Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Thoughts at the edge of the 2021 Yankee precipice

Last night, as the ongoing mediocrity known as the Texas Rangers steadily chipped away at our four-run lead - (while we continually went down 1-2-3) - the revelation hit me: 

Holy shit, this is it! 

Lose to these bozos, and we'd fall three behind Boston and - gulp - be tied with Oakland, creating a mathematical clusterfuck for the last Bud Selig wild card. 

Lose to these unvaccinated, backwoods cretins, and we'd practically need to run the table next week, and - I'm sorry, folks, but that's more toad sweat than I prefer to lick. Ryan McBroom doesn't live here anymore. We traded him for a pack of cigarettes. The Yankees are not going to steamroll Boston and Toronto like General Sherman, who - by the way - is now a tree. 

Also, let's not kid ourselves into thinking Tampa - with no stakes in the final series - will lie down against us. If anything, they'll revel in our looming demise. 

Tampa hates us with the heat of a billion suns, and that red tide souring their beaches just made them meaner.  They might phone in the final game, but they'd happily torture the NY team that steals their mojo every March. 

In the meantime, some thoughts at the edge of the 2021 precipice: 

1. Am I the only one who thinks the notion of Luis Severino pitching is the biggest sign of unbridled desperation since Trump hired Rudy? I mean, no rehab games, he just throws some bullpen sessions, and they bring him in? That's crazy! Sure, it'd be nice to see "Setback Sevy" again, but to have him shake off two years of rust and pitch in a high-leverage moment in a critical game? Dear god, everything we feared about this team... it's worse.

2. Nasty Nestor (Octavio) Cortez has been a wonderful surprise in a season of moldy breadcrumbs. But the drunk doesn't last forever. Last night, he wriggled out of a first-inning jam that, in retrospect, could have cost us the game. Then he imploded in the fifth. I don't know what playoff rotation Boone would use - we'll probably never know - but it would be nice if Nestor could pitch out of the bullpen. I think he's a three or four-inning guy, and we're going to need a few.

3. Aroldis Chapman threw a 1-2-3 ninth and looked somewhat dominant. Michael Kay shouted, "THE STARE IS BACK!" which sounded like the kid on Christmas morning, unwrapping the horseshit and yelling, "THERE MUST BE A PONY." Also, I say "somewhat dominant" because if the leadoff batter - a catcher who had struck out three times - had simply not swung the bat, he would have walked. And we all know what happens when El Chapo walks the leadoff man. 

4. Once again, the Yankees scored early and then napped. During the 13-game winning streak, they often snapped out of the doldrums by stealing bases. Now, with Tyler Wade and Andrew Velasquez safely removed from game action, they're back to inching glacially, base-to-base, and going nowhere. (Last night, DJ LeMahieu stood at second, choosing not to challenge their CF on a long fly nearly to the warning track; maybe it was a smart move, I dunno, nobody wants to get thrown out at third. But yeesh, that's our team now, slow and tiresome.)

5. Here are the Yankee batting averages over the last 15 days. As you see, nobody is hot. Nobody. And you're not imagining that our best hitter has gone somewhat cold.


Joe Formerlyof Brooklyn said...

If I wanted "news" this depressing, I'd check in on politics. It's bad enough to watch the games, read the box scores, and think about the pitching.

Please choose another approach --

-- list the starting lineups of each NYY World Series team (that's 27 posts).

-- details on all of the women Mickey Mantle bedded (this may exceed 27 if you just take 1956).

-- provide details on every frankfurter Babe Ruth ate during the 9 innings of a game. Were they all with mustard? Was every one followed by one beer or more?

Ironbow said...

Pure agony watching a team as mediocre as the Yankees.

JM said...

A beached whale is more entertaining than the Yankees without Wade and Velasques. Throw in Greg Allen while you're at it, still inexplicably cooling his heels in Scranton.

'Michael Kay shouted, "THE STARE IS BACK!" which sounded like the kid on Christmas morning, unwrapping the horseshit and yelling, "THERE MUST BE A PONY."'

This is one of the most incredibly funny lines from El Duque, ever. Really. It should be enshrined somewhere. I was following the game off and on using Gameday on my phone, while watching the French cop show Witnesses. (Which isn't bad. Not great, but pretty good.) And I had the same feeling about Chappie's performance. He struck out the side, but it was a side of slaw, three bad hitters at the bottom of a lousy lineup.

Well, maybe it helps with his confidence level. Though as was pointed out in the postgame show, he continues to insist on throwing the slider and splitter and backseat his fastball. Which is what makes him any good at all.

P.S. Please trade Sanchez. I'm tired of looking at his pudgy kid, sad-eyed face. He can't catch, he can't maintain focus for more than a game or two at a stretch, and his occasional home runs aren't worth the pain.

JM said...

P.P.S. Is there anything less thrilling than "the chase for the second playoff spot?" Watching Cashman rappel down a building? A Boone postgame press conference?

The Archangel said...

Watching a Boone Postgame interview after the Yankees lose is a sure cure for insomnia.
Watch the watch, watch the watch. You are getting sleepy. You are getting sleepy.

Dr. Archangel

Godot said...

I agree with you el duque, but in a more topical sign of desperation.
Having Sevy pitch is like watching border guards on horseback whipping Haitians back across the Rio Grande.
There, fixed it for you.


Anonymous said...

