Tuesday, June 19, 2018

In a sweet equilibrium, the 2018 Yankees are chasing their own history

It is the way of Yankee fans to see every grain of brown rice as a possible mouse turd. That is, we can be winning 10-2, but if Jorge Posada hits into a bases-loaded DP, it fucking ruins our whole night. So be it. Mariner fans can rejoice over a well-played game. We want beat-downs. We want history.

We yearn for the team where every hitter is hot, and every pitcher lights-out. We want 1927, or 1950, or 1961, or 1978, or 1998... teams that arrive once in a generation and bring joyous memories that will last the rest of our lives.

This might be such a team. 

If you look at 15 to 20 year cycles, the franchise is - like Yellowstone - slightly overdue. 

And the best indication - despite our love of negativity - is how the 2018 team has avoided dark slumps. The above chart shows Yankee hitters over the last seven games, a period in which the team scored roughly four runs per game.

As you see, three players - Didi, Stanton and Judge - carried us. Didi and Stanton had previously been slumping. (Since opening day, Judge remains the most consistent Yankee, yet another sign of his ascending greatness.) Meanwhile, Gardy and Andujar - two previously hot hitters - went into the crapper. (Gary Sanchez has been cold now for a distressing period, but he might be breaking out.)

The team seems to have reached an equilibrium, where when one player freezes, another takes over. Last night, Stanton and Hicks carried us. 

So is this a team of destiny? Obviously, too soon to say. My guess is it depends on Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar, (and maybe Sanchez.) Whenever rookies hit a slump, you automatically wonder if they'll emerge as the same player. That's the deal with youngsters. But we do have a fail safe: If either enters a deathly tailspin or gets hurt, Brandon Drury looks hungry and incredibly ready in Scranton. 

This may not be 1927 or 1961, but right now, it looks like the best Yankee team since 1998. The bar is high. We're coasting... in a good way. And I'm not suggesting that anybody should touch the brown rice. But you better make sure you enjoy this summer. We might be on the verge of something special. 


13bit said...

Seeing grains of brown rice as mouse turds is called "pragmatism," not "panic." Life - and decades of Yankees shared experience - has taught us that we have to eat the mouse turds along with the rice, sometimes throwing on a little extra soy sauce to help it along.

I agree that we do have a better chance this year at a really good team. I reserve the word "great" for rare occasions and, as you said, we won't know about "great" until September. We shall see. At the moment, I want to see the young pitchers get a chance. Cashman's worst judgement is reserved for mid-season veteran pitcher rentals and flea market sales. These are the times when we must be on the qui vive.

Post sentries at the gates, man the walls, sight the artillery - Cashman is walking around with an itchy wallet and we must make sure he doesn't escape. On Javier!, On Esteban! On Pavano! On Blitzen!

Anonymous said...

I am as pessimistic as the next guy and frequently wrong so I decided to look at actual stats for a change to asses the year to date.

I didn't realize how well they are playing against the teams they will most likely face in the playoffs.

Vs. BOS 3-3
Vs. CLE 3-0
Vs. Hous. 5-2
Vs. LAA 5-1

Total 16-7

Vs. Wash 2-2
Vs. LA N/A
Vs. Chi N/A

Total 2-2

For a grand total of 18-9 against the top of the league. That's pretty damn good so far.

As Duque suggests the Seattle series will be a good indication of where the Mariners stand as they enter big boy territory.

But, as we all know, we need to win the division, just on the "Any Given Sunday" rule alone. If we get to a multiple game series I like our chances thus far.

So a solid if not spectacular starter might be the best bet so we don't have to mortgage the future. Plus Tanaka is getting a nice rest, saving wear on his arm.

So, we know Cashman is going to pull the trigger and isn’t the best judge of pitching talent when it comes to veterans but I’m not too worried. The goal for this trade is the division not an ace.

Unless we are in DeGrom territory (and we're not) he's not trading Frazier or Sheffield. Remember, Frazier and Sheffield were the prizes for trading Andrew Miller making them equal to Gleybar. For all the Gardner love, I have to believe they will "Bernie Williams" him at the end of the year and give the job to Frazier.

If the above is true and as I said before, I’m wrong a lot, I think the upcoming trade will be tolerable.

Doug K.

Anonymous said...

Just checked my math. Should be 16-6 and 18-8 like I said, I'm wrong a lot. I'm more of a big picture guy.

Doug K.

I'm Bill White said...

