Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Downward Spiral Continues As Braves Blank Yanks, Time To Fire Kevin Long

Alright, this story is getting old. It's tired. I get it. The Yankees offense is in a huge funk. A really huge funk. They can't hit with runners in scoring position. They suck when facing a pitcher they've never seen before. To quote the Duke, "This is getting to be re-God-damn-diculous."

I didn't get to watch the game tonight because it was on My9. I listened to some of it on the radio and I kept having to walk away from it because it was getting really frustrated listening to the Yankees strand runner after runner. They stranded 3 in the 2nd, 2 in the 3rd, and 3 in the 4th. I pretty much stopped listening at that point. As a team they went 0-8 with RISP and left 11 men on base. As of late, it's been the same story, just a different day and at the hand of another pitcher they've never seen before. Tommy Hanson was, by my count, the 19th starter the Yankees faced this year for the very first time. They're 10-9 in those ballgames, with 5 wins coming off the opposing bullpen. So they have 5 wins off the opposing starter. That's not good. As a team, they're hitting .242 in those 19 games, which is sad because they absolutely rocked 3 guys. If you remove those 3 starts (Porcello, Richmond, West), they're hitting .211 in the other 16 games. Houston, we have a problem. You can't win if you can't hit.

So the problem is that the Yankees offense can't ht. Sounds like maybe they need some coaching? Oh wait, they have a coach for that, don't they? Kevin Long needs to get off his duff and figure out what the eff is going on here and he needs to find a way to fix the problem. A-S-A-mother effing-P. According to Wikipedia, which we all know is 100% accurate (yeah right):

A hitting coach, as the name suggests, works with a team's players to improve their hitting techniques and form. He monitors players' swings during the game and over the course of the season, advising them when necessary between at-bats on adjustments to make. He also oversees their performance during practices, cage sessions, and pre-game batting practice. With the advent of technology, hitting coaches are increasingly utilizing video to analyze their hitters along with scouting the opposing pitchers.

That sounds like a fair description of a hitting coach to me. Had you asked me to define it, I would have said something close to that. I think an important role of a hitting coach, and let me know if you disagree, is to take the advance scouting report and figure out a plan of attack. I would think this would be incredibly important when the pitcher is unfamiliar to the hitters. The stats suggest that the Yankees don't do well when facing unfamiliar faces. It happens way to often, as illustrated above, to be an anomaly. There is a problem. And that problem lies with either the scout, the hitting coach, or the player.

Now, I'm talking out of my ass here, but the Yankees professional scouting department, according to my 2006 media guide, consisted of a director, an assistant director, 2 advance scouts, and 6 professional scouts. I'd find it hard to believe that multiple scouts are bad at their jobs as all of the scouting reports likely don't come from the same person. So I'm ruling out the scouts. If you look at the back of their baseball cards, you'll see that the Yankees offense, by and large, is a pretty good group of hitters. So I'm ruling out the players. By process of elimination, I'm putting the blame on Kevin Long.

As I said at the beginning of my last paragraph, I'm pretty much talking out of my ass. It's my best educated guess on the process. As I've said, it happens way too much to not be an issue. Something needs to be done about the problem and my suggestion is to bounce Kevin Long from his job as Yankees hitting coach. Long may not be the problem. But he's definitely not finding a solution to it. He's had his time to fix it and he hasn't. It's time for him to go.

I'd hate to see anyone lose their job. Having said that, fire Kevin Long!

Peace, love and Pinstripes,