Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Congrats to 2019 Yankees for HRs in 28 straight games: So what did it get us?

May 25, 2019 - a date that will live in infertility...

That's the last time the Yankees took the field and failed to wallop what Mel Allen used to call a "Ballantine Blast." It was the nightcap to a doubleheader sweep against KC - they'd homered that afternoon - but nobody whacked one after dark. 

So, last night, with four solo shots, the 2019 Yankees have now out-dinged the mighty 2002 Texas Rangers: They have gone the most consecutive games with home runs... ever! 

What a thrill, to be compared to the 2002 Rhoid Rangers, with Ivan Rodriguez, Juan Gonzalez, Rafael Palmmeiro, Michael Young, Carl Everett, Rusty Greer and a spry young lad called A-Rod.

Fourth in the AL West.

Yep. Fourth. 72-90. Last place, 31 games out of first.  

The reason? Pitching, obviously. After 37-year-old Kenny Rogers, whose ERA landed slightly below 4.00, the Texas rotation included three B's: Burba, Bell and Benoit. (Quick: Tell me their first names?) The team was so bad that it cost A-Rod, who hit 57 HRs, an MVP trophy and eventually prodded his trade to Boston NY.

So, a legitimate question for 2019: Will the Rangers' successors know success? 

Well, we're better than they were, obviously. 

But on the night of May 25, after dispatching KC to its lonely cornfield, the Death Star stood at 34 and 17 - a .667 winning rate, first in the AL East, three games ahead of the Tampa Toddlers.

Over their last 28 homery games, the Yankees are 17-11 - .607. 

Yep. They've actually been a worse team. But we're splitting hairs, sorta. They're still in first, and their lead now stands at 6 games. (Eight ahead of Boston; that's all you need to know.)

Have they become homer-happy Grandersons? That could still happen, but for now, the stats say otherwise.

In the month of June, their team batting average has been .271. For April-May, it was .256. Not only have they hit HRs, they've put balls into play, led by the first-half AL MVP: DJ LeMahieu. 

Perhaps the biggest concern is Luke Voit, who keeps talking up the idea of competing in the Horrible All-Star Break HR Derby. On May 25, Luke was hitting .261. He's now at .268. That seems to be his baseline. The biggest drops in batting average belong to Gio Urshela (which was expected, he was at .330) and Gleyber Torres (who was hitting .320.) Both remain effective, and Torres might challenge LeMahieu for MVP at season's end.

The biggest concern: Aaron Hicks is on the verge of sinking below .200, a demarcation line that defense and occasional power cannot justify. Last night, for the first time since he arrived, Hicks found himself in the bottom third of the lineup. That's where he belongs. It would be damn nice to see him hitting .250 - (good grief, how our standards have fallen) -  but right now, he looks like a walking bundle of frayed nerves and tweakable gonads. 

His OF companions, Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton - (assuming either lasts the London games on artificial turf, or if Stanton even makes the trip) - should hit at least .260. Edwin Encarnacion - now at .143 with us - could be drifting into homer-happy territory. (Did Seattle see something?) But for now, let's just assume he's trying too hard. The Welcome to New York thing.

The moral? This HR record is a big, fat nothing burger. (Not to be confused with the Impossible Burger, which someday I will try.) The 2019 Yankees will live or die with starting pitchers. The key to this team will never hit a HR. His name is Luis Severino. One of these days, the Yankees will either bring him back or shut him down. If it's the latter, THAT will be a date to stand in infamy.


Rufus T. Firefly said...

That was depressing. I guess it's better than hoping for Kevin Brown's broken hand to heal.

Off topic, but we need to find a way to let the Master know we will be at the game. Maybe get a scoreboard mention.

KD said...

On the jumbotron, in large letters which linger longer (but also cost more):

“IIH! IIF! II....c sez John Sterling is GOD!”

KD said...

Take THAT, Michael Kay!

Rufus T. Firefly said...

...might need to be G_D to be kosher. Pun intended.

TheWinWarblist said...

How about the Hebrew Home!? I hear it's like a college campus!

13bit said...

