Saturday, August 3, 2013

The Nightmare That Is 2013

No pictures this time, as I'm in no mood for humor.

I got home from work last night at around 10:45 pm. My girlfriend had dinner waiting for me, and then mentioned that the Yankee game was on... although it had started about a half hour ago. Normally I'd turn the game on right away, but this time I responded by saying "nah, I'd rather not watch them tonight."

I don't think I've been this down about the Yankees since 1992, when they won only 78 games and finished in 4th place in the AL East. Do you know who the best hitter on that team was? No, not Don Mattingly, who hit .288/.327/.416. But Danny Tartabull, who put up a triple-slash of .266/.409/.489. To take that further, Baseball Reference says that the Yankees top player that year was Melido Perez, whose record was 13-16. Oh, and Perez had the most wins out of all Yankee pitchers, as Scott Sanderson was the only other pitcher to record double-digit wins (12).

For over 20 years I, and many other Yankee fans, have glued myself in front of the television to see as many games as possible. But here I am on August 3rd, and I'm not the least bit upset over the fact I'm going to miss tonight's game due to being at work.

But why is that? Let me see...

The 2013 Bombers are currently 56-52, 8.5 games out of first place in the AL East, and 4 games away from the second Wild Card berth. Their run differential is -11, a 108 run difference from the 1st place Boston Red Sox.

By the way, the fact that Boston currently has the most wins in the American League doesn't help things one bit.

And it's not as if the Yanks are playing well, either. They have scored only 414 runs this season, better than only the Houston Astros and Chicago White Sox. That is thanks to having the third lowest on-base percentage, second lowest batting average, and lowest slugging percentage in the league. Not to mention having hit the second lowest amount of home runs, something that Yankee teams have been pretty darn good at doing for years before.

Injuries have been out of control in 2013. Sixteen players have spent time on the disabled list, some of them going on the DL more than once. Here's the list...

  • Curtis Granderson has been hit by pitches that broke bones twice this season, missing a total of 101 games.
  • Derek Jeter finally returned from rehabbing his broken ankle (suffered in the 2012 postseason), but went right back on the DL with a quad strain. He's missed 96 games.
  • Mark Teixeira's wrist tendon sheath has caused him to hit the DL a couple of times, making him miss all but 15 games.
  • The man that was signed to replace Alex Rodriguez at third base, Kevin Youkilis, has missed 78 games due to lower back problems. Not a surprise seeing his injury history, but it has hurt quite a bit since his replacements have done even less than he did.
  • Eduardo Nunez, who was supposed to be on the bench this season, has actually been an important player with Derek Jeter being out most of the season. But Nunez has had issues with his left arm, right wrist, and his ribcage, leading to 59 missed games.
  • Breakout player Francisco Cervelli, who has hit .269/.377/.500 in 2013, has missed 89 games so far this season, and could miss the rest of the year due to his involvement with Biogenesis. How have his replacements done? Don't ask.
  • Michael Pineda, who could have been the second pitcher in a strong 1-2 punch with CC Sabathia, has yet to appear in a single Yankee game while having and recovering from shoulder surgery.
  • That leaves Jayson Nix, Travis Hafner, Luis Cruz, Zoilo Almonte, Andy Pettitte, Ivan Nova, Joba Chamberlain, and Phil Hughes, as players that spent time on the DL.
You may notice one name absent from that list of injured players... Alex Rodriguez.

ARod has not only been out all season while recovering from hip surgery, but he may not play another game in pinstripes until 2015. He is not only accused of having used performance enhancing drugs, which he allegedly got from Biogenesis, but he also is being accused of getting in the way of MLB's investigation into the Biogenesis matter. The evidence that Bud Selig says he has could even banish Rodriguez from MLB entirely.

A suspension that runs through the 2014 season, let alone for life, could be huge for the team in terms of getting under the Luxury Tax threshold, while at the same time putting a competitive team on the field. But the on-field product has suffered since ARod, while not being the MVP-caliber player he was earlier in his career, would provide a boost to a faltering lineup.

A few more reasons why 2013 has not been good to Yankee fans...

  • Four Yankee regulars have an on-base percentage under .300... David Adams (.263), Lyle Overbay (.299), Jayson Nix (.295), and Vernon Wells (.283). Nix and Wells have seen their roles on the team greatly reduced, but the damage has been done.
  • Outside of Robinson Cano's batting average of .293, no Yankee has a BA at or above .280.
  • Other than David Phelps and his ERA of 5.01, CC Sabathia... the "ace" of the rotation... has the highest ERA among all pitchers to have started at least one game this season (4.78).
And finally, do you remember all the talk about 5 years ago about the "Big 3" Yankee prospects? It was a big blow to some prospect huggers out there when one of them, Ian Kennedy, was traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks as part of the three-team deal that got the Yankees Curtis Granderson. Well, the other two parts of the "Big 3" are likely on their way out of New York too. 

Phil Hughes has show signs of brilliance this season, but they have come in between giving up home run after home run. Philthy would probably be a really good pitcher at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, Marlins Park in Miami, AT&T Park in San Francisco, or a number of other pitcher-friendly stadiums. But homer friendly Yankee Stadium just does not fit for him. Which could lead to him going elsewhere when he hits free agency after this season.

By the way, Brian Cashman reportedly put Hughes on the trading block, but there wasn't a single team interested. That also tells you something.

And then there's Joba Chamberlain. It's been quite a fall from grace for Joba, who at one time was getting compared to guys like Roger Clemens due to his fastball and strikeout ability. But here we sit at the beginning of August in 2013, and there's talk of the Yankees releasing Chamberlain. 

Joba is walking nearly twice as many batters per 9 innings as he did over the previous three seasons, while his strikeout rate has remained the same. His ERA of 5.13 and WHIP of 1.709 are both career highs. Furthermore, he's giving up more home runs than he ever has. I'm sure some team would give him a shot in their bullpen should he become available through waivers, but I know that the vast majority of Yankee fans would feel good knowing #62 will not be coming out of the bullpen again.

Finally, I didn't mention the fact that Mariano Rivera is going to retire at the end of the year, as could Andy Pettitte. While the actual ace of the pitching staff, Hiroki Kuroda, has said a number of times that he wants to end his playing days in Japan, meaning he could be gone too. 

This season has been a nightmare, and we're still couple of months away from being able to wake up from it.

1 comment:

  1. I'm feelin the exact same way. All I'm hoping for is that they finish the year with at least 82 wins, but I'm not even sure that'll happen.


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