Mission ’13, Game 43: Yankees win 7-2

Melky’s May Meter

1-4

23 hits

Forgotten last night in our look at the Jays’ pitching staff was Melky’s May Meter. He went 2-4, to increase his May total to 22 hits in 61 ABs. It’s been a good half-month or so for Melky.

Speaking of Melky, watching him chase a fly ball in left field reminds me that it’s time to look at the defense. His hammies are bothering him, and he covers noticeably less ground or, perhaps, he covers the same amount of ground but it takes him longer to do it. Either way, we’ll take a peek at the D.

Brandon Morrow isn’t sharp today, not surprisingly. It’s his first start in 13 days, and it comes against a team that hits well and speed bags the Jays. The damage was done by two players who hit especially well against the Jays: Brett Gardiner and Robinson Cano. Cano hit a pair of 2-run homers against Brandon Morrow. Travis Hafner tacked on a 2-run shot in the 8th to complete the scoring.

The Jays have been quiet against David Phelps for the most part. Phelps is the pitcher who, in 4 innings of relief against the Jays earlier this season, struck out 9 batters. The Jays have put runners on base, but done very little with them. Phelps and Kuroda used the same game plan: to their shame, the Jays didn’t change their approach. The result was strikingly similar.

Buck and Tabby have nailed it. They’ve concluded that “they [the Yankees] know how to win”. I guess that’s it, then. A line-up featuring Vernon Wells, Lyle Overbay, Jayson Nix, Austin Romine, Curtis Granderson (fresh off the DL), Travis Hafner, and David Adams “know[s] how to win.” They didn’t pick up all these scrubs and cast-offs, nor did they call up the young guys simply because they needed to fill holes pretty desperately. No, the Yankees are never desperate; they simply added another layer of criteria to their decision-making process. Yes, they needed to fill holes because their all star line-up is seriously depleted, but not just any player will do. The players have to “know how to win”, and these guys fit the bill. *facepalm*

Here’s the Jays’ defense by the numbers:

Inn

BIZ

Plays

RZR

ARM

DPR

RngR

ErrR

UZR

UZR/150

Total

3363

591

493

.834

2.7

-1.0

-8.9

-2.9

-10.2

-3.6

Rank

6

3

3

10

4

12

13

13

12

9

Prev. Rank

3

6

8

14

4

10

14

14

13

13

This info was adapted from: http://www.fangraphs.com/leaders.aspx?pos=all&stats=fld&lg=al&qual=0&type=1&season=2013&month=0&season1=2013&ind=0&team=0,ts&rost=0&age=0&filter=&players=0&sort=19,d

  • There’s good news and there’s bad news: the good news is that the Jays’ D isn’t as bad as it was a month ago; the bad news is that their D is still bad;
  • poor defense has meant extra outs, more batters, and considerably more pressure on a pitching staff and offense that have also underperformed
  • let’s illustrate from today’s game:
    • Morrow’s dropped ball opened the door for a 3-run inning;
    • an Izturis error in the 8th inning led to a 2-run HR by Hafner;
    • this was followed by Adam Lind dropping a ball that was squibbed up the 1B line, allowing Lyle Overbay to reach safely;
    • it meant extra work for Oliver, and that the Jays, instead of facing a difficult 3-run deficit heading into the top of the ninth, faced a near-impossible 5-run deficit;
  • Maicer Izturis has committed 3 errors at 3B (Lawrie’s territory) and 2 errors at SS (Reyes’ territory) but no errors at 2B;
  • Brett Lawrie’s arrival has stabilized the infield somewhat, and Reyes will probably have a similar effect defensively but the Jays don’t have the luxury of waiting;
  • the Jays still have significant defensive weak spots at C, 2B, SS, and wherever Rajai (OF) or Bonifacio (OF/IF) play;
  • taken together with the offense and pitching numbers that we’ve already seen, the Jays are right where they ought to be: the bottom of the AL East, and one of the worst teams in MLB.

Looking at the offense, pitching, and defense is illuminating. Any improvement is slight and slow but, dang it, that glass is half full: they’re improving. Realistically, though, we’re watching a team that has so many big problems that 80-85 wins would be a significant achievement.

Todays’ game illustrates the problems they’ve created for themselves all year. Ineffective starting pitching by Brandon Morrow (5 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO), in concert with a bobble by Morrow himself and ineffective offense (8 H, 3 xbh, 3 BB, 11 SO leading to 2 ER) led to a 5-run loss. Jose Bautista’s base running gaffe in the first set the tone; the errors and ineffective offense finished the job.

Will the Jays pull it together this season? Their incremental improvements on offense, on the mound, and in the field suggest that if they do it will be too little, too late sort of like the chicken wing in the game today. Edwin’s solo HR, while welcome, only made the score 5-2. Is RA Dickey vs. CC Sabathia another case of too little, too late? That depends on which RA shows up; we can count on a quality start from CC. The Jays will try and avoid the sweep in game 3.

Other Links:

A.L. East Prospect Report – May 16, 2013 – See the daily prospect report with all of the best American League East prospects.

Wes Kepstro

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3 Responses to “Mission ’13, Game 43: Yankees win 7-2”


  1. 1 @ALEastbound May 18, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    Not at all what the doctor ordered. This, for me was one of the toughest losses of the season just knowing how important the victory was. Time is left in the year, but losing two in a row to the division leader is unacceptable right now.

    • 2 Wes Kepstro May 18, 2013 at 6:29 pm

      Their offense, defense, base running, and pitching are terrible, and their record reflects those facts. I’m not sure what can be done about it.

      They acquired two players who are injury prone, and they’re both on the DL. The acquired a pitcher who gets minced in the AL East, and it’s still happening. They acquired a pitcher coming off a career year. They acquired a bottom of the ‘pen reliever for their manager and 2 utility players. They acquired two utility players and are playing them full time.

      They retained: an all-speed/no defense/poor offense OF; a no-hit 1B; a C who is easily the worst in MLB on D and at calling games; two multi-skilled players with gigantic attitude problems; and an injury-prone #2 starter who may never reach his potential.

      Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised.


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