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 Continue reading WS G3: Yankees @ Phillies

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 Continue reading Hitting Hamels’ changeup

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 Continue reading By the Numbers: A.J. and Pettitte on 3 days 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 Continue reading Game 3 Preview | World Series 2009 | Yankees at Phillies, Saturday, October 31, 2009

Pitching Profile: Cole Hamels

Last postseason, Cole Hamels took MLB by storm, bringing home both the NLCS and World Series MVP awards. He ended up with an ESPN commercial, a Sports Illustrated cover and a shiny new world championship ring for his efforts.

In 2009, he’s the owner of a sterling 3.91 K/BB, a solid (if not spectacular) 3.72 FIP and the third highest swinging strike rate in the majors (11.8%, behind Javier Vasquez and Rich Harden).

Hamels hasn’t been as superhuman in this season as he was in October of 2008. He’s been merely very good remember that 3.72 is not nearly as impressive in the NL as it would be in the AL. Over the last month, though, he’s been doing his best Livan Hernandez impression See the table below:

Since 9/23 31.1 40 24 24 8 7 23 6.89 5.75 3.29
Regular Season 193.2 206 95 93 24 43 168 4.32 3.72 3.91

The thought here is that Hamels is simply worn out. Consider his innings totals since coming to the majors 181.1 in 2006, 183.1 in 2007, and then 227.1 in 2008. Now, it appears he may have hit a wall after 160 innings in 2009.

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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. Continue reading Joe Girardi > Charlie Manuel

A-Rod, where did you go?

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 Continue reading A-Rod, where did you go?

Matsui to the OF in Game 3?

I’ll miss having Matsui’s bat in the lineup when the Yanks venture down the NJ Turnpike in Game 3 tomorrow. However, I can’t endorse this idea:

“That’s something we’re going to have to talk about,” Girardi said of using the 35-year-old Matsui in the outfield for the first time this season. “We’ll see how he’s doing. We’ll have to see. We’ll make a decision when we get there. We have all day to think about it [during Friday’s off-day.]”

Despite the ice wrapped around both his knees, Matsui, who went 2-for-3 and reached base three times, was confident his legs could hold up in the outfield at Citizens Bank Park.

Does that sound like a smart move? Granted his bat is worthy of starting, but at the expense of the defense? And would he play LF (bumping Damon to RF or the bench?) or RF (bumping Swisher or whoever else Girardi would otherwise start)?

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