest. None of that matters. Nobody is coming up from Scranton. Nobody is coming over in a trade. Nobody is going to suddenly anchor the batting order. Nobody else is going to play first base.
It's really quite simple.
Either A-Rod and Tex start hitting... or it's over.
Hard to believe, but it's been 10 years since Joe Torre's bullpen levy crumbled, flooding the famous "Bridge to Mariano" and drowning Yankee hopes at the hands of the Los Angeles California Angels of Anaheim, or whatever they called themselves - that insufferable Rally Monkey team. Ever since - despite a quick, store-bought glimmer in 2009 - the franchise has never rebuilt itself. For reasons of leadership, money, bureaucracy and hubris, the team continues to flounder. Heck of a job, Hally.
Ten years ago, here was the Yankee lineup. (Warning: The numbers are graphic and may be disturbing to younger fans.)
This, my friends, was a batting order. Considering what Yankee fans now experience, this lineup is painful to remember. The lowest average on the 2005 team - .241 - belongs to Tino Martinez, who hit 17 HR in limited duty.
Today, our highest BA is Brett Gardner's .273. And our three-hole hitter - the aging, dilapidated A-Rod - is down to .255. With the exception of 1B and C - both players now have CF plaques - every position on the 2005 team hits better than today's offering. Yeesh.
And if you're wondering about the bench, the 2005 team had Reuben Sierra to pinch hit. We have - what - Chris Jones?
But wait, 90 percent of baseball is pitching, pitching, pitching, right? So how did the team look before Katrina?
Again, 2005 looks pretty nice, compared to today's troops. The Big Unit was in his first incarnation, Mussina was going relatively strong, Chien-Ming Wang was rising, and of course, Aaron Small, Tanyon Sturtze and Shawn Chacon were Cashman's scrap heap jewels. (This year, Cashman has not picked anyone of note off the recycling pile. He may have been thinking of practical jokes for his Sports Illustrated profile, which - by the way - nominates him for the Hall of Fame.)
Ten years ago, Joe Torre soaked the bullpen in gasoline and lit the Scott Proctor match. He never did find anyone who could pitch the seventh and eighth. With the Bridge flooded - "six feet of water in the streets of Evangeline" - everything went underwater. We actually lost to a team with Scott Spiezio playing 1B.
So here's one advantage in 2015: The bullpen. It hasn't yet fully collapsed, like the batting order seems to have done. If so, the Yankees can still outdo their 2005 counterparts, but they better patch up the holes fast. The 2005 team won the division. Right now, we're looking at a one-game wild card. There's a lot of water yet to spill over the dam.
Thursday, August 27, 2015
Cano is batting .277 with 14 HRs. (In the last month, he's hitting .333, though the games don't matter.)
Our leading hitter - (with enough ABs to qualify) - is Brett Gardner. He's batting .273.
Iceberg dead ahead: The Yankees visit two last place teams going nowhere. What could possibly go wrong?
Nope. We should have no problems with Atlanta. Three game sweep, baby, three game sweep. Everybody knows this. Bring the brooms. It's inconceivable that we would lose to Atlanta, right? They don't have Chipper Jones anymore. Bad team. Right?
Oh... but then, come next week, the Fates have a special place for us to visit- our own little dung heap in hell. Boston. Yes, we play the most disappointing team in baseball, a club with nothing to play for - and nothing to lose - other than the pleasure of killing the Yankees' shot at the Bud Selig one-game wild card playoff.
Insert fart here.
Ever since Toronto came to town - seems like a hundred years ago, eh? - it's as if the mighty Yankees jersey was yanked off to reveal two dwarfs, standing piggyback. We spent four months adoring what could turn out to be the biggest collapsing Yankee team since 2004. This with - AND I'M NOT MAKING THIS UP - a Sports Illustrated puff piece this week that actually wonders aloud whether Brian Cashman could someday be enshrined in Cooperstown. Hey, anything can happen, I guess. All he needs is a fake mole.
Wednesday, August 26, 2015
Don't call it a slump. Don't call it a collapse. Don't even blame China. It's just an overdue market correction
Take Chris Young, for example.
He is a career .233 hitter. Last year, Young hit .222 between the Mets and Yankees. (He hit .205 until the Mets waived him.) This year, Chris was on fire in April - batting .309 - and then got hot in June. This month, he's hitting .100. His average is now .247... and dropping - presumably to his career expectations.
Listen: This is not a Chris Young slump. This is a Chris Young market correction.
And he's still got a ways to go.
So does Chase Headley. He's is a career .266 hitter - though like Young, his best seasons happened long ago. For the year, Headley's hitting .277 - that's eleven points over his lifetime numbers.
He's still got a ways to fall.
Brett Gardner? Same deal. He made the AL All Star Team. He was unstoppable in the first half. In the month of August, Brett's hitting .203.
A-Rod? The NY media pushed him for the All Star Team. That was when he was hitting .280. Now, he's at .255. If you check his average in recent years, you'd know not to expect much more. This month, he's hitting .145.
Teixeira? He may be Comeback Player of the Year - in part because last year, he hit .216. But in the month of August, he's hitting .179.
At the start of the 2015 season, the Yankees looked like a mediocre team, close to .500. For a while, they soared high in the standings. Now, we're seeing the correction.
Could it be that we popped the champagne too early?
Having taken their victory lap, the self-congratulatory Yankees have a month left to toast this ongoing disastrous season
Yes, The Abyss. The one Fred Nietzche feared, but with baseball. And it's so simple, so clean, so obvious: We are the team everybody said we would be, once August arrived. At a certain point of the season, a 40-year-old plays like a 40-year-old. Don't act surprised.
