Slump City, USA, Population Yankee Bats

The Yankee offense was pitiful again last night.  They scored 3 runs in the first 2 innings, but really only 1 run when you consider the other 2 came as the result of comically poor Baltimore defense.  They’ve scored 15 runs in their last 5 games, 10 of them coming in 1 game, and 25 in their last 8.  The cause of this offensive blackout is, as usual, the majority of the lineup going cold at the same time.  Almost everybody is currently in the middle of some kind of SSS slump:

The only guy swinging a good bat right now is Jacoby Ellsbury, who’s 10-27 with 4 XBH, 4 R, 3 RBI, 5 BB, 5 K, and 2 SB in his last 8 games.  …

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Sorting Through The 30 Pitchers Used This Season

You can never have enough pitching.  Everybody who follows baseball knows that saying.  While it may ring true, it’s usually not a good thing to test how much pitching your organization has.  The Yankees have been finding that out the hard way since mid-April.  Injuries, inconsistent performance, and the constant need to shuffle roster spots has created a carousel of new arms joining, leaving, and sometimes re-joining the pitching staff.  As of yesterday, the Yankees had used an MLB-high 30 different pitchers this season.  They’ve used 11 different starters and will roll out a 12th tonight.

Over the course of 114 games and that many pitchers, it’s easy to forget 1 or 2.  There are names included in that 30 that I’m sure people never thought they’d see pitching in a Yankee uniform and a few that some people probably never heard of before they did.  As a helpful guide to the bevy of right and left hands that have flung baseballs towards home plate for the Yankees in 2014, here’s a breakdown and recap of all 30.  …

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Another Starter Bites The Dust, Now What?

Phelps vs BOS II

Courtesy of Getty Images

While him exiting the game after 2 wildly ineffective innings was the best thing for the Yankees last night, learning that David Phelps has been having elbow problems for the last few weeks was a big blow.  For a team that’s battled injuries in its rotation since early April and only recently re-established a sense of stability in that group, this was the last thing they needed to happen.  Phelps has pitched well for the better part of the last 2 months and now he’ll be out for a yet to be determined amount of time.  Once again, the Yanks will be sent into scramble mode to fill a vacated rotation spot.

The good news, if you want to call it that, is that there’s no damage to any of the ligaments in his elbow.  We found out late last night that Phelps has been feeling and pitching through discomfort in his right elbow for the last few weeks.  …

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Wednesday Morning Food For Thought: Dem Workload Blues

You guys know that workload concern thing I’ve been on with Adam Warren and Dellin Betances, from way back before anybody else was really thinking about it?  Yeah, I think it could be starting to surface now.

Warren’s Monthly ERA Splits: April- 1.93, May- 1.62, June- 4.97, July- 5.79

Betances’ Monthly K Rate Splits: April- 43.4%, May- 45.9%, June- 37.9%, July- 31.7%

Obviously falling to a K rate that’s still above 30% is far less severe of a drop-off than a ballooning ERA, but we’re talking about 2 very different types of pitchers.  Their level of fatigue, whatever it may be, could be manifesting itself in different ways.  Hitters are making more and better contact against Betances this month than in any other month.  He’s given up runs in consecutive appearances for the first time this year.  They’re getting to Warren both by swinging and holding the bat.  His K rate in July is the lowest of the season, his BB rate is the highest, and he’s been far more hittable since the start of June.…

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The Chase Whitley Experiment Has To End In The Second Half

Whitley vs BAL

Courtesy of Getty Images

I can’t imagine there was a scenario where Joe envisioned things being so bad in his rotation this year that he had to use Chase Whitley as a regular member of it.  Even the worst of your average worst-case scenarios don’t get that bad.  When CC Sabathia joined Michael Pineda and Ivan Nova on the DL in mid-May, that worst-case scenario came about in real life and the Yankees were forced to go to the Whitley well.  The move proved to be a good one for a while.  Whitley allowed 2 ER or less in 6 of his first 7 starts, 3 in the other, and gave the battered rotation a needed boost by eliminating walks and keeping the ball in the ballpark.

