Game 52: Boring In The Motor City

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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.

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18 Comments

  1. Dani

    Well, you’re not gonna win many games or score many runs when your lineup regularly includes 4+ guys that bat below .200. If they continue to not make any roster changes they’ll be sellers when the trade deadline arrives. Imagine where they’d be if the pitching wouldn’t be this good (4th best ERA in MLB, 2nd best FIP).

  2. Zach

    At this point, there is absolutely nothing to lose from calling up SWB’s best hitters. Even if Florial “isn’t ready” (dubious), Hoy Jun Park, Chris Gittens, and even Trey Amburgey would almost certainly be improvements over Odor, Ford, and Frazier. Of course, adding players to the 40 man roster costs money, so it won’t happen. Profit over winning.

  3. mantle

    I stopped watching the games 2 days ago. I’m a diehard, used to watch or go to all 162 +. This team is so hard to watch. So glad I didn’t waste my time this weekend. They are fundamentally unsound in so many ways. Cashman needs to make some meaningful moves soon or this is another lost season.

    • Zach

      Meanwhile, the Mets are beating the Braves (a good team) 13-1. The Yankees haven’t scored 13 runs all season! And Billy McKinney, who Cashman could have gotten for literally NOTHING this week, just hit a 3 run HR. Hal is losing New York for a generation by putting this product on the field, but probably doesn’t even care. Profit over winning is the new Yankee Way™.

      • Randy

        You’re wishing for a…Billy McKinney trade…?

        • Zach

          Would he really be any worse than Gardner and Frazier? At least the Mets are doing something to replace their injured players. The results speak for themselves.

    • Madrugador

      No, this not a team that can contend for a title. Sure, Judge has been all you could expect but that’s about it. Stanton can’t stay healthy which is really not a surprise and Urshela has hit ok but if you have to count on Urshela, you’re not winning any titles. The rest if the hitters have preformed poorly consistently. Sanchez will not exceed the Mendoza line and Frazier’s babip has returned to earth.
      The pitching staff is high risk, high reward and while they have done very well, we now see the risk in Corey Kruber. It will be interesting to see what Severino can contribute.
      With Cole and Judge but little else, it’s time to pay more attention to MiLB and dream about next season.

      • Randy

        Yes, it is a team that can contend for a title. Let’s not over think this.

  4. Wire Fan

    I know it is mostly the players, but the “analytics” (and I use that word loosely) group, that continues to hit guys like Odor or Gardner 2nd or 3rd aren’t exactly helping either.

    If either of these guys batted right handed with the same exact stats… Would either even sniff the top of the order? (Of course they wouldn’t) The Yankees obsession with spacing lefties out (often 2,5,8 or 3,6,9, today it was 2,6,9) is getting ridiculous. It is taking an already bad offense and making it worse.

    Doesn’t analytics suggest your best hitter should hit 2nd, then 4th, then 1st? And 3rd is probably your 4th or 5th best hitter? Why do the Yankees have Judge hitting 3rd and bats like Gardy and Odor hitting 2nd?

    I get this is a small part of the problem, but why make the lineup even worse than it needs to be?

    • Brian M

      Next man up! The offense will come around eventually, they’re too good to hit like this! Our injured players coming back will be the best acquisitions at the deadline! What will be the next refrain?

      Losses like this are pretty embarrassing. Over the course of a season it happens, but it already feels like we’ve had a whole season of these games where the offense just does nothing. What would’ve happened today if they were facing a pitcher who was on his game? Might’ve gotten no-hit. I hope they figure things out soon but each day they play like this makes me feel like this is what their offense is in 2021.

  5. Jason

    With the Rays and Boston coming up, this series should’ve been a way to warm up and get right.

    Boston and Tampa are going to slaughter us and make the division harder to win.

    Dread aside, was there a reason why they gave Stanton and Gio the day off? I don’t know if I missed something. Should’ve given only one of them the day off not both.

    • Randy

      Baseball doesn’t work like other sports. I’m pretty sure most folks thought the Yankees would beat Detroit and it hasn’t happened. Each series is its own story. They could win both of those series because the game is weird. I tend to agree on the Gio thing.

      • Jason

        Each series has its own story but multiple consecutive series of the same story has to be concerning right?
        They are so boring to watch right now man. I need a break.

  6. Moooooooose

    The discipline with – what i’m assuming is – the plan also was shown last night. After Soto couldn’t locate and walked DJLM on 4 pitches, Giancarlo came up and swung at the first pitch. Then struck out on a few sliders out of the zone. Judge also did not seem to get the memo that Soto couldn’t throw a called strike. Still have faith, but the waiting for the offense to click is getting old.

    • Randy

      I’m not going to blame Stanton too much. He needed a rehab assignment and they didn’t give him one. I’m guessing he said he was ready to go and they obliged but his at bats were really rusty.

      • Moooooooose

        definitely should’ve had a rehab stint. swinging at the first pitch after Soto threw multiple wild pitches and walking a batter is something you’d expect any major league hitter to know better of, regardless of the 10-day IL stint.

        thank y’all for continuing to find new ways to write the same story each night.

  7. Mungo

    This edition of the team is very difficult to like.

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