Sunday, April 21, 2019

An easy schedule has masked the Yankees' problems, but that may be coming to an end

This we know: The juju gods are bastards. But the schedule-makers are our friends.

The Yankees are still listing through what should be their easiest stretch of opponents in 2019. Amid the casualty counts and the opening home-stand crowds, they have achieved a 10-10 record... and with a win today, they'll rise above .500. They then launch a West Coast swing that features yet two more tomato cans: (the Angels, 8-13 and last in AL West; and the Giants, 8-14 and last in NL West; they also play the Diamondbacks, 11-10 and 2nd in NL West.) At Triple A, Scranton might face tougher teams.

But now, with Aaron Judge home on the memory foam, can the Yankees beat anybody with a lineup like this?

Gardner LF  LeMahieu 3B  Voit 1B  Torres SS  Frazier RF  Tauchman CF  Ford DH  Urshela 3B  Higashioka C

Ouch. If Frazier and Tauchman slump - inevitable, as pitchers adjust to them - the bottom five offer meatballs without sauce. Mark my words: This is a team ripe for being no-hit... that if, if we faced tough opponents.

Generally, West Coast swings are brutal... the time zones, the long plane rides, the supermodels, the Charlie Sheen after-parties. That said, the Yankees will face two teams that could be into Knickerbockers territory by mid-June. The Angels have Mike Trout and the fading recollection of rally monkeys. The Giants look as if their team was hacked by the Russians. This is when a true Yankee contender would stockpile victories, run up to five or six games above .500. But without their best player - a California native, who would have relished playing in LA and SF - all bets are off. 

Still, the schedule-makers keep on giving. We won't face "hot" teams until we return home on May 3. The Yankees will play Minnesota (1st in the AL Central), Seattle (1st in the AL West) and Tampa (1st in the AL East). All three are early season surprises, and by mid-May, they could be coasting back to Earth - especially the Twins and Mariners. Even the Rays have looked shaky in the last two games against Boston, which seems to be rising after its woeful start.

The Yankees' .500 record doesn't look so bad, unless you pro-rate the wins against the teams they played. They went:

4-2 against the Orioles (now 8-14, last in the AL East.)

2-0 against Boston (8-13.)

1-2 against the White Sox (8-11.)

1-2 against Detroit (9-10.)

0-3 against Houston (13-7.)

2-1 against KC (7-14.)

That's a combined opponents' record of 53-69, a winning percentage of .434. Over a season, that would finish fourth in most divisions. The fact is, the Yankees' dismal, injury-wracked first month has been masked by an easy schedule. And we've got another few weeks of tomatoes. But beware August and September, folks. Let's just hope we're healthy.


13bit said...

Cashman will survive this season. He will play the injury card. Tough luck. Look at how well we did DESPITE THAT, though. That'll be his out. I don't buy it for a second, but just watch.

Boone will possibly rouse himself off of his indolent butt and manage a little bit. He knows he is the next one to get thrown under the bus if we don't hit the Wildcard Jackpot Game©. He'll maybe keep his job if we win over 90. My prediction remains in the 83-87 win window.

The coaching and conditioning staff may get shuffled around a bit, but the management doesn't seem to see any cause and effect between bad practices and actual injuries. Why maintain the staff at all if you think it's all voodoo, black magic, bad luck. accidents? Sure, let's keep them.

You know what we really need? More loopholes. Let's have Randy call up his friends in Albany and see if we can get some money flowing our way to make up for the ten year drought in World Series swag.

Simple solution to our problems? Hal sells the team to an owner who gives a shit and isn't afraid to kick some ass. I'm not normally a big proponent of tough love and all that shit, but heads must roll and it's not the heads of the players I'm talking about.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Boone will escape this year on injuries, too.

And the boys will come back, and the Yanks will rally down the stretch, and contend a little, and everyone will say, oh how brave and if only.

And next year, something else will go wrong.

But 13bit, sadly enough, Hal is not going to sell the team. it's going to be an ever-smaller part of his global sports empire. We are stuck with the Steinbrenners, who have morphed into the Dolans. What we thought of as "THE YANKEES," a team like no other, heavily invested in SUSTAINED EXCELLENCE, is no more.

That concept is as dead as it is in America as a whole.

What we need to accept is this (and I know, I know, it's hard as hell for me, too): we're like any other team. Most of the time, we'll just mope around and maybe contend for a wild-card play-in.

Once in a blue moon we'll really contend, and maybe even win it all. Hooray!

In the meantime—it's gonna be much as it was growing up for me, anyway. Some terrific ballplayers to root for. The Judge, Red Thunder, El Conquistador, El Matador, maybe Scotland's own Mike Ford.

No sense worrying that Coops cannot get together the 2-3 additional role players/middle relievers/power starters to win it all. The Office Boy is what he is, and eventually even his luck will run out.

Carpe diem—which means, of course, "Seize the carp."

Anonymous said...

Two things.

1) I agree with Hoss completely and I want to take one step further. I'm going to look at it as a gift.

For the first time since the mid 90's we are devoid of expectation. Nothing to get angry about or disappointed by. So, for the first time in decades we can root. Root for over achievement as opposed to getting pissed at underachievement. Root like most of the other fans in baseball root. Hope someone gets hot. Appreciate Ursala in the field. Luuuuuuke. DJ goes the opposite way. A team that drives in runs from third because they will have to.

