Discussion: What Would You Give Up For An Astros Pitcher?

At some point during this season, the Yankees are going to look to upgrade the back end of their rotation. One or two of Hughes, Nova, Colon, Garcia, Millwood, or the minor league crew may evolve into an acceptable option behind C.C. Sabathia and A.J. Burnett, but the Yankees will surely at least explore the trade market for better options. Yesterday, MLB Trade Rumors pointed out two potential options from the Houston Astros: Wandy Rodriguez, SP: Up to $38.3MM owed through 2014.  Since Wandy is paid only $7MM this year, he’d fit into most contenders’ 2011 budgets.  His ’13 club option Continue reading Discussion: What Would You Give Up For An Astros Pitcher?

What are the alternatives to Brett Gardner?

Image Credit Last night was another rough night for Brett Gardner. He went 0-4, including a failed sac bunt, and looked pretty bad doing so. On that failed sac bunt…I think it’s safe to say that it’s time to halt the Brett Gardner as bunter experiment. The Yankees have been trying to get him to do it well since last year and it’s just not working. Gardner clearly doesn’t possess the skill to bunt and the Yankees need to stop forcing it. Gardner has shown that, if nothing else, he’s able to work the occasional walk and that’s more valuable Continue reading What are the alternatives to Brett Gardner?

Stop the (bullpen) madness.

Here’s the situation: It’s the bottom of the 6th inning and you’ve just pulled your starting pitcher at 105 pitches. You’re protecting a one run lead in a tough spot with runners on base. You call for your best strikeout pitcher out of the bullpen, who proceeds to strike the next two batters out on 11 pitches, 9 of them being strikes, to get your team out of the jam. What do you do next?

If you’re Joe Girardi you pull that guy out of the game, because now it’s the 7th inning, and that means it’s time for your 7th Inning Guy.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not blaming last night’s loss on this by any means. Robertson, Joba, and Rafael Soriano pitched 2.2 scoreless innings and handed a 2 run lead to Mariano Rivera. 99.9% of the time you might as well just drop that one in the win column and save everyone the effort, but last night was part of that 0.1% in which Mo reminds us that he’s not actually a robot or a demi-God. It happens, unfortunately, and when it does all you can really do is sigh, shrug, and remind yourself that you can’t predict baseball.

Still, in the bigger picture, Girardi’s bullpen strategy is going to need a big makeover.

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Rivera blows first save of the season, Yankees lose in the 10th

I need to be careful when I boast. In yesterday´s open thread I pointed out Mariano Rivera´s incredible start to the season. In Tuesday night´s game the greatest reliever of all time allowed his first runs of the season, walked his first batter of the season and blew his first save of the season. We all know he´ll do these things every year. It´s just that there are moments when it genuinely seems as though Mo will go the entire year without giving up a run, or walking a batter. A.J. Burnett was frustrating in this one, but kept the Continue reading Rivera blows first save of the season, Yankees lose in the 10th

Game 15: Yankees 5, Blue Jays 6

The Yankees headed north of the border this week, kicking off a series against the Toronto Blue Jays. A.J. Burnett did what he has done all season, giving the Yankees a solid start.  Unfortunately the rare blown save by Mariano Rivera led to extra innings, and the Blue Jays managed to hand the Yankees a 6-5 loss in the tenth inning.

The Blue Jays got on the board early, with a solo homer by Jose Bautista in the bottom of the first.  The Bombers struck back quickly, however. Kyle Drabek walked Nick Swisher and Eric Chavez to start the top of the second inning. Jorge Posadalined a single to left, plating Swisher for the Yankees first run. Russell Martin grounded into a double play, but Chavez was able to score and the Pinstripes took an early 2-1 lead.

Burnett walked Bautista with one out in the third.  A wild pitch moved him to second and Adam Lind hit the ball back to Burnett who made a throwing error, giving the Blue Jays runners on first and third.  A sac fly by Aaron Hill scored Bautista and the score was tied 2-2.

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Swinging With Doc Halladay

EDITOR’S NOTE: A long time FOTB, The Sporting Hippeaux, dropped me a line last week. Like me, his job is swallowing up his ability to write on a regular basis and as such, he’s bringing his talents to IIATMS. Hippeaux will be posting about once a week and I’m happy to have him join us. His first contribution is below:

Last week Brien challenged the conventional wisdom of “pitching to contact.” On Monday, Chip followed up on Brien’s hypothesis with an analysis of Freddy Garcia’s weekend start and some interesting data about contact rates over the last five seasons.  When Chip provided for us the ten pitchers with the highest contact rates in the sport since 2006 and the ten pitchers with the lowest, there was an apparent disparity.  One list included four Cy Young winners (and several likely future winners).  Every player on it had made an All-Star team.  The other list featured the likes of Jason Marquis and Jeff Suppan.  The only pitcher on it to attain anything like “Ace” status was Mark Buehrle.

I love Brien and Chip’s work as an assault on baseball cliche and the data is striking.  However, although the pitchers with the lowest contact rates were of an impressive ilk, there was clearly something (or somebody) missing.  Of the ten pitchers with the most Wins Above Replacement since 2006 (a rough estimate of the ten “best” pitchers over that span), only three were on Chip’s list: C.C. Sabathia, Tim Lincecum, and Johan Santana.

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Have the Yankees been Getting Lucky with their Home Runs?

EJ’s breakdown of the Yankee offense so far shows us pretty much what we would have expected: the Yankees are crushing home runs at an exceptional pace, but otherwise have been fairly pedestrian as far as getting hits and drawing walks are concerned.  EJ also singles out the Yankees’ home run per fly ball percentage of 20% as fairly high (which it is) and likely due for some regression.  That statement made me curious about the types of home runs that the Yankees have been hitting, to see whether they have been getting a disproportionate number of lucky breaks that Continue reading Have the Yankees been Getting Lucky with their Home Runs?

Feliciano Avoids Surgery, Boone Logan is our Man

  Word came in yesterday that Pedro Feliciano will avoid having surgery and undergo a “conservative shoulder strengthening program” for the next 6 weeks. Originally it was thought Dr. James Andrews would concur and recommend season ending shoulder surgery for the lefty specialist so this comes as a bit of a surprise. I would still seriously doubt the Yankees ever see him in a game this season though. For now the Yankees will have to go forward with Boone Logan. Looking at just his overall career numbers, one can get pretty frightened. For instance last season he had a gaudy 2.93 ERA but Continue reading Feliciano Avoids Surgery, Boone Logan is our Man

Yankees vs. Blue Jays I: Oh, it's you again

The Yankees head up to Toronto to face their most annoying foe of the 2010 season (for some people that distinction might go to Tampa Bay, but at least the Rays were a playoff-bound team last year). Toronto was one of only two teams — along with Tampa Bay —  to notch 10 wins against the Yankees last season, and their ridiculously annoying penchant for hitting two-baggers (27 doubles in 18 games) and home runs (33) against the Yankees last season led me to sardonically dub them The Toronto Extra-Base Hits. Combined with a slew of top-notch pitching performances — Continue reading Yankees vs. Blue Jays I: Oh, it's you again