Before we get into the musings, I'd like to announce that I'll be getting off the sidelines and doing my part to help the Yankees turn this season-opening slump around. No, I won't be attending the game tonight, but in a way I will be. Those who remember my AB4AR days may remember some of my drunk Sunday Night Baseball live blogs. They were a way for me to celebrate the Yankees being on national TV and I'm pretty positive the team has a .400 record or so when I do them, so I'm taking that tradition to Twitter tonight and drunk live tweeting the hell out of this game. A stagnant offense, an inept defense, a chance to get swept at home by the Yankees' biggest rivals, Masahiro Tanaka pitching with the ESPN crew there to diagnose his elbow problems, a fridge full of beer, and a fully-charged phone. What could possibly go wrong? For those interested in being a part of this most time-honored tradition, feel free to follow me. With that out of the way, let's get down to business.
- The Yankees have looked awful over these first 5 games. I haven't seen 1 inning of any game and I don't even need to to know how awful they've looked. Yesterday's game recap was the first time I really let my disappointment at that awfulness seep into my writing, and while I was hoping to hold out for longer than that, I think it was justified given the level of awfulness we've seen.
- You don't mind losses as much when they come in well played games. Between the errors, baserunning mistakes, and poor situational hitting, that hasn't been the case. It's almost as if the Yanks didn't spend a month in Spring Training shaking the rust off and working on this stuff, and that's what puts an extra sting in the losses. Right now I don't even want to worry about them playing "winning" baseball. I'd settle for just "bad".
- A couple of fun (not really) stats on the awfulness. Via Ace of MLB Stats, the Yanks had led for just 5 of the 273 outs they had played after Friday night's game. Via Mike Axisa, they have led for 1 half inning in the 54.5 they've played after yesterday's game. That is so bad. It's almost laughable.
- And yet it's not even remotely time to panic. It's not even time to be as pissed off and ready to give up as many of you are, dear readers and commenters. As bad as they've been offensively, the Yankees are still 9th in the AL in team wOBA (.278) and wRC+ (78). Their 6 home runs are tied with Boston for 3rd most in the AL, their 8.9% BB rate is 6th and should get better, their .150 ISO is 5th, and their .217 BABIP is dead last. They haven't hit well and some guys have been slow to get going, but they are hitting for power and their BIP numbers will turn around. They aren't going to hit fewer than 15% line drives all season.
- As far as individual criticisms go, I don't have any to hand out. 20 at-bats is not enough to get too high or too low on any player at any time during the season. I know everybody is freaking out about Stephen Drew's start, and admittedly a 2-17, .118/.118/.118 line is far from ideal. But calling for him to be cut from the team already is insane. The guy has played 4 games. If he has 2-3 hits tonight, his line looks fine. The Yankees needed almost 350 plate appearances before they finally dumped Brian Roberts last year. They aren't releasing Drew after 17 this year. Get over it.
- First turn through the rotation grades:
I'm grading easier on Sabathia and harder on Eovaldi, if you care to know, because I was expecting less and more from them respectively.
- As a whole, it's hard to get mad at what the rotation did in its first cycle. We all wanted Tanaka to pitch better, I think we'd like to have seen a little more length, and Eovaldi still has a lot of work to do on his offspeed stuff, but I didn't think there was anything that terrible. Save for Tanaka's bad inning on Monday, every guy limited damage and gave the team a chance to win. Let's see how they progress this next turn through.
- Is it me or do the Yankees suck at shifting? When they do it on defense, it seems like those plays end in hits more often than they should. That killed CC the other night, and I can think of a few times last year where I watched them shift and then watched the opposing hitter hit a groundball right to where somebody would have been if they didn't shift. Does that really happen as much as I think it does or is it in my head? I feel like there's something off in the evaluation and analysis the Yanks are doing to determine when to shift. Something just doesn't seem right with it.
- You obviously don't want to rush anybody back from a concussion, but I need Jose Pirela back from his concussion and I needed him back yesterday. Gregorio Petit absolutely sucks and I need him off the team. There. That's my one individual freakout. Get Petit the hell off the field.
- And can somebody tell Didi to take a breath and calm down? Getting nabbed left and right on the basepaths, rushing throws from the field. Reeeeelaaaaaaaax, bro. You don't have to try to replace Jeter all in 1 play.
- A-Rod at first, Petit at second, and Garrett Jones in right field yesterday may have been the worst defensive right side in team history. I'd love to see the defensive metrics extrapolated out over a full season to see how many runs that trio would give up.
- Tanaka pitches a good game tonight. 6+ innings and 2 ER or fewer. Calling it now. Go Yankees!