The Farm Report: 7/31/12

Trenton beat Altoona 2-1:
Oscar Tejeda started the second with a solo homer for the Curve, who held the slim lead through six innings as Gerrit Cole kept the Trenton offense in check.  The Thunder rallied in the seventh though, as Zoilo Almonte lead off with a homer to tie the game.  Melky Mesa reached on a single and Luke Murton followed with a single.  A double play ball by JR Murphy allowed Mesa to score, giving the Thunder a 2-1 win.

No one on Trenton had more than one hit, as they scattered six hits.  Rob Segedin went 1-2 with a double and a walk.  Almonte’s homer was accounted for the Thunder’s other extra base hit.  Altoona’s Gerrit Cole gave Trenton a hard time, allowing just three hits and one walk while striking out six.   Brett Marshall gave Trenton six strong innings. allowing one run on four hits, three walks and four Ks.

Tampa beat Charlotte 6-4 in 11 innings:
The  Yankees jumped out to an early lead, as Adonis Garcia reached on an error in the first, and Slade Heathcott followed with a single and they both moved over on a wild pitch.  A single by Tyler Austin plated Garcia and Heathcott for a 2-0 lead.  Charlotte tied the game with two runs in the second and pulled ahead with two runs in the fourth.  Tampa rallied in the eighth, as Austin singled and Kyle Roller was hit by a pitch.  A double by Kyle Higashioka scored Austin and Roller, tying the game 4-4 and sending it into extras.  Charlotte loaded the bases in the bottom of the tenth on walks, but Aaron Dott got out of trouble.  Tampa responded in the top of the eleventh with a single by Ramon Flores.  He stole second and with two outs, scored on a single by Austin.  Kyle Roller singled to right, plating Austin and giving the Yankees a 6-4 win.

Flores went 4-6 with a run scored, a triple and a stolen base.  Austin went 4-5 with two runs scored and three RBIs.  Roller went 2-5 with a run scored, a double and a RBI.  Higashioka wnet 2-5 with two doubles, two RBIs and a walk.  Shane Greene allowed four runs (two earned) on five hits, no walks and seven Ks.

Charleston beat Greenville 10-5:
Greenville had a 3-0 lead after three, but the RiverDogs started to come back in the top of the fourth.  Kelvin De Leon and Jamiel Orozco hit back-to-back doubles, scoring their first run of the day.  Reymond Nunez lined a single to center for a 3-2 deficit.  The Drive got one run back in the bottom of the fifth, but the RiverDogs put together a big rally in the sixth.  De Leon was hit by a pitch and moved over on a wild pitch.  A single by Eduardo Sosa scored De Leon.  Cito Culver drew a walk and Ben Gamel singled in Nunez.  Robert Refsnyder lined a single to center, plating two more runs for Charleston.  Refsnyder got picked off and Ali Castillo doubled.  He scored on a single by Francisco Arcia and the RiverDogs held an 8-4 lead.  Greenville came put up one more run in the seventh and Gamel started the eighth with a triple to right.  Refsnyder doubled him in and scored on a double by Arcia for a 10-5 win.

Gamel went 3-5 with two runs scored, a triple and two RBIs.  Refsnyder went 3-3 with a run scored, a double, three RBIs and a walk.  Nunez went 4-5 with a run scored and a RBI.  Bryan Mitchell went five and gave up four runs (one earned) on five hits, four walks and five Ks.

Nova flames out. Yankees lose to O’s, 11-5

It seemed from this angle that the game’s balanced changed with Mark Reynold’s at bat in the top of the second. Nova had started the inning by allowing consecutive singles to Adam Jones and Matt Wieters. Nova then blew away both Lew Ford and Wilson Betemit on strikeouts. It looked like he was going to get out of the inning as he had Mark Reynolds, one of the most prolific strikeout batters in history, down 0-2 in the count. Nova and Martin had a little conference to decide what the next pitch would be. It would be a terrible decision. Nova threw the flattest of sliders and Reynolds punished it for a ground rule double to left. Here is pictorial proof of how bad that pitch was (from Brooks Baseball):

From there the floodgates opened and Nova could not hold back the flood. Omar Quintanilla singled to score two. Nick Markakis singled and J.J. Hardy walked to load the bases. Then the killer blow happened as Chris Davis hit the top of the Orioles’ bullpen wall and the ball bounced over for a grand slam. The five run lead turned into a two run deficit and Nova and the Yankees never recovered.

All in all, Nova pitched five ineffective innings. He gave up ten hits and nine runs with a walk and five strikeouts. Of the ten hits, five were for extra bases to pad Nova’s majors leading extra base hits allowed total. Four were doubles and the grand slam. Again from Brooks Baseball, here is Nova’s chart for the game. Warning, this chart is not suitable for children:

All those blue squares in the middle of the strike zone speak volumes for how easy Nova made it for the Orioles’ batters.

As for the Yankees, Derek Jeter went three for five with a double, a run scored and two infield singles. Every other Yankees’ starter had a hit but Jeter was the only one with multiple hits. Curtis Granderson had a single in the first to plate Jeter but then struck out three times and hit into a double play to end the game. Robinson Cano hit a two-run homer in the first as part of the Yankees’ five run rally.

Tonight’s game was only the seventh occasion this season where the Yankees did not have a single walk in the game.  And yet, it was the third time since July 19, when this tough patch started for the Yankees in Oakland.