I met a wonderful Japanese man. He described the doctor’s orders as he hovered near Type-2 diabetes territory. You need to change from white rice to brown rice. As a young father with lots of life to live, he did as he was told. His numbers improved significantly. Reminds me of the time that I took a bus to Scranton (at my own expense) to appear before the City Council to request a name change to New New York, Pennsylvania. I sat next to Sal Fasano on the bus and he talked me out of it over shared Chinese takeout. One meal two forks. I’d never seen brown rice before. He said athletes need to eat better and the white stuff makes you fat. This was in a time before smartphones so we talked a lot. He said speaking of New New York, I play for Kansas City but one day I’ll be a Yankee. I said why are you going to Scranton but he never answered. Sal slept with white takeout styrofoam balanced on his belly. The brown rice stood out as our bus labored north on 81.

HoraceClarke66 said...

I hate to be the mouse turd in the risotto (actually, the planned name of my forthcoming memoir: "Mouse Turd in the Risotto"!).

It's hard to argue with how this team has performed so far, and overall they certainly have been a delight.

They are, though, lacking a couple things that the 1998 team—which was a very comparable, 51-18 at this point—possessed. Namely, pitching and hitting.

I'm not being sarcastic. Obviously, this 2018 team has plenty of both. But they do have two, very contradictory holes to fill, and I don't know if they can do it.

—First, they don't have anything like the Big 4, veteran postseason monsters that they had in 1998: Cone, Pettitte, Wells, and our Peerless Leader's namesake, El Duque.

To be sure, Severino right now is better than any of them, and Tanaka can rise to similar heights. But we just don't have the postseason starting muscle that we did then, and even the acquisition of a Happ or a Hamels will not provide it.

For that matter, our current pen, estimable though it is, is not quite up to what was one of the best pens of all time, especially in the postseason: The Great One, Stanton, Mendoza, Nelson, Lloyd.

But then, all they need is to be en fuego for a month, something much lesser pens have done.

—The hitting. It's true, so far they've done a good job of picking each other up.

But overall, the team's extended, recent slump has it on pace to score 852 runs. This is slightly below the 859 we scored last year, a season marred by an extended, midseason slump caused in part by Judge's undisclosed shoulder injury.

More significantly, it's a level we slumped to or below only 5 time, during the 18 dynasty years of 1995-2012.

Now, maybe I'm all wet, and this team is about to soar again, as Stanton's 2017 form and Bird's Limitless Potential (BLP) finally kick in, and the real Gary Sanchez is discovered, wandering barefooted and dazed around a vacant Tijuana lot, while his evil twin is apprehended by the FBI.

But right now, this is a team that has trouble beating the back ends of rotations, never mind the front.

As I have mentioned a couple dozen times, this team has now gone 22 or 23 straight games (depending on how you count the Washington make-up) without scoring more than 8 runs—and they only got to that level once.

The longest such streak for the 1998 team? 12 straight games. That team averaged just under 6 runs a game. This one is now at 5.2, and dropping steadily.

Most likely now, the Yanks are about to make some horrible trade to bolster the rotation. But that will just mean giving up the hitter or two who might galvanize the lineup. Not a good scenario.

See you in the risotto!

13bit said...

That’s a fucking beautiful tale, well told. Thank you!

Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...

Allow me to sling some additional (wet, sloppy) horse dung:

A. You'll have to convince me (and yourselves?) that any of the other teams in MLB right now are any good. There's a lot of bad, even on good teams. I follow the Nationals (I've lived in MD-VA since '79) -- there's a lot of SUCK in that team. Yeah, I know they beat us twice lately. Yes: I know the Red Sux are even with us; but upon watching that team, I really, really am not sure how THEY are doing it.

B. You don't know Lasagna. Really, you don't. Neither do I. Maybe it won't be overcooked?

C. Domingo G might actually be good.

Yeah, there are questions. Will GStanton go 4-for-5 in another game (in our lifetimes?). Will Sanchez conquer his severe case of ADD? Can Larry Walker possibly fall into a deep hole, like Ellsburger, and never be heard from again?

AND: Can Cashman restrain himself from giving away chances of success in the years 2019 thru 2026 for an old, rotten arm?

All of the worries, tho, might lead one to overlook how well things are going. Keep in mind: Toronto beat the Nationals 3 in a row this past weekend. And the northern birds are SIXTEEN GAMES BEHIND the Yankees (in the loss column).

In the very mortal words of the Donald Sutherland character (to Clint Eastwood, Telly Savalas, Don Rickles, and others) in "Kelly's Heroes" . . . positive waves, man. Positive waves!

HoraceClarke66 said...