Stanton's mere presence is like a lead weight sewn into a pair of swimming trunks. It's ineffable and subtle at the same time. It's omnipresent and nowhere at the same time. It's a heavy sack of shit pulling you down and the oxygen in your scrotal sack will not be enough to float you again. He brings us down.

Sevvy is a big "if." IF he comes back and IF he is the good Sevvy, as opposed to the Broken Down Chevy Sevvy, he will make a difference. IF. I STILL think Tanaka should have been shut down that first season when his arm tweaked. He should have visited Dr John - Tom John, that is - and he'd have been a different player the last three years. Hicks is always going to suck. The good news is we only have him for what, six more years? That was a close call. How many young guys will never see the light of day because of him?

Yeah, the consecutive home run record is a steaming pile of donkey shit. It's STILL only June. We have three hot months of walking on coals before we can even think about our usual wild card spot. I still maintain that our pitching is not even close to the kind of pitching that would win a playoff series. Bad management. The usual "fuck you, Brian and Hal," from me still don't get us good pitching. The home run thing is to sell more tchotchkes and garlic fries - hand me the e-coli dressing, please - and give the bloviators on YES something to bloviate about. Was it here, in this esteemed blog, that we used to call it "Yank-jazeera?" I can't remember.

And let me tell you, that Impossible Burger is pretty good. I have had a few. That being said, the cruelty those poor soybeans must endure make it difficult to eat without extreme guilt and remorse.

Rufus T. Firefly said...

Yank-jazeera might have been nomaas. Another RIP site along with RAB.

ranger_lp said...

I"m old enough to remember Mel Allen having a "Ballantine Blast" every inning. The broadcasts were more interesting by the 7th inning.

JM said...

The HR thing is just a sideshow, a bearded lady, a guy who can turn himself into a pretzel with mustard and drive a spike into his head without brain damage. It doesn't matter. Just a bit of good, clean, American, stupid fun.

But saying our record since the start of the Ballantine skein isn't as good as before isn't fair. The start of the season was a parade of tomato cans, cans of corn, walking dead masquerading as MLB baseball teams. We just swept Tampa, took three out of four from Houston, and are in the process of sweeping Toronto, even with Holder and openers and Chapman, the closer who can't shut down the Schenectady Little League. That's not bad at all.

Sure, we still don't have a rotation, but I'm enjoying this cruise for as long as the Legionaire's Disease is at bay. I don't think Sevvy will be back this year, and neither will Betances, and neither will Monty, and, mercifully, neither will Morales. Encarnacion is a big improvement over Kendrys, God rest his soul. He'll hit. Hicks is another story, and Bitty is correct in noting how his long-term contract is another Ellsbury in the making. Even worse, really, since Hicks will end up playing too much of the time. But, ya never know. We may see Maybin zipping around center after Gardy finally pulls a muscle or realizes why his buddies call him Big Head Todd and Mr. Outer Limits, while Hicks goes on the IL. Crazy things happen on this team. Frazier might even get his much deserved roster spot sometime soon.

We're stretching our lead over Boston, Tampa is fading like a print of a Thelma Todd movie, and all is right with the world, starting pitching aside. Even that might be kind of OK. Tanaka is erratic, but he does have a knack for rising to the postseason occasion, and CC is a crafty veteran. Happ is a problem, but Paxton also has his moments. So, maybe. Just maybe.

JM said...

For Bitty. Seems like only yesterday...

matt on the internet said...

I mean, we're 10-1 in our last 11 games (ever since we executed the Encarnacion trade actually). We're on pace for over 100 wins. I'll take it.

I wish we had better pitching, but hard to argue with results lately.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Hicks is, well, Hicks. I mean, at his best he is just fine. He does a lot of different things pretty well, and even in his generally wretched return this year, he's had some clutch hits. Last night, he seemed to have another, a ball lined to right with the bases loaded, but it was right at the right fielder.

The trouble is—and the defining trouble of the HAL Era—is that the Yankees are fine with that. There is no thought of an upgrade, just that ridiculous "bargain" deal with a constantly injured player, which will prove not to be a bargain at all, after a very short time.

