June 22nd Game Thread: Chickens don’t clap!

I can’t hear anybody talk about chickens without being reminded of this, so thank you Frank Francisco.

Weather permitting, the Yankees will be taking on their cross-town rivals at Citi Field (National League baseball, so prepare for STRATEGY) tonight in the first game of a 3-game set.  Frank Francisco’s silly comments may have raised the temperature for the series a little bit, but that’s pretty much par for the course in this big dog-little dog relationship.  Andy Pettitte will take the hill for the Yankees, taking on a younger version of himself in Jon Niese for the Mets.  This should be a great matchup, particularly with how well Andy has been pitching of late, but for many fans this is but an appetizer for the impending CC Sabathia-R.A. Dickey matchup.  Nonetheless, there will (hopefully) be baseball tonight, so feel free to discuss it in this thread.  Also, feel free to answer this question (particular if the game is rained out): What is your favorite kind of chicken?… Click here to read the rest

Game 69: Live blogging from the pressbox

6:41: It’s pouring. Daniel Marcus is next to me and utters: “It’s downright biblical out there“. Proof:

6:45: The media lounge does not provide free food. Soda, popcorn, yes. Food no. I hit up Blue Smoke instead. Better choice.

6:51: Ken Rosenthal is sitting behind us in the pressbox. No bowtie.

7:00: Sodas are free. My bladder is up for the challenge.

7:10: Marc Carig is having wayyyy too much fun with this whole chicken thing.

7:19: Rosenthal’s a joker:

me:

The immortal @ken_rosenthal is sitting behind me in the box.

Ken, to a Twitter heckler:

@Peter_M_Francis @jason_iiatms Accurate. But I bet you wouldn’t say that to my face!

me:

hey @Peter_M_Francis, don’t rip him, @ken_rosenthal is a stand up guy. Kidding aside, good to be here with him.

7:25: Field staff on the tarp. Taking it off momentarily?

7:27: Tarp’s coming off

7:43 While waiting for the teams to come out, here’s the text of a chat Brien and I did with Vinny from Metsblog:

Vinny Cartiglia: I find that no matter who the Yankees are playing — even if it is a NL East team — I have a hard time rooting for them; even though I know I should.… Click here to read the rest

The agony and the ecstasy: A day in the life of Eric Chavez

I’m running a little short on deep analytical inspiration this Friday afternoon, so instead I will point you to this excellent piece by the Wall Street Journal’s Dan Barbarisi on the daily routine that allows Eric Chavez, who suffers from chronic back problems, to play.   Chavez has been an easy target of humor in the blogosphere because he has been incredibly injury-prone throughout his career.  Barbarisi’s article, which details the hours of stretching and physical therapy that Chavez undergoes just to be able to set foot on the field, is a powerful description of the work Chavez puts in to play the game he loves:

To stay on the field, Chavez has developed an elaborate routine to prepare his back, and then prevent it from tightening up during the day. It begins with the morning of stretching, and often continues with professional therapy from noon to 2 p.m. before games.

Then it’s time to head to the park, where the real work begins.

Click here to read the rest

The Wandy Rodriguez Option

As July approaches, and with it trading season in Major League Baseball, it appears as though the Yankees will thoroughly explore all options available for acquiring a starting pitcher. Despite the strong seasons being offered up by CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, and Andy Pettitte and the brief flashes of brilliance we’ve seen from Ivan Nova and Phil Hughes, the Yankees could use some help at the back of the rotation. With a strong farm system and a competitive American League East a move could very well be made, with one name mentioned perhaps more frequently than others: Wandy Rodriguez.

On Wednesday, Jon Morosi of Fox Sports reported that the Astros would listen to offers for their top starting pitcher, left hander Wandy Rodriguez. Rodriguez, 33, is in the middle of a three-year contract he signed before the 2011 season and has been relatively consistent since his breakout 2008 campaign. A late bloomer, Wandy didn’t reach the Major Leagues until the age of 26 and struggled mightily in his first three seasons with an ERA of 5.17 through the age of 28.… Click here to read the rest

Looking At R.A. Dickey’s Knuckleball Through PITCHf/x

As a Yankee fan surrounded by Met fans, I remember joking with my friends that R.A. Dickey would be the next Cy Young contender out of Queens. I also remember the day Dickey was called up, and thinking how desperate the Mets must be to call up a 35 year old knuckleballer. Aside from his personal health battles, Dickey was always a guy I’d go out of my way to watch. If I didn’t have Yankee blood running through my veins, maybe my knuckleball fix would have been satisfied by Tim Wakefield. Alas, watching Dickey work brings my mind to the core of pitching, it makes me forget that I’m watching a Met game, and reminds me that baseball is a game of physics. Spotting a knuckleball move is one of the best parts of baseball, and I can’t wait to see how the Yankees approach Dickey on Sunday.

Through the 2012 season, Dickey has an 11-1 record, a 2.00 ERA, a 2.72 FIP, 6.1 H/9, 1.9 HR/9, and a 9.4 K/9.… Click here to read the rest

Andy Pettitte is quite a story

Pettitte is getting batters to chase pitches out of the strike zone at a much higher rate this season than in 2010. Opposing batters have swung at 37.1 percent of his pitches out of the strike zone. That compares favorably to his 29.7 percent rate of 2010. That might be the biggest factor in his swing and miss rate, which is also much higher. Batters are swinging and missing on 11.2 percent of his offerings. This is easily his highest rate since this kind of data began recording in 2002 and it blows away the 7.6 percent swing and miss rate of 2010.

And for an old guy who got a lot older in the past two seasons, he is going deeper into games. He averaged 6.15 innings per start in 2010 and is averaging 6.88 innings per start in 2012.  He is also throwing more first pitch strikes than at any point in his career. 67 percent of his first pitches are strikes.… Click here to read the rest