Today is one of those blogs in which the topics may seem unrelated, and may not be worthy of 1,000 words of analyzation each (yet), but they’re still noteworthy. I now come to you, out of left field…
As you know I’ve been all over Joe “Joey Bullpen” Girardi about his bullpen (mis) management this season. Specifically, he’s proclivity to use the 10th, 11th and 12th pitchers on the staff in important situations, yet use big, proven guns in mop up duty. So I won’t re-hash everything, but I will point out…
On Saturday, Joey Bullpen put Betances into a game where the Yankees led by 4 runs. On Monday, Betances was inserted into another game in which the Yankees led by 4. Last night, Betances gave up two runs and blew a save.
I don’t know if the combined 28 pitches he threw on Saturday and Monday had an effect on his performance last night, but it certainly couldn’t have helped. And more importantly, as noted before, his appearances in those games were completely unnecessary. I can count on one hand the number of relievers who have been better than Betances since he entered the league and Joey Bullpen still insists on using him when a league average reliever would get you the same result.
Monday was the 12th time this season in which Betances was used in a game where the Yankees either led or trailed by 4 or more runs. Add another 8 appearances where the Yankees led by three runs and that makes over one third of his appearances this season in mop up situations.
Why does this matter? Because it means he’s less likely to be available for more than one inning when the Yankees need a big gun for more than one inning. Remember that stretch earlier this season on the west coast where the Yankees were in games that were either tied or one run either way all week and Betances never appeared? Now we know why – because he was being saved for mop up duty.
Pedroia: C’mon, man…
I don’t really want to get into what happened with the sign stealing fiasco, but I did want to point out one thing…
According to multiple reports, Dustin Pedroia was involved. Pedroia is the same guy who looked sternly down at his peers from his pedestal during A-Rod’s issues with MLB and A-Rod’s steroid suspension. Steroids were cheating, he had no respect, yada, yada…of course, Pedroia didn’t volunteer to return the World Series ring he won with Manny Ramirez as a teammate. And apparently drugs make one morally bankrupt, but stealing signs because, let’s be honest – your team can’t hit – is OK apparently.
Two weeks ago today, I wrote that Didi’s fine season can be attributed to a certain degree, to good fortune. Since then, his Batting Average has been .120, his On Base Percentage .214 and his Slugging Percentage .220. I know, I know, two weeks is a blink in baseball terms. But I stand by my overall point that Didi isn’t the guy who lit up American League pitchers from mid-July to mid-August. I like Didi – he’s a good player. Yankee fans just shouldn’t get too excited: When you swing at pitches outside the zone with the frequency he does and you make weak contact as often as he does, you’re definitely slump prone.
I was doing research for something else when I came across this:
Jason Giambi, seven seasons as a Yankee: OBP .404, SLG .521, OPS+ 143 and averaged 37 Home Runs in the 5 seasons in which he played the full season. Also remember he hit TWO homers off Pedro Martinez in the 2003 game 7 ALCS win (the Boone game). That, along with Mike Mussina’s relief performance, kept the Yankees in the game, setting up the late night heroics. Despite being a monster offensive player as a Yankee and a clutch one at that, I think he’s tenure with the Yanks is generally viewed somewhere between luke-warmly and a bust.
I may come back to this: I’ve always thought Robinson Cano was the most underrated Yankee. It might be Giambi.
Thanks to Baseball Reference and “Ahead of the Curve” by Brian Kenny for the numbers.