The New York Yankees Report

Interesting notes and thoughts about the New York Yankees; plus additional musings on baseball.

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Thursday, May 29, 2003
 
SERIES RECAP: BOSTON RED SOX
The Yanks were able to score in the 9th inning last night after giving up a 4-run lead in the top-half of the inning, securing another series win against the Sox. The Yankees took 2-of-3 during the series, losing only the Clemens 300-win game. It was also the second time in as many weeks in which the Yanks won a series from the Red Sox after being swept.

The Yankees are now 4-2 against the Sox this year, and cut their deficit in the AL East to a ½ game. After dropping the first game against the Sox, the Yanks were able to win two games back-to-back. That’s the first time the Yanks won consecutive games since May 7th and 8th, a span of 18 games.

HITTING
The Yankees outscored the Sox during the series 21-16. While the Sox had a slightly better average, the Yankees led in every other category

TEAM AVG OBP SLG OPS
Sox .283 .328 .387 .714
Yanks .279 .374 .481 .855

Two significant advantages for the Yankees was in OBP and SLG. The Yankees were able to draw more walks than the Sox, 17-8, and had more doubles, 9-5, and more HR, 4-2. During this series, the Sox just didn’t get on base outside of hits. A .328 OBP is below average, especially when you’re hitting .283.

The Yankee attack was led by Robin Ventura and Todd Zeile:

NAME AVG OBP SLG OPS
Ventura .500 .615 .900 1.515 – HR, 2B, 3 BB, 3R
Zeile .308 .357 .462 .819 – HR, 2B, 5 RBI, 3R

Raul Mondesi had his first bad series during this bad stretch for the Pinstripes:

AVG OBP SLG OPS
.167 .231 .167 .397 – 2 singles, BB

Meanwhile, Shea Hillenbrand was the highlight for the Sox:

AVG OBP SLG OPS
.385 .385 .692 1.077 – HR, 2B, 3 RBI

He only had one extra base hit (2B), but he did draw 5 BB.

The Yankees did a pretty good job shutting Nomar down, finally snapping his 26-game hit streak:

AVG OBP SLG OPS
.231 .231 .167 .381 – 3 singles, 2K, and 3 RBI

Overall, not a bad performance offensively for the Yankees, averaging 7 runs 9.2 hits per game. Even better they averaged 5.6 walks per game. Hopefully unlike with Toronto, they can take this momentum with them against the Tigers.

PITCHING
Neither team really got great pitching for the series:

TEAM ERA H/9 BB/9 SO/9 HR/9
Sox 5.33 10.00 2.67 6.67 .67
Yanks 7.46 10.30 6.04 5.33 1.42

Except for Clemens, the Yankee starters pitched pretty well:

NAME IP H ER BB SO ERA
Pettitte 7.2 5 2 1 6 2.35
Mussina 8+ 4 3 2 4 3.38

The only bullpen member who was roughed was the close Mariano Rivera:

NAME IP H ER BB SO ERA
Rivera 2 7 3 0 1 13.50

The Sox hit .583 against Rivera in his two innings.

While the Sox starters pitched adequately, they were only able to go 16 innings combined. The Sox relievers were touched up throughout the series:

AVG OBP SLG OPS ERA H/9 BB/9 K/9 HR/9
.308 .408 .513 .921 9.64 11.57 7.71 4.82 .96

The Sox and Yanks next face off in a 4-game series in New York starting on July 4th. Now the Yanks turn their attention to the Detroit Tigers before beginning their interleague schedule. Hopefully, the Yanks can continue their momentum to beat up on the worst team in the league. Considering how they have played during this month, the Yanks need to sweep the Tigers.



Tuesday, May 27, 2003
 
SERIES RECAP: TORONTO BLUE JAYS
Home, unsweet home. For the first time in their history the Toronto Blue Jays swept the Yankees in a four-game series at the Stadium. With the Toronto sweep the Pinstripes have lost 7 games in a row at home and 11 of the last 12.

Despite the sweep, the Yanks still lead the season series against the Blue Jays, 6-5. They are now 11-8 against AL East teams.

