Friday, October 21, 2022

The Yankees are overmatched. What's new?


"The playoffs are a crapshoot," Brian Cashman infamously said a couple years back.

Oh, would that it were so!  

No way, in an actual crapshoot, does anyone roll snake eyes 17 of 18 times—at least, not without knives being produced.

Much more relevant to the Yankees' current situation, is a quote from an infinitely greater baseball man than Brian Cashman will ever be.

"Luck is the residue of design," said Branch Rickey, a raggedy armed former catcher for your New York Highlanders, who went on to become the greatest GM what ever was.

I've written here recently about the struggle that Cashman teams have had just to get past the opening rounds in MLB's ever-multiplying levels of playoffs.

But at least they often manage to win the first round. From 2002 on, they have gone 11-7 in the first playoff series (or single game). Not a great record, considering how often those Yankees teams were heavily favored, but at least respectable.

It's in the later rounds that they are usually humiliated. From 2002 on, they will be just 2-6 in the ALCS after losing to Houston this year, and a miserable 0-5 since 2009.

More strikingly, they seem to lose to the same teams—in the first round or later—over and over.

For instance, of the 16 elimination rounds they will have lost from 2002 on, 12 of them have been to just 4 teams: the Angels (who they went 1-2 against), Red Sox (1-3, with no win since 2003), Tigers (0-3), and Astros (soon to be 0-4).

In other words, the Yanks lose over and over to teams that are their main competitors in the AL over any given number of years: 4 times, now, to Houston in 8 years; 3 times to Detroit over the course of 7 seasons; twice to the Los Angeles Angels of Somewhere on the Freeway in 4 years; and 3 times to the BoSox, albeit over 15 years.

This reflects an owner and GM who simply refuse, over and over again, to pay attention to who their main competition is—or how to win postseason series against them, or anybody else.

Look at how much this year's forthcoming loss to Houston is a chronicle of a death foretold, thanks to a neat summary from the estimable keefetothecity blog:

June 23: No-hit for seven innings, 10 strikeouts
June 24: One run
June 25: No-hit, 15 strikeouts
June 26: No-hit for 6 1/3 innings
June 30: One run, 11 strikeouts
July 21: Two runs
July 21: Five runs off a starter who isn’t in the Astros’ playoff rotation and a reliever who is no longer in the majors, 10 strikeouts
October 19: 16 batters retired in a row from third inning until eighth inning, 17 strikeouts

Add to that last night's debacle, and you're talking about a team we have not been close to beating all season—save for a couple of bona fide miracles—and have made absolutely no adjustments against.

The Yanks can moan all they want about Houston's dome being open on a comfortable night, or those lucky dribble hits by Cleveland, etc., etc. Again: luck is the residue of design.

Does anyone truly  think that the Yankees teams of the turn of this century—or any other Yankee championship teams—never had a turn of bad luck? Of course not. But you overcome that bad luck by fielding an overwhelmingly smart, talented team.  

The wind's blowing in? So you hit three singles. And maybe Houston doesn't score 3 runs if you can get out their .186-hitting catcher—something that seems to be beyond the ability of this Yankees staff.

The truth is, the Yanks are up against a superior team, one which is most likely to steamroll them at home this weekend. 

What to do about it?  Well, how about getting rid of this bad-luck jinx, below?


13bit said...

Only one person has the power to rid us of Cash, who looks like a Batman supervillain in this shot. I should repost at some point the shot of him that was buried on the web for a haunted house where he is in full monster makeup. I speak the truth here.

13bit said...

oh yeah, that person is Hal. and Hal doesn't care.

JM said...

Let's say Cole and Nestor win this weekend. A distinct possibility, playing at home.

Then in Game 5, we'll be back to Verlander. We'll be throwing...Taillon? Games 5 and 6 will go back to the top of their rotation and the bottom of ours. And we'd have to win at least one of those games to set up Cole in Game 7.

Yeah, I dunno.

Joe of AZ said...

Don't sleep on Taillon...he did good.... Boone fucked up that last game

13bit said...

27 at-bats from oblivion

Forget about the pitching

We have to HIT

DickAllen said...

The Intern looks like Beldar after a heavy night of drinking.

The Hammer of God said...

Yesterday, Susan Waldman said Dusty Baker preaches contact to his team. According to Baker, there are three chances for the defense to fuck up every time you hit the ball. (1) when the guy catches the ball (2) when the guy throws the ball and (3) when the other guy catches the throw.

Think BaBoone ever preaches anything like that to the Yankee hitters?

Nah, he's too busy calculating exit velocities, launch angles and moonshot trajectories, projected distances. Rocket scientist supreme, that Commander Aaron Ba-Boone!

The Hammer of God said...

If I hear that thing again about the playoffs being a crapshoot, I will go bat shit crazy.

If it were so, like Hoss said, we'd have won one of these series against the ASS-stros.

This one ain't over yet, but I'm not holding my breath!

AboveAverage said...

Hammer- I derived two positives from your previous post.

One: You’re not yet bat shit crazy, and
Two: You’re still breathing

Good for you!

borntorun999 said...

Cashman, fresh from his "Egghead" audition for the next Batman flick. Looks like he didn't get it. Luckily for the Yankees he'll be back next year with a fresh 5 year contract with a raise.

Carl J. Weitz said...

@ Dick Allen....most likely from French cognac.