Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Yanks Win But Struggle With Yet Another Rookie Pitcher

In what's becoming typical Yankee fashion, the New York Yankees again struggled mightily against a pitcher they've never faced before. I've discussed that here several times in the past, seemingly after every game where the Yankees face someone for the 1st time. It happens way too often. A lineup this talented shouldn't struggle each and every time they face a pitcher for the 1st time. When it happens this often, it makes me wonder what's the root cause of the problem? There has to be a root cause, right? Once or twice I can understand. Every time? Me thinks there's something rotten in Denmark. And yes, I know it's not "every" time. But it happens a lot. And I'm not the only one noticing. Pete Abraham commented about it in his game post today. The funny thing is he made a comment in jest about it before the game started, predicting that Richard would throw 6 innings, give up 3 hits, 1 run, 2 walks and record 7 Ks. His line through 6 innings was 3 hits, 0 runs, 1 walk and 4 Ks. Pete also invented a new statistic: BBURP, which stands for "Beaten By Unknown Rookie Pitcher." And I agree with Pete. The Yankees would lead the league in BBURPs.

Usually, when you look at the newbies stats against other teams, they aren't that favorable. Then they pitch against the Yankees and they're the second coming of Cy Young. It doesn't make sense. The only thing I can come up with is that the Yankees are poorly scouting these pitchers. Poor scouting and/or lack of preparation by the hitters. I wonder what kind of preparation they do? Do they think they're so good that they don't need to know anything about the guy? Kind of like a flying by the seat of their pants approach. And what's Kevin Long's role in it, if he even has one? As hitting coach shouldn't Long know what to expect from the pitcher and pass that info along to the team? Is that happening? Joe Girardi is supposed to be all about preparation. If that's truly the case, why does it look like they're always unprepared? It makes no sense. And again, there has to be a reason as to why it happens because it happens so much. At least this time out the Yankees ended up winning.

It looks like that little benching did Robbie Cano some good. He was really the only one who had Richard's number, getting 3 of the 5 hits Richard allowed. Too bad the season is over. Joe Girardi missed the boat on this one. It's his job to get 100% from his players every day. He definitely dropped the ball on that with Robbie. Cano is widely known as a lazy player that needs a kick in the pants. I don't really get how Girardi could have blown it with Cano considering Joe Torre and Larry Bowa pretty much wrote a book on how to get 100% from Robbie. For a guy with the reputation as being a smart baseball guy Girardi has done a lot of dumb things. I was very high on Girardi when they brought him in over Mattingly, my childhood hero. I thought for sure he'd do wonders with the youngsters like he did in Florida. I'm still waiting to see it.

Phil Hughes made his return to the majors tonight and I thought he looked much better, and it wasn't just the new specs. It was definitely his best outing since his first start this year. He definitely showed better control, throwing 57 of his 89 pitches for strikes. He wasn't that overpowering though. The Sox hitters fouled off a lot of pitches which pretty much chased him after only 4 innings. It was Phil's first start since April 29th. I'd have to think he was a little nervous. If so, that very well could have contributed to the high pitch count. It may have felt like his first career start all over again. His next start should be a little more telling.

The Yankee bullpen was again awesome. Phil Coke is rapidly becoming one of my favorites to watch. Coke has thrown 10 scoreless innings and has only allowed 4 baserunners. I think Coke has pretty much earned a spot in the 2009 Yankee bullpen. From what I've seen from him, he'll be a very valuable piece. I didn't write anything in the last few days about Jorge Posada's comments about Joba, saying he should stay in the bullpen. I'm on the fence here. I look at Joba the same way I look at Jonathan Papelbon. He'll kick major ass in the pen but would eventually struggle as a starter. Posada may be onto something. It'll be interesting to see how this eventually plays out. Let's revisit this in a few years.

Oh yeah, Melky still sucks.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,


2 comments: said...

I, too, continue to ponder the problem of the Yankees offense when it comes to facing rookie pitchers. I find it hard to believe it's Kevin Long's fault or that there's no scouting available for the hitters. What do we know about Rob Thomson? Is it his job to prepare the team before each game? I'd also be interested to know how other teams do against pitchers they haven't faced. Maybe the Yankees aren't alone here.

Jason said...

Jane and J-Boogie, you're not alone. I've long wondered the same thing and posted about it in the prelude to the open thread for today's in-game discussion on my blog. The profile--lefty, young, relatively inexperienced, all the better if struggling. It's really remarkable how badly the Yankees fare against such pitchers.

That said and to be positive, Phil Coke is on my watch list for 2009. We'll see about how he develops, but Coke hides the ball well, delivers his slider and fastball at the same arm angle, and is aggressive. I love that and would love to see the Yanks have two solid lefties in the bullpen.

I'm also interested to see how Gardner develops, especially if he can learn to transfer his weight and power in his lower half forward during his swing. If Gardner can somehow develop some gap power with his blazing speed, look out--and bye-bye Melky.

Hughes wasn't bad tonight but was very inefficient--89 pitches in 4 IP. He's good at getting ahead of batters but not at putting them away. But it's crucial to be patient with the kid. He's 22 and needs more time to develop. I like that the Yanks are sending him to Arizona this Fall to get more innings. I don't think they'll rush him next Spring but must want to give him an honest shot at making it to The Bronx next season.