ALDS Preview: Oakland v. Detroit

Lineup

There’s a perception out there that the Tigers have an overwhelming offensive advantage in this series. While Detroit will pump out some serious power in the form of Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder and Alex Avila it’s hardly an offensive mismatch. Consider the following chart from Beaneball.org:

Position A 2013 TAv Tiger 2013 TAv Winner
Catcher Vogt .250 Avila .246 A’s
First Barton .297 Fielder .290 A’s
Second Sogard .264 Infante .277 Tigers
Short Lowrie .289 Iglesias .260 A’s
Third Donaldson .321 Cabrera .365 Tigers
Left Cespedes .275 Peralta .286 Tigers
Center Crisp .291 Jackson .271 A’s
Right Reddick .259 Hunter .285 Tigers
DH Moss .325 Martinez .274 A’s

I mean, I’m not making the case that the A’s are offensively superior to the Tigers. From a talent perspective a few things can counter what the 2013 season numbers tell us. A healthy Miggy counts for a lot. Victor Martinez rounding back into form counts for a lot. Prince’s performance can swing the series.… Click here to read the rest

2011 ALDS Postmortem

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Following last year’s loss to the Rangers in the ALCS, I did a wrap-up that looked at the contributions of the individual players of both teams. After fully digesting the Yankees’ unbearably awful offensive (and pitching) showing in that series, I was compelled to find out just how bad the bats were in comparison with every other playoff series the Yankees had participated in since 1995 (the answer is sixth-worst out of 31). For this post, I’ll be combining those two ideas, as we look at the individual performances and also update the overall offense and pitching tables to reflect the now-32 postseason series the Yankees have participated in since 1995.

For TYA’s month-by-month wrap-ups of the Yankees’ 2011 season in its entirety, please click here.

One thing’s for certain: for the second straight year I was considerably off regarding my series prediction. Last year I had the Yankees beating the Rangers in six and of course it was the other way around; this year I had Yankees in four.… Click here to read the rest

How the Yankees have fared in playoff series that have gone the distance since 1995

(photo c/o NY Daily News)

The Yankees’ lopsided 10-1 victory in Detroit on Tuesday night ensured that the Bombers would have the opportunity to return home to the Bronx to finish the Tigers off in a winner-takes-all Game 5 of the 2011 American League Division Series. The victory was the Yankees’ second-ever road win in an ALDS Game 4 to force a Game 5 at home — the first was against Oakland in 2001. The last time the Yankees played an ALDS that went the distance was in 2005, when they lost to the Angels in Los Angeles.

The Yankees have played five previous ALDS Game 5s — compiling a 2-3 record all time — but they only had home field advantage in one of those five — that 2001 series against Oakland, which they won. The Yankees have played three Game 7s in the DS era, going 1-2 in those contests, giving the team a 3-5 record overall (though 2-1 at home) in playoff series enders.… Click here to read the rest

A Deeper Look at Duensing

In 2009, Brian Duensing had a respectable debut. He pitched in 24 games, starting nine of them. All told in ’09, he threw 84 regular season innings to a 3.64 ERA, 4.13 FIP, and 4.77 xFIP. The xFIP is a bit high because Duensing didn’t strike many guys out (5.68 per nine), but he did display decent control (3.32 BB/9), and kept the ball in the park (0.75 HR/9). He got guys to ground out 45.5% of the time and stranded 74.9% of the batters who faced him.

2009 saw Duensing work with a fastball-slider combination, while mixing in a changeup and a curveball from the left side. In the 2010 season Duensing has changed things up a bit. He’s throwing his fastball much less, has apparently added a sinker, upped his changeup usage, and kept steady with the slider. Brian doesn’t throw very hard, but the results have been there, especially in 2010.

In 53 games, 13 starts, he’s thrown 130.2 innings.… Click here to read the rest

Andy via PFX

Yesterday, I went to work at 4 PM. By the time I got out, the Yankees had already defeated the Minnesota Twins 5-2 to take a two games to none lead in the American League Division Series. (Sidebar: anyone need SAT tutoring?)