OK, we are still four up in the one game Wild Card, but a month ago Cashman's army was running away with the AL East. That ship sure sailed in a hurry. And last night they were stomped into a bloody gruel, undressed and embarrassed by an organization that has defined suckwad for a decade, but now trends upward through the sheer brilliance of all that incompetence. That's Houston's secret to success - and it may yet be Cashman's: Just come in last enough times, and the draft picks and luxury tax/salary cap will raise the boat. It's called improvement, NFL-style.
Well, rather be negative, let's look at the bright sides of last night...
1. Ivan Nova has finally overcome the inconsistency that plaques pitchers returning from TJ surgery. He has found his niche. He's consistently bad.
2. The Bobbsie Twins continue to glow at 2B. Stephen Drew went 0 for 2. It's practically Seussian! Stephen Drew went oh-for-two! Two strikeouts, too. Boo-hoo-hoo, that Stephen Drew! And for another week, every time he comes to bat, The Master will note that he's within a base hit of .200!
Also, Brendan Ryan - who pitched - went oh-for-three with an error. A ball went through his legs despite the fact that he went down to one knee. That's hard to do, like Stephen Drew! If it happened to Rob Refsnyder at Scranton, he'd be drummed out of the game. How dare he think the Yankees were going to turn over 2B to him!
3. Tex returned with a noticable limp. In other words, pick a percentage, and that's what level he'll be playing at for the next month. Is he 70 percent healed? Fifty? Thirty?
4. Last night, the Yankees were taken over their knees and spanked. Not only were we humiliated on the scoreboard, but their centerfielder took to mocking us while rounding the bases in his HR trot. Teams can react to this in different ways. I suspect we'll come out today with piss and vinegar. But The Abyss doesn't care about piss and vinegar. The Abyss just waits. And was it really Jorge and Andy who got their plaques this weekend? Or was it Cashman? Haven't we already taken our turn down the Canyon of Heroes?
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
On a night when we're down by nine in the fifth, it's nice to know Curt Schilling just shot himself in the foot
Oh well. Nevertheless, it pleasures me greatly tonight to report that the leviathan of loquaciousness has just tweeted himself out of a golden nest egg, because Curt the Blurt couldn't resist the urge to compare the entire Islamic religion to 1939 Nazi Germany. Yep, nothing satisfies a frat jock intellectual like a good old Adolf Hitler metaphor, and I guess Jackie Bradley Jr. wasn't doing it. (Hey, you ever see how Brett Gardner brazenly takes the lead, then aggressively tries to steal second base? He's like Hitler with Poland!)
Tonight, somewhere in your cell phone, right-wing Trumpster divers are going ballistic about ESPN wilting under the Nazi scourge of political correctness. If our TV sports commentators lose the freedom to compare people to Hitler - well, this country is on a slippery slope, straight to the Munich beer halls.
Curt lost his gig because even Redsock-loving ESPN couldn't take his constant crapola. Considering Curt's post-baseball resume, I have suggestion for his replacement this week at the Little League World Series. How about Jared from Subway?
Thank you, Ollie Perez: A gift-wrapped victory, courtesy of a former Met, belies the Yankee reality: Help is not on the way
|This is some ridiculous cyber-stat called |
Runs Created per Game. Basically, this is
the number of runs you'd get if you had
nine hitters like each of these guys.
Ah, but who's kidding here. So do we. The standings show us tied with Toronto in the AL East. What a crock. Spiritually, we are behind them by three games - yes, the ones they took in NYC, back when we had the Division won, but couldn't hold our water. We did take the series in Toronto - that epic battle between Tulo and Miller still echoes - but we lost the final game, and nothing was decisive. We still have to beat them, nobody else is, and our team has been bat-dead since it mopped the floors with Texas and Anaheim. When was that? Last month? Last year?
We have finally deciphered the binary code messages from outer space: Help is not on the way. For months we thought Rob Refsnyder would learn 2B and free us from Stephen "O for 2" Drew. Aint a-gonna happen. Drew will just keep lashing hot grounders into the over-shift, and his RH platoon, Brendan Ryan will be no better. It's comical these days when Drew - .199 - comes up, because John Sterling bursts with anticipation; "One hit, ONE HIT, and he will get above that .200 mark!" The Master cries. "ONE HIT." You'd think Drew was chasing Barry Bonds. One hit.
Nope. Help is not on the way. It's increasingly clear that Greg Bird needs more seasoning. He's a year away. If Tex next season goes down, Bird steps in. But not this year. Last night, with McCann on third and nobody out, Bird couldn't put the bat on the ball. Last night, they figured him out.
Help isn't on the way. Slade Heathcott keeps hurting himself. Dustin Ackley is a phantom who doesn't really exist. The entire bullpen of Scranton is mere mop-up fodder in meaningless games. But we're not Houston. At least we weren't last night.
Monday, August 24, 2015
And we held it until Cleveland came to town.
Last night, I had this bizarre dream...
It's early October, the Bud Selig Memorial One Game Maximization of Profits Wild Card... and the Yankees are playing the Angels - in California, of course. It's the bottom of the seventh. We lead by one, but the Winged Wonders have loaded the bases for Trout and Pujols. Across the Yankiverse, hope has turned to liberal dosages of black strap rum. Girardi makes the call to the bullpen - brought to us by AAMCO Car Care. But instead of Warren or Wilson or Shreve or even a barking shouldered Betances - instead of the lugnuts who have been breaking down with regularity from the lack of quality AAMCO car care... marching in from the bullpen is a hulking, relatively fresh-armed future Hall of Famer... yes, the great C.C. Sabathia - entering the national spotlight for his last great run at a World Series.
