• Anchors Aweigh, Yankees!

    Posted by on May 23rd, 2012 · Comments (11)

    Great stuff on the Yankees today via Bob Klap

    That tense, surreal final out still was vivid in the Yankees’ memory, which went a long way toward explaining the expression on Brian Cashman’s face. It wasn’t a celebratory look as much as relief, or, closer to the truth, pure exhaustion.

    The general manager is the first to admit the Bombers aren’t a very good team these days. The Yankees squeaked by the anemic Royals, 3-2, on a night that could’ve dropped them into dead last in the East. Only the Red Sox’ loss to the Orioles spared the Yankees, along with Alex Rodriguez’s ability to quickly negotiate Alcides Escobar’s grounder with two outs in the ninth and the tying run on third base.

    Had A-Rod not fired a perfect, across-the-infield missile, and had Mark Teixeira not made the perfect stretch, the Yankees’ slump might’ve mushroomed into a full-blown crisis. The sense of unease about the Bombers’ decline is that great. Even Cashman said, “We’re bad right now.”

    The core of the problem is A-Rod, who simply can’t hit home runs any more; he’s gone 52 at-bats without clearing the wall. And without his power threat, the Yankees don’t have the resources to dominate as they once did. Not when their rotation, ranked 11th in the AL, continues its journey toward mediocrity.

    Think of it: CC Sabathia no longer is the blow-away ace of his first three years in pinstripes. Hiroki Kuroda may never make a full transition to American League excellence. Ivan Nova’s WHIP has ballooned from 1.33 in 2011 to 1.65 this year; he’s always in trouble. And Phil Hughes, who pitched relatively well over six innings Tuesday, can’t finish off hitters. Of his 104 pitches to the Royals, 26 were fouled off, including 14 with two strikes.

    Point is, the Yankees need more runs if their pitching isn’t going to match, say, the Rays or the O’s. But how can any of that happen if A-Rod continues to deteriorate into a $29 million singles hitter? He’s lifting 10 percent fewer fly balls this year than in 2011. His ground-ball ratio is at 51.3 percent, the highest of his career.

    Girardi continues to say all the right things about A-Rod, how he believes in the slugger’s track record. “He’s done it before,” is the manager’s favorite line of defense, which technically is true. But Rodriguez never has been an almost 37-year-old, either.

    The age issue is a sensitive one for Girardi and Cashman, because they know the Yankees have no other options available.

    The GM dismisses the warning signs that others see, saying instead, “I hear the same thing every year. It’s like déjà vu. We’re going to get through this.”

    Yet Cashman knows there are no can’t-miss prospects waiting in the farm system.

    There are no trades likely to happen, not if it’s going to cost the team younger players and increase payroll.

    This is the roster Cashman and his bosses have hand-picked, or as the GM said, “We’re like a ship that’s set sail across the ocean. We’re out to sea.”

    O.K., I’ll just hang up now and listen to your reaction…

    Comments on Anchors Aweigh, Yankees!

    1. MJ Recanati
      May 23rd, 2012 | 1:30 pm

      Meh. Doom and gloom posts from the mainstream media are just more of the same stuff. It’s formulaic, almost as if it’s at the ready during any periond of poor play by the Yankees. And when the Yankees run off a winning streak — every team does — I’m sure the media will write something equally trite.

    2. Garcia
      May 23rd, 2012 | 1:31 pm

      What’s there to disagree with? I was nodding my head after every sentence. The Yankees are not a good team right now, Tex and ARod are the main reason why with respect to our hitting (Martin has been horrible but were really counting on Martin to be a big bopper?), the pitching has been horrible, awful injuries haven’t helped matters either.

      Klap is right-on here.

    3. MJ Recanati
      May 23rd, 2012 | 1:33 pm

      Garcia wrote:

      Klap is right-on here.

      He might be right but he’s being overly dramatic and one-sided in his presentation. Case in point: had the Yankees lost last night they’d be in last place, with a 21-22 record. Oh no! A .500 team in last place on May 22nd?! That’s the kind of alarmist, on the ledge nonsense that makes mainstream media so predictable and boring.

    4. Evan3457
      May 23rd, 2012 | 1:36 pm

      Klapisch is overstating their problems. They’ve just come off a streak of very bad baseball where they’ve dropped 7 of 9.

