About Last Night: Pineda’s Slider

Pineda Slider Location 7-24-15

Courtesy of Texas Leaguers

That’s Michael Pineda’s slider plot from last night.  He threw that pitch 39 times out of 92 total pitches, by far the most of any of his offerings, despite not having very good command of it.  Miguel Sano took him deep on a hanging 3-2 slider to get the Twins’ offensive outburst started and they put a lot of good swings on other sliders that missed up in the zone.  Normally the slider is Pineda’s best pitch and one he uses to rack up strikeouts.  Last night the Twins put it in play 25.6% of the time they saw it and did a lot of damage against it.

Location in the strike zone is usually the issue when Pineda’s slider isn’t working and last night was a prime example of this.  Throwing almost 75% of 39 sliders inside the zone is way too many for what is supposed to be a swing-and-miss out pitch.  Throwing at least half of that 75% up and in the middle of the zone is real good evidence of Pineda not having the feel for the pitch, as is the location of most of the sliders he did manage to bury down out of the zone.  …

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Nathan Eovolving

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at New York Yankees

There was a time earlier in this season when a Nathan Eovaldi start would bring a certain level of dread. We all saw his numbers with the Miami Marlins and his early results with the Yankees were not all that different. Here we are in July and at least the palms don’t get a bit sweaty until the fifth inning. That is progress. And if you look closely at the numbers, Eovaldi is evolving and there is the hope that the Yankees have themselves a pitcher here.

The big thing going for Eovaldi is that despite the lack of success his “stuff” produced, the “stuff” was there and he is only 25-years-old. Like the old line in the Alladin movie, “He can be taught!” The result of that teaching is starting to pay off.

In Eovaldi’s last six starts, he has pitched 33.1 innings and has allowed 30 hits. That is fairly significant an evolution as the one hallmark of Eovaldi’s entire career is giving up a bunch of hits.…

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I’ll Take Half a Loaf: If Beltran Must Play, Bench Him for Fly/Liner-Prone Yankee Pitchers?

Beltran-A-Rod vs BOS

Hey look! Two DHs. Courtesy of Getty Images

In a sense, Carlos Beltran’s awful season is Alex Rodriguez’s fault. Over the past three years – really, about two years of playing time due to injuries – Beltran has +3.9 oWAR and -4.2 dWAR. That’s league-average hitting and the worst outfielding since Raul Ibanez, who’s a not bad comp: both still hit at a similarly advanced age but suffered a Sampson-like loss of all defensive ability when they lost their hair prematurely. What you naturally do with Beltran’s skill set is DH him – except that spot is justifiably taken by A-Rod, who’s a better hitter, older, and even less able to play the field because his (former) position is more demanding.

If he must RF rather than DH, Beltran likely deserves the bench. He’s sub-replacement level, and sinking: -0.2 WAR in 2014; -0.5 WAR in just half of 2015, a roughly -1 WAR/yr pace. Slade Heathcott and Mason Williams, if they ever walk again, are so vastly superior defensively that even with a poor bat they can reach replacement level — enough to exceed Beltran); until then, Ramon Flores’s .800 OPS in AAA makes it hard to see him running a -1 WAR/yr pace like Beltran’s.…

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Nathan Eovaldi’s Biggest Problem

Courtesy: Charles Wenzelberg/NY Post

Courtesy: Charles Wenzelberg/NY Post

Nathan Eovaldi has had a very up and down first season for the Yankees after a somewhat controversial trade brought him to New York along with Domingo German in exchange for Martin Prado and David Phelps going to the Miami Marlins.

The trade was a worthwhile gamble in my mind because Eovaldi has obvious tools and upside to work with and is under team control through 2017, while Prado is a league average player on the final year of his deal. Prado wasn’t going to make or break the Yankees this year, and they needed the arm. He’s been less than league average for the Marlins this season with a 88 wRC+.

