Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Morning Analogy Comes Full Circle

The first 7 innings weren't pretty.  Lots of untimely 4s, not getting 1s when they needed them, and more than a few cases of the Sorry! card being pulled when things started looking up.  But then the Yanks got a few men into Home in the 8th and in the 9th C-Grand drew a 2 with his clutch RBI single, stole second, and got the backwards 4 that he and the team needed in the form of Teix's walk-off RBI single.  There were no homers, nothing for the MSM to squawk about, just good, solid baseball when it mattered the most.

Hey, Toronto!

I Wish I Was As Positive As Nick Swisher

(We need this guy back again.)

There's no other way to say it than to just state facts and say that Nick Swisher has sucked the big one so far this year.  His wOBA currently sits at .291, he's hitting .171/.296/.220 with RISP, and his OPS of .633 is actually lower than the Jorge/Jeter standard of sucktitude right now.  And while he hasn't been selfish enough to flat out refuse to play when demoted in the lineup, he has been benched for the last 2 games for Chris Dickerson.  If I were doing that poorly at my job that my manager asked me to not come into to work, to stay at home while they brought in a college intern to handle my responsibilities, I'd be looking at life through the haze of a case of Miller Lite right now.  But not Swish.  The dude is just too damn positive for words.

“It kind of seems like when you’re struggling, it seems like a lot of people have opinions on what you should do and what you shouldn’t do.  But I know my guy’s K-Long, and he’s going to tell me everything I need to do. I know if I listen to him and do the things he tells me, I’ll be right back where I need to be...

Whether I get to the same numbers I did last year, I’m going to bust my ass to get back there, and more.  That’s kind of my philosophy all the time. Sometimes you run into rough patches, and you learn a lot about yourself. I’m going to keep grinding, keep fighting, make sure I get weights in, make sure I’m getting my extra hitting in, doing all the things I have to to make myself better.” (quotes via LoHud)

And that right there is why I can't hate on Swish for being so terrible this year, as much as I'd like to.  He doesn't make excuses, he doesn't feel sorry for himself, and he doesn't spit the same tired old cliches back at you that Jeter would if he were the one struggling.  He stays positive, puts his work in, and waits for his chance to redeem himself.  And he still never takes a play off when he is in the lineup.  Dude is out there giving it 100% every day.  Good for you, Swish.  Hopefully we see you back in the lineup tonight and hopefully you get a few hits to start getting back in a groove.  For the sake of your 2012 option, you better.

George Willis Joins The AB4AR "SPST" Club

Well here's some good news for the dopes at ESPNNY.  They're getting a new member of their little club, yay!  This morning in The Post, George Willis all but officially declared Bartolo Colon's comeback over based on last night's bad 6th inning.  Read the whole thing if you want, but be advised- Make sure you don't have any coffee in your mouth when you do, otherwise it's going to end up all over your monitor and keyboard when you see some of this astounding stupidity.

"On a day when Bartolo Colon tired to continue his Cinderella story as the Yankees' surprise of the season... "

I'm going to come right out and pick nits here.  Bartolo Colon is not a "Cinderella" story. Cinderella was a young, unappreciated chick who never got her opportunity to shine and show what she could do. Players who fall into a "Cinderella story" category would be similar in background to that.  Colon is a veteran athlete who has had heaps of success in the past over his career, has been broken down by injuries, and has now experienced a revival later in his career thanks to a medical procedure.   There's nothing Cinderella about him.  If you're going to be cliche about the situation, at least get your Disney princess references right.

"Colon's revival took a nosedive last night when he gave up five runs in the sixth inning as the Blue Jays claimed a 7-3 win over the Yankees in the first of their three-game series at the Stadium."

That's right, a nosedive.  Because if there is anything that baseball has taught us over the years, it's that one bad inning is the end of a pitcher's career.  And if there are 2 things that baseball has taught us, it's that we should not discuss how well Colon was pitching in the preceding 5 innings last night or how stellar his overall body of work has been this season.  The only thing that matters is the one bad inning.

/looks up Colon's FanGraphs page, sees current 2.93 xFIP, poops in envelope to send to Willis

"Until the sixth inning, Colon was a walking advertisement for Liriano and his fellow physicians... "

But after the sixth inning?  Walking advertisement for how stupid the Yankees were for even considering signing him in the first place.  Guy is a piece of trash.  "Get freakin' Colon outta heeah!"

/typical NY stereotype voice calling into WFAN 

"But it all went wrong in the sixth, beginning with a lead-off double to right-field by Corey Patterson."

And the matter was made worse by Joe Girardi's decision to intentionally walk Juan Rivera later in the inning.  The same Juan Rivera who currently rocks a .228/.319/.331 tripleslash.  The call to put another potential run on base by walking arguably the worst hitter on the other team has nothing to do with Colon's bad inning.  Nothing at all.  The glass slipper just fell off and now he's turned back into a pumpkin.

You can hang the unintentional 4-pitch walk to Thames on Colon, and then following meatball for the bases clearing double wasn't good.  But don't sweep the fact that his manager made another bad call to put more runners on base under the rug.

"Colon's line was brutal: seven hits and six earned runs in six innings."

