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May 14, 2003

by Larry Mahnken

Angels 5, Yankees 3

Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a slump. A slump by Soriano, and a slump by the Yankees.

First, Soriano. In his last 11 games, his OPS is .417. THAT'S HIS OPS. He has only two extra base hits this month, both home runs, both against the Mariners. Strangely, as I've mentioned, he's drawn 5 walks in this time--which is the same as the number as hits he's gotten. Tonight was understandable, his father just passed away today, but I think it's time to drop him in the lineup, particularly considering how well Nick Johnson was doing in the 2-slot. When someone is as hot as Johnson has been, you want to get him more PAs, not less. But Torre has his set lineup, and unless someone gets hurt, he seems unlikely to change it.

Why have the Yankees been in a slump? Well, that's simple. 1) Their offense and starting pitching cooled off, as was inevitable, and their weak bullpen and bench have been exposed. 2) They've played a team which won 116 games two years ago, a team that won 205 games over the last two years, and the defending World's Champions. This ain't an easy stretch. But 3-7 is pretty sad.

I really hope they can snap out of it by Monday, because the Yankees really need to put some breathing room between themselves and Boston. It's been pointed out that Boston is lucky to have the record they do, especially considering how poor their pen has pitched, but it should also be said that the Red Sox are a better team than they've played so far, and are likely to keep pace with the Yankees most of the season. These games are important.

Most of my traffic here has come through Baseball Primer, so I kind of know what my audience is--intelligent fans for the most part. However, I'm not a sabermetrician by any means; I've never read a Bill James Abstract (*GASP!*), except the NHBA, I've only flipped through Hidden Game a few times, and my understanding of statistical analysis is rudimentary at best, at least for a Primate. But since I've been reading Primer for a year and a half now, most of the topics I can think about writing feel to me like they've been done to death. I'm not going to come up with anything groundbreaking here, I'm not likely to produce anything worthy of a Clutch Hit. Still, I hope to write something that is interesting to read for the typical Yankees fan, and to share a little bit about my love for this baseball team. And my undying hatred of the Boston Red Sox. I do hate them so. Hopefully, my writing will improve, I'll find my voice, and this will be a worthwhile blog to read. Until then, sorry about the crap that might pop up, I do want to make sure I post daily.