Thinking About Effort

One of the issues that was raised over at RAB following the Yankees awful loss against the Nationals last night was the perception that the team gave a poor effort or was not prepared to play. When a vastly superior club loses to an inferior team, the typical reaction is to search for answers past the talent on the field. The thinking is that if one team is that much more skilled than the other, it must be something external to talent, such as a lack of effort, that led to the poor result. Couple that with two poor offensive performances, and suddenly the team looks like they are not trying.

I believe that it is impossible for us to sit in our homes and judge effort. There were no plays over the last two games that exhibited a lack of hustle or laziness. Rather, the team took a bad approach to two pitchers they had never seen before, reacting to a pitcher throwing strikes by swinging early in at bats. That may make sense against Johan Santana, but with Craig Stammen, you want to force him to throw as many pitches as possible, as a mistake is sure to come. This poor approach led to two consecutive nights of poor at-bats and quick innings, made even more frustrating by the fact that the Yankees only allowed 3 runs in each game. However, struggles at the plate are likely to make any team look slow and listless. As fans, it makes us feel like nothing is happening, which we very quickly equate with not trying. When the team pitches poorly but tears the cover off the ball and loses, we have no such reaction, because a team scoring 10 runs never looks listless, even if they are playing just as poorly as the Yankees did last night.

Quite frankly, unless I hear or see something to the contrary, I do not think effort has anything to do with the Yankees recent poor play. They are just not executing, and it has led to some embarrassing defeats. They need to turn things around before the season spirals out of their control.

0 thoughts on “Thinking About Effort

  1. Yankee1010

    I would say that it could certainly be seen as though the Yanks didn’t have the desire to actually carry out the game plan. They went up there swinging the last 2 nights, especially last night, as if they had somewhere better to be.

    If you want to say Lannan is a good pitcher, eh, maybe. Stammen is not. And the kid wasn’t forced to throw pitches last night because it seemed like the Yanks were more interested in getting to some South Beach honeys. They played these 3 games like they were expecting the Nationals to give them the games because, well, they’re the Nationals.

    I think it can be a lack of effort when they’re just swinging so early in so many at-bats. It’s a question of semantics. The Yanks knew that it would behoove them to let Stammen (and Lannan) get themselves into trouble, but they chose to swing right away anyway. They also knew that getting into the Nats bullpen as early as possible was a great idea. Instead, they made sure that Stammen and Lannan could stay in for quite a while.

  2. mryankee

    Here is a thought in terms of effort one Michael Kay brought up on the game last night. Where is Joba’s 98MPH or 97 moh-I mean right now his fastball is average. I see Verlander-Jackson-Lester all throw 95-98 mph-why cant Joba? I am sick of 5-6 innings 2-3 runs I want to see some dominance-I want a little Verlander-Jackson-Lester and any other pitcher not afraid to throw the ball to his velocity-this 91-92 crap is garbage

  3. MJ

    There were no plays over the last two games that exhibited a lack of hustle or laziness. Rather, the team took a bad approach to two pitchers they had never seen before, reacting to a pitcher throwing strikes by swinging early in at bats.
    ———–
    Although I agree that the Yanks didn’t lose for lack of effort, such an approach at the plate — especially two nights in a row — is an indictment of the players and the coaches for not being able to make an adjustment in the second game. Frankly, it could be argued that they took bad AB’s in all three games.

    How can a team built on the principles of OBP be up there hacking at slow-pitch stuff? According to FanGraphs Pitch FX data, Stammen throws his FB at 89.6 with an 82.8 CH. That’s the definiton of below-average ML stuff…