Giving Drew His Due

Since his acquisition last summer, Stephen Drew has served as the punching bag of the Yankees lineup for fans and media alike – and for good reason. He batted .150/.219/.271 (33 wRC+) in 155 PA with the team last season, and this season started much the same, with Drew hitting .157/.225/.301 (41 wRC+) through his first 170 PA (a conveniently selective endpoint of June 1). Drew’s line has improved markedly as the season has progressed, but his slow start has left him with a still awful line of .199/.269/.383 (77 wRC+) … and solid defense and a knack for big home runs only help so much. Were the season to end today, keeping Drew in the lineup all season would quite likely be perceived as a complete and utter failure.

Lost in the ephemera of this, however, is the simple fact that Drew – like Didi Gregorius – has actually been a reasonably good hitter over the last three months or so.…

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Quick Hit: How Hurt Is Brian McCann?

One of the most talked about topics in the broadcast booth this weekend, besides the memories of Jorge and Andy’s careers, was the change in Brian McCann‘s batting stance.  YES cameras showed McCann standing with almost all of his weight on his front leg, a change from his usual balanced stance with more weight on his back leg.  John Flaherty said he asked McCann about it and McCann told him it was just something he was experimenting with, trying different things to tweak his swing.

While I’m not saying I don’t buy that answer, I can’t help but think back to that game earlier in the month when McCann hurt his left knee late in a blowout win over the Red Sox.  There were a lot people questioning whether it was smart to leave him in that game, and the issue was at least serious enough for McCann to get the next 2 games off with what was called “inflammation”.  …

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Quick About Last Night: Dellin Betances and the pitch of doom

This is the pitch Francisco Lindor hit off Dellin Betances to break a 3-3 tie in the eighth inning of yesterday’s game.

lindorHR

How deflating. The Stadium was in shock and I actually said, “Did that just happen?”

It just stinks that the home run came off a pitch from Betances of all people because he’s been so reliable this season, but the Yankees offense also needs to do a better job against someone like Trevor Bauer who came into the game with an ERA above 4.

On to the next one…

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Quick Hit: What’s Up With Brett Gardner?

Brett Gardner went 0-4 at the plate last night, his second straight 0-4 game and the continuation of what has become a prolonged second half slump.  Gardner is hitting just .200/.288/.215 in August after a .247/.369/.341 July that was his worst offensive month to date.  Gardner has a history of wearing down physically and seeing his production level drop in the second half, and Matt called out that drop in production last Monday.  So what’s up with Gardner?  Is he hurt?  Is he tired?  Is he just slumping?

Gardner Spray Chart 4-6 15

Gardner Spray Chart 7-8 15

Those are Gardner’s spray charts from April through June and July through today of this season.  In terms of BIP distribution, there hasn’t been a noticeable difference.  Part of what has made Gardner a better offensive player is his ability to hit to all fields.  His power is almost exclusively to the pull side, but he can go the other way for hits with the best of them.

What really jumps out in comparing the 2 samples is the dramatic drop in pull power from the first 3 months to the last 2.  …

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A Quick About Last Night: This kind of performance isn’t going to win games

Batting .156/.229/.281/.510 with five hits usually doesn’t win ballgames. And it didn’t last night.

The Yankees’ offense was stymied by Josh Tomlin and Bryan Shaw, and mounted a late comeback against Cody Allen in the bottom of the ninth that came up short.

Here’s the spray chart:
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Here’s the heat map:
trumedia_baseball_heatmap(820)

Oh, and if you missed it, Joe Girardi was tossed for arguing with umpire Dan Iassogna about his crappy strike zone. It looks like Joe may have had a point:

iassogna zone

These games are the ones they should be winning so hopefully the Yanks can get something going against Carlos Carrasco tonight.

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Quick Hit: Continued Appreciation Of The Shreve/Wilson Lefty Tandem

Way back in the middle of June, I wrote a post about the changing of the bullpen hierarchy and heaped a bunch of praise onto Chasen Shreve and Justin Wilson for the work they had done up to that point.  They’ve been rewarded for those strong performances by having their spots in the Joe Girardi Circle of Trust solidified and continuing to get regular high-leverage work.  Shreve and Wilson are probably the 2 and 2A setup relievers behind Dellin Betances, and Shreve turned in a nice 8th inning yesterday in which he struck out Miguel Sano on a nasty changeup.

Since July 1st, Shreve has a 2.65 ERA with 21 strikeouts in 17.0 innings pitched over 17 appearances.  He’s been a tad more homer prone and has walked a few more batters in that timespan, but he’s still got a 2.05/3.75 ERA/FIP split for the season with a 28.8% BB rate.  In 8.2 innings of high leverage work, batters are hitting .111/.207/.115 against him.…

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Quick hit: Mitchell to the 7-day DL, Capuano and Rumbelow back up

Per a slew of tweets from the beat writers at the Stadium this afternoon: Bryan Mitchell has been placed on the 7-day DL with a concussion; Chris Capuano and Nick Rumbelow have been recalled from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre while Caleb Cotham has been sent down.

Quick hit: Celebration time!

The Yankees announced this morning that they are holding a special pregame celebration for Alex Rodriguez before the Yankees play Toronto on September 13.

Here’s the press release:

“The New York Yankees today announced that a special pregame ceremony celebrating Alex Rodriguez’s 3,000th career hit will be held prior to the club’s game vs. the Toronto Blue Jays, scheduled to begin at 1:05 p.m. Gates will open two hours prior to first pitch at 11:00 a.m. and fans are encouraged to arrive early and be in their seats by 12:30 p.m.

On June 19, 2015, Rodriguez became the 29th player all time to reach the 3,000-hit plateau with a first-inning solo home run off Detroit’s Justin Verlander. He is the third player hit a home run as his 3,000th career hit, along with Derek Jeter and Wade Boggs. He also joins Jeter as the only players in franchise history to reach 3,000 hits while playing for the Yankees and the only players ever to reach the plateau at Yankee Stadium – original or current.…

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Quick Hit: In Play, Groundball(s)

Since Larry Rothschild took over as the Yankees pitching coach, the staff has been defined by two distinct factors – a revolving door (largely due to injuries), and effectiveness. It seems almost nonsensical that a pitching staff can thrive with nary a hint of stability, but the Yankees did just that in 2014 (having used 33 pitchers), and they’re doing it again now, despite 30 players having thrown a pitch to date (including Garrett Jones). The team currently ranks 5th in the Majors in K%, 6th in K-BB%, 9th in FIP-, 9th in fWAR, and 11th in ERA-. It is, by most metrics, a top-ten pitching staff, and it is right in-line with last year’s performance … save for a notable increase in groundballs.

As of this writing, the Yankees sit sixth in the Majors in GB%, with 47.4% of batted balls burning worms. This represents a high-water mark for the team by a significant margin – with the exception of 2008 (47.0%), the team has not eclipsed the 45% mark for a long as this particular data has been tracked, beginning in 2002.…

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