• Who’s To Blame For The Yankees Flaccid Post-Season Bats?

    Posted by on October 19th, 2012 · Comments (7)

    First, some perspective via ESPN -

    The Yankees never led in the [ALCS], only the second time in their history that they’ve been beaten in that fashion (the other was in the 1963 World Series) and had some of their weaknesses exposed in October.

    The Yankees were swept in a postseason series for the first time since the 1980 ALCS (against the Kansas City Royals), and swept in a best-of-7 for the first time since the 1976 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds.

    Lowest BA in Single Postseason
    MLB History

    BA
    2012 Yankees .188
    1965 Twins .195
    1956 Dodgers .195
    1974 Athletics .198
    1962 Yankees .199
    1920 Dodgers .205
    1921 Yankees .207
    >>minimum 7 games

    The Yankees had played 36 straight postseason series without being swept. The Elias Sports Bureau notes that is the longest such streak in major-league history.

    The Yankees .188 batting average in the 2012 postseason is the lowest in MLB postseason history by any team that played at least seven games.

    They scored just 22 runs in nine games, for an average of 2.4 runs per game. That’s the fourth-fewest runs per game in a single postseason by any team that played at least seven games.

    How ugly was the final game?

    The 8-1 loss matched the team’s worst in any postseason elimination game. They lost 9-2 to the Dodgers in Game 6 of the 1981 World Series and they lost 10-3 to the Red Sox in Game 7 of the 2004 ALCS.

    The Yankees offense disappeared in the postseason. The combination of Alex Rodriguez, Nick Swisher, Curtis Granderson, and Robinson Cano went a combined 14-for-125 with one home run.

    Clearly, some – if not most – of this falls on the Yankees batters, themselves. They were the ones in the box with the stick in their hand.

    But, should they be the only ones held accountable here? How about Yankees batting coach Kevin Long? Is he somewhat culpable as well for failure of his star players? Also, what about Yankees G.M. Brian Cashman? He’s the one who put together the starting position players for the Yankees? Should he not also be charged for assembling a team without the skill set to produce in the post-season?

    What do you think?  And, what should be the course of action regarding those responsible for this epic failure?

    Comments on Who’s To Blame For The Yankees Flaccid Post-Season Bats?

    1. Raf
      October 19th, 2012 | 1:00 pm

      There’s no such thing as a post season skill set. Teams of all types have been bounced out of the playoffs.

    2. October 19th, 2012 | 1:58 pm

      The skill set is: Players who hit in the post-season, meaning, players who have the hitting approach that doesn’t get shut down by better than average pitching.

    3. Raf
      October 19th, 2012 | 7:14 pm

      Steve L. wrote:

      The skill set is: Players who hit in the post-season, meaning, players who have the hitting approach that doesn’t get shut down by better than average pitching.

      You’ve been watching long enough to know that such a thing does not exist. You’ve seen all types of teams get bounced from the postseason, you’ve seen teams with your criteria not even make it to the postseason.

    4. Evan3457
      October 19th, 2012 | 9:04 pm

      I’m gonna tell you, but you ain’t gonna believe me. In fact, I’m putting on my flame retardant suit for what is to come…

      Let me set up my notion with a preface…

      For years and years, Steve has been saying the Yanks don’t have the pitching to win in the post-season, and they don’t have it because Cashman doesn’t know how to trade for pitching, he doesn’t know how to draft pitching, and he doesn’t know how to develop the few pitchers they do draft.

      Yet, this year, the post-season pitching was fine; excellent, even. And yet, at the same time, the hitting was historically bad. Worse, even then the clutch failures of 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010 and 2011.

      Well, he’s my explanation: the same phenomena is responsible for both. And that phenomena is the extra-wide K zones called by most, if not all, of the home plate umpires this post-season.

      How many times did we see a Yankee batter gripe to a home plate ump about a pitch that was 4-6 inched off the corner, and still called a strike. Robbie Cano alone must’ve done it about twice a game.

      If you have a team of older hitters, and their bat speed is slower than teams with hitters in their prime, how do they lead the league in HRs? How do they score the 2nd most runs? By enforcing the strike zone, and getting cripples to hit. In addition, by enforcing the strike zone, they draw a much higher average number of walks. In addition, they force pitchers who can’t command in the zone to throw more pitches, forcing them out of the game, and forcing weaker middle relievers into the game.

      But if the strike zone is not enforced, then pitchers can get ahead on pitches that are not strikes, and then throw anything. It becomes impossible to sit and wait for cripples, and you wind up being surprised by 93-96 FB in the zone with two strikes, because you can’t sit on them, and wind up chasing FB and offspeed pitches out of the zone, because you can’t be sure they’ll be called balls.

      And that’s about 2/3 of the problem with the offense this off-season. Other things: Granderson was slumping since June, accelerated by the K-zone problem. A-Rod, the same thing since mid-September. Chavez fell off a cliff. But the major culprit is Cano. He wasn’t able to command the zone, and fell back to his 2008 season, minus any luck. What few balls Robbie hit hard were invariably near someone.

      When Girardi talked about his hitters not making adjustments, he was talking about the failure of the team as a whole to realize they were being pitched backwards when ahead on the count; the great majority of pitches when the Yanks were ahead were offspeed, or FB in unhittable spots.

      ==================================

      It might not have been more than 5-10 pitches a game, but that’s all it takes. The wrong strike zone at the wrong count, especially with a runner or two on base, changes the whole at bat, the whole inning. But it went on the whole post-season, and it lifted the pitchers, and sunk the hitters. Then it became a vicious cycle: they would take obvious balls that were then called strikes, which would discombobulate their notion of the strike zone, which would make them chase, and when they chastised themselves for chasing, and commanded themselves to be patient and not chase, along would come another of those ridiculous calls, and they’d be buried for another AB, another inning, and for some players, another game.

      That’s my two cents, anyway.

    5. Corey
      October 20th, 2012 | 9:04 am

      @ Evan3457:
      Makes sense to me

    6. JeremyM
      October 20th, 2012 | 10:40 am

      My brother, who is not a Yankees fan but is kind of a numbers guy, has been telling me the same thing. His theory is that patient teams are hurt much more by this odd strike zone and that’s why the Yankees have struggled for years as well as the Oakland A’s. He said he couldn’t even watch the games at one point because of the outside strikes that were being called- like I said, he’s not a Yankees fan (poor guy pulls for the Royals) but he doesn’t think it’s fair that the games are played by one set of rules during the year and then another set during October.

      I’m not saying he’s right, but it is an objective voice to add to the pile. I know the Verlander game was pretty lopsided in terms of the Tigers getting those calls.

    7. LMJ229
      October 24th, 2012 | 10:43 pm

      @ Evan3457:
      I couldn’t agree more. I’ve been screaming about the post-season strike zone for years. It really hurts the disciplined teams who try and work the pitchers and favors the free swinging teams like the Tigers.

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