Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The trouble with doubleheaders is not the roster crunch

Yesterday afternoon, around the Daily News Newsday Little Debbie Whatever Fifth, The Master briefly glimpsed into the abyss and grew discouraged. It didn't matter that the Yanks were well ahead with Cy Severino on the mound, and the Tiger batters wilting like dandelions in a microwave. John Sterling was musing about how the weather gods - not even those of juju - were screwing his beloved team.

Too many doubleheaders, he grumbled. And we all know what happens with doubleheaders... 

He paused, and I waited for his horrible prophetic words: You split them. 

Thus did John break his own first and greatest Sterling Postulate of Life: You cannot predict baseball, Suzyn. He reported the future. He knew...

As of today, MLB has seven doubleheaders scheduled for the rest of the season. The Yankees play two - both in soggy Baltimore. (By the way, Boston has none.) From now on, with every rain-out or game called due to riots, a new doubleheader will be born. Not only will it represent a future roster crunch - I cannot remember a time when the Yanks were protesting ESPN over a schedule change - but there is that psychic Yin-Yang of the two-headed outcome: 

It's hard to beat a team twice in one day. 

Of the 13 doubleheaders already played in 2018, ten have been splits and three were sweeps. We can leave Ryan McBroom in Trenton. You win one, and you lose one - even when the opposition is a feckless team in collapse mode, like the Tigers. The Yankees showed that last night, as they repeatedly left game-breaking runners on second and third, letting miserable Mike Fiers beat them. What a disgrace. How could it happen? Well, it was the second game of a doubleheader, and they'd already sated themselves at the clubhouse buffet.

Statistically, the number of splits and sweeps is almost even, as shown in this 2016 chart by an intrepid fan poster on SB Nation.  But if you consider the three outcomes of a twin bill - home team sweep, away team sweep, split - then the split is a much higher percentage. It's like in Tee-Ball: Everybody is a winner, and nobody goes home without a ribbon.

And last night, we made good on John's vision. I still don't know what happened to Aaron Judge, who fanned five times. Twice, he watched 90-mph fastballs go right down the middle for a called third strike, then sauntered back to the dugout like Melania on her Ketamine. Lately, the YES announcers have taken to repeating some bizarre study that claims to prove the umpires are screwing Judge on pitches outside the zone. As best as I can tell, they're referring to a mid-May Statcast post which says the Yankees are getting the most bad strike calls in baseball, with Judge and Brett Gardner getting the worst. Where's Al Pacino to scream about injustice? All I know is that last night, those third strikes went right down the glory hole. Having already won a game, was Judge being a good sport? Was that The Master's prophesy? The 2018 Yankees have the most talent in baseball. Do they have the most hunger?


HoraceClarke66 said...

No, they do not. They are a good bunch, having a good time.

But among other things they lack is their Paulie O'Neill, their Jeter, their Coney, even their Tino, an incredibly intense ballplayer, apparently.

They need a leader to emerge. Which is why they are still a few years away from actually winning it all/.

Rufus T. Firefly said...

Someone (a player) needs to go all Paulie on E(verything) S(awx) P(romotional) N(etwork). Maybe that'll work.

Or alternatively, everytime they ask a player a question the same response: "Can I call you at 4 a.m. with the answer? That's when our plane will land." That and Boone answering "yes" or "no" to every single question they ask in the 'required' media sessions. Kinda like Marshawn Lynch.

Rufus T. Firefly said...

And as far as predicting unpredictable baseball, John frequently contradicts himself.

...and the game you're watching on TV.

Anonymous said...




Joe F said...

Spekakin of ESPN how are the Astros No 1 in power rankings having lost 7/9 to Yanks and Sawx....the fix is in

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