Monday, April 25, 2011

Brett Gardner's Golden Sombrero

A golden sombrero is awarded to a player who manages to strike out four times in a single game (real golden sombrero not included). It's quite the feat unless you're Ryan Howard or Mark Reynolds. Unfortunately, no-hitters and Brian Wilson's beard are all the rage nowadays. Not for me, though. I will pour over the box scores to bring you the finest at swinging and missing.

Brett Gardner had a really good 2010 season for the Yankees as a speedy left-handed hitter, putting together a .383 on-base percentage and collecting a 4.5 WAR. He was assured a job out of spring training and was even going to lead off against right-handed pitchers.

I'm not sure what happened leading up to the month of April, but it's possible Gardner wasn't notified the season had begun. Or maybe he just stopped bringing his bat to the plate with him, I don't know, I haven't seen every Yankees game. Either way, something is wrong in Brett Gardner Land (population: dozens of called strikes), and Sunday against the Orioles was the left fielder's toughest day at the plate in a month full of tough days at the plate.

Let's sample the cool breezes at Camden Yards.

2nd inning - Gardner strikes out looking against Jake Arrieta.

4th inning - Gardner again strikes out looking against Arrieta.

Fake Jake Arrieta quote in toned-down KenHarrelsonVoice™: "he gone."

9th inning - You know the old saying: sometimes there's just too much Kevin Gregg to handle, and Gardner finds thought out the smelly way, fanning on four pitches.

11th inning - Jason Berken gets a four-pitch swinging K.

[*Note* While Gardner's offense has been Simply Espinozian through the season's first month (.154/.214/.288 slash line coming into Sunday's game), he did make a great catch to end the bottom of the eighth inning and keep a game tied the Yankees would go on to win in 11. Contributions.]


  1. Do you have stats regarding first pitch called strikes? Since i've watched Gardner with the Yankees, he seems to let one or two strikes go by without swinging, so it is commong to see him get a first pitch fastball down the middleand he just stares at it. In 2010 pitchers noticed it until the all star game, even if Kevin Long attributed it to a hit by pitch against the Diodgers, he was basically the same, just that pitchers made the adjustment.

    Kinda like what happened to AJAX when pitchers figured him out.

  2. That's an interesting point. It would take a long for me to flip through the game logs or pay someone with potato chips to do so for me. But constantly starting behind in the count opens you up to much more breaking stuff.

    I've never believed Gardner was more than a 4th outfielder but he is extremely unlucky so far this year. His BABIP is down from .340 in 2010 (a number not too far off from his minor league days) to .189 this year. So there are better times ahead. But, um, there's no effing way he is a 5.7 WAR or .383 OBP guy ever again if that's what you thought you had.