Sunday, August 12, 2018

Right now, no Yankee lead is safe, and the ninth inning has become The Abyss

It's a familiar picture: Sweat droplets leaping from the brim of Aroldis Chapman's cap, like mice fleeing a shipwreck, as our all-star closer stares into The Abyss. He is lost inside some delirium. El Chapo has walked the bases full, put the tying run in scoring position, with pitches so far out of the zone that Austin Romine had to stand to snare a few. He's hit a batter. Romine jogs out to the mound, and now here comes Larry "the House of" Rothschild, waddling out to dispense incredible wisdom such as, "Throw a fuckin' strike, for kricesake." Somebody - the last Yankee pitcher on the roster, a Shreve, a Cole or a Holder - is warming in the pen. But it's too late. Shoveling gum into his mouth, Aaron Boone is facing a firing squad. Five minutes ago, the Yankees had this game on ice. Now, chaos has arrived. Everything is in peril.  

It's the new normal: a heart attack ninth, regardless of the Yankee lead. And here's scariest part: Often, for Chappy to escape, opposing batters must swing at bad pitches. If you're facing a smart team - say, Boston, as opposed to cream puffs - good luck with that. Any veteran batter who can flick a foul ball or two will win a walk. And if this happens to be the playoffs, forget it.

Wonder what The Abyss looks like? Stare into Chapman's recent stats:


Some might see hope: Chapman has endured meltdowns before. And come October, if the Yankees reach a meaningful post-season, he will either be unhittable, or a complete stooge. The Yankees have him for three more years - (he has an opt-out clause after this season, but at $17 million per, I kinda doubt he'll invoke it) - and it's hard to imagine three more ragged Augusts like this.

So, naturally... the Yankiverse yesterday received a double-dose of nightmare: The wheels fell off Zach Britton. After retiring the first two batters in the seventh, he gave up an infield hit, a single, and then contracted Chapmanitis: he couldn't throw a strike. Britton was the big Yankee acquisition last month. We arguably gave up as much for him as for JA Happ and Lance Lynn, combined. 

And now we have Abyss No. 2 - Britton's recent numbers.


The worst part of these abysses? Come tomorrow, it won't matter that Britton and Chapman appear to be milk carton lost children. If the Yankees lead in the seventh, Boone will launch his countdown clock, starting with Britton, flowing into Betances, and finishing with El Chapo. It was supposed to be a psychological barrier to the opposition: the notion that three shutdown relievers are on the way. Now, it's The Abyss, and we are staring into it far too often to think that anything - including a post-season - is assured.

17 comments:

Local Bargain Jerk said...


Someone offered a strange comment on the radio broadcast yesterday -- I can't remember who it was because I was only half-listening at the time -- but they quoted Boone as saying "Chapman is a mechanics freak." They explained that Boone meant that as soon as Chapman detects anything amiss with his mechanics, everything else involving his delivery goes out of control until he makes the adjustment.

Oh, and rest easy, Boone said he's confident Chapman will make the adjustment.

TheWinWarblist said...

This is exhausting.

So endeth the JuJu.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Postseason? What postseason? Win nine more games, and they can go home!

John M said...

I miss Lindy McDaniel.

Local Bargain Jerk said...


5-run fifth inning. This is fun to listen to. John S. is in a fantastic mood because of how it's going.

TheWinWarblist said...

Suzyn gives The Master a handy under the console whenever the Yankees score five or more runs in an inning. Or so I've been told.

Oh lookey, Sunny's on the mound. Yaayyy.

ranger_lp said...

Way to go Sonny...pitching more like Sonny Fox than Sonny Gray. Not going to be penciled in the post season roster.

Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...


What does Sonny Gray need to do to get his ass relocated to Scranton?

ranger_lp said...

@JoeFOB...he needs to clear waivers first.

Joe F said...

Can we send Boone to Scranton???

HoraceClarke66 said...

The magic number is 8!

But yes, it seems to be constantly, one step forward, one back these days.

Andujar's hitting is terrific, but suddenly he's coming apart in the field. The Gleyber suddenly can't hit.

Sonny Gray...fails to build on is last good outing in any way whatsoever. Jonathan Holder bounces back.

The one straight-out good thing: that long predicted home-run skein by Stanton has finally arrived, glory be.

HoraceClarke66 said...

So, for tomorrow, the Mets have actually realigned their rotation to throw deGrom against us.

Nice. What a sweet bunch of guys.

I hope it gets rained out again.

Parson Tom said...

Believe it or not, the Yankees do have the second best record in baseball. Still feels like the wheels are coming off.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Well, that's the interesting thing, Parson.

You do get the feeling that if they can just keep paddling, get past many of these tankers they have coming up, and then get the invalids back...they might have a chance.

Me, I refuse to hope. Too much of it in baseball! It will kill you if you let it!

ranger_lp said...

@HC66: Blessed be the fruit...

Parson Tom said...

That's an interesting comment about how baseball can kill you. I agree. That's why I've backed off my obsession some this season. Can't take it: The pitchers who do just about anything but provide relief; the batters who can't get anybody home with the bases loaded and nobody out; the managers who keep playing the same cheap tricks. I am coming around to the unhappy opinion that this new brand of baseball that the Yankees are playing is no fun. Sure, I love monster moon shots and laser line drives that set records for getting out of the park, but the strikeouts are so sad. Yesterday, Aaron Hicks knocked home two when he looped one the other day, and Ken Singleton was beside himself with joy over situational hitting, his enthusiasm seeming to reveal that the Yankees don't do much of it. Oh, well.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Amen, Parson. The game has become way too specialized, to the point where it is not a lot of fun.

i like home runs—for my team—they have practically been a Yankees trademark over the years, and people have been complaining about them since time immemorial. But now they really have gone too far. Same with the shifts, and the relief pitching. If Tampa's bullpen days really do become the wave of the future, I may have to stop watching.

What's weird is that the team which seems to ignore much of this dogma, Boston, is on a record-setting pace. You'd think people would pay attention. But no.