Burnett trying to cut down on the freebies in 2010

Yesterday, A.J. Burnett told reporters that he plans to cut down on his walks in 2010, after issuing 97 of them a season ago. “I would like to not walk as many people, go a little deeper in the games and be a little more efficient like [CC] is,” noted Burnett. “He’s real efficient with his pitches. He’s 12-15 an inning as opposed to 20-25 an inning, and it helps. Being more efficient in strike one, and just not give away free bags. Let them earn their bases.” Not only was Burnett’s 4.22 BB/9 the second highest mark of his career when tossing 100 or more innings in a season, it was also the highest mark he had posted in eight years (he walked 4.31 per nine innings in 2001). Basically, the base-on-balls was a significant problem for the tattooed right-hander in 2009, as nearly 11% of his at-bats resulted in a free pass.

While it is difficult to explain the uptick in Burnett’s walk rate last season – his career rate is 3.78 – there are some factors to consider that might shed a bit of light on the issue.… Click here to read the rest

Posada and Burnett to reunite this season

Not sure if this was reported as a standalone item anywhere, but Erik Boland of Newsday informs us that manager, Joe Girardi, has announced that Jorge Posada will catch A.J. Burnett this season. A serious amount of ink was devoted to the Burnett-Posada duo a season ago, after the two seemed to have “problems” working with one another, which led Girardi to install Jose Molina as Burnett’s everyday catcher (and which Posada did not like very much).

Result-wise, while there may be some substance to the notion that the two did not gel well as a unit – over 16 games with Posada behind the plate, Burnett held hitters to a .270/.353/.421 line and posted a rather poor K/BB of 1.72 (79/46), and with Molina, Burnett held hitters to .221/.307/.352 line over 11 games while posting a much improved 2.66 K/BB (77/29) – in reality, as stated by a number of articles, much of Burnett’s struggles last season were not actually Posada-related, rather, they were brought on by mechanical problems with the now 33-year old’s delivery.… Click here to read the rest

WS G3: Yankees @ Phillies

Lineups via LoHud:

YANKEES
Derek Jeter SS
Johnny Damon LF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Jorge Posada C
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Melky Cabrera CF
Andy Pettitte P

Pitching: LHP Andy Pettitte (2-0, 2.37 postseason ERA)

PHILLIES
Jimmy Rollins SS
Shane Victorino CF
Chase Utley 2B
Ryan Howard 1B
Jayson Werth RF
Raul Ibanez LF
Pedro Feliz 3B
Carlos Ruiz C
Cole Hamels P

Pitching: LHP Cole Hamels (1-1, 6.75 postseason ERA)

TIME/TV: 7:57 p.m., FOX

Here are Hamels’ numbers against the Yankees, via Baseball-Reference.

Here are Pettitte’s numbers against the Phillies, via Baseball-Reference.

I think Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter will both have big nights against Cole Hamels.

It’s raining pretty hard right (I’m basing this on what I see on TV). Hopefully, we’ll have baseball tonight.… Click here to read the rest

Hairston replaces Swisher

For Game 2 of the World Series, Jerry Hairston Jr. will start in right field over the struggling Nick Swisher. Hairston’s line against Pedro Martinez over 27 at-bats is .370/.433/.519. Of course, those at-bats are from years ago, when Pedro was with Boston and Hairston was with Baltimore, but Pedro was better back then, so maybe they’ll help Hairston tonight. Part of me wants to criticize Girardi for the move, as it smacks of desperation, but, to be honest, Swisher has looked awful at the plate—he’s practically diving on top of the ball before it gets to him—so I can’t complain (in Swisher’s defense, he did face Cliff Lee last night, who was damn near unhittable).

UPDATE – I’m left wondering, why not start Gardner or Hinske rather than rely upon dated stats?… Click here to read the rest

Defending D-Rob

From Adam Spunberg (YESNetwork.com):

Robertson is an amiable guy, but he let his affability extend to the Phillies today. After Marte came in and expertly navigated through two outs of a jam, Robertson proceeded to walk Jayson Werth and surrender a two-RBI single to Raul Ibanez. Good-natured Dave should offer to do CC Sabathia’s laundry for a week after muddying what had been a detergent-fresh start.

