How Can This Team Possibly Still Be In First Place?

July 2, 2010 – 5:47 pm

Toronto 6, NYY 1. It seems like forever since this team actually played good baseball on a consistent basis. Seems like for every one game where they look like the defending World Series Champions, they stink it up for about five or more games. And this one was a perfect example of what’s been going on for over a month now. The starting pitching is the one steady component of this team, and A.J. Burnett reversed his personal bad run with an excellent start, throwing 6.2 innings of shutout ball. But alas, the offense was once again no where to be found. They are facing Brett Cecil, a career 4.88 ERA pitcher who had given up 16 earned runs in his last three starts, and they can only manage to score once in six innings? The Yankees had runners on first and second with no outs twice, and on another occasion had the bases loaded with no outs with their 3-4-5 hitters coming up — and yet could only plate one run with all those opportunities? They ended up going 0-for-8 with RISP. Over the last four games that makes them 2-for-25 with RISP, a 0.080 BA/RISP. That’s beyond disgusting.

But even for only scoring the one run, this game should still have been a win except that the bullpen (outside Mariano obviously) is even worse than the offense. Somehow Joba Chamberlain managed to walk a .229 hitter to put the tying run on base, and then gave up back-to-back hits to a .204 hitter and a .191 hitter. The pitch to Adam Lind was a fastball right down the middle of the plate, and the pitch to Aaron Hill was a hanging slider also right in the middle of the strike zone. Sheez, it’s like he’s back in little league. I like Joba and I really think he’s still got a good future, but right now he’s not even trying, and doesn’t even look interested. For Joba’s and the team’s sake, they really need to get him back to the minors to get him straightened out.

I can’t say the same, though, for Chan Ho Park. How do you give up a triple with the bases loaded to a .167 hitter? With the score only 2-1 and the middle of the order due up for the Yankees in the bottom of the 11th, the game is still winnable at that point. But not when all you have to bring in at that point is Park. The season is close to the halfway-point, and Chan Ho is still sporting a 6+ ERA. I don’t see how that’s going to turn around ever.

It really is incredible this team is still in first place — but that can’t possibly last unless they start playing a lot better ball than what they have over the last month or so. With the hitting, I don’t know that there’s much you can do except just hope and pray that very soon Tex and A-Rod and Posada and Granderson start hitting closer to where their career stats say they should be. But the bullpen is another matter — that needs to be blown up completely and a whole new cast of characters brought in. Box Score | FanGraphs Game Graph | PitchFX Game Tool

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