My Frustrations With the Yankees
Let me begin this article by saying that, yes, I will remain a loyal fan of the New York Yankees. However, today’s disaster (August 26) against the Houston Astros was the final straw for me. There are two players on this team that deserve recognition: Nathan Eovaldi and Carlos Beltran. Every other person in the lineup, starter, or in the bullpen deserves nothing but the worst of criticism. The Yankees began the latest 10-game homestand with a 1.5-game lead on the Toronto Blue Jays. As of the afternoon of August 26th, this lead has now turned into a 1.5-game deficit with a road trip ahead. To all the Joe Girardi apologists out there who said that the offense would lead this team to the playoffs and beyond, well, there is nothing else to be said now. To all those who defended the team while the offense stalled but the pitching was great (the week of August 5-12), the pitching was absolutely terrible in the last few games. And if you would rather just hear a general rant, scroll to the very bottom for my unleashing on this team. I haven’t been this negative since Cashman proclaimed Kei Igawa as the next coming of Jesus Christ.
Let’s begin, shall we? The Yankee offense has been anemic in the month of August. They are batting .217, with 176 hits in 809 at-bats. In June and July, the Yankee offense hit .274 and .275, respectively. The power and production are both down as well. In the month of August, the Yankees have a combined total of 25 home runs and 87 RBIs in 24 games. In June, the Yankees had 40 home runs and 130 RBIs in 27 games, while in July the team had 36 home runs and 126 RBIs in 24 games. Even with the month not ending yet, there is almost no way the Yankees will match their production from earlier in the season. Another key statistic is the production when there are runners in scoring position. The Yankees were 0-14 in the Houston series and were 6-30 in the Cleveland series, which sums up to 6-44 in their last seven games. As my colleague Steven Eareckson says, “They can populate the United States Virgin Islands with all the RISP they leave.” If this team even wants to score runs, it needs to either hit the long ball or come through when there are RISP. If it does either, we will simply continue to have to watch Joe Girardi and Company score four runs in three games.
And remember the glory days when the Yankees would score in the first inning? In their last ten games, the Yankees have scored twice in the opening frame. In those eight games where they didn’t score in the first inning, they scored more than three runs only twice! With power, production, and hitting for average all down, there has to be some other salvaging statistics, right? Not at all. The Yankees struck out 28 times in the Houston series, 42 times in the Cleveland series, and 20 times in the Minnesota series. That’s 90 times in 10 games (9 Ks/game)! This is up from the 172 strikeouts in 24 games in July (7.16 Ks/game) and 189 strikeouts in 27 games (7 Ks/game) in June. This statistic should overwhelm any Yankee fan: there is only one player on this team that is batting over .250 in August and has more than 9 RBIs. His name is Carlos Beltran. To sum up, the team is going nowhere with its offense. Nowhere.
Earlier in the year, the Yankees relied on Brian McCann, Mark Teixeira, and especially Alex Rodriguez to provide for the offense. In the month of August, these alleged superstars have combined for 37 hits in 210 at-bats, which is a batting average of .176. This is absolutely atrocious. Okay, a Girardi apologist might say that these three use the long ball to provide for the offense. Well, their power numbers are down as well. The three have combined for 11 home runs and 29 RBIs all month. In July, these three combined for 22 home runs and 46 RBIs in 24 games, which is the number of games they’ve played in August so far. The hate immunity that was granted on Alex Rodriguez from that grand slam in the Minnesota is now long over. A-Rod has had three hits in the the eight games since that grand slam and has batted in two runs. With Teixeira out recently, McCann and A-Rod still have not stepped up: they’ve combined for only seven hits in the last seven games! So looking at both short-term and long-term, these three have dramatically decreased in terms of production. They have overperformed all year and it was about time that father time started to catch up on them. They are getting paid the big bucks and are not getting the big hits and it is disappointing, to say the least.
Let’s move onto pitching. Between August 5 and 12, I will admit that the pitching looked extremely solid and there was no one to blame besides the offense. But after the 15-1 beating on Tuesday, it’s time to add the pitching to the blame. The Yankee pitching allowed 21 earned runs in their last 18 innings pitched (10.50 ERA) and in the last ten games have allowed 51 earned runs in 89 innings (5.16 ERA). In this last homestand, the starter has gone 7.0 innings or more only twice. This is extremely taxing on the Yankees bullpen, who is now getting nationwide attention with its so-called “Scranton Shuttle.” While this may be exciting for the Triple-A players to come up, it’s not allowing them or any of the current Yankees to gain any momentum and stability. The only player I can think of who had any legitimately great outing from the Scranton Shuttle is Diego Moreno in the Texas game and that was a long time ago. Dellin Betances has not been himself lately as he’s given up a run in two straight appearances after going nearly twenty games without a run. I cannot believe I am about to say this, but Brendan Ryan was the best Yankee pitcher outside of Nathan Eovaldi in the Houston series. His two-inning outing was absolutely essential to saving the bullpen.