Sir... permission requested to speak freely? Thank you.
Umm... welll... how do I put this?
Sir, THE SHIP HAS SAILED. This year, as a starter, you sucked. You pitched more like the other CC - Chris Capuano - than your self. For all your dugout leadership, the Yankees are dead on the days you pitch, and if you think a few weeks of rest will change that... well... THE SHIP HAS SAILED.
Today, some are saying you'll never throw another MLB pitch. We hope that's not true. But Fate can be a tricky mufo. You can still help the Yankees - just not as a starter, where the knee simply cannot hold up for 100 pitches. If you pitch out of the bullpen, you could be the difference in the final three innings, where Betances and Miller are barely holding it together.
I don't know the psychological and physiological changes required for a veteran starter to become a reliever. Clearly, some pitchers cannot do it. I believe you can.
Last night, you struck out Trout and got Pujols on a pop-up. Make my dreams come true. Because this team is fading fast. We're fighting for the one-game Wild Card, and we're going to need CC Sabathia to win it. But not as the starter.
Sunday, August 23, 2015
They lost to Seattle (!) and Philly (!!!!!), before beating KC three out of four around the trade deadline.
That is where they were hypotized into believing they were more than a .500 team that had suddenly added players capable of making them a .515 team.
They swept the Twins (I suppose they still have something to play for, however remote). They swept us. They swept the As, a punching bag of the West. Then they lost two out of three to us, before splitting a pair with those mighty Phillies again.
And yes, they've plucked the Angels pinfeathers the last two days. Not a remarkable achievement.
My conclusion: their real hot streak happened about three weeks ago, when they took 3 of 4 from KC, arguably the best team in the league. Then four straight from Minnie, a respectable team, more or less. Then three from us, in the famous three games where the Jays started Cy Young, the Big Train and Bob Gibson against us, which is why we scored a total of 1 (one) run. (cough)
Three against Oakland? Whoop. Lost 2 outta 3 to us at home. Split another two with the frightening giants of Philadelphia. And most recently, whumpfing the holy water out of the Angels -- like the Twins, a monument to mediocrity.
I am not afraid of these guys. They are running on Tony Robbins-Deepak Chopra-Laura Schlessinger fumes that, like the glue that creates them, will dissipate in the autumn winds. THEY ARE NOT THAT GOOD. They struggled to be mediocre before making the "big trades," and the additions do not make them this much better. They. Just. Don't.
It takes a while for a new convert to realize that the tent minister who cured their lumbago is actually wanted for sex crimes with underage boys at every whistle stop, but it eventually happens, and the lumbago comes back if it hasn't come back even sooner.
The Jays right now are like an entertaining soft shoe guy on America's Got Talent. He might make the semi-finals, but unless the Sullivan show, the Welk show, the Hollywood Palace and the Keith circuit suddenly all rise from the grave at once to provide venues where he can make a living, he doesn't have a great shot at getting even moderately well-compensated for his beloved skill.
The best thing we can do is wait this out, try to do better than a split with teams like Cleveland, and kick the Jays' tailfeathers the next seven times we meet up with them. And while we're abusing birds, we should also do the same to the Orioles the six remaining times we play them, just to teach them a lesson. In fact, we should do it with rookies and scrubs the last three games of the season, just to remind them of their place in the AL East hierarchy.
May the juju gods not punish us for such bold statements and level-headed assessments, but I think we have a great chance at cooking the Angry Birds and with maraschino cherries in their mouths, to boot.
We should not have won those games. We angered them. They are too good. Wait, did I said "good?" They are too great. That's what they are. They are the greatest team in the greatest city in the greatest country on the greatest planet, give or take.
Some of you may be thinking Toronto cannot continue at this incredible pace. You people are fools. You might have thought something would give during Toronto's West Coast swing. Not a chance. In their two games in Anaheim, they've scored 24 runs, given up five. They are Shula's Miami Dolphins. They are the Harlem Globetrotters, and everybody else is the Washington Generals. Give up. Surrender, Dorothy. Hope Week is over. There is no hope.
That incredible lineup of future Hall of Famers - Jose Batista (900 career homers, HOF 2025), Edwin Encarnacion (790 career homers, HOF 2030) and Justin Smoak (10,000 runs, HOF 2039) - will forever be remembered as the feared "Canadian Bakin'!" The Crash Test Dummies will write a song about them. Jim Carrey and Ellen Page will star in a Canadian remake of "Fever Pitch."
It's over. We should just quit. In fact, I should just qu-
Saturday, August 22, 2015
How's that for the climax of Hope Week! Pleasant enough? Yes, we are shackled by the wrists into an eternal, nightmare, dungeon torture chamber conundrum of Stephen Drew - at times supplemented by his twin necromancer, Brendan Ryan. Forever and ever. Drew without end. Amen.
Think I'm overstating this? Let's go to the videotape. Eighth inning, last night. We're down 4-1. We knock out their starter. The reliever gives up two singles. We get a huge break when their second baseman flubs a grounder. We score two runs, put the tying run at third, have the bases loaded, two outs. And here he comes, Satan's hunchbacked, mule-whipping, vampire boatman from the underworld, Frankenstein's nephew, Stephen Drew.
Fly ball. Inning over. Game over. And, one of these days, season over. Mark my words: It will end with Stephen Drew at the plate and Rob Refsnyder sitting at home, watching on TV, like the rest of us.
Essay question: Try to imagine the Yankees going a month with a rookie who hits below .200? They have now gone a full calendar year with Drew. This isn't a small sample size. This isn't a slump. The new reality is that Drew cannot adjust to the defensive overshift, and he is a permanent liability. This isn't someone hitting below the Mendoza Line. Drew cannot see the Mendoza Line.
