Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Game 33: Rock Bottom (?)

For the 8th time in 12 series this year the Yankees have dropped the opening game. They are behind the 8 ball to the Jays and are two games under .500 the season. 

The Bombers have been unlucky this year, but not on the field. They have been outscored by 25 runs and their 15-17 record is actually slightly better than the 14-18 their run differential projects. Compare that to the 15-19 Rays, who have outscored their opponents by 13 and based on that, should be 18-16. 
Standings Based On Pythagorean Record
22-13 - Toronto
18-15 - Boston
18-16 - Tampa Bay
14-18 - Yankees
14-19 - Baltimore
Many of the players on the Yankees have been injured or thus far underperformed. There's a fundamental difference between playing well on the field on getting unlucky in regards to how your runs are distributed and not playing up to potential. Much of the Yankees' record was accrued with Alex Rodriguez out of the line-up, but they have few other excuses to justify their slow start, aside from simple under achievement. Jorge Posada has appeared in 23 of 32 games, a proportion that is only getting worse in the short term. Mark Teixeira has is batting .191 and has an OPS+ of 91. A.J. Burnett's ERA is north of 5.   

At this point in each of the last three seasons, the Yankees have been at or below .500, so we are probably a little too familar with trying to grapple with the thought I'm about to put forward. 

Have they hit rock bottom?

Last year the low point came after a 12-2 loss to Baltimore that put the Yanks at 20-25. They won 89 games and obviously didn't reach the postseason. In '07 the Yanks slipped all the way to 21-29 before righting the ship and finishing 73-39 and capturing the Wild Card. In 2005, they started 11-19, but then ripped off 10 straight wins en route to 95.

It's painful to watch your team flounder below .500, especially when they spend as much money this offseason as the Yankees did (not to mention what it cost to build the Stadium). It's easy to feel like we've been jipped so far and the team is due for a turnaround. It's tougher to accept the fact the team the Yankees have put on the field night in and night out is a lot closer to the Orioles then they are to the Blue Jays, Sox or even the Rays. 

Tonight, Andy Pettite starts for the Bombers against Scott Richmond. It's only Scott's 11th major league start, which has been a pretty bad sign for the Yankees so far this year, judging by ther results against Matt Palmer, Brett Anderson and Jeff Niemann. But perhaps the fact that the Yanks have four guys that should probably be in the minor leagues in their line-up (Ramiro Pena, Fancisco Cervelli, Brett Gardner and Melky Cabrera) will work to their advantage.

Here's to hoping this is in fact Rock Bottom. 

But fuck it, if you know the rules to the game, play,
Cause when we die we know were all going the same way,
It's cool to be player, but it sucks to be the fan,
When all you need is bucks to be the man.


  1. Geez Jay, I thought you'd at least go the the Dickey Betts Band for Rock Bottom. Eminem? Really?

    Unfortunately, I don't think this is rock bottom. Jeter's out again and RAB is already speculating about a DL stay. It wouldn't surprise me.

    Matsui's out again as well, meaning a possibly ailing Swish is in the line-up, as well as a possibly ailing and assuredly slumping (if not entirely lost) Teixeira.

    Worst part of Matsui being out is that Gardner is once again in the the line-up - this time batting seventh. I'll continue to beat a dead horse here: why is Gardner even on the roster still? He had his chance, he hasn't produced, and he's completely overmatched at this point. The fact that he's been used a pinch hitter 3 times in the last 10 days is an absolute joke. There are already several equally worthless pieces on the bench (Berroa, Cash), why continue to carry Gardner when there are other options? Linden or JRod are unlikely to set the world on fire, but at the very least they'll provide a OF option that's will put up a line better than Garnder's .214/.273/.257

    After my comment from last night I looked it up today. Tex has K'd 25 times this year, 13 of them have been looking, including 4 of 6 dating back to Friday. I've yet to be able to find on data on swinging Ks vs. looking Ks, but that has to be a high percentage. Being selective is one thing - going down with the bat on your shoulder that often is bad.

  2. I wonder what the Pythagorean record would be if you take out the 22-4 loss to Cleveland.

  3. OK, it's 15-17. Not that different, I guess.

  4. Haha love the old school Eminem track after listening to the new record. Damn I miss the old Slim Shady. Anyway, you might wanna fix this:

    "In '07 the Yanks slipped all the way to 21-29 before righting the ship and finishing 73-47 and capturing the Wild Card."

  5. mmb - I try to spread the songs around to different genres and artists if at all possible. FWIW, I do like this song. I also didn't know Dickey's band had a song called Rock Bottom.

    A Jeter DL stint would be horrible, but at least Pena can save a few runs on D. I don't think Swish is too bad of a loss over Matsui, but it boils down to whatever OF replaces him in the line-up. I think Teix will be okay.

    Agreed about Gardner, I don't think he should be on the roster (regardless of what he did tonight), but I don't think they feel like they can leave Melky alone with the CF duty. Damon has been relegated to the corners and they don't trust Swish to play there either.

    John, I checked that out too, and you'd have to chop out their three worst losses before you get a Pythag over .500.

    Anon - The new album is embarassing. I've heard a few tracks and I won't even bother to illegally download it. Thanks for the catch, changed the later stretch to 73-39 since that actually adds to 162.

    Good win, folks. Needed it.

  6. Rock Bottom was on Dickey's 1988 album Pattern Disruptive. Not the best disc in the world - in fact none of his non-ABB stuff is too great IMO - but that band was valuable in that in eventually led to Warren Haynes joining the ABB and was the first group in which Warren and Matt Abts played together, eventually leading to Gov't Mule. Mule did a few good covers of Rock Bottom some years ago.

    I can see the point about needing a back up CFer on the roster. But if Melky needed a day or two off I'd be comfortable rolling the dice with Damon or Swish for a couple days. If he's out for an extended period Gardner could be recalled. I think having a better bat on the bench is a greater need right now. And if they add Linden to the roster he could be the back-up CFer.