The Yankee rotation currently features Tanaka, Severino, Eovaldi, Nova, and Pineda. You say that you don’t see CC’s name? Wow! Finally. I hate to be happy about any injuries to a player, but I am very happy to see CC Sabathia finally out of the rotation. Even when he pitched well for the first couple innings, he would always blow up in the fifth or sixth innings and force Girardi to come out and take him out early. Out of the five serviceable starters, I only have confidence in three, and the confidence is mild at that. Nova, as shown in his terrible outing on Tuesday, has lost command on his pitches and has a 5.93 ERA in August. Nova is basically becoming the CC Sabathia of August. Michael Pineda returned from injury today and didn’t look like himself. We’ll see how he turns out but for now, he isn’t a pitcher that is reliable as his forearm is still an issue. Five earned runs in 4.1 innings is not okay, at all, especially when he knows that Collin McHugh was absolutely dominating the Yankees today. Masahiro Tanaka has my mild confidence because he is pitching with half an elbow and that sort of thing puts me on edge all too often.
Finally, the best part about this article where I can actually rant without having to dive into statistics. Right now, the Yankees are slumping and it doesn’t look like any player (except Beltran and Eovaldi) on that team knows how to play baseball. CC Sabathia claims to want to help the Yankees but the best thing he can do right now is sit out the rest of the year and be a team leader but nothing more. My 75-year old grandmother could run faster than the way A-Rod and Teixeira are running to first right now. I don’t sense any sort of urgency or leadership with any of the veteran players right now. I haven’t seen a Yankee pumped up since Sabathia’s shimmy when he struck out David Ortiz in their homestand against Boston earlier this month.
The Yankee games are absolutely impossible to watch - they may plate a run here and there but there is no offense, no slugging, and no string of hits that makes the game fun to watch. The 1-0 win against Houston was actually one of the hardest games to watch all year because, down the stretch, they had chances and blew every single one of them. I was about ready to throw my remote control had they not scored in the tenth inning. At least I could turn off the 15-1 beating because it was 9-0 after five innings but I couldn’t turn off the 1-0 game because it was so close! And it wasn’t like someone new produced; it was Beltran, again! He is singlehandedly carrying this team and is probably the only reason why this team isn’t five or six games behind the Blue Jays.
And you know what, I didn’t even want to critique Joe Girardi. He led what should’ve been a basement dweller team to first place in the American League East for most of the game. But now I am also done with him. Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury have stolen 3 bases all month while A-Rod, slower than my 75-year old grandmother, has two! Girardi has to accept that this team may not hit the long ball every game, so small ball needs to be played at times.
Oh and let’s not forget Chris Capuano. This dude keeps reappearing time after time. He just needs to stay away. I’m sure Capuano is a nice guy and very smart as he has an Economics degree from Duke, one of the best colleges in the United States. But, honestly, he’s been DFA’ed four times in the last two weeks and all it takes is another Branden Pinder 2-inning outing to know that he is coming back. He has given up four earned runs in three of his last four outings and his latest 2-inning, 6 earned runs, 4 walk outing was atrocious and probably the worst appearance out of any Yankee all year. Even Esmil Rogers, the man Cashman shipped to South Korea, has probably been better for the Yankees than Capuano. Currently, he is DFA’ed but obviously no team in their right mind would want Capuano so he’s going to end up back in Scranton and he will hop on that shuttle, perhaps, as soon as he is eligible, especially after Nick Goody and those shuttle-takers were all used today.
Girardi needs to get someone else up who’s new that can stay and put some stability in this pen. And within the same paragraph, let’s talk about another “Joe” that needs to go away from this team. In the bottom of the seventh of Game 1 against Houston, I was ready to buy a one-way ticket to New York City and confront Joe Espada after his incredibly idiotic decision to send Brian McCann home on a shallow line drive to Carlos Gomez in the bottom of the seventh. Seriously? Gomez’s throw was more of a ground ball and McCann was still out by ten thousand miles. This isn’t Espada’s first mistake and that’s now two people in the Yankee organization with the first name Joe that I’d like fired. Tony Pena seems like a good choice, I like him a lot.
This Yankee team is nowhere near ready for the playoffs and I’m not sure if they are going to make it. Bryan Hoch may have said that they have nearly a 90% chance but computers aren’t built to realize Joe Girardi’s stupidity. I will buy anyone a week of Shake Shack for tearing up that so-called binder of his. Right now, the Toronto Blue Jays are playing insanely well and really don’t lose more than one game at a time at all. The Blue Jays also have a legitimate offense in that at least half its lineup is capable of hitting a home run every game, which is something impossible with the Yankees. Right now, I would be extremely happy to end up in the one-game Wild Card playoff, but I would be damned if Joe Girardi and the Yankees are settling for that right now. They better pray the Blue Jays have a collapse similar to that of the New York Mets did in 2007, because right now the Yankees are a lot further than analytics might say they are. And they also better pray for an ace to pop up for the Yankees because they don’t have that #1 starter for a play-in game, Game 1, or even a Game 5 or 7 at this rate. If this Yankee team doesn’t wake up soon, it may all be over sooner than later and the late September games will become meaningless.
Article by: Bryan Peng
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