Perspectives After the Tigers Series
by Paul Semendinger
May 31, 2021
The last time the Yankees played the Tigers, they swept them at home. It was the start of a great stretch for the Yankees.
This time the Yankees went into Detroit and did not do so well.
It’s been a bad week for the Yankees:
Corey Kluber went on the IL for an indefinite period
Luke Voit went on the IL
Aaron Hicks was lost for the season
The Yankees lost two of three to the Blue Jays
The Yankees lost three to the Tigers, the lowly Tigers.
It’s clear that the Yankees don’t hit. They can’t hit. In far too many games, they have almost no offense at all.
When the Yankees were winning, back in the good old days (a week ago), I stated that the reason they were winning was because they were getting exceptional pitching. The question was, “Could it last?” The concern was that it couldn’t. The reality is that it can’t. The Yankees were pitching too far, far too well, for it to be sustainable.
What follows are other perspectives on the Yankees right now:
I’m not sure how to fix the problem with the offense. The Yankees have no real options for players to replace the ones they have who are struggling, meaning almost all of them.
I’m not sure why Giancarlo Stanton was rested on Saturday. He played Friday, looked terrible, and then was back on the bench. He’s not going to find his groove sitting on the bench. If he wasn’t ready to come back for every day duty, he shouldn’t have been activated. If he needs a rest after one game, that’s also a problem.
On Sunday he was back in the lineup and went 0-for3 with two more strikeouts. That’s just ugly.
The Yankees will now play the Tampa Bay Rays. Again. Every other series seems to be against the Rays. The Yankees are 12-16 vs. the American League East. That’s not inspiring.
The Yankees are 3-6 vs the Rays this year.
The Rays are 21-5 over their last 26 games. The Rays are 15-1 over their last 16.
In the Tigers series, the Yankees played 28 innings of baseball. They managed only 23 hits. That’s not just bad, it’s terrible. A team cannot win a pennant or a World Series with production like that – especially against what is basically a last place team. This was a series the Yankees were supposed to take, easily.
The Yankees have now lost five out of six. As good as they were looking a week ago, now they look just as bad. Worse even. When the Yankees were winning all those games, there was a sense that it wasn’t real, that they were winning in strange fashion, getting by with pitching that was better than amazing and just squeaking by with barely enough runs. This, the losing of five out of six, just seems more like the true measure of this team.
Will the real Yankees please stand up?
As I ‘ve stated I’m afraid that this is the real Yankees. (I hope I’m wrong.)
The following players are not hitting even .200 (and have had substantial playing time):
Brett Gardner .196
Rougned Odor .189
Kyle Higashioka .186
Clint Frazier .182
Mike Ford .140
The list above did not include the following who are injured:
Aaron Hicks .194
Luke Voit .182
A team just cannot win when it has this many players hitting this poorly.
In my last Perspectives piece, I praised Matt Blake for the job he has done with the Yankees pitchers. He deserves that praise. But, if that’s the case, Marcus Thames deserves some (or much) of the blame for this horrific offense.
I am not convinced that the Yankees “launch angle”/”exit velocity” approach is working. In fact, it’s not. Stacking up on guys who crush the ball (when they hit it) just isn’t working. It’s time for a new philosophy. It’s been time for that new philosophy for a long time now. This is impressive when it works, but it doesn’t work.
I’ll also say this, the Yankees’ hitting philosophy these last few years has produced boring baseball. Yes, the homers are fun, but the rest of the lethargic offense is a struggle to watch. A big struggle. Three true outcome baseball just isn’t all that entertaining.
Aaron Judge has 13 homers. GREAT! He has only 28 runs batted in. NOT SO GREAT.
All or nothing baseball feels, more often than not, like nothing.
Fans like teams that play hard and find ways to grind out wins. This team operates in a very different manner. When this team goes down, they usually collapse. That’s another part of the problem – there doesn’t seem to be any fight in these guys.
The Yankees’ record when trailing after six innings is 3-17. This is not a new thing. Last year, the Yankees were 3-22 in that spot.
In games when the Yankees allow 5 or more runs, they are 0-14.
How much of that “fighting spirit” (or lack thereof) comes from the manager?
Here’s the telling stat. In games when the Yankees homer, they are 22-12. In games when they don’t homer, they are just 7-11. This tells me that the offense is one-dimensional. It’s all or nothing. When the “all” comes, it’s great, but far too often, it’s nothing. Last year, the Yankees were 2-14 in games when they didn’t homer. I’m not anti-homer. No way. I wish they would hit ten homers a game. But, good teams find ways to win other than by hitting homers. These Yankees, for far too long, don’t… and can’t.
The Yankees now play seven games against the Rays and Red Sox. This is an important week. A bad week could see the Yankees back down close to being just a .500 team.
I wish I felt better about this team. They were staring to convince me… starting to. Against all logic, they were making me believe. I hope they start doing that again.
Let’s Go Yankees.
God Bless and Thank You to all of those who serve or served our country in the Armed Forces. Happy Memorial Day. We owe so much to you all!