Thursday, December 19, 2013

Logan's Litany of Losing: The Final Entry (Thank God... and the Colorado Rockies)

Last week, Boone Logan, his contract with the Yankees having run out, signed a contract with the Denver-based Colorado Rockies.

The idea of Logan pitching in the thin air of the Rocky Mountains is terrifying... if you're a Rockies fan.

I am not.  I am a Yankee Fan, and Logan is no longer my problem, or the Yankees' problem.

And so, I present the final edition of "Logan's Litany of Losing."

At least, it better be.  Yankee general manager Brian Cashman has brought back failed Yankees before, including Javier "Home Run Javy" Vazquez.  He even considered bringing back ol' "American Idle" himself, Carl Pavano.  But, as yet, he hasn't brought back any failed Yankee relievers, such as Scott Proctor, "Kerosene Kyle" Farnsworth, Tanyon Sturtze "So Bad," Sean "Makes Me Madder Than a Wet" Henn, or Phil Coke "And No Smile."

(UPDATE: Cashman would eventually bring Proctor and Coke back, thankfully without much damage.)

Plus, the Yankees have signed a new lefty reliever, Matt Thornton, to go with Vidal Nuno (who may still end up as a starter) and David Huff.

They no longer need what Logan was meant to represent: The ability to get lefthanded hitters out.  Which he showed he wasn't good enough to do.

He will no longer be failing to do that for the Yankees.

*

Boone Logan is a bum. Oh, he might be a decent human being, who still can't pitch and whose placement on the Yankee mound has resulted in blown leads and lost games, much like Scott Proctor. Or he might not be one, who still can't pitch, much like Kyle Farnsworth.

At this point, I don't care whether Logan is a decent human being: He has to go. He can't pitch.

I despise the very concept of the LOOGy, the Lefty One Out Guy.  If you can't be trusted to get a batter out, regardless of his hand or yours, when the advantage nearly always favors the pitcher, then I don't want you on my team.  And if your sole purpose in a game is to get one lefthanded hitter out, and you don't, then what the hell are you doing in the major leagues?

Boone Logan was born on August 13, 1984 in San Antonio, Texas. He reached the major leagues with the Chicago White Sox in 2006. They sent him to the Atlanta Braves in 2009, and on December 22, 2009, the Braves traded him and Javier Vazquez to the Yankees for Melky Cabrera and 2 guys who ended up not mattering. This has become one of the worst trades in Yankee history, and not just because the second coming of Vazquez, a.k.a. Home Run Javy, was even worse than the first.

According to Baseball-Reference.com, the pitcher whose career statistics most resembles those of Logan is Pedro Borbon. This seems unfair, as I remember Borbon as a good reliever. But the pitcher whose career stats most resemble Logan's at the same age? Felix Heredia, who was so bad as a Yankee that I called him "the Meatball Sub," and whose name made me think of a nasty medical condition: "He's got an acute case of felixheredia."

As a Yankee, Logan is 16-7, a winning percentage of .696. However, won-lost record and winning percentage are even less meaningful as stats for relievers than they are for starters. Logan's career ERA is 4.40, which is absolutely unacceptable for a reliever; as a Yankee, it's 3.27, which is still way too high. His WHIP (Walks + Hits, divided by Innings Pitched)? 1.502 overall, 1.347 as a Yankee. This season, after 31 appearances, it's 1.271.

If Logan were a righthanded pitcher, he would be at Triple-A now. But he's a lefty, so he's likely to stick in the major leagues, going from desperate team to desperate team, until his age matches his uniform number, 48.

And yet, Yankee manager Joe Girardi keeps consulting his Binder, and it keeps telling him to put Logan into the game. Maybe we should start calling him "Binder Boy Boone."

Here now is a quantification of my reasoning that Boone Logan is a bum. Here is the litany of games that he has blown for the Yankees:

1. April 27, 2010, Yankees at Baltimore Orioles. Yankees lead 2-1. Logan come in to relieve Phil Hughes in the 6th -- after Hughes has already gotten 2 outs in the inning, albeit on sharply-hit balls. Logan faces Luke Scott, a lefthanded hitter. He walks him.