      The overarching problem is the failure to get hits with RISP, which has been an intermittent problem the last several years, but had reached preposterous dimensions in those 9 games.

      6 for 72. Think about it. That’s .083. Nobody hits .083 with RISP. Nobody. Ever.

      Pick the worst hitting team in 1968, the Year of the Pitcher. The lowest BAVG with RISP that year was the Angels who hit .212 for the entire season, a season in which they scored 3.4 runs per game. If the Yanks had hit .212 with RISP in this stretch, people would be whining about that, but they’d have another 9 hits with RISP.

      With the team’s propensity for home runs, that’s somewhere between 12 and 15 more runs over those 9 games, which probably means going 4-5 or even 5-4, instead of 2-7. Which means they’d be 24-19 instead of 22-21, they’d be 3rd instead of 5th, they’d be the 2nd Wild Card, and they’d be only 3.5 out of 1st instead of 5.5.

      And then nobody would be writing melodramatic, faulty logic small sample size drivel about how this stretch of 9 game is who the Yankees really are, how they’ll never recover, how this is 1965 all over again, how the team is too old, how A-Rod is finished, how Tex is finished, how CC’s not an ace, how Kuroda and Nova and Hughes are awful, and bla bla bla.

      OK, OK, maybe a little too dogmatic on my part.

      Maybe this is the year the chickens finally come home to roost. Maybe this really is 1965. On the other hand, maybe people are reading too much into 9 terrible games.

      Like I said in the other thread, there are 2 possibilities: If the hitters hit back to their career track records, the team will be fine. If they don’t, they’re sunk.

      And right now, no one knows which possibility is the one that eventually occurs. No one.

    5. MJ Recanati
      May 23rd, 2012 | 1:37 pm

      Evan3457 wrote:

      And then nobody would be writing melodramatic, faulty logic small sample size drivel about how this stretch of 9 game is who the Yankees really are, how they’ll never recover, how this is 1965 all over again, how the team is too old, how A-Rod is finished, how Tex is finished, how CC’s not an ace, how Kuroda and Nova and Hughes are awful, and bla bla bla.

      If we were standing face to face when you said all of this, I would’ve shaken your hand. Couldn’t have said it any better.

    6. Garcia
      May 23rd, 2012 | 1:45 pm

      @ MJ Recanati:
      You may think of the MSM as vultures*, for their doom-and-gloom posts, but isn’t it all part of the season’s overall narrative. Is this bad play just a ‘snapshot’ or exposing a bigger problem that the Yankess will have to address this season?

      I look at this all as a snapshot, the snapshot may look different in a month from now. Will it be better or worse than now? Hopefully it’s not worst. HOwever, I think the snapshots need to be written about because it helps build the overall narrative. No?

      *I know you didn’t call them vultures.

    7. MJ Recanati
      May 23rd, 2012 | 2:13 pm

      @ Garcia:
      The issue is simply that I don’t believe in the value of those media narratives because, frequently, they are simply repeating something over and over, trying to make it true, irrespective of whether it is true or not.

      Moreover, why do we need narrative? Why can’t the media simply report facts, as Evan presented them above? Becuase that would be boring. There’s nothing particularly interesting, from a newspaper perspective, about logic and reason. They’d rather sell the doom-and-gloom angle, tell you the Yankees are terrible and get you all agitated about it. Because then, when the Yankees are playing well, they can take you on the opposite ride and breathlessly talk about how wonderful X is playing or how much energy Young Player Y has brought to the team.

    8. Mishka
      May 23rd, 2012 | 5:34 pm

      Semi-facetious request: can we please have a poll where the readers of this blog are asked whether they like/identify themselves with Steve’s type of posts (the doomy/gloomy ones) or MJ’s/Evan’s-type responses to them?

    9. Raf
      May 23rd, 2012 | 6:08 pm

      @ Mishka: No need to, we know who we are :P:)

    10. Mishka
      May 23rd, 2012 | 7:00 pm

      @ Raf:
      And I meant to include Raf too. I’m just curious because there’s just a handful of active commenters, and, sure, we know where you fall, but what about the passive readers like me?

    11. May 24th, 2012 | 9:20 am

      Can someone tell me who Mishka is, and, why I should care about their opinion, or, why I should entertain, for more than a second, their requests and suggestions?

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