Monday, July 02, 2007

Week In Review: Fiasco

Week 13: June 25-July 1, 2007

Record for the Week: 1-4 (17 RS, 32 RA)
Overall: 39-42, 8.5 games behind Detroit for the Wild Card (6th in WC standings)

The Breakdown:

Back by popular demand! (Albeit of trolling Red Sox fans...)

6/26 -- Yankees 2, Baltimore 3
6/27 -- Yankees 0, Baltimore 4
I already said my piece about these two games last week, in Death of a Thousand Cuts. The Orioles are not a good team, and getting beat by them stings like lemon juice on an open wound. Lesson learned: It's sometimes hard to distinguish between Leo Mazzone casting his magic spell on a pitching staff, and your offense just plain sucking.

06/28 -- Yankees 8, Baltimore 6 (Suspended, rain)
Under the old rules, if they called a game due to rain after the fifth inning, it was over. The team with the lead won. This winter, they changed the rules so that a game that was stopped in progress would be completed at a later date. The new rule makes sense, but it still feels strange for a game like last Thursday's--the Yanks, reeling at the end of their disastrous road trip, blew a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the seventh, then came back to score four runs in the top of the eighth. And with the comeback in full swing, the game was stopped, mid-rally (two outs, man on second) and then put in limbo for a whole month. The final ten or so outs of the game will play out on July 27th, prior to the Yanks' next series at Camden Yards. Lesson learned: A postponed game can throw Week in Review into chaos, since sources seem to disagree on whether the stats are official, yet. Confusing, all around.

06/29 -- Oakland 1, Yankees 2
Good old-fashioned pitching duel between Mike Mussina and Joe Kennedy. Some would say it speaks a lot about both offenses that this game was a pitching duel. With two on and Jack Cust coming up in the eighth, Farnsworth took offense that Torre would take him out of the game for Mariano Rivera. Farnsworth's point of view: he'd just struck out Nick Swisher, and wanted a chance to get himself out of the jam. Torre's counterpoint: the team's been losing, and with four outs left, you can't afford to lose this game with anyone other than your best pitcher on the mound. Rivera preserved the lead, for his third save in three weeks. Lesson learned: Kyle Farnsworth can't do anything right, even when he doesn't actually screw up the game.

06/30 -- Oakland 7, Yankees 0
One hit. That's all this team managed against Chad frellin' Gaudin and a rehabbing Rich Harden. It's enough to drive you insane. On the other side of the ball, the Kei Igawa souvenir baseball promotion continued, with Igawa allowing three A's--including punchless Jason Kendall--to hit homers off of him. Lesson learned: If anyone in the Yankee PR department had a sense of humor, they'd arrange for a late-season promotion featuring "This Yankee Offense Was Supposed to Score 1,000 Runs But All We Got Was This Stupid T-Shirt" shirts, for all fans 16 and over.

07/01 -- Yankees 5, Oakland 11
So much for a homestand being the cure for all this team's ills. This time Pettitte couldn't get out of the second inning. The Yanks actually scored five runs off of Danny Haren, but it didn't matter after Pettitte treated them to an eight-run cushion. Lesson learned: If it's not one thing it's the other with this team. Just a vomitous performance.

Player of the Week: Mike Mussina (7 IP, 1 R, 6 H, 1 BB, 3K) and Andy Phillips (.308/.357/.538, 1 HR 3 RBI). Melky Cabrera (.316/.409/.421) is a runner-up, but that's it. What a lousy week...

Dregs of the Week: Everyone else. Let's put it another way: four Yankees' regulars couldn't even manage a .600 OPS for the week: Derek Jeter (.280/.308/.280), Robinson Cano (.143/.217/.190), Hideki Matsui (.136/.208/.182), and Bobby Abreu (.100/.208/.100). Overall, the Yankees had an isolated power of .050 last week, which is Neifi Perez bad. They managed only nine extra base hits overall! Chien Ming Wang and Luis Vizcaino (ERAs=9.00) were awful last week, Roger Clemens and Kei Igawa were merely bad (ERAs circa 6.00), and Scott Proctor hit bottom with a thud and a bounce (4 ER and 7 baserunners in 2 IP).

Story of the Week: We're three games from the midpoint of the season, a week from the All-Star Break. How do the Yankees suck right now? Let me count the ways...

1) They suck on offense: The Yankee bats have gone utterly flaccid. As usual with LD (lumber dysfunction) a prime culprit is age: the lineup's elder statesman (36 y/o Jason Giambi) is out of the lineup, perhaps for good, and three of the Yanks' 33 year olds (Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui, Bobby Abreu) have been nowhere near as good as expected. But it isn't only the middle -aged veterans who can get LD, it's also young guys like Robbie Cano and Melky Cabrera. The only three Yankees who are getting the job done with their bats (Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and Jorge Posada) are all going to the All-Star game.

2) They suck in their division: The Yanks are 8-17 against the AL East, a record of divisional futility that's only matched by the Texas Rangers, who are 6-15 against the AL West. The Yankees' only series wins against the AL East have both come against the Red Sox.

3) They suck against lefthanded starters: As a team, they're hitting .267/.345/.389 against lefties, with only 19 homers in 849 AB. The lefty hitting regulars, Abreu (.245/.318/.298), Cano (.257/.311/.385), Damon (.273/.349/.351) and Matsui (.233/.327/.367), have helped drive those numbers down, and two righty-hitting players being counted on to balance those platoon splits, Cabrera (.237/.306/.342) and Josh Phelps (.264/.318/.302), didn't help at all.

4) They suck at intimacy: This is just my fanciful way of saying that the Yanks are horrible in close games--5-13, worst in the league. Part of this is the bullpen, which is 10th in the AL in WXRL (weird Yankee fact: Kyle Farnsworth leads the Yankees in WXRL, ahead of Mariano Rivera, and way ahead of Scott Proctor). This crap record in one-run games is part of the reason why the Yankees are performing 6 games worse than their pythagorean expected won-loss record. Sadly, there is no pythagorean wild card in Major League Baseball. You have to actually win the games.

We'll be back tomorrow with June in Review.

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