Discussion: The “Right Way” to Play the Game

Allow me to steal a page from Moshe’s book and start a discussion.

Last night, during the top of the first inning, Al Lieter was saying what everyone always says about the Twins: They play good defense. Their pitchers throw strikes. And, of course, they have players that play the game the right way. In all my years of playing, watching, and following baseball, I still have no idea what this means.

This term is always used to describe players or teams who are okay-or-good-but-not-quite-great. Maybe they do one or two “little” things properly, but they’re not all around great players. So, I ask you, what’s playing the game the right way? The commentators will say that the team does a lot of bunting, or running, or employs a lot of hit-and-runs. One of those things–bunting–generally has a negative effect on a team (unless playing for exactly one run) so why is that right? Stealing can be good, but if it’s overused, it hurts the team as well.… Click here to read the rest

Previewing Liriano

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After beginning the 2006 season in the bullpen, Francisco Liriano was converted back to a starter and promptly set the American League on fire like Sherman to the sea.  Over 121 innings Liriano posted a 2.16 ERA, an ERA+ of 208, a FIP of 2.55 and an xFIP of 2.35.  He struck out 144 batters, which gave him a K/9 of 10.7, and walked only 32, giving him a BB/9 of 2.4 and a K/BB ratio of 4.50.  Imagine how good the Twins would have been if he had been in the eighth inning!!1!.  I kid.  Liriano was worth 4.1 Wins Above Replacement in 2006, but had elbow pain in August and September and eventually went under the knife for Tommy John surgery in November.  Liriano missed the entire 2007 season and was inconsistent in both 2008 and 2009.  At times he showed flashes of dominance, but he was often very hittable and struggled with command.

2010 has been a different story.  … Click here to read the rest

A look at some of the players the Yankees let go of or passed on last winter, and who they might pursue in the 2010-2011 offseason

While waiting for the Yankee-Twin game to resume last night (which obviously didn’t end up happening) I caught some highlights from the Cardinals game on MLB Network and it reminded me that the Yankees may or may not have been pursuing Matt Holliday this past offseason. This (a) Made me want to find out how Holliday was doing; (b) Check in on how the other free agents/potential trades the Yankees didn’t end up pursuing/guys the Yankees let go of were performing; and (c) See what some of the Yankees’ potential targets this coming offseason are up to (I expect they’ll be targeting starting pitching, left field and designated hitter, given that Nick Johnson is only signed for one year with a mutual option).

Here are the 2010 season statistics for the major names that the Yankees either didn’t re-sign, traded or passed on last offseason. Stats in all of the tables in this blog post are as of today, Wednesday, May 26, and are in descending order by wOBA for hitters and FIP for pitchers.… Click here to read the rest

What Granderson’s Return Means for the Lineup

It will be a sight for sore eyes when Curtis Granderson returns to the New York Yankees on Friday. Not only did we miss Curtis’s affable nature and good charm, but we missed his baseball skills even more.

The first thing his return does is send someone off of the active roster. There are a few ways this can be played. Option number one is, well, quite literally an option. That is, Kevin Russo gets a pat on the backside and rides the shuttle back to Scranton. If I had to be on it, I’d say this is what’s going to happen. The second choice, one that some of you may be hoping for, is that Randy Winn gets Designated for Assignment and Kevin Russo and Ramiro Pena get to stick around as the bench guys. I wouldn’t count on this happening for a while. Winn definitely hasn’t done well, but as a veteran, he’ll likely get the benefit of the doubt and get at least one more chance to succeed or fail.… Click here to read the rest

Let’s play . . . 1 1/3?

Last night’s Yanks-Twins contest was suspended heading to the top of the sixth and is scheduled to resume today, Wednesday at 5:05. The previously scheduled Wednesday game is to start at either 7:10 or 1/2 hour following the conclusion of the suspended game. For the regularly scheduled contest, Andy Pettitte will be pitching for New York and Francisco Liriano will be taking the mound for Minnesota. Depending on how things go in the first game, the Yanks will have a pitcher on standby who will be ready to go if they decide to make a roster move for the 2nd game, with Jon Albaladejo as the likely candidate. AJ Burnett can still qualify for a win, should the Yanks score in the top of the 6th.

All of this just strikes me as odd. Picking up a game mid stream is something I have trouble getting my arms around. For his part, manager Joe Girardi likes the rules change that allows teams to pick up tie games.… Click here to read the rest

Let's play . . . 1 1/3?

Last night’s Yanks-Twins contest was suspended heading to the top of the sixth and is scheduled to resume today, Wednesday at 5:05. The previously scheduled Wednesday game is to start at either 7:10 or 1/2 hour following the conclusion of the suspended game. For the regularly scheduled contest, Andy Pettitte will be pitching for New York and Francisco Liriano will be taking the mound for Minnesota. Depending on how things go in the first game, the Yanks will have a pitcher on standby who will be ready to go if they decide to make a roster move for the 2nd game, with Jon Albaladejo as the likely candidate. AJ Burnett can still qualify for a win, should the Yanks score in the top of the 6th.

All of this just strikes me as odd. Picking up a game mid stream is something I have trouble getting my arms around. For his part, manager Joe Girardi likes the rules change that allows teams to pick up tie games.… Click here to read the rest

Are you a starting pitcher with a run-yielding problem?

Then talk to your doctor to see if the 2010 Yankees* are right for you.

Including last night’s rain-shortened affair against the Twins that will be completed at 5:05pm today, the Yankees have not scored a run in the first five innings of a game since last Thursday, a span of four straight games. And if you go back through the first five innings of the last six games, they have scored a total of five runs. That’s 5 runs over 30 innings.

If we dial that up to the sixth inning, those numbers become 7 runs over 35 innings. That’s a 1.80 ERA that pitchers have compiled against the Yankee offense during innings 1 through 6 over the last six games. And if we look at the first seven innings of the last five games, we get 10 runs over 40 innings, or a still offensively anemic 2.25 ERA.

Additionally, opposing starters have thrown quality starts in the past four games, and that number would have been five had Wade Davis pitched one more scoreless third of an innings.… Click here to read the rest