Author Archives: Gabe Lezra

Game 71: Just how good is this Dickey guy, anyway? (Game Chat)

Yankees

D. Jeter, SS
C. Granderson, CF
A. Rodriguez, 3B
R. Cano, 2B
M. Teixeira, 1B
N. Swisher, RF
R. Ibanez, LF
C. Stewart, C
C. Sabathia, P

Mets

A. Torres, CF
R. Tejada, SS
D. Wright, 3B
S. Hairston, LF
L. Duda, RF
J. Turner, 1B
R. Cedeno, 2B
J. Thole, C

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Cueto, Reds, Outlast Sabathia, Yankees In 5-2 Win

The game started well enough for the Yankees, with CC Sabathia dealing–as he is wont to do–and the offense appearing to be able to touch Reds starter Johnny Cueto. CC had a no-hitter through four and a third innings–he was magnificent, as he can be when all of his pitches are working–but the Reds seemed to catch on as the game progressed, laying off the slider away, and forcing CC to come back to them.

Johnny Cueto, who, up until his previous start, had been one of the hottest pitchers in the game, looked strong–with his fastball running up to 95 MPH–but ultimately hittable (the Yankees had hits in almost every inning he pitched). Robinson Cano seemed particularly comfortable against Cueto–Robbie went 2-for-3 on the night, with a walk and a run.

Both pitchers looked very good until the bottom half of the sixth inning, when Cueto made his only real mistake of the night. After a leadoff double to Cano, and a hard flyout by A-Rod, Cueto hung a slider to Raul Ibanez, who deposited it into the second deck in right field.…

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Previewing Yankees Vs. Orioles: First Of Two Quickies In Baltimore

This would normally be the point in the preview where I tell you something like “hey, they’re getting lucky. Here are some complicated, impenetrable numbers that I will tell you mean that they’re getting lucky, and you should just believe me when I say that because I’m a guy with a computer.” Here’s my usual progression in graphic form, courtesy of Graham MacAree and SBNation:

But I don’t feel like doing that song-and-dance today (and yes, this is because the 97-degree Spanish heat has fried my brain, thanks for asking).

Instead, here’s a list of things that the Orioles are doing correctly:

  1. Hitting the ball hard. Adam Jones, Matt Weiters, and Nolan Reimold all have wOBAs over .387. Yikes.
  2. Jason Hammel.
  3. Realizing that Mark Reynolds is pretty much just the worst, and finally platooning him.
  4. Not giving up home runs. Only one of their starters (Tommy Hunter) has a HR/FB rate higher than the ML average (around 12-14%–Jake Arrieta is at 14%).

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Missed Opportunities, Kevin Millwood Rain On Andy’s Parade As Mariners Down Yankees 6-2

This is not to say that Andy Pettitte wasn’t, well, Andy Pettitte: he pitched quickly, efficiently, and with an ease that belied how nervous he was to be making his return to the big leagues. A nervous laugh, a couple of deep breaths as he took the mound, and a scared look as the first batter lofted a long fly ball that had Nick Swisher leaping to catch against the wall. Phew. Deep breath, and back to work.

And work he did: Pettitte dealt for three innings in classic fashion. He induced groundouts at important moments, struck people out looking on picturesque sliders in the dirt and inch-perfect fastballs on the lower outside corner (he had that spot for most of the day). And he didn’t look like he was tricking the Mariners in a Freddy Garcia way; he looked confident in his stuff–he topped out at 90 MPH, and sat at around 88–and it always felt like he could throw strikes.…

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Previewing Yankees Vs. Mariners: The Second Coming Of Jesús

I imagine you’ve probably heard that joke a couple hundred million times already, but I just had to get it in. Then, I realized that I could only fit it into this article if I lead with it, as I’m pretty much going to spend the next couple hundred words talking about Jesus. Montero, that is. (Before we meander any farther down this train of thought, pause to mourn the fact that we won’t get to see any Jesús Montero/Jesus puns on the back pages of the New York dailies).

In all seriousness, this will be Montero’s first series against the Yankees, and I have no doubt at all that he will be looking to remind the Yankee brass what they’re missing. Not that they need reminding—all they have to do is look down at Michael Pineda, arm in a sling, sitting in plain clothes with his parents in the stands.

So far this year, Montero has been mediocre: his .268/.282/.420 triple slash line is uninspiring, as is his .298 wOBA.…

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Previewing Yankees Vs. Rays: Vengeance Is A Dish Best Served, Well, At Home, Apparently

In other impressive streak-related news (and I do think that this should be a required drop-down menu on any major baseball website), with a win tonight, James Shields would tie Scott Kazmir’s record for consecutive wins as a Ray (and the magic number is…6! Come on down!). And while I’m all for watching history being made, there are a good number of reasons why I don’t think this will happen want to witness this: (1) James Shields has a lifetime 2-6 record, with a 5.05 ERA in Yankee Stadium (2) I don’t want the Rays to win (3) I want the Yankees to win (4) the Rays have, despite “their recent dominance of New York,” only two wins in their last eight games in the Bronx (5) after being chronically underappreciated in the offseason, the Rays are now over-hyped (in this author’s exceedingly un-humble opinion) and (6) Ivan Nova has been good against the Rays, holding a 2-0 record in four starts with a 3.47 ERA (his last outing against Tampa was a 7 and two-thirds inning shutout gem).…

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Yankees Ride Hughes, Home Runs, To 10-4 Win Over Kansas City

While it wasn’t a perfect start from Phil–he still served up a homer, and a couple of well-hit doubles, all on mistakes–it was certainly an important one. With Andy Pettitte looming in Scranton Empire State, Hughes needs to string together a couple performances like this one in order to ensure his place in the rotation.

Still, in some games, giving up three runs over six plus innings isn’t good enough to earn you the win; today was not one of those days. While I don’t feel great about that Douglas Adams-like terrible transition (“Cano’s grand slam hung in the air much the same way bricks don’t”), it does work to convey my point: Luke Hochevar was pretty terrible today. You can see why everyone (still) thinks Hochevar has top-of-the-rotation stuff (his fastball/cutter/changeup combo is as good as it gets); but he lived up to his inconsistent billing, giving up six runs in the third inning, four on a huge grand slam for one Robinson Canó, and another solo shot to a jubilant Nick Swisher.…

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Previewing Yankees Vs. Orioles: CC…And Who?

Here are some statistics that might interest you: the Yankees are in the top 5 in every meaningful batting category. Seriously, don’t bother worrying about that. Hiroki Kuroda, Phil Hughes, and Ivan Nova have averaged a 16.44% HR/FB rate combined. Over their careers, they’ve averaged 9.4%. The three “and who?” guys have averaged a .369 BABIP in 2012; their career average (combined) sits around .290. Their 2012 ERAs are 4.38 (Kuroda), 7.88 (Hughes), and 5.18 (Nova); their 2012 xFIPs and SIERAs (two fielding-independent statistics that tend to be predictive of future ERA) are 3.85 and 4.00 (Kuroda), 4.68 and 3.91 (Hughes), and 3.13 and 3.13 (Nova). I’m not saying that these three guys are lighting the world on fire every time they go out there. But I am saying that they haven’t been a) nearly as bad as some media members might have you think, and b) not as bad as their superficial numbers indicate.

Does this mean they’re going to be world-beaters in 2012?…

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