About Last Night: A's 2, Yanks 1
by Ethan Semendinger
June 28, 2023
Without Aaron Judge in the Yankees line up, the Oakland Athletics are actually statistically the better offensive team. Wow.
Quick Stats -
Winning Pitcher: Paul Blackburn (1-0, 3.77 ERA)
Losing Pitcher: Jhony Brito (4-4, 4.70 ERA)
Save: Sam Moll (1)
Home Runs (New York): Josh Donaldson (7)
Home Runs (Oakland): Seth Brown (6)
Big Story - The Yankees are entering what could be the easiest and worst possible stretch of the season for them. No, not because they are set to lose a lot of games, but because they should be able to win a vast majority of them. My dad highlighted this earlier in the week about how this upcoming slate before the All-Star Game is set to be a mirage that will showcase a Yankees team that can "win" and "compete" and "contend in the playoffs".
That is not the case. This Yankees team is incredibly flawed. Just take a look at this Aaron Judge-less line-up:
Of the 9 players listed, can you tell me who had the highest batting average? How many players had batting averages above .246?
Who had the highest on-base percentage? How many players had an OBP above .316 going into last night's game?
What about slugging? And how about a .410 slugging percentage?
Here are your answers:
AVG Leader: Billy McKinney (.302) | AVG >.246: Anthony Rizzo (.270), Harrison Bader (.255)
OPB Leader: Anthony Rizzo (.353) | OBP >.316: Billy McKinney (.327)
SLG Leader: Billy McKinney (.653) | SLG >.410: Harrison Bader (.473), Jake Bauers (.462), Anthony Rizzo (.433)
My cut-off marks were equal towards being tied for the 100th highest AVG, OBP, and SLG in the MLB this season. Only 2 Yankees in last night's starting line-up (one who, mind you, has only played 16 games in the MLB this year) had rate stats that were above being the 100th best hitter in the game across all 3 metrics.
A player who ranks near all those stats is someone like Tommy Edman of the St. Louis Cardinals. In 2023 he has a .242/.313/.410 triple-slash going through 74 games. He also has a 97 OPS+ and a 99 wRC+. He's an almost perfectly average player at the plate.
And yet the Yankees just put out a line-up with 7 of their 9 players not being able to best that triple-slash across the board.
Now, it would be unrealistic for me to expect a team to field its entire line-up of hitters who are better than average. But, a team with the resources like the Yankees should be able to have over half their hitters be competitive.
Let's consider the Tampa Bay Rays:
The Tampa Bay Rays starting line-up last night featured 7 players who had a better than .246 AVG, 7 players who a OBP above .316, and 8 players with a SLG above .410. Across that entire .246/.316/.410 triple-slash 6 of their 9 players beat all 3 metrics.
Yes, the Rays lost 8-4 to the Arizona Diamondbacks. That's to be expected. Good teams will lose some games. Good teams will lose games to other good teams. (Good teams will also lose to bad teams. As will bad teams.)
But, at least they are putting out a product you could sit down and believe in.
Well, they aren't.
Player(s) of the Game - One offensive, One pitcher:
Wandy Peralta: 1.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K's
Anthony Volpe: 3-4
Notable Performances - There weren't many
Jhony Brito: 5.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R (2 ER), 2 BB's, 2 K's, 1 HR
Tommy Khanle: 1.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 2 K's
Josh Donaldson: 1-4, HR, R, RBI, 2 K's
Anthony Rizzo: 1-2, 2B, 2 BB's, 1 K
Better to Forget - Ugggggg...
DJ LeMahieu: 0-3, BB
Harrison Bader: 0-4, K
Giancarlo Stanton: 0-4, K
Billy McKinney: 0-4, 2 K's
My Take - I'm not even going to complain any further. After my opening rant I've grown tired of it. Partially because this game happened out on the west coast and it is late, but also because I desperately want to get to sleep and this Yankees team is not worth losing sleep over.
Like I wrote in the tag-line to today's recap: the Oakland Athletics have the better offensive team now that the Yankees are without Aaron Judge.
Those Oakland Athletics now have won 21 games. Less than half of what the Yankees have with their 43 wins. Those Oakland Athletics are built to lose. They have an owner who is desperate to move the team to Las Vegas (and somehow got the funding to do so?) and has no desire to put a winning product on the field. Those Oakland Athletics have the worst team in the MLB.
And yet, I went into tonight firmly believing that with the Yankees starting a pitcher with just 10 big league starts and a 4.89 ERA and their line-up that this was going to be a late night heading for a loss.
I was proven right.
Next Up - The Yankees will play against the A's again tonight, starting at 9:40 EDT and it will be broadcast on YES. Domingo German and his 5.10 ERA will take the mound against former Yankee J.P. Sears and his 4.10 ERA. What an exciting prospect of a game to stay up until midnight with! (Please hear my sarcasm.)