Last night, we watched Drew's alter ego, Brendan Ryan, flub an easy ground ball, leading to a Cleveland run. Ryan, of course, was supposed to be the great fielder who couldn't hit. We've now watched Ryan for a year, and he's not a bad middle infielder, but he is no Omar Visquel, no gold glove, not even close. They are our Bobbsie Twins, and we are stuck with them because - here's the latest news from Hell - the team apparently thought Rob Refsnyder acted "arrogant and entitled."
Why didn't they just say "uppity?"
Apparently, Refsnyder thought he was coming to NY to play 2B. Did he cut in front of somebody at the buffet table? Because the Yankees announced that he was going to stay and then, less than a week later, threw him back to Scranton, so we could immerse ourselves into the Bobbsie Twins.
When I think of Refsnyder's "arrogant and entitled" attitude, whatever that is, I think of Ian Kennedy. Remember how the Yankees - and their courtier beat writers - were down on Kennedy? He didn't realize that rookies are supposed to bow and scrape, so his ticket was punched to Arizona, in favor of keeping the Yankees' future aces - Hughes and Chamberlain. Kennedy nearly won the Cy Young in the desert, but the apologists said it didn't count - he would never have succeeded in the AL East, because that's what apologists say, rather than apologize. (See AJ Burnett.)
Wait a minute. How long have I been here, whining about Stephen Drew? It seems like minutes, but I just looked at the calendar and - ARE YOU KIDDING ME? IT'S ACTUALLY AUGUST OF 2015? I've been writing this post for 13 months! It was July of 2014 when I started. Dear God, I'm trapped. Satan has my soul. As Kirk would say, KHANNNNNNNNNNNNNNN!
Friday, August 21, 2015
Seriously, how many games are we going to win from this point forward, 2-1 or 2-0? We could be playing the University of South Florida and lose a lot of games to them when we only scratch out 2 runs.
If it wasn't for Bird's one game heroics, we lose the last game against the Twins 3-0 instead of chalking up a 4-3 win. Note to reader; he gave us our 2 run shot for the game. Only he did it twice, which was a miracle. That won't happen again.
You can see a pattern early with this team, where you just know know they aren't going to score more than 2 runs.
Here is how it goes; Jacoby gets on and Brett takes a perfect pitch fastball for strike one. Then he fouls off a tough pitch, and prepares himself to strike out. Jacoby stays at first. A-Rod is, at least, a bit unpredictable. But when the Yankees are in their 2 run mode, he either strikes out or hits into a DP. If Jacoby tries to steal, the batter fouls off the pitch. No matter what the specifics, Jacoby starts and ends at first base. In the tightest of games ( including a 0-0 start ) the Yankees don't do anything to get that initial runner into scoring position.
All through the line-up you see it. Drew will not bunt a runner over in a tight game, he won't even try. He usually has 75% of the left side of the infield undefended, but he is going to swing for the seats and hit into a double play. Similarly, McCann or Beltran will hit a screamer, but right to their second baseman, playing in mid right field, for a routine out.
A once hot Didi is now 3-17 and not hitting in the clutch. Last night's game was within a base hit of a win. But, no, we can't push across more than 2 runs. The new kid drew a walk. Fine and
dandy ( better than striking out ), but that is not what we need from him. We need RBIs.
We have more 1,2,3 innings than any team in baseball, when on offense. Sometimes, our pitcher, who just threw 22 to scrape out of the top half of the inning, can't even get his warm-up jacket on before he is back on the mound. It as though our players have no sense of baseball, or how the game must be played. Lot's of swinging at first pitches for quick outs.
It reaches a point where if our starter gives up one run, we barely have a shot. If he gives up 2, the best we can hope for is a tie, which we will lose in extra innings.
If you see this syndrome early, do something else. Why stay for the inevitable disappointment, frustration and torture?
|Joe Girardi, last night, in 9th, protesting balls and strikes.|
But Nova, as a Yankee, has been a pillar of consistency: That is, he is consistently inconsistent. One day, he carves the plate. Next day, he cuts the cheese. And it always seems to balance on the fulcrum point of one single pitch - one pinprick in time - that determines Nova's auto-erratica.
Last night, it's the 4th: Two outs, nobody on. We're down 2-0, but at least Nova seems to be cruising. ning out. So what does he do? He walks Abe Almonte - the seventh hitter, a former Yankee farm hand, who is batting .250, without power - he walks him on five pitches, not even close. Then Nova serves up a single to center to great Giovanni Urshela - batting eighth and hitting a crisp .230. And then, of course, he gives up a single to Jose Ramirez, number nine, who is six batting average points above Stephen Drew (.194 for Curse of Drew watchers everywhere.) All with two outs. For some pitchers, you would say this was a glitch in the Matrix. Not with Nova. It was the way of Ivan Nova. It was Classic Ivan Nova. It should be the Wikipedia entry for Ivan Nova. By the end of the fourth, it was 3-0, Cleveland, and we were in a hole too deep to escape.
So what do we do? Here's an idea: Next time Nova walks a leadoff man, or a .220 bottom feeder, Girardi should climb out of the dugout and go into his Al Pacino "In Justice For All" act, screaming like last night in the nineth. Joe should disrupt the game for 30 minutes, tearing bases from their morings and digging up home plate, if possible. Security guards - if not NYPD or DHS - should be called to drag him off the field. It should be a Girardi rain delay. Maybe then, after a half-hour of watching and throwing warm ups, Nova can bear down and get the critical out.
