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Womack And Flaherty And Await the Hilarity
2005-08-13 21:27
by Mike Carminati

The Yankees won in dramatic fashion tonight. After blowing a two-run lead in the ninth behind Mariano Rivera, they beat the Rangers 7-5 in the eleventh on a two-run homer by Bernie Williams.

But let's assume that Williams had struck out. Who would the Yankees have depended on with one out and Tino Martinez at first? The dubious pair of John Flaherty and Tony Womack, the seventh and eighth hitters. In eight at-bats the duo hadn't gotten the ball out of the infield going 1-for-8 collectively with four strikeouts. I went to the game last Wednesday that the Yanks lost 2-1 to the White Sox and again they had the backup Flaherty starting behind the plate and Womack, the itinerant second baseman, starting in right field yet.

I can't imagine why the Yankees are wasting valuable ABs on a pair of useless players both past 35. Flaherty's a 37-year-old backup to the rapidly aging 33-year-old starter, Jorge Posada. Meanwhile Womack went from a barely passable second baseman to an offensively atrocious corner outfielder this season. At least he was dropped from number two to number nine in the order when Robinson Cano took both his defensive spot in the field and then his spot in the batting order.

Flaherty projects to over 100 at-bats with a .165 batting average and mind-numbing .434 OPS. Meanwhile Womack's sub-par .241 batting average hides an abysmal .271 OBP and .542 OPS.

If Flaherty continues at his current pace, he will become just the tenth man in the last ten seasons to own a sub-.275 batting average and sub-.450 OPS in at least 100 at-bats:

Damian Rolls2004117.162.436
Kevin Cash2003106.142.377
Matt Walbeck2003138.174.436
Mike Benjamin2002120.150.385
Donaldo Mendez2001118.153.418
Doug Strange1998185.173.433
Tim Bogar1998156.154.420
Mark Parent1997113.150.375
Rafael Belliard1996142.169.398

As for Womack, if he sticks at his current 15 RBI, he'd be just the eleventh man to register 400 at-bats and 15 or fewer RBI since the started counting the stat and the first since 1968. If he amasses the 21 he projects to, he still would be one of 78 to drive in so few in so many at-bats. Here are the previous men to collect 15 or fewer RBI in 400 or more at-bats:

Charlie Jamieson191811
Enzo Hernandez197112
Goat Anderson190712
Ivan DeJesus198113
Bobby Byrne190814
Bud Harrelson196814
Eddie Yost194714
Billy Sunday188815
Clyde Milan190915
Jack Smith191915

OK, so on their own they are pathetic enough, but how many offenses have dared to pair such ineptitude in one lineup? I looked it up. There have been just 26 in baseball history (with duplicates) and 9 since the end of World War I:

Chicago Cubs19857784Bob Dernier21Steve Lake119.151.371
Chicago Cubs19813865Ivan DeJesus13Scot Thompson115.165.417
Montreal Expos19727086Ron Hunt18Hector Torres181.155.436
San Diego Padres197161100Enzo Hernandez12Fred Kendall111.171.428
Philadelphia Phillies19707388Denny Doyle16Mike Compton110.164.449
New York Mets19687389Bud Harrelson14Al Weis274.172.438
Boston Braves19436885Eddie Joost20Al Javery104.163.372
Philadelphia Phillies194050103Ham Schulte21Kirby Higbe103.165.383
Philadelphia Athletics19185276Charlie Jamieson11Scott Perry112.134.323
Chicago Cubs19177480Max Flack21Hippo Vaughn100.160.429
St. Louis Browns19175797Jimmy Austin19Lee Magee112.170.390
Chicago Cubs19166786Max Flack20Eddie Mulligan189.153.412
Chicago Cubs19166786Max Flack20Hippo Vaughn104.135.322
Boston Braves19158369Herbie Moran21Larry Gilbert106.151.419
Washington Senators19106685Clyde Milan16Heinie Beckendorf103.146.363
Washington Senators190942110Wid Conroy20Walter Johnson101.129.325
Washington Senators190942110Wid Conroy20Red Killefer121.174.447
Washington Senators190942110Clyde Milan15Walter Johnson101.129.325
Washington Senators190942110Clyde Milan15Red Killefer121.174.447
Brooklyn Superbas190853101Al Burch18Kaiser Wilhelm111.108.262
Pittsburgh Pirates19079163Goat Anderson12Vic Willis103.136.327
Pittsburgh Pirates19079163Goat Anderson12Lefty Leifield102.147.405
Brooklyn Superbas19076583Doc Casey19Bill Bergen138.159.347
Philadelphia Phillies19067182Roy Thomas16Tully Sparks104.154.419
Washington Senators190438113Patsy Donovan19Case Patten126.127.335
St. Louis Cardinals19047579John Farrell20Kid Nichols109.156.416
Washington Senators190438113Patsy Donovan19Happy Townsend119.168.415
Detroit Tigers19046290Charley O'Leary16Ed Killian126.143.382
Detroit Tigers19046290Charley O'Leary16Fritz Buelow136.110.292
Boston Beaneaters19027364Billy Lush19Togie Pittinger147.136.304
Boston Beaneaters19027364Billy Lush19Vic Willis150.153.360
Philadelphia Athletics18905478Ben Conroy21Ed Green126.119.361
Pittsburgh Alleghenys18886668Billy Sunday15Ed Morris189.101.241
Pittsburgh Alleghenys18886668Billy Sunday15Pud Galvin175.143.325
Kansas City Cowboys18863091Paul Radford20Stump Wiedman179.168.369

The last one with a winning record is the Miracle Braves of 1914. So unless the Yanks have a miracle in the wings, they might moss the postseason for the first time in a decade. Then again, they could try whatever warm bodies are available in Triple-A in the outfield and behind the plate. They have to better than these two.

2005-08-14 22:22:15
1.   Schteeve
The fact that a 200 million dollar team often has both Womack and Flaherty in the starting lineup defies logic, doesn't it?
2005-08-15 11:41:29
2.   rbj
The Yankees are #2 in the league in OBS .355 (behind Boston) and #3 in Runs, at 634 (Boston 660, Texas 647). Basically, the Yankee offense can support such weak 8 & 9 hitters (for a bit, Torre does shuffle Womack in & out of the line up and Flaherty is strictly a back up.) The Yankees' big problem is starting pitching. They're on what, starter #13 or 14. I don't think many teams have gone to the post season with that many differing starters.
2005-08-15 17:35:02
3.   Mike Carminati
Good point, RBJ. It's not their only problem, but starting pitching is probably their biggest. Let's look up the most starters for a playoff team...

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