Wednesday, September 8, 2021


 From the boss desk of Hoss...

ZacharyA, our new stats wizard, with an amazing one last night:  these past two games were the first time that your New York Yankees have played two consecutive games without a walk or an extra-base hit, since June of 1962.

 That’s simply jaw-dropping—especially since walks and extra-base hits are supposed to be 2 of the 3 True Outcomes. (Not to be confused with the Seven Pillars of Wisdom or the Nine Ways to Enlightenment. And we remain plenty adept at the last one.)

 I heard another all-but-unbelievable stat during the whole 15 minutes I watched of last night’s excrescence. It was that Judge, Stanton, and Gallo, the three leading home-run hitters on the team this season (including Joey’s time in Dallas), had gone 1-35 in the preceding three losses.


 That also seemed preposterous. Though it’s now 2-43, since Gallo did not play last night and Stanton managed an entire single against Steve Matz. 

 I would like to ask Zach, though I don’t want to stretch his logarithms to the breaking point, if he knows of any other time in the Yankees’ history, when:

 —In a close race in September, say no more than five games up or down for a postseason spot…

 —…the Yankees’ three leading home run hitters…

 —…went 2-43 in 4 consecutive games.

 I guess it’s possible, though it’s hard to believe it.

 Ruth-Gehrig-Meusel/Lazzeri? Gehrig-DiMaggio-Dickey? DiMaggio-Keller-Gordon?  Mantle-Berra-Skowron? Mantle-Maris-Howard? Jackson-Munson-Nettles? Bernie-Tino-O’Neill? A-Rod-Jeter-Matsui?

 Look, I know I’ve been overly hard on Judge and Stanton this year. (Let’s not even discuss the other guy.) And in past years, too. But lo and behold, they’ve turned in very nice seasons, and if half-a-dozen of their teammates had played half as well, we’d be getting someplace.

 But let’s face it: these guys never were and never will be the superstars we need. Judge might score 80 runs this year? Giancarlo with a shot at 60? Both might, barely, get to 85 ribbies?

 Hey, that’s swellsy. They both played well, and were even able to remain on the field a lot. But that ain’t superstar material. It’s not even, really, star material.

 I know, I know. Baseball, even more than most sports, is a game of streaks. Players streak, teams streak. Then they cool down.

 But the best find a way not to freeze up. To find a way to go, say, 5-5 after that 13-game win streak, not 2-8 (Looking at you, Derek Jeter, you beautiful Hall-of-Famer, you.).

 When the going gets tough, the tough get going. The assorted pantheon of Yankees greats we venerate we do so because they came up big when all the chips were down. They picked up the team and carried it in its worst moments.

 I haven’t seen anyone in this bunch doing that save for Gerrit Cole, and now he’s hurt.

 When the going gets tough, the not-so-tough go missing.


ZacharyA said...

>close race in September
>three leading HR hitters
>2-43 in 4 consecutive games

Alas, too many specifics for my feeble researching skills. Maybe the nerds at YES can help us out.

I think Judge's low Runs Scored total probably has a lot to do with the players around him. Before Stanton got hot in July, was there anyone in the lineup to drive Judge in? Judge was only scoring when he drove himself in. Jeter had Bernie, O'Neil, Tino, A-Rod, Matsui, Posada, Soriano, Giambi, etc. hitting behind him. Judge has Gallo and Sanchez and Torres.

I guess it's just hard for me to get too mad at Judge. Even with his current slump he's hitting .289 on the season (10th in the AL) and .337 with runners in scoring position (6th in the AL). Judge isn't the problem.

The bigger issue is that we've given 1,598 plate appearances to Gallo, Odor, Higgy, Hicks, Gardner, Brantly, Gittens, Ford, Tauchman, Bruce, Davis, and Frazier, who have hit a combined .184/.294/.336. That's the equivalent of three full-time lineup spots hitting like a pitcher.

And that's not even including the disappointing performances by Torres and Sanchez and Urshela and others.

Just too many free outs and Judge can only fill out 1/9th of the lineup.

13bit said...

This is Brian's team. He owns it. All his, whatever they do.

Oh, but Covid, that's right. There's always an excuse.

