Sherman: Playoff expansion on the way

This proposal hasn’t really met with a positive response across most of the internet baseball world, but I still like it. I like that it creates a tangible incentive to win your division rather than settling for a wild card, I like that it creates a real disadvantage for the wild card teams in the ALDS, and I’m excited for the prospect of the one-game playoffs.

Sherman’s reporting also outlines what I think are some pretty weak arguments against the idea within the game:

Nevertheless, there had been a lot of management officials who are concerned that a team would spend six months and 162 games to earn a playoff spot, and be eliminated in one game. This group felt it would be particularly unfair if, for example, one wild-card team won significantly more games than another and was ousted in a one-game playoff.

Well cry me a river! Arguments like this really annoy me, if only because you’d obviously never think of applying it to the status quo.… Click here to read the rest

Recent study suggests sabermetrics are connected to root of all evil

Typically, I dismiss most articles in my RSS feed produced by the mainstream media.  Generally with a raised brow and a quick decisive click of the mouse ,they’re gone and I’m onto the next topic du jour. I have to give Jason Whitlock of FOX Sports credit though for grabbing my attention after producing one of the more myopic posts I’ve read in quite some time — one that I’d like to take a few moments to furiously protest against respond too.

Whitlock explains,

I won’t be going to see “Moneyball.” The movie celebrates the plague ruining sports: sabermetrics. … [James, Bean, and Lewis] unwittingly conspired to remove much of the magic and mystery from baseball. They reduced the game to a statistical bore. It’s no longer enough to be down with OBP (on-base percentage). To talk the game, you now must understand OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging), VORP (value over replacement player), BABIP (batting average on balls in play) and on and on.

Click here to read the rest

Girardi clarifies ALDS rotation











Yesterday Joe Girardi added some clarity to the rotation he plans to use for the upcoming ALDS. It was reported on in numerous places later in the afternoon, but the Yankee manager broke the news on his weekly segment with WFAN’s Mike Francesa. Here’s the breakdown:

Game 1-CC Sabathia

Game 2-Ivan Nova

Game 3-Undecided

Game 4-CC Sabathia (3 days rest)

Game 5-Ivan Nova (full rest)

It’s amazing that we’ve reached game 156 of the regular season and we still have no clear choice for a Game 3 start, but here we are.  When the Yanks broke camp in April, it appeared they had two number 2’s in Burnett and Hughes, with nobody quite knowing what to expect from the likes of Nova, Garcia and Colon. But the long regular season has sorted out the Nova’s from the Burnett’s and the Yanks now find themselves in a troublesome quandary. Game 3 of a 5 game set is often pivotal (unless you win the first two) putting the winner in the driver’s seat needing just one win with two to play.… Click here to read the rest

Game Thread: Red Sox vs. Yankees, 9/23/2011 (7:05PM EST on YES)

[Update: 9/23/11 — 8:03 PM] Game’s been postponed.  Double header scheduled for Sunday.

[Update: 9/23/11 — 7:00 PM] Tonight’s game is currently in rain delay.  Check back with TYA for updates throughout the evening.  Until then enjoy your Friday!

The Yankees have clinched a playoff berth. They’ve won their division. With a little luck, they’ll have home field advantage in the bag soon enough. Meanwhile, the Sox have spiraled into oblivion this month and are sputtering to the finish line. A win tonight (weather permitting) for the Yanks places that much more pressure on those guys from Bean-Town. Use this as your game thread for the evening!

Starting Lineups (compliments of
1. Jacoby Ellsbury (L) CF
2. Dustin Pedroia (R) 2B
3. Adrian Gonzalez (L) 1B
4. David Ortiz (L) DH
5. Mike Aviles (R) 3B
6. Carl Crawford (L) LF
7. Marco Scutaro (R) SS
8. Jarrod Saltalamacchia (S) C
9. Josh Reddick (L) RF

1. Derek Jeter (R) SS
2.… Click here to read the rest

Joe Girardi: Manager of the Year

(Graphic courtesy of Tyler Wilkinson)

What makes a great manager? Is it a keen mind that grasps and applies strategy well? A foundation of organization and planning that allows the manager to rarely be caught off guard? A sense of the moment and the ability to improvise and go with his gut? The ability to handle the egos on his roster and survive in the media? All of the above?

