Yanks facing their biggest test of season

Jones falls flat on his face yesterday vs Toronto

The Yankees have been playing mediocre at best baseball for quite some time now.  Since July 18th when they had a 10 game division lead, they have gone a miserable 18-21 while their lead has shrunk to 3.5 games over Baltimore and 4 games over Tampa Bay.   The next 10 games, 7 vs Baltimore & 3 vs TB, will tell us a lot about how good these 3 teams are and could seriously alter the standings in the Al East.

Unfortunately, the Yankess head into this stretch playing terrible baseball and without their full lineup.  Injuries are never an excuse in baseball and the Yanks have done a great job filling in for much of the year.  However, it appears that the injuries have finally caught up to them.  Cashman & Girardi have chosen to go with veterans to fill in but now many of the backups are looking worn out and are getting exposed.   Or perhaps, the league has just found their weaknesses now that they are playing expanded roles.   Raul Ibanez, Andruw Jones, Eric Chavez, Jayson Nix, Cody Eppley & Clay Rapada have all taken on additional playing time and responsibility and did a yeoman’s job until recently.  Right now, it looks like the Yankees are an old team with far too many platoon players who have little value defensively or fundamentally.

This week’s series for Toronto was a microcosm of the team’s struggles this year.  They did not execute in key situations, failed to move runners with productive outs or bunts and did not deliver with runners in scoring position.  In addition their defense was shoddy with 4 errors yesterday and another 2 misplays by Andruw Jones that should have been errors.  These mistakes led to 7 of Toronto’s 8 runs and allowed the Jays to win their first series in over a month.  They had lost 7 in a row before coming to NY.  Not the type of tune-up you’d like to see before the biggest 10-game stretch of the season.

I know the above sounds very negative but I try to be a realist and the reality is the team has played poor baseball for about 6 weeks now.  However, on the bright side, they will head into this stretch with at least a 3-game lead and even with all their injuries, I still believe they are better than Baltimore and Tampa.  Baltimore’s pitching is far inferior to the Yankees and while Tampa has the best pitching in baseball, their lineup is far weaker.

If the Yankees had ARod, Tex, Pettitte, Mariano & Gardner, I would have no worries at all.  But they don’t.  And Cashman’s attempts to bring in retreads is not working anymore.   If ever a team needed a breath of fresh air and youthful excitement, it’s the Yankees.  They are a slow, prodding team which doesn’t run, plays poor defense and doesn’t hit well with RISP.  Their calling card is the HR which without their 2 biggest RH bats isn’t nearly as strong as it was.  Say what you want about ARod & Tex but they were legit 25 & 30 HR bats, respectively.  Replacing them with the likes of Laynce Nix and Steve Pearce isn’t working.  This team has guys in AA & AAA right now that are hitting the shit out of the ball.  They also have youthful legs and could possibly provide a jump-start to this team.  With the rosters expanding on Saturday, the team can definitely use the talents of Chris Dickerson, Ronnie Mustelier, Corban Joseph, Eduardo Nunez, Francisco Cervelli, David Adams & Zolio Almonte.

Another arm or 2 in the bullpen is badly needed also as Joba Chamberlain continues to show he’s not ready for primetime and Cosy Eppley has been nowhere near the guy he was early in the year.  perhaps it is time to give Snap-Dragon Montgomery a chance to see if his Slider will work at the MLB-level.  These young guys could provide a boost to this struggling team.

Use this as your post to talk about the team and the upcoming big series with Baltimore.  Is anyone else worried about this team or are you confident the Yanks can just turn it on now that they need it? How many games do they need to win out of these next 10?

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About fishjam25

Was a 4-yr Pitcher and Communications Major at Seton Hall University in the 90s. His knowledge & opinion of the game comes from his background as a player and ardent lifetime Yankee fan. However, Fishjam also incorporates sabermetrics and statistical support to form a well-rounded view of the game.

Posted on August 30, 2012, in Personal Opinion and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.

  1. Was talking with some friends at work yesterday about this team. We were imagining what George Steinbrenner would be doing and saying at this time. One guy brought up that he would have claimed Joe Mauer on waivers to put a spark on this team.

    I don’t see that as helping though. I am with you Fish. It is sad that no youth is on this team. You are right there are plenty of Prospects hitting the shit out of the ball with speed that could be on this team.

