Quick Hit: Dem Road Hittin’ Blues

As cold as they’ve been in the last week or so, it’s been difficult to criticize the Yankee offense this season.  They remain firmly entrenched in the top 5 in MLB in home runs (103), runs scored (365), team slugging percentage (.427) and team wRC+ (107).  Over the full 78-game sample size, the offense has been the most consistent part of this year’s team.

But if there is a legitimate gripe to have with the O, it’s the ever-widening gap between the team’s home/road splits.  That’s been on full display during this road trip, with the Yankees managing a total of 3 runs in their last 3 games.  As of this morning, the Yankees have a .282/.350/.496 team tripleslash at home, good for an MLB best 130 wRC+.  On the road, however, they’re hitting just .233/.300/.369, a slash line that ranks them 19th in baseball with an 87 wRC+.  To put it into a different perspective, the Yankees are basically Jose Abreu at home and Michael Cuddyer on the road.…

Read more

The Disaster Factor: Nathan Eovaldi

usa-today-8540592.0

Things could have gone better for Nathan Eovaldi last night. 11 batters, nine hits, eight runs. His ERA rose from 4.13 to 5.12 on the year. How worried should we be?

Turning to Eovaldi’s last couple of starts, one might not think things are terribly concerning. In his previous four starts, he gave up 8 ER over 24 innings. However, he was lucky the damage wasn’t more severe.

Over those four outings previous to Miami, Eovaldi had some incredibly fortunate strand rates, and with the exception of his 4.2-inning performance, hitters were getting unlucky at the plate with their BABIP.

Game IP ER H BB LOB% BABIP
vs WSH 6/10 7.0 3 8 1 79.0% .292
vs LAA 6/05 (W) 5.1 1 4 4 87.5% .235
@ OAK 5/30 4.2 3 11 0 72.7% .500
vs KC 5/25 (W) 7.0 1 8 1 90.0% .333

The luck he’s had with stranding runners isn’t anything new – his mark for the entire season is 73%.…

Read more

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.…

Read more

Quick Hit: Solid Start To The Month for The Rotation

The Yankees have wrapped up their weird week of scheduling and will embark on another 20-straight game journey starting tonight in Baltimore.  Their loss to the Nationals on Wednesday ended their latest winning streak, but they still head into tonight with a 7-1 record in the month of June.

Maybe I’m just stupid and missed it, but does anybody realize how good the rotation has been this month?  In 1-3 fewer games and 5-15-ish fewer innings than every other team, the Yankees rank in the top 5-10 in most key statistical categories:

  • 2.49 ERA- 4th
  • 3.36 FIP- 9th
  • 3.38 xFIP- 9th
  • 1.1 fWAR – T-8th
  • 22.9% K Rate- 5th
  • 49.3% GB Rate- 8th
  • 6 Wins- T-1st

Normally wins wouldn’t be included in that group of stats, but in this instance I think it’s worth pointing out.  Those 6 wins come without a single loss charged to the rotation, and 6-0 in an 8-game stretch speaks to the kind of above-average performance that all those other numbers support.…

Read more

Are the Yankees the Best Team in the American League?

[Please note: This post was written yesterday before Kansas City won and the Yankees, Astros and Twins all lost.]

The Yankees are 33-25, tying them with Houston, Minnesota and Kansas City for the best record on the American League. The Yankees have been on top of the AL East for most of the season, but this is the first time that they are on top of the whole American League.

They’ve scored 271 runs (4.67 per game) and allowed 236 (4.07 per game), giving them a perfectly-matched 33-25 pythagorean record. Despite a killer back end of the bullpen, they are just 8-8 in one-run games. They’ve had key players (Ellsbury, Tanaka), miss a lot of time. Arod and Teixeira might come down to earth, but there is no evidence that the Yankees are just getting lucky to start the season.

Are they the best team in the American League? Let’s compare them to the teams they are tied with:

Houston Astros (34-26, 4.13 RS/G, 3.90 RA/G, 11-8 in 1-run games, 32-28 Expected)

I don’t buy the Astros.…

Read more

Quick Hit: Some More Slow And Steady Progress From Didi

A little over a month ago, I wrote a short post discussing the upward trend in Didi Gregorius’ play after his miserable first few weeks.  He had just started to hit a little better and field a little better, and while I wouldn’t say there was a huge wave of support for him in the comment section, there was a general sense of “let’s give him some more time and see how he does”.  That was the smart and reasonable way to look at the situation at the time, so kudos to all of us who were smart and reasonable enough to do so.

Here we are a month later and I’m happy to report that the slow and steady upward trend in Didi’s performance has continued.  From .222/.288/.250 in early May to .238/.294/.311 today, Didi has swung the bat much better in recent weeks and has been rewarded for it.  I touched on some of the key figures that support this trend on Twitter yesterday, from the improvement in OPS:

To the drastic improvement in hard contact rate:

They all add up to a young player who is continuing to settle into his new environment and new role, and that’s a very encouraging sign.  …

Read more

The Underrated Brett Gardner

Gardner vs LAA

That home run swing is getting real pretty too. Courtesy of Getty Images

All things considered, the Yankees are humming right along this season.  They’ve been healthier and more productive than expected in some areas and less so in others, they’ve successfully dealt with their injury problems, and the overall mediocrity of their division has helped to keep them in first place.  There has been no shortage of important stories to follow as well, be it the surprising turnarounds of A-Rod and Teix, the unfortunate injuries to Tanaka and Ellsbury, the emergence of Big Mike, or the decline of CC.  All of those stories and players have helped get the Yankees to where they are in some way.

And underneath all those big stories and big names and beneath the big, bold headlines being written about them sits Brett Gardner.  Starting left fielder and #2 hitter for most of the year, starting center fielder and leadoff hitter lately, Gardner is once again putting together a very good season.  …

Read more

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.…

Read more

The Yankees and their terrible, horrible, no good, very bad May

This is the story about the Yankees and their terrible, horrible, no good, very bad May – in pictures and in numbers.

Record: 13-16 (6-4 at home, 7-12 on the road and putrid 5-13 in their last 18)

119 runs scored
134 runs allowed

They ended May losing three out of four to the worst team in the American League and were shutout in the final game of the month.

Overall, the team batted .249/.309/.401/.710 with a 17.5% K rate and a 7.2% BB rate in 989 total at bats in May.

They batted .255/.319/.404/.723 from the left side.
trumedia_baseball_heatmap (57)

They batted .234/.284/.395/.679 from the right side.
trumedia_baseball_heatmap (56)

They batted .269/.341/.487/.828 at home.
trumedia_baseball_heatmap (58)

They batted .239/.292/.358/.649 on the road.
trumedia_baseball_heatmap (59)

May’s best hitter (with over 75 at bats): Alex Rodriguez .316/.369/.571/.941
export (16)

May’s worst hitter (with over 75 at bats): Stephen Drew .143/.188/.220/.407
export (17)

Carlos Beltran had himself a nice month batting .298/.316/.500/.816, both Mark Teixeira and Brian McCann matched A-Rod’s monthly home run number with six.…

Read more