How's that "Load up on righthanded sluggers and outhit everybody" strategy workin' for ya, Brian Cashman?
Let's get to the pitching situation first. Domingo German once again looked terribly rusty, going 4 innings against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field yesterday afternoon, allowing 4 runs on 8 hits and a walk. After the game, he was "optioned to the club's alternate site."
He had a 1.38 ERA in 13 innings Spring Training. But, as Billy Martin taught us, "It's an exhibition game, George, it doesn't mean anything!" In the regular season: 7 innings, 9.00 ERA.
After him, the Yankee pitching situation looked good. Justin Wilson pitched a hitless 5th, Jonathan Loaisiga a scoreless 6th and 7th, and Luis Cessa a perfect 8th. They faced 18 batters and got 12 outs, allowing no runs. Surely, that's a good sign.
But the Yankees were down 4-0 after 4 innings. The game was over. Because the Yankees, designed to pound opposing teams into submission, aren't hitting:
* 1st inning: Aaron Hicks singled with 2 out. Stranded.
* 2nd inning: Same thing, with Gary Sanchez.
* 3rd inning: DJ LeMahieu doubled with 1 out, and got to 3rd on a groundout. Hicks drew a walk. Cue the obligatory Giancarlo Stanton strikeout.
* 4th inning: Brett Gardner hit a ground-rule double with 1 out. Stranded.
* 5th inning: Aaron Judge singled with 2 out. But Jay Bruce, LeMahieu and Hicks all struck out swinging.
* 6th inning: The Yankees went down 1-2-3.
* 7th inning: Same thing.
* 8th inning: Cliche Alert: Walks can kill you, especially the leadoff variety. LeMahieu drew one. Cliche Alert: Brian Cashman has assembled a team of gutless wonders. Judge struck out, and Hicks grounded into an inning-ending double play.
* 9th inning: The Yankees went down 1-2-3.
Rays 4, Yankees 0. WP: Andrew Kittredge (2-0). No save. LP: German (0-2).
Read ye now the OPS+'s. Not batting averages, not on-base percentages, not slugging percentages, but (on-base + slugging) compared to the league as a whole, adjusted for ballpark effect, remembering that 100 = exactly average:
Brett Gardner 172
Gary Sanchez 171
Aaron Judge 170
DJ LeMahieu 158
So far, damn good, right? Read on:
Giancarlo Stanton 73
Clint Frazier 65
Gleyber Torres 58
Gio Urshela 54
Aaron Hicks 51
Jay Bruce 39 -- not a misprint: Thirty-nine.
Team as a whole: 98. Less than average.
The Yankees are 3-5. If they continue at this pace over 162 games, they will finish 60-102, the worst Yankee performance since 1912.
Cashman's strategy is failing. The "Baby Bombers" aren't getting the job done. This is Year 12.
Judge has been cleared to return following a muscle strain, and Urshela has been cleared to return after a COVID scare. But will that help?
The series concludes this afternoon. Jordan Montgomery starts against Michael Wacha.