Blanton Lined Up For Game 4

From Brian Costa:

The Yankees won’t have to face Cliff Lee again until Game 5 of the World Series. The Phillies named Joe Blanton their Game 4 starter Friday, opting to use a fourth starter rather than bring Lee back on short rest.
Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said he was reluctant to have Lee pitch on just three days’ rest because he has never done it before in the majors.
“I don’t think he’s ready to go on three days’ rest,” Manuel said before the Phillies worked out at Citizens Bank Park. “That would be really pushing it, because he’s never done it before.”
Blanton, a right-hander, was 12-8 with a 4.05 ERA during the regular season. He has a 4.50 ERA in three appearances (one start) this postseason.

Blanton is not a terrible starter at all, and has some experience with American league lineups. He has terrible career numbers against the Yankees (8.18 ERA), but those represent a very small sample and are skewed by one awful start.… Click here to read the rest

Welcome to the new Stadium, not the same as the old Stadium

New Yankee Stadium will never be like old Yankee Stadium, no matter how badly people want it to be, and those who do would best be served keeping that in mind when trying to quantify “how loud the crowd was” at a given postseason game.

It’s already been established that the new Stadium, regardless of how uproarious the crowd may or may not get, will never be able to echo the cacophonous euphoria of the old house, given its construction. From a recessed upper deck as opposed to one that loomed ominously over the field, to the fact that many areas of the stadium feature vast open air spaces where once there were concrete walls, there is no way the sound can possibly carry the same way it once did.

That being said, I was at both Games 1 and 2, and I thought the crowd was about as fired up as one would hope for at Yankee Stadium for the World Series.… Click here to read the rest

The Decision To Sit Swisher

From Dan Rosenheck:

In switching Jerry Hairston Jr. for the slumping Nick Swisher, Girardi placed far too much weight on Swisher’s disappointing 38 postseason plate appearances so far — and not nearly enough on the fact that Swisher’s combined on-base and slugging percentages were 159 points higher than Hairston’s in 2009, and 117 points higher over their careers. Girardi chose to sit his powerful right fielder in favor of a player who barely hits enough to play shortstop. Similarly, concerned about Burnett’s supposedly poor synchronization with Jorge Posada, he swapped out his Hall of Fame-caliber catcher for Jose Molina, who has a decent claim to be the worst hitter in the major leagues.

The question of whether “streaks” have any predictive value — whether we should significantly adjust our forecast of a hitter’s performance because he has been “hot” or “cold” in the preceding few weeks — has been studied exhaustively, and analysts are all but unanimous in concluding that we should not.

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World Series Game 2: Phillies 1, Yankees 3

Mo came out in the top of the eighth to work the rare six out performance. He got into a little trouble, but was able to get out of it, striking out Stairs for the final out of the game and the Yankee win.

Bronx Cheers:
Alex Rodriguez: The Yankee slugger went 0-4 with three strikeouts. He also let a hard hit by Stairs get into the outfield allowing the Phillies’ lone run. It was the type of ball you expect Alex to pick up, but it was still a good hit and was not called an error.

Damon: Also went 0-4 and left four runners on base. Damon also showcased his weak arm in the outfield. He didn’t make any terrible throws per se, he just didn’t make any great ones either.

Derek Jeter’s Bunt : How many times do we see Jeter do something that just leaves you confused? His decision to bunt with two strikes and no outs in the seventh left me scratching my head.… Click here to read the rest

Game 2 Notes log

Bottom 1st inning

  • The Who’s your Daddy? chants are awesome
  • Pedro resembling Eriq LaSalle from Coming To America : Let your soul glo!
  • Wonder if Pedro will add NYY HBP #18 to his list tonite. Most versus any team.
  • Pedro’s looking like he took a trip in the 1999 way-back machine.
  • The over the top camera angle is SO much better. Please use it more often, FOX.

Top 2nd inning

  • Howard is an intimidating dude. Seems he’s lost weight, too. Imagine the numbers he might be at, career-wise, if he wasn’t parked in the minors for a few years due to Thome.
  • Burnett seems to have excellent movement tonite. So far, so good.
  • Got Werth to roll over one. Step-son of former Yankee Dennis Werth.
  • First pitch strikes to first 6, in case you didn’t hear Fox tell you.
  • Commence Phil Cuzzi jokes 3…2…1…
  • Best one I saw: @aarongleeman Phil Cuzzi just called that a touchdown.
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Why AJ was The Good AJ

He did this armed with one of the best curveballs he’s had all season, locating on the outside corner to lefties, and burying it below the knees of righties. He threw the curve over 40% of the time, compared to his season average of 31%, which may have contributed to how poorly the hitters were reacting to his fastball. Interestingly enough, he also varied the spin on the curve, as can be seen on the following chart:

The curve is represented by the bottom group of pitches on the above chart. The concentric circles represent spin–the further from the center the circle is, the more spin (and thus more break) Burnett threw curves tonight ranging from 1000 RPM to 2000 RPM. The big breakers dropped a full 100% more than the lesser breakers, and they’re all around the same speed. Also, note the yellow circles amongst that group–those represent swinging strikes–and you can see that they’re spread across the range of break shown.… Click here to read the rest

The Good AJ shows up

  • We saw a ridiculously good AJ Burnett, the kind that all Yanks fans hoped and dreamed would show up after last night‘s embarrassment. Seven innings, one ER, 9 strikeouts, just 2 walks.
  • We saw a very impressive Pedro Martinez, doing his best Eddie Harris imitation, throwing junk all over the place and being crazy effective with it… Six innings, 3 ER (a 4.50 ERA for those scoring at home)
  • We saw Teix and Matsui hit home runs.
  • Until Charlie Manuel went all Grady Little and let him start the 7th inning. My first note when seeing this: “Stunned to see Pedro still out there, actually
  • We saw the two hottest hitters from the LDS’s continue to struggle horribly, with Howard wearing the Golden Sombrero and ARod striking out 3 more times. These two are about as ice cold as you can get. ARod has six K’s in the first two games.
  • We saw the worst play Jeter has ever made in the post-season: Trying to bunt with runners on first and second, no outs, with two strikes.
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Burnett's best start as a Yankee leads New York to 3-1 Game 2 win over Phillies and knots World Series at 1-1

A.J. Burnett picked one heck of a time to have the best start of his Yankee career, tossing seven strong innings of one run ball as the Yankees beat the Phillies 3-1 in Game 2 of the World Series to even the series at one game apiece.

Burnett (9 Ks, 2BB, 4H) and Phillie starter Pedro Martinez (6 IP, 6H, 3ER, 2BB, 8K) locked horns in what wound up being a bit of a surprising pitcher’s duel. I was amazed to see the Yankees flail at a wide variety of significantly off-speed pitches in the early going (the Yankee Stadium gun had Pedro’s curve and change-up in the low 70s), and to Pedro’s credit, he kept the Yankees bats off balance for the most part, registering an impressive eight strikeouts over his six innings.

After Burnett let a run in during the top of the 2nd inning on a Matt Stairs single past Alex Rodriguez that appeared fieldable — at least from my vantage point in Section 331 — it started to feel like Game 1 all over again, with the Phillies taking an early lead and their starter cruising.… Click here to read the rest