The New York Yankees just dropped a series to the Detroit Tigers. Yes, you read that correctly. The hometown team looked like the bottom feeders, while the Tigers looked like the ones with championship aspirations. Outside of a nice outing from Albert Abreu, there were no positives to take from this performance. The offense continues its malaise. The starting pitching was poor. A curious defensive play gift-wrapped two runs. It was a total team effort of disappointing play. They drop this one 6-1. To the surprise of some, their record is at 29-23. There isn’t much to discuss, so here are the short takeaways.
Offense, Where Art Thou?
The Yankees currently have a non-competitive offense. They experienced a hot streak, by their recent standards, a few weeks ago, but the unit is obviously regressing. The quality of at-bats is getting worse. They no longer drive the ball. The batters aren’t trusting the guys around them. They are a total mess.
There is a concerning trend emerging with this offense. They allow too many poor pitching performances to go by without major damage. Yes, Spencer Trumbull threw a no-hitter a day before Corey Kluber’s. But let’s just say that the quality of Trumbull’s performance didn’t match that historic night. Here is the Tigers pitcher’s chart:
Outside of an alarming rise in strikeouts recently, the Yankees’ number one issue is positive impact on pitches in the hitting zone. They are either letting them go by for strikes, fouling them off, or missing them altogether. You could also say their overall pitch selection during at-bats is generally poor. I point out Trumbull’s pitch chart because there are many pitches that a functional offense punishes. There are a ton of sinkers up in the zone. There are four-seamers in good hitting areas. The changeup was nothing more than a show-me pitch. The slider was pretty good.
And yet, the Yankees managed three hits off Trumbull. They had a chance to blow the game wide open in the second inning and failed to do so. Miguel Andújar stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and no outs. Here is his pitch chart for that at-bat:
What exactly are you doing with these pitches? The batter is in an advantageous position here. The pitcher has to come to you. Miggy must work an at-bat so he can hunt a pitch to drive. Instead, he goes after a pitcher’s pitch and grounds into a routine double play. This is the function of a poor hitting approach. Yes, the swing isn’t good, but this can happen when you don’t commit to a plan. There are so many issues at play with the lineup, and control of the strike/hitting zone is a huge one. You can’t drive any of these pitches.
I don’t want to pick on Miggy because this is a lineup-wide issue. His at bat was the most glaring though. When you are scuffling offensively, you must take advantage of the few opportunities presented. Andújar failed to do so. The Yankees couldn’t muster another threat against a mediocre pitching outing. This is incredibly disappointing.
Deivi Flops His Audition
Looking for a chance to replace Corey Kluber in the rotation, Deivi García stepped into a pretty optimal position for his return to the big club. At the most, the Tigers’ lineup has three hitters who could pose a threat. You can’t write up a better scenario for a young pitcher to impress his team. Deivi García was unable to do that.
We’re all aware that Deivi’s biggest weakness is control. He still struggles to throw strikes, let alone high-quality strikes consistently. When he clicks, he will keep hitters off balance and control the quality of contact. However, when he’s off, you get outings like today. His stuff was ok, but his control let him down. There is a lot of talk about Deivi fixing the mechanics in his delivery. You can see the impact of this process in this start. Here is the pitch chart:
The lack of control on the four-seamer really stands out here. When you throw in the low 90’s, you have to hit spots. If you can’t locate it, hitters can key in on certain areas of the zone. Detroit did just that. The Tigers batted .333 with a 37.5% hard hit rate against the fastball. All five of the hits García gave up against Detroit came off the heater.
Deivi’s changeup is a bit hard to describe. It was effective at times and pretty bad at other times. The pitched earned a 45% CSW rate, which is really good. But when you look at this chart, you’ll see the command wasn’t that great:
This could be the result of Deivi still searching for his optimal mechanics. The swinging strikes may have come from the change in speeds rather than the location. You can take some positives with this pitch, but the overall outing was a mixed bag at best.
I’m very curious to see what the Yankees do with this spot in the rotation on the next turn. I’m not sure this start was convincing enough to give Deivi another shot particularly agains the two teams ahead of the Yankees in the division. Maybe there is something they can build on from this start. There is a chance they do an opener or piggyback situation. The Yankees needed a convincing start from García and didn’t get it. The offense remains the biggest issue, but this spot in the rotation could grow into a problem sooner than later. We shall see.
UPDATE: We didn’t have to wait long on this. Deivi and Abreu are on their way to Scranton after today’s game.
At times, we’re criticized for being too optimistic, as if that is some bad thing. We tend to look at things big picture and place a larger context on things. There are moments, though, where that doesn’t fit the reality of the times. The Yankees are playing boring and dreadful baseball. They are not playing up to their capabilities, and that needs to change immediately. Our overall feelings about this season have not changed or wavered. They are title contenders. With that said, they need to start playing like one. The inconsistency and the abysmal offense need to come to an end. It should start with tomorrow’s game to avoid a sweep against the worst team in Major League Baseball. Have a good night.