Luckily, this is a question that the Manager of the Year voters never feel the need to address. Instead, they determine which team was the most surprising or had the most key injuries, and the manager of that club is dubbed Manager of the Year. Because defining good managing is difficult and quantifying all managerial decisions and actions is near impossible, voters take a shortcut and essentially award the “Manager Of The Most Surprising Or Resilient Team Of The Year” Award. Now, while the Yankees almost never qualify for that accolade, their performance this year, as well as Joe Girardi‘s actual observed performance, makes him just as good a choice as any for a postseason award.… Click here to read the rest

Maybe I want to play the Tigers after all

Don’t listen to ’em Jim! You know what you’re doing, who needs to maximize your best starting pitchers in the playoffs? Those damn Moneyball nerds, that’s who. And what do they know about baseball anyway?

Seriously though, why are managers so stupid? This isn’t even a remotely difficult decision for the Tigers. The only two dependable starters they have right now are Verlander and Doug Fister, and given the layout of the ALDS schedule, the Game 2 starter can also start Game 5 on normal rest. So literally all you have to do is ask your best starter to throw one game on short rest if the series even gets to a fourth game, and you can avoid using your fourth best starter (in the Tigers’ case, that would be Rick Porcello and his 84 ERA+) altogether. If you can’t have enough faith in your so-called ace to do that, what’s the point?

Say what you will about Joe Girardi, he seems to get this (though they haven’t actually had to start C.C.Click here to read the rest

A stark example of why wins and losses don’t measure pitching performance

Even D-Rob knows he got lucky Wednesday night

If I could choose to eliminate one statistic from all of baseball, I’d choose a pitcher’s wins total gleefully. There may be other popular statistics that are also misleading, such as RBI or runs, but no statistic is as egregious an offender, no statistic is leaned upon so heavily for misinformation, as a pitcher’s number of wins.

Most statistically minded baseball fans object to using wins to evaluate pitchers for the same reason. Simply put, a high win-loss record is not highly correlated with pitching performance. The best example is Felix Hernandez in 2010. Last year King Felix had an ERA of 2.27 and a FIP of 3.12, but a won-loss record of 14-13. He had a lousy record because he pitched for the 2010 Mariners, an abysmal offensive team. Had he pitched for the Yankees he would have gone 24-3, and there would be no controversy surrounding his Cy Young candidacy.

Despite the litany of examples demonstrating that wins, more than any other stat, are heavily team dependent, have as much to do with the offense as the defense, and frequently punish good pitching performances or reward bad pitching performances, they come up again and again in the media as a means of evaluating a pitcher.… Click here to read the rest

Whither Bartolo?

Just yesterday I opined that
, for no particular reason, Colon struck me as more likely to give the Yankees at least 4 solid innings in Game 3 of the ALDS. Suffice it to say, that assumption took a pretty big hit last night. Not that I have any more faith in Garcia, who hasn’t pitched all that well since returning from the DL, but I can’t say I have much faith in Colon either. That’s probably not totally fair, as it was just two starts ago that he went 7 innings and held the Angels to one run, but the ALDS is going to see a matchup with a much better offense than the Angels’.

So where are we now? Maybe right back where we started the season; wondering about Phil Hughes and (gulp!) A.J. Burnett. Hughes has had his rough outings to be sure, but if his barking back isn’t an issue come October 3rd, Hughes might be the safe choice to make that start.… Click here to read the rest

Series Preview | Yankees vs. Red Sox VI: Winless in the Bronx

A-Rod make baseball go bye-bye. (screengrab c/o YES via

The Yankees are 0-6 at home against the Red Sox this year, having first suffered the ignominy of being swept at New Yankee Stadium for the first time in its three-season history by Boston in mid-May, then less than a month later being on the receiving end of an even more dubious distinction, as the Red Sox administered a second straight sweep of the Bombers at home, marking both the first time in history the Sox had ever won six straight games at a structure called Yankee Stadium, not to mention the first time the Yankees had ever been swept twice at home in the same season by the same opponent at YSIII.

And of course, the Yankees are also only 4-11 against Boston on the entire season, though they did finally win a series last time out, representing their first series win at Fenway Park since May 2010.… Click here to read the rest