Quick Hit: Severino’s Changing Approach?

In the recap this morning, I hinted at a potential change in Luis Severino’s approach over his last few starts.  He’s been much lower on strikeouts and higher on GB contact, and he made a comment about being more of a pitcher than a thrower before his last outing against Toronto in reference to that one bad outing earlier in the month.  It all adds up to a guy who’s starting to realize the differences between what does and doesn’t work when you go from Triple-A to the Majors and adjusting his approach accordingly.

A quick look at the differences in pitch usage provide some supporting evidence to this theory.  Here’s the breakdown of pitches over Severino’s first 8 Major League starts, courtesy of Texas Leaguers (Brooks hasn’t added their pitch data from yesterday’s start):

Severino Pitch Breakdown 8-9-15

TL reads more cutters and 2-seamers than Brooks, but it’s a real heavy dose of fastball-slider with a small side salad of changeups.  Compare that to his pitch usage in his last 2 starts:

Severino Pitch Breakdown Last 2 Starts 15

That’s a little more balanced.  …

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On Yesterday’s Decision To Go To Millances

Ultimately the only thing that mattered was winning the ballgame, but a big wave of emotion rolled across Twitter yesterday afternoon when the Yankees’ C-level relievers couldn’t keep runs off the board or put outs on it and Joe made the decision to go to Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller.  The line was drawn and people took to their sides immediately to either call Joe stupid for using his best relievers in what was a blowout game or smart for not letting the C-level spiral get out of hand and turn the blowout into something closer.  Matt and I went back and forth with William from The Captain’s Blog on the issue.

Seeing how quickly and passionately people took their stances on the move, I figured it was worth discussing in greater detail on the blog.  It’s always a little bit fun to play Monday morning QB on stuff like this, and I was honestly surprised that there wasn’t a more unanimous feeling of positivity about the decision.  …

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Why is Garrett Jones on this Roster? The Yankees Need a Left-Handed Bench Bat

You probably watched the game on Friday night: tied in the 9th inning with one out, Carlos Beltran hits a single off LHP Brett Cecil. Chase Headley is about to come up to bat. Chris Young, probably the best lefty-masher on any MLB bench, is available to pinch hit. I’m at the game, waiting for Joe Girardi to make the no-brainer move. And then… Chris Young pinch runs for Carlos Beltran.

What the hell happened? Why did Girardi, who plays the percentages as well as any manager, not make the switch to his best hitter? I react:

Pinch-running Young, who hardly steals bases these days, felt like a tremendous waste that took me a little bit to process. Even if you want to let Chase Headley bat, Young can hit for Didi or Stephen Drew if Headley hits a single or takes a walk.…

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Quick Hit: Why Joe Yanked Eovaldi

There’s been a lot of debate in the game recap comment section about the decision to pull Nathan Eovaldi in last night’s game, and justifiably so.  It turned out to be a decision that negatively impacted the Yankees’ chances to win the game in a major way.

Obviously we’re all looking at this with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight and some form of pre-existing biases against both Eovaldi and Joe Girardi.  But there are numbers to support Joe’s decision, numbers that a few commenters brought up.  Just food for thought, but here is how Eovaldi’s slash line against trends through his pitch count:

– Pitches 1-25: .349/.355/.509
– Pitches 26-50: .218/.282/.277
– Pitches 51-75: .295/.327/.442
– Pitches 76-100: .391/.476/.464

At 86 pitches, Eovaldi was right in the middle of the stretch where he tends to give up the most damage.  Opposing hitters go for the highest average, highest on-base, and second highest power output against him in that pitch range.  …

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On Yesterday’s Sneak Peek At The New Bullpen Hierarchy

Betances vs BAL

Dellin Betances shakes hands with a small child in a John Ryan Murphy jersey at the conclusion of yesterday’s game. Courtesy of the AP

The Yankees salvaged a little something from the weekend series in Baltimore yesterday with a hard fought 5-3 victory.  The big offensive inning in the top of the 5th is what got them the lead, but the real reason they held on to win was the outstanding relief work by the last 3 reliable men standing in the bullpen.