Lately, this team has been winning one game and then losing the rest of the series. So wouldn't be surprised if they lose the rest of the series to Texas. Doesn't matter anyway. It was all over when they got swept at home in a 4 game series by the BJ.

The Hammer of God

13bit said...

I don't find any of this depressing. I find it invigorating. This is the team that Cash built and they are just playing to their fullest potential. Read the backs of the baseball cards. Everything is going according to plan. They just need a little luck. "I make my own luck," a line from the great film, "Gilda," and something that the likes of Bernie, Jeter, Mariano and Andy know of well.

The only things this team lacks are focus, hunger, hustle, passion and some nebulous thing that doesn't exist called "clutch."

Anyway, I don't have time. I just head to the sub basement of the New York Public Library to continue my research into the unknown genealogy of the bastard Steinbrenner clan, a group that's growing by the day, to the point of having held unauthorized "family reunions" for many years until they mysteriously stopped at some point in the 1980s.

I don't believe in curses, but there is a chance that something tainted is wafting into the ozone. My latest link in the family chain: a tiny child born to no less than King George's mom, Rita Haley, shortly before her marriage to Henry George "The Cuckold" Steinbrenner II. The child, born in 1929 and raised by a kindly old washerwoman in Milwaukee, was named Peter, and he eventually assumed the name of his actual father - Wally Pipp. More will be revealed...

13bit said...


I, the one and only original famous Ray, uh...Hal...UNEQUIVOCALLY DENY this disgusting FAKE NEWS posted above by the poster - whose account my people have confiscated. My grandmother was an honorable woman.

ZacharyA said...

The Yankees are 37-9 (.804) in games where they have at least 1 stolen base. The Yankees score 5.22 R/G in games with at least 1 stolen base, and they score 3.94 R/G in games with 0 stolen bases.

From the All Star break to the end of the winning streak, the Yankees stole 34 bases in 39 games. They were 30-9 (.769) in that span.

Since that date, the Yankees have 6 stolen bases in 23 games and have gone 8-15 (.348).

I don't want to mix up causation and correlation here, as much of the Yankees winning streak (and following slump) was directly linked to our pitching performance and power production.

But I do think there's something to the notion that the Yankees play better when they have a dual scoring threat of power + speed. This isn't a call for Andrew Velazquez by the way, as he was not good in the Bronx (68 OPS+ and 3 errors in just 19 starts). Instead, I find it inexcusable that the Yankees benched Tyler Wade who was playing well on both sides of the ball in August and providing a true stolen base threat every night. Additionally, I feel like Greg Allen and/or Estevan Florial should've gotten occasional starts when Gallo/Gardner were slumping.

HoraceClarke67 said...

Keep up this vital work, bitty! And if you meet a mysterious demise, we'll know why!

HoraceClarke67 said...

Joe FOB, my favorite Babe Ruth story is that he used to drink an entire pitcher of iced tea in one long gulp—tea, ice cubes, lemon slices, and all.

HoraceClarke67 said...

Another great stat, Zach.

But I have to differ with you. That play Velazquez made to win the game against Boston was the greatest single play I have ever seen a Yankees shortstop make, and I include Derek's flip and his amazing relay against the Mets.

I want this guy out there over The Gleyber. Put Wade at third, LeMahieu at second, and run, run, run. I don't say that makes this a championship team, but it would be infinitely better than watching cattle die, which is what the Yanks' hitting most resembles now.

ranger_lp said...

All you need to know is last Sunday...our ace pitched and got chased...out team didn't get him run support...in a so called race for the playoffs. They are not getting in. If by some miracle they do, they will be one and done.

I'll give Brian Brain some credit...he made some high profile deals to try to make the playoffs. It didn't work. It's better than not trying at all. He traded some low level prospects that probably will never make the majors. Except for Junk. The Heaney trade was terrible and we already lost that deal. As for next year, Brian better rethink the home run strategy because the ball is deader than last year and the year before. It seriously affected how the Yankees strategizes a game based on metrics. And because they rely heavily on hitting metrics, it has weakened their defense.

Oh, and one more thing. The Yanks were hoping on Frazier and Andujar to be keys to the success of the team. That didn't work out either. An overhaul seems to be the answer but we all know better that's not happening...

Celerino Sanchez said...

To quote Bill Parcells "You are what your record says you are" If I were Hal, I'd give a blank check to whoever runs the Tampa farm system to jump ship. Then throw Cashman off the ship!

13bit said...

Hal does not care. And the last thing he’s going to do with anybody is to give a blank check to them.

HoraceClarke67 said...

ranger, I suspect an overhaul will happen only when this team hits rock-bottom, and they actively need to pretend to "rebuild." That will be the ploy that will get Coops the last 5-6 years of his already, grotesquely overlong career.

Interesting to think what will happen, though, if and when a lockout comes out of the December meetings. Will the Yanks just freeze, waiting to see what the new agreement will be?

el duque said...

One moment last night that signified the season is over:

The YES team put up a graphic of soon-to-be free agent shortstops.

God save us.

Carl J. Weitz said...

Is that even possible unless you're a seagull?

Carl J. Weitz said...

And to quote Dennis Green which most commenters here surely believe about the Yankees:
"They are who we thought they were!"

Anonymous said...

The Yankees are not just mediocre--they're boring. Enthusiasm is out of the question--even contempt and ridicule are hard to muster. Indifference looms, and a decade in the wilderness for this foundering franchise, a cheesy caricature of the heritage it honors mainly in the breach.