Phil Hughes will battle Zach Britton in the series finale tomorrow as the Yankees try to salvage one game from this series. The game is an afternoon start and will begin at 1:05.

Game 103: Joba’s Back!


For those of you may not have heard as of yet, Joba Chamberlain will be in the Yankees bullpen tonight, replacing Chad Qualls. Finally, our long national nightmare is over.

And hey, Qualls was sent to the Pirates for 1B/3B Casey McGehee and cash. McGehee is currently “hitting” .230/.297/.377 with an 83 wRC+ (on the heels of a 68 wRC+ last season), though he does have a 119 wRC+ against LHP this year … following a 6 wRC+ against southpaws in 2011. His defense is passable at the hot corner, for what it’s worth, though different metrics offer different opinions there. At the very least, the Yankees got a warm body for Qualls, which is more than most could have expected.

Here’s a quick recap of today’s other deals:

  • The Phillies sent Shane Victorino to the Dodgers for Josh Lindblom and Ethan Martin
  • The Phillies sent Hunter Pence to the Giants for Tommy Joseph, Nate Schierholtz, and Seth Rosin
  • The Cubs sent Ryan Dempster to the Rangers for Christian Villanueva and Kyle Hendricks
  • The Marlins sent Gaby Sanchez and Kyle Kaminska to the Pirates for Gorkys Hernandez and their 2013 competitive balance pick
  • The Marlins sent Edward Mujica to the Cardinals for Zack Cox
  • The Red Sox sent Matt Albers and Scott Podsednik to the Diamondbacks for Craig Breslow
  • The Red Sox sent Lars Anderson to the Indians for (knuckleballer!) Steven Wright
  • The Royals sent Jonathan Broxton to the Reds for J.C. Sulbaran and Donnie Joseph

Onto the lineups:

Baltimore Orioles New York Yankees
Nick Markakis, RF Derek Jeter, DH
J.J. Hardy, SS Curtis Granderson, CF
Chris Davis, DH Robinson Cano, 2B
Adam Jones, CF Nick Swisher, 1B
Matt Wieters, C Raul Ibanez, LF
Lew Ford, LF Eric Chavez, 3B
Wilson Betemit, 3B Ichiro Suzuki, RF
Mark Reynolds, 1B Russell Martin, C
Omar Quintanilla, 2B Ramiro Pena, SS
Miguel Gonzalez, SP Ivan Nova, SP

The first pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m., on YES and the MLB Network. Let’s go Yankees!

Hughes’ Reverse Platoon Split

Facing a right handed hitter should be the strength of a right handed pitcher. A reverse platoon split is a rare find in baseball, and occurs when a pitcher has better numbers against opposite-side hitters than same-side hitters. Our very own Phil Hughes has spotted one of the worst reverse platoon splits in baseball. While lefties are hitting a meager .196/.250/.367 in 2012, righties hit .318/.358/.613. Although he has close to no split in his career, 2012 has been an odd season for the 26 year oldd, who’s had to deal with a number of mechanical changes. He’s progressively improved throughout this season, but one factor that remains is this puzzling problem against right handed hitters.

Phil Hughes Platoon Splits By Month 
Month BA (R) OBP (R) SLG (R) BA (L) OBP (L) SLG (L)
April .357 .400 .690  .290 .389 .613
May .410 .422 .770  .163 .217 .267
June .256 .289 .488  .210 .264 .383
July .258 .319 .500  .182 .203 .364

You’ll see a clear drop in all aspects of the batting lines once Hughes made adjustments in May and June. Losing the cutter in May, adding an 11-5 curveball, and dropping his arm angle in late June have drastically lowered offensive production, including from the right side. Right handers put up a May and April OPS of 1.151, which has fallen to .803 in June and July. While this is a large improvement, the number is well above his career average .711, and with the way he’s throwing the ball of late, you expect better numbers.

Hughes' Pitch Locations to RHH in April and May

When you consider the movement of a fastball from a right handed pitcher, you expect the majority of the pitches to be inside. At the beginning of the year, Hughes had great rising action on his fastball, but it had little horizontal movement, making many of the pitches straight. It would seem that the lack of horizontal movement that would typically jam a right handed hitter, forced him to pitch to the outside part of the zone. The results were pretty terrible.

Hughes' 2012 Strikezone Reports (Left: June/July, Right: April/May)

The charts above show the results on fastballs inside the strikezone to righties from a catcher’s perspective. On the right, for the months of April and May, you’ll see that Hughes’ four-seam and cutter were crushed nearly everywhere. Although the sample size is small, Hughes has much more success in the chart on the left, which shows the results for June and July. Specifically, he is beginning to throw inside more, and with a much better outcome. In fact, the pitches inside to righties have improved so much, they are are producing better results than fastballs away.

As I mentioned last week, the mechanical changes have increased the four-seam movement into right handed hitters. While the outcomes show that the new four-seam movement is very successful on the inside part of the strikezone, Hughes hasn’t made a particularly big effort to pitch in yet. If we aren’t seeing small sample size, jamming hitters could help neutralize same-side success. Not only will it encourage weaker contact and more whiffs, but I suspect the ridiculous homerun rates will slowly fall. Hopefully, this .412 wOBA versus righties has nowhere to go but down.