Tuesday, July 23, 2019

We have seen our looming destruction: It is the ground ball double-play

Last night, the ghosts of a torturous October appeared in the dazzling red sunset over the City of Lakes. They assumed the form of old, sluggish, slow-footed Yankees - the Vernon Wellses and Travis Hafners - who once clogged our arteries. They conveyed a simple warning: 

You cannot homer your way to a championship.

These ghosts also took the form of deathly ground balls, the kind that sink ocean liners. In the first, Edwin Encarnacion bounced into an amazing 5-4-3 triple play, a round-the-horn experience that required a runner with the speed of a tractor. In the third, the ever-plummeting Gary Sanchez killed a bases loaded rally with a 5-3 DP. In the sixth, Aaron Judge gave us yet another. Each grounder crushed the Yankee soul, as they came from the heart of the lineup, where hitters are supposed to drive in runs. 

Combined with a rather routine start from CC Sabathia - four innings, seven runs, nothing to see here, folks, move on! - the Yankee night never offered hope. The team looked tired, listless and overwhelmed - wishing for a tomato can opponent and encountering a team with an actual beating heart.

Somehow, Aaron Boone managed to stack the three Yankees with the worst batting averages - Encarnacion (.224), Sanchez (.233 and plummeting), and Aaron Hicks (.243) - at third, fourth and fifth. I realize that batting average - compared to WARs, BAPIDs and ISOs, which are all FUBAR - is an outdated, geezer's stat. But it does tell a simple tale: On a regular night, a guy batting .224 is lucky to get one hit.

Of course, these games are secondary to the real Yankee events of this week: The Deep State strategies that, as you read this, are being hatched in the fertile mind of Brian Cashman. Every game, every at-bat, can affect his upcoming trades, which could change this team from top to bottom, from today through 2030. 

Last night, the message to Cashman was: Find a starting pitcher. 

And to Boone: Find someone who can bat third.

It's going to be a long week.

19 comments:

JM said...

Boone's constant insertion of the low-average guys into spots where a hit can make all the difference is so Yankeesque. You see, they're POWER guys who can hit a home run. Why go for singles with men on base when you can park one and score them all? This ignores everything he should've learned from the first few months of the season, or even the recent game when the Yanks scored 11 without a homer.

Check that. There was a homer, and he was managing.

Side note: where's our numerical taunter? Has he decided calling old guys names isn't as much fun as video games?

Rufus T. Firefly said...

FPT (Fat Pussy Troll - RIP Mr. Irabu) is laying low, because he has no response to not showing up on the 12th. His gonads would have to grow as much as the Grinch's heart for him to show.

PS, my offer of paying for his ticket is good, even if I have to scalp one outside, if that worthless pos dares to show up. The safest bet this side of Secretariat in the Belmont.

13bit said...

I am hoping I am wrong about my dire predictions and general pessimism around our lack of clutch hitting and serious pitching. I will not resort to "I told you so," as most people here are of the same sober opinion that I have. Actually, our clutch hitting has improved this year with the addition of Gio, Thunder, DJ, and even a few others. ICS has reverted to what, sadly, appears to be his true form. And you know what? Our pitching is still not the kind that will carry us down Lower Broadway on a victory parade. Will Sevvy return and will he be Good Sevvy or Bad Sevvy? If he comes back as his former Good self and Domingo stays true, the future looks bright. Not sure about this year, but after that. Love ya, CC, but the official Yankee victory lap tradition, a la Jeter and Gardy, etc., doesn't really thrill me. Better to take risks with the young guys than pay homage to a "tradition" and "heritage" that are becoming smaller every day in the rearview mirror. Just as Shitface Schilling, aka "Ketchup Boy," once odiously said "Mystique and Aura are stripper," I must add "Heritage and Tradition are warm breakfast cereals that you eat to move your bowels. Give me young and hungry unknowns who will do ANYTHING to stay out of Scranton. And why are we so obviously fucking over Thunder? Why does Cashman have to hate and shun people he is about to trade? Can we all chip in and get Brian some therapy? Can we get Hal a dominatrix/hypnotist who can subjugate his mind and channel King George? I need more coffee, motherfuckers...

HoraceClarke66 said...

Love "Secretariat in the Belmont," Rufus!

And amen on the lineups. I've been on that all year. As with everything else regarding Yankees management, it doesn't even rise to the level of a foolish consistency. It's more of an idiotic inconsistency.

The New Think in baseball, as I understand it, is that you bat your best hitters first, because you want them up more—especially in the pitcher-free AL. I don't agree, but if so, going by OBP, that would mean yesterday's lineup should've been:

Judge
Voit
LeMahieu
Torres
Tauchman
Urshela
Hicks
Sanchez
Encarnacion

HoraceClarke66 said...

Instead, as you guys point out, we had 13 hits ranged around that big, 0-10 doughnut hole in the middle.

Granted, things like the infamous small-sample size, performance against a particular pitcher or in a particular park might mitigate all that. I wouldn't bat the Amazing Mr. Tauchman fifth, either, hot as he has been.

