The New York Yankees have been desperately searching for someone, anyone who can play the role of savior for the team. At this point, the Yankees cannot be choosy and would gladly appreciate whichever player was able to step up and give the team what it so desperately needs: a way out of the mess they are currently in. By virtue of the way that baseball rosters are constructed with the major change from contest to contest being who the starting pitcher will be, there is a temptation to turn to whoever is starting on that particular day and want him to be the one to arrest the team’s downward momentum. On Sunday, the starting pitcher was Chris Capuano, and although he put together a serviceable start, it was still not enough for the Yankees, who lost 5-2 to the Texas Rangers, since the problems that the team is currently experiencing are systemic and have a lot of different root causes. With a better performance by Capuano, the Yankees would have absolutely been better off, but it would not have guaranteed a win.
In his second start of the season, Capuano was not nearly the disaster he had been during his first appearance of the campaign, but the upgrade in proficiency that he experienced was not great enough to help the Yankees out as much as they needed. Given 4.3 innings before it was obvious that keeping him in the contest any longer would have been even more detrimental to the Yankees’ win probability, Capuano struggled most with being able to put together a string of successful pitcher-hitter match-ups. He was able to keep the Rangers hitters off-balance every now and then, but he could not consistently beat the Rangers hitters and he paid for it with his earned run average.
During his appearance, Capuano faced 22 batters and gave up eight hits, demonstrating how he was incapable of keeping the Rangers off the base paths as often as was advisable; Capuano also had to deal with some low-level sabotage by the Yankees fielders as an error by second baseman Jose Pirela in the first inning was responsible for another base runner. Of the eight hits that Capuano allowed, two directly produced runs, with Prince Fielder’s RBI double in the first inning and Adam Rosales’s two-run home run in the second inning accounting for the three runs that Capuano had a hand in conceding. Capuano did well to not allow the Rangers to score even more and he did post a left on-base percentage of 75.8 percent, but the home run he gave up really cast his start in a more unfavorable light.
Capuano’s start also suffered from the fact that he allowed the Rangers to seize the lead on two occasions, first was when the Rangers scored the first run of the contest and the second was after Rosales’s blast gave the Rangers a 3-2 advantage; the Yankees had scored two runs in the bottom of the first to briefly take the lead. Since he was so instrumental in the Yankees losing their lead, he was burdened with an unsightly -.205 win probability added, the worst such mark for any Yankees player.
However, Capuano was not the only one who failed to lead the Yankees to victory. He had a lot of help with the Yankees hitters combining to do even more damage to the club’s win probability as Capuano did. Only managing to post a feeble hitting line of .182 BA/.229 OBP/.182 SLG/.192 wOBA and batting to a -1.92 RE24, it is pretty clear that the Yankees hitters did not do the team any favors with their performance as they failed to maximize their opportunities during the contest. Without any sustainable offense being displayed, there was simply not enough run support for the pitching staff and the mistakes that might have been more palatable with more run support became unbearable.
With their 10th loss in 11 games, the search for a savior will continue for the Yankees. But the more losses that pile up for the team and the more uninspiring performances they receive from their players, it is looking more and more likely that the team will never be able to find one.