Tuesday, May 25, 2021

HoraceClarke66 sez: “Mother of Mercy, is the new deadball keeping the Yanks alive?”

 


Five straight, “shutout” starts by our suddenly crack starting staff. Thirty-five scoreless innings, a number last exceeded 89 years ago this month (the year the movie above came out), by a rotation that included future Hall of Famers Red Ruffing and Lefty Gomez. (Real future. There wasn’t even a Hall of Fame yet.)

 Along with Johnny Allen and George Pipgras, those Yankees threw 40 straight scoreless innings in all, en route to a 107-win romp to the pennant, and a legendary World Series sweep.

 Sure, the Yanks of 1932 scored over 1,000 runs in just 154 games and were not shutout a-once themselves. But the team’s staff led the league with a 3.98 ERA—in a season when the entire circuit batted .277 with an OPS of .750.

 Is this year’s contingent really that good?

 I doubt it. By contrast, the Junior Circuit right now is batting only .238 with a .711 OPS. The Yanks themselves are hitting all of .231, with a .701 OPS.

 The slugging has been devastated by the now expected spate of injuries, by age, and by whatever mystical approach the Yankees now have to hitting, something that seems to involve sacrificing a goat for all the sense it makes. 

 And while the fielding and baserunning have both improved immeasurably, there still have been many times when this club looks like it has just been introduced to a baseball field.

 So, what gives?

 Well, it’s the pitching, see? Which at the start of the season looked to be the team’s glaring weakness. That whole, ramshackle array of battered cabooses, leaky tankers, and retired LIRR cars that Cooperstown Cashman hitched on behind the Cole Train has turned into the Cannonball Express.

 The bullpen, which looked like nothing more than a loose collection of lugnuts going into the season, has snapped into place like they were bolted there by a high-steel rivet crew of yore. Even the guy who’s actually named Lugnut, excuse me, Luetge.  

 The pitching as a whole is first in the American League in ERA, first in shutouts, fewest walks, most strikeouts, and the hearts of their devoted fans. It’s second in most everything else.

 Could it be that Brian Cashman has somehow become an infinitely more brilliant judge of pitching talent than he has ever shown us before?

 Let’s not get carried away. Dr. Occam tells us that there’s another possible explanation that is the simplest and most logical, and it’s that the same new ball that’s turned every game into a long day’s trudge into NYCFC highlights is, well, helping us to turn this whole station wagon around right now.

 So what are we to do? Do we accept the diminishment of the game itself, just because it helps the Yankees to win?

 I, for one, advocate full denial: Our hitters stink because Brian Bleeping Cashman has destroyed them all with his inane theories. Our pitchers are lights out because they have, on their own, learned to become some of the greatest hurlers in Yankees history.

 Yeah, that's it.

 And the new ball…just takes a little getting used to.

25 comments:

DickAllen1964 said...


You asked:

"Could it be that Brian Cashman has somehow become an infinitely more brilliant judge of pitching talent than he has ever shown us before?"

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

JM said...

I LIKE the effects of the new ball. Pitchers are more dominant, games are faster, there's a lot less pinball with batted balls flying all over and especially over the shorter fences of today's ballparks. This is baseball the way I remember it, before it became a nightly episode of Home Run Derby. I think a lot of good players are adjusting and more will. We're seeing hits and baserunners and slides at the plate. And shutouts! I LIKE shutouts, and close games.

I think a lot of us hated the swing for the fences mentality, and that's going to change, if they don't fuck it up again by juicing the ball, shortening basepaths, expanding the size of bases... and I wish they would stop with the man on second crap in extra innings.

Defense and baserunning is becoming more important, as it should be. You suck there, profligate homers can't save you anymore. Players just might have to learn to play baseball.

Baseball was never about non-stop action and 70 HR seasons becoming the norm. It was about tension and smarts and taking advantage of mistakes and weaknesses.

Maybe 30 HR seasons will mean something again. And stolen base wizards. And eve bunting. Hey, ya never know.

Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...

To add to and enhance JM's comments

1 - yes, by all means, get rid of the Bogus Man On Second thing.

2 - and go back to 9-inning games. Even if they play triple-headers.

3 - maybe the fact that it's harder to smack the thing over the fence will help some hitters see the wisdom of going to the opposite field. Esp. when there are 3 infielders and 2 outfielders positioned where you normally hit the ball. Wouldn't THAT be exciting?

4 - do you remember watching Ricky Henderson steal bases? Without getting into the numerology of the SB . . . was there anything more interesting to watch?

5 - do you ever watch highlights from last night's games (ESPN, MLB). Is there anything more boring than watching a strike-out or a HR?

[all of you know baseball. Pitchers set hitters up. Strike Three is the residue of good thinking earlier in the at-bat . . . and perhaps in previous at-bats. The catcher and the pitcher (and perhaps the pitching coach?) are the ones doing the thinking. You cannot see little thought bubbles over their heads, can ya?]

. . . on the other hand, watching that triple-play was something, wasn't it? And watching Judge discipline himself in that walk-off-walk at-bat was something different, wasn't it?