But why is that someone like Sanchez, who is obviously melting down, isn't moved down? I'm aware that Sabremetrics does not believe in a hot hand anymore than Moscow believes in tears. But a month at .098 is more than a little cold streak.

HoraceClarke66 said...

It used to be that you batted certain guys in certain places because they were that kind of hitter—see Rickey, leadoff—or because they were more "comfortable" in a spot, or made a big fuss when they were not in it—see Reggie, cleanup.

But today, somehow, we seem to have the stupidest of both worlds with the Yankees.

Sanchez, now in his fourth season with one of the previous ones an unmitigated disaster, surely has no claim on the No. 4 hole or any other hole (ahem!).

Neither does The Parrot Walker, who has been here for five minutes, or Hicks, surprising as he often is. And I don't think any of them have the sorts of egos that would make those demands.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Hear ya, 13bit!

Even if you hate Red Thunder to pieces and think you can trade him for Scherzer, every day he's down there Sulking in Stanton (my last great jazz hit), his value diminishes.

And you're right: the starting pitching won't get us there.

How many years is it now that we've put talented, gutty teams out there under Coops, only to fall one role player or one pitcher short? (A lot, is my scientific calculation.)

13bit said...

The last ten years, we have actually had a lot of decent pitching, maybe not top tier, but decent. Our great downfall was the "dead bat" syndrome in the clutch. That seems to be lessened at the moment. Except...

Carl J. Weitz said...

I agree, bat Encarnacion and Sanchez down at the bottom of the order so they don't ruin as many rallies by hitting into double and triple plays. I'm very surprised we haven't hit into more triple plays this year.

I have good reason to believe that Cameron Maybin was not really on the IL but in a stupor partying with Duque. He will suddenly appear in a few days off that list. Perhaps he can meet our group at a bar of his choice on 8/12.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SOy1Lj4OIbA

Anonymous said...

As has been said, but that won't stop me, Yes! Sanchez should be batting eighth. Why they don't do this is beyond me. If he gets good again they can... always move him up! (Radical idea, I know)

Here is a batting order that I'd like to see.


LeMahieu Because he gets on and that makes the pitcher sad.

Judge I still like him at Number Two even if he doesn't hit HRs
as much any more. He gets on as well. Now the pitcher is
really sad.


Torres He loves to hit the 3 run HR. Or he can adjust and make
contact.

Urshela As long as he's told that he's passing the baton not
trying to hit HRs

Voit Because with the above line up there will be less than two
outs so he won't watch an inning ending strike three and
make his, "Voit Face of Amazed Displeasure (TM) as he is
called out.

Hicks The good Hicks. If it's the bad Hicks then some one in
the NYC area is going to win $100 worth of food in the HR
second inning because it's all or nothing time!

Sanchez and

Encarnacion.

and then Tauchman Good to have someone on base as we start it all again

Doug K.

Anonymous said...

oops I have Sanchez batting 7th. Sorry. Either way.

13bit said...

Doug, that's a reasonable lineup/batting order. Why do you think you can play 4-dimensional chess, though, against the Amazing Casholo? Don't you know the many contradictory demands he is juggling in the bald pate of his? We are just little men in the shadow of the Mighty Cooperstown Cashman. We should just be grateful to be able to admire his genius from afar, as narrated to us by The Master.

Anonymous said...

Batting orders really don't matter that much except for having your best hitters at the top of the lineup so they get more plate appearances.

Rufus T. Firefly said...

I know. I'd want the home run before the single. Always works out better that way.

Anonymous said...

Dufus T. Duncecap--and how do you know precisely in advance which will occur when? And whether the homerun hitter or the singles hitter will leadoff in any inning after the first? What a moron.

Anonymous said...

"The idea behind the shifting identity of no. 2 hitters is a simple one: You want your best hitters batting the most often, and moving from 3-4-5 to no. 2 can equal an extra 30-50 plate appearances per season (and fewer plate appearances with two outs). The reason that no. 2 is often the choice instead of no. 1 is that batting second allows for more runners on base. It’s kind of a best-of-both-worlds solution relative to the leadoff and cleanup spots, adding more plate appearances but also leaving some RBI chances."

https://www.baseballprospectus.com/news/article/38931/banjo-hitter-reimagining-2-hitter/

Rufus T. Firefly said...

You ARE easily baited.


C'mon, goanadless troll, show up on the 12th.

Show us that you're not just the pussy keyboard clown that you play here.

Oh, and bring pizza. Without anchovies this time.

Anonymous said...

Dufus--you ARE easily ridiculed as a FUCKING MORON.

And keep recycling those twenty-year-old Internet flaming cliches. Just more evidence that YOU'RE A FUCKING MORON.

Rufus T. Firefly said...

Pizza joint was open late I see.

C'mon, goanadless troll, show up on the 12th.

Show us that you're not just the pussy keyboard clown that you play here.

Wear your Mets onesie.