Tagged: Offense

Wang makes progress, Mo makes history, Yankees make it five in a row


Wang making progress with each start…

A couple of noteworthy things about Wang’s start yesterday. First of all, without attempting to manage the team, I believe he could have lasted another inning (he was taken out in the sixth, with a man on first and one out, only 85 pitches under his belt), making it six, and thus his longest start/appearance of the year. Secondly, he gave up the least runs he has all season (in a start), limiting the incapacitated Mets offense to a two run effort. He induced the most ground balls he has all season (a signature aspect of his game when he was winning 19 a season) with 13. Finally, he simply gave up the least hits he has of any start this year, even more reassuring considering it was his lengthiest appearance. 
Mo makes history…
A quick congratulations to Mariano Rivera, who, as his career dwindles, has cemented himself as the greatest closer to ever play the game. It was even sweeter last night because he dominated the batters with his trademark cutter, which just mowed down a very quiet Mets lineup. 
Yankees make it five in a row…

Finally onto the important part of the post. I couldn’t be more reassured by the wins that the Yankees are now posting. I believe that they are in fact better-looking performances by the entire Bomber squad than the walk-off hysteria they perpetuated in May. 
The first mark of this quality is in the pitching; Since June 24th (5 games), the Yankee pitching has let up an outstanding 10 earned runs, 30 hits, and only 3 home runs. In other words, in the past five games, they’ve posted a collective 2.00 ERA. Now you can’t ignore the starting pitching, but it’s also due to a significant contribution for the middle relief. It’s extraordinary to see how the middle relief of the Yankees have pulled together since early into he season. Amongst the now essential Aceves, Bruney, and Hughes, is Dave Robertson, who was a no name as late as May, putting up a 2.70 ERA. He’s part of the continued trend of successful Yankee youth.
Now the pitching is basically the same as it was around eight days ago, when the Yankees were seriously slumping. The obvious is difference is that; the Yankees are no longer slumping. To make it clear the jump they’ve made (starting with those last two games in Atlanta), they were hitting .212 from June 17th to June 23rd. From June 24th to yesterday, the Yankees average has jumped to .283 (with an interesting 8 more runners LOB as a team. Probably because of the increased runners on base in the first place).
So with all the numbers aside, you have to consider the following; The Yankees have heated up against the Braves and Mets, two weak-hitting teams. The Yankees regained confidence will find a buffer in the harder-hitting AL teams it faces as we head into July 
And with that, I thank the baseball gods that interleague play is over,
and bid you Good Night. 

Pitching excels behind weak hitting, creating a miserable week for the Bronx.

drop two straight series

is very rare that anyone thinks or says the words ‘Thank God it’s
Monday’ but I can only imagine that is what is being muttered by
every single managerial character in the Yankee organization this
morning. One can almost hear the sigh of relief being exhaled across
Yankeedom as the team gets the hell out of Florida, leaving that
stadium and a dismal week behind them. 

hard to take a streak like this, interrupted by the occasional win,
after such a thrilling May. So as we buckle down for Atlanta on
Wednesday, it’s worth contemplating what went wrong. 

bright side of things is that it definitely was not pitching;

fact, study these numbers: 

May 15th to June 13th, the Yankees pitching staff averaged around 30
given up every seven games. That’s not a poor performance in
the least: Definitely not one that warrants a series lost to the
god-forsaken Nationals. So it must have gotten worse going
into the series against the Nationals…

the contrary, since June 13th to today (seven games of play), the
Yankees pitching staff has given up only 18 runs

question stands: How is it that with the best pitching our staff has
given since May 15th, we performed the worst. This is not exactly a
Sherlock Holmes-caliber mystery;

New York Yankees are not hitting. 