Of course, our other option is Chris Capuano, who is akin to the mercy rule in girls softball. Capuano threw two innings last night and didn't give up a run. That's his seasonal highlight.
This Cleveland series was supposed to be a breather. The Indians staggered into town after getting pummeled from all known races - including the Bud Selig Memorial Away Field One Day Wild Card. Suddenly, we take the night off and lose for nine straight innings? Or is that we're still rolling the dice with Ivan Nova? And this time, we lost. Because I'll be damned if I want to see the guy in the post-season.
Thursday, August 20, 2015
It's been so long since a true position prospect crawled up from the Scrantonmordial ooze - last season, IL batting champ Jose Pirela rotted on the vine, and this year, Rob Refsnyder is turning up on milk cartons - that I figured Bird should buy a bungalo in the Poconos - (has a snappy ring to it, no?) - for the equity. Beyond that, despite what Cashman blathered about keeping the kids, I think everybody expected him to load up a package for James Shields or Moonlight Graham - anybody over 30 - and he still might. (There are people today who will say Bird is at peak foliage for a trade value, so now is the time. I feel sorry for those people. They can never celebrate Hope Week.)
But let's not forget the man who begot Greg Bird Day at Yankee Stadium: Dustin Ackley.
Two weeks ago, shortly after shaving his jihadist beard and joining the Yankees, Ackley tweaked a thingy, setting off a chain reaction that caused Garrett Jones to be released twice - (He and "Cuttible Chris" Capuano are still vying for this year's "Most DFA'ed Yankee" award.) and so the Yankees needed somebody, anybody, to play 1B and give Mark Teixeira a rest. And the rest, as they say, is... history?
Let's put this into Yankee insider perspective: This isn't a Wally Pipp. It could be a Kevin Maas or even a Mason Williams. We hope Bird is The New Mattingly, with Luis Severino, The Yankee Pedro, and Aaron Judge, as Winfield II. As for Jorge Mateo, the SS in Tampa? He's the New Maury Wills And Refsnyder - well - either the Next Robbie... or the New Pirela.
Either way, Greg Bird arrived yesteday. What a glorious day to be a Yankee fan.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
That's great news for everyone who is obsessed with following the 40th slot on the Yankee depth chart. Because that's where the healthy Ackley might fit in.
Every time I see Greg Bird - who has now played a key role in two Yankee victories - I ponder the fact that if Dustin Ackley were healthy, Bird would still be walking the mean streets of Scranton. Instead for a young and exciting player in his first MLB opportunity, we'd be watching another veteran hitter who couldn't adjust to MLB pitchers after they adjusted to him.
Actually, that's not fair to Ackley. But he was hitting about .220. So don't get me wrong. I hope the guy figures it out and, thus, saves his career. If Chris Young can do it, anybody can. And I'm not even ripping Cashman for the deal: Ramon Flores, the promising young OF we traded to Seattle, just wrecked his ankle and will be out for months. Fate works in mysterious ways.
Ackley's injury opened the door for Bird. Maybe the key is not hoarding old guys in their final incarnation. Maybe it's having a wave of young players, hungry for a chance.
(Sorry for getting this up so late...I had it scheduled for this morning, but it didn't go up.)
I know you have to support your guys. I know CC has pitched a couple humdingers recently (God bless him and Great Aunt Sadie; the good days are very much appreciated). I know he started off great last night before he was left in too long, ran out of gas, and almost lost the game -- not his fault, since I also know he's going to keep telling Girardi that he's good to go for another inning and will probably believe it, too. But Girardi...I mean, is he out to embarass CC the way he did Jorge by making sure he's in situations where he'll most likely look bad? Or what?
The Twins chased Sabathia with three runs in the top of the seventh. Sabathia pitched 6⅔ innings, allowing four runs and five hits, striking out five and walking three.
"I thought he threw a good game," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "It seemed like the sixth and seventh, the innings started to get a little harder for him as his pitch count started to mount, but I thought he pitched a really good game."
"If you look at the first four innings, I thought it was vintage, old CC," Rodriguez added.
As Boston signs Dave Dombrowski, the lover of threesomes, let us give thanks again for Didi Gregorius
As head of the Tigers, he orchestrated a three-way deal that sent future journeyman Edwin Jackson to Arizona and future HR-K machine Curtis Granderson to the Yankees. In return, Arizona got Ian Kennedy, the best - (and at the time, least hyped) - of our young pitching trio (Hughes and Joba, remember?), and Detroit received Phil Coke, Austin Jackson, Max Scherzer, Daniel Schlereth. Basically, they received the bones of five future powerhouse teams, including one that would come within a bloop single of a World Championship. You can argue that the Grandyman had some fine seasons in Gotham, but whenever he trudged back to the dugout, bat on shoulder, shaking his head, all I saw was Jackson, Coke and Kennedy, and the team we could have been, if only the Yankees had believed in their own players and hung up the goddamm phone when Dave Dombrowski called.
Well, before this turns into a GOP Presidential debate on the deportation of Brian Cashman, let's note that, last December, the universe played catch-up. We sent future minor-leaguer Shane Greene to Detroit, who dispatched Domingo Leyba (huh?) and Robbie Ray (huh? again) to Arizona, bringing to NY a lad named Didi Gregorius. Between April 1 and April 15, Greene was baseball's best pitcher. Then he werewolfed into Pumpsie Green, or Seth Green, or Shecky. (Your choice.) And Gregorius, who was nearly hooted out of NYC in April, has found a new life.
