Game 32: Yankees 0, Tigers 2

Bronx Cheers:
Top of the Order: Derek Jeter, Brett Gardner, Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez were all held hitless.  Gardner was the only one to get on base, drawing a walk in the third inning.

Ramiro Pena: Pena had a couple chances to come up big for the Yankees, but instead he went 0-3 with a strikeout and having stranded six baserunners.

Curtain Calls:
Javier Vazquez: Hopefully, we have seen him turn the corner here.  Javy had a strong game, and if not for the utter lack of offense, he could have picked up a win.  Still he went seven innings, giving up just two runs on five hits.  He walked only two hitters and struck out seven.

Randy Winn: The only Yankee to consistently get on base in this game, believe it or not, was Randy Winn.  He went 1-1 and walked twice.… Click here to read the rest

Hughes continues to dominate, picking up fifth win while snapping Yankee losing streak

Several hours after their league-leading offense was shutout by the team with the fourth-most potent offense in the American League, the Yankees returned the favor, blowing the Tigers out 8-0. Of course, the game was a good deal closer than that up until the ninth inning, when the Yankees batted around and dropped six more runs on Detroit.

Thankfully for the Yankees they had Phil Hughes on the mound, who has, quite simply, been one of the best pitchers in baseball thus far. Remember how I said Rick Porcello was brilliant in the day game? Well Hughes was even better in the nightcap, also throwing seven shutout innings and striking out eight. With his latest dominant performance Hughes lowered his ERA to an American League-leading 1.38 (eat it, C.J. Wilson), to go along with a 2.50 FIP and a 3.60 xFIP, not to mention the fact that he’s striking out exactly a batter per inning (good for sixth-best in the AL).… Click here to read the rest

Quick notes after a long day of Baseball

-Phil Hughes is currently the best pitcher in the American League.

Just what we needed. If Swisher needs a day off, then today’s afternoon matinee could feature an outfield of Brett Gardner, Randy Winn  and Greg Golson in what may very well be the weakest Yankee offensive outfield ever assembled. Doesn’t sound serious, though.

Girardi weighed in on Mo’s question from yesterday, and it appears that Sergio Mitre will get the start on Sunday. That pushes Vazquez’s next starts to Monday against the Red Sox at the stadium, and Saturday against the Mets at Citifield. The Red Sox are a tough match up for Javy, but the Twins have some very tough lefty hitters as well. Neither would have been easy, so he’ll just need to build on yesterday’s performance.

-Alex’s slow start with his power numbers have led some to question whether or not he will challenge the all-time HR record after all. While I don’t want to make too much out of a few bad weeks, ones where he was admittedly banged up (knee) it’s always fair to question whether anyone can set an all-time record.… Click here to read the rest

Porcello brilliant as Yankees shutout for first time

Apparently Rick Porcello was struggling prior to his start against the Yankees on Wednesday afternoon. You’d never have known — unless you were unfortunately stuck listening to John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman call the game — given the way he flat-out destroyed the Yankees, tossing 7 innings of shutout ball as the Yankees fell to the Tigers 2-0 in the first game of a day-night doubleheader.

Without being able to watch the game I have no idea if any of the Yankees had good at-bats, but following along via radio made it sound like nearly every single Yankee swung at the first pitch they saw, and grounded out in every single at-bat. Of the 21 outs recorded by Porcello, a ridiculous 15 came via the groundout.

The lone bright spot in this game was the fact that Home Run Javy Vazquez finally authored a quality start after five tries, going seven innings and yielding only two runs, lowering his ERA to 8.10.… Click here to read the rest

Starting Options For Sunday's Game

With last night’s rainout and today’s doubleheader, the Yankees are now a starter short for Sunday’s contest with the Twins, as slated starter Javier Vazquez just lost a day of rest due to the rescheduling. Jscape2000 over at Pinstripe Alley presents the options:

Option 1: Short rest

They could ask Javy to pitch on 3 days rest Sunday in Minnesota. This would set up Hughes, Sabathia, Burnett, Pettitte for next week’s two game sets with the Red Sox and Rays. This also lines up Javy to pitch the first game at CitiField, which Joe G has said he wants.

Option 2: Full rotation

Assume Vazquez pitches well today. They could use a spot starter on Sunday against the Twins, and then give either Hughes (who is on an innings limit) of Javy an extra day of rest.

Option 3: Skip a start

If things go badly, the Yanks could opt to use a spot starter on Sunday, and then simply skip Javy in the rotation again.

Click here to read the rest

A Closer Look At Mo

J-Doug at Rational Pastime recently noticed that Mariano Rivera’s velocity has been slightly down this April compared to last. He wondered why it was not impacting Mo’s performance, and found two primary explanations (I recommend clicking through to the article to see some nifty velocity and break charts):

Even when Rivera’s cut fastball was coming up short through 8 starts, it certainly wasn’t affecting overall outcomes—Mariano has yet to allow a run this year. Compare this to April 2009 when he had already blown two saves. So why is Mariano still able to compete without the zip on his cutter? Two reasons: break, and luck. While the cut fastball’s velocity is dipping, Mo has added to the already maddening break of his cutter. As you can see in the graph (below), Cut Fastball v.2010 is breaking a full inch more than the 2009 version….

That said, I’m not so sure we can give all the credit to Mo in this case.

Click here to read the rest

Previewing the Double Header with Pitch F/X

Later today, the Yankees will square off in a day/night double header.

In game one, Javier Vazquez will oppose Rick Porcello and in game two, Phil Hughes will face Jeremy Bonderman. Let’s examine how the Yanks’ opponents have done so far and see what the Yankees can do to counter Bondo and Porcello.

We’ll start with the guy whose pitches will start the day: Rick Porcello. After a solid rookie season in 2009, Porcello has struggled. He hasn’t allowed fewer than five runs since his second start of the season and has not pitched more than six innings in any of his starts. His ERA is an ugly 7.50, though his FIP is a more respectable 4.41 and his xFIP is at 4.61, so a correction could be coming. His tRA is 3.89 and his tRA+ is 114 so he’s not giving up hard contact. Hopefully, Rick’s recovery doesn’t start tomorrow.

His pitch selection is led by a two seam fastball that he throws 55.5% of the time and averages 89.7 MPH.… Click here to read the rest