GIDP madness!

Matt Harrison (photo c/o Getty)

I probably need to start giving the Rangers’ pitchers some credit. I didn’t believe in C.J. Wilson or Colby Lewis last year, and Matt Harrison seemed like a prime candidate for a beatdown on Friday evening at Yankee Stadium.

Instead, Harrison took my regression prediction and ostensibly told me to shove it, tossing eight innings of two-run ball, largely on the strength of an American League-record tying six(!) double plays. Harrison only racked up three strikeouts, while walking three and giving up seven hits. Incredibly, Harrison managed to lower his ERA from 1.29 to 1.23. Not to take anything away from Harrison’s impressive outing, but the regression monster is coming for you, my friend. It’s coming after you in a big, bad way.

The Yankees, to their credit, made this one interesting in the ninth. Down 5-2, Alex Rodriguez just missed another home run and had to settle for a double before being knocked in by an Eric Chavez pinch-hit single. A Jorge Posada walk brought Russell Martin to the plate with an opportunity to win the game with one swing of the bat, but Martin — perhaps a bit overeager — offered at Neftali Feliz‘s first pitch and flied out to right to end the game, as the Rangers locked down a 5-3 victory.

About the only good thing to occur for the Yankees on the pitching side of the ledger was the impressive MLB debut of Lance Pendleton. Pendleton — who, you may recall, spent spring training with Houston after being selected in the Rule 5 draft, but was returned to the Yankees at the end of March after an ineffective seven-plus innings — was flawless, retiring all nine Rangers he faced over three scoreless innings. It was most likely the result of Pendleton being an unknown to the Rangers moreso than anything else, but Pendleton actually looked pretty good out there, and it’s a mighty impressive feat to throw three perfect MLB innings in one’s first-ever appearance.

The Yankees found themselves in a 5-1 hole for the second straight night, thanks to a wildly ineffective outing from Ivan Nova, who lasted only 4.1 innings. Though Nova only yielded four hits, he issued 5(!) walks and a HBP, and was ultimately responsible for all five Texas runs. Nova’s ERA on the young season stands at an ugly 7.36, and while I was encouraged by his last outing against the Red Sox, I’m beginning to get a tad concerned about Nova in the rotation going forward.

I’m not really sure what the answer is, but so far the Yankee rotation outside of CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett has been pretty ineffective, and it’s a testament to the Yankee offense that the team has the record that it does. While the mid-2000s Yankees seemed to make an annual habit of bashing their way to the playoffs in spite of weak starting pitching, that’s not a formula for long-term success, and hopefully the team can bring some stability to the rotation with the addition of Bartolo Colon, and perhaps Hector Noesi, if Nova continues to falter.

5 thoughts on “GIDP madness!

  1. Dangerous Dean

    Having been a Ranger fan since the mid 70s, I have seen some of the worst defense ever pawned off on MLB. But tonight warmed my heart. I didn’t see much of the game, but the one DP that Andrus somehow turned even after Harrison’s throw was ticketed for centerfield was remarkable.

    I don’t know if any previous Ranger SS would have caught the throw…much less come down acrobatically on the bag…and forget about making that throw.

    One theory is that the breaks will even out and thus the Yankees should roll tomorrow. But the other side of that coin is that teams make their own breaks by being more prepared and focused. The latter sure seemed to be the case whenever the Yanks ran into…or over my poor Rangers in the playoffs circa the late 90s.

    We will see.

    • I know one Ranger SS who’d've done it: Michael Young. That guy would’ve gritted and hearted his way to making the play!

      Seriously, though, Andrus is a great fielder. What’s it like to have a SS who can make all of the plays? ;)

  2. Dangerous Dean

    lol. You were a Yankee fan when Jeter was young, so you know what that feels like.

    • T.O. Chris

      Does anyone believe that even a young Derek Jeter was anything more than simply good at SS defensively and slow decayed into mediocre to terrible on any given night? He has to be one of the most overrated defensive players in the history of the game, his work with the bat speaks for itself (and even that’s gets overrated to some degree I think) but it’s not like anyone thinks back on Ruth as some monster glove in RF. I simply don’t get how diving into seats and cutting your face a couple times makes you a gold glove SS.

  3. Larry this post has an awesome title. Well done.

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