Curtis Granderson 5, Orioles 3, rest of Yankees 8, as Bombers CRUSH Baltimore

The Yankees took care of business in their biggest game of the season. Curtis Granderson didn’t start the game, but he emerged as the star going 3-for-3 with 5 RBI and his 35th homer of the season. As strong as Granderson’s performance was, the Yankees didn’t actually need it. Zach Britton handed the game to the Bombers in the fourth inning. He issued five walks in the game, including two with the bases loaded in the fourth, both of which came during a four run Yankee rally  that gave the team a commanding five run lead.

The Orioles threatened in the bottom of the inning, putting three runs on the board against a largely ineffective Freddy Garcia. Joe Girardi intelligently had a quick hook. He pulled Garcia after 3.1 innings and just 52 pitches, leaving the game in the hands of the Yankee bullpen. The relief corps delivered (for a change). Joba Chamberlain set the tone, striking out four and allowing no runs or hits over 1.2 innings of work.… Click here to read the rest

Game Thread: Sunday, September 9, 2012, Yankees at Orioles

Not only are the Yankees playing badly, but they’re also playing unlucky. Obviously everyone is furious over last night’s blown call, but the smartest thing for fans and team alike is to move on quickly. (Adding injury to the insult: Mark Teixeira re-injured his calf on the play and will miss today’s game.) You knew it would come to this. The winner of today’s game goes home with sole possession of first place. This is the biggest game of the 2012 season. If the Yankees lose they may not have another clean shot at hanging onto first place. So, who’s on the mound? Freddy Garcia. The O’s counter with Zach Britton. Enjoy!… Click here to read the rest

Yankees top Indians, 4-2, win series two games to one

Apart from Curtis' solo shot there wasn't much exciting offense in Sunday's game.

The Yankees won a sleepy Sunday afternoon game, 4-2 over the Indians. The game was odd. The Yankees never trailed, effectively winning the game when they plated three runs in the second inning, but the team stranded a ton of base runners. Four runs on eleven hits is a poor outcome, especially since one of those hits was a solo bomb from Curtis Granderson. The Yankees didn’t play well, but the Indians played worse. We’ll take that.

Freddy Garcia struggled, but was effective over a short start. He allowed two runs over 4.2 innings of work. Joe Girardi yanked Freddy as soon as he showed any signs of trouble in the fifth inning. Had Hiroki Kuroda not given the Yankees a complete game on Saturday Girardi may have left Freddy in the game with a 3-2 lead. However, the bullpen was rested so Joe made the aggressive move, taking out his starter after just 90 pitches.… Click here to read the rest

Game Thread: Yankees at Indians, Sunday August 26, 2012

After a disappointing sweep at the hands of the White Sox, the Yankees have split their opening games in the series against Cleveland. Every time it looks like the Yankees are going to start playing well in the second half, they seem to lose steam. Losing two of three to Cleveland after dropping three in a row to the White Sox would cement that. Every game may not be a must win at the moment, but the Yankees will put themselves in that situation if they let the Rays close to within two games in the AL East. Things are getting interesting, and not in a good way. Winning the series against Cleveland is a smart way to get things moving in the right direction. The Yankees send Freddy Garcia to the mound, while the Indians counter with Ubaldo Jimenez. Remember when Jimenez was a prize to be had? Me neither. He’s been awful this year. Enjoy.… Click here to read the rest

The Replacements

All five AL East teams have lost significant pieces, many for a majority of the season. On paper, the Red Sox were supposed to be neck and neck with the Yankees in August. I’ve heard an innumerable amount of injury excuses for teams this year, but 12.5 games now stand between the first place Yankees and the fourth place Red Sox.

At this point, it’s obvious that organizational depth set the two teams apart. As fans joked about the Yankees signing and trading for old players, Andruw Jones, Raul Ibanez, Freddy Garcia, Hiroki Kuroda, Ichiro Suzuki, Eric Chavez, and Andy Pettitte stepped up and became integral parts of the team. This might be one of the most injured Yankee teams in some time, but thanks to the front office, the team was well prepared. In some cases, the replacements have been better than the allstars they’ve covered.

