Tuesday, July 5, 2022

No, we can't.

Strange days are upon us. As several here noted, baseball itself was banned in our evil old city by MLB this Fourth of July, and your New York Yankees were not allowed to play anyone, anywhere.

But really, what's to worry about?

Today's contest marks the halfway point of the season, and despite Ma Boone's recent proclivity for giving away games like a billionaire lighting his cigars with twenties, the Yanks are on a pace to win 116-118 games.

Sure, the boys have been looking a bit wobbly of late, and the usual disruptions of the All-Star Game will likely throw them off some more. 

The ever-annoying Red Sox will probably raise a little hell, just because of the number of games they have against us—and because they are the ever-annoying Red Sox. 

But I don't know that any of the Three Furies—the Carmine Hose, the BJs—or the TB Rays, can really make an extended run at us, thanks to how many games they have to make up, and how many they have to play against each other. 

The Sabremetricious agree. According to baseballreference, the Pinstripers have far and away the best chance to win the World Series, at 29.3 percent. (The Dodgers are at 20.6, Houston at 15.0)  

If this were another time in baseball, I MIGHT agree. 

If it were 1962, I'd say the Yankees were a heavy favorite to at least get to the Series. If it were 1992, I'd say they were a lock to get to the ALCS.

But it's 2022, and what I will say instead is that, as presently constituted—please note the caveat: as presently constituted—this Yankees team cannot win the World Series. It will not get to the World Series, and it is highly unlikely to win any postseason series, of any kind.

Hear me now and believe me later.

The truly weird and unprecedented fact of the past week or so was not the lack of a July 4th game, but that the Yankees were no-hit in one game and one-hit in another. I can't remember so much as reading about any two such games in our team's proud history.

That's right: just six walks and a single bingle—and I ain't talking Crosby—in two entire games. Along with a combined, 25 strikeouts.

What's more, the starting pitchers in those games, who each pitched 7, dominant innings, were not Sandy Koufax, Bob Gibson, or Juan Marichal.

They were, instead, Houston's Cristian "Sad Sack" Javier, and Cleveland's Triston "Jolly Cholly" McKenzie.

Perfectly serviceable young pitchers, who I wish we had. Maybe stars of the future. 

But not world beaters at present. Not anything like the top-flight pitching we will face every game in October.

This year's Yankees are on a pace to beat out the 114 regular-season wins of the 1998 Yanks, the Shining Star of the Last Dynasty. 

It is a lie. A chimera, a hallucination. A fraud, perpetrated against the roach-dog munching fan base.

(And incidentally, that team was already a little better than this one, going 61-20 through the first half. Just saying.)

This year's Yankees edition has been a wonderful surprise, and has many things going for it. 

It's starting five has been a revelation...but the 1998 team boasted Cone, Wells, and Pettitte, three seasoned veterans who had already won rings, pitching against the toughest competition of the decade. The fourth guy had escaped from a murderous communist dictatorship, for crying' out loud.

Gerrit Cole, by contrast, is...sometimes an ace. Sevvy was close to being the best pitcher in the AL when he got hurt, four years ago. Can he be that again? Can both rise to the occasion?

The 2022 bullpen has displayed amazing depth—but also fragility. The 1998 team had The Great One, Stanton, Nelson, Mendoza, and Lloyd, Slapper of Mets.  

But the real difference is at bat.

The 1998 team could rake from both sides of the plate, with lefties Paulie, Tino, Darryl, and Ricky Ledee, and switch-hitters Bernie, Jorge, and Tim Raines. Plus it had more depth than a shark has back-up teeth, with the likes of Girardi, Sojo, Chili Davis, Shane Spencer, and Homer Bush.  

This team...has nothing like that. 

I know, I know: it's a different age in baseball. But no 2022 Yankee starter is hitting over .282, and the whole team is batting .238. 

The bench is LeMahieu, Carpenter, Higashioka, and Martin Gonzalez. Our one, effective power lefty, Anthony Rizzo, is hitting .223.

