Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Ranking the WORST omens about last night's back-breaking, soul-crushing, mind-melting loss

It's here. You can sense its putrid breath on the wolf hairs of your neck. You can almost see it: The Yankee shadow creature, up from Scranton or Columbus or Parts Unknown, assuming the discombobulated form of Coulter Bean, and waiting, waiting, waiting... Dear God, we thought it exiled to the Mets, but it's here, it's back... and it might be a while before we're combobulated again. 

Last night brought one of those surreal events, where Frederico Fellini meets M. Night Shymalan: For 8.2 innings, you're sure the Death Star will prevail, and then you learn you've been dead, all along. It's a hallmark of the Great Yankee malaise: In this millennium, we have one championship, and Boston has four, and yet our owner still rides his penny purse like Slim Pickets' on the nuke in Dr. Strangelove. (Atlanta is thinking of signing Dallas Keuchel to a contract extension. This year's Verlander? Thanks, Mr. Hal.)

Was last night the season? Of course not. Win tonight, and it's a wash. Take the next two, it's a blip. The next three, it's a joke. But today, excuse me for not laughing. Last night was a big pile of steaming omens, wheel-barreled from the elephant barn. How did I lose thee? Let me count the ways. Check out the signals from beyond...

6. It came hours after the Murdoch Post's Joel Sherman summoned memories of 2015. Wrote The Shermster:

The Yanks must prevent 2015 from repeating. They had a seven-game lead on July 28 and stayed mostly unchanged while Toronto restocked and then blew by New York to win the division. Tampa Bay has a run differential similar to the Yankees. The Rays are not going away and they are very likely to add in the coming weeks.

I'd blissfully forgotten 2015. Drugs and alcohol. I had to look it up. Bad idea, looking it up. On July 30, 2015, the Yanks lost a walk-off stunner to Texas, when Andrew Miller couldn't hold. From there, we botched seven of 10, then floated face down in the pool until the lights came on. Was last night our turning point? 

5. It ended with Luke Voit watching a juicy fastball right down the middle. I mean, it bisected the plate, a straight line, a steak dinner. Luke just stood there, the way Canseco did. He went 0-5 with three Ks. Over his last three games, he's struck out seven times in 12 at-bats. (Two hits.) He's still Lovable Luke, the Toy Boy Voit. But the YES men noted that pitchers are attacking him inside. It sure looked like Tampa has his number. Should we start thinking of - gasp - Greg Bird? DEAR GOD, NOOOOO, HAS IT COME TO THAT?

4. The squandering of dramatic home runs. When your team rallies in the seventh and eighth, you start thinking Hoosiers! Gene Hackman! Team of Destiny! Paul O'Neill had already invoked the D-word: "Devastating," for what the loss would mean to Tampa. Well, he got the word right. Just the wrong team.

3. Somewhere, back there, Gary Sanchez blew a tire. In his last three games, he is 1-10. In his last seven, he's hitting .120. In his last 15, .119. In his last 30, .205. (This includes the London pinball series, which larded everybody's stats.) He made a great pick-off throw, thwarting a rally. But right now, it's hard to justify Gary batting fourth, especially with Zombie Luke in front of him. It's a big cough in the middle of the order. 

2. The reliance on HRs (Note: Not Human Resources) and lack of a catalyst. Nobody stepped forward to ignite a rally. At one point, Brett Gardner stood at first base with two outs and DJ LeMahieu up, and the YES team was practically begging for a steal attempt. If he could take second, a single by DJ could score the go-ahead run. Nope. Gardy stayed put. LeMahieu singled to right, and both were stranded. At times lately, you get a feeling that the Yankees are trying to run out the clock on games, or maybe the entire season. Well, there is no four-corner freeze in baseball. The only thing that's ticking is the bomb under the clubhouse.

1. El Chapo, of course. What his big stats - 25 saves - don't show is how much of a terrifying roller coaster ride he's been this year. It's rare to see a 1-2-3. He almost always puts the tying runs on base, and everything hinges on one pitch, which can go either way. Often, batters swing at ball four. Yeah, that's what good pitching is about. But it's way too close for comfort, and for all his greatness, the Chap Man has never achieved a Marinano-type comfort zone. No lead is ever safe. There's a Rafael Devers lurking in every lineup. This season will come down to a ninth inning in Fenway. I hate to think of what will happen.

Last night was the most brutal set of omens yet. And Cooperstown Cashman is about to push the plunger. The shadow creature is here. Beware.


Anonymous said...

I share you sense of dread.

The Voit take was... atrocious. I've become used to him getting called out on a high inside borderline pitch pitch and then his look of frustrated disbelief, but this was... have I already used the word atrocious? Well if the shoe fits.

Sanchez is back to swinging out of his shoes. Not good. Their catcher hit three home runs last night so he must make amends! He's the Home Run Hitting Catcher! He'll show them. He'll show them all!

Last: So Judge (who is still great) is showing a marked lack of power. I attribute this to one of two factors. One we can live with and one that does not bode well.

In the first he is still recovering and is afraid to swing full out for fear of re-tweaking the injury. This is natural and will change over time.

In the second, (and the one I subscribe to) he knows the injury was caused by something to do with the supplements and has stopped taking them resulting in a permanent power loss.

As El Duque just demonstrated, after a loss as bad as last night's, the mind goes to dark places.

Doug K.

Vampifella said...

I remember 2015 very well. Wanting them to do SOMETHING at the trade deadline and all they got was freaking Ackley. ACK! They then went .500 for the rest of the year.

Yanks really need to do something this year as the rest of the season is mostly against teams who are in it for the wild card. At the start of the season, I had these games down as easy wins, but now I'm not too sure. Only 6 games against tanking teams, not counting the 7 O's games because they'll play like it's game seven of the World Series. Yanks could easily go .500 for the rest of the season again, and I know they will because they always cruise mid-season and play half-assed.

JM said...

We all knew this could happen. By "this" I mean a cold spell. We aren't hitting. We're only scoring on home runs, and solo shots at that. Guys are swinging for the fences. The hot guys have gone cold. All of them. The bullpen can suck at any time.

Nobody seems any good, especially compared to what they were doing a few weeks ago. The All-Star break has doused the fire--or, by rights, that began during the last two games against the Rays before the break.

We had one of these spells not that long ago. Was it May or June? And we came back with a hot streak. Maybe this club isn't very consistent, after all. Maybe they're streaky. It's an old story: the pitching sucks but the offense pulls us forward, then the offense sucks and the pitching--starters, anyway--do their part but get little support, and we lose. (On Twitter, we "loose.")

Ebb and flow, ebb and flow. The trick has always been to get the pitchers pitching decently at the same time the offense is hitting like it can. Seems tough for the Yanks, as it's often been in recent years.

You can't predict baseball. It's a long season. Hey, you never know. Your cliche here.

ranger_lp said...

Yanks will get the bats working again...patience. Yanks need a pitcher? Watch Deivi Garcia, he'll end up in the Bronx by the end of August. They don't need to trade the future for one pitcher.

Anonymous said...

Tauchman instead of Clint Frazier. All you know on earth, and all you need to know.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Amen, ranger. But the trouble is, THEY don't know that.

Anonymous said...

ranger_lp--not likely the Deivi Garcia will be the solution. He's on an innings limit.

Carl J. Weitz said...

Remember, Vamp....Dustin was a former #1 draft pick!!! Cashman had to get him.

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