Girardi, seeing Logan fail in his one and only task, immediately pulls him for David Robertson, who has not yet become the Yankees' trusted 8th-inning reliever. D-Rob hits a batter, then allows 3 straight singles, before finally getting a strikeout to end the inning. Yankees go on to lose 5-4, and it all started because Logan walked the one man he was supposed to get out.

2. May 10, 2010, Yankees at Detroit Tigers. Yankees trail 4-2.  Logan comes in to relieve Robertson. He walks Johnny Damon, but gets Magglio Ordonez to ground into a double play. But he walks Miguel Cabrera, and allows a triple to Brennan Boesch (now, in 2013, his Yankee teammate). Yankees now trail 5-2, and go on to lose 5-4.

3. May 19, 2010, Yankees host Tampa Bay Rays. Yankees trail 6-2. Logan comes in to relieve A.J. Burnett. He needs 1 out to get out of the 7th, and he gets it. But in the 8th, he allows a walk, and an RBI double. That makes it 6-3.

Girardi pulls him 2 batters too late, and brings in Mark Melancon, who pours gasoline on the fire that Logan started, allowing an RBI single, a flyout, and an RBI single, another single, and an RBI sacrifice fly. Now it's 10-2 Rays, but the Yankees close to within 10-6. Had Logan not pitched the 8th, the score could have been 6-6, but he did, so there was no chance.

4. September 19, 2010, Yankees at Baltimore. Yankees lead 3-1. Logan comes in to relieve Joba Chamberlain, who had come in to start the 7th in relief of Andy Pettitte, and struck out Adam Jones. Instead of leaving in a pitcher who had just gotten a good out, Girardi brings in Logan to pitch to Scott. Logan strikes Scott out, and then gets Ty Wigginton out. Okay, Logan does the job.

But Girardi leaves Logan in to start the 8th, and Logan allows a leadoff single to Corey Patterson -- a lefty that Logan couldn't get out. Girardi then replaces Logan with Kerry Wood, who allows back-to-back singles to make it 3-2 Yankees. Wood gets out of it, and it's Mariano Rivera, of all people, who allows Scott to tie the game with a homer in the 9th, and Robertson allows a Scott double and a Wigginton single in the 11th to lose it 4-3. But if Girardi had handled Logan right, the Yankees would not have blown the lead.

That's 4 games that Logan blew, or helped to blow, in 2010. The Yankees finished 1 game out of 1st place in the American League Eastern Division that season. Had they won just 2 of the 4, half of them, they would have had the best record in the AL, and would have been the 1st seed in the Playoffs, not the 4th.

5. October 18, 2010, Game 3 of the American League Championship Series, Yankees host Texas Rangers. Rangers lead 2-0, but, as Yankee broadcaster John Sterling taught us, "That's just a bloop and a blast." Logan comes in to relieve Kerry Wood, and Girardi has clearly brought him in to face just 1 batter, the dangerous lefty Josh Hamilton. Logan allows a double. Girardi pulls Logan for David Robertson -- who, at this point, was occupying a place in my mind that Logan does now, as a bum who doesn't belong in the majors. Robertson straightened himself out in 2011; Logan never has. The Rangers end up scoring 6 runs in the inning, and a 2-run deficit becomes 8-0 Rangers. Logan set in motion the putting of the game out of reach.

6. October 19, 2010, Game 4 of ALCS, Yankees host Rangers. Rangers lead 5-3, but that's just a bloop and a blast. Logan comes in to relieve Robertson, who had just relieved Burnett with 2 outs. Again, Girardi brings Logan in with the sole purpose of pitching to Hamilton. Hamilton does not settle for 2 bases this time: He takes 4 on a mammoth home run. 6-3 Rangers.

Girardi replaces Logan with Joba, and he's got nothing: He allows a double, a walk and a single before getting a strikeout to end it. Yankees lose 10-3.

