The 2009 Yankees are to 2009 baseball as:
A) The Empire was to the Universe
B) Kimbo Slice was to Seth Petruzelli
C) The sum of the coefficients of ( [3x - 3x^2 +1]^744 ) x ( [- 3x + 3x^2 +1]^745 )
If you guessed C, you're with me. I have no idea about this team.
One night, they're scoring 15 runs, with nine of them coming against one of the top-five pitchers in all of baseball. They're giving fans a shut-out, or a pitching a two-run gem.
Teixeira is tied for first in the AL with 20 homers and in slugging at a .620 clip. Swisher, who was acquired for Wilson Betemit and a box full of Upper Deck cards, is in the top 20 in the AL in on-base percentage, along with Tex. Joba, Burnett and Sabathia are all top 20 in opponent batting average.
Other nights they're a walking disaster. The hitters try to do too much but end up doing too little. The pitchers, especially Wang, can't put together two consistant starts. Burnett and Joba are averaging nearly five BB per nine innings. That wouldn't be as bad if they both weren't averaging close to eight hits per nine innings. Cano has an on-base percentage of .330—with a batting average of .298.
The Yanks are the Superman of the AL, until they face their kryptonite—the Boston Red Sox.
Nothing—nothing—angers a Yankee fan more than losing to Boston, especially seven games in a row. The Yanks were in first place until they headed into Beantown, but apparently along the way they traded their wooden bats for their NERF counterparts.
The Yankees pitchers, who already had the fifth-highest OppBA (.298) in the league, played like they didn't want to be out there. Jason Bay has a .409 batting average against the Yanks; A.J. Burnett lasted 2 and 2/3 innings while his team lost 7-0. The bullpen? The joke of the league.
The team is one Luis Castillo focus-play away from going on a 5 game losing streak leading into the 15-0 shalacking, with Boston just pulling away series after series.
Remember, up until 2004, it was the Yankees who were in the Red Sox head. Their fortunes have flip-flopped, and now even the ageless Mariano is showing his wear-and-tear. He's already given up five home runs, he has given up 27 hits in 26 innings, his OppBA is .252, and according to PITCHf/x his cutter has lost two inches of horizontal movement in two years to go along with the decrease in velocity.
Essentially, these Yanks are a mixture of A, B, and probably a little of C. The can kick the teeth in of the Royals, Blue Jays, and Rangers, but get beaten like a red-headed stepchild at the hands of the Red Sox.
Hopefully the pitching staff can turn the corner and earn its keep, because with the Yankees' new stadium, hitting will not be a problem.