Yanks threaten record for balance of power

Leave a comment

jeter_090903.jpgThe New York Yankees pretty much have everything going for them this season – aside from some minor complaints about bullpen depth, but whatever.

One impressive piece of information in relation to the Yankees’ title hopes is their balance and depth, as illustrated nicely by this handy-dandy wins-over-replacement pie chart (thanks UmpBump).

No matter where you look, someone can beat you. Andy Pettite, CC Sabathia, A.J. Burnett and Phil Hughes are all making significant contributions on the mound. And in the lineup, it’s a minefield from top to bottom. Shut down Mark Teixeira, there’s Alex Rodriguez, or Derek Jeter, or Robinson Cano to beat you.

And when it comes to power, the Yankees’ offense is closing in on a historic achievement. With one more home run by Jorge Posada (Posada reached both marks tonight) and three more by Derek Jeter, and a handful of RBIs by each, the Yankees will have eight players with 20+ home runs and 70+ RBIs.

No team has had eight players reach those marks in the same season, and only the 1996 Orioles had more than six (Cal Ripken, Rafael Palmeiro, Bobby Bonilla, Robert Alomar, Brady Anderson, B.J. Surhoff and Chris Hoiles.)

Those Orioles didn’t win a championship, of course. But then again, that Orioles team also had a horribly suspect pitching staff, with only one regular starter possessing an ERA below 5.00 (Mike Mussina, 19-11, 4.81).

I know the 1996 Orioles, and these Yankees are not the 1996 Orioles. They’re far better equipped with arms to survive a dip in offensive production in a postseason series. Then again, can you really see A-Rod jinx coming to an end?

******

If you Twitter, and have a hard time keeping up the facade, feel free to follow me at @Bharks.

Travis d’Arnaud’s position in Wednesday’s box score read “3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B-3B-2B”

Elsa/Getty Images
3 Comments

The Mets had to scratch both Jose Reyes and Wilmer Flores an hour before Wednesday’s game against the Yankees due to ribcage injuries, so Travis d'Arnaud — normally a catcher — borrowed David Wright‘s glove and played third base for the first time in his career. He had played some third base in spring training, but as far as an official professional game goes, he’s never been there.

The first two batters the Yankees sent up to the plate in the first inning were left-handed. But when the right-handed Aaron Judge came up, manager Terry Collins swapped second baseman Asdrubal Cabrera with d’Arnaud. It became a thing. The two swapped once more in the first inning, three times in the second, once in the third, five times in the fourth, once in the fifth, three times in the sixth, four times in the seventh, once in the eighth, and twice in the ninth. It worked, as d’Arnaud didn’t have an opportunity to make a play until catching Todd Frazier‘s pop-up for the first out of the ninth inning — as a second baseman. Cabrera had a handful of opportunities, including immediately after having swapped with d’Arnaud.

The Mets lost 5-3. At the plate, d’Arnaud went 0-for-3 with a sacrifice fly. Cabrera was 1-for-4.

Matt Reynolds and Gavin Cecchini are being recalled from Triple-A Las Vegas so the Mets don’t have to do the “3B-2B shenanigans,” as MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo put it, again.

John Lackey stole the first base of his career

3 Comments

Cubs starter John Lackey stole the first base of his 15-year career on Wednesday against the Reds. Of course, he spent the first 11 and a half years of his career in the American League, where opportunities to bat, let alone attempt to steal a base, were rare. Lackey entered Wednesday having taken 250 plate appearances, reaching base just 31 times on 17 singles, seven doubles, and seven walks for a .134 on-base percentage. One can imagine the 38-year-old is not exactly the swiftest base runner.

Still, Lackey managed to swipe a bag in the fourth inning. He singled with two outs against Homer Bailey. Then, with an 0-1 count on Ben Zobrist, Lackey broke for second even before Bailey began his windup. Tucker Barnhart stood up to alert Bailey that Lackey was running, so Bailey wheeled around and threw to second base, but Lackey slid into the bag easily safe. It wasn’t a pretty slide, but it did the job.

Lackey, however, was picked off of second base by Barnhart later that inning. Bailey threw a 3-2 fastball wide of the strike zone, walking Zobrist. Lackey had wandered too far off of second base, so Barnhart threw behind Lackey and the tag was applied by Zack Cozart. Lackey was called safe initially. The play was reviewed and the ruling on the field was overturned, ending the fourth inning.

Base Ba’al giveth and Base Ba’al taketh away.