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The weird splits that changed some Yankees’ narratives

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A few bad games have changed the season narrative on these Yankees.

Toronto Blue Jays v New York Yankees Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

In the eighth inning of Sunday’s game against the Blue Jays, Dellin Betances allowed two runs, turning a one-run Yankees’ lead into a one-run Yankees’ deficit. He was far from the only culprit in that loss, as the offense only scored two runs, and none after the first inning.

As the person staffing the Pinstripe Alley twitter at the time, however, I noticed he was getting the majority of the blame. That’s fair, as he is expected to be a dominant reliever, and here he was failing in a game the Yankees could really use a win. On the other hand, the frustration of that performance somewhat spilled over into saying that Betances is bad. That seems somewhat unfair.

Betances absolutely has not been as good as his incredible 2014-15 seasons. At the same time, he’s still been good. He’s striking people out at higher rate than any other time in his career. His walks are way down from last season. Betances has been fine.

That being said, the reason his numbers don’t really match up to his early career is partially because of the 2018 Blue Jays. Betances has allowed 19 earned runs in 2018. Five of them have been against the Jays. If you remove the nine innings he’s pitched against Toronto this season, his ERA goes from 2.77 to 2.39.

That is not said to try and absolve Betances of any struggles this season, but that is a weird thing. Several Yankees have had weirdly bad splits against certain teams or certain situations that are making their overall seasons look worse than they actually are.

Before the season, everyone would have been licking their lips about what Giancarlo Stanton would do against the Orioles’ pitching. Turns out the answer is not much. He has a .631 OPS against Baltimore, which is the team he has faced the second most this season.

If you factor out his at-bats against them, his over OPS for the season rises from .842 to .870. While I’m sure some people would think this, it’s not a “Oh, he’s playing in the tougher American League now, of course he’s hitting worse” thing. Stanton has nine extra-base hits in 13 games against the Red Sox this year. He’s just weirdly struggled against the garbage can that is the Orioles’ pitching.

It was fairly apparent when it happened, but oh man was Didi Gregorius’ May bad.

That is the baseball splits version of this tweet:

If Didi had been abducted by aliens on May 1st and came back in June, and had the same results he did from June 1st on, he would have a OPS over .900.

On the flip side, while Gregorius was struggling in May, Austin Romine had a pretty good month. At the time, it was seen by some as him improving as a hitter and being able to hold his own and help the Yankees. In retrospect, it was just a good month.Through May, Romine was hitting .358/.433/.604. Since June, he has hit .215/.260/.379 mostly starting while Gary Sanchez has been out.

On the pitching side of things, CC Sabathia has the Stanton problem of weirdly struggling against the Orioles. An entire 1/6th of the earned runs he’s allowed this season have been against Baltimore.

We are deep enough into the season that none of these splits have caused a jaw-dropping difference. However, in cases like Stanton, had he hit what he could have against the Orioles, his season stats would look way better, and people wouldn’t be on his back. For whatever reason, he just hasn’t.