More .500 Ball

August 24, 2010 – 1:06 pm

Toronto 3, NYY 2. Given that the Yankees had three bench players in the starting lineup, and the starting pitcher was making his first ever MLB start, you pretty much couldn’t have much expectations of a win. Although going up against Brandon Morrow, you never can tell. In three previous starts against Morrow, the Yankees roughed him up twice, but got shut down by him once. But Morrow was very sharp in this one, and so a very nice debut by Ivan Nova was wasted, at least as far as the outcome of the game went. But Nova certainly pitched well enough to give the Yankees one more option in dealing with a precarious starting rotation. Hopefully we’ll get another chance soon to see if he’s as good as he looked in this one.

So the Yankees once again lost the first game of a series. That’s become a rather disturbing trend of late, as they have now lost the series opener in seven of their last eight series. Nothing like continually putting yourself in a hole. Seems like Girardi manages series “backwards”, often sending out a below-average lineup in the opener. If memory serves (and it probably doesn’t all that well!), Joe Torre put a lot more emphasis on winning the first game of a series, and then only after winning the first two games of a series would he go with a “house money” lineup, resting players only when the series win had been cinched. Girardi, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to put much emphasis on that first game. If you end up winning series, then there’s nothing wrong with that strategy. But the problem right now is that over the last eight series the Yankees are playing .500 ball. And that ain’t going to cut it down the stretch run. They need to get back to playing .600+ ball, and seems to me a good way to get there is to start winning the first games of series, and not having to continually play catch-up. Box Score | FanGraphs Game Graph | PitchFX Game Tool

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