Debbie Downer’s Post-Series Analysis

It’s hard to complain about this past weekend if you’re a Yanks fan. The Yanks picked up three games on the Wild Card leading Sox. That’s never a bad thing. Still, I’m not overly excited about the Bombers sweeping an Oakland A’s team that featured a line-up with Carlos Gonzales as the clean-up hitter. The pitching did its job, but you get the sense that Kei Igawa would have had a decent shot against these guys. He does do well against minor league line-ups after all. Meanwhile the offense stayed quiet as it has done much of the year. This will happen when you have Molina, Gardner and Melky in your line-up every day. When the big guys aren’t producing, there’s not many people who can pick them up. Note to Cashman: Getting a corner outfield bat is more of a priority than adding a good lefty reliever. Gardner is not cutting it.

Now the Yanks face some real competition in the Twins. The Bombers come to the series with their hands effectively tied behind their backs. Sir Sidney and Darrell Rasner pitch two of the games against Minnesota.(Note to Cashman: Getting a starting pitcher is more of a priority than addinga good lefty reliever.) So I’m not exactly optimistic about a sweep, but baseball is unpredictable in a good way, sometimes. 

23 comments… add one
  • We’re actually short 2 effective Corner Outfielders at the moment. Damon returning will hopefully take care of LF…but what of the gaping maw in RF?

    Mark (YF) July 21, 2008, 11:52 am
  • I spent last night getting thoroughly stupid with my friend Andrew, a die-hard and dyed-harder Athletics fan. He is amazingly gracious regarding the tact the A’s are taking, to the extent that it wasn’t even fun gloating over the sweep. It is amazing how Beane cuts bait. Okay, it was a little-bit fun. But yeah, this sweep felt like, “Hey! We just took down the River Cats!”
    Let’s see what happens with the Twins.

    attackgerbil July 21, 2008, 11:56 am
  • Bah. I’d be horrified if Cashman traded anything for the has-beens and never-weres available. Yeah, Ponson sucks. Rasner lately too. But this season was iffy when they lost 3/5’s of their starting rotation then their catcher’s shoulder then two OFs with 130 OPS+ each. Better not to make too much of too little chance and go with what you have. Besides, IPK is close. Jeff Karstens might provide a small upgrade. But the Yanks weren’t getting Harden or CC because they weren’t giving up Hughes and they don’t have a LaPorta. This is the Yankee version of rebuilding – and I can’t see too much wrong with it, most especially because they’re winning!

    A YF July 21, 2008, 12:13 pm
  • A, I get where you are coming from. It is not possible to argue with victories. I want to see what happens when the Yanks play some teams that are serious about contending.
    It is unworthy of its own topic, but this lead in The Post made me want to hurl: “This GOP – Grand Old Pettitte – simply put the Yankees on his shoulders for eight innings (two more than McCain lasted in the front row near the Yanks’…” Ham, meet fist.

    attackgerbil July 21, 2008, 12:22 pm
  • Oh, I understand where you’re coming AG. And I’m curious too. By the end of the next 6 games, we’ll know much better where this second half is going. Of course, then watch them go 3-3.
    Still, if they’re anywhere close through August and into September, I’ll be fine with that – given all the injuries. Furthermore, a playoff team with a front three of Moose, Joba, and Pettitte ain’t doing much.

    A YF July 21, 2008, 12:34 pm
  • “Furthermore, a playoff team with a front three of Moose, Joba, and Pettitte ain’t doing much.”
    It’s funny how little this issue has been brought up this year. In previous years, this would be discussed–the lack of an ace for the post-season run–all the time on blogs. Not so this season for obvious reasons. I think a lot of us Yanks fans, more than even last season, are prepared for this team not to make it to the post-season.
    A, my point is not so much that the Yanks should get a corner outfield bat, because who knows if it’s even worth it this season, but that if they’re going to get something, they should target that or starting pitching, rather than a lefty specialist as is now rumored.