If the Yankees had won either of those games, that ALCS would have at least gone to a Game 7, and proven postseason performer Andy Pettitte would almost certainly have been the starter.

7. April 5, 2011, Yankees host Minnesota Twins. Game tied 4-4.  Logan comes in to relieve Mariano Rivera, who had pitched a scoreless 9th. Walk, single, RBI single. Yankees lose, 5-4.

8. May 7, 2011, Yankees at Rangers. Rangers lead 5-4. Logan comes in to relieve Bartolo Colon. He gets through the 5th, and in the top of the 6th, the Yankees tie the game. Girardi leaves Logan in for the bottom of the 6th. Double, single, RBI sacrifice bunt. Girardi brings in Robertson, who allows another run. Yankees lose, 7-5.

9. May 27, 2011, Yankees at Seattle Mariners. Yankees lead 3-2. Logan comes in to relieve Burnett in the 6th. He pitches to 1 batter, the lefthanded Adam Kennedy. You never want to put the leadoff man on, but he does, with a single. Girardi brings in Luis Ayala, who allows single, walk, RBI groundout, RBI groundout. Yankees lose, 4-3.

10. July 6, 2011, Yankees at Cleveland Indians. Indians lead 2-0. Logan comes in to relieve Ayala with 2 outs in the 6th. He hits Travis Hafner (now a Yankee), but gets Carlos Santana (not the guitarist) to ground out. He stays in for the 7th, and gets the first 2 outs, then allows a home run to Lonnie Chisenhall. 3-0 Indians.

The Indians make it 5-0 before a Yankee comeback falls short in the 9th, 5-3. If Logan hadn't allowed that home run to a banjo hitter, the Yankees might have won. So I'm counting this one.

11. July 19, 2011, Yankees at Rays. Yankees lead 2-1. Logan comes in to relieve Colon in the 7th, after Colon started the 7th with a strikeout but had allowed back-to-back singles. Logan allows a single to load the bases, a groundout error, and a sacrifice fly before getting a strikeout to end it. 3-2 Rays, and that's the final.

12. July 23, 2011, Yankees host Oakland Athletics. A's lead 3-2. Logan comes in to relieve Cory Wade to start the 7th. The first batter he faces is a lefty, Hideki Matsui. Our old friend hits it out. 4-2 A's. Logan pitches 2 full innings with no further damage... and other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play? The Yanks get a run in the bottom of the 9th, but that makes it 4-3, not 3-3.

13. July 27, 2011, Yankees host Mariners. M's lead 2-1. Logan comes in to relieve Wade, with 1 out, after Wade allowed a double and a single. Logan got what should have been an inning-ending double play, but there was a throwing error.

Okay, can't blame him for the game now being 3-1, but then he loads the bases with a walk, gets the 2nd out on a strikeout, but allows a triple to make it 6-1. Ayala comes in and allows a double to make it 7-1. Yankees go on to lose 9-2. That's 4 games blown in 3 weeks.

14. August 23, 2011, Yankees host A's. A's lead 3-0. Logan comes in to relieve Colon in the 7th, with 1 out, but Colon has now allowed a single and a double. Logan allows a double before getting 2 groundouts. 5-0 A's. The A's make it 6-0 before a furious Yankee comeback falls just short, 6-5. Had Logan not allowed that double, the Yankees would have won.

15. September 16, 2011, Yankees at those pesky Toronto Blue Jays. Game tied 4-4. Logan comes in to start the bottom of the 9th. Double, intentional walk, bunt groundout. Girardi brings in Wade, game-winning single. Jays 5, Yankees 4.

16. September 28, 2011, Yankees at Rays. Yankees lead 7-0 in the bottom of the 7th. Let me say that again: Yankees seven, Rays zero. Surely, even Boone Logan can't cause the Yankees to blow a 7-run lead, right? Right?

Wrong. He gets a strikeout to end a 1st-and-2nd threat, but he stays in for the 8th, and allows a single to Johnny Damon, a double to Ben Zobrist, and hits Casey Kotchman, loading the bases. Girardi takes him out for Ayala, and the dam bursts: RBI walk, RBI hit-by-pitch, strikeout, RBI sacrifice fly, 3-run homer. Wade allows a tying home run to Dan Johnson in the 9th, and Scott Proctor allows a winning homer to Evan Longoria in the 12th.

