Thursday, August 10, 2006

Tempered Frustration

The last game of the Yanks/Chisox series was a marathon of frustration. The bulletin board over at Bronx Banter was high tension and there was very little to get excited about throughout the grueling "suck-a-thon" that were Yankee at bats. The Bombers offense is in very good shape. They made Javy Vasquez throw 94 pitches through 4 innings and 100+ through 5. The problem was not the individual at bats as much as the collective work that they produced.

You would figure that the Yankees would have managed more than 2 runs against Vasquez on 6 hits and 6 walks over 5 innings, but it wasn't to be. The Bombers ended up stranding 24 runners in a very frustrating day of ups and downs. A-Rod was putrid at the plate. Posada continues his horrendous batting since July 24th, now 0 for his last 16, and 8 for his last 44 (.182) going back to the start of the Rangers series. In that time his line is .182/.280/.364 over 12 games. Despite his home run today, Giambi left as many base runners as A-Rod, striking out in a couple of huge spots, and looking bad doing it. Since his hot 11 home run June, Giambi is hitting .208/.359+/.500 for an OPS of around .859, which isn't awful, but isn't Giambi either. I put the "+" next to his OBP because he's been hit by a few pitches and I didn't feel like counting them when figuring the numbers.

All that having been said, let's take a look at the numbers in the Chicago series to gain a little perspective on where we're at today (3 games up on the Red Sox - 4 in the loss).

Yankees Bats
.282/.354/.539 (.893 team OPS)
16 runs on 7 doubles, 1 triple, 7 home runs
7/7 in stolen bases

White Sox Bats
.262/.339/.447 (.786 team OPS)
17 runs on 7 doubles and 4 home runs
1/5 stolen bases

Yankee Starters
17 IP
4.76 ERA
1.353 WHIP
5 walks, 12 strikeouts

White Sox Starters
18 IP
5.50 ERA
1.667 WHIP
8 walks, 19 strikeouts

Yankees Pen
10.1 IP
5.23 ERA
1.355 WHIP
5 walks, 12 strikeouts

White Sox Pen
11 IP
2.45 ERA
1.364 WHIP
4 walks, 10 strikeouts

The thing that looks positive to me is that our offense was clearly better than theirs. Our starters were more effective. The pen looks worse, but eliminating Farnsworth's meltdown in our one win makes the pen's pitching line look this way:

9.2 IP
1.86 ERA
1.035 WHIP
4 walks, 10 strikeouts

The turning point of the entire series was Konerko's homer against Mo. If he had nailed the save down we'd have won the series 2 games to 1 and the numbers would look even more lopsided for the Yanks. Take away a home run, an earned run, and points off average, OBP, and SLG from one at bat and the Yanks dominated the Sox. That's baseball. Let's try turning Konerko's at bat in the 9th into an out and assume Mariano got the save 1-2-3. Yanks win the series 2-1.

White Sox Bats
.232/.309/.394 (.703 team OPS)

Yankees Pen
9 IP
4.00 ERA (Farnsworth)
1.000 WHIP
4 walks, 9 strikeouts

That's how pivotal the Konerko home run was against Mo. You win the game, eliminate Proctor's meltdown, and dominate the White Sox. So, Yankee fans, don't fret. The Royals swept the Red Sox, the Yanks dropped a couple of heartbreakers against the defending world champions, but we didn't play all that poorly. What goes around, comes around. We're saving the big stuff for the Red Sox. See you tomorrow. Go Yanks.

(Update available at Matsuzaka Watch)