Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Game 40 Recap

1. Jason Bartlett launched the second pitch of the game over the left field fence. 1-0 Rays.

2. The Rays loaded the bases in the third with two walks sandwiching a hit by pitch. With one out, Evan Longoria hit a sacrifice fly to right. 2-0 Rays.

3. In the fourth, B.J. Upton and Hank Blalock started the frame with infield singles, then moved up on a double steal. A ground rule double from John Jaso plated them both. Two batters later and two outs later, Carl Crawford doubled Jaso in. After a walk to Ben Zobrist, Longoria singled Crawford home. 6-0 Rays.

4. A leadoff walk to Alex Rodriguez and a single by Robinson Cano set the Yankees up with runners on the corners and no one out in the bottom of the fourth. Francisco Cervelli brought A-Rod home with a sacrifice fly, but Wade Davis shut it down from there. 6-1 Rays.

5. Alex Rodriguez led off the sixth as well. After falling behind 3-0, Wade Davis battled back to a full count. A-Rod then fought off four straight 3-2 offerings before absolutley destroying the tenth pitch of the at bat for a home run that landed in Monument Park. 6-2 Rays.

Robinson Cano followed with a single, but was erased on a double play off the bat of Francisco Cervelli. The Yankees loaded the bases when Marcus Thames singled, a Juan Miranda walked, and Randy Winn reached on an error, but Derek Jeter ended the threat by grounding out to short.

6. The wheels completely came off in the eighth, and as you might expect Boone Logan had something to do with it. It was comically bad. Logan walked Jaso, then surrendered a double to pinch hitter Sean Rodriguez, scoring Jaso. Logan gave way to Mark Melancon who offered little relief. Rodriguez scored on a single from Barlett, who then took second on a somewhat errant throw from emergency right fielder Ramiro Pena. Bartlett moved to third on Crawford's flyout, then scored on Zobrist's basehit. Evan Longoria followed with a single of his own. Brett Gardner made a circus catch on the warning track to retire Carlos Pena, but it allowed Zobrist to tag and score from second base. B.J. Upton followed with a double, but it mercifully bounced into the stands for a ground rule double, keeping Longoria from scoring. 10-2 Rays.

7. Too little, too late for the Yankees in the ninth. After making two quick outs, Brett Gardner doubled, Mark Teixeira walked, and A-Rod reached on an infield single. Robinson Cano laced his fourth hit of the night to score Gardner, and a walked to Francisco Cervelli forced in Tex. Ramiro Pena followed with a sinking liner to center field, that B.J. Upton misplayed, allowing Pena to take second and two runs to score. A Juan Miranda strikeout ended the game. Final score 10-6 Rays.

IFs, ANDs & BUTs
  • Hands down, this was the ugliest game of the year. Bad, just bad in all facets of the game. It happens. It doesn't mean it's time to hit the panic button. But man, it was tough to watch.

  • Worse than the game is the post-game news that Jorge Posada has a hairline fracture in his foot and will miss three to four weeks. More on this tomorrow. The Yankees will need to add a catcher, most likely Chad Moeller, to the 40 man roster and recall him. The 40 man is currently full, so a spot will have to be cleared.

  • Adding injury to insult (and all the other injuries), Marcus Thames worked a seeing eye single in the sixth, then sprained his ankle when he stepped on his own bat while running to first. He's day-to-day.

  • Want to hear me beat a dead horse? Because the Yankees are carrying thirteen pitchers and because Jorge Posada and Nick Swisher are injured enough not to play but not badly enough to be DL'd, they had a one man bench last night. The Thames injury forced Ramiro Pena, he with seven minor league appearances in CF and one Major League inning in RF, to take over in right.

  • The Rays ran at will. They stole six bases and advanced on flyouts four different times.

  • As frustrating as this game was, not to mention the game before, and the bullpen meltdowns on Sunday and Monday, let's keep a little perspective. The bullpen is a little banged up. Four of the Opening Day starters are on the DL or on the bench with injuries. Of the remaining five starters, three of them are slumps of various severity. Every season has it's rough patches. Nothing that's happened this week has derailed the year.

  • Wade Davis went five and two thirds for the Rays, marking just the eighth time this year a Tampa Bay starter didn't complete six.

  • After leading the AL in walks last year, A.J. Burnett entered his start against the Twins last Friday with a walk rate that was nearly a career best. He walked four that night, four more tonight, and now sits at 3.4 BB/9, closer to his career average of 3.8.

The two clubs meet again tomorrow night, closing out the brief two game set before interleague play starts up. It'll be Andy Pettitte against James Shields.


  1. While there are a lot of things to be both bullish and bearish about regarding the Yankees, last night highlighted something that I'm beginning to see as a metaphorical elephant in the room; Derek Jeter.

    Obviously he's in the middle of a slump of sorts (we've seen his average drop from .333 to .266 in May), but we're also seeing him swing at terrible pitches (swinging at 33% of pitches out of the zone - his career average is <20%) while tending to fail in high leverage scenarios (i.e. it's more visible when you softly ground out with the bases loaded in a close game vice empty in a blowout). In fact, he only has four positive WPA games in May and all of them were blowouts.

    Anyway, my point (or question), is it time to let Gardy lead off for a little while until Jeet rebounds a bit? I have no doubt Jeter will come around again, but Gardy's speed and sexy .400 OBP looks better suited for the top spot right now. Although, thought needs to be put to where Jeter would go. If he's swinging at bad pitches, you want him in front of a good hitter to lessen the junk a bit.

    Just thinking out loud...

    Fangraphs (for the plate discipline):

    BR Game Logs (for trending):

  2. I don't think they're going to move him - certainly not while he's slumping, as the political and media ramifications would outweigh the benefits.

    Part of the reason Jeter was moved out of the two spot and into the leadoff role last year was because he had become so DP prone. With his GB% spiking to an all-time high, that would only be more of an issue if they were to move him now.

    It's a bit concerning right now - not so much to see him struggle, because we've seen that before - but to see his approach: the first pitch swinging, the out of zone swing percentage, the groundball percentage. I'm not going to worry about anything in May, we've seen him turn it around before. But we'll all breathe a bit easier when he starts playing like he did in April again.

  3. Great point about the DP tendencies...

    Like I said, just thinking out loud. And before today, I hadn't seen a lot of formal concern for him. The early swinging has been bugging me all year long, but at least he's still making contact. I just hope his eye improves a bit.

  4. Solid point Matt -- I too forgot about the DP tendencies in drafting my post this morning.

    Still, if Jeter would actually take a pitch every now and then Gardy could steal his way into scoring position and eliminate the DP.