The big trade with Minnesota to strengthen the left side of the infield was a big bust. Likable as Falafel is, he still has no home runs and 19 ribbies. Crusty Donaldson is stumblebum, and then there's Ben "Dammit, I'm a weightlifter not a ballplayer" Biceptvedt. Or rather, where is he?  

We would have been infinitely better off just jettisoning Sanchez and signing Carlos Correa—the one big, middle-infield free agent now playing up to his past. But we didn't.

If this team does not homer, it does not score. And in the playoffs it will be facing, every night, pitchers against whom home runs are precious few.

Not that it's too late to correct any of that. But a recent piece on the Yanks noted that they are already over the salary cap, which was costing them an extra $3 million in fines. Gee willikers. 

Anyone want to guess who that was leaked from? And what it means? 

We look to the man we once mocked as "Babe" Benitendi as a savior. But the Babe has 3 homers and 31 ribbies this year, which ain't much even for Kansas City. We should definitely take Zach's suggestion and bring up Florial RIGHT NOW, and Miggy, too...but we won't, because it would mean giving up on Joey Gallo ten minutes before all of baseball does.

So what are we going to do?

Much as I love baseballreference, Max Scherzer is about to rejoin the Mets. If they have him and deGrom at anywhere close to their old form, they have twice the chance our boys do to win it all.

For that matter, can you imagine this Yankees team—as is—beating the Dodgers in the Fall Classic? Or Houston in the ALCS? Or even the revived Rays in a best-of-five ALDS? 

I can't. Throw out the first half. Forget about all those wins, nice as they are. 

Unless this Yankees team makes some key changes—and they will have to make them this month—I believe they cannot win.




DickAllen said...

Senor El Duque, you argue that Benintendi has miniscule power numbers. Truth is, we don't really NEED him (or anybody else for that matter) to hit more home runs. A few guys who can actually hit above the Mendoza line might be just the cure for the legion of arms that stymie the big boppers.

If his hitting continued in New York at a 315 clip, it would be a change from the norm here where solo shots are getting monotonous. I'd like some 2 and 3-run homers to counter the knuckleheads who throw no-hitters. Or even a 2-1 win on a sac fly, or a seeing-eye grounder. Or...

BTR999 said...

And another weak, inadequate start for the offensive offense..

HoraceClarke66 said...

Always happy to be mistaken for our Peerless Leader, DickAllen! (Not sure how pleased HE is.)

And you make a great point. Benintendi as a leadoff guy would be terrific. But then, how can we bat our power hitters 1-2?

And 999, whattaya talk? We already have a hit!

Donaldson hitting .192 in his last 27 games—and struck out in his first at-bat. Beltran tells us that Carpenter's newfound power...is due to the 'stache.

You can't get commentary like that just anywhere.

DickAllen said...

Good God Horace! Is it possible to have hitters up front and the home run guys batting third and fourth? What a strange concept!

HoraceClarke66 said...

Big blast by the big man in the Pittsburgh lineup, the .235 hitting human blimp, Vogelbach.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Love that Pittsburgh has a 6-7 shortstop named Oneil Cruz.

HoraceClarke66 said...

Named for Paulie!

HoraceClarke66 said...

All right, 3 scoreless innings against a longtime .500 pitcher in the AL, who has 1 game since 1919. Beltran and Ricardo (?) have just discussed room service. At length.

I'm switching to TBS, and the Rays-Red Sox.

Mildred Lopez said...

Judge in a slump, Rizzo's back barking. Have to rely on John Carlo Mike-Cruz to carry us? Dark days are upon us my friends.

BTR999 said...

It’s the end of the world as we know it….but I don’t feel fine

TheWinWarblist said...

What the fuck is going on??? The fucking Pirates???

JM said...

We can't be expected to beat quality teams like Cleveland and Pittsburgh, much less Oakland or Kansas City. They all have Cy Young and the Big Train or Bob Gibson pitching for them. Those guys are hard to hit.

Doug K. said...

Uh... Tallion = Tsuris.

Also, why can't we hit?

JM said...

