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Entries in New York Yankees (126)


Soriano Slugging, Hacking Way to History

(All stats through Friday's games)

The injury-ravaged New York Yankees have hit the fewest right-handed home runs (24) in the majors this season, and they rank just 25th in on-base percentage (.306). Well, the Bombers at least addressed one of those issues by throwing lots of cash ($17.7 million of the $24.5 million he's owed through 2014) at the Cubs to acquire Alfonso Soriano. The 37-year-old is still slugging, but he's drawing walks at his lowest clip in over a decade and is well on his way to making power-hitting, out-making history.

Soriano, who began his career in pinstripes from 1999-2003, has clubbed 17 home runs this season. That's now second best in the clubhouse, behind Robinson Cano's 21. But Soriano has also drawn just 15 free passes. While he has always been a free swinger, Soriano's walk rate (3.9% of his plate appearances) is his lowest since 2002 and his .284 on-base percentage is a career low.

If Soriano keeps going deep (he's on pace for 27 homers) and drawing walks at this pace, he'll join an infamous list of high-slugging, low-OBP hitters that includes the likes of Dave Kingman, Joe Pepitone and teammate Vernon Wells. Should Soriano hit 25 homers while remaining such a prodigious out-maker, he'll post one of the 20 lowest on-base percentages ever among hitters reaching that big fly milestone.

Lowest OBP during 25+ home run season


Soriano's has an ultra-low OBP for two main reasons. He's even more of a hacker this season, with his chase rate climbing from 36% in 2012 to 41% in 2013 -- only San Francisco's Pablo Sandoval has been jumpier against pitches thrown out of the strike zone. Soriano also doesn't seem to instill as much fear in pitchers these days. He is seeing more pitches thrown over the plate (46%) than he ever has during the Pitch F/X era (2008-2013).

With power but also a paltry OBP, Soriano has essentially been a league-average hitter this season (99 OPS+). That might beat playing Wells every day, but Soriano's Kingman-esque production is a far cry from his early glory days in the Bronx.


CC Sabathia - Three Starts in July 2011, 2012, and 2013

It's time to face the reality that Roy Halliday is not Roy Halliday anymore and CC Sabathia is not CC Sabathia anymore (and we have to begin to wonder if Justin Verlander is Justin Verlander anymore).

There comes a point, even in great pitcher's careers, when they are not the same pitcher they once were.

They don't have the same stuff, the same speed, the same power, the same accuracy, even the same aura they once did. It can happen gradually, or it can take some time. Sometimes the diminution of dominance is so gradual that we don't see it happening in real time, we can only see it in retrospect.

To the Way Back Machine

CC Sabathia: July 16 to July 26, 2011 - three starts

  1. Sabathia went 2-1 with a 1.57 ERA and a 0.826 WHIP
  2. In 23 IP he allowed four runs on nine hits (including one homer) and 10 walks
  3. Batters hit .120/.224/.200
  4. He struck out 30.
  5. He threw 132 fastballs averaging 94.3 mph
  6. He threw 76 pitches 95+ mph. 

CC Sabathia: July 17 to July 28, 2012 - three starts

  1. Coming off the DL, Sabathia went 1-0 with a 4.26 ERA and a 1.158 WHIP
  2. In 19 IP he allowed nine runs on 18 hits (including three homers) and four walks
  3. Batters hit .240/.278/.427
  4. He struck out 18.
  5. He threw 109 fastballs averaging 92.7 mph
  6. He threw one pitch 95+ mph. He threw 131 pitches 92+ mph.

CC Today

CC Sabathia: July 14 to July 26, 2013 - three starts

  1. In his last three starts, Sabathia has gone 0-2 with a 10.93 ERA and a 2.357 WHIP
  2. In 14 IP he has allowed 22 runs (17 earned)  on 26 hits (including three homers) and seven walks
  3. Batters have hit .388/.461/.627
  4. He has struck out 16.
  5. He has thrown 91 fastballs averaging 92.2 mph
  6. He threw one pitch 94.9 mph. He has thrown 80 pitches 92+ mph. He has thrown 90 pitches 88 to 92 mph. On pitches over 88 mph, batters are hitting .552.

It's just three snapshots

Since July 14, the league has a 3.16 ERA amongst qualified starters. And, only Josh Johnson's 12.51 ERA is worse than Sabathia's and Joe Saunders' .400 BAA is the only one worse than Sabathia. 

How much or how little this tells you depends on how willing you are to accept what your eyes and mind sees and knows.

There are some fans and experts who prefer to see what their memory and their heart tells them. 

Now, this is not to say that CC will never pitch another good game. And this is not to say that CC cannot make the adjustment to being more of a finesse pitcher and less of a power pitcher.

It may be just three snapshots over three Julys, but these are three pictures of CC Sabathia and clearly none are the picture of Dorian Gray.


Why the Yankees have gone 23-28 Since May 26

This is not a look at the injuries, turmoil, or the budgetary restrictions of the 2013 New York Yankees.

To quote Dragnet's Joe Friday, "Just the facts, ma'am."

Since May 26

After play on May 26, the Yankees were 30-19 (.612) and basically tied with the Red Sox who were 31-20 (.608) for first place. Since that date, the Yankees have been 23-28 (.451) the third worst record in the AL, only "better" than the Astros 20-29 (.408) and the White Sox 15-34 (.306).

With their victory last night, Boston for the 58th consecutive day remained in first place in the AL East, but don't be misled by that, they have only pulled away from the Yankees and Jays (24-25). Boston and Baltimore each have played 30-21 ball since then and the Rays have a 34-18 record, the best record in baseball since that date. 

So what's gone wrong for the Yankees?

Nine to Know since May 26:

  1. The Yankees are hitting .238 as a team, the Astros at .223 are the only team with a lower batting average.
  2. The Bronx Bombers have hit 27 homers, only the Giants with 24 have hit fewer long balls.
  3. The Yankees have a .303 OBP, topping only the Marlins (.299) and the Astros (.284).
  4. Travis Hafner has hit .160 with four homers and Vernon Wells has hit .207 with no homers.
  5. The 3-4-5 batters have a slash line of .221/.294/.337.
  6. From the 7th inning on, the Yankees are hitting .213 tied with the Brewers for the worst BA in baseball.
  7. Yankees from the right side of the plate are hitting .206/.267/.253. Their .520 OPS is the worst in baseball (the Tigers righties' OPS is .807).
  8. Andy Pettitte is 3-4 with 5.04 ERA and 1.410 WHIP.
  9. CC Sabathia is 5-4 with a 4.80 ERA and a 1.212 WHIP. 

Should Joe Girardi be manager of the year?

This has been a trying season for Yankee Universe and there is no indication that it is going to get much better.

Brian Cashman keeps working the phones, Joe Girardi keeps working on keeping his non-injured players looking for wins, and the press keeps working on the impending Alex Rodriguez bombshell. 

The fact that the Yankees are just seven back in the AL East and just 5.5 back in the AL Wild Card race has some people talking about Girardi as Manager of the Year.

While Girardi would appreciate this memorable honor, I'm sure in future years Girardi will be doing everything he can to forget this season, not remember it.



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