Friday, May 21, 2010

The Dirty Dozen

Good morning, Fackers. The Yankees have lost eight of their last twelve games. They started out this homestand with two wins but finished it just 3-4. They are only one game ahead of the Blue Jays.

Things are looking bleak heading into the Subway Series and the Yanks have, at one time or another during the last two weeks, been sabotaged by a lack of offense, poor starting pitching, bullpen implosions, defensive blunders, bad luck or any combination of the above. But, on the other hand, they've had all of those things working for them at one point or another over the last 12 games too.

Over the first five games of the skid, the Yanks' offense couldn't seem to get it going, averaging three runs per contest (including their only two scoreless efforts of the year) from the last game they played at Fenway on May 9th through the four game set in Detroit. Since then, though, the offense has scored 47 runs in seven games, just in time for their pitching staff to let them down. In the last five games, the Yanks have allowed 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 runs (although not in that order) due in part to poor starts by Andy Pettitte, A.J. Burnett and Phil Hughes but mostly to a series of meltdowns by the bullpen.

Add that all up and the Yankees have scored 62 runs while allowing 67 but have dropped 66% of their games during that span. Is that glass a third full or two thirds empty? I tend to think it's not quite as miserable as it has seemed.

Yes, the last four losses have been particularly painful. The Yanks finally let the Twins up off the mat at The Stadium. They blew two 5-0 leads against the Red Sox. They were out-pitched, out-slugged and out-defended and abused on the basepaths by the Rays. There's no hiding the fact that they are now five games back in the division and closer to the Red Sox than they are to Tampa.

However, this streak has come while the roster has been in a state of total disarray and the Yankees have been without, to varying extents, important contributors like Curtis Granderson, Nick Johnson, Jorge Posada and Alfredo Aceves. You could say that Curtis Granderson wasn't hitting well anyway, Nick Johnson isn't coming back, Frankie Cervelli has been filling in admirably and Alfredo Aceves wouldn't have stopped the bleeding out of the bullpen, but the Yankees will be stronger and more complete as the season moves on and those players return.

The Yankees were vulnerable during a tough stretch and paid the price. They played 12 games against what are likely four out of the five or six best teams in the American League without 25 players available on most nights, let alone their 25 best. It's tough to watch your team lose eight of of twelve regardless of the circumstances, but the Yankees were weak at the wrong time and got worked by some very good squads.

If you want to, you can see a team that has a terrible bullpen and isn't as good as their 25-14 record indicates. If you change your perspective a bit, however, you might see a club that is a little black and blue and just went through a brief stretch in the red.


  1. It's only the 3rd week May,so I'll go with the glass a 1/3 full.

  2. They are only one game ahead of the Blue Jays.

    And 3.5 ahead of the Red Sox. I only draw attention to this because it seems as if every Yankees fan I know has written off the Sox. Their pitching sucks and is overrated!!!11!!!1111!!!!

    3.5 games. May 21.

  3. Perhaps it's the neverending optimist in me but I think the Yankee team is better than a 25-16 record. The pitching was bound to come down to earth somewhat but it's a shame that both the starters and the pen have struggled *so much* in the past week. But the offense has been doing well even with so many bench players and AAA call-ups playing everyday. The Yanks have lost three in a row but they've also had three games in the past four in which they scored runs in the 9th to win or bring the winning runs to the plate.

    I don't think the Yanks were drastically outplayed by the Rays but even though the series wasn't pretty--it was only two games.

  4. Exactly. May 21. Too soon to be writing anyone off or to be fretting over a brief rough patch for the Yanks. There's a long, long way to go.

    The only thing I will disagree with is about the two games against the Rays. If those aren't the two worst games the Yanks have played this year they're two of the bottom three.