Do you think the Yankees are in trouble? Do you think the Yankees are in trouble? Do you think the Yankees are in trouble?

Do you think the Yankees are in trouble?

Joe Maddon

Joe Maddon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you think the New York Yankees are in trouble?

Well, the Yankees are off to a horrid start to the 2012 season, as they got out pitched, out hit and out managed by the Tampa Bay Rays who swept the Bombers right out of Tropicana Field this past weekend.

Even though it is the beginning of the season, I was embarrassed for the Yankees, as it seems like the same old story from the end of 2011 to many men left on base, 26 in total.

Since there are 158 games left to play to say anyone is in trouble would be ridiculous but getting swept to start the season certainly doesn’t feel good.

Here are two things to ponder over in the wake of this semi-concern:

1) Anyone watching the three games will tell you that Rays skipper Joe Maddon might have just taught the rest of baseball how to beat the New York Yankees by employing defensive shifts.

Righty or lefty bat didn’t matter, as the Rays scouting reports had an answer for almost every Yankee hitter as they kept hitting right into the shifts.

All I can say is that Joe Maddon’s moves from this past weekend were the most successful at stopping the Yankees from scoring runs.

I can promise you it is a blueprint that the other 28 managers in baseball will certainly get copies of even if it doesn’t work as well because it probably won’t.

The counter to this argument is that the Yankees could start hitting home-runs and unless Maddon hangs Rays players from the rafters at the Trop there is not shift that can block knocking it out of the park.

2) After the Yankees third loss, ESPN’s Buster Onley kindly tweeted the years of even worst starts in franchise history…. 1912 = 0-6; 1930 = 0-5; 1973 = 0-4.

Can you even imagine what the Stadium will be like this Friday if the Yankees arrive 0-6 to face the Angels in their home opener?

Pandemonium is the only word that comes to mind.

The last time I was in the Bronx was last season for ALDS Game 5 and it would be nice to not watch the Yankees strand anymore runners on base.

So, as a New Yorker the panic started to set in and so I started scouring to see the last time the Yankees started out 0-3, and I am talking in the past 20 years not any earlier.

And phew, lo and behold the Yankees started the 1998 season going 0-3. The Bombers were on the road losing two to the Angels and one to the Athletics. The team went on to win 114 games and the World Series…ahh dreaming of a repeat of 1998 does feel nice.

Still, history does not help the relieve the sting from the Rays sweeping, as they are AL East rivals and the Yankees looked awfully rusty. Also, the fact that the Red Sox are 0-3 as well brings me no comfort what-so-ever.

Whether the Yankees are in trouble is yet to be seen, but I can tell you the players are not going to want to come home any worse than 3-3.

Today the Bombers are in Baltimore to face the 3-0 Orioles in a three game set, and I hope the Yankees grab their brooms before arriving in Camden Yard.

For now, here are the stats from the first three games of 1998 and 2012 to mule over, but till the Yankees get a ‘W’ nothing is going to assure me that this team is not heading towards trouble.

1998 Yankees stats in first three games of season.

2012 vs. Rays stats.



  1. alcan says:

    There are no Rays' scouting reports. they used quantified statitistical info (Sabermetrics) spit out by a geek squad who crunch numbers for Joe. At the beginning of every game he is handed a cheat sheet of probablilities and matchups. It is how he sets up his lineups and make his defensive shifts. If you want you can pose the question to him and he himself will tell you how they do it, It is very efficient. The Rays, more than any other team rely on statitistical info of a computer than what a scout tells them. Most teams are heading down this road and some are even gettinbg rid of their pro-scouting departments as the Orioles did last winter. Scouts are more relied upon in lower levels of minor leagues b/c the statistical info is all over the place and minor league players face a host of talent levels as oppose to major league where the talent faced is more standardized across the board, thus, the numbers can be relied upon more heavily. That is how the Rays do it. And yes defensive strategies used by Maddon are based on Sabermetrics not scouting reports unless you meant scouting reports to mean such (as not using actual scouts). I was at Sunday's game and I seen a lot of Yanks put good wood on the ball but the rays were set up defensively to plug the gaps, especially in the outfield.

    • Steve Karsay says:

      You can put the fielders where ever you want but its on the pitching staff to pitch to the strengths of the defensive alignment. The Rays have some great young pitching, all of them seem to command their off speed pitches with amazing consistency.

  2. Richard Griffith says:

    I don't want to Mule over anything. I will however, Mull over the fact that these Shifts have been used by many managers for years . Lack of power, striking out and pop ups in key situations have more to do with their abysmal hitting with RISP than any defensive shifting in game 3.

  3. Richard Griffith says:

    Ok, we one tonight, but Mo was still way off. He was 89-90 and left a lot over the plate and got rocked. I hope he finds it soon.