HITTING
The Jays outscored the Yanks 24-10 for the series, but the other offensive statistics were much closer than you might think based on the scoring. The Jays only out hit the Yanks 40-34, and the Yanks actually had a better OBP for the series:

TEAM AVG OBP SLG OPS
Jays .278 .318 .438 .756
Yanks .252 .320 .407 .727

In addition, the Yanks out homered the Jays, 5-3. That’s right, the Yanks had 5 HR and scored only 10 runs for the series. All 5 HR were solo shots. The major offensive problem during the series for the Yankee was they couldn’t produce the big inning. Not once during the four games did the Yanks score more than one run in an inning. They just didn’t put consecutive hits together during the series, and they hit .108 with runners in scoring position. In fact, in two of the four games, Alfonso Soriano reached base in the first inning and Torre had the next batter execute the sacrifice bunt! In the first inning! That’s just not Yankee baseball. I'm not criticizing here. In both situations the bunt made sense, it worked the first time, but not the second. The problem is this team is supposed to score runs, lots of them. And they’re just not doing that. And Torre knows it.

The Jays had no problem bunching hits together. In Game 3 against David Wells, they strung together four consecutive doubles. The Jays attack was led by Yankee Killer Carlos Delgado:

AVG OBP SLG OPS
.467 .529 1.133 1.663

Just look at that Slugging Percentage! Delgado had 7 hits, 4 doubles and 2 HR and 7 RBI.

Shannon Stewart and Tom Wilson also had a big series:

NAME AVG OBP SLG OPS
Stewart .273 .286 .636 .922 – HR, 2 SF, and 5 RBI
Wilson .308 .357 .462 .819 – 2 doubles, 3 RBI

The Yankees attack was led by Alfonso Soriano, who hit very well during the series:

AVG OBP SLG OPS
.333 .333 .778 1.111 – 2 HR, 3B, 2 RBI

Also, it’s nice to see Jason Giambi finally have a good series

AVG OBP SLG OPS
.308 .500 .385 .885

He only had one extra base hit (2B), but he did draw 5 BB.

One explanation for the Jays successful attack is to compare the performance of their role players (Reed Johnson, Greg Myers, Mike Bordick, and Eric Hinske) against the Yanks (Bubba Trammell, Charles Gipson, Enrique Wilson, and John Flaherty):

TEAM AVG OBP SLG OPS
Jays .313 .389 .375 .764 – 4 RBI
Yanks .188 .235 .188 .423 – 0 RBI

I thought this last week and I still think it now, a big reason for the Yanks offensive slump is the lack of performance of Yankee role players. They’re just not producing at all. And unfortunately, the Yankee regulars aren’t picking up the slack.

PITCHING
The Yankee starters had another terrible series, while the Jays pitched marvelously:

TEAM W-L IP ERA H/9 BB/9 SO/9 HR/9
Jays 4-0 25 2.16 8.64 2.88 6.12 .72
Yanks 0-4 19.2 9.15 14.2 1.83 7.78 .92

Yankee starters gave up 10 2B, 3B, and 2 HR. The Jays OPS v. Yankee starters was .919! The Yanks only mustered a .701 OPS v. the Jays’ starters.

I was hoping to pick out one Yankee starter for a good job, but I couldn’t do it. Mussina was the best, but a 6.00 ERA is nothing to brag about. That’s right, a 6.00 ERA was the best a Yankee starter did during the series. Andy Pettitte failed to turn his miserable season around going only 3.2 innings, 9 hits, 7 runs.

But as bad as the Yankee starters were, the relievers, who’ve struggled most of the season, were exceptional:

AVG OBP SLG OPS ERA H/9 BB/9 K/9 HR/9
.164 .242 .255 .496 1.65 4.96 3.31 9.37 .55

And the ace of the staff this past weekend was Jose Contreras:

IP H ER BB SO
5 1 0 1 6

Overall, it was a miserable weekend. The Yanks didn’t hit, didn’t pitch, and didn’t field particularly well either. The only bright spots were Soriano appears to be out of his slump, Giambi finally had a good series, and the bullpen (led by Contreras) pitched well. All of the rest wasn’t just bad, it was awful. I haven’t hit the panic button yet, but my finger is twitching.

TORRE RANT
Can I go off on Torre today? I love the guy, really. But I believe he cost us the game yesterday against the Sox. Allow me to explain.

Roger was in trouble early and Torre stayed with him. I was fine with that. But I was screaming in the 6th. The Yanks had just scored 3 runs in the bottom of the 5th, but they still trailed 5-3. So, Torre allowed Clemens to go back out in the 6th. I wasn’t too upset with that because Roger had struck out the side in the 5th. But he had thrown a lot of pitches at that point, and he needed to be watched.