Rays 8, Yankees 7.  The Yankees had a 99 percent chance of winning when Logan started the bottom of the 8th. Ninety-nine percent. And they lost.

That's 10 games Logan blew, or helped to blow, in 2011. The Yankees finished with the best record in the AL anyway.

Incredibly, Logan made 3 appearances in the 2011 AL Division Series against Detroit, totaling 2 1/3 innings, and didn't allow a run. The Yankees lost that series, but he can't be blamed for it.

17. April 8, 2012, Yankees at Tampa Bay. Rays lead 2-0. Logan comes in to relieve Hughes with 2 outs in the 5th, men on 1st and 2nd. He gets a strikeout to end it, and gets the first 2 outs in the 6th. But he allows a home run to make it 3-0 -- and no longer "a bloop and a blast." That was the final, and I'm counting it.

18. May 1, 2012, Yankees host Baltimore. Orioles lead 3-1. Logan comes in to relieve Hughes, who got the 1st 2 outs in the 6th, but hit a batter. Logan allows 2 singles and a double, before Girardi gets the slightest of inklings that Logan is a bum and pulls him for Wade, who walks the next better before getting out of it. 6-1 Orioles, and the O's win 7-1. Again, Logan turned a deficit that was "just a bloop and a blast" into a wipeout.

19. May 20, 2012, Yankees host Cincinnati Reds. Reds lead 3-2. Logan comes in to relieve Wade, who'd gotten the 1st out in the 8th, because Girardi looked in That Damned Binder, which said, "Joey Votto is a lefthander with power, and you've got that short porch in right field. Bring in Boone Logan, and ignore his past pathetic inability to get lefties with power out." It worked: Logan struck Votto out!

So the Binder next said, "Now get that bum the hell out of there before he can do any damage, and put in a competent pitcher!" Right? Wrong, it said, "Leave him in." And Logan allows back-to-back singles, before Girardi pulls him, and brings in Rafael Soriano, who allows a 2-RBI double.  Reds win, 5-2.  This is the first time Logan has messed up an Interleague game.

20. July 2, 2012, Yankees at Tampa Bay. Yankees lead 3-2. Logan comes in to relief Cody Eppley, who'd gotten the 1st out in the 7th. Walk, wild pitch, pop fly. Girardi brings in Robertson. Double, error. Rays win 4-3.

21. July 7, 2012, Yankees at Boston Red Sox. Sox lead 5-3. Logan hasn't yet blown a game against The Scum. But this time, he comes in to relieve Hughes with 1 out in the 6th, man on 2nd. Flyout, back-to-back walks, strikeout.

End of that threat, but Girardi should have realized that, having already walked 2 batters, Logan shouldn't be kept in the game. He leaves Logan in to start the 7th, and he allows a double. Girardi brings in Wade, who turns that leadoff double (totally Logan's fault) into 4 runs (all of them partly Logan's fault). Sox lead 9-4 instead of 5-4.

Yanks manage to make it 9-5, meaning if Logan doesn't allow that double, it's no worse than 5-5. And this is against The Scum. Granted, the Sox were awful in 2012, but you still want to beat them, and the Yanks were still in a Division title race.

22. July 24, 2012, Yankees at Seattle. Mariners lead 3-2. Logan comes in to relieve Chad Qualls with 2 out in the 8th, but bases loaded. He allows a 2-run single and is immediately replaced. Mariners win, 4-2. This was in a streak of 6 straight games in which Logan appeared that the Yankees lost.

23. July 30, 2012, Yankees host Baltimore. Orioles lead 3-2. Remember, this is the team the Yankees are battling for the AL East title. Logan comes in to relieve Freddy Garcia to start the 7th. He strikes out the 1st 2 batters, then allows a walk and an RBI double, before David Phelps comes in and allows an RBI single. Orioles lead 5-2. The Yankees close to within 5-4, and would have won if Logan hadn't been a bum.