As though no other team is dealing with Covid.

Kevin said...

But, but we have all that young talent trying to fight through to the Majors. Even now we have, uh, and uh, well the NY press and the blogosphere says that we're loaded. The mags, papers, books, and websites that you actually have to turn over your hard earned money for, well we have some hope in the Carribean. Yeah I know, we have a handful of guys, one to three years out. But that's like an ice cream shop that leaves a sign in the door, "free ice cream, tomorrow" never taking it down. But damned if we don't lead the minors in "athletes".

HoraceClarke67 said...

Thanks for considering it, Zachary. And you're right, of course. Judge and Stanton are hardly the problems, but the best performers among the regulars this year. And you can't score more—or drive in more runs—if nobody else is hitting.

But, but, but.

Let's face it, too: they're also never going to be the guys who pull the team up above what it is. They're never going to be the guys making the Jeter flip play, or making like Joe, Joe DiMaggio going up to Boston on the plane at the last minute, and knocking down Fenway Park.

They're going to be, at best, what they have been this year—perfectly nice athletes, and at best only a shadow of what even they themselves were in 2017.

Anonymous said...

Cole getting hurt is probably going to be the straw that breaks the camel's back. He's had some rough spots this year, but he's been a pretty good anchor for the rotation.

Brainless Cashman isn't worried though. Because we have Heaney, who is the greatest unknown talent in the majors. Why start Heaney only once every five days? They should pitch him every day. We'll ride Heaney straight into the postseason.

The Hammer of God

13bit said...

And Zachary, your "bigger issue" paragraph above says it all.

Our pitching, despite some of the LEGENDARY boners over the decades, has been nearly adequate. We just don't score, can't score, won't score, are unable to score.

Celerino Sanchez said...

Lyle Overbay 14HR 59RBI in 2013. The great Chase Headley 12/61 in 2017. Who can forget Stephen Drew 17/44 in 2015. The steal of 2013, Vernon Wells 11/50 in 2013. We laughed at these guys. On this team they would be murder's row. And it shows the consistency of the great GM Brian Cashman when building a team. Things never change.

Kevin said...

We've led the AL in era all year. With any kind of offense we'd be up on Tampa by five games. But hey, this team is filled with very flawed, and mentally slow players, led by the Tin Man. Call me "dour", but when Post reporters started writing about how the clubhouse culture was looser and guys having more fun compared to the old, business-like demeanor of old, I got a bit of agita. I mean, of Course you don't want your highly paid employees to be out of his man cave. How a guy like Cashman could have brought in the Tin Man to make the players feel like they were in their Happy Zone is staggering in it's lack of insight. This is a soft, mentally weak team. You can see the sawdust falling during an important at bat. Enough.

Anonymous said...

@Celerino Sanchez, Ah, Stephen Drew. His name conjures up some lovely memories, like being stuck in quicksand up to your neck, with mosquitoes and biting midges dive bombing your face.

They loved that guy, more than they loved themselves. In the end, it was a ground ball that hit him in the face, along with a sinus infection, that finally spelled the end of his Yankee career. And what a career it was. The man could go 0 for 100, and he'd be in the lineup again the next day.

He was a pre-cursor of things to come, ahead of his time, you might say. The new type of player who swung for the fences and made contact 1% of the time. But his hits were big, home runs or doubles. I don't know why they didn't ink him to a ten year contract.

The Hammer of God

Anonymous said...

@Kevin, "This is a soft, mentally weak team." I agree 100%. They just don't have the mental discipline or fortitude to grind out at-bats, no matter the situation.

Guys like Jeter and Bernie Williams, it's super easy to say they weren't the best at their positions because they didn't hit 40 home runs a year or play flashy defense like Ozzie Smith or Ken Griffey Jr. During their playing days, Jete and Bernie never got the recognition they deserved. In reality, they were the top 2 or 3 players at their positions for years. But more than anything else, they were mentally tough. There is a reason they won all those championships. I can't even imagine any of the guys on our current team winning even one championship, let alone four or five. The guys on this current team just don't have "it". Whatever you want to call "it": the right stuff, the fire in the belly, the killer instinct, the right mix of talent and mental toughness that makes champions.

The Hammer of God