"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

Leiter Fluid

Al Leiter was hit hard last night in California as the Angels beat the Yanks, 6-3. The Red Sox lost as well, so the Bombers are still only a game-and-a-half back. I can’t stand the Angels. Did you see the two Molina brothers celebrating like mad after they both truckulated their fat asses home against Leiter. Calm down, boys. The whole team gets really geared up to beat New York. Makes it tough to watch. Ugh. Hopefully, the boys can rally and win these last two.

It’s in the Numbers

Meanwhile, I was hanging out with Jay Jaffe yesterday afternoon, and we were talking about how well Jason Giambi has been playing. Using David Pinto’s terrific Day by Day database, we looked to see just how long he’s been doing well for. While we were at it, we took a look at Tino Martinez’s numbers over roughly the same time. The dates may seem arbitrary, but they were selected to best illustrate how much better an offensive player Giambi has been (of course, you could counter this by showing Giambi’s numbers while Tino was on that hot streak, but that was more of a fluke than the norm).

From close to two months, from May 24 through July 22, Giambi has been a monster: .352/.497/.689. On the other hand, from May 20 through July 19 (the day before Tino’s two home-run game), Martinez hit a most unflattering .122/.215/.183. Yikes.

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1 Clay Caviness   ~  Jul 23, 2005 2:24 pm

1.  Yeah.

Giambi's done. He's just as shell of a player. He's totally embarrassing himself. He should go down to AAA. Maybe he should just retire! Doesn't he have any self-respect?

2 BklynBomber   ~  Jul 23, 2005 3:48 pm

2.  I don't know the numbers, but it seems that over the years all New York teams fair poorly on West Coast swings, especially California — at least the Yanks, 'Jints and Knicks — I don't pay attention to anyone else. Dunno what it is. The time change? The nightlife?

I'd like to see W-L stats for these three teams in California since, say, 1990. I'm guessing they're a combined .300 winning percentage. At least it seems that way.

3 Simone   ~  Jul 23, 2005 3:58 pm

3.  What is up with all this revisionist history of Jason Giambi all over the place? Just a couple months ago, he was a shell of a player. He WAS embarrassing himself. For goodness sake, he wasn't even trying to hit the ball. He would just stand there and try to work a walk or get a HBP. It took the Yankees asking him to go down to AAA and other teams walking the guys to get to him for Giambi to find some freaking pride and start fighting his way out of his slump because apparently all that money he was earning wasn't enough. All the indignation on Giambi's behalf is a bit much and unseemly even given what everything that happened in the off season. Lets all just be grateful that he is producing again.

Alex, Tino is almost done. He was signed to be the back up 1st baseman and so that he could retire as a Yankee may even help win another championship. Comparing Tino to Giambi is like comparing Flaherty to Posada. No need to kick Tino to prop Giambi up.

4 alasky   ~  Jul 23, 2005 4:23 pm

4.  simone, how do you know what it took to get giambi out of a slump...why is it that his slump should be associated with not trying, as his frustration seemed to tell a different tale at the time...I agree that maybe we're being a bit foolish in acting indignant at the thought that he was done 2 months ago...but how do you know he wasn't trying hard enough? When Jeter was slumping early on in 2004, did he finally rediscover his pride when he was 0-32...was the money not enough...I think you're maybe blaming his lack of confidence on a lack of effort which seems unfair at best, and like you're not a fan of his at worst

5 Rich   ~  Jul 23, 2005 4:34 pm

5.  Some people are kind of intolerant.

It's not an embarassment to work yourself back from a tumor and a parastic condition.

Who is anyone to say that Giambi wasn't trying? Do people claim to be able to read his mind?

Obviously, Giambi made the right decision in refusing to go to the minors.

If Torre deserves credit anything, it's for sticking with him.

6 mikeplugh   ~  Jul 23, 2005 4:49 pm

6.  alasky,

I obviously get the "crap" that I write from somewhere that you haven't looked. No offense.

Yes, we score runs. Yes, that wins games. My contention is not that we CAN'T win games, ot that we have some festering problem with our offense. My suggestion is that an offense that works best is an offense that keeps runners on base, keeps the pitcher in the stretch, makes the fielders work on every pitch, and applies severe pressure.

When you blast me for my choice of players to highlight on the last 3 championship teams, you pick out some narrow timeframe to prove me wrong. I was merely suggesting that a culture of frenetic offensive baseball with a leadoff man that creates runs is the best possible scenario, and while you can win a title with big bats, the long grueling season features a lot of low scoring affairs and late inning rallies that would benefit from the applied pressure of a guy like Damon, or Knoblauch, or Carl Crawford.

I'll tell you where I get my knowledge of the opposing fan attitude. While I live in Japan now, I travelled the country quite frequently by car between 1998 and 2003. I visited a lot of ballparks, basketball arenas, and local watering holes. If you stay online and judge the "Yankees Suck" crowd as the norm, you are missing the world around you. Many opposing fans have keen insight into the game, their own team, the league, and yes, the Yankees.

