With a seemingly effortless 4-game sweep of the Mets, the Yankees had the opportunity to put a dent in their 4-game deficit at Fenway. Instead, Yankee fans wake up Monday morning 5 games back after another frustrating weekend of baseball.
Manager Joe Girardi expressed his thoughts about the team’s missed opportunities to gain ground on the Red Sox: “We probably had a chance to win 4 of the 6 and we end up winning 2 of the 6, and that’s frustrating.”
As enigmatic as this team has been the entire 2017 season, a few areas of their game have actually remained consistent, for better or worse.
Hitting with runners in scoring position
Another week, another brutal showing for the Yankees with runners in scoring position.
If you thought that they’d improve after an 11 for 51 (.216) with RISP last week, you were sadly mistaken. Despite going a respectable 5-2 on the week, the Yankees went 10 for 53 (.189) with RISP.
The numbers are even worse over the past 2 series against Boston: 6 for 43 (.140) with RISP.
Ranking a lowly 28th with RISP in MLB, they leave 3.72 guys in scoring position per game. Even with the RISP problem plaguing the offense, they are still somehow 5th in run differential (+111), 5th in OPS (.775), and 4th in RBIs per game (4.89).
Surprisingly the sluggish offensive output hasn’t even been the biggest chink in the Yankees armor.
22 blown saves
Perhaps the biggest head-scratcher of them all is the bullpen. Amazingly enough, they are 4th in ERA (3.34), 2nd in K/9 (10.61), and 1st in WAR (7.1). Statistically, they are one of the best pens in the game, yet they are tied for the league lead in blown saves. 22 blown saves is already 8 more than their total in 2016, and there’s still over a month of baseball to be played.
Different members of the Yankee pen have failed to close the door down all year. However, in the 2nd half alone there’s one man in particular holding the rest back.
Chad Green: 19.0IP, 33Ks, 2.84ERA
Adam Warren: 17.2IP, 16Ks, 2.04ERA
David Robertson: 16.0IP, 24Ks, 1.13ERA
Tommy Kahnle: 12.1IP, 15Ks, 4.38ERA
Dellin Betances: 18.2IP, 28Ks, 0.48ERA
Aroldis Chapman: 16.1IP, 18Ks, 4.96ERA
Yankee starters vs Chris Sale this year (4 starts)
6.0IP, 2ER, 4Ks
7.0IP, 1ER, 6Ks
5.1IP, 1ER, 4Ks
9.0IP, 0ER, 3Ks
— The BP Show (@YankeesPodcast) August 20, 2017
Their $86M man let them down again this weekend, so much so that Girardi finally demoted him out of the closer role.
At the start of the 2016 season, his contact percentage was just 65%. Since then, he’s seen an 11% increase in contact against him. His slider, which over the course of his career batters have hit .119 off of, are hitting .258 against in 2017.
Embed from Getty Images
To make matters worse for Chapman, have a look at his numbers vs the Red Sox this season: 6.1IP, 7K, 10BB, 9.95ERA
Yankee starters vs. Chris Sale
Yes, Chris Sale has the lowest ERA of any pitcher ever against the Yankees (1.51). However, the team could easily be 4-0 against him with the way Yankee starters have performed when opposing him.
4/27 – Tanaka: 9.0IP, 0ER, 3Ks
7/15 – Severino: 7.0IP, 1ER, 6Ks
8/13 – Montgomery: 5.1IP, 1ER, 4Ks
8/19 – Sabathia: 6.0IP, 2ER, 4Ks
The Red Sox record with Chris Sale on the bump is just 1-3 vs the Yankees, but an amazing 17-4 against the rest of the league.
This makes it all the more frustrating that the team can go out and beat the Cy Young favorite, but fail to come out on top against guys like Porcello and Pomeranz.
The #Yankees weren’t able to carry the momentum of a 4-game sweep up to Boston. We discuss what went wrong📲 https://t.co/Rlyd8IGjnq pic.twitter.com/KHid6ylRcs
— The BP Show (@YankeesPodcast) August 21, 2017
It would be difficult to find a 3 hitter on any other team in baseball that is as invisible as Aaron Judge is right now. On a 37-game strikeout streak, the Yankee slugger feels like he’s letting the team down.
“I’m not getting the job done. I want to be there. I’m the 3 hitter, the middle of the order. I’ve got to be that guy for the team,” he told MLB reporter Bryan Hoch after Sunday’s 5-1 loss.
Since coming back from the All-star break, it’s been a challenge for Judge to get back into a rhythm. He’s just 21 for 124 (.169) with 2 2Bs, 7HRs, and 14RBI thus far in the 2nd half. His clutch stats also show that he’s not the guy you want up in a big situation with the game on the line.
2 outs, RISP: 11 for 49 (.224) with 1 2B, 5HR, 18RBI
Late & close: 17 for 71 (.239) with 3HR, 8RBI
High leverage: 20 for 81 (.247) with 1 2B, 7HR, 25RBI
While many believe he’s getting thrown more junk and chasing that slider down, Judge has actually seen an increase in fastballs since the beginning of July. On July 3 he was seeing 32.4% fastballs, and as of yesterday he is seeing 43.2%. Despite seeing more fastballs, his hard contact percentage has actually dipped 2% over that same span.
Perhaps he just can’t keep up with the heat.
vs Power pitching in 2017: 24 for 122 (.197/.342/.402) 4 2Bs, 7HR, 17RBI