What I wanted to see most was Andy Pettitte. He had one good start after coming off of the disabled list and two shaky ones. While we were all confident in Pettitte’s ability and experience, we couldn’t help but feel a bit of trepidation as he took the hill in Game Two. After all, how did we know what Andy we’d get? Luckily, we got the Andy we’ve come to know and love.

Pettitte allowed just five hits and one walk against the Twins. He surrendered two runs and struck out four. Since I missed the game entirely, the only thing I have to go off of is Andy’s PitchFX data. Let’s have a look.

Andy threw just 88 pitches, 58 of them for strikes (65.91%).… Click here to read the rest

Yankees fight back yet again, beat Twins 5-2 to take 2-0 ALDS lead

The Minnesota Twins really might want to think about letting the Yankees score first one of these postseason games. The Yankees beat the Twins 5-2 in Minnesota to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the 2010 American League Division Series, marking not only their eighth straight win against the Twins in postseason play, but their eighth straight come-from-behind win against the Twins in postseason play.

Andy Pettitte was everything the Yankees could’ve asked for and then some, throwing seven innings of five-hit, two-run ball, and only using 88 pitches to do it. Talk about efficiency. On the other side of the ledger, the Yankees proved me wrong and finally touched Carl Pavano up, hitting the moustache up for four runs over six-plus innings, including a mammoth Lance Berkman go-ahead solo home run and huge RBI double that scored Jorge Posada from first base. If there was anyone left in Yankeeland inexplicably dissatisfied with Big Puma — who has done nothing but get on base, take great at-bats and now knock in two tremendous postseason runs — those fools no longer exist.… Click here to read the rest

To continue winning Yankees will need more of the same from Tex, Swish and Cano

Last night Mark Teixeira, Robinson Cano and Nick Swisher went a combined 4-14 (.286), with three RBI. Tex had two extra-base hits and scored two runs as well, doing all his damage after the 6th inning. Cano knocked in the Yankees’ first run of the game, while Swisher picked up a key base hit moments before Tex decided the Earth needed one more satellite in its orbit. As an added bonus, they had only a single strikeout between them.

The combined effort looms large before tonight’s game. Last season all three of these guys vanished in the playoffs. Tex managed an anemic .271 wOBA. Cano was worse, putting up a .240 effort. Swisher found himself benched for his .234 wOBA performance. Does last night’s game mean they turned a page?

As we’ve noted countless times, given that Cano, Swish and Tex basically carried the Yankee offense all season their continued production is critical to the team’s October success, especially because the team doesn’t have the same starting pitching as they did in 2009.… Click here to read the rest

Sticking With The Starter

Of all the moves that a manager makes throughout a game, the one that I think can be attributed most to ‘feel’ rather than pure statistical data is the decision on when to pull the starter. Often, the pitcher’s stuff will give clues that he is losing effectiveness, and it is up to the manager to gauge whether he can count on the pitcher to get a few more outs without losing effectiveness. It is a difficult decision that is ripe for criticism when it backfires, particularly because managers will often ignore the signals from the pitcher due to the favorable nature of a matchup or the reputation of the pitcher. During last night’s playoff game between the Yankees and Twins, both managers were faced with this difficult decision in the 6th inning.

In the top of the inning, Francisco Liriano struggled for the first time in the game, allowing 2 runs to score and putting runners at 1st and 2nd with 2 outs.… Click here to read the rest

Looking for More Game Two Magic

The 2009 post-season run by the Yankees was obviously fantastic. They swept the Twins ALDS, beat the Angels 4-2 in the ALCS, and then beat the Phillies 4-2 in the World Series. Somehow, it didn’t hit me until last night while watching Game One of the ALDS versus the Twins (moving to the bottom of the seventh as I type this): each Game Two in the playoffs last year had something special.

ALDS Game Two

We all remember this one. The David Robertson escape act. The A-Rod homer against Nathan to tie the game in the ninth. Mark Teixeira’s walk off homer. This was a perfect back and forth playoff game and the Yankees came out on top.

ALCS Game Two.

Another back and forth game, and another game with David Robertson getting the win, and another big homer from Alex Rodriguez. I’ll never forget that homer–down 0-2, to the opposite field, in the rain. I still don’t know why Brian Fuentes put the ball where he did, but I’m not going to complain.… Click here to read the rest