Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Yankees' Run Differential Starting To Tell A More Accurate Story

As we approach the quarter pole of the regular season, the Yankees have fallen back to .500 and the middle of the pack in the AL East.  They've lost 4 in a row and 9 of 13, leaving them with a 19-19 record and a -18 run differential that is 3rd worst in the AL behind the Astros and the Rangers.  A few weeks ago, when they were playing better baseball and winning, the negative run differential was downplayed because of the small sample size of games.  Now that the sample has grown, a split of those 38 games shows a disturbing trend:

First 19 Games: 11-8 Record, 75 Runs Scored/84 Runs Allowed (-9 differential)

Last 19 Games: 8-11 Record, 94 Runs Scored/103 Runs Allowed (-9 differential)

Based on that split, the Yankees have basically played the same brand of baseball since Opening Day.  They've scored more runs and given up more runs over the last 19 games, but it's basically been below-average baseball and that's reflected in the matching run differentials.  They outplayed their run differential in the first 19 games and won a few games more than they should have and they weren't able to do that over the last 19 games, which is why they are where they are with a .500 record.

If luck wasn't on their side in the first 19, we'd probably be looking at a 17-21 team that's perfectly in line with its Pythagorean-expected record.  Considering all the injuries that have happened in the last 19, that doesn't exactly bode well for the future.

So You Remember What I Said About Al Aceves Last Week?

You know, about how he could actually help the team?

"Aceves is not old at 31, he's fully healthy, he's made changes to his pitching approach, and he's got experience pitching and pitching well in Yankee Stadium. Maybe he's got another year of '09 magic left in that arm. If so, the Yanks may have just solved their biggest bullpen problem."

Yeah, forget about that.  3 appearances since that 5/4 outing and here's his line in those 3 appearances: 4.1 IP, 8 H, 7 ER, 3 BB, 2 HR, 5 K.  Aceves has sucked big time and he probably pitched himself out of a roster spot last night.  The Yankees are calling up Chase Whitley to make the final start of this series on Thursday and they'll need to make a 40-man roster move.  DFA'ing Aceves would be a simple and smart move to make.

Sorry if I got anybody's hopes up with that post last week.  That one's on me, guys.  Do you want me to say I fucked up?  I fucked up.  Write it.

Game 38 Wrap-Up: NYM 12 NYY 7

(Courtesy of Getty Images)

There wasn't much to be excited about last night in Yankeeland.  The team was playing like shit, its players were dropping left and right to the bench and disabled list with injuries, the outlook wasn't good for some of the unknowns, and there was no end to the downslide in sight.  They were sending Vidal Nuno, one of the many replacement starters in the rotation right now, to the mound against the Mets, who came in with all the confidence in the world after their double comeback victory on Monday night.  It wasn't pretty, and the scene in Yankeeland got a little dimmer.

Game Notes:

- Nuno had nothing from the get go.  He hit the first batter of the game with his second pitch and gave up a 3-run HR to Curtis Granderson in a 4-run 1st inning, needing 37 pitches to survive it.

- His teammates got him back into it in the bottom half with a 2-out RBI single by Mark Teixeira and follow-up 2-run homer by Brian McCann.  It looked like it was going to be a back-and-forth affair.

- Then Nuno stayed in the game.  He gave up a run in the 3rd and 2 more in the 4th and it was curtains for him after 3.1.  Alfredo Aceves relieved him and didn't do much better, giving up 4 runs in 1.2 innings and ballooning the deficit to 11-4.

- The Yanks tacked on runs in the 5th (Soriano ribbie single), 8th, (Solarte solo HR), and 9th (McCann ribbie single), but they never made a serious comeback attempt.  It was all meaningless.

- Joe got himself tossed early for arguing balls and strikes.  He didn't miss much.  Preston Claiborne allowed his obligatory run in a mop-up 9th.