Welcome back, Curtis

Didn’t see any of this one due to a beautiful early evening spent on the Great Lawn playing catch and drinking wine, followed by a trip to Shake Shack in honor of National Hamburger Day. Thankfully the Yankees did what they were supposed to do and ripped the last-place Indians 8-2 on Friday night. In Curtis Granderson‘s much-anticipated return to the lineup, Phil Hughes regained his early season dominant form, throwing seven innings of two-run ball while striking out eight in the process, including the first five batters he faced(!) It was actually only a two-run game going into the Continue reading Welcome back, Curtis

Bullpen By Committee Working For Minnesota, Media Silent

Tom Tango makes an interesting point in a post over at The Book Blog: Twins’ bullpen is first in MLB in Situational Wins (WPA/LI), and 4th in MLB in WPA. They are 5th in ERA and 10th in FIP. This is just like your buddy coming back from Vegas, and only telling you about the days he won big and ignores the days he lost big. “Look at me! I’m nostradamus! I’m going to make 100 predictions, 50 of which will be wrong, but boy will I tell you about the 50 that are right!” Media: do me a favor, Continue reading Bullpen By Committee Working For Minnesota, Media Silent

Robinson Cano Still Doesn’t Like to Walk

Last night, Robinson Cano got two more hits and two more runs batted in. That’s what Robbie does. He’s now got 63 hits on the season and 30 runs batted in. As the five hitter behind Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira, that’s awesome. There is, however, something Robinson Cano still doesn’t do: take walks. Now, I’ll obviously grant Cano that his approach has worked and he’s a dynamite hitter. But, that doesn’t change the fact that he hasn’t walked since May 13. That’s not good. Of course, it’s worth noting that Cano’s hit .353 since then, but with no walks Continue reading Robinson Cano Still Doesn’t Like to Walk

You Can’t Predict Baseball

“Well Suzyn, you know, you just can’t predict baseball” As Yankee fans, how many times have we heard John Sterling utter those words? They’ve become something of a mantra, something to repeat any time something odd happens, like when Daisuke Matsuzaka takes a no-hitter into the eighth or when Mariano Rivera gives up a grand slam. Yet these very words, which we so enjoy deriding Sterling for uttering, actually mean something. They represent, for many, why we, even the most sabermetrically-minded of all of us, will watch every inning of every game we can–because, in the end, you just never Continue reading You Can’t Predict Baseball

Watch Your Head!

My article originally appeared here, earlier today, and reposted here with permission.

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With a crack and a thud, David Wright slammed into the Citi Field batter’s box. He had just been struck in the head by a mid-90s Matt Cain fastball, and after a few frightening moments and an unsteady walk back to the dugout, Wright was taken to the hospital for treatment of a concussion. Three days earlier on August 12, 2009, David Walstein of the New York Times asked David Wright about Rawlings’ new helmet, one that could protect a player’s head from a 100 mph fastball. Despite other players’ negative reactions that noted an increase in discomfort and a decrease in style, Wright responded, “If it provides more protection, then I’m all for it. I’m not worried about style or looking good out there. I’m worried about keeping my melon protected.” It was a somewhat surprising response given the other players’ reactions, but it is one that seemed sound and level-headed. Wright, however, was not wearing that helmet when the fastball crashed into his skull.

Wright’s injury could have been prevented. The risks and dangers of being hit in the head by a pitch are well-known. The solution was well-publicized. Yet, baseball—its players, coaches, teams, and commissioner—continually lag behind when it comes to safety concerns. Why is this? What causes baseball to ignore the safety of its employees, especially when they so heavily invest in them, when the risks and solutions are so readily apparent? To answer these questions, it is necessary to delve deeper into an understanding of ourselves, professional sports, and societal pressures.

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Jeter Heating Up?

I’ve been hard on Derek Jeter so far this season so I think I should make up for it a bit and give him some credit. Since leaving Detroit (not including lats night’s game), he’s got a .304/.339/.429/.768 line. Granted that’s not great and not what we’re used to from Derek, but it’s acceptable considering how cold he’s seemed at times. In the really small sample size–Tampa games through first two games @ Minny–he’s hitting .333/.353/.515/.868. So, perhaps Derek is finally starting to heat up. This post is, however, going to come with a bit of a backhanded compliment. Jeter’s Continue reading Jeter Heating Up?

