Monday, July 03, 2006

What'd the 5 Fingers Say to the Face?

What a great victory. I was sitting at my desk at work, Gamedaying it, and just felt that the 4 runs the Mets scored in the 2nd inning wasn't going to hold up. I really felt in my bones that the Yankees would get at least 4 against Soler, and it was only a matter of how well the bullpen was going to string together 8+ innings of relief. Could they do it again, for the 2nd time in three days?


It wasn't as pretty as the Mussina/Hernandez affair from a pitching standpoint, but it sure was exciting. Fireworks were out a couple of days early. Can the A-Rod haters take a break for awhile and kiss his posterior while they're at it. You know who you are. When the year is over and the guy has 40 home runs and 120 RBIs, you'll probably take credit for it because your magical booing broke him out of his slump. Hooray for you. The man's like Rick James, bitch. He's a SupaFreak! Got that Paul DoLuca?

I had an interesting debate over at Cliff and Alex' Bronx Banter before and during the game. I was arguing that the Yankees don't absolutely need another bat to win. The gist of the debate was that the Yankees had gone flat over the last 26 games with only a league average 4.3 runs scored per game. I contended that every team goes through those stretches and that it's good pitching that will help turn that 4.3 into a decent record until the bats come alive and extend the winning record to a better margin. I may be wrong, maybe you all have an opinion, but I dug up the following numbers to support my theory.

The 2000 Yankees ended the season with an 87-74 record and won a weak AL East division. They scored 871 runs (5.4 per) and gave up 814 (5.1 per). That team went 13-13 in May, scoring 4.7 runs a game against 4.2 allowed. They went 10-15 in June with a whopping 6.2 runs per game against an equally whopping 6.1 allowed. Over the final 31 games, the 2000 Bombers went 13-18 with 4.1 runs scored against 5.9 runs allowed. The problem on that team was poor pitching. Even when the team was on fire, it couldn't win ballgames because of the pitching. You can get away with scoring less than 5 runs a game and win if you have the pitching. Let's look at the last 5 champions numbers. These teams have all won the title since the Yankees last pulled it off in 2000.

2005 Chicago White Sox (99-63)
741 scored(4.6) - 645 allowed(4.0)

2004 Boston Red Sox (98-64)
949 scored(5.9) - 768 allowed(4.7)

2003 Florida Marlins (91-71)
751 scored(4.6) - 692 allowed(4.3)

2002 Anaheim Angels (99-63)
851 scored(5.3) - 644 allowed(4.0)

2001 Arizona Diamondbacks (92-70)
818 scored(5.1) - 677 allowed(4.2)

As you can see, all of these teams held their opponents to less that 5 runs a game, with only the 2004 Red Sox allowing more than 4.3 a game. That team was the wild card, and painfully got to the Series by coming back from a 3-0 deficit against the Yanks in the ALCS. They worked some freakish late inning slugging magic to pull it off that year. The teams also averaged no less than 4.6 runs a game during their respective seasons. Let's see how those numbers stack up against the Yankees and Red Sox of 2006 to see how each team stacks up against the champs.

2006 Red Sox (50-29)
445 scored(5.63) - 377 allowed(4.8)

2006 Yankees (46-33)
444 scored(5.62) - 368 allowed(4.7)

Hmmmmm.....It seems that both of these teams are even. The Sox are 4 games up, but haven't performed better than the Yankees in terms of run differential. It's identical. How about the other AL teams with better records than the Yanks....

2006 Detroit Tigers (56-26)
431 scored(5.3) - 312 allowed(3.8)

2006 Chicago White Sox (53-28)
477 scored(5.9) - 376 allowed(4.6)

I'll also throw in the Blue Jays, who are breathing down our necks.

2006 Toronto Blue Jays (46-35)
442 scored(5.5) - 388 allowed(4.8)

You can decide if there's anything wrong with the offense or not. The current sample includes the good and the bad of the season for the Yankees. It includes the big offensive numbers we put up early and the struggling offensive days we've had lately. It also includes the Red Sox hot start, cool middle, and nuclear recent history. The numbers still come out the same. The only team among the 5 best squads in the AL that scores more than the Yanks is the White Sox. The runs allowed are almost identical among all these teams with the exception of the otherworldly Tigers who are bound to come back to earth just a little before the season is done.