Last night, as CC was twirling his four inning no-hit masterpiece, Gregorius made two astonishing plays that easily could have opened the famed Sabathian flood gates if - I shudder to even think this - if we had tried to coax one more year out of Derek Jeter's body. In fact, Gregorius has so out-preformed Jeter in the field - (and that's not a knock on Jeter, his range simply withered) - that today, we take it for granted that our SS snags balls we haven't seen touched since 2010. If you're looking for one single reason why the Yankees have surged, it's easy to notice A-Rod batting third and Tex crushing it at 1B... but Gregorus' defense and timely hitting have been a drone CARE package from heaven. These days, nobody even thinks about Jeter unless the Yankees are retiring a number. Who anticipated that?
Not Dave Dombrowski (who, by the way, picked Boston's pocket a few years ago for Detroit's SS Jose Iglesias.) Yesterday, he signed as the new Redsock president, and let's face it: He's certainly an improvement over Larry Lucchino, whose most memorable moment was in name-calling, labeling us "the Evil Empire." Boston picked up a solid baseball executive. It's not like they signed another Yoan Moncada, but it should push our worry needle just a tad.
If you ever look at the St. Louis Cardinals' or San Francisco Giants mast-heads, what you see at the top are are ex-baseball players. You don't see the resource-draining lard of an owner's family and entourage, as you find with the Yankees. Until recently, that soul-crushing debris included Felix Lopez - ex-husband of Jessica Steinbrenner - literally, the guy who married the Boss's daughter. (And I can't help but wonder if he was the tip of the iceberg. One thing I've learned in life: Turkeys come in flocks.)
The Cards and Giants - baseball's most successful teams - build despite drafting high and not spending the moon on free agents. Both have front offices full of baseball experience. On the Yankee mast-head, Cashman's name is listed eighth - after Hal, Hank, Jessica, Joan, Randy Levine, Lonn Trost and Anthony Bruno.
I was hoping the Yankees might sign Dombrowski. John Henry got to him first. Of course, you never know: Too many cooks can thicken the broth, because one usually gets pushed in. But today, let's thank Boston's chief executive for our renewed hope. He helped us get Didi.
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
A few more memories after the jump.
UPDATE: Blingee lives! Whew! Thanks for the heads up, Anonymous!
Monday, August 17, 2015
Jessica Steinbrenner and Felix Lopez - whose marriage the NY Post cuttingly says had "elevated him from the dirt to Bomber royalty" - are calling it quits.
A few bloggers and NY insiders had taken to calling Lopez "Felix the Gardener," which sounds suspiciously like a crass reference to his ethnicity. (Certainly, that can't happen in NYC, right?) More interesting is the bizarre notion advanced this winter that Lopez was the reason why Cuban star Yoan Moncada signed with Boston. It's never been explained how Lopez could have ruined our chances - was it the whoopie cushion he used under Moncada's mom? - but the guy certainly made enemies in and around the Yankee brain trust. Long ago, they slapped a sign on his back that said "Gold-digger." And now, he's done and gotten himself gone from the masthead.
Donno what happened. Don't care. But my spider sense tingles whenever an organization conveniently loads up all its mistakes - (and not shelling out for Moncada was a big one) - and hangs them on the poor slob who happens to be walking out the door. The vagaries of love and marriage - who's right, who's wrong - those are damn hard calls to make from the upper deck. Still, it's got to really suck if you're a Yankee executive, and you work with the knowledge that some guy can marry into the Steinbrenner family and suddenly start telling you how to do your job. And if that's the case, Felix Lopez wasn't the problem.
It's Hope Week in the Yankiverse, which includes Frank Sinatra Music Download Night (tonight), Yankee Coloring Book Day (Wednesday), and Yankee Water Bottle Night (presented by Budweiser, Friday)
I'm not sure what that means. Here's my best take: In the end, hope is like a garage sale. One man's antique chandelier piece is another's old Pepsi bottle. Sometimes, the notion that we're all expected to rally around hope is what instills in us the most intense dread of all. That's life, that's what the people say. Every year now, the Yankees bundle up a bunch of heartwarming stories and hold a week-long pageant of happiness and compassion - and I guess there's nothing wrong with trying to do good, eh?
But in an age when corporations have the cash and legal right to buy elections, acts of corporate kindness always involve a camera crew and Kleenex. Hope Week's pre-game shows are like the last story each night on the network news, the tear-jerker about some plucky old vet who sticks flags on graves - (God bless him!) - but as most of the guys in those graves learned, when people shout something a thousand times, it's often because they don't believe it themselves. Hate to be hopeless in Hope Week. But I root for the Yankee team and the generally lovable confusion of humanity that wears the pinstripes - I have since age 4 and will until the day I'm in the ground. But I shall never trust the Yankee corporation, because as Frank Miller has Mickey Rourke say in "Sin City," I was born at night, but I was not born last night.
Tonight, to open Hope Week, the first 18,000 Yankee guests will receive a card entitling them to free Frank Sinatra music downloads, courtesy of Universal Music. Wednesday, the first 18,000 kids will get a Yankee Coloring Book, courtesy of Party City. Friday is Budweiser's Yankee Water Bottle Night. Did the corporations pay extra to be a part of Hope Week? I doubt it's a coincidence.
The week ends with push-button-emotion afternoons to honor Jorge Posada and Andy Pettitte. Their numbers - (20 and 46, but you knew that, right?) - will be retired. Certainly, both were great Yankees, though neither will make the Hall. But if Posada and Pettitte are the new bar for retiring numbers, the Yankees will be mathematically eliminated from the game by 2030.
I have limited hopes for Hope Week. The Yankees won't cure world hunger or obesity. But the week launches a soft 16-game stretch - three against the Twins (who are fading), then four with Cleveland, who we need to put down like a snarly doberman. Then it's Houston for three - not as tough as we thought they were - then Atlanta and Boston. We must go at least 10-6, and even then, we might fall into second place. In early September, we revisit the AL East - including the seven against the Bleu Cheese. By then Hope Week will be a memory. But we will still have hope.
