I don't know how many other people have noticed it, but there's been an overabundance of double plays hit into by Yankee batters over the last week. Including last night's game, the Yankees have hit into 12 double plays over their last 8 games. 8 of those GIDPs have come in the past 3 games, and 5 have come in the past 2, including a pair off the bat of Derek Jeter on Monday night and consecutive inning-ending ones in the 8th and 9th last night by Robinson Cano and Curtis Granderson.
For my money, there aren't many things more frustrating in baseball than watching your team hit into a double play. The only thing worse might be taking a called 3rd strike with RISP. This recent spike in GIDPs from the Yankees has been frustrating enough as it is, and it's made even more frustrating when you consider the sources. Of the 12 double plays in the past week, all of them have been hit into by the key members of the lineup:
I can live with the lesser hitters on the team falling victim to the old GIDP every now and then. But to have the major table setters and run producers in the lineup be the only culprits is a tough pill to swallow. Not only are these guys not doing the job they're in the lineup to do, they're taking more runners off the bases so that the guy hitting behind them can't do the job either.
The Yanks are middle of the pack in MLB in GB rate this season (45.4%, tied for 13th), so it's not like this is a byproduct of them beating the ball into the ground more. It's likely just attributable to a bout of small sample size bad luck. But with the rotation still not in sync and the bullpen battling a plague of health problems, the offense needs to produce now more than ever. It's hard to do that when you're continually putting 2 outs on the scoreboard with 1 swing.
CC Sabathia was riding an incredible hot streak and the Yankees had already won a game pitched by Wei-Yin Chen once this season. On paper, this seemed like a slam dunk win for the Yanks, but as the saying goes, that's why they play the game.
- CC worked almost effortlessly through a 10-pitch 1st inning, and so it didn't look like a big deal when he hung a sinker to Adam Jones for a solo HR in the 2nd. But that pitch was a clear indication that it was not CC's night.
- For whatever reason, CC just didn't have it last night. He had trouble throwing his sinker and slider for strikes on a consistent basis, and never really established full command of his fastball. It all added up to a very un-CC-like 8 hits, 4 walks, and 4 ER allowed in 6 innings.
- Also for unknown reasons, the Yankee offense was lifeless against Chen. While CC struggled, Chen cruised through his 6 innings on just 80 pitches, allowing only 3 baserunners and 0 runs. The 16 swinging strikes suggest that Chen was really good, but that still doesn't excuse the no-show from the lineup.
- Just when things really started to look bleak, Curtis Granderson stepped in with 2 outs in the 7th and for the 13th time this season hit the pitch that was thrown to him over the outfield wall. It went to left field, and barely made it over the wall, but it still counted. Robinson Cano was on 2nd after leading off with a double and the lead was down to 4-2.
- In a move that spoke both to how poorly CC was pitching and how taxed the healthy members of the bullpen are, Joe opted to go to Freddy Garcia in the bottom of the 7th. Garcia let the leadoff hitter get on and eventually score a run on a stolen base, groundout advance, and a passed ball.
- 2 walks to start the 8th had the Yankee offense in business again, but a groundout by Swish and a killer 2nd-pitch GIDP by Cano on a hittable pitch ended the threat and effectively ended the Yankees' night. They went down quickly and on another GIDP to end the game in the 9th.
- Maybe it was the news of the latest major injury to a key player finally being enough to affect the team's psyche, because the Yankees didn't play with much energy last night. On a baseball level it's frustrating, but on a personal level it's understandable. Hopefully they can shake it off tonight.