Breaking down how the Yankees have fared against Dallas Keuchel in 2015

Here’s a look at how the Yankees have done against tonight’s Astros starter, Dallas Keuchel, so far in 2015:

As a team, they batted .161/.175/.179/.354 in two games against Keuchel with a strikeout rate of 36.8% and a walk rate of just 1.8% (Yikes).

Here’s their spray chart:

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Nine hits – eight singles and one double. The double came off an 87 mph cutter, six of the singles came off fastballs that ranged between 88 – 90 mph and the other two singles were off an 87 mph cutter and an 80 mph changeup.

Here’s their heat map against him:

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As you can see, they can get to his stuff when he throws it over the plate because he doesn’t have traditionally overpowering stuff.

And as you will see below, Keuchel thrives on his sinker.

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This chart breaks down each pitch in his arsenal by percentage used. The sinker is far and away, his most reliable and most thrown pitch.…

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Quick Hit: The Reigniting Of Rob Refsnyder’s Existence

By all accounts, it sounds like Stephen Drew is done for the season with post-concussion symptoms.  I honestly can’t remember a play in the first half of September that would have given him a concussion, but that’s really here nor there.  His recent absence, combined with Brendan Ryan‘s general terribleness, has opened up some opportunities at second base in this final month as the Yankees try to lock up a playoff spot.

The greater opportunity has been seized by Dustin Ackley, who’s been swinging a hot bat since coming off the DL and has essentially taken over the “starting” second base job with Drew on the shelf.  The smaller opportunity has gone to Rob Refsnyder, the once future greatest second base prospect in the history of baseball and the recently forgotten man in the second base organizational depth chart.  It’s been a long, strange trip up and down the prospect hype curve for Refsnyder this year, but he’s getting a chance to contribute in important late-season games and he’s showing a few things that might bring a little luster back to his name and perceived future potential.…

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What should the Yankees do with Tanaka?

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Masahiro Tanaka’s hamstring injury doesn’t seem to be too serious. Sure, he was held out of last night’s start, but that’s to be expected right now. Tanaka needs to be fresh for the postseason, which likely will start October 6 for the Yankees.

Tanaka is supposed to see a doctor today to determine when he is able to come back.

October 6 – the date of the American League Wild Card Game – is a Tuesday. Yankees are still 3.5 games back of the Toronto Blue Jays and can’t seem to overcome the hurdle known as the Blue Jays this season.

Part of me is relegating to the Yankees to the Wild Card Game even though there is still time left. Yankees and Toronto both play some pretty bad teams the rest of the way.

So this all comes down to what should the Yankees do about Tanaka?

At this point, there is no other pitcher I would rather see on the hill for the Yankees in the first game of their postseason other than Tanaka.…

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About Yesterday Afternoon: #TANAK

Tanaka vs BAL III

The Yankees needed to win yesterday’s game to avoid falling 5 1/2 games behind the Blue Jays in the division race and to avoid an embarrassingly awful four-game sweep at home. Luckily they had Masahiro Tanaka on the mound, and while he didn’t last as long as he did in his last start against Toronto , he was just as great. Tanaka kept most of the power hitters off balance, and helped shut out the Blue Jays lineup for the first time since the All-Star Break.

In his last two starts against Toronto (16 innings pitched), Tanaka is 2-0. He has walked three batters, struck out 15, has held the potent Blue Jays lineup to a paltry .164 BA and he has not allowed a home run. That last one is important because that team likes the long ball and hits it often.

So how do you shut down a team with such a potent offense? You don’t allow them to feast on fastballs.…

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Stretching out Adam Warren

Adam Warren may be moving back to the rotation soon. With Nathan Eovaldi out until at least the end of the regular season, the Yankees began to stretch him out in last night’s loss to the Orioles.

Sabathia pitched 4.2 innings (throwing 85 pitches), giving a run (three earned), striking out five and walking three. Eighty five was Sabathia’s limit, so in came Warren. The reliever went 2.2 innings and threw 47 pitches, his longest outing since August 5.