Yankees vs. Indians series preview and historical results in the unbalanced schedule era

So the Yankees take on the cellar-dwelling Indians at home for a four-game Memorial Weekend extravaganza, playing a significantly inferior team for the first time in nearly a month, when they swept the Orioles from May 3rd through 5th. Sure, one could make the argument that the Mets fell into that category, but even when the Mets are struggling they seldom roll over and die for the Yankees, and so I am choosing not to count last weekend’s series. The Yankees were sitting pretty at 19-8 after that Baltimore series, but as we all know have stumbled since then, going Continue reading Yankees vs. Indians series preview and historical results in the unbalanced schedule era

Waiting for the big hit?

When the Yanks get guys on base, particularly in scoring position, it just feels like those runners are too often left out there. So I checked the data:

Advances
Tm <2,3B Scr % 0,2B Adv %
BAL 83 37 45% 98 46 47%
BOS 95 46 48% 105 48 46%
CHW 82 39 48% 117 32 27%
CLE 100 41 41% 102 33 32%
DET 102 48 47% 117 44 38%
KCR 114 62 54% 129 52 40%
LAA 101 51 51% 117 51 44%
MIN 127 58 46% 107 48 45%
NYY 118 62 53% 127 42 33%
OAK 122 61 50% 103 52 50%
SEA 105 56 53% 109 35 32%
TBR 124 70 56% 135 62 46%
TEX 110 54 49% 137 59 43%
TOR 86 44 51% 124 58 47%
LgAvg 105 52 50% 116 47 41%
1469 729 50% 1627 662 41%
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table. Generated 5/28/2010.

Let’s define the colums:

  • <2,3B: Less than 2 outs, man on third
  • Scr: Runner scored
  • 0,2B: No outs, runner on second
  • Adv: Runner was advanced
  • %: rate

The Yanks are slightly above average (53% vs 50%) in getting the runner in from third with less than two outs. However, when they have a runner at second with no one out, they are among the worst (33% vs. 41%) in getting that runner over to third to put them in that “Less than 2 outs, man on third” situation.

Does this team seem to reliant on the big hit rather than small ball stuff to get the runners over? Are they bad situational hitters? Well, it doesn’t always appear so:

Split BA OBP SLG OPS GDP BAbip tOPS+ sOPS+
RISP .270 .367 .436 .803 13 .304 101 110
.290 .368 .469 .837 0 .321 109 135
Men On .263 .350 .410 .760 33 .299 90 100
1– .252 .324 .374 .698 20 .292 75 86
-2- .263 .372 .466 .838 0 .282 109 120
–3 .214 .333 .476 .810 0 .184 101 99
12- .240 .329 .457 .786 9 .281 95 117
1-3 .319 .382 .383 .765 2 .395 93 94
-23 .190 .345 .238 .584 0 .258 50 46
123 .407 .471 .475 .946 2 .434 139 150
on 1st, lt 2 out .263 .343 .389 .733 33 .304 84 92
on 3rd, lt 2 out .322 .385 .500 .885 4 .321 121 103
on 3rd, 2 out .270 .392 .310 .702 0 .342 80 94
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table. Generated 5/28/2010.

There are some very low BAPIP figures up there, well below the team’s average. Bad luck? The line that sticks out, to me, is the -23 line, meaning when runners are on second and third, when they are batting a mere 0.190 (silver lining: they are getting on base 34.5% of the time in that situation, putting the team in a much more advantageous bases loaded position). To not deliver in this situation is backbreaking.

Again, it just feels like the Yanks have failed in this situation too many times. Continue reading Waiting for the big hit?

Game 47: Yankees 2, Minnesota 8

The Yankees won the first two games of this series because of good pitching performances and managing to get enough offense to finish the job.  The pitching disappeared last night, as Javier Vazquez and the bullpen couldn’t stop Minnesota’s big bats, and the offense continues to show few signs of life and even fewer signs of the dominant offensive force the Yankees should be.  Minnesota took the game 8-2 as the Yankees head back to the Bronx.

Vazquez walked Orlando Hudson in the first inning and gave up a single to Joe Mauer, putting Hudson on third.  A sac fly by Justin Morneau gave the Twins the 1-0 lead.  The Twins started the second inning with back-to-back doubles by Michael Cuddyer and Jason Kubel, scoring their second run of the game.  J.J. Hardy singled on a line drive to center, moving Kubel to third.  Alexi Casilla then grounded into a double play, but Kubel scored on the play, giving the Twins a 3-0 edge.

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