Sunday, May 20, 2018

It's been a long time since a Yankee lineup tilted so far to the right

Quick now, if you were an MLB manager - one of these modern, like-me-on-Facebook types, not a chaw-chompin' Stump Merrill - would you send a twitchy, oh-so-sensitive lefty starter on a suicide mission against the 2018 Yankees? I'm not talking about starting Chris Sale or Madison Bumgarner, or that $31 million-a-year tax write-off known as David Price. I'm thinking of a Kei Igawa or a Vidal Nuno, a lefty on your roster simply because he's a lefty. A "quirky southpaw," as the Gammonites might say, who is struggling like - well - like Danny Duffy, whose ERA after last night now stands at 6.88, even though lefty batters are hitting .200 against him. 

Last night, Duffy never got to see a lefty batter, and if you root for the Royals, it was like a game devised by Gina Haspel. (YEOW! TURN IT OFF!) The Yanks went full Kim Jong Un and launched five missiles against Duffy and the bullpen, and if not for the cavernous park, they'd have hit at least three more. Manager Aaron Boone played a RH lineup built for Fenway. He replaced Brett Gardner with Clint Frazier, Neil Walker with Tyler Austin, Didi Gregorius with Ronald Torreyes, and Giancarlo Tartabull with Giancarlo Stanton. Everyone hit, it was like a beer softball tournament, and guess what? Today, KC will start Eric Skoglund - yep, a lefty! - while we're countering with, gulp, Sonny Gray. Who's bringing the keg? 

Until Greg Bird returns, and Gardy heats up, and Sir Didi reverts back from Dr. Bruce Banner, Boonie's Bombers should expect to see righties in much the way that teams historically used lefties to counter the short porch in Yankee Stadium.  Right now, we see a huge LH-RH disparity with Austin and Stanton, who crush lefties. Unfortunately, because they bat RH, Frazier and Brandon Drury may spend most of 2018 in Scranton. If Billy McKinney hits, or Jacoby Ellsbury heals - (ha! that's a joke!) - either could vault into the MLB mix, as a starter or platoon. In fact, despite his wonderful appropriation as a punch line, Ellsbury could play a formidable role in the Yankee second half. I am not kidding. It could happen, simply because he's a lefty.

To be sure, this is a First World problem - and it's far less of one if Bird comes back blazing. But in a seven-game series, Houston can show us three tough righties and Dallas Keuchel, and you know what? These games right now may just be merely a prelude to that eventual ALCS. The Yanks and Redsocks are dueling for the October home field advantage and the chance to avoid that hideous one game wild card. They are playing the season for the opportunity to set their rotation for that inevitable confrontation.

It's a long way to October, and the best LH bats still look to be from within. (Can Walker keep it going?) But come July 31, Cooperstown Cashman might be looking for a lefty bopper who can play 3B or even catch, now and then. And don't expect to see more Vidal Nunos start against us. 

36 comments:

HoraceClarke66 said...

That sounds a lot like Moustakas, Duque, though I'm not sure I can stomach the idea.

Meanwhile, the Times' obsession with soccer finances has closed the gap a little: Yankees 86, Soccer 80.

I'm off to the city where they actually put boxscores in the leading paper, hoorah hoorah hoorah.

Let's see if Sonny and the Yanks—aka, "The Riders on the Storm"—can finish off another series.

John M said...

Hicks is probably doing just enough to keep Cashman interested, damn it.

Horace, the Washington Post had a big article on Atlanta's rise as a rabid MLS city. Just noting.

TheWinWarblist said...

Sunny Sonny Day!

TheWinWarblist said...

Spin rate left/right platoon clear pine tar FIP OBA BABIP you can't predict baseball sometimes it rains

Alphonso said...

Today, we try to win the KC series " the hard way," as they say.

John M said...

Twins put Mauer on the 10 day DL and called up Jake Cave.

Anonymous said...

Platoon splits are not ironclad. Some batters hit as well against both lefties and righties; some even reverse the platoon factor, doing better against pitchers who throw from the same side that they bat.

For example: For 2017-2018, Judge has markedly better numbers against righties than lefties; Stanton does better against lefties, but not by a huge margin; in 2017 Bird had much better numbers against lefties; and so on.

So this is something to be examined case by case. If your righty-stacked lineup does not show a huge platoon disadvantage against righty pitching, then it's not an issue. As in Bird's case, some of them might even do better against RHP than some of the lefty batters.

Anonymous said...

It took Killer Doc Winwarblist nearly an hour to think of two utterly witless, stupid comments for this thread, demonstrating that his appearances here are based on a desperate need for some kind of human contact and attention rather than any interest in or knowledge of the topic at hand. For Winwarblist there is only one topic--his lonely, isolated, tormented soul. All the rest is pretext.

Anonymous said...

