Thursday, May 17, 2012

I Hate It When I'm Wrong

Me on Monday:

"Guys are keeping runners off base, keeping the ball down in the zone, working efficiently and pitching deeper into games, and limiting damage by getting more groundball outs and big strikeouts when they need them. Nova starts another turn tonight... .  Hopefully he can continue this stretch of solid starting pitching performances and help inch his team closer to the top of the division."

Yankee starters since then:

16.1 IP, 23 H, 16 ER, 9 BB, 16 K, 5 HR, 0-2 Record

Did I jinx it again or did I jinx it again?  It wouldn't be the first time.  So sorry, I guess.

2012: A Freak Injury Odyssey

As they are in every other sport, injuries are a big part of baseball. They affect the good teams and the bad, and a team's ability to overcome its injuries and still produce and win is what separates the great teams from the good. It would be completely unreasonable to expect your team to not get bitten by the injury bug at some point, and the unpredictable nature of injuries makes it almost impossible to plan for. All of that being what it is, it's fair to say that the 2012 season has been irregularly unpredictable and unkind to the Yankees in the injury department, to the point that it's downright freaky. It doesn't just seem like it's every week that we're all scrambling to our computers or smart phones to write or read the latest "BREAKING NEWS!!!!!111!!!" story on a major injury to a key player; that's almost literally the way it's gone for the Yankees this season, and it goes all the way back to Spring Training.

With no statistic, basic or sabermetric, in place to analyze injuries, I took it upon myself to create a rudimentary system to measure and capture just how freakish the Yankees' collection of injuries has been this year. I call it the "Johnson-Hill Scale," and it's a simple 1-10 numbering system that measures an injury's freakiness. The low end of the scale, 1-3, represents injuries so common and expected that you would almost be surprised if they DIDN'T happen, and is named after Nick Johnson and his Mr. Glass-like skeletal and muscular structure. The high end of the scale, 8-10, represents injuries so unexpected and out of left field that it wouldn't be outside the realm of possibility for some evil forces to be involved, and is named after former outfielder (and Yankee) Glenallen Hill, who infamously cut his foot on a glass table while sleeprunning to escape from a spider that was chasing him in a dream. Here's how the Yankees' collection of bizarre injuries this season grades out on the Johnson-Hill Scale.

Game 37 Wrap-Up: TOR 8 NYY 1

(Cue the "The Price Is Right" loser horn.  Courtesy of The AP)

Kyle Drabek had faced the Yankees 4 times prior to last night's game.  In those 4 outings, he allowed a combined 18 hits, 10 walks, and 12 earned runs in just 15.2 innings pitched.  He also came into last night's game with a 5.49 K/9 this season, something that plays right into the hands of the Yankees and their patient offensive approach.  If anything could shake them out of the funk they were in on Tuesday night, it should have been Drabek.

Game Notes:

- Something about not being able to put hitters away with 2 strikes must be appealing to the Yankee starters, because they continue to do it.  After getting ahead 1-2 and coming high and tight with a fastball, Hiroki Kuroda hung a slider to J.P. Arencibia in the 2nd and then watched it sail over the center field fence for a 2-0 Toronto lead.

- Same thing with finishing innings with 2 outs.  Kuroda got the first 2 outs of the 3rd inning, then gave up double-walk-HR on 10 pitches to make it 5-0 Jays.  The stuff was there; Kuroda struck out 4 in the first 3 innings.  But when he missed, he missed bad.

- Much like CC on Tuesday night, Kuroda just didn't have anything working last night.  He hung a couple of sinkers bad, missed with his slider and curveball, and couldn't put hitters away.  He gave up another run in the 4th and another in the 5th on a Jose Bautista HR and the rout was on.

- Kuroda left after giving up a leadoff single in the 6th, and Clay Rapada managed to work into the 7th.  He gave up a HR to Kelly Johnson to extend the lead and Cody Eppley came on as the sacrificial lamb to finish the game.

- There was no offense last night, so no need to write about it.  The Yankees  did score 1 run, but it was an accident.