Kneejerk Foment

A-Rod K vs OAK I fully realize that I am falling in Wallchand territory here but I can feel the angst and brine rising within me. You have been watching these games along with me, right? This version of the New York Yankees has been such a drag to watch. I know Stacey wasn't as impressed as I was, but Michael Kay's "Groundhog Day" line the other night just felt so right. Each game has bled into the next with the same ineptitude and similar losses. It is like going off Broadway and watching the same bad production for fourteen straight days.

My rational mind is shouting to my emotional Italian side chiding the latter with reminders of sample size and season length. In the immortal words of Frank Sinatra, my heart ain't gonna buy it. My inner Yankee is foaming at the mouth.

This is what my mind has watched thus far this season. I qualify this statement knowing full well that observations are faulty and I will look at some stats a little later:

  • It seems that every fat mistake pitch thrown by a Yankee pitcher gets hammered while the Yankees take such pitches for strikes when they are batting.
  • You can squeeze more appeal from our front-running presidential candidates easier than the Yankees can squeeze runs out of a potential rally.
  • I wish Aaron Hicks could hit so he could play the field every day.
  • How long do we wait out Alex Rodriguez before doing the Soriano-Jones?
  • The Yankees' offense is the easiest team to defense in the history of baseball.
  • Why does Mark Teixeira have to stink every April?
  • How many of you are like me and start to get afraid every time a Yankee starting pitcher starts a game with two or three scoreless innings?
  • I would take four errors a week from Rob Refsnyder over watching Chase Headley every night
  • Austin Romine is no John Ryan Murphy. But he is like a J.R. Murphy. Maybe he should insist on being called, "Austin Allen Romine."

Okay, somehow, I need to pull this rant out of the gutter of my mind and put some data in here to at least make it sound respectable. I know full well that this is a lost cause because any stats I cull will be cherry picking and a rant is what this is and there seems to be no turning back. But here goes a few cherry picks to at least make it look like I'm trying.

In the natural course of baseball, starting pitchers erode in statistics from the first time through the batting order to the second and third. In MLB as a whole, for 2016, The overall OPS figures bear this out. The first set of numbers is for this year, the second for last year:

  1. .708   .704
  2. .725   .731
  3. .734   .770

Now the Yankees:

  1. .815   .759
  2. .690   .675
  3. .571   .804

Isn't that weird? And we've talked to death about the RISP thing. But here are some stats:

  • RISP  with BA and OPS - Yankees: .197/.656, MLB as a whole: .247/.716
  • Men On Base with BA and OPS - Yankees: .239/.691, MLB as a whole: .255/.733
  • Two outs RISP with BA/OPS - Yankees: .148/.562, MLB as a whole: .224/.691
  • Late and a close game - Yankees: .185/.493, MLB as a whole: .226/.676

Easy to defense? Against ground ball pitchers, the Yankees' batting average and OPS are: .156/.499 (164 at bats). MLB: .248/.701. Batting averages for balls hit to the infield are always really low. But the Yankees' BABIP when hitting the ball to the infield is .038. The MLB BABIP in the same category is .073, almost twice as high. Major League Baseball's total BABIP this season is .293. The Yankees is .272.

Add to the stats above the fact that the middle of the Yankees' batting order has to be the slowest group of runners in all of baseball. Teixeira, Carlos Beltran, Brian McCann and A-Rod are ponderously slow (Beltran looks better this year though) and it takes quite a few hits to get them around the bases.

I understand that I should not get this riled up after fourteen games. Teixeira was batting .196 at this time last year. I still believe A-Rod can hit. Hicks can't be this bad at the plate. We are still talking majorly small sample sizes here. It is still ridiculously early to lose hope and not think there is plenty of time to turn this all around. But in the meantime, it sure has been a craphouse watching this team play thus far.