Saturday, June 3, 2017

Once again, Brigadoon prepares to disappear

Last night, the Yankiverse blinked. In an historic moment - akin to the fall of the Berlin Wall or Tiny Tim's marriage on the Carson show - Michael Kay and John Flaherty wondered aloud how long the Yankees will continue to play Chris Carter at first base? 

I shuddered. What hath God wrought? The YES men, questioning Yankee policy? Naked and terrified, I faced renewed deliriums over the ninth man in our lineup, our 1B. Yep, it's common that our first baseman bats ninth. In all those lean, post-Tino years of Lyle Overbay, Andy Philips, Juan Miranda, et al, the train of troubled nincompoops playing first base still didn't bat ninth. But ours does.

Since taking over for Greg Bird on May 2, Carter has hit .166 with 3 HRs and 34 strikeouts in 72 at bats. That's no typo. Thirty-four strikeouts. Do the math. He fans nearly one out of every two at bats. So disastrous has been the Carter era at first that now we hath witnessed the unthinkable: Kay and Flash, questioning the wisdom of playing him any more.

At one point, Kay even said the "R" word - Rob Refsnyder, who had gone 2 for 4 the other night against Baltimore, before once again disappearing. It was the typical protocol for Brigadoon, who shows up every fortnight, gets a few hits and then vanishes into the firmament. 

Now, I realize that some of you do not share my opinion that Refsnyder can hit major league pitching. Fine. I guess my concern, though, is that we will never know. Two years ago, when Refsnyder was knocking on the door at 2B, the Yankees chose to play the hapless Stephen Drew for virtually an entire season, until Drew literally couldn't suit up, leaving Refsnyder to start the wild card game. Over 46 MLB at bats that season, he hit .302 with 2 HRs. 

Last year, rather than give Refsnyder a shot at 2B, the Yankees traded for Starlin Castro. Thus, at age 25, Refsnyder once again returned to Scranton - where he hit .316 in 230 at bats. In limited time with the Yankees, he hit .250. Yeah, it's not the stuff of Cooperstown, but close your eyes and imagine the Yankee lineup over the last month if our first baseman could hit .250, instead of .166? 

Wait a minute: Don't bother. It doesn't matter. We all know what's coming for Refsnyder: Early next week, Tyler Austin will end his rehab stint and probably join the Yankees, exiling Refsnyder back to Scranton - quite possibly forever. (Actually, the Yankees might send Austin to Scranton, keeping Refsnyder for another week, before Greg Bird comes out of rehab. Either way, he is doomed.)

So what am I suggesting? Let me simply pose a question: 

If it's a dang-done certainty that Greg Bird will soon return to take over first base, then what is Chris Carter going to show us over the next week that would change our minds about him? 

Even if he goes on a home run tear - which he won't - we've already seen the bottomless depths of Carter's slumps, and they simply are not worth the positives. Carter is an everyday, free-swinging DH who needs 500 at bats with a bottom tier team, like Milwaukee was last year. He'll hit 40 home runs on such a club. But when pitchers make their pitches, Carter strikes out. And when you're in a pennant race, pitchers make pitches. 

But but but... you're saying that Refsnyder is hitting just .200. So what has he shown? You got me, sheriff. He has 12 plate appearances - 2 walks, 2 hits (one double) and he's 2-for-10. It's merely 44 points above Carter, but why am I bothering? Soon, Refsnyder will disappear, as the fates have dictated. But this time, he will leave an incredible legacy:

On one awesome night in June of 2017, the Yankiverse blinked: The YES men questioned the fabric of their existence and, for a moment, glimpsed the truth... whatever it is.


DutchFan said...

I may be a tad off topic, but anyway:
Listening to the Master last night it suddenly occurred to me that, as far as I know (and keep in mind I am Dutch) he can never be on a streak. Never heard of it. Bad.

Wouldn't it be great if we could celebrate for example:
53 consecutive games using the line "You can't predict baseball".
103 consecutive games saying "Well, they play every day you know"

Or maybe even innings:
342 consecutive innings "Cut on and missed"

Just thought it might enhance the whole listening experience and add some depth. I mean, doesn't The Master deserve some stats so we can humiliate the competition and the heir to his Sunoco throne.

Anonymous said...

Ref's wearing #30 these days. Last year it was #38. In 2015, it was #64. Plenty of recent vintage Yankees have worn two different #s...Cano (#22, then #24), Coney (#17, then #11), Girardi (#45, then #25...his managerial world series ambitions don't count) come immediately to mind. But I can't think of three different numbers. Except Ref. A pitcher maybe? For what it's worth, Ref's worn 4 different #'s in Scranton. As a freshman, he wore #13. Sophomore year, #27. #15 in his junior year. And in '17, his senior year, it's been #5. Identity crisis? Must be.

joe de pastry said...

Refsnyder stinks.