Chasen Shreve, Justin Wilson, and Dellin Betances.  Only 1 of them was expected to be a critical part of the bullpen’s success this year, but yesterday all 3 of them shined in their new roles.  Shreve came on in relief of starter Adam Warren in the bottom of the 5th to hold the lead the offense had just given them, and did so by getting Travis Snider to fly out to end the inning.  He then returned to the mound for the start of the 6th inning and retired the Orioles 1-2-3 on a pair of groundouts and a foul tip strikeout.…

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Joe Girardi faces big test in Miller’s DL stint

Having two good – if not great – bullpen options makes being a manager look easy.

There’s not a great formula needed when you have Dellin Betances and Andrew Miller pitching in the eighth and ninth innings, respectively. Pitch them both in either inning, it hasn’t really mattered.

But things got curious over the last couple of days with Joe Girardi’s decisions. First, he said Betances off on Wednesday, and promised he didn’t plan on using him even though the Yankees were off on Thursday. Betances threw 14 pitches the night before.

Sure, there is a long stretch of games coming up, but Betances is not going to be needed in every game in this stretch.

Then, it was announced after yesterday’s game that Andrew Miller was headed to the deal with a forearm muscle strain. There goes the closer, but the Yankees have Betances sliding into his spot in the ninth.

Yet, the worrisome part is that Miller stated to reporters after yesterday’s game that his issue didn’t occur suddenly.…

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Attempting To Talk Fairly About Joe And The Bullpen Situation

Girardi vs BAL

Courtesy of Getty Images

It’s been a rough few days for Joe Girardi and his bullpen.  He used his 2 best relievers in a 5-run game on Tuesday night, didn’t have the one healthy one left available yesterday as a result, went with one of his younger, inexperienced middle relievers for the 8th inning, and watched that reliever cough up the 2-run lead that the offense had provided in the previous half-inning.  This comes on the heels of Friday night’s 9th inning near-meltdown by an even lower-leverage reliever and a few questionable instances of using David Carpenter in close games with men on before he was future endeavored.

There’s been a lot to not like from the ‘pen over the past month or so, from the injuries to the inconsistency to the decision making to the performance at times.  The one part of the roster that was thought to be solid and the least cause for concern has become arguably the most inconsistent, and yesterday it seemed like that came to head for many fans and bloggers around the Yankosphere.  …

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Thursday morning reflections after a sweep in Seattle

I said this other day after the Yankees were able to beat Felix Hernandez: This team is confounding.

They will sweep the best team in the league (in the AL and at the time the series began), lose three out of four to a terrible team in Oakland and then sweep the Mariners in Seattle while facing the aforementioned Hernandez.

And guess what? The Yankees are in first place and four games above .500! They’re 7-3 in their last 10 games, not that you’d know that with the way some people are reacting to how they’re playing.

Are they a great team? No, but in the AL Least – no, I did not spell that wrong – being just good enough will probably be more than adequate to win the division.

Were these three games against Seattle good? Yes and no.

Beating King Felix was fun but barely beating a rookie in Mike Montgomery – well, they actually didn’t beat him, they had to wait until Fernando Rodney entered the game to make some noise – and being nearly shut down by Taijuan Walker wasn’t that great.…

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Quick Hit: Preparing For Tanaka’s Return

After spending over a month on the disabled list with right wrist tendinitis and a forearm strain, Masahiro Tanaka will rejoin the active roster and the rotation later this afternoon in the series finale against the Mariners.  It’s been a while since we’ve seen him in action, so I thought it would be prudent to quickly recap his whole situation and how it relates to the rest of the team’s current situation.

As of right now, we do not know what the corresponding roster move will be to open up a 25-man spot for Tanaka, but there are plenty of simple options.  The Yankees could send one of their multiple young bullpen lefties back to Triple-A, they could DFA one of their under-performing bullpen righties (Carpenter or Rogers), or they could decide to DFA Chris Capuano, who has been far from good since he came off the DL and rejoined the rotation recently.

Whatever the Yankees choose to do, they will be upgrading their pitching staff by giving it its best starter back.  …

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