Blame the Red Sox. The Yankees used to be the most loathsome team in baseball. They were so easy to hate for their big-spending ways and the oceans of ink spilled exalting Yankee heroes. They were the Evil Empire and everyone — Yankees fans included — liked it that way.

Now the Two Towers of Conspicuous Consumption loom over the baseball world together. The Red Sox and their travelling band of Lucky Charms caricatures seem to receive the bulk of the scorn from most fans while the forward-thinking Red Sox front office gets the begrudging admiration from neutral fans.

The Yankees Myth Manufacturing Plant gets mocked for non-stop Jeter churn and the non-stop hand wringing over the state of the rotation. Somewhere along the line we all seemed to forget the Yankees are really, really, good in 2011.

The sexy additions the Red Sox made and the incredible offensive output since their slow start to the season garnered them a great deal of coverage here on Getting Blanked. The Yankees just continued on, steamrolling opponents and racking up crazy offensive numbers of their own.

Concerns about the quality of the Yankees pitching are legitimate to a point. The offense has been so good, it almost doesn’t matter how well they pitch.

The Yankees feature a team wOBA of .377 over the last 30 days, more than 30 points higher than the closest team. To borrow a favorite trick of mine, the average Yankees hitter over the last month has basically been AL MVP candidate Ben Zobrist. One through nine, all Ben Zobrists. Consider some recent numbers of their everyday players:

  • Curtis Granderson: .460 wOBA, 8 HR
  • Robinson Cano: .423 wOBA, 5 HR
  • Nick Swisher, .460 wOBA, 6 HR
  • Mark Teixeira: .391 wOBA, 8 HR
  • Derek Jeter: .373 wOBA…#DJ3k is still a thing (0 HR)

Only Russell Martin (5 HR), Brett Gardner (6 steals), are performing below the team average over the last 30 days. Even Jorge Posada has a .403 over his last 60 plate appearances! Oh, by the way, Alex Rodriguez rejoined the team from the disabled list this week, though he didn’t play last night.

The offense is carrying most of the weight while much of the worry surrounds the rotations. The bullpen and defense are quietly holding up more than their ends of the bargain. The Yankee pen is best in the AL by ERA , FIP and sits third in both shutdown to meltdown ratio and strikeout to walk ratio.

The defense isn’t among the league’s best but, for a veteran club that bashes pitching as it does, it holds up. River Avenue Blues wrote this week about the arm strength of the Yankees outfield, helping generate outs to make up for their relative lack of range. Any team with Brett Gardner in the outfield every day is doing something right.

While myself and many people like me picked the Red Sox to roll to the World Series as the Yankees finally succumbed to the ravages of age may not like it; the Yankees are not to be taken lightly this post-season. The starting pitching is an issue but this team isn’t one to worry too much about winning one 8-7 slugfest after another. The offense keeps them in every game and the bullpen — especially the back-end — will hold just about every lead it is handed. Be very afraid of these New York Yankees.

Comments (13)

  1. Maybe I’m just not a fan of baseball, but once the games are “_____ vs. (Yankees or Red Sox)” , where ______ isn’t a rooting interest, I stop watching. There was a caveat back when Jason Bay played for the Red Sox (he’s from my hometown), but ‘side from that, not much changes that.

    • I agree with you. I think I just hate both of those teams so much, that I just choose not to watch them. It’s just too aggravating. That’s why it pisses me off so much that the Yankees or Red Sox are featured on Sunday Night Baseball every other week.

    • It’s the marathon-ness of Yankees or Red Sox games that usually stops me from watching their games. I had the same problem at the Jay game last night where Hochevar was taking forever between pitched with nobody on base. Figure out what you want to throw, and throw it.

  2. GAH…I just hate them so much. Then again, I love Granderson, Gardner, Swisher, Cano, and I have a hard time not liking Sabathia. It seems to me there are more likable players on this version of the Yankees. The evil empire moniker was more fitting when it was Paul O’Neill and Tino Martinez, and Andy Pettitte, and Roger Clemens on the team. You know, guys you knew you hated.

  3. Haha, backend.

    I think you nailed it, Drew, people look at the rotation and go, “Really?”. But it’s not as if any of the teams in playoff contention in the AL has lights-out starting pitching 1-4.

  4. Texas Rangers! Aside from last night of course.

    • I worry though that only Wilson and Lewis will keep it up. Harrison, Holland, and Ogando have never thrown as many innings as they have this year and I could see all three of them fading down the stretch.

  5. My eyes glaze over when these teams play each other because it is really terrible baseball-slow, with step outs and mound visits, and Burnett not throwing strikes and Papelbon taking 30 seconds between pitches and Youkilis whining about one thing or another. And with Pedro and Clemens gone, no one throws at anyone any more. Benches never clear. The thrill is gone.

  6. You have to at least ask the question: How much did Bautista get when selling his undetectable steroids to Granderson? Enough to buy a smoothie franchise? It brings new meaning to the term ‘Booster Juice’.

  7. You just had to provoke them into making stupid baseball history. It wasn’t enough that they were leading the AL East. No, they had to REALLY grab your attention. Well, now we all know why we’re talking about the damn Yankees. I think you owe Oakland an apology.

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