May 1st, through today, the Yankee batting average has dropped close
to 40 points

following is the Yankee hitting stats for the month of May, with a
game average at the bottom: 

May 1, 2009 to May 31, 2009 28 17-11 1103 980 155 276 60 5 47 152 94 3 170 11 11 7 9 22 17 6 .282 .349 .497 .846 197
Average 1.0 39.4 35.0 5.5 9.9 2.1 0.2 1.7 5.4 3.4 0.1 6.1 0.4 0.4 0.2 0.3 0.8 0.6 0.2 7.0

following is the Yankee hitting stats so far for the month of June,
with a game average at the bottom: 

Jun 1, 2009 to Jun 21, 2009 19 9-10 716 620 95 153 33 1 25 89 86 3 99 5 3 2 6 17 15 1 .247 .342 .424 .766 127
Average 1.0 37.7 32.6 5.0 8.1 1.7 0.1 1.3 4.7 4.5 0.2 5.2 0.3 0.2 0.1 0.3 0.9 0.8 0.1 6.7

stats (mind you, thats what they are, just stats) mean to me the
following: In May, with Gardner on third, we may have won the game
last night. In fact, we also may have come back to take the game
against the Nationals, where Cano grounded into a DP to end it. That
walk-off/comeback spark has deserted us, along with that serious
chunk of the team BA. 

most importantly , remember this: When Teixeira and A-Rod do decide
to awaken from their respective slumps, take a deeeeep yawn, stretch
their arms, and lumber over to the metaphorical plate,
hopefully sometime around the All-star break, we will
look nothing like the .242 we have right now in the month of June. So
stay strong, Yankee fans, 4.0 games is nothing. 

with that, I’ll leave you until tomorrow, when I’ll give
thoughts/predictions on the upcoming series.

of the Day:
immediate word on Sabathia’s injury

How about Brett Gardner? 

What went wrong against Boston last night

The Yankees were shutout for the first time this year by Josh Beckett (7-2) last night. And the reason why is as simple as that fact might make it seem: Josh Beckett. 
Beckett has in his past 47.2 innings, gone 5-0, given up only 9 earned runs, 31 hits, and 16 walks. To put it simply, he has become the Red Sox ace.
So with the way he pitched last night, no one should be overly surprised. However, it is worth wondering why the Yankee bats were so quiet. Two hits the entire game is dismal for anyone’s standards, especially an offense with the second most runs scored in the American League. 
And so I went about inspecting the pitching that the Yankee’s have been hitting so well as of late, and the following is what I found. Given is the list of pitchers that started against the Yankees in all of the Yankee wins since May 13, along with their current ERA:

Richmond, 4.28

Tallet, 4.68

Liriano, 5.21

Blackburn, 4.38

Slowey, 4.50

Guthrie, 5.37

Eaton, 8.56

Happ, 2.60 

Harrison, 5.43

Holland, 5.70

Lee, 3.16 

Carmona, 6.60

Sowers, 6.16

McCarthy 4.92

Garza, 3.55

Sonnanstine, 7.00

In all of the Yankee wins since May 13, the Yankees have only faced three starters with an ERA below 4.28. And when they faced the three pitchers below that number (J.A. Happ, Cliff Lee, Matt Garza), the offense was relatively quiet, never scoring more than three earned runs against them. 
But everyone knows that the Yankees won’t be crushing good pitchers. No one consistently hits good pitcherst. It’s the Yankees specialty so far this season to simply take their bats to the relief, where they win games (see: Minnesota Twins, May 15-19, 2009)
The answer to question of how good the Yankees offense is lies in how other teams fair against the same pitchers that the Yankees struggle against. Specifically, look at the Boston Red Sox. 
AJ Happ? While Boston hasn’t seen him this year, in his past four starts, both the Mets and Nationals have scored three runs off of him, 1 more than the Yankees did. 
Slowey? In his past 46.1 innings (he had bad start) he has given up 21 earned runs. So not many, including the Red Sox, have scored well on him in his past eight starts. 
Tallet? The Red Sox have played to game against him so far this year, scoring 5 earned runs against him over thirteen innings…roughly a 3.46 ERA
Those are pitchers from Yankee wins. Here are some arms that the Yankees lost to since May 13;
Pavano gave up 2 ER over six to Boston
Millwood shut down Boston over seven innings
So without beating to death the issue of the Yankee Offense, and their performance against above-par pitchers, one can rest their head at night knowing that our lineup has posted as good numbers as any other – and truly beast against relief.