Yesterday Boone told Frazier that he would be today's starting left-fielder. Then Boone inserted Gardner in the lineup instead. Any announced reason for the switch?

Leinstery said...

Because the Yankees (notably Coops and Lady Steinbrenner) hate Clint Frazier.

Anonymous said...

Any ANNOUNCED reason?

Anonymous said...

Tyler Austin is doing his best to make it obvious that keeping Neil Walker instead of Austin upon Bird's return would be a self-inflicted wound. You can tell Coney thinks Austin should stay with the big club--he pointed out, after Austin's second homer, that he mashes LHP and that Boston has a lot of LHP.

I wish Cone were the general manager of the team.

TheWinWarblist said...

I wish Coney would expose himself in the Mets bullpen again.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, Killer Doc Warblist--I bet you do wish that--obsessively, day and night. I wish you were not a fourth-rate hack who kills patients. I guess everyone has his wish list.

TheWinWarblist said...

Big Toe? Little Toe? Uneventful game, I guess.

Anonymous said...

What other male baseball players do you want to see expose themselves in public, Killer Doc Warblist? Please feel free to disgorge the diseased muck of your psyche whenever you like.

TheWinWarblist said...

Cooperstown will have traded Sunny before the 8th if he knows what's good for the Yanks.

TheWinWarblist said...

Sunny and Moustakis could change uniforms.

TheWinWarblist said...

Except for the fact that Mous is a full size adult.

Anonymous said...

Hey Warblist--we already know that you're not funny, not very bright, not interesting, and desperate for attention. No need to belabor the point--consider it officially granted and stipulated. Now you can go back to your penis-exposure daydreams without further interruption.

Rufus T. Firefly said...

Gettin' Miggy with it.

Rufus T. Firefly said...

Belly to belly

KD said...

nice Old Fashioned ass kick. Sweet.

KD said...

Coney exposed himself? Dude was gonzo...

Nickname Damur said...

10-1. They shoulda put in Betances. See how many he can give up.

Local Bargain Jerk said...


10-1. They shoulda put in Betances. See how many he can give up.

Funny, I was thinking the same thing. My thought, however, was that it would give us an opportunity to see where Betances' head was these days, in a fairly low-risk situation...

Today's game took something like 2 and half hours. Gray just mowed 'em down. His ERA is still in the high fives, but a few more near-shutouts like today will get him -- and us -- where we need to be.

A great day.

TheWinWarblist said...

AAAaAaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHaaaa-ah-ah-ah-aaaaaaaaAaAaHaHaHaaaAAAAAAhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh !!!!__+!!!'"£!!!

Rufus T. Firefly said...

Yes, Mr. Cone showed his little mister to a couple of pulchritudinous young ladies while he was with the mutts.

Quick games *are* good.

The Master must have been worn out from all of the home runs the last two days. His Warble was mailed in.

Hicks must be tired as well. He only made it a stand up triple and not a stand up inside-the-parker.

Parson Tom said...

I did not realize Austin is still officially a rookie. Wow! OPS now second highest on the team. Been hitting balls hard all season. And the Yankees will have three or four collecting votes for ROY.

Of course, it'd be fun if Sonny Gray could string a few strong appearances together, but right now he doesn't even have a Charlie Brown winning streak so perhaps we shouldn't count those chickens. Man, he looked good, although the Royals may not be a top-shelf lineup just now.

Beyond WHIP, I do not understand the long-term analytics for pitchers. I've read here somewhere, perhaps Mr. Anon, that Gray's slide to mediocrity in NYC was predictable based on his previous couple of years. Certainly, he's given up a lot more hits and runs since the end of 2015.

But the Yankees are doing what the good teams do: Get fat on the weaklings and hold your own against the good teams. Fun team we have here.

Anonymous said...

Parson Tom--

Check out FIP.

TheWinWarblist said...

The Yankees big win streak came against some of the best teams in the AL. So of course they should fatten up on the humpies.

TheWinWarblist said...

As I said, FIP.

Anonymous said...

Killer Doc--you don't say anything. You dribble drunken non sequiturs, straining to sound clever but always ending up sounding desperate and lonely.

Anonymous said...

Parson Tom --

An excellent and thorough explanation:

https://www.fangraphs.com/library/pitching/fip/

HoraceClarke66 said...

WinWarblist, I cracked up at the Moustakas-Gray crack. Though hey, I'd love to see Sonny get sunny, as I don't think he's going anywhere.

Austin must stay.

And WinWarblist, you're right: the great teams all bottom feed.

DeGaulle once told John Kenneth Galbraith: "Always be merciless with small men." We must always be merciless with small teams.

Rufus T. Firefly said...

DeGaulle: "How can you govern a country which has two hundred and forty-six varieties of cheese?"

A: With wine, of course.