Thursday, April 19, 2018

Just When You Thought It Was Safe

In 1978, a year that ended with a Yankee World Championship, Jaws 2 was released, with the tagline, "Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water... "

On Monday, the Yankees beat the Miami Marlins 12-1. Well, just when you thought it was safe to root for the Yankees again...

Top of the 1st inning: Masahiro Tanaka begins the game by allowing a single, a walk, an RBI single, another single, and a grounder that shortstop Didi Gregorius threw away for 2-run error. And those 3 runs were all the Marlins would need.

Bottom of the 1st: Brett Gardner begins the game by drawing a walk. Aaron Judge does the same. Didi draws another. Except... In between Judge and Gregorius, Giancarlo Stanton grounded into a double play. So, with 1st & 3rd and 2 out, Gary Sanchez grounded to 3rd.

That's pretty much all you need to know about Tuesday night's game. Tanaka allowed another run in the 2nd, and a 3-run home run in the 5th. and didn't get sent back out for the 6th. Meanwhile, the Yankees didn't get a single hit off Jarlin Garcia, who (strangely) also left after 5 innings.

It was 1 out in the 6th before the Yankees got a hit off reliever Tayron Guerrero, a single by Sanchez. Aaron Hicks drew a walk to load the bases. Suddenly, it was looking like the Marlins' manager, some guy named Don Mattingly, had made a big mistake.

But before any of that happened, Stanton led off the inning with a strikeout, and Guerrero then struck out Neil Walker and Tyler Austin to end the threat. (Austin has been suspended for 5 games, but is allowed to play pending his appeal.) Luis Cessa allowed 2 more runs, and Miguel Andjuar hit his 1st major league home run, to tack a mercy run onto a final score of Marlins 9, Yankees 1.

WP: Garcia (1-0). No save. LP: Tanaka (2-2). The Yankees are back to .500, at 8-8.


Batting average is often a misleading stat. But here are the OPS+'s of every Yankee with at least 35 plate appearances, keeping in mind that 100 is exactly average:

Didi Gregorius 253
Aaron Judge 196
Tyler Austin 134
Brett Gardner 111
Giancarlo Stanton 92
Miguel Andujar 91
Gary Sanchez 70
Neil Walker 24
Tyler Wade -8

I didn't even know a negative OPS+ was possible. I thought zero was as low as you could go.

But Stanton and Sanchez have been terrible. Sanchez isn't getting paid much, and has delivered for the Yankees before, so he gets some slack. Stanton doesn't fit either of those descriptions. He has been a disaster.

Granted, Starlin Castro, whom we traded for Stanton, hasn't been much better: 94. But he's got a significantly higher batting average (.290 to .197) than Stanton, and an appreciably better on-base percentage, too (.346 to .293).

After a much-needed day off, today, the Yankees begin a 4-game home series against those pesky Toronto Blue Jays. Here are the scheduled starting pitchers:

* Tonight, 6:35 PM, weather permitting (it's rained all day, but it appears to have stopped as I type this at 3:00 Eastern Time): CC Sabathia vs. Aaron Sanchez.

* Tomorrow, 7:05 PM: Sonny Gray vs. Marco Estrada.

* Saturday, 1:05 PM: Jordan Montgomery vs. Marcus Stroman.

* Sunday, 1:05 PM: Luis Severino vs. Jaime Garcia -- as far as I know, no relation to Jarlin.

My mind goes back to the Jaws franchise, which began with a film in which a seemingly unstoppable beast terrorizes a New England community, until a guy from the New York area comes to the rescue and does the business. (Maybe Chief Martin Brody was a local, but his portrayer, Roy Scheider, was from Maplewood, Essex County New Jersey.)

The Yankees don't need a bigger boat. But the bigger bats they already have need to start producing regularly.

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