Author Archives: Gabe Lezra

RISP-tastrophy! Yankees lose 1-3 behind Masterson’s gem, missed opportunities

But there’s the catch: this lineup just couldn’t get it done. Kuroda had a rocky first few innings, where his pitches were sailing high on him, and he just couldn’t seem to keep control of–or even locate–the strike zone. He let a couple of Indians get on base in the first inning, then made one terrible mistake to Michael Brantley, and that was it. He settled down as the night wore on, collecting strikeouts, locating his pitches, and waiting for his offense to wake up.

But it never did. Watching this team play baseball tonight was like having front row seats to an open-heart operation where the anesthetized patient is awake but totally paralyzed (a sort of living horror the likes of which few people have ever experienced). Tonight was the baseball equivalent of the medical phenomenon known as “anesthesia awareness”.

Look, I’m still a RISP-nonbeliever. But I’m not immune to these awful games.

  • The answer that I give when I get the RISP question is basically this: “Look, baseball is a game of probability, luck, and what we generally accept to be a mean, or normalcy.

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Japan night in the Bronx! Kuroda’s gem, Ichiro’s two homers power Yanks to 4-1 win over BoSox

Kuroda, in particular, deserves praise for his effort on the night. He looked to have no-hit stuff through three innings, before a couple singles fell in for hits, and he absolutely mowed down the sometimes-powerful Boston lineup. Even Yankee-killer Pedro Ciriaco couldn’t find a hit against Kuroda, who’s only blemish was a long home run by Adrian Gonzalez in the seventh inning. Kuroda’s two-seam fastball was particularly impressive: not only could he throw the pitch in any count to any location, it seemed like it had extra movement, gliding up to two feet across the plate. There was a pitch in the top of the eighth–I think–to Nick Punto, a called third strike, that moved from Punto’s stomach all the way to the other side of the plate, freezing the third baseman completely. Astonishing.

All gushing about Kuroda aside–and believe me, I could do plenty, plenty more–the game moved along at a relatively brisk pace, tempered only by the incredibly lethargic-seeming Josh Beckett.…

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Lester forgets it’s 2012, tosses seven-inning gem as Red Sox topple Yanks 4-1

Perhaps it’s a bit unfair to Lester to put all the blame for his dismal numbers onto him: by some metrics, he’s actually having a relatively acceptable season, pitching-wise. His FIP is 3.91, and his xFIP is down at 3.61 (he’s giving up homers at a slightly elevated 14.1 HR/FB%), his batting average on balls in play (BABIP) is 20 points above his career average, and his LOB% is about 10 points below his career mark. All of this suggests that he’s getting a bit unlucky–though just a bit. The BABIP and LOB% are a bit outside of his normal range, but they’re not huge outliers, and he might be giving up more homers this season because he’s leaving balls out over the plate more. While some of these numbers are indicative of bad luck, it’s hard to know when bad luck ends and a genuine drop in talent begins. The question, then–and it’s definitely one for another article, probably on another, more Sox-focused site–is whether Jon Lester’s mean stats are closer to what we’ve seen this year, or whether his talent is unchanged, and that this season is just an outlier.…

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Bronx Bombs: five homers power Yankees to 6-4 win over BoSox

Phil Hughes started the game well, setting the Sox down in order in the first and second, but he faltered in the third, after he let a wet ball slip away from him on a routine double play, allowing Mike Aviles to scoot into third. With Jacoby Ellsbury and Pedro Ciriaco on–and two out, after Ciriaco’s RBI fielder’s choice–he left a ball up in the zone to Pedroia, who deposited it in the left field seats. It was a bit of a shocking turn for Hughes, who was mixing his pitches well, throwing his fastball between 91 and 94 MPH, with his changeup fooling even the more experienced Sox batters.

He would recover to toss seven innings, however, and his final line wouldn’t be as ghastly as we might have thought after the third: 7 IP, 4 H, 4 R (0 ER), 4 K, 1 BB. Hughes’ recovery after his tough third inning was particularly impressive, considering how mentally fragile he can be; but tonight, there was no question about his stuff–he just got burned by one bad pitch (as they say in the business).…

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Phil not so philthy in Yankees’ 10-7 loss to Jays

The fourth inning was truly catastrophic for Hughes, who suffered from the terrible combination of an inability to keep his fastball down in the zone, ineffective breaking balls, timely hitting, and an energized Blue Jays lineup eager to avoid a sweep at home. It seemed like everything he threw in the fourth was either rocketed to the outfield or scraped through the infield. First, Moises Sierra singled; catcher Jeff Mathis promptly doubled him home. After a strikeout, a walk and a flyout, Rajai Davis–probably Toronto’s hero on the night–blasted a long double to center, scoring both of them. After Mike McCoy (Hank’s better looking brother), singled in Davis, Encarnacion–finally delivering on his promise this season–blasted a two run shot. 7-0, and it looked pretty much over.

The Jays tacked on a couple more runs before the sixth, bringing the score to 10-1, but the Yankees staged a relatively dramatic comeback. Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano (with Nick Swisher aboard) homered to bring the Yankees to 10-4; in the seventh, Granderson lead off with a single, the Casey McGehee–on fire, with an RBI double earlier–smoked a ball to left.…

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