    Nick-YF July 21, 2008, 12:46 pm
  • I had to miss the game yesterday for a wedding…looks like good old Bobby was up to his tricks again in RF. I second Mark’s call of what the hell we are going to do in RF? We need someone who will run into the wall like Giles did this weekend! (did you guys see that effort?) That’s what I want in RF. You guys know I hate Abreu so I’ll put that aside…
    Not sure how this team warrants a pass on sweeping anyone this year? A’s or Sox a sweep is a sweep and three wins in a row is three wins in a row. They are 4.5 games back at this point and I will still consider it a miracle if they make the post-season. I agree with A YF, we are witnessing the Yankees rebuilding and if they can win along with that, color me a happy YF!!!
    p.s. Jason Taylor traded to the Skins…i’m going to miss the only good player we had in Miami.

    krueg July 21, 2008, 12:47 pm
  • Nick, I share your ambivalence re: the Yanks’ prospects regardless of the sweep.
    You’re clearly right that a bat is needed. We’re likely to learn today or tomorrow after Matsui’s doctor’s appointment that he is gone for the year, making the need for that bat all the more apparent. His .323 BA was the 3rd best in the AL when he went down (still is, though he’s now below the minimum number of PAs for it to register).
    Damon’s return in the next few days should help (his .319 is 5th best in the AL). He apparently wants to come back without a minor league stint but Girardi wants to be sure he can field and throw since there are no more DH slots available.
    And speaking of DH slots brings us to the uncomfortable situation of Jorge Posada. He is clearly dying to play more and it is more than awkward to have the most vocal team leader and veteran in that situation. But he is terrible at throwing out runners now and Molina is the best in the majors at doing the same, plus Molina’s all-around defensive game is just exceptional.
    I’m not dying to jettison Gardner and I am not as anti-Abreu as Mark, esp. since he is our only outfield bat right now. Abreu is one of the best second-half bats in baseball (his career stats over a not-so-small-sample of 12 seasons in August include a .323 BA with .956 OPS), making his RF antics more passable.
    I’d like to get Damon back at the top of the lineup (pref by this weekend’s Boston series) with Molina catching 60-70% of games and Posada DH’ing. Posada can go against stationary teams (MN has the worst stolen base percentage in the AL at 65% so perhaps Posada should see some of that starting time in the next 3 games). Sexson would spell Giambi on days they face lefties and come in as a late inning bat vs. lefty relievers but would not block Jorge from the DH spot. I could then live with Damon and Melky getting a blow once/week each and Abreu getting one every couple weeks so Gardner can be slotted in regularly for a few more weeks before giving up on him.
    In the end, my ambivalence about this team’s prospects continues to be more based on my concern with the bottom 2/5s of the rotation that you also note Nick than it does with the hitting.

    IronHorse (yf) July 21, 2008, 1:04 pm
  • Sexsons BABIP is very high against lefties (like .340 or something). Luck, or is he just that good against lefties. So, would teams just warm up a lefty reliever and bring him into a game to remove Giambi? I would.

    dw (sf) July 21, 2008, 1:18 pm
  • I agree that we should not be focused on a lefty for the pen. Even though Brian Fuentes is a favorite of mine.
    I don’t think there are any viable pitching options out there. According to Guillen, Freddy Garcia might not be ready until September and in the whole scheme of things is Freddy Garcia going to make us better than the Sox or Rays? I think the team we see right now is the team that Cashman is going to ride with. Unless they can significantly upgrade in the corners, I don’t see them making a move. Giles is a lateral move at best and he is never going to leave the west coast for NY.

    John - YF July 21, 2008, 1:36 pm
  • “Sexsons BABIP is very high against lefties (like .340 or something). Luck, or is he just that good against lefties.”
    His BABIP vs. lefties is high, but he also has a high line drive percentage and a much lower strikeout rate against them, so there is some pretty good evidence suggesting he actually is a valuable bat against lefties. He should never face a righty pitcher again though – that much is clear.

    Mark (YF) July 21, 2008, 2:03 pm
  • “Sexsons BABIP is very high against lefties (like .340 or something). Luck, or is he just that good against lefties.”
    His BABIP vs. lefties is high, but he also has a high line drive percentage and a much lower strikeout rate against them, so there is some pretty good evidence suggesting he actually is a valuable bat against lefties. He should never face a righty pitcher again though – that much is clear.

    Mark (YF) July 21, 2008, 2:04 pm
  • From PeteAbe:
    Posada to the DL – likely to have season-ending labrum surgery.
    Damon is back.
    Matsui to try one more time.