Good points, Joe FOB. I think the Red Sox are playing well above their heads, too.

But how they're doing it is, I think, a little ominous. That is, with great pitching—especially starting pitching—and the fact that Martinez, Betts, and a couple other of their hitters have apparently decided to defy all conventional wisdom and become well-rounded, hit-to-any-field, situational hitters.


TheWinWarblist said...

JFB, regarding Domingo G's stuff, Fangraphs have advanced data that says his fastball is in the top 10 in MLB. And he has two other pitches with swing and miss stuff. His swinging strike rate is 15.9% and his K/9 is 10.38. He is going to be a front half of the rotation starter for us.

TheWinWarblist said...


TheWinWarblist said...

Still waiting for the flap of BLP; I am listening carefully.

Leinstery said...

The Master calls for us

Leinstery said...

Just saw the replay, John needs an eye transplant. Judge maybe hit the ball 270 feet, never had a chance, didn't even make the warning track.

TheWinWarblist said...


TheWinWarblist said...


TheWinWarblist said...

Hicks hits one to the sticks!?? FUCKIN' RIGHT HE DID!!

Leinstery said...

Poor Clint, this fucking cockroach Hicks always delivers just enough to buy him time. First the HR last night, now another one right in our poor boy's face.

TheWinWarblist said...

C'mon Bombers! 4 (or more) more runs! Score more than 8!

Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...

come on, man -- Hicks isn't a cockroach. He isn't Dimaggio, but then -- who ever was? You look at Dimag's HRs vs. Ks, and you think you're reading fiction!

Perhaps having Clint hanging out in the locker room is motivating Hicks, tho?

Larry Walker - now there is a cockroach. Somehow, these creatures evolved to survive without adding much value . . .

TheWinWarblist said...

Larry was once a useful major leaguer, although never really useful enough to be a Real Yankee. He just happens to be at the end of his career and now resembles a cockroach. No matter how hard he is trying.

13bit said...

German and Lasagna, we own maƱana.

TheWinWarblist said...

It is, in actuality, GLEYBER DAY!!!

TheWinWarblist said...

AAAA-AA-Ahh-AHHH-AAAHHHHH-AAaAaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHaaaa-ah-ah-ah-aaaaaaaaAaAaHaHaHaaaAAAAAAhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh !!!!!!!!!

HoraceClarke66 said...

Nice win tonight. Almost made that eight. But in general, good all around game, and another great start by our own Mannschaft.
One that keeps Happ from happening, we can only hap, uh, hope.

Hicks is not a cockroach—and if Gardy is truly injured, we may need him. Unless Ellsbury can come back. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

All right, I'm calm now.

Neil Walker is not a cockroach, either. He seems like a perfectly nice individual, who had a career in major-league baseball he can be truly proud of. He should take his haul of $4 million, deposit it wherever he keeps the rest of his mountain of gold, and enjoy a long, terrific retirement with his loving family.

Just far away from Yankee Stadium.

TheWinWarblist said...

Far, far away from Yankee stadium ...

KD said...

Leinstery is Alfonso's even more pessimistic counterpart in the Mirror Universe. I'm sure he has a goatee...

KD said...

I've been pondering Leinstery for a while now. I think he might actually have Walker and Sanchez fatheads on the wall of his Mancave and what we are reading is an intense version of reverse juju. I seem to notice tepid responses from Sanchez and walker after particularly intense critical outbursts from Mr. Leinstery.

Keep it up. I don't know what is happening and why we keep winning. Rookies succeeding with the Yanks? How far back to we need to go to see something even remotely similar?

Don't upset this applecart! This is fucking Magical!!

Leinstery said...

I'm sorry to disappoint, but I'm just really negative. 2004 broke me forever.

Walker is whatever to me, he stinks, he starts rallies, I don't care. I just don't want them to keep him on the roster for any longer. Sanchez pisses me off, so much talent, so little brains. He strikes me as a genuinely stupid person. How many times is he going to be fooled by balls that bounce before they reach the plate?

I also shave my face and don't like mancaves.

And Hicks is a cockroach in the sense that we all want him gone, but much like a cockroach in a nuclear winter he just won't go away.

KD said...

Keep it up, Leinstery. Sanchez this year is a letdown and Walker needs to walk (or run) far, far away. I won't tell you what kind of fan you need to be. each of us have been formed by our own experiences and by our innate predispositions. what matters is our sense of humor, our love of the game and, more specifically, our love of the NYY.

Oh, and not being an asshole is appreciated too. (not writing about you!)