I'm not going to tell you that it is a good thing. It's not. Unless it is. From this point on, when they win a game it will be twice as sweet. And when they lose... Of course they lost. It's a team devoid of superstar talent for the most part.

I'm back in HS and Bobby Murcer is playing the field, and Ron Bloomberg is up.

When you have low to no expectations any thing good is good. I wouldn't want this to be an annual thing. As you know I wanted Machado AND Harper and to never lose again. But these are the cards we've been dealt. I hope they win today.

2) Uh... let's talk about Aaron Judge. We all get on Stanton for being injury prone. But it sure seems to me that Judge has a tough time staying on the field too. I love the Big Galoot but I'm starting to feel like he has a black swan in his gym bag. I hope I'm wrong.

Doug K.

Leinstery said...

Today's lineup might be the weakest they've put out since 2013

JM said...

Great comments here. I have a hangover, true, but I don't think it's effecting my judgement. Experience helps.

Basketball Boone may never get fired, ever. Managing as we knew it is a quaint artifact of a fading era. BB's job is not to make brilliant moves on the field. He just has to follow the numbers more slavishly than Joey Binders and be a supportive "people manager." The thing Torre, the luckiest manager in history, was so good at.

Aside from the no-hit kid behind the plate, I'm ok with our lineup today for the reasons Doug articulated. This is kind of fun. A refreshing lack of "stars." I like it.

If everyone starts pitching like Paxton, we'll win a lot of games. 11 Ks after five. That's incredible. Gio G has opted out, but we have 48 hours to put him on the roster. He's been doing pretty darn well after a shaky start. I say, get him up here.

And Clint just blasted a 3-run job. I don't think he's a Kevin Maas. I'd rather have him than Stanton, who is insanely overpaid (not his fault) and whose 30 or 40 home runs do not make up for the vast majority of his ABs. We took him but wouldn't take Macado or Bryce. Thanks, Cash. You suck.

We went 0-3 against Houston but that should've been 2-1. Thanks, bullpen. You sucked.

It's all about pitching, anyway. I'm not worried about the offense. The pitching is another story. Let's go Gio.

TheWinWarblist said...

My ancient vagina pitches better than Chad Green.

TheWinWarblist said...

You suck Cashman.

Leinstery said...

Jesus Fucking Christ

TheWinWarblist said...

Oh yes. The bullpen.


JM said...

Jesus Mary Montero. What a shitshow.

Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...

I thought it was smart to bring Chad Green in to start the 8th in a 5-0 game. I'm sure Lorna Boone asked himself: "What's the worst that can happen?"

Got his answer....

JM said...

When they signed Ottavino, there was a lot of talk about how fearsome he was, how lights-out. He's fearsome, alright, and he turns our lights out with regularity. Green seems done. Maybe he'll regain his effectiveness. Maybe. But it doesn't look good.

JM said...

Wtf? Estrada? Wtf?

TheWinWarblist said...

Who the fuck is Thairo Estrada!?!?

TheWinWarblist said...

I will point out that Green would already have been removed from the clubhouse and given a one-way tucket to Palookaville if George was still alive.

TheWinWarblist said...



JM said...

Nice job, Romine. 3 for 5, winning RBI.

TheWinWarblist said...

Huff huff huff oh my gods what just happened? I promised myself I wouldn't get worked up this year ...

13bit said...

love you, winnie, you wild woman, you...

HoraceClarke66 said...

Great work, Warbler!

Sorry, out in Jersey for Easter and missed the festivities. At the home of my 89-year-old aunt, who drinks like a fish, just as she always has, and still has perfect hearing and flawless skin. It's weird. She should donate her body to that "Inventor" woman.

But I digress. What a game!!! See how much fun you can have when you have no expectations?

HoraceClarke66 said...

To answer a few questions:

"Who is Thairo Estrada?" Surely, you jest. It was Thairo who was going to be our second baseman of the future, until—horribly, and this is for real—he was shot in a hold-up in Venezuela. He has made a remarkable comeback, and today....became the first Yankee since 1976 to successfully lay down a sacrifice bunt.

(I kid, I kid. Tyler Wade laid down a successful squeeze bunt just the other week. Considering how he hits, Tyler Wad should be bunting every at-bat.)

Also, as I think I mentioned, I have talked to my warehouse guy, and he has now shipped to the Stadium the 35,000 ancient Egyptian headdresses I bought when Thairo was first a prospect.

You mark my words: everybody not wearing a Judge robe and wig will soon be wearing a "Thairo the Pharaoh" headdress. And walking like an Egyptian, while the scoreboard plays Steve Martin's "King Tut."

HoraceClarke66 said...

I have also decided to stop mocking James Paxton as, "The Ace, James Paxton."

Two straight, lights-out performances—even if one of them was against the Royals—is good enough for me. I still refuse to concede that he is five times better than Andy Pettitte, though.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Back when all the sportswriters were saying that we had The Greatest Bullpen What Ever Was, it seems to me that someone was pointing out that, outside of The Great One, relief pitchers are known for being terrific one year, and awful the next, and that several of our guys fit that pattern.

Oh, yeah, that was me.

The official CollBull W/L is now 4-10.