And I assume the Yankees, over the next seven days, will install a protective cordon around Kei Igawa.
Sunday, August 16, 2015
He has been hitting, lately, like Stephen Drew. Not as well, actually.
Brett carried the offense for much of the first half of the year and, legitimately, made the all star team. Joe is resting other guys to some apparent advantage.
It is time to rest Gardy.
Even his base stealing has gone into the soup ( I know, he stole one yesterday. But it was all on the pitcher and the pitch).
He has lost his early-season aggressiveness at the plate. Watch his at bats; he is regularly taking a first pitch fastball right down the center; then, he either takes a letter high pitch for strike two ( or fouls it off ); and, down 0-2, the pitcher plays with him until he flails at something in the dirt. Worse; he goes down looking at one of those " close" pitches we were all told to go after when down two strikes.
Early in the season, he was lacing those first pitch fastballs for doubles in the gap.
He has a tired bat, and is a tired man who gives everything he's got. He needs a few days off.
He'll come back a terror, when we most need him.
Where the hell is Slade Heathcott?
Still, one thing Severino needs to experience - along with a stewardess and waterbed - is a Yankee rally.
In his first game, Severino pitched well, but a Redsock knuckleballer did to the Yankees what Carly Fiorina did to HP. In his second game, the team slogged for eight innings, rallied with him gone, and then slogged for another eight - losing to mighty Cleveland, 5-4.
It was, by far, our most painful loss of 2015. Miller blew his first save. (He is now a heart attack of a closer.) Ellsbury and Gardner did their best imitations of Robbie & the Grandyman in the 2012 playoffs - a combined 0-13 with five strikeouts. In the end, it was Brandon Pinder. Seems like a year ago.
Since then, we had The Win - when Carlos Beltran, in WWE style, went from a Vince McMahon villain to a Hulk Hogan hero. We've seen the lowest trench of the year, followed by the highest peak. Woah. Nose bleeds.
Well, it's Bedknobs and Broomsticks Day in Toronto. It's time for the Blue Jays to see what artificial turf does to a 30-something shortstop with bad hips. It's time for a market correction above the border. And by God, it's time for the Yankee Pedro to experience run support. Sweep, anyone?
Saturday, August 15, 2015
He's a cheat. He's a liar. He's a blight upon the game. Womanizer. Scumbag. We won't pay for his milestones. We won't recognize his records. He should just qui-HUH? Hal said what? Um... Come one! Come all! Let us celebrate his great achievements!
This is a Yankee website, and we don't give pigeon crap about Redsock players or their families. (Actually, I have no truck with Redsock families - it's not their fault. I just don't want their Redsock children in Yankee faith-based schools.) But the news yesterday that John Farrell has cancer and will miss the rest of the season has rattled my anti-Redsock sensibilities.
Dear Mr. Farrell... This is to inform you that we at IIHIIFIIc are not done with you. You need to get well, so that next season, and for seasons to come, the Yankees can brutalize you in the fashion that Redsock managers deserve.
This is sort of like that recurring Batman plot line, when the Joker suddenly turns up to save the Caped Crusader from lesser villains, because - if you think about it - when you're screwing with the Joker's arch rival, in a way, you're screwing with the Joker. In this case, cancer is screwing with us... the Joker.
All you Redsock operatives - you know who you are - never forget: It's the Yankees you should fear. Not death or sickness. And John Farrell needs to get better.
Shades of Pat Kelly's HR in 1995 and Paul O'Neill's AB in the 2000 World Series... Was last nite the game of the year, or just the weekend?
I do not know how many pitches the battle went. That stuff is for wonks. My estimate: 142. Tulowitski just kept fouling them off, and Miller just kept throwing sliders. I think the final pitch was a foul tip. If McCann hadn't caught it, Miller might be out there for all eternity, and I'd still be standing at the screen.
It was one game. Still, it was a psychic STFU to the hockey horns of Tuloronto, who think Tony Fernandez and Kelly Gruber are still manning the left side. We are back in first - for now, anyway - and if we can take a series on the Blue Jays' asphalt surface - well - it's a pennant race, not a wild card hoax. I maintain there is a huge difference between winning a division and winning a one-game extension of the season, courtesy of Bud Selig's final money-squeezing scam.
Last night, we saw the long-awaited arrival of Carlos Beltran as a Yankee - 16 months tardy, but better late than never - (sort of like the Yankee celebration of A-Rod's 3,000th hit.) Beltran has been "quietly turning his season around," in the parlance of the YES-ESPN talking Magic 8-Balls. But last night, he delivered the goods.
His HR had me recalling 1995, the future Torre dynasty, when 2B Pat Kelly hit an astonishing 2-run HR in Toronto, culminating a dramatic comeback. It was the last week of the season, ninth inning, and we'd been down 3-0. Suddenly, Kelly was rounding the bases, and we were ahead. We won 4-3 - just like last night. It was Kelly's shining moment as a Yankee, it caught everybody in the Yankiverse off guard, and it propelled us into the playoffs, not a one-game crap shoot.
And soon after came the At Bat - Tulo v. Miller... which had me thinking (in a reverse situation) of Paul O'Neill coming up in the ninth of Game One of the 2000 World Series. We were down by one, with one out and the unspeakably evil Armando Benitez on the mound. Meanwhile, every sportswriter in captivity had been calling for O'Neill to be benched. He worked a 10-pitch walk - foul, foul, foul, foul - and eventually scored the tying run. We won in the 14th.