At first, it looked like a good move, Clemens retired the first two hitters. But then Mirabelli and Damon singled, and Damon went to second on a wild throw by Juan Rivera. So it’s runners on second and third, two outs. I was screaming, “Take Roger out.” It was obvious he was out of gas. Now, I know you want Roger to get 300 at home, but at this point I just wanted a win.

Torre stuck with Roger and Todd Walker singled, scoring both runners. Finally, Torre removed Roger. But when the inning was finally over the Yanks were out of it, 8-3.

I appreciate the situation, Clemens was going for 300 and all. And Torre was hoping for one more out, and then perhaps the Yanks could score 3 runs to put Roger in position to win. But you know what, the Yanks need a win and I don’t care how they get it. Roger is going to get 300, it didn’t have to be today. It would have been nice, but it wasn’t crucial. It’s not like it was the last day of the season or something. I would have been fine with keeping Roger in if we had a 5-game lead over the Sox and everything was going well. But the Yanks are struggling and the win was crucial. You could just see the rest of the team deflated once they were down 7-3. From that point on it was over. And I don’t blame Clemens. Torre let emotion make his managerial decisions. Someone on that bench, Don Zimmer, needed to control Torre, because he lost focus. I hope this doesn’t happen next week when Roger tries again. Because the Yanks just can’t afford to piss away games right now.


Monday, May 26, 2003
 
SERIES PREVIEW: BOSTON RED SOX
The Yanks begin a 3-game series with the Red Sox starting today and will try to snap their 7-game losing streak at the Stadium. The Yanks and Sox played last week with the Yanks winning 2-of-3 in Fenway. It was the first series the Yanks had won since May 8th and they left with a one-game lead over the Sox in the division. See Friday's post below for a review of the series.

While the Yanks were swept by the Jays this past weekend, the Sox won 2-of-3 from the Cleveland Indians, outscoring them 26-11. That’s right, since the Yanks and Sox last played, the Sox scored 26 runs and the Yanks scored just 10. To make matters worse, the Yanks scored the 10 runs in four games, while the Sox scored all of their runs in just four.

The Sox now enter this series at the Stadium with a 1½ lead over the Yanks, who are struggling mightily. This series will commence the longest road trip for the Sox this season, 12 games. They don’t play again in Fenway until June 10th. The Red Sox are 12-10 on the road so far this season.

Pitching Probables
Game 1
Clemens 6-2, 2.92 ERA - will go for 300 career wins
Wakefield 4-2, 4.50 ERA - lost to Clemens last week

Game 2
Pettitte 4-5, 5.28 ERA - has lost his last four consecutive starts
Chen 0-0, 3.68 ERA - no decision last week v. Yanks, but pitched well

Game 3
Mussina 7-3, 2.54 ERA - has lost his last three consecutve starts
Lowe 4-3, 5.27 ERA - pitches terribly on the road

Since the Sox and Yanks played last week, please see last week’s preview for further information about hitting and pitching for the Sox.

INJURIES
Of course the big injury for the Sox is Pedro Martinez. He was placed on the 15-day DL retroactive to May 16th, so he’ll be out for the Yankee series. The Sox hope to have Pedro back next weekend for the Blue Jays.

The Yanks injuries continued. Over the weekend they added Bernie Williams to the 15-day DL, but it’s likely he’ll need surgery and will be out 4-6 weeks.

PROJECTED LINEUP
Again, the Sox feature many lineup, so this one is really just a guess:

Player OPS OTHER
Damon, CF .754 had a great series v. Yanks last week
Walker, 2B .794 Mueller often hits second v. LHP
Garciaparra, SS .912 hot! Hot! Hot! 25-game hit streak coming into series
Ramirez, LF .895 was 0-11 v. Yanks last week
Millar, DH .823 Ortiz will DH too
Mueller, 3B 1.104 leads team in OPS
Hillenbrand, 1B .756 Shea will also play some 3B
Nixon, RF .836 classic Yankee killer
Varitek, C .857 Mirabelli will start in Game 1

Of course, this series has two major events happening at once. Roger Clemens will go for 300 career wins in Game 1. The second is Nomar’s 25-game hit streak.

But at the same time, the division lead will be on line. The Yanks would need to sweep to retake the lead.

DOUBLE VISION
I went to my first game at the Stadium on Saturday, when the Jays beat the Yanks 5-2. In that game, David Wells gave up 7 doubles to the Jays. All of the Jays' runs came off of doubles. In both the 4th and 6th innings, the Jays hit 3 consecutive doubles.