Eovaldi hasn’t showed much improvement thus far with his strikeout rate or the amount of hard hit balls he has given up this year. He has an inflated 4.81 ERA, but without the 8 runs he allowed in less than an inning on June 16 in Miami it would be under four.…

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About Last Night: Nathan Eovaldi and the first inning of doom

[I know, another post on Eovaldi’s start? Yes, sorry. There’s a lot to talk about. -SG]

So just how bad was last night’s game for Nathan Eovaldi and the Yankees? The Marlins had more hits in the first inning (9) than the Yankees did for the entire game (7) and Eovaldi didn’t even make it out of the inning. His BABIP for his 2/3 of an inning of work was .818 and he gave up eight earned runs.

Let’s jump into the pictures of doom!

Here are those hits in spray chart form (there are two that landed in nearly the same spot so it only looks like eight but there are nine):
export (28)

Eovaldi gave up two ground ball hits, two line drives and two fly ball hits. In his last outing against the Nationals (a no decision), he gave up fewer hits overall (8) in seven innings – four line drives, one fly ball and three ground ball hits. And before that, he gave up four hits in 5 1/3 innings on June 5, against the Angels – two line drives, one fly ball and one ground ball.…

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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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About Last Night: The Yankees did what against Felix Hernandez?

When Felix Hernandez had a six-pitch first inning and had only thrown 21 pitches after recording nine outs, most people watching last night’s game were thinking his outing would be quick, painless (for him) and a disaster for the Yankees. When Mariners’ manager Lloyd McClendon walked out of the home dugout to take the ball from his ace, who by that point, in the fifth inning, had surrendered seven runs to the Yankees, most people watching the game couldn’t believe what they were seeing.

The 2015 Yankees are confounding. They’ll sweep the best team in the American League, lose three out of four to the worst and just when you think they can’t get any more confusing, they’ll score seven runs on King Felix.

This is how it happened (Just in case you went to bed early).

Brett Gardner and Chase Headley hit back-to-back singles to start the fourth inning. Gardner advanced to third on Headley’s single. When Alex Rodriguez was up to bat, Hernandez threw a wild pitch and Gardner scored.…

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Can Chris Capuano Be Trusted?

Courtesy: Paul J. Bereswill/NY Post

Courtesy: Paul J. Bereswill/NY Post

After yesterday’s unfortunate elbow injury to Chase Whitley, his spot in the rotation will be taken by Chris Capuano. I felt like Whitley would keep his spot and Adam Warren would be moved to the bullpen to help a struggling middle relief corps. Warren made that decision difficult after a very good outing on Wednesday, but now the Whitley injury made the decision easy. Although, I really don’t know why Capuano was guaranteed a spot over either of them to begin with.

Capuano did a decent job for the Yankees when they brought him in from Boston last season when they were desperate for starting pitching after an avalanche of injures. He went 2-3 with a 4.25 ERA and a 3.85 FIP. Capuano was mostly a six-inning pitcher, as he never completed a full seven innings in his 12 starts for the Yankees. Unfortunately, the Yankees seem to have too many of those kind of guys right now.…

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Quick hit: Welcome back, Chase Whitley!

Whitley vs SEA

Chase Whitley is back and getting his first start of the 2015 season tonight thanks to the Yankees pushing back their rotation a day. Whitley was 4-3 with a 5.23 ERA in 12 starts last season. So, no, he’s not usually a starter. He was used out of necessity last season when injuries began to plague the starting rotation.

The last time Whitley faced Tampa was last September 10. He was forced to come into the game after that day’s starter, Chris Capuano, coughed up four runs in just a 1/3 of an inning of work. Whitley kept Tampa at bay for 2 2/3 innings and gave up one hit, struck out two and walked one. He threw 41 pitches, 24 for strikes. The day before, in another game when the starter was roughed up a bit – this time it was Hiroki Kuroda – Whitley pitched 1 1/3 innings with one walk, two strike outs and he didn’t give up a hit.…

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