As a beloved older friend of mine used to say, "Buy cheap, always expensive. Buy expensive, always cheap"...except, of course, that the Yankees manage to buy expensive, with the likes of Stanton, and have THAT blow up in their faces, too.

And that's what's most maddening about them. There is never any consistency, any logic, just, always, stupid, hasty improvisations.

They're committed to the farm system and building from within...until they trade a bushel of prospects for a journeyman No. 4 starter. Again. They don't want to make some huge commitment...but instead of holding for, say, a Yelich from the Marlins, they take on The Millstone.

HoraceClarke66 said...

13bit, I hear you on Tanaka, but I think that would have been a plenty big risk, having him go for a TJ.

There are plenty of guys—Coops has drafted many of them—who go for the big operation and just never bounce back. I'm just as glad to have got what we got from the Tiger, a smart, gritty pitcher who has occasionally been a No. 1 for us, is usually at least a good No. 2 or No. 3, and has been outstanding in the postseason.

The trouble was not finding that No. 1.

You lay out the cards for the Yankees, and you offer them their pick. Here are a couple of aces—Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer—and maybe a pair of jacks—Cole, Corbin. Take your pick.

Nope, sorry, we're going with Sonny Gray, who even if he had continued to be Sonny Gray would not have been enough.

And then there's Sevvy. I don't think we'll ever see the old Sevvy again. And I very much wish one of the Knights of the Press Box would press the issue of why the Yankees chose to pretend that what was obviously his arm falling off last year was just "pitch tipping."

The ongoing, coaching and training incompetence of this organization still astonishes. It's like running an international powerhouse of finance on Wall Street that is constantly in danger of bankruptcy...because nobody in the mailroom can master the Fed Ex deliveries.

But then, gods such as Coops and HAL don't concern themselves with such trivia.

JM said...

So of course, Hicks gets a key hit. Hey, I hope he does well, bad shoulder and all.

Hoss, I fully agree.

JM said...

Paxton's turn to completely suck today. I think the starters all got together and got a betting pool going to see how many innings the bullpen can pitch before its collective arm falls off. Those kidders.

Looking at this one way, you can say we've long needed a #1. Looking at it another, you can say we need a #1 through 5.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Gotta say, to use a completely corny, old-fashioned word—besides "corny"—I love this team's moxie. They battle, and battle, and battle.

And it won't mean a thing in the playoffs, with starting pitching like this.

What was "demanded" of Maple Sapling today was 4 runs in 6 innings, and everybody else would have steered it home from there. No can do.

Yeah, he's probably hurt—and so what? He's usually hurt. In his entire professional career, I doubt if he's gone a month without hurting something.

Not blaming him. I would take the money, too, hurt or not. But the trade for him was yet another absurd decision by a GM who can never, ever seem to learn from his past mistakes when it comes to pitching—and who lacks the necessary objectivity to palm those decisions off on someone competent.

Rufus T. Firefly said...

Rufus T. Firefly said...


And the Carmine's lose behind Sale's 5 run outing.

JM said...

Hicks hit a sac fly earlier, not a hit.

Ballgame over!! Thuuuuuuuuuuuuuh Yankees win!!!!!

Gleyber wins it. Whoo.

JM said...

Socks cannot keep up, or make up for that awful start. See ya!

TheWinWarblist said...

That was an inspired warble from The Master!


TheWinWarblist said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TheWinWarblist said...

Stanton has a posterior cruciate ligament "strain." Or so they say. That's weeks on the IL at very least. Or worse if the "strain" is more than a strain

13bit said...

Beware the hubris of June, my friends.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Incredibly, the Yankees are NOT taking Frazier to London. Even though they get a 26th man. They are taking Benny Higashioka and Thairo instead. With Michael Tauchman as the 4th outfielder.

I am not making this up.

This is crazy already.

Dear Mr. Cashman: Bring The Red Menace back up, cancel your stupid-ass deal for Bumgarner, and face the fact that once again you have planned the season so badly that there is no way you can acquire the starting pitcher you need to win October.

Use the time as constructively as possible. Give Chance a chance, see if Cortes can conquer, give another flingo to Domingo, and just stop with the rest of the crap already before you throw away the future on some useless rental.

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