Monday, September 14, 2015


This is beyond frustrating. Watching recent Yankees games, watching them come apart at the seams the way they have, is excruciatingly painful. Every year we drive towards a run at the playoffs, and the chance to win the World Series. In most years, we end up disappointed, but usually we understand why. It is either the pitching, the hitting, injuries, or something else. This year, I do not even know what to say, mostly because I really think this team is good enough to go all the way. Which is why it is so painful.

Remember spring training? Like you, I have high hopes every spring. The All-Stars along aside rookies that could help define our future. This year we had lots of question marks. Would Mark Teixeira hold up and play a full season? How would Alex Rodriguez be after a year of inactivity? Will CC Sabathia return to his old form? How is Masahiro Tanaka's shoulder? Can Didi Gregorius handle the pressures of replacing a legend? Honestly, I thought this was going to be a rebuilding year, mostly because too many things had to go perfectly right for us to contend.

Then April turned into May turned into June and July. This team looked fierce. Tex was hitting playing like an MVP candidate. ARod was contributing in major ways. Where CC looked shaky, Michael Pineda looked unhittable. Tanaka hit a bump but looked great after his return. Didi took a while but now he is looking like a rock star. Seriously, this team looked like the real deal. Still, the team was streaky. Those of us who follow stats noticed how it was a tale of two teams. The winning team and the losing team. It was not from game to game, it was from week to week or longer. Here is an informal observation on the Yankees' hot and cold streaks of Runs Scored and Runs Allowed per game:

per Game
per Game
Apr 6 - Apr 1152.78
Apr 12 - Apr 22106.60
Apr 23 - May 293.49
May 3 - May 1194.89
May 12 - May 1761.83
May 19 - Jun 9195.17
Jun 10 - Jun 1772.91
Jun 18 - Jun 2478.29
Jun 25 - Jul 7112.80
Jul 8 - Aug 4226.50
Aug 5 - Aug 1271.14
Aug 13 - Aug 1975.20
Aug 20 - Aug 2672.57
Aug 28 - Sep 12156.60
Total RS522.57
per Game
per Game
Apr 6 - Apr 17104.77
Apr 18 - May 2142.42
May 3 - May 24205.42
May 25 - Jun 9142.74
Jun 10 - Jun 23136.50
Jun 24 - Jul 23233.28
Jul 24 - Aug 195.56
Aug 2 - Aug 24213.14
Aug 25 - Sep 285.63
Sep 4 - Sep 853.40
Sep 9 - Sep 1248.75
Total RA773.00

You know what this tells me. When they are on a roll, they know how to win. Also, that they have the guns and horses to win major battles. At the same time, when they get into a rut, they are in quicksand. This is a major problem, especially when you can go from a 14 game streak allowing 2.74 runs per game to a 20 game streak of allowing 5.42 runs per game. This issue should be the top priority on Joe Girardi's list. Why? Because this speaks to mental toughness. Or rather, the lack thereof. That is something that comes from and promoted by leadership. Yes, we do not have a captain anymore, but someone needs to step into that leadership role to wake the team up. I do not care if that means a closed-door meeting, whether the de facto leader starts kicking some tables over, or whatever. Somebody needs to wake the team up.

The Blue Jays do not have this problem. They came into Yankees Stadium knowing they needed to bury the Yankees, and that is exactly what they did. The last win just saved face for us and avoided a sweep. As Yogi Berra once quipped, baseball is 90% mental, the other half is physical. Jokes aside, there is a lot to this. The Blue Jays sent a message and got it into the Yankees’ heads – we can destroy you when it counts, even in your ballpark. Their head was in the game and they got it done. The fourth game was a non-factor.

Look, I do not know what is going to happen in the last 20 games of the regular season. They could shift into that hot mode, win 18 of 20, and win the division. Will it matter if thy go cold and lose three straight to a first-round elimination? It will not. In 1998, the Yankees started to phone it in and they started losing for the first time all season. Joe Torre closed the door, had a yell-fest, and the rest is history. Somebody in that clubhouse needs to do the same.

--Ike Dimitriadis, BYB Senior Staff Writer
Twitter: @KingAgamemnon
My blog is: Shots from Murderer's Row

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