WS G3: Yankees @ Phillies

Lineups via LoHud:

YANKEES
Derek Jeter SS
Johnny Damon LF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Jorge Posada C
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Melky Cabrera CF
Andy Pettitte P

Pitching: LHP Andy Pettitte (2-0, 2.37 postseason ERA)

PHILLIES
Jimmy Rollins SS
Shane Victorino CF
Chase Utley 2B
Ryan Howard 1B
Jayson Werth RF
Raul Ibanez LF
Pedro Feliz 3B
Carlos Ruiz C
Cole Hamels P

Pitching: LHP Cole Hamels (1-1, 6.75 postseason ERA)

TIME/TV: 7:57 p.m., FOX

Here are Hamels’ numbers against the Yankees, via Baseball-Reference.

Here are Pettitte’s numbers against the Phillies, via Baseball-Reference.

I think Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter will both have big nights against Cole Hamels.

It’s raining pretty hard right (I’m basing this on what I see on TV). Hopefully, we’ll have baseball tonight.… Click here to read the rest

Hitting Hamels’ changeup

Cole Hamels’ best pitch this year is, once again, his changeup. The pitch, which generally clocks in around 78-81 mph, on average, was thrown just over 30% of the time in 2009. It serves as Hamels’ main strikeout offering and, according to pitch value data, was 11.7 runs above average, the second best changeup value in the NL (only Tim Lincecum’s changeup was better). He’ll throw the changeup to right-handed hitters—low and away—as well as left-handed hitters—low and away—and, when facing righties, Hamels is not afraid to come inside with the pitch to induce a weak groundout. Therefore, while Hamels doesn’t have an overpowering fastball (90 mph, on average), his changeup is deceptive enough to help him strike out 7.81 batters per nine innings. Basically, expect to see a lot of fastballs—just under 60% of the time—and changeups, with the occasional curve mixed in.

So, Hamels’ changeup is good, that much is clear. However, who can we expect to have success against it?… Click here to read the rest

By the Numbers: A.J. and Pettitte on 3 days rest

My gut instinct, upon looking at the schedule, was to dig in my heels against it.  I had heard, as most of you have, the famous 4.65 ERA statistic for pitchers on 3 days rest since the wildcard era began (see here – prior to 2009).  A closer examination of that arguments, however, shows just how insufficient and misleading that statistic actually is. Yes, since 1995, ERA’s on short rest have been bad, but that statistic does not tell the entire story.  There are some serious problems with using that statistic in a blanket fashion, as most sportswriters have been doing.

It’s still a fairly small sample size.  If you look at games since 1969, here, ERA on 3 days rest is  3.85, which is only a fraction higher than 4 days rest (3.60).  Yes, each era is different but this statistic shows that, physiologically, there isn’t a huge problem with pitching on short rest.  Naturally, then, some guys are going to be able to do well in this situation, while others will struggle.… Click here to read the rest

Game 3 Preview | World Series 2009 | Yankees at Phillies, Saturday, October 31, 2009

Tonight’s Game 3 of the World Series between the Phillies and the Yankees features another battle of lefthanders, as Cole Hamels (1-1, 6.75, 12Ks) battles Andy Pettitte (2-0, 2.37, 15Ks).

Much has been made of Game 3 being a critical juncture, and there’s no question this is a big game for both teams. The Yankees need to take at least one game in Philadelphia to force the series back to New York, and Charlie Manuel appears to be enhancing their chances of doing just that with the announcement that Joe Blanton will start Game 4, a game in which he will almost certainly oppose CC Sabathia.

As for tonight, the Yankees also appear to have the starting pitching advantage, as Hamels’ struggles to regain his dominating 2008 form have extended into the playoffs (not to mention the Yankees generally torch lefthanders not named Cliff Lee), while Andy Pettitte has pitched as well as one could have hoped for while also becoming the all-time postseason victory leader.… Click here to read the rest

Pitching Profile: Cole Hamels

Combine that with the fact that Hamels’ best pitch is his changeup, and the fact that Yankees were the 3rd best in MLB as a team at producing runs versus changeups (per fangraphs.com), and it looks rough for the Phillies. That said, the Phillies are above average against the cutter, and rank as the best team in the majors against sliders, two pitches Pettitte relies on.

And it should be pointed out that while it’s not an elimination game, it might as well be a must-win for the Phillies– Sunday brings a rather unfair matchup between CC Sabathia and Joe Blanton. If Hamels wants another ESPN commercial in 2010, it’s time to man up.

Recommended related reading: World Series head-to-head: Starters, where we noted the following:

  • One thing to note–the Yankees are very good at hitting changeups (3rd best in the league by pitch values), and Cole Hamels best pitch is his changeup.

What the other side thinks: Crashburn Alley’s preview of Andy PettitteClick here to read the rest

Joe Girardi > Charlie Manuel

By Mike Jaggers-Radolf

Charlie Manuel is doing his best to channel his inner Joe Girardi. The Phillies’ heralded manager may have cost his team the game last night keeping Pedro in to start the 7th. The decision was puzzling considering the pitcher’s age (38), pitch count after the 6th (99), and the fact that the Yankees had started to put together some solid at-bats after looking fairly stymied in the early going, highlighted by Mark Teixeira’s and Hideki Matsui’s solo home runs.

Of course, Pedro’s final stat line of three earned runs through 6-plus innings doesn’t tell the entire story. The tenor of the game may have have been different if Manuel had pulled Martinez after the 6th. Instead of facing Mariano Rivera with a 2-run lead, the Phillies might have only trailed by a run, and suddenly the three base runners Rivera allowed would have silenced the stadium. Instead, Manuel kept his pitcher in too long, and Pedro rewarded him by failing to get a single batter out and coughing up another run via Chan Ho Park.… Click here to read the rest

A-Rod, where did you go?

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Alex Rodriguez has 6 strikeouts, thus far, in the World Series. He’s performing like it’s 2006.

Here’s Tom Verducci’s (SI) take on A-Rod’s first two games of the series:

Those were some funky swings Alex Rodriguez took in Games 1 and 2 in the World Series, looking nothing like the compact, balanced strokes he took in the ALDS and ALCS. His swing was at times lengthened and at times became very defensive, more of swatting for the ball or feeling for it than taking a quick path to it. It’s almost as if he’s a shooter in basketball whose stroke gets tighter with each miss; he needs something to go down to restore confidence.In two games Rodriguez has swung at 23 pitches and put two balls in play: a grounder to third and a flyball to left field. He punched out three times in Game 1 and three times again in Game 2. Only one other player ever had back-to-back three-strikeout games in World Series history: Jim Lonborg.

Click here to read the rest

Matsui to the OF in Game 3?

And remember, even when he was “healthy”, or “healthier” than he is now, Matsui was NEVER a good fielder. To wit, his UZR since joining the Yanks in 2003:

  • 2003: -21.7
  • 2004: -25.4
  • 2005: -10.8
  • 2006: -3.8
  • 2007: -7.6
  • 2008: -2.5

Not exactly sparking, eh? If he plays LF, bumping Damon to RF (which, by the way, is a bad move unto itself), his UZR’s aren’t much better for his career as a LF’er:

  • 2003: -17.7
  • 2004: -24.8
  • 2005: -1.6
  • 2006: -3.8
  • 2007: -7.6
  • 2008: -2.3

Not a positive number in the bunch. Sure, his offense can compensate for his defense, to a degree, but in what might be a tightly played, close game, would you really want to add a sore-kneed player who hasn’t played the field since 2008?

Not me. What do you think?

Suggested related reading: World Series head-to-head: OF/DH, which includes the table below:

Click here to read the rest