I think of conversations with people in Cleveland. People in Baltimore and Seattle and Oakland. They were all great competitors during our best years and to a man or woman, these fans told me that they hated to see the 1990's Yankees come to town. They had to respect the players character and dedication, but they knew a grueling series had made its way to town.

Now, when I talk to the same people, and others, they say that these Yankees are tough and competetive, but they only hold their breath when the big bats are in the batters box in the late innings.

Can you relate to that? I can. On the other hand, the Red Sox make my heart beat faster during each inning. All of those guys seem to be "Yankee Killers". You start with Damon and go all the way down through the #7 hitter and they find a way. Sure, Ortiz kills us with the long ball, but there always seems to be a Nixon, Varitek, Damon, or Renteria on base when he comes to bat.

I know they're a Money Ball team, but they sure seem to have guys rounding third in a full sprint a lot.

I'm not saying that the Yankees have it wrong. I'm not saying that we need to radically overhaul the roster. What I'm trying to illustrate is the fact that our team has flaws that we have a chance to remedy, and in doing so we can get back to a more balanced offense that relies less on the long ball and more on long innings. If you look at the top HR teams in the majors the division leaders most highly ranked are Chicago and Boston at 6 and 7, while Anaheim is 24th. Atlanta and St. Louis are 10th and 11th, and Washington (for what it's worth) is dead last.

I'm not saying that we can't win the division with a long ball lineup. I'm ONLY trying to illustrate that it's not necessary to lead the majors in HRs to win, and that we'd benefit from a fresh and more balanced approach.

7 Jeff P   ~  Jul 23, 2005 9:10 pm

7.  I don't see why our lineup should be any concern at all. We've got mashers from top to bottom (as long as Posada's behind the plate), and we HAVE a guy that fits the bill of a Damon, or a Knoblauch, or a Crawford. His name is Derek. Maybe you've heard of him.

Our REAL problem, and the one that our starter tonight so kindly illustrates for us tonight (thanks Kev!), is atrocious starting pitching. We're 23rd in the majors in starters' ERA, in a slight pitchers park. Atlanta and St Louis, two teams you mentioned, are tied for first in this category, and Anaheim ranks seventh. Our defense hasn't helped either, pushing the starters' OBA to .292, ahead of only...wait for it...Cincinnati and Colorado.

Unfortunately, there's not much the front office can do about it. Our best hope is to bring up Graman and Bean, and hope they can perform better than Redding and May (they can't really perform any worse). I guess if we could coordinate Burnett and Pavano's DL stints then that might help, but I doubt we'd be lucky enough for that to happen.

Oh, and A-Rod isn't exactly slow on the basepaths, either.

8 alasky   ~  Jul 23, 2005 9:55 pm

8.  Mike

Long story short...if you're focusing on the offense, you're focusing on the wrong things...why the opinions of these fans matter is still beyond me...are these fans correct...is what they say supported by fact or is it based in a mystique that enveloped those old Yankee teams? Hey man, I visit these places too...if we're dishin out the personal history, I've worked for an MLB team's media relations office for a couple of seasons (unfortunately not the boys I love), I have 4 years experience working in big time sports...I know the landscape from outside of the online community, and obviously there are plenty of fans with knowledge and insight.

I guess we just have a difference of opinion on what wins games...whereas I'm deep rooted in the statistical analysis, you seem to be more rooted in the "it seems and I feel." Nothing wrong with that brotha, but I just happen to feel I'm right, as I'm sure you feel the same about your own views.

I guess I just tend to think much of what you felt about those old Yankee teams, and what others you speak of did as well doesn't play out when analyzed closely...

"My suggestion is that an offense that works best is an offense that keeps runners on base, keeps the pitcher in the stretch, makes the fielders work on every pitch, and applies severe pressure."

Our offenses the last few years have had extremely high on base percentages keeping the runner on base, thus keeping the pitchers in the stretch as often (and even more so) than ever. In terms of making the fielders work on every pitch, I just don't see where saying that these 90's Yankees teams did it more is based in much fact...it's kind of like how everyone talks about those old Yankee teams being able to beat you with small ball and making more productive outs, etc...when analyzed closely this was a myth that has been debunked repeatedly

Notice too that you brought up this home runs stat, not me...I prefer total runs scored, because after all..I don't care if the other team's defense doesn't feel pressure at all or they're running around like my drunk roommate all day...a run scored is a run scored...but to exemplify: the Yanks, Red Sox, White Sox, Angels, Braves, and Cardinals are all in the top 11 in the majors in rusn scored...the Nats are last obviously, aided by about the worst park for offense in the game this season, but regardless, it probably becomes more clear every day that they shouldn't be mentioned in the discussion with those other teams anyway.

Anyway man, this is fun...I enjoy it...sorry if it seems like I'm bustin your balls or you think it's getting too attacking...but what the hell, it's fun to mix it up a little, right?

9 alasky   ~  Jul 23, 2005 9:56 pm

9.  ps....I agree with Jeff P

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