The New York Yankees keep giving Nathan Eovaldi leads and the pitcher just cannot seem to handle the windfall. Last night, the Yankees had just spotted Eovaldi with a 6-2 lead after scoring four runs in the fourth and another two in the top of the fifth. Eovaldi's response was the walk the first batter he faced in the bottom of the fifth. Yankee fans everywhere threw stuff.
Sure enough, it was the start of a bad inning that turned a good chance for a win (calculated at 89% at that moment) to a loss. Eovaldi only recorded one out in the inning.
You get to the point where you wonder if Nathan Eovaldi needs a good sports psychologist. Like many starting pitchers, Eovaldi has trouble with the first inning. His ERA this season in that frame is 7.88. But then he settles down nicely in the second through the fourth inning. In the fifth inning, it gets ugly. It's noted that this is a short sample size, but in the fifth inning of his starts thus far, his OPS against flies up to .988.
Here is another statistic for you. The Yankees have scored six runs for Eovaldi twice this season and Eovaldi has a 9.35 ERA in those two games. He is backwards. When he is pitching and his team is losing, Eovaldi has an OPS against of .567. When he is pitching and the Yankees are ahead in the game, his OPS against skies up to .845. He has a .937 OPS against in low leverage situations this season (again, short sample size alert).
Jacoby Ellsbury's injury and subsequent DL assignment has brought out the old "he's brittle" or "he's fragile," stories. Such monikers are unfortunate. I actually wrote a piece on my site last season about how much of a fallacy such monikers are. And the piece I linked from an esteemed writer mentions that Ellsbury has only played 150 games in a season twice in his career.
As my post shows, the number of players playing 150 games in a season are much less than you would think. Only 62 players played in 150 or more games in 2013. That figure dropped to 56 last season! Less than half of those were players over 30.
Jacoby Ellsbury led the Yankees in games played in 2014 with 149. I guess the rest of the team was brittle too.
Another aspect of the post I linked was money. Sometimes, and forgive me, Boss, it's not about the money. You cannot rate a contract until after it is over. Once it is over, you look at the value gained for the value paid. For example, many Mets fans thought Carlos Beltran was a total bust signing for the Mets. The value equation actually shows that Beltran earned every penny of that contract.
Once a contract is signed, you have to forget about the money and separate the player from it. After all, the team made the offer and that's the end of that. Sometimes it works out, a lot of times it doesn't. The only thing to consider with the Ellsbury injury is how much the Yankees will lose his contributions while he is out. He is currently fifth in the Major Leagues in runs scored. That's the part that hurts, not how much money he is going to make for the next five years.
The Yankees are going through a tough time right now. It happens to every team during a season. It's easy to start pointing fingers. But it's a long season and perhaps this is just a bump in the road. We'll see.