    A YF July 21, 2008, 4:41 pm
  • I guess that solves IH’s Posada problem

    rootbeerfloat July 21, 2008, 5:12 pm
  • Posada had to see that he was either to be the back-up catcher or to have the surgery. He simply didn’t have a starting spot on the team anymore.
    I am happy about this. Not his getting injured of course, but once he was injured it became clear that he was going to have to have the surgery anyway in the offseason and there is really no reason to wait now. Have to applaud the front office for getting Molina as a back-up long before this ever happened to Jorge.
    I’m curious to see who the back-up catcher will be now. They’ve got Closser (batting .233) and Stewart (.248) catching in SWB, but I’m rooting for Francisco Cervelli, the poor kid who got his wrist broken in the home plate collision in the 9th inning of the final spring training game against the Rays. He just came back this past week to play 3 games in Tampa (batting .300 in a whole 10 ABs – woo hoo!).

    IronHorse (yf) July 21, 2008, 5:29 pm
  • Jorge can’t throw out the garbage…let him heal. Molina is much better defensively and the rest of the boys are going to have to pick up the slack offensively. No biggie.

    krueg July 21, 2008, 5:44 pm
  • I think the backup catcher will be the third catcher they’ve been carrying all season, but who never plays, Chad Moeller.

    yankees76 July 21, 2008, 6:06 pm
  • I continue to be amazed at the pessimism of Yankee fans. Are Red Sox fans the only ones who believe in the Yankees anymore??
    The Rays just lost 7 straight, and I don’t think they will stick. The Red Sox just got swept, and if Ortiz doesn’t return full force, their lineup is in big trouble. There’s PLENTY of hope for the Yanks, not least is their decent farm system and deep pockets to pull out of a problem if they so desire (Abreu is Example No. 1 on that front).

    Paul SF July 21, 2008, 6:34 pm
  • (I said this without reeading about Posada, which is undoubtedly a blow. But Molina is very good out there, so I’m not sure it’s as big a one as I would like).

    Paul SF July 21, 2008, 6:35 pm
  • Our pessimism protects us against heartbreak. Going forward, the Yankees have a rotation of Joba, Pettitte, Mussina, and nothing. You can make a case for why all three of those real pitchers can’t be relied on. Pettitte is probably the most reliable, and he’s 36.
    The Yankees have an okay lineup, but come on. They just lost Posada and Matsui, likely for the year. The only guys performing to expectations are A-Rod, Damon and Giambi, and the last two are big injury risks.
    The only thing I can’t find fault with is the bullpen. They’ve got great depth there.
    How about the Yankees trade some reliable, cheap bullpen arms for JD Drew? Ortiz is coming back, you don’t really need him. Come on, the season is no fun without a September Yankees/Red Sox division race.

    AndrewYF July 21, 2008, 7:14 pm
  • speaking of no fun, where’s the game thread?

    rootbeerfloat July 21, 2008, 7:30 pm
  • (I said this without reeading about Posada, which is undoubtedly a blow. But Molina is very good out there, so I’m not sure it’s as big a one as I would like).
    Yeah, Molina’s better than 2008 MLB All-Star Jsaon Varitek, at least.
    Come on, the season is no fun without a September Yankees/Red Sox division race.
    Yeah, too bad the Sox are falling out of it so soon. Hopefully they’ll beat the M’s tonight.

    A YF July 21, 2008, 9:41 pm
  • Andrew – not sure how Damon is a big injury risk. This trip to the DL was the first of his career, and it was the result of a fluke play rather than a physical breakdown.
    I agree with Paul that there is reason to e hopeful for YF’s right now. After the win tonight, I’m feeling for the first time all year that the team might be ready for a surge – mostly due to the return of Damon and Cano seemingly poised for his (at this point typically) monstrous second half. The 4 & 5 spots in the rotation are huge problems, but the bullpen has been so good and so deep that it’s masked a lot of their shortcomings.
    I mean, they could lose 4 of the next 5 against MIN and BOS, but 5 days ago I basically thought we had next to no chance to to the postseason. Tonight, I believe we’ll at least be in the hunt all the way.

    Mark (YF) July 22, 2008, 12:04 am

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