So brutal.  No pitcher in the history of the game has ever put up a line that bad.  And it's even worse because (looks around and whispers) he's OOOOOOOOLD.

For the record, Yankee starting pitchers have accumulated a total of 4 outings where they threw fewer than 7 innings and allowed more than 6 earned runs this season.  CC has 1, A.J. has 1, Phil Hughes has 1 (plus 2 more where he gave up 5+ ER in < 5 IP), and Colon has 1.  And Ivan Nova has thrown a few stinkers early too.  It happens.

"Maybe this subpar performance will quiet the growing commotion about the treatment Colon received for his shoulder."

Seriously, what commotion?  The story came out 2 weeks ago, it was a story for about a day and a half and it's been a dead issue since then.

"Still, Colon's performances are being watched by all of baseball wanting to know how a veteran pitcher, who was 3-6 with a 4.19 ERA the last time he pitched in 2009 and hasn't appeared in more than 10 games since 2005, could pitch like he did when he won the AL Cy Young in 2005 with the Angels."

Ummmm, they still haven't figured out how he's been able to do this?  Maybe because he received stem cell injections into his shoulder to try to revive it and that increased shoulder strength has allowed him to regain the form he had earlier in his career?  I thought that was made relatively clear already.  And why would/should anybody be shocked that a guy who has had great stuff and has been an All Star and Cy Young winner in the past could pitch well when he's healthy?  That seems like a no-brainer to me.

"If everything checks out clean, this stem-cell treatment could be the biggest thing for baseball since Tommy John surgery. Colon will give every pitcher with a sore shoulder and an aging birth certificate hope."

Bartolo Colon: Symbol of Hope for the unwashed, sore-shouldered masses.  He's like the Jesus Christ of aging pitchers.

And what the hell is an aging birth certificate?  That term doesn't make any sense to me.  Just call them old.

"But let's not call it a miracle cure just yet. Not after last night."

Let's not call it a miracle cure at all because it wasn't a miracle.  It was a medical procedure that has been tested, evaluated, and experimented with multiple times across the medical field.

And even if it was a miracle, last night's one bad inning would do nothing to lessen the miracle.  The guy had a bad inning.  He made a few bad pitches and it cost him.  But that doesn't take away from what he's done this year for the Yankees.  He's pitching to a 3.77/3.60/2.93 ERA/FIP/xFIP tripleslash with 8.79 K/9 and a 1.07 WHIP.  He has already been worth way more than the 900 grand the Yankees signed him for and has made Brian Cashman look like a genius for making that deal.  One bad inning doesn't change that, nor does one bad outing.

It's obvious George Willis needed to fill space, had nothing to write about, and so he grasped at the one straw he could.  Unfortunately for him, that straw wasn't worth grasping and unfortunately for him, I read his story today.  Shut the hell up, George Willis.  Leave the doom and gloom to the idiots who call into Joe & Evan and Wallace Matthews.

A Perfect Comparison For The Yankees Right Now

(No, that's not the cover of Joe's bullpen binder.)

Everybody remembers playing the board game "Sorry!" as a kid, right?  Did anybody else get as frustrated as I did trying to play that?  It seemed like a game of strategy and planning, where if you made the right calls here or there you could win easily.  But it basically came down to a game of random luck because of the cards you had to draw.  Sure, you could try to move a piece around quickly after drawing the 2 and then an 11 on your draw again, but then you could get caught up with a 3, a 1, and the dreaded 4 (which you had to move backwards) on your next 3 draws.  You could try to leave a piece right on your start area after taking it out and hope to get the 4 to move back and set yourself up to get into the safety zone, but then the 4 would never come.  Everybody else would get the damn things and eventually you would have no choice but to start moving the piece around the board because you were out of options.  And even when everything looked like it was falling your way, you had 3 pieces in Home and the 4th just outside the Safety Zone, you would get screwed on a draw where you drew too high to move the piece in and sure enough, the next player drew a goddamn "Sorry!" card and kicked your ass back to start.

That's kinda what the Yankees are right now; a game of "Sorry!"  They look like they have all the pieces in place and when things are going their way they look great.  But then they hit a rough patch of bad cards (failure to get hits with RISP, bullpen blowing leads, errors in the field) and suddenly they're losing games that they should have won.  They get a killer 2/12 combo to move a piece way out around the board (big 1st inning), and then slowly move the piece all the way around because of bad draws (GIDPs, pop ups on the infield by Teix, Cano swinging at the first pitch).  And then sometimes out of nowhere, they get 4 or 5 good draws in a row and the game is over before you know what happened (8th inning against the Mets on Sunday).  Whatever the situation is, it's been a frustrating series of inconsistencies, bad luck, and bad strategic moves that has the Yankees unable to establish a solid winning streak.  And don't even get me started on Joe and his inability to properly split a 7.

P.S.- Just to keep this analogy going a little longer, Colon's implosion in the 6th inning last night was the equivalent of having somebody pull a "Sorry!" card on you late in the game when you're the only piece on the board and they have the only piece still in the start area.  Just devastating.

P.P.S.- Why were there no 6s or 9s in Sorry!?  What was that about?  Were they really that worried about people being confused?  Can't tell you how many times I could have moved from just outside the Safety Zone straight into home if I could have drawn a damn 6.