Sunday, April 11, 2021

How's That Strategy Workin' For Ya, Brian Cashman?

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.

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