[similarly, a HR might not be the result of a "mistake pitch" - altho it could be. How the heck would YOU know what a mistake pitch looks like? There was an interview Reggie Jackson did years ago that -- listening to/reading his words between the lines -- led one to believe that HE was setting pitchers up (by intentionally looking bad on specific pitches early in the gane]. Reggie was pretty smart. He knew that if he looked bad in the 4th inning on a slider, he might see that slider again in the 7th in a key situation. SO - yeah - with the game NOT on the line, he struck out. Then he got precisely the pitch he wanted when he needed it]

[and then there was Yogi - supposedly famous for being a "bad ball" hitter. Yogi was a catcher, the brains of the on-field operation -- Casey swore by him. Yogi might have used his brain to know on an 0-and-2 pitch, the guy on the mound typically would throw a pitch high and outside, to see if the batter would go fish for it. If the pitch was 18 inches off the plate, BUT Yogi knew precisely where it was going to be -- he'd crush the thing.]


Sorry to be long-winded. I really have loved baseball, and have loved it MORE as I've come to understand the nuances and "the hidden game" that's going on out there.

Hasn't the same been the case for you?

Dandy Prof said...

I agree with most of your points, which stand well without the hyperbole; there have been ... two? ... 70 HR seasons in MLB history, and none in a decade and a half.

Dandy Prof said...

Unless you mean when whole teams hit 70 HR between them! 😉😝

HoraceClarke66 said...

Or how about 1920, when The Babe hit more home runs than any other TEAM in baseball, save for the Phillies in their tiny Baker Bowl?

HoraceClarke66 said...

Good points all around, and especially by JM and Joe FOB. I think I HAVE seen more and more examples of guys going opposite field, stealing bases, etc., in recent weeks.

Could it be that this was all a brilliant strategy by MLB, as well as The Brain? Could it be that it is FORCING better baseball?

Let's not get carried away, at least not yet.

But interesting premise on why Yogi was such a good, bad-ball hitter—may have been that those waste pitches didn't have a whole lot of mustard on them, either—and I have heard about Reggie's various strategies.

Great player, even those who seem like "naturals," tend to know a helluva lot about the game.

TheWinWarblist said...

The Insights of The Master: "At the end of a half, Toronto nothing and the Yankees coming to bat."

DickAllen1964 said...

Horace said:

“ Could it be that this was all a brilliant strategy by MLB, as well as The Brain?


HAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHA!

Sorry. I couldn’t help myself.

TheWinWarblist said...

Luke Voit leading off? Sure. Let's do that.

I swear to fucking gods, Boone has crabs of the fucking brain.

TheWinWarblist said...

That ball wasn't dead.

TheWinWarblist said...

That's another ball that wasn't the least bit dead.

Anonymous said...

You can't predict baseball, but you can predict that at least twice a week Sterling will launch one of his sneering rants about how he, the underappreciated genius, "laughs" at people who predict pennant races not knowing what injuries might occur, as though (a) anyone makes ironclad predictions (these are PROBABILITIES, JOHN--take a statistics course); and (b) everyone understands that injuries occur. What a vacuous, pompous idiot and blowhard.

Pocono Steve said...

Kluber's thrown his last pitch as a Yankee, hasn't he? Nice to see him go out after a no-hitter.

JM said...

Kluber Klobbered today.

Rufus T. Firefly said...

The Black Swan has returned. This is in retaliation for the gift of the Hicks injury. Never look a gift swan in the mouth.

Captain Obnoxious said...

"You can't predict baseball, but you can predict that at least twice a week Sterling will launch one of his sneering rants about how he, the underappreciated genius, "laughs" at people who predict pennant races not knowing what injuries might occur, as though (a) anyone makes ironclad predictions (these are PROBABILITIES, JOHN--take a statistics course); and (b) everyone understands that injuries occur. What a vacuous, pompous idiot and blowhard."

---"What a vacuous, pompous idiot and blowhard."---


Why, yes! Yes you are!

Anonymous said...

But Sterling-- we CAN predict that my favorite yapping little loyal lapdog, who has no life apart from reflexively snarling at me, will show up in a new sock puppet guise every time I, his master, appear. Now YAP, Psycho Boy, like a good little lapdog. And I mean NOW!

TheWinWarblist said...

That game was a pathetic showing. Pathetic.

This is why I hate the Yankees.

As bitty has said, more than once, "Don't let the last few days go to your heads, people..."

HoraceClarke66 said...

Shame about Kluber. You know, I was worried about this—okay, not worried worried, like staying awake into the wee small hours of the morning with my stomach twisted up into a peach pit as I worry about my future, my family and the state of the world worried—but worried.

I remembered how David Cone was never quite the same pitcher again after throwing his perfect game in 1999.

Granted, he threw only 88 pitches in that game, and he pitched two, terrific postseason games that year. But after the perfect game he was 2-5, and his ERA rose from 2.65 to 3.44 on the season. In 2000, he was awful.

I wonder if it's something to do with overthrowing, or just extreme tension when you get so close to such an accomplishment.

Kluber threw only 101 pitches in his no-hitter. But at 35, after a severe arm injury, that might have been too much. I wonder if we'll see him again.

Anonymous said...

Any pitcher can suffer an injury. But the older the pitcher, the more likely injury becomes. This is the bitter harvest of Cashman's addiction to over-thirties who reached their peak three or four years earlier, as tough donning a Yankee uniform will be the equivalent of Popeye downing a can of spinach. For those who worry about Cashman over-relying on analytics: don't worry: his predilection for the geriatric crowd shows that he knows little and cares less for analytics.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone offer a rational explanation for Boone DHing Sanchez instead of Andujar? I mean other than Boone being an idiot. The Yankees need to just DFA Sanchez already. Enough.

Publius said...

Anyone monitoring the performance of Rob Refsnyder with the Twins? If this keeps up...

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