Thursday, September 01, 2011

Yankee Pitchers Lack Cahones.

This is a rant. In fairness to you loyal readers, you need to know in advance that there is no statistical evidence to back up this claim. It's simply an organic response to watching another pathetic performance by a Yankees' pitcher against their rival Boston Red Sox. Even stud pitcher, C.C. Sabathia turns into a pile of goo when facing the Red Sox and it's embarrassing to watch. Yes, the Red Sox are an offensive juggernaut. No doubt. But they are missing a few gears lately and it hasn't mattered. Please remember that it was the Yankees and their starting pitchers that got the Red Sox out of their early April swoon and sent the Red Sox on to their season of domination. Not kicking that team when it was down was an ultimate Yankees loss in this mega-game of chicken. And yes, this writer is questioning a pitching staff's manhood.

After watching these games all season, Yankee pitchers too often lack the killer instinct. They get Boston batters into pitcher's counts and then fail to put them away. By the time the at bats end, the Red Sox hitters end up in hitter's counts and then do their damage from there. This disease of the Yankees starts with A.J. Burnett but has spread to the rest of the team. The symptoms? Start by dominating the at bat with an 0-2 count on great pitches. Then nibble your way into a 1-2 count, then a 2-2 count and then a 3-2 count and then whirl around quickly to see where the next mashed hit goes. It's incredible really. Last night, Burnett's prime disciple, Phil Hughes, took his turn down this merry path.

This symptom really shows prominently against David Ortiz but is not limited to him. If this Fan had a dollar for every time the Yankees got Ortiz into an 0-2 count only to fiddle around until they either walked the guy or allowed him seven pitches to find one he likes, a fresh tank of gas could be purchased at the gas station. And gas ain't cheap these days.

The Yankees and the Red Sox are sort of like the U.S. and Japan. After defeating that country in World War II, the Americans helped rebuild the nation they defeated and taught them to the point where the Japanese became better students than the teacher. The Red Sox looked up at the Yankees in the standings for years and then finally learned the secret. They watched the Yankees in those late 1990s and early aughts wear down pitching staffs by getting them deep into counts. The Yankees still employ this strategy, but the Red Sox do it better now. And the Red Sox are beating the Yankees at their own game. The Yankees should know this. But instead of pounding the strike zone through the entire at bat, they allow the Red Sox to work deeper into the count and then do damage.

Some would call the Yankees pitching this way as not giving in to the Red Sox hitters. Bull feces! Not giving in to them would mean making quality pitches in a manly fashion once you are ahead in the count. It doesn't mean throwing the ball eight inches outside and hoping the ump is having a bad day.

Tonight, A.J. Burnett gets the ball to face the Red Sox. Watch history repeat itself if you'd like. This writer won't be watching.

1 comment:

Charles Simone said...

Couldn't agree more, although I have this sneaky feeling that Burnett's going to pitch his best game of the season tonight. Of course, all that will do is further confuse the Yankees' rotation situation.