Sunday, June 24, 2018


Source: AP / Chris O’Meara

Whatever the outcome of Sunday's game, I am struggling with the losses on both Friday and Saturday.  I know we are not supposed to look back, only ahead, but taking time to reflect on why the Yankees lose games to teams that are not even in contention is necessary because the entire concept is baffling.  What strategies do the Rays or others like them use to beat big powerhouses like the Yankees?

 Source: Mitchell Layton/Getty Images North America

I think Newsday hit it on the head when they wrote, "The Yankees have been so good and so efficient since mid-April that nights like Friday end up as a shock more than anything else. Through six innings, they had been held in check to the tune of two hits and no runs. The Rays, meanwhile, had accumulated 10 hits. But it was only a two-run deficit, and the kind of late-inning rally characteristic of the 2018 Yankees seemed inevitable."  Yet, just because it appears the Yankees have all the tools in the shed to progress toward a win in a game like Friday's, doesn't mean it happened.  Losing 2-1 to the third place, 16-game back Rays is just unconscionable and even more irritating especially when the Boston Red Sox bashed 20 hits against Seattle in their 14-10 win.  Then coming back and beating the Bombers 4-0 is salt in the wound.

 Source: Mike Carlson/Getty Images North America

So the question is why did we lose?  Brett Gardner does not think it was Rays pitching.  “They beat us today,” Brett Gardner said, downplaying the impact of the Rays’ bullpen strategy, one they’ve used a lot this season, including once last week in the Bronx. “I don’t think it had anything to do with the order of the pitchers being used,” reported Newsday.

Source: Mike Carlson/Getty Images North America

Yet as we all saw, the Rays worked a backward design of their pitching structure to beat the Yankees, holding them to one run on only four hits over 8 innings on Friday. "The Rays are using relievers to start various games and it worked against the Yankees, who went 1-for-9 with runners in scoring position and left nine runners on against six bullpen members," reported the NY Post.  Could the Rays be onto something that the Yankees might need to try?

Source: Mitchell Layton/Getty Images North America

What if we started the game with Aroldis Chapman, followed by Dellin Betances, David Robertson, Jonathan Holder and then handed the ball to Domingo German or Sonny Gray?  Would we win some games that we lose because we don't have the sustainable starting pitching we need?  Did the Rays' strategy quiet the hot Yankee bats enough for the Yankees to take notice why?

Source: Mike Carlson/Getty Images North America

Gardner went onto say this about this innovative pitching strategy designed by the Rays. “It’s a little backwards, but it is what it is,’’ Gardner said of the unique strategy after going 2-for-5 in his first game since last Saturday due to a right knee issue. “It’s our job to get on base and score runs. We came up short tonight,’’reported the NY Post.

Source: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images North America

What if we perceived failure as feedback and this feedback led to more wins? Is Larry Rothschild and Aaron Boone out of the box thinkers to mirror a similar strategy when they are short on starters?  It will be interesting to watch over the next few weeks as the July 31st trade deadline approaches.  You need three good starters for the post-season folks.  Do we have three?  Can we turn our bullpen over on its side for the other games?

Keep watching...

--Suzie Pinstripe
BYB Managing Editor
Twitter: @suzieprof

Mike O'Hara's New Website

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