While Spunberg is correct in that David Robertson allowed a frustrating 2-out 2 RBI single after Damaso Marte had already pulled a rabbit out of a hat, I think placing this much blame upon him is absurd. Robertson allowed a weak single to Ibanez, that’s true, however, Phil Hughes had already walked two men—Rollins and Victorino—in that half inning and they were the two runs. The hit wouldn’t have mattered if Hughes had done his job (or if he had done even 1/3 of his job), but, then again, if that were the case, Robertson would not have been facing Raul Ibanez to begin with.… Click here to read the rest

WS G1: Phillies @ Yankees

If you were hoping to see Jay-Z perform today, that performance has been moved to Game 2 (rain).

Lineups via LoHud:

YANKEES
Derek Jeter SS
Johnny Damon LF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Jorge Posada C
Hideki Matsui DH
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Melky Cabrera CF

Pitching: LHP CC Sabathia (3-0, 1.19 ERA in postseason)

PHILLIES
Jimmy Rollins SS
Shane Victorino CF
Chase Utley 2B
Ryan Howard 1B
Jayson Werth RF
Raul Ibanez DH
Ben Francisco LF
Pedro Feliz 3B
Carlos Ruiz C

Pitching: LHP Cliff Lee (2-0, 0.74 ERA in postseason)

TIME/TV: 7:57 p.m., FOX

Here are CC’s numbers against the Phillies (via Baseball-Reference):

Here are Lee’s numbers against the Yankees (via Baseball-Reference):

A-Rod has hit .333/.450/.733 against Lee with 2 HR and 6 RBI. I bet he knocks one out tonight.… Click here to read the rest

RAB’s pitching preview

Due to practical time constraints, I’ve been unable to complete a thorough pitching analysis (those infield and outfield comparisons took longer than expected). Rather than offer a diluted version, I encourage you to check out Mike’s pitching breakdowns over at River Ave Blues. He’s done a very nice job evaluating the Phillies starting staff as well as their bullpen. In the end, I think it’s fair to say that the Yankees have better pitching, which is why they’ll ultimately win the World Series (in 5, as per my prediction).… Click here to read the rest

World Series Preview: Outfield/DH Comparison

Earlier today, I compared Philadelphia’s infield to New York’s infield and, although the matchup was relatively close, I concluded that the Yankees had the better group of players, overall. Now, I’m looking at outfields and DH options.

RIGHT FIELD

Nick Swisher (SW): Ah, the lovable Nick Swisher, who many thought should have been benched during the latter portion of the ALCS. Swish suffered from a tough matchup in that he never hit any of the Angels well, so I’m not going to expect him to play poorly against the Phillies. What I do know, however, is that Swisher hit .249/.371/.498 during the regular season, clubbing 29 home runs (or away runs, I guess, when you consider the splits), while having the highest walk percentage of any right fielder in 2009 (16.3 %). His wOBA of .375 was also the 4th best in the AL at right. Basically, Swisher is a good offensive player, regardless of his ALCS struggles. In addition, he’s also a pretty good right fielder.… Click here to read the rest

Pettitte not pleased with 2009 contract

Props to RAB for pointing out this interesting bit on Andy Pettitte in the LA Times (a Kevin Baxter piece).

Apparently, Pettitte wasn’t particularly pleased with the contract he inked over the offseason, a realization that isn’t surprising when you consider the way in which the negotiations played out and how long it took for him to sign. “I think everybody knows I wasn’t real happy with the contract,” said Pettitte to the press, after capturing his 16th postseason win. Pettitte had agreed to a $5.5 million deal (base salary) in January after making $16 million in 2008. “But,” he added, “I wanted to take it and come back here and have a chance to do this [win a World Series].”

To be fair, though, the Yankees provided Pettitte with an additional $6.5 million on top of his $5.5 million base, bringing his annual salary to a total of $12 million. Chump change this was not. The extra $6.5 million was predicated upon a package of incentive bonuses—both performance ($4.5 million) and roster ($2 million)—so, I guess what Pettitte is really upset about is having to prove himself with each pitch and with each inning, rather than receiving guaranteed money.… Click here to read the rest