We can add a bat. We can give up prospects to acquire a rental in the outfield to spell the sub-par Bernie or Melky. The thing is, we are scoring enough to hold our own with half a season left to play. If anything we can win more ballgames by reducing our runs allowed. That means pitching. Consider that we have Damon, Jeter, Giambi, A-Rod, Posada, Cano, and Phillips in the first 7 spots of our order. Each one of those guys is above average at his position with the stick. A few of those guys are MVP caliber bats. Adding a bat in the 8 or 9th position would certainly bump up our run production a couple tenths of a run.

We also throw out there Mussina and Wang, who have been very good, and Randy Johnson who is anybody's guess. The back end of the rotation is up for grabs with Chacon, Wright, and the Ghost of Carl Pavano regularly leaving ballgames in the 4th or 5th inning. The bullpen is throwing obscene innings, and I wouldn't be surprised to see Ramiro Mendoza make a return to the Bronx in the near future to take some turns. Octavio Dotel may also be back sometime in the not too distant future, so we will be deeper at that position without a move. Starters are hard to come by, and we most assuredly would have to give up Cano or Hughes in any deal for a good starter. Not worth it.

Where does that leave us? Here's my thoughts. If we can add an outfield bat for cash considerations and a mediocre minor leaguer, go for it. We've tried Terrence Long and Bubba Crosby, so there is a need for a little more reliable help. Giving up anything more than that is not smart, and I'd just as soon stick with the collection of excellent hitters we have, plus Bernie and Melky. If we can get back Dotel, and continue getting good innings out of Beam and Smith, problem solved in the pen. Last, getting a starter is going to prove very difficult. The best chance we have to do that is to wait until the trade deadline and skim a 4th or 5th starter off a bad team. Maybe Pittsburgh's Paul Maholm, for example. He's young(24), a lefty, low salary, and posts decent numbers despite struggling at times. Righties have hit him pretty good this year, but his 2.04 GO/AO ratio is encouraging. His walks and WHIP aren't pretty, but that's what might make him available. He's produced in the past, and is young enough to take a chance on. I don't know what it would take to acquire him, but I think we could negotiate a fair price that wouldn't hurt our precious top prospects. The key is, he may come cheap with a decent upside. If he doesn't work out, he can hang out in Columbus.

Just random thoughts on where we are at the mid-point of the season. Chien Ming Wang is up next against Cleveland. There can be only one. See you tomorrow. Go Yanks!


singlessss said...

Hey Mike,
I've been blogged about! My day in the sun!

Great comeback yesterday and hopefully the reappearance of the real ARod.

Your numbers are good and very telling. As you've shown, the Yanks, Sox and Jays are all really close in run differential.

However, you left out something. The Yankee numbers need to be broken in 2. Yanks w/ShefSui and Yanks without ShefSui. My guess is there is an 0.9 runs scored differential between 'those 2 teams'. The team we have for the next 2 months, and maybe the remainder of the year, is the Yanks without Shefsui, so those are the numbers to look at. Obviously, if we still had ShefSui, I wouldn't be clamoring for another bat.

Another factor to consider would be 1 run games and blowouts (winning by 6 runs or more). Blowouts artificially inflate a teams RS/RA differential, while one run games might more define timely/clutch hitting.

Maybe you could post Pre and Post ShefSui numbers, as well as blowouts and 1 run games. (You got nothing but time, right?).

I wouldn't let him hear me say this, but ARod can almost singlehandedly change the course of our season. If the guy who showed up yesterday is here to stay, I feel a lot better about our chances.

And I gotta say (as a New Englander thats watches just about every Sox game) this is the best and most balanced team the Sox have had in recent history. Because of their defense, this is not a team that will blow games as so many of the previous Sox teams did. These guys are for real, and we need to beat them... not just hope they lose. Last year, the Indians did a total choke and the Sox swooned in September. I don't think we should count on that this year.

Love your graphics. Just love 'em! Keep up the good work and I'll Banter you later.

Singledd said...

Oops... it is I, Singledd, somehow disguised as Singlessss

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