Author Archives: William Tasker

Three-run homer in ninth sinks Yanks, 4-3

Both starting pitchers did an excellent job of keeping their teams in the game. Ivan Nova started for the Yankees and his sole blemish was a homer to Alejandro De Aza in the top of the fifth. De Aza had four hits in the game. Nova pitched seven and a third innings and allowed six hits and three walks. Nova struck out five in the game and was in line for his tenth victory if the Yankees could have hung on for the win.

The White Sox starter, Dylan Axelrod, did a fine job of keeping the Yankees just off balance enough to give his team a chance to win. The Yankees would score their only two runs off of him in the bottom of the fifth. In that frame, Curtis Granderson hit a single with two outs and then Alex Rodriguez hit a long drive to the left-center gap and after a long run, De Aza had the ball hit off the heel of his glove for what was ruled a double.…

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Freddy Garcia could surprise us

Unlike Rapada and Eppley before him, Freddy Garcia looked like a professional pitcher the moment he stepped on the mound. Suddenly, the game had possibilities. It was those thoughts that led to another thought: Perhaps having to fill one of the gaps in the rotation with Freddy Garcia is not a bad thing. Maybe it is a good thing. Could that be possible?

Garcia has been the butt of so many Yankee jokes this season that such a thought seems inconceivable. This is the same guy that threw five wild pitches in one game. This is the same guy who might have had the worst April as a Yankee pitcher since Chien-Ming Wang‘s disastrous 2009 version.  Garcia’s ERA at the end of April was 12.51. His game scores in his four starts in April were 42, 36, 21 and 22. In 14.2 innings of work, Garcia gave up 31 base runners. You cannot get much worse than that.

But June has been an entirely different story.…

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Yankees pitching is in good shape

After spending a morning pouring over the numbers, a couple of nice nuggets were uncovered. First, every Yankee starter currently manning the rotation has an average game score of at least league average or higher. The league average game score is 50 and even Phil Hughes has brought his game score average to that level (50.3). All four of the others are over 50. Ivan Nova is at 51.2. C.C. Sabathia is at 56.2. Hiroki Kuroda is sitting at 53.9 and Andy Pettitte is at 59 even. This position of all five starters over league average seemed unattainable at the start of the season.

The Yankees’ pitching as a whole are second in the American League in strikeout to walk ratio. At 2.96 strikeouts per walks, only the Texas Rangers are ahead with a ratio of 3.06. The White Sox are close at 2.84 but no other team is in the in the ballpark. This is excellent news as walks and strikeouts are two of the few things a pitcher is said to be able to control.…

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Derek Jeter’s 38 greatest hits

  1. April 11, 2006 – The Yankees were off to a rough start at 3-4 and were down 7-4 against the Royals in the bottom of the eighth in Yankee Stadium II. The Yankees rallied with five runs in the bottom of that frame to win the game. The big blow was the game winner, a three-run homer by Derek Jeter with Bernie Williams and a young Robinson Cano on base.
  2. June 2, 2006 – The Yankees were in second  place, a half a game back from the leader. In a game against the Orioles at Baltimore, the Yankees were tied 3-3 in the top of the seventh and Jeter delivered a single to score Johnny Damon and put the Yankees up, 4-3. But Kyle Farsnworth blew the save in the bottom of the eighth to tie the game. So Jeter hit another single in the ninth to again plate Johnny Damon for the game winner.
  3. April 30, 2010 – Andy Pettitte had a rough start in this game and the Yankees were down, 4-2, in the fifth against Freddy Garcia and the White Sox.
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The clutch hitting thing

The Yankees have been on national television a thousand times already. While that is good for ratings and for far-flung Yankee fans like yours truly, it also provides these national outlets plenty of opportunities to put up their statistics on how badly the Yankees are faring with runners in scoring position and with the bases loaded. While certainly these are valid statistics, they do not tell the entire story. The bottom line is how many runs your team scores and how many runs the other team scores. And that equation is going in the Yankees’ direction more often than not.

The Yankees are second in the majors in run differential behind only the Texas Rangers. In the American League, the Yankees are fourth in scoring and prevent runs third best in the league. That is a winning combination. Should we really care on how that gets done? It is often said that the Yankees failed in the post season last year because of this same problem with clutch hitting.…

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Ibanez ties it. Chavez wins it. Yanks beat Mets, 4-3

Reaction to Ivan Nova‘s start was mixed on Twitter. Some said the Yankees’ starter was bailed out by the homers. But the truth is closer to the fact that he kept the Yankees in the game and made three bad pitches. One resulted in a Kirk Nieuwenhuis solo homer in the bottom of the third. The second was a double to Omar Quintanilla that compounded a fielding error by Alex Rodriguez to lead to another run. And Daniel Murphy hit a double to center that led to the third and final run in the bottom of the sixth. But it really could have been worse. Nova got out of a second and third situation in the fourth with only one of the runs scoring on a ground out and struck out Kirk Nieuwenhuis to end that threat. Nova struck out seven in his five and two-thirds innings and walked three.

Once the Yankees took the lead, they still had to preserve it by getting nine more outs.…

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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.…

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Whitey Ford pitches a 14-inning shutout

Whitey Ford is important, of course, to Yankee lore. “The Chairman of the Board,” is lumped together with Yogi and Mickey as the bulwarks of that era of Yankee baseball. It is often mistakenly thought that his success was largely due to the team he pitched for. After all, his 236-106 career record and .690 winning percentage are kind of freakish. But Ford was more than just a guy who benefited from pitching for the Yankees. He finished his career with a 2.75 ERA and allowed only 7.9 hits per nine innings for his career. His post season career may not look impressive at 10-8 in the World Series, but his post season ERA and hits per nine were nearly identical to his regular season career totals. He was a really good pitcher.

And Whitey Ford lost two full seasons to the armed services. He had broken in to the majors at the age of 21 in 1950 and had stunning success as he went 9-1.…

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