24. August 16, 2012, Yankees host Texas. Yankees lead 5-4. Logan comes in to relieve Eppley, who allowed a leadoff single in the 7th. The first batter he has to face is... Josh Hamilton. Oh no...

Surprise, Logan struck him out. But then he allowed a single to Adrian Beltre and an RBI double to David Murphy. Girardi brings in Joba, who allows another run. Yankees end up losing 10-6.

25. August 20, 2012, Yankees host Chicago White Sox. Game tied 6-6. Logan comes in to relieve Joba in the 6th, and gets through the inning. He got the 1st out in the 7th, too. But he allowed a single, a flyout, and then a home run. ChiSox go on to win 9-6.

26. August 29, 2012, Yankees host Toronto. Jays lead 5-4. Derek Lowe relieves CC Sabathia, and allows a double and a single. Logan comes in to relieve Lowe. He got a strikeout, but allows an RBI sacrifice bunt. Yanks lose 8-5.

27. September 25, 2012, Yankees at Minnesota. Yankees lead 3-1. Lowe comes in to relieve Hughes in the 7th. Wild pitch, run scores. Double, 2 runs score. Walk. Single, run scores. Yanks trail 5-3, close to 5-4, but that's it.

That's 11 games that Logan blew, or helped to blow, in 2012. The Yankees finished with the best record in the AL anyway, but the Division race came down to Game 162. If just one-third of those games, 4 out of 11, had gone the other way, the Yankees would have gone into the final series of the season with the Division title wrapped up, and would have been a lot more relaxed going into the Playoffs. Would it have made a difference? We'll never know.

Incredibly, Logan made 5 appearances in the 2012 postseason -- 2 in the AL Division Series against Baltimore and 3 in the ALCS against Detroit, totaling 3 2/3rds innings, and didn't allow a run. Indeed, despite his disastrous deliveries to Josh Hamilton in 2010, his career postseason ERA is 2.35, his WHIP 1.043. This is what you would expect from a Yankee reliever in postseason play. But what he's done in regular-season play shows he shouldn't be trusted on the postseason roster.  Or any roster.

28. April 5, 2013, Yankees at Detroit. Yankees lead 3-2. Logan comes in to relieve Ivan Nova with 2 outs in the 5th, men on 1st and 3rd. The first batter Logan faces is a lefthander, Prince Fielder. Home run. Yankees trail 5-3, and go on to lose 8-3.

29. April 21, 2013, Yankees at Toronto. Yankees lead 4-2. Logan comes in to relieve Nova with none out in the 6th, men on 2nd and 3rd. He allows a single to lefthander Cody Rasmus that ties the game. Girardi immediately replaces him with David Phelps, and he does no better. Yankees go on to lose 8-4.

30. May 5, 2013, Yankees host Oakland. Game tied 4-4. Logan comes in to relieve Preston Claiborne, who had pitched 2 shutout innings in relief of Andy Pettitte, to start the 8th inning. Logan gets 1 out, then allows a home run to Josh Donaldson, a righthander -- who, apparently according to Joe Girardi's Binder, Logan shouldn't have been facing anyway. Yankees go on to lose 5-4.

31. June 23, 2013, Yankees host Tampa Bay. Game tied 1-1. Logan comes in to relieve Shawn Kelley, who had pitched to 1 batter in relief of Nova. Nova had gotten the 1st 2 outs in the top of the 7th, but hit 2 batters, and then Kelley walked the bases loaded. Logan came in for the specific purpose of getting out Tampa's lefty-hitting 1st baseman, James Loney. Instead, Loney singled home 2 runs. Yankees go on to lose 3-1.

32. August 15, 2013, Yankees host Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Angels lead 3-1. Logan comes in to relieve Kelley, who had pitched a scoreless 7th in relief of Hughes, but had allowed a leadoff double. Incredibly, this time, Logan struck out Josh Hamilton. Then he got Erick Aybar to pop up.

