Hughes Da Man

The result was an impressive 10 strike outs against just two bases on balls and a great win.  It’s too bad that he lost the no-hitter the way he did:

He had set down the next 20 batters, struck out a career-high 10, and now stood just six outs shy of throwing a no-hitter.

And then, Eric Chavez got his bat on a fastball, the ball took a hop off the grass in front of Hughes, smashed into the fleshy part of his left forearm, caromed off his chest and — to Hughes, at least — disappeared.

And while literally everyone in the ballpark stared and screamed and pointed, Phil Hughes was vainly searching the skies for a baseball that was lying right there at his feet.

I’m yelling, ‘It’s in front of you, it’s in front of you,'” Mark Teixeira recalled.

I’m screaming, ‘Down! Down! Down!,'” said Jorge Posada.

We were all yelling,” Joe Girardi said.Click here to read the rest


I promised Mike the regular game recap, since he’s out in the Bay Area and was at last night’s game, but he just texted me that his Internet is down and won’t have a post up until midday, so here are my stray observations from last night’s Phil Hughes gem, bullet-point style:

– This was probably the best I’ve ever seen Phil Hughes pitch. We all fondly remember his flirtation with a no-no in Texas in the second Major League start of his career in 2007, which ended with a pulled hamstring after 6 1/3 innings. Last night he was absolutely, utterly, ridiculously dominant in tossing seven no-hit innings. He started a ton of guys off with first pitch strikes, and seemed to run to an 0-2 count on nearly everyone before quickly putting them away. Before the 8th inning, I believe he only went to 3 balls on one one hitter, and that was Daric Barton in the first inning.… Click here to read the rest

Minors Notes, 4/21

Scranton defeats Syracuse, 8-2

  • Eduardo Nunez was 2 for 4 for the Yankees, walking twice, and raising his average on the season to .380.  Nunez has faced high expectations since putting up a .313/.365/.427 line as an 18 year-old in Staten Island in 2005.  Since then, he has largely underachieved, and it wasn’t until his 2009 season (.322/.340/.433 in Trenton) that he began to look like a real prospect again.  With bonus baby Carmen Angelini’s struggles in low-A and Ramiro Pena’s offensive deficiencies, Nunez may be the best internal possibility as a successor to Derek Jeter.  Nunez has struggled defensively in the past, making 33 errors last season in Trenton.  With a strong 2010 season, Nunez could replace Pena as the Yankees’ utilityman (assuming his defense improves), and when Jeter eventually rides off into the sunset (or switches positions), Nunez may be the one with the unenviable task of replacing a legend.  At 23, he still has time to improve on both sides of the ball.
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Jeter Needs To Talk To Nick Johnson

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And, here’s another interesting stat on the day, this time in relation to the Yankees’ beloved captain, Derek Jeter. This season, Jeter has walked 1.8% of the time. That’s just one measly walk over 13 games (again, this is a post lightly discussing numbers derived from an extremely small data sample, so don’t be too bothered by this figure or my decision to discuss it). Last season, over 13 games, Jeter walked four times. For comparison’s sake, Jeter’s career walk rate is 9.0%. As of right now, Jeter just isn’t walking.

In addition to that, though, Jeter’s swing rate on pitches outside of the strike zone is 31.7%, while his career mark in that regard is 19.5% (last year, his O-Swing% was 22.2%). So, one can connect Jeter’s lack of walks to Jeter’s lack of plate patience and his markedly aggressive approach at the plate over the first 13 games of the year. While these numbers are fairly meaningless as of today, it will be important to watch Jeter’s BB% and his O-Swing% as the season continues.… Click here to read the rest

A quick bit on Robbie Cano

Here’s a random item on the day. Currently, Robinson Cano’s batting average on balls in play – not his batting average, but his BABIP – stands at .300. On his career, Cano’s BABIP is a robust .321, meaning that his current BABIP is actually lower than the norm (but, to be clear, we are only 13 games into the season, so take this analysis lightly). Hence, while his .327/.375/653 triple slash line is nice, Cano should probably have an even better line right now (compared to his career average, he’s also hitting more balls in the air, further impacting his current line). It’s hard to imagine him doing any better than he is, though. Even his outs are hard fought battles.

Photo by Getty Images
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Mariano Rivera May Never Age

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A lot of ink has been spilled over the last few seasons discussion the Yankees plan of succession at closer once Mariano Rivera begins to age and retires. Joba Chamberlain’s name is the most common suggestion, Mark Melancon has gotten some support, and future free agents such as Jonathan Papelbon and Joakim Soria have been mentioned as well. All of these discussions presupposed that eventually Rivera would begin to show signs of aging, and would need to be replaced. Yet here we are in 2010, Mo has passed age 40, and he is still as dominant as ever.

Mo notched his 50th straight save at home recently, and continues to display remarkable efficiency and consistency. In 6 innings thus far this year, he has yet to allow a run, and has given up just two hits and one walk against 6 strikeouts.He has faced just 19 hitters in those 6 innings, and has thrown 68% of his pitches for strikes, right at his career mark.… Click here to read the rest

Vazquez Better, But Still Not Quite Right

Javier Vazquez turned in a solid performance last night, allowing 3 runs on 6 hits, 3 walks, and 6 strikeouts in 5.1 innings. The last two runs came on one swing from Kurt Suzuki on Javy’s final pitch of the night, and followed a misplayed popup that dropped between Cano and Granderson. In all, it was an improvement over his previous outings, but a variety of elements still do not look quite right.

1) His fastball velocity was still down. Javy averaged 88.9 MPH on his four seamer last night, and was unable to exceed 91.4 all night. He has said that he needs to sit at 91-93 to be successful, and his arm is simply not ready to provide that kind of velocity at this point. I am not worried about this loss in pitch speed yet, but it is something worth keeping an eye on.

2) His fastball continues to tail over the plate. Multiple media outlets reported Vazquez’ contention that his arm is lagging in his delivery, causing his loss in velocity as well as forcing his fastball to tail over the middle.… Click here to read the rest