Friday, August 6, 2021

For Yankee fans, the eighth and ninth innings have become a torture chamber

Last night, the Death Barge entered the eighth with a two-run lead and its two bullpen superstars - the great Zack Britton and the immortal Aroldis Chapman - vaxxed and rested. In a normal Yankiverse, you could go to bed and romp through dream fields of erect nipples, secure in the knowledge that this game was safely in tow. 

Not anymore. 

In fact, the eighth and ninth have become houses of horror - when the dread of yet another excruciating "worst loss of the season" takes hold. Frankly, I can't take many more like last night.

What has developed is a regular mating dance with terror, when Aaron "Boonie" Boone breaks out his two 33-year-old warhorses - Britton (153 career saves, 11 seasons, $8.1 million per season) and El Chapo (299 saves, 12 years, $16 million.)  

Both of these guys will someday be considered for the Hall. They've had great careers, built fine reputations. But let me pose a simple question: 

Do we really see these guys holding a one-run lead in Fenway or Houston, or wherever the Yankees would play, in the post-season? I mean, shoot me. I can't take it.  

Last night, both came within an eyelash of blowing a two-run lead from Joey Gallo's first big night as a Yankee. It's not that they lost the game. They held it together. Bravo. But these guys have turned into heart attacks, waiting to happen. 

Last night, first came Britton, who has struggled since returning from injury. He gives up a leadoff double down the RF line, then goes to 3-2 count with Kyle Seager, who lunges at a ball slightly out of the strike zone. One out. But yikes, so close... 

At that point, Britton gets a lousy break - a nubber down the third base line, which the speedy Abraham Toro beats out. Two men on. Then he catches a lucky break - a DP bouncer, straight  back to Britton, who makes the flawless play. Inning over. But the process was harrowing. At Fenway, stress levels will rise 100 percent. And the batters might not swing at ball four. 

Britton's outing barely compares to the ringer Chapman put us through - which is business as usual. 

In the ninth, the leadoff man hits a roller to third that Rougned Odor (a 2B by trade) snares and bounces his throw to first. Anthony Rizzo makes a great scoop, saving the out. Looking back, if Rizzo misses that ball, the Yankees today are mourning a brand new "worst loss of 2021." 

One out. Chapman walks the next batter on a 3-2 pitch well out of the  zone. Tying run at the plate. The YES team notes that his fastballs are not hitting 100 mph, and they're not close to the plate. Yikes. Chapman strikes out the next batter, a pinch hitter, on a 3-2 count - again, a pitch that looked like ball four. 

Two outs. The next guy hits a grounder that Gleyber Torres flubs. The YES announcers make an excuse - his view was obscured by the base runner - but yeesh, with the game on the line, a SS must make that play. Gleyber didn't. Tying runs on base.

Now, the YES booth is scared. Up steps Mitch Haniger, who has 25 HRs. Buckets of sweat are flowing off El Chapo's chin. He looks terrified. Jonathan Loaisiga is warming in the pen. On a 3-1 count, Haniger drives a ball to left. Gallo catches it at the wall. Ten more feet, and it's out. 

It shows up as a save. The Yankees celebrate. 

Listen: This is not how you build confidence in a bullpen. The eighth and ninth are becoming paths to horror.  A one-two-three inning sure would be nice. Until we start seeing some, it's hard to dream about this team. 


JM said...

Why didn't Boone bring in Lasagna? Or Ridings? Why have Lasagna warm up--fast--and not use him? Is he trying to build up Chapman's confidence? There aren't enough games left for that kind of mollycoddling shit. And why isn't Britton brought in earlier, when he can work off a little more rust without the pressure and the risk?

Boone is an idiot. Nothing changes that assessment. Proven every day.

TheWinWarblist said...

As our Sage and Seer 13bit said, "It's all so fucking exhausting."

13bit said...

Bless you, Winnie, for reminding me of my fatigue last night.

All the storm und drang in this comments on how Gardner is worthy and useful and blah blah blah. Here's what I say about Gardy - he should have been gone two years ago. We should be letting the young guys throw themselves against the wall to either stick or slide off. Cashman has no gut for baseball.

If George were around, he'd find a way to get over his insanity and call up Buck Showalter and beg him to rebuild the team. Instead, we're arguing over bullshit and trying to quantify the unutterable idiocy of suckitude. Suckitude, fuckitude and succotash. It's all bullshit. We're a gang of assholes.

Even if we make the playoffs, there's no way we will beat good teams. We'll end up painting the infield once - to great pomp and effect - with the MLB logo dyed into the infield grass and then we'll crawl home to suck our thumbs all winter. Cryin' Brian will then blame it all on Covid. He may or may not dispose of his personal meat puppet, A. Boone, who is his own personal Charlie McCarthy, and the madness will start over.

The media will genuflect in the direction of the benevolent Prince Hal, who spends a tiny fraction of his billions while moaning about the "luxury tax" and shitting all over us as his own form of therapy to exorcise the ghost of King George from his head. We will all moan and argue here all winter about what happened, what WILL happen, and what will NOT happen. Please excuse my pessimism, for I have bean a Yankee fan for well over five decades now and my eyes are clear.

Fuck them all.

Carl J. Weitz said...

JM...Boone is the worst Yankees Manager in my lifetime. The kicker is that even though the organization relies so heavily on analytics, Boone defies the odds by refusing to make moves with a much higher percentage outcome. Like runner on second and third, one out for the other team in extra innings. Instead of walking the next batter to set up a force at home or a DP, he pitches to the next batter. To exacerbate the situation, almost always pitches to a hot bat or one of the best players on the team. Even when that hitter bats from the opposite side of the plate from which hand the pitcher throws! Unbelievable.

Carl J. Weitz said...

13 B...Cashman not only has no gut for the game, he is also gutless. But he IS cunning.
It finally dawned on me why the GM relies so heavily on analytics. The same reason why he hired a Fucktard manager. He needs fall guys to take the blame. It isn't his fault that the analytics team couldn't follow through on their promise to fix a player with their proprietary computerized math programs. It isn't his fault that Boone made boneheaded plays. "I supplied the manager the best players available as suggested by the analytics staff. And he hasn't managed them properly."

As Cris Carter the former NFL player once told a group of rookies:

“I need to know who’s gonna be the fall guy, who’s gonna be driving. Because you all not gonna all do the right stuff now so I gotta teach you how to get around all this stuff too. If you’re gonna have a crew, one of them fools got to know he’s goin to jail. We’ll get him out.”

13bit said...

If only we could get 100 tabs of acid in that dugout water cooler...

HoraceClarke66 said...

Beautiful, bitty! And amen, Carl Weitz. I've been saying similar stuff for years. Cashie ALWAYS wants to have someone around to take the blame.

I agree with the consensus here, which is the Yankees both rely too much on analytics AND don't really understand them—a deadly combination. But again, the bigger question is why have the Yanks had the same analytics guy since 2005, a period which completely coincides with their gradual but real decline?

Another body to throw under the bus!

Carl J. Weitz said...

Horace...when you discover the answer to that bigger question, simultaneously you will arrive at another answer to a question everybody here has asked: "Why is Cashman still around?"

Kevin said...

Listening or reading Boone's thoughts on anything gives me dark insights into the minds of some, let's just say, "notorious" people. I really believe that when it comes to managing men and a game, a parrot couldn't be worse. This roster construction DAMN sure could be better, but an good manager would be worth ten wins THIS YEAR. Since he wasn't fired at the All-Star break Luca Brasi should take Cashman to dinner.