Right around the time that he got stretched out to a comfortable starter’s pitch count, however, the performance started to sour and sour in a hurry.  Whitley gave up 8 ER in only 3.1 innings against the Blue Jays on June 23rd, his first time facing a team for a second time, and followed that up by allowing 5 in 4+ innings against the Red Sox on June 29th.  …

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Joe Searching For Some Life On A Lifeless Ballclub

I didn’t watch much of last night’s game even though I had it on ESPN because the Rangers were obviously the priority, but I did have the Gameday feed up so I followed along enough to know that last night was another in what’s become a common theme of Yankee losses.  It was their 4th in a row, 6th in their last 8 games, and the 6th straight game in which they failed to score more than 4 runs.  They scored early, with 4 runs in the 3rd inning, then never scored again as their below replacement-level 5th (4th??) starter and Quad-A middle relief corps slowly and methodically killed the 4-run lead they were given.

In boxing terms, last night’s game was like a Floyd Mayweather fight.  The A’s were the better team, the Mayweather in the matchup, and they knew it.  Instead of changing their approach, they stuck with what they do best, played their game, and slowly picked the Yankees apart by outclassing them as a baseball team and winning an easy decision.  …

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Jacoby’s Rotten Month Of May

Ellsbury K vs SEA

Courtesy of Getty Images

(Syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod.  Stats have not been updated to reflect yesterday’s game)

It’s been the best of times and the worst of times for Jacoby Ellsbury in his first 2 months as a New York Yankee.  In April, he hit .312/.369/.452 in 103 plate appearances divided between the leadoff and #3 lineup spots, played a solid center field, and made a very good first impression on Yankee fans.  He was among the team and American League leaders in hits (29), runs scored (14), and stolen bases (8).

May has been far less kind to Ellsbury.  His production has dropped off dramatically, he’s been a negative fWAR player, and the whispers about the Yankees overpaying have started popping up as they usually do when a player signs the kind of contract Jacoby did to come to new York.  After last Tuesday night’s 0-fer, Ellsbury’s May slash line is down to .206/.315/.302.  He’s scored 1 run in his last 5 games, has 1 hit in his last 7, 1 stolen base in his last 14, and 1 RBI in his last 15.  …

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Where Has All The Offense Gone?

Ellsbury K vs BOS

I feel ya, Jacoby. I feel ya. Courtesy of the AP

The Yankees should have been catching a big break last night.  Seattle choosing to push back Wednesday’s scheduled starter Roenis Elias rather than skip him meant the Yanks got to avoid getting carved up by Felix Hernandez for the 457th time.  Of course, there’s always that pesky theory about the Yankees never being able to hit rookie pitchers and it played out in full effect last night as Elias held the lineup to 2 runs (1 earned) through 7 innings while striking out 10.  2 runs isn’t enough to get it done with the rotation in the kind of shape it’s in these days and it didn’t get it done last night.

The 2-run output marked the 5th straight game in which the Yankees scored 4 runs or fewer and the 13th game this season in which they’ve been held to 3 or fewer.  Since beating Boston 14-5 last Thursday, the Yankees have scored 13 runs in their last 5 games.  …

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Yankee bats are cold…literally

My overwhelming impression of the Yankees’ season thus far has been players with red noses blowing on their hands…or putting pine tar on their persons to get a grip. Ahem. This is not to say that the Yankees are the only team dealing with the elements. The entire country east of the Mississippi and north of the Mason-Dixon Line has been well below normal in temperatures. I wanted to see if I could see any correlation with the cold weather and the way the Yankees have hit so far this season. I believe I have discovered anecdotal evidence of the weather hurting the Yankees at the plate.

In my thinking, ideal baseball weather is higher than seventy degrees. The Yankees have played one non-dome game where the temperature was over seventy at game time. They have had three home games where the start-time temperature was over 60, the highest being 66 degrees. All the other games over seventy degrees have been in domes or parks that can be at least partially covered.…

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