But Girardi ordered an intentional walk of Mark Trumbo, to set up the force play. Angels manager Mike Scioscia, a man with more sense than Girardi (not hard), ordered a double steal to eliminate the possibility. Logan gave Hank Conger the old "unintentional intentional walk" to restore the possibility. Chris Nelson hit a grand slam home run to wipe out any possibility.

Girardi finally pulled Logan and brought in Joba, who allowed another run, to make it 8-1 Angels. The Yanks closed to 8-4 in the bottom of the 9th, but still lost.  Had Girardi left Kelley in, and Kelley had gotten out of the jam, it would have been 4-3 Yankees, so I'm counting this as part of Logan's Litany.

33. September 1, 2013, Yankees host Orioles. Yankees lead 3-0. Pettitte allows a pair of singles to lead off the top of the 7th. Girardi replaces him with Kelley, who allows a single and a home run to make it 4-3 Orioles. Girardi replaces Kelley with Logan. The O's only lead by 1 run, and that can be overcome without much trouble. But Logan allows a single and a walk, and those runners are his responsibility. Girardi replaces him with Chamberlain, who gets an out, but allows a home run that allows Logan's runners to score. Yankees lose, 7-3. As with the August 15 game, had Girardi left Kelley in, and Kelley had gotten out of the jam, it would have been 4-3 Yankees, so I'm counting this as part of Logan's Litany.

34. September 6, 2013, Yankees host Red Sox. Yankees lead 8-3. Pettitte has pitched 6 strong innings. But Girardi brings the struggling Hughes in to pitch the 7th. He gets 1 out, but allows 3 singles and a walk, making it 8-4. Girardi brings Logan in to face Ortiz with the bases loaded and 1 out. Cringe time...  Logan strikes Ortiz out!

All right! Now, get him out of there! No, Girardi leaves him in to face Mike Napoli with the bases loaded and 1 out. Logan feeds the gopher, and Napoli hits a game-tying grand slam. Girardi still leaves him in, to face Daniel Nava. Nava singles, and, finally, Girardi takes him out, and Claiborne gets Stephen Drew out to end the inning. Claiborne and Chamberlain finish the disaster in the 8th, and the Sox win, 12-8.

By this point, even Girardi had learned that Logan could not be trusted with pitching in the major leagues. Only once more did he put Logan in a game, and that was on September 24, in a game that Kuroda had already let get away. It was in a 7-0 loss to the Rays, and Logan faced 1 batter, Sam Fuld, and struck him out. Exit permanently, stage lefty.

That's 7 games that Logan blew, or helped to blow, in 2013. The Yankees went 85-77, a decent season by most teams' standards, but missing the Playoffs, finishing tied for 3rd in the AL East, 12 games behind the Division-winning Red Sox, and 7 games behind the 2nd Wild Card team, the Rays.

Granted, the Yanks would have had to win all 7 of the games that Logan blew to have made the Playoffs; and more went wrong with the Yankees this season than in any year that I could remember, with the exceptions of 1979 and 1990. So the failure can hardly be completely, or even primarily, blamed on Logan.

Still, he was a significant factor in the failure -- along with Girardi's willingness, until September 6, to trust him, and Cashman's unwillingness to get somebody better to get lefty hitters out.

*

Overall, Logan blew 34 games in a Yankee uniform. Two of those were in the postseason.

He blew 6 games against Tampa Bay; 5 against Baltimore; 4 against Texas; 3 each against Oakland and Toronto; 2 each against Boston, Detroit and Minnesota; and 1 each against Cleveland, Anaheim, the Chicago White Sox, and in Interleague play against Cincinnati.

Thirty-four games. Boone Logan blew, or helped to blow, 34 games for the New York Yankees, in only 4 seasons.

He might be a nice guy. He might be a good person.

But when it comes to pitching...

Boone Logan is a bum.

But he's not our bum anymore. Remember the old country song? "Thank God and Greyhound They're Gone." Well...

Free at last, free at last, thank God Almighty -- and the Colorado Rockies' moron management for taking him off our hands -- we're free at last!

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