Last night was one of the reasons you follow the Yankees.
Of course, by Monday, it might be a cruel joke by the juju gods. (But we are 2-1 since the International Juju Intervention. Two and one, baby, two and one.) Who knows...?
Friday, August 14, 2015
I sensed trouble when our 4 run opening burst wasn't quite enough. It is as though we built a wall, but it wasn't high enough. Not sturdy enough. Like the little pig who built his house, not of brick, but of stick.
Guns were firing. McCann with a two out blow that set us on the way, dangerously dancing around the 18 wheeler headed our way had we left Jacoby and Gardy on base without advancing, or scoring, either one of them.
Drew was a monster. Best game of his Yankee career. Maybe he was responding to the Chase Utley "footsteps" rumor. He may even have notched .200 this morning.
But we are not out of the swamp. The muck of Chris Capuano still sucks us down. I find his presence unfathomable. And Joe is considering a two-header for an upcoming game; Cappy and Warren. We'll lose by 10 and use up the bullpen. Just concede that one.
Nice to see our young first baseman crush a couple of pitches for outs. Then, he fell into the latest A-Rod syndrome, watching and or flailing at third strikes.
Bad night for his family. No one like to see their child fail in public. At least he played OK defence.
The bus is warming, though.
But she's right. Until last night, this team would make Betty White look good. Moreover, what Suzyn didn't say is what was makes every Yankee fan reach from the Bromo Seltzer: We're sick of watching our "sluggers" pile onto some hapless, Triple A innings-eater, who's doing mop-up in a 10-run blowout. It's great to score the 15th through 21st runs, but if you go 1-for-20 afterwards, there's a special dung heap in hell that is awaiting your Cooperstown plaque.
We play three in Toronto this weekend- with seven more against them in September (plus home and away series against Tampa, Baltimore and Boston.) There's a lot of cricket yet to play. So here are the match-ups.
Tonight: NOVA v PRICE...
I wonder if Joe has learned his Nova lesson: With a game on the line, Ivan magically turns into Javier Vazquez throwing to Johnny Damon. This is a microcosm of Super Nova's super career, which is to say he's Sandy Koufax in the first three innings, and Sandy Duncan in the last three. Clearly, Nova is why we have brought back the Babadook - otherwise known Chris Capuano. Our YES men constantly gin up hope about the new Yankee farm system, but you have to wonder: Was there nobody in Scranton better than Capuano?
As for David Price, well, the Yankees can reaffirm all the ESPN drama jockeys who believe the Jays stole the pennant at the trade deadline - or we can stab Team Canada directly in its Keystone pipeline. There is no reason for a team that has always hit Price so well to suddenly be so utterly dominated by the guy - other than to say he was pitching last weekend on spite and adrenaline. Is it too much to ask the Yankees show a little of both?
Tomorrow: TANAKA v. ESTRADA...
I still wonder how Estrada shut us out for nearly seven innings. If he's that good, well, nothing matters: Toronto is out of our league, and we're chasing a wild card. If he's that good...
As for Tanaka, I'm starting to wonder if in November, we shouldn't send him to Dr. Andrews. Is he tired? (He's never pitched so deep into the well of a season.) Is it the elbow? Over his last three starts (1-2, 4.50), he's been - well - fraying. I always figured the season would end with him clutching his wrist and walking off a mound. Now, not so sure. He's going to keep throwing, because that's what gamers do. But I'm wondering...
Sunday: SEVERINO v. DREW HUTCHINSON...
Hate to have Severino surfing with the sharks, but it's too late now to pull him out of the water. I'm just glad he's not throwing for Philadelphia. Because in case you missed it, Cole Hamels tweaked his gonad the other day, and he's going to miss at least one start. (And when does a veteran pitcher with a bad groin miss just ONE start?) For all those who wanted the Yankees to empty their system for Hamels - (Severino and Greg Bird would probably both have gone) - chew on that news for a moment: Hamels is out with a barking groin. If we'd traded for him, we'd be starting Chris Capuano this weekend anyway.
As for Hutchinson, he's one of the reasons why Toronto was in second place, despite the scariest hitting lineup in baseball. Let's just pray Suzyn isn't tipping her cap to him Sunday night - or some lippy airline stewardess might end up talking like Geno Smith.
Thursday, August 13, 2015
Nothing s working. Four hits is a flood of offense now.
One hit every other inning...almost. None timely.
Is A-Rod just burning out in the August heat? We all thought that would happen, even as a full time DH. The more he gets on base, the longer he has to stand up and the more he has to run and slide. He is forty. Only knuckleball pitchers can be effective, for a full season, at that age.
Jacoby is 4-45? Gardy , for some reason, is as slow as Beltran when he is on first and tries to steal second. Does he have a running form of the "yips?" One of the fastest guys in the league cannot steal a base?
Stephen Drew is much too much the power hitter wanna be, and not enough the baseball player. It is unacceptable that he won't even attempt a bunt with no out , the tying run on first, and 75% of the left-side of the infield unoccupied by the enemy.
And is he doesn't have the brain to try, Joe Girardi must force him to. And if the manager won't insist, then he should go. We have horrible hitters acting like prima donnas, and a manager who is lying in the post game conferences.
Chase Utley is having no better a year than Stephen Drew, only for 3 times the millions, and future year options to saddle us with. If they trade for him on his final lap at age 36, and give up any player for him, there is evidence of true insanity in the Yankee front offices.
Which desperation can invoke.
The Yankees are acting like refugees, mindlessly overcrowding already non sea worthy boats, and heading into the ocean waters.
We should have known.
We did know.
We were simply duped.