Friday, May 2, 2008

Yanks Don't Score While I Sleep And Lose 8-4

I woke up at about 2am to go to the bathroom. I made a pit stop on the way back to bed to check the final score of the game, hoping to see that the Yankees mustered some kind of comeback. I wasn't surprised to see that the score was exactly the same as when I turned off the game. 8-4 Tigers. Pathetic. Truly pathetic. But this is what Yankee baseball has become in the early part of the last few seasons. Terrible starts. In all honesty though, as I've mentioned several times, it could be a helluva lot worse. All things considered, they're not in bad shape. Surprisingly they're only 2 games under .500. They've been so inconsistent. The only consistent thing they've done is fail to hit with RISP. Not the type of thing you want to be consistent at.

I think the starters for the most part have done pretty well. OK, maybe 3/5 of them. Wang has been outstanding. Moose is doing alright. And Andy has had some bumps along the way but by and large is getting it done. And we all know that Phil and Ian have killed them. Last night was really no different. Kennedy started out alright but quickly flamed out. I don't understand what happened between last year and this year. I lifted this from Pete Abraham's blog:

Meanwhile, Ian Kennedy has needed 502 pitches to record 71 outs this season. That’s an average of 7.07 pitches per out. That is very inefficient. Whether it’s in the majors or down in Scranton, he needs to become more willing to challenge hitters. It’s so weird. Kennedy recorded 57 outs in his three starts last season and needed only 275 pitches - an average of 4.82 per out. He walked nine in 19 innings last season. He has 20 walks in 23.2 innnings this season.

I totally don't get it. Kennedy has done a total 180 from last year. His performance isn't making sense. What happened? It's Dave Eiland's job to figure it out and so far he's doing a horrible job as Yankees pitching coach. I think it's safe to say that Andy, Moose and Chien-Ming don't need much coaching. Eiland is pretty much there to coach Phil and Ian and they're the 2 worst on the team. Maybe you can contribute a little of Hughes' ineffectiveness to his broken rib, and I stress the word little. I doubt it's been broken all year. As I said yesterday Eiland needs to figure out these problems and work to fix them. That's his job. Right now, he sucks at it. He has to get some of the blame here.

I'm not really sure what you can do about the offense. They're good enough hitters that they shouldn't be struggling this bad. They've yet to have a really huge inning. They've yet to score more than 5 runs in an inning, and have only scored 4 runs in an inning 7 times, 3 of which were in the same game. They've had plenty of opportunities for big innings but they've been coming up empty time and time again. It's getting sad it really is. They can't seem to string together a coup,e of hits in a row when they need them. I think part of the problem is that a lot of them suffer from the "longball mentality" and are trying to jack the pitch out of the park instead of trying to pick up a base hit.

It's sad that with 3 innings left in the game one gets resigned to the fact that this team won't comeback. Even though they're capable of doing it, you know they won't. Geoff from Bleeding Pinstripes blogged the other day about an exchange between Michael Kay and Al Leiter. Here's an excerpt of their exchange:

"There seems to be resignation in the crowd," said Michael Kay on the YES broadcast tonight. "This is odd," he continued. "They're four runs down. That's nothing. It's the eighth inning and yet the crowd seems resigned." Al Leiter chimed in. "The thing they have to look out for Michael is the 'woe is me' factor. I know it's tough. I know they've had some bad breaks here, but you can't start getting down on yourself."

Jason from Heartland Pinstripes commented on that post and it's a great assessment of how things currently are:

What bothers me about that particular discussion is how a very bright ex-player in Leiter and a self-consciously well-spoken announcer in Kay can miss the obvious--that so often, when the Yankees are down a few runs, especially when they've scored early and done nothing for several innings, they lose. It isn't that they're incapable of a comeback. It also isn't that the fans in Yankee Stadium and at home somehow don't want the team to win badly enough. It's that people who know this team recognize well before the fully empty balloon is actually sitting dead on the ground that the air had long been seeping out. People see that with the Yankees. They fade meekly, as Kay himself said almost the exact same thing at the end of one inning, so he should know why it was so quiet.
Plus, no amount of rah-rahing, of "Let's Go, Yankees!" chants, no cascades of sheer noise will cure the poor plate approaches this team has taken collectively and individually. Fans can't will Jeter to work the pitch count. In exactly 100 plate appearances this season, Jeter has seen either one or two pitches in 47 of them, often doing so when the team is working over the pitcher, or regardless of his own pitcher needing a blow after a tough inning. He was part of the disgraceful fifth inning last night, when Pettitte threw 20 pitches in the top half and allowed two runs, but he took exactly two pitches, and Damon and Gonzo combined for three more, to give Bonderman a five-pitch inning. Bonderman threw 27 pitches in the first, and 73 in the next 6 2/3. Fans cannot make the team be more patient. Nor can they make Giambi hit better than .091 with RISP, nor make Cano stop swinging at low pitches that are meant for him to do exactly what he has been doing--grounding out weakly. Fans cannot make this team bat better than .233 against lefties, nor hit better than .240 with RISP, nor increase the league-low innings pitched that starters have logged. We do what we can--stick with the team, root for them to the end even when they're down, pay attention to key points in games and issues with the team, and eat food and drink cold ones. "

I couldn't have put it any better. If you're not reading Geoff's and Jason's blogs, you need to. Quality stuff. Well written. Great insight. You won't be disappointed.

Yankee ace and true #1 Chien-Ming Wang is on the mound tonight against the visiting Mariners. He'll need to have his A-game because the Yankees are sure to struggle against Erik Bedard. It could be a long night but should be a great game.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,