    The Yankees are currently 26th in the majors in Stolen Bases. That is disgusting! We can’t steal we can’t bring in runners in scoring pitching.

    This team is brutal to watch and with the A-Rod contract which is going to hamper this team for some time I don’t see it getting better quickly.

    This team is very old

  2. Well obviously when Steve Pearce and Andruw Jones are batting cleanup its not going to be good to watch. Don’t know what you can really realistically expect. If they have a fully healthy team with Tex, Arod, and Andy I still believe their chances in the AL are just as good as anybody’s.

    • Matthew – I agree if the 3 of them were healthy, the team is just about as good as any. However, with just 1 month left in the season, I think the chances of ANY of them being 100% by the playoffs is slim. If I had to bet on anyone, it would be Tex since Jeter came back in 3 weeks from that injury last yr and Tex is a bit younger.

      I’m def concerned about Andy’s 40 yr old body coming back from a broken ankle with no chance to make minor lg rehab starts and time running out in reg season. ARod may come back with a couple of weeks remaining but as we have seen in the past – and last yr in particular – he often takes a looooong time to get into his rythym and returning from a broken hand will definitely hamper his swing and power.

      I don’t expect miracles with all their injuries but it hurts me to see the team fail so miserably in the most basic of fundamentals. They are in the bottom of the league in every fundamental category from baserunning to SBs to Productive Outs to BA w RISP to Sacrifice Flys/Bunts, etc. They are also playing poor defense and look old and lethargic. if we have to play lousy backups, give me some that at least have value with their running or defense or ability to move runners.

  3. I can’t stop looking at that Jones picture. Ugh.

  4. Baltimore won today. Not good.

  5. Hey Twasp – Did you know Girardi has not called 1 Squeeze Bunt in his 5 years as Yankees manager? Do you think that it’s OK to NEVER attempt to manufacture runs by playing some small ball just because your club leads the league in HRs? Does Joe G & Cash need to re-adjust their strategy since they are playing without 2 of their top 4 HR hitters?

    Against LHP, Tex & ARod are replaced by Pearce and Nix. Against RHP, they are basically replaced by Ichiro and A.Jones or Nix. Do you think that warrants a different approach or is it justified to continue to wait for the long ball?

  6. Yep…..you manage to the skill set of what you got. If some HR hitters are down, time to do other things to score runs. I’ve been watching Girardi closely and he’s one step from going over the edge.

    He’s losing games they should win.

    • Joe is loosing the games? I have not seen him in the line-up! If the team has old and over the hill players, replace those you can, with players that are hungry. Having some speedy young players around the vets could make for a more exciting game and hay, we just may win a game or two.

      • I agree Jim….if we have to put below par players in for the injured ARod, Tex & Gardner, why not go with some fresh legs who can at least offer speed and/or defense? Speed can be an important element in jump-starting a stagnant offense. Can someone tell they wouldn’t rather have Eduardo Nunez playing DH today instead of Laynce Nix or instead of Steve Pearce? Heck, I’d take Nunez over A.Jones and MceHee at this point.

        Even a limited player like Cervelli might be good for a jump-start right now over Martin. Cervelli’s always had a knack for getting big hits, bunts well and runs decent for a Catcher also.

  7. What happened to mcGeeHee?

    • McGehee got sent to the minors when they traded for Pearce. Pearce went from the trash heap with the worst team in baseball (Houston) to hitting cleanup for the 1st place Yankees.

  8. More importantly where’s Dominic wise?

    • Yanks cut Wise when they traded for Ichiro. I liked the Ichiro trade but didn’t like losing Wise. Wise was their only source of speed and provided good baserunning, defense and a decent bat off the bench which they never replaced. Ironically, Wise has done everything Ichiro has done and more.

      Look at the #s:

      Wise in NY .262/.286/.492/.778 – 105 OPS+ 7 of 7 SBs/3 HRs in 63 PA
      Wise in Chi .292/.313/.446/.760 – 101 OPS+ 4 of 5 SBs /3 HRs in 67 PA
      Wise Total .278/.300/.468/.768 – 102 OPS+ 11 of 12 SBs/6 HRs in 130 PA
      Ichiro in NY .286/.309/.429/.738 – 97 OPS+ 4 of 7 SBs/3 HRs in 125 PA

  9. I wish they would have kept Wise…..but I guess he was redundant with Iitchy…though as your numbers show Wise might have more left in the tank.

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