While the Yankees have five guys already in the rotation, it makes sense to give them a bit of rest through the end of the year, of which there are only 23 games left. It preserves them ever so slightly for the playoffs, but stretching out Warren also gives the Yankees insurance for Sabathia. With Sabathia dealing with right knee inflammation, and having to wear a brace while he pitches, there is no guarantee as to how that knee is going to hold up the rest of the way.…

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Tanaka Is Still An Ace

Tanaka vs BAL III

Courtesy of Getty Images

Before watching the sadness of what was a lousy offensive performance by the Yankees last night, I watched a little bit of Baseball Tonight on The MLB Network. Pedro Martinez and Dan Plesac were discussing the Matt Harvey situation. Plesac talked about every team having a “pecking order” with its starters and relief pitchers. The point made was that Harvey was #1 on the Mets’ pecking order and they needed him. Masahiro Tanaka is still at the top of the Yankees’ pecking order.

During this season, two other pitchers have been handed that spot by the fans and the media. Earlier in the season, Michael Pineda was dominant and he was the ace of the staff. In the second half of the season, that title went to Nathan Eovaldi (sigh). But all along–except for the seven starts he missed–Tanaka has been right there giving the Yankees a chance to win.

I will admit up front that I am going to “cherry pick” some numbers.…

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Stephen Drew Playing His Way Into 2016 Plans?

Courtesy: Anthony Gruppuso USA Today

I know mostly everyone reading already vomited after glancing at the title, but if Stephen Drew has a strong September, the possibility exists of him returning again in 2016 if he agrees to another 1-year contract.

Drew has been a huge target of hate from Yankees fans, but the reality is he has put together a quality second half of the season thus far and there are worse things in the world than a No. 9 hitter who hits 20 home runs and plays solid defense.

This is not just about Drew’s insanely hot recent stretch.  He has actually been a quality player since June 1st, hitting .251/.323/.483 with 12 home runs and a 120 wRC+ since thene. Over the last two weeks, Drew’s slash line is an incredible .351/.429/.568. If Drew has a good September that would be four consecutive months of good baseball from him, which after his first two months and 2014 season nobody would have ever thought possible.  …

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Does Ben Gamel Have A Future With The Yankees?

Courtesy of Butch Comegys/The Times Tribune

The Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders won last tonight to lock up their first International League North division title since 2010.  It’s a cool accomplishment for those younger players, and in some way it’s a testament to the quality of the Yankees’ upper-level organizational depth and talent.  This is a team that, at some point during this season, had Aaron Judge, Luis Severino, Gary Sanchez, Greg Bird, Bryan Mitchell, Mason Williams, Ramon Flores, Rob Refsnyder, and Jacob Lindgren playing for it, along with the slew of other relief arms that have ridden the roster shuttle this year.

The name left out of that group that may have been the biggest part of this division title is Ben Gamel.  The 23-year-old outfielder, picked in the 10th round of the 2010 draft, had a monster year in his first Triple-A season and was the one consistent roster presence on a team of change.  …

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Quick hit: A-Rod’s Awful August

Just saw this tweeted and wow, A-Rod was worst in August than I thought:

A-Rod’s awful August has dropped his season numbers to .256/.364/.487/.851.

If the Yankees have any hope of winning the division – yeah, I know Toronto exists – or at least a chance of locking up a playoff spot, they will need two things to happen: Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez need to start hitting again. Well, in Tex’s case, he needs to actually play again but with his leg injury not getting any better that may not happen. So now, it’s up to A-Rod and the rest of the offense to make up for Tex’s absence.

Since turning 40 on July 27, A-Rod is batting .192/.328/.327/.655. Yikes.

Here’s how that looks in spray chart form:

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Some numbers:

  • He’s batting .355/.487/.613/1.100 in 31 at bats against lefties and .123/.256/.205/.461 in 73 at bats against righties.
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