I have this bad feeling that this is the real 2022 Yankees. Just like it was the 2021, the 2020, the 2019, and all the rest of the teams we've seen that suddenly have no offense and inconsistent starters. When the stars align and everything clicks, we're world beaters. Otherwise, we're an inconsistent, disappointing and pathetic bunch of hapless, weak-hitting mooks.

JM said...

Boston will take three out of four or sweep us. Losing and a lack of confidence is just as contagious as what we saw leading into this meltdown.

JM said...

I think religion is the root of a myriad of problems in the country and world, but the Jesus billboards in Pittsburgh's ballpark are pretty good ads. Hat tip to the agency that did them. Nice typeface, too.

JM said...

Tonight's cast features Stanton as The Stumblebum Outfielder.

JM said...

Beltran's and Russo's boosterism is grating as hell.

JM said...

Rather than further discuss this debacle, I'm switching to The Satanic Rites of Dracula much of the time. The synopsis line cracks me up: "Van Helsing hunts the 700 year old count, who is dead and living in London with his vampire bride."

Rufus T. Firefly said...

Haven't been watching, but apparently Judge's slump continues.

I haven't been a Donaldson hater, but sheesh! Time to give him a few days (weeks) rest.

How about using this third baseman/left fielder in AAA? What's his name, Miggy something?

13bit said...

Just read this piece, Hoss. You're great, as always, but please don't fall for what seems like the gods sprinkling fairy dust and rainbows all over us.

We know what's coming...

HoraceClarke66 said...

Love you, too, Bitty. But I'm baffled by your interpretation. I think we agree: this team is a fraud.

Meanwhile, Scherzer came back tonight to pitch 6 shutout innings, striking out 11. The man is a stud hoss—another one we never even offered on, of course.

In the Series—he would eat us alive.

The good news? Despite Costas' open rooting, the Rays are whacking the BoSox.

JM said...

Sure sign Boone has given up: Peralta and Chapman warming up in the bullpen.

HoraceClarke66 said...

So Judge in a slump, Rizzo out with a bad back—after a day off. And...we got nothing.

The real problem with this team, though? Considering how much of the payroll he takes up?

Giancarlo Stanton. The $29-mill (next year: $32 mill!) .240 hitter. Yeah, he's managed to say relatively healthy this year—only 15 missed games in the first half!—and he has 20 home runs.

But tonight is a not untypical performance. No clutch hits, and a bad play in the outfield. When he's hot, he's hot, when he's not, he's not. He never really steps up when the team needs him, never is particularly clutch or unclutch. It's a career of batting practice, essentially.

And we'll have him through at least 2027!!!

HoraceClarke66 said...

Hey, Torrents is in! This will be fun.

JM said...


JM said...

Falafel is our best heeter.

JM said...

No warble tonight.

BTR999 said...

Another dispirited, disinterested, disappointing loss.

What the hell…these games don’t count anyway, do they? Apparently not, judging from the effort displayed.

Taillon was, um, not good and another big night for Donaldson!

Doug K. said...

Well, that sucked.

Rufus T. Firefly said...

Just think,

The Yankees laid this fetid turd without their best clutch hitter, Joey Callo, seeing the batter's box.

Just think how he could improve the team.

The good news is this dismal spell is not occurring in October. Then again, it probably will again, just for a shorter time, like 3 and out.

Hazel Motes said...

Has anyone noticed that with the substitute play-by-play guys, SUZYN NEVER SHUTS THE FUCK UP FOR TEN SECONDS? The pbp guy barely has time to describe the pitch and and the count. He often has to announce a hit or an out without having described the windup or the oncoming pitch. And she usually has nothing of interest to say--it's compulsive babbling, gratuitous self-assertion. She's just strutting the ego that has for so long been leashed to the even bigger ego of Sterling, who essentially keeps her at his heel until she is sparsely cued with a "Suzyn?"

This whole deranged tag-team of incompetence and psychopathy needs to go, and the sooner the better.

The Hammer of God said...

@JM re. the Satanic Rites of Dracula. That was a decent enough rainy day movie, but I preferred Dracula, Prince of Darkness. Real good ambiance through the first half or so. I do like Hammer movies myself, got a lot of them on dvd.