Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Score Off A Reliever

In five games against Lester (twice), Price, Pineda, and Hernandez, the Yankees have scored 19 runs off of those starters in 29 innings. That's dangerously close to a 6.00 ERA. They have scored 2 runs in 19 innings off of those teams' respective bullpens in the same 5 games, both against Boston. That's less than a 1.00 ERA. And one of those runs was off of Papelbon who stinks and the Yankees own, so it's even worse.

This is inexcusable. You can small sample size that all you want - and that's true - but this is becoming a trend, and a concerning one at that. This team changes approach and/or focus when they get the starter out of the game. They work the starter, and then let the relievers breeze. That's not how it's supposed to work, not if you want to play winning offensive baseball. This is especially true when the Yankees are showing in those very games the way they are capable of working the very best pitchers in the game. The contrast is difficult to miss.

Nice at bat by Jeter in the 9th. Down 3 runs, 3-1 count, Papelbon walked the previous hitter, the middle of the order is coming up, and Jeter swings at ball 4. He wasn't the winning run. He wasn't the tying run. He doesn't have any real home run power to speak of anymore. Papelbon has had major control issues of late, which isn't just more reason to take a pitch, but also means he's less likely to throw two strikes in a row. Jeter, even at this stage in his career, remains a great two strike hitter. Everything pointed to a take there, unless maybe it is in a singular zone Jeter is looking. I can't imagine Jeter is looking for a ball at his eyes. Just terrible.

And what a clown Papelbon continues to be. He has a 4.50 ERA, has allowed at least one run in 5 of his last 7 appearances, and he started the inning with a 3 run lead. After 5 batters, 27 pitches, and allowing a run to score, he is still screaming and cursing on the mound. If you want to do all that, at least pitch well.

DV has been very fond of comparing the 2011 Red Sox to the 2005 Yankees. With good reason, there are a lot of similarities between those clubs. I'm going to go ahead and compare the 2011 Yankees to the 2009 Yankees. This year's club has started 1-6 against Boston, and the 2009 edition started 0-8 against Boston. Hopefully there are similar endings to the season.


the gm at work said...

Very happy to see that I now have the opportunity to comment, especially seeing that today's post ties directly into yesterday's post.

As many of y'all know, the Red Sox have gone off the radar in Boston given the success of the Bruins team, and while I'm not a hockey expert nor do I play one on television, the two examples of recent teams that have displayed similar lacks of focus as this 2011 Yankees team were the 2009 Red Sox and the 2010-2011 Bruins.

(For the sake of full disclosure, this is pretty much how I ran my race last weekend as well. Shame on me. But at least I still had the fastest second half of the race of anyone in the field. Damn right I crunched those numbers.)

If the Bruins go up 1-0, 2-0, or 3-0 early in the game, that's the worst thing that could possibly happen. From there, they figure the job's done and all they have to do is play prevent-defense for the rest of the game. Drives me crazy, especially when the other team inevitably creeps back into the game. Having the other team end up winning has happened more often than not as well.

The fact that the 2009 Red Sox, on more than one occasion, went up by 8+ runs just to blow the game is still something that pisses me off. I don't even have to go back to the old posts to remind myself of that.

Relievers are relievers for a reason: They're not good enough to start. All of the guys in the Red Sox' bullpen that faced the Yankees last night have had awful streaks over some part of this young season. It's not like they're a brick wall.

And is it really that hard to play hard for nine freaking innings? It's not like you're an old Celtics team here, or like you're JD Drew. If I were you, Pat, I'd be throwing chairs.

And yes, Papelbon does suck. But if the Red Sox had lost, I would have stuck it on 46's pursuit for fantasy statistics like stolen bases and triples instead of making the play. I freaking hate that guy.

Ross Kaplan said...

The Yankees inability to hit off relievers is a troubling trend. This team has showed an ability to come back against big deficits the past few seasons, but I can't think of more than two come backs so far this season. This team has to learn to win games they aren't leading after 6 innings. And speaking of Papelbon, he likes it dry: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fALSt12VwhM&feature=player_embedded#at=13

Anonymous said...

and one more thing. if burnett gets ellsbury and pedroia out to start the game tonight, the first pitch of the third at bat should be squarely on gonzalez's back. ortiz wants to act like an idiot doing a spin move and flipping his bat, great. their best player will pay. we have been far too nice to these idiots for too long. edro sent soriano and jeter to the hospital in consecutive at bats to start a game by hitting both in the head and we never did a thing. all their guys stand in the box as comfortable as could be without any fear and mash. manny stared at about 100 shots, ortiz stares. outside of joba getting after youkilis, the yankees don't do anything to retaliate or change any of this. time for that to change. last night ortiz did what he did and they sent our best player (however unintentional) out of the game in the first inning. by itself that might be okay, combined with the ortiz spin move bat flip gonzalez should get one in the back.


Anonymous said...


The overarching issue of knocking around bullpen guys may be more of a fluke thing than anything else--like how the Sox are 2-13 against the White Sox in the last fifteen games or how the Yankees were 0-8 against Boston at the start of the 2009 season. Frustrating? Of course. But also likely to change.

The bigger issue I saw last night was that Freddy Garcia was awful. And it's hard to imagine that a guy who couldn't throw harder than 87 with his fastball isn't either hurt or completely washed up.


Ellsbury may pick inopportune times to run and take poor routes on fly balls. And on a personal level he may be offensive to you. But he's giving the Sox an .830 OPS and an OPS+ of 126. Those are excellent, excellent numbers out of the lead off spot and he's been a big reason for the Sox turn around. Aside from Gonzalez and Ortiz, he's been their most consistent and effective offensive threat all year.

--the Gunn

The GM said...

I thought you were gonna ask me about JD Drew having the second-highest OPS of all AL outfielders in 2009.

Swinging for the fences. Unsuccessfully stealing bases. Unsuccessfully turning doubles into triples. It's called playing for a contract.

Anonymous said...


Ellsbury is on pace for 19 homers and 81 runs batted in. Out of the lead off spot. JD Drew couldn't get your 81 RBI batting fifth behind Ortiz and Manny. So the two situations are quite different.

Also, isn't Ellsbury still an arbitration case? I think he is at least through 2012, but I could be wrong.

--the Gunn

the gm at work said...

Yeah, he is. He got a 300+% raise this year after his eighteen games played and 144 JD days. What a country.

I'm not arguing with you about whether he's a good player. You're right about his overall performance. It's been better than expected all around or, as he'd like to say himself, front...AND back. When he's not swinging for the fences, he's more valuable than when he is. You may not have responded, but you did see the "violent torpedo of truth" I published last week.

What pisses me off about 46 is how obvious it's becoming with the 8 CSes, the failed triple debacle at the expense of a possible insurance run with No Lead Is Safe pitching the ninth, and with the swinging for the fences garbage that has been evident on many occasions this year. He's trying to pad his fantasy stats. While JD can only maintain that focus over the course of one season (see 2004 with Atlanta and 2006 with LA), 46 can do it year after year except when he's at 99% or less. It's now at the detriment of the team, because when he gets caught stealing, it hurts the team. When he pops up to the left fielder when trying to tag the ball 450, it hurts the team. And when he runs into a third out in a 3-run game in the ninth, it hurts the team.

Anonymous said...


The caught stealing numbers are just plain bad. He's getting thrown out 27% of the time. That's not good enough. He's got to have an 80% or higher success rate on steals if he's going to be free to run whenever he wants, especially with Gonzalez and Ortiz batting behind him.

--the Gunn