Thursday, April 4, 2013

Overreacting To Two Games

"I'm looking at the sky, and it doesn't seem to be falling quite yet."

I haven't exactly been pleased with what I saw in the first two games. A run differential of -9 is not easy on the eyes, neither is a team triple-slash of .221/.293/.324. Or how about a team ERA of 7.50! Yikes!

That doesn't mean you can disregard the fact that we're only two games into the season, though. We still have almost 99% of the season to play, so it's a little early for all the Chicken Little impersonators to pop up. If these two games happened in the middle of June then nobody would think anything of it. But since it's the first two games, and everybody is watching intently after an always-long offseason, the negatives get blown way out of proportion.

If you've spent any time on Twitter during the first two games you'd think the Yankees' season was already over with. Here are some reasons why I'm not freaking out like some...

  • Are you really worried about the Yankees top two pitchers in the rotation? After all, CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda combined for 6.1 innings, and gave up 6 runs on 12 hits. Then I guess Phillies fans should be concerned about their top two starters, Cole Hamels and Roy Halladay, seeing as how they combined for 8.1 innings, giving up 10 runs on 13 hits. To be fair, Phillie fans do have reason to worry about Halladay. Anyway...
  • The Baltimore Orioles, whose team wRC+ was a below-average 96 in 2012, currently own a team wRC+ of 180. Going by the logic of some "fans", the Orioles are going to destroy the league with their bats this season. 
  • Tampa Bay has a run differential of -2, meaning their incredible pitching staff has given up more runs than they've scored. In Game 1 Rays reliever Jake McGee, who had an ERA of 1.95 last season, gave up 5 runs while only getting two outs. In Game 2 starter Jeremy Hellickson gave up 5 runs and 8 hits in 6.1 innings. Not to mention that their closer, Fernando Rodney, had a blown save thanks to giving up a lead-off walk and double. Should we change our opinions of the Rays pitching?
  • In 2009 the Yankees lost their first two games to the Baltimore Orioles. In those two games their 3-4-5 hitters went a combined 4-26, while their starters for those two games (CC Sabathia and Chien-Ming Wang) combined to go 8 innings, giving up 13 earned runs on 17 hits and 8 walks, while striking out nobody. That team, as you may recall, went on to win the World Series.
  • The Toronto Blue Jays, who many picked to win the American League East this season, are also currently 0-2. What's more is that the Jays have only scored 3 runs this season, while Jose Reyes and Edwin Encarnacion (their lead-off and clean-up hitters) have combined to go 2-14 with 0 extra-base hits. And the reigning National League Cy Young winner and current Toronto ace, RA Dickey, gave up 5 hits while walking 4 in his 6 innings of work. 
  • The Yankees actually hit the ball well off of Clay Buchholz, but the balls weren't dropping for base hits. 23% of the balls put into play off of Clay were line drives (much better than Clay's career LD% of 18%), and the Yankees batting average on balls in play (BABIP) in that game was a lowly .238. So it's not "going out on a limb" to say the offense got a little unlucky in Game 2.
  • Seeing Travis Hafner and Vernon Wells hit a home run in last night's game was great, as they are two players that are coming into this season as questions marks (they are also batting .333 and .429, respectively). Another guy with question marks in the Yankee lineup, Kevin Youkilis, is hitting .375 after batting .280 in Spring Training. The guy that's supposed to carry the offense this year, Robinson Cano, has two strikeouts and only a single in 8 at bats.
  • And the biggest thing to keep in mind is that the team is without four of their nine "true" starters. Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira, and Alex Rodriguez combined for a fWAR of 10 last season, and are currently being replaced by four men (Eduardo Nunez, Vernon Wells, Lyle Overbay, and Kevin Youkilis) who last year combined for a fWAR of 1.9.
So you'll have to forgive me if I don't jump on the "the sky is falling" bandwagon right now.

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)