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Archive for May 25th, 2010

Tonight, the Yankees make their first trip to Target Field, the Minnesota Twins’ brand new ballpark and the latest in baseball’s building renaissance. The inaugural visit by the Yankees marks the first time the Bronx Bombers have played in a new American League ballpark, other than their own, in ten years. In the past, the Yankees haven’t always been the most gracious visitors on their initial trip to an opponent’s new digs.  In their first games played at the remaining 12 American League parks, the Yankees have an 8-4 record.

Opponent Ballpark (name at opening) Date Result
Minnesota Target Field 05/25/10 ???
Detroit Comerica Park 05/12/00 Tiger 9 Yankees 7
Seattle SafeCo Field 08/05/99 Yankees 7 Mariners 4
Tampa Bay Tropicana Field 07/09/98 Yankees 2 Devil Rays 0
Cleveland Jacobs Field 06/24/94 Yankees 11 Indians 6
Texas The Ballpark At Arlington 06/06/94 Yankees 17 Rangers 7
Baltimore Camden Yards 06/19/92 Orioles 10 Yankees 7
Chicago Comiskey Park II 04/26/91 Yankees 3 White Sox 2
Toronto SkyDome 06/21/90 Yankees 7 Blue Jays 6
Kansas City Royals Stadium 06/08/73 Yankees 8 Royals 1
Oakland Oakland Coliseum 04/22/68 Yankees 2 A’s 1
Anaheim Anaheim Stadium 05/06/66 Angels 7 Yankees 4
Boston Fenway Park 04/20/12 Red Sox 7 Yankees 6

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Earlier, we detailed how the decline in the Yankees offense has contributed to the team’s current 5-10 stretch. It should be noted, however, that although the 4.73 runs/game scored over that span represents a significant drop off for the Yankees, it still ranks above the league average of 4.52 runs/game. So, all of the blame can’t be placed on the lineup.

Since May 9, the Yankees have posted an ERA of 4.95, which has caused their season rate to increase a full half run from 3.42 to 3.93. More than aggregate poor performance, however, the inconsistency of the staff (and particularly its more reliable members) is what has contributed to the recent downturn.

Yankees’ Starters (May 9 to May 23)

Starters INN GS QS W L K BBI HA ERA WHIP
CC Sabathia 18 3 1 0 2 15 5 23 2.00 1.556
Phil Hughes 17 2/3 3 1 1 1 18 5 19 3.06 1.358
AJ Burnett 17 2/3 3 1 0 2 12 11 25 1.02 2.038
Javier Vazquez 13 2 2 2 1 13 4 6 11.08 0.769
Andy Pettitte 11 1/3 2 1 1 1 5 5 11 7.15 1.412
Sergio Mitre 9 1/3 2 0 0 1 7 3 9 11.57 1.286
Total 87 15 6 4 8 70 33 93 5.07 1.448

Of the 15 starts since May 9, only six have met the loose criteria of a quality start (at least six innings and no more than three earned runs). Ironically, Javier Vazquez has been the only Yankee starter to record two quality starts (as well as two wins, although one was in relief), with the remaining four permanent members of the rotation each recording only one. From those six quality starts, the Yankees earned four victories: in one, the bullpen blew a lead (vs. Boston on May 18), while in the other, the Yankees were shutout(vs. Detroit on May 12). Of course, that means the Yankees were only able to win one of the other nine “non quality” outings.

A.J. Burnett’s May 9 outing against the Red Sox (8ER 4 1/3 IP), which was the start of the current downturn, was the worst outing that the Yankees had to endure. Unfortunately, it wasn’t much worse than his May 19 start against the Rays (6ER, 6 1/3 IP), which also placed the Yankees in an early hole against a division rival.

Burnett hasn’t been the only culprit. More surprising have been the two meltdowns of the usually reliable C.C. Sabathia. In key battles against fellow aces Justin Verlander and Johan Santana, Sabathia yielded six runs in each game, effectively giving the Yankees little chance in either game. (more…)

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On Saturday, May 8, the Yankees were flying high after routing the Boston Red Sox 14-3 at Fenway Park. The resounding victory pushed the Yankees’ record to 21-8 and moved the team to within one-half game of the Rays. Since then, however, the Yankees have been in a free fall, compiling the league’s worst record over the last 15 games at 5-10. Making matters worse, the Rays (10-5) and Red Sox (10-5) share the league’s top record over the same time period. As a result, the Yankees now stand 5 ½ games from first place and only two games ahead of fourth place.

Over the course of the day, we’ll take a look at the reasons why the Yankees have struggled so mightily. This installment begins that process by examining the offense.

Offensive Statistics From May 9 to May 23
(Sorted by Usual Spot in the Lineup, excludes pitchers)

Player PA R HR RBI BA OBP SLG OPS WPA
Derek Jeter 72 5 0 5 0.224 0.278 0.269 0.547 -0.362
Brett Gardner 70 9 1 4 0.219 0.286 0.297 0.583 -0.684
Mark Teixeira 68 8 2 10 0.213 0.294 0.344 0.638 -0.416
Alex Rodriguez 66 11 4 13 0.317 0.379 0.567 0.946 0.590
Robinson Cano 65 6 0 7 0.312 0.354 0.410 0.764 0.183
Jorge Posada 24 3 1 2 0.450 0.542 0.750 1.292 0.243
Nick Swisher 39 8 1 1 0.303 0.410 0.424 0.835 -0.216
Marcus Thames 36 3 1 6 0.269 0.444 0.423 0.868 0.478
Francisco Cervelli 48 6 0 7 0.275 0.348 0.400 0.748 0.035
Randy Winn 42 2 0 4 0.229 0.333 0.286 0.619 -0.428
Juan Miranda 27 6 2 5 0.261 0.370 0.652 1.023 -0.116
Kevin Russo 10 1 0 3 0.333 0.400 0.444 0.844 0.274
Ramiro Pena 17 3 0 2 0.313 0.353 0.313 0.665 -0.127
Greg Golson 5 0 0 0 0.400 0.400 0.400 0.800 -0.061
Total 589 71 12 69 0.271 0.349 0.401 0.750  

Injuries have obviously played a role in the Yankees demise. On offense, the collective impact of losing Curtis Granderson, Nick Johnson and Jorge Posada has taken a toll, which was further compounded by more short-term injuries to Nick Swisher and Marcus Thames. However, injuries alone do not explain the team’s poor record over the last two weeks. After all, the Yankees should have enough star power to at least partly compensate for even three key losses, especially when you consider that two replacements, Marcus Thames and Juan Miranda, have combined for a line of .265/.419/.530 in 62 PAs.

Over the last 15 games, the Yankees real problem has not been who wasn’t in the lineup, but rather the poor performance of the remaining all stars who have been playing. In particular, Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira have really struggled; Jeter for the entire month and Teixeira since hitting three home runs against Boston on May 8.

Jeter’s anemic line of .224/.278/.269 over the last 15 games has been particularly concerning because of how poorly he has looked at the plate. In addition to swinging at an inordinate number of pitches out of the strike zone (32.3%), Jeter has also posted an alarming groundball rate (4.1:1), which has come at the expense of the number of line drives (16.4%). (more…)

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