CL Rafael Soriano (1.71 ERA, 2.42 FIP, 9.13 K/9, 29 SV)– In to replace the almighty Mariano Rivera, and then the injured David Robertson, Soriano didn’t miss a beat.… Click here to read the rest

More musings on Upton

Yesterday morning, Steve posted about trading for Justin Upton. I’m all for this idea; Upton’s a great talent who’s still under 25 (for about a month or so more) and he’s under team control through 2015. He’d make the Yankees better just like he’d make every other team in the league better if he were traded to them. If the Yankees can get a reasonable deal done in July, they should do it. However, I wonder if they’d be better served waiting for the offseason.

Last night while in the car, I heard Jon Heyman on WFAN, and he seemed to think that the Diamondbacks are seemingly just gauging interest now and will look to move Upton after the season rather than at the trade-deadline. If this comes to pass, I’d like the Yankees to travel down that path. The general thought around the Internet is that any trade the Yankees make for Justin Upton will have to include Ivan Nova.… Click here to read the rest

Explaining Freddy Garcia’s “Swing” Ball

Recently, I’ve found myself attempting to hone my pitch identification skills while watching games. I detested physics class in high school, but working with PITCHf/x has brought out the inner physicist in me. To be honest, watching pitches move and batters attempting to square them up is sometimes more interesting than the scoreboard or the teams playing. It was Saturday when I was sitting at home and watching Freddy Garcia pitch to the Red Sox in the first inning. A pitch to Pedro Ciriaco caught me off guard. I’ve gotten pretty good at identifying pitches, but what I saw absolutely stumped me. YES was nice enough to take a second look at the pitch that David Cone called a splitter with sliding action. Although it was thrown with a splitter grip, the pitch moved in the opposite direction of what was expected, acting more like a hard curveball. I should also mention that the spin of the pitch was so far off from the results, that I suspected Freddy Garcia broke one of the laws of physics.… Click here to read the rest

Increased Velocity and No Splitter Give Garcia a Successful Start

J. Meric/Getty Images North America

Honestly, I was ready to write off Freddy Garcia like most people. When he posted a 12.51 ERA through his first four starts in April, I came to the conclusion that he reached the end of his career. The 35 year old righty had two month to prove himself in the bullpen, and he did just that with a sparkling 1.56 ERA through 17.1 IP. Yup, I was wrong. On Monday, he made his return back to the starting rotation, and he did more than hold his own. Garcia kept the Rays to two runs over his 5.1 IP, allowing 5 hits, 2 homeruns, 4 strikeouts, and no walks on 74 pitches. Take a look at the PITCHf/x numbers below to see how he changed his approach at the plate, and why his pitches are being hit less.

Freddy Garcia’s 2012 Starts Through PITCHf/x
Pitch Selection Velocity V Mvt H Mvt Spin Angle RPM
Four-seam (April) 7.8% 86.3 10.19 -3.85 201 2,042
Four-seam (July) 25.7% 87.4 10.49 -3.32 198 2,065
Sinker (April) 20.1% 87.1 9.49 -7.42 218 2,283
Sinker (July) 13.5% 88.1 9.28 -6.06 214 2,105
Slider (April) 36.0% 80.2 3.53 3.27 135 982
Slider (July) 41.9% 81.6 2.86 4.14 126 940
Splitter (April) 17.3% 80.5 4.42 -2.64 216 977
Splitter (July)

Starting with the four-seam fastball, you’ll notice immediately that the velocity has increased.… Click here to read the rest

Game Five: 陳偉殷 Who?

Kathy Willens/AP

Freddy Garcia takes the mound for the Yankees tonight to try for the first winning streak of the year. In his 17.0 innings this spring, the righty held opponents to a 3.71 ERA, but was also able to keep opponents to a low .212 batting average. Garcia’s career numbers at Camden Yards include 46.1 innings and a 2.33 ERA. Against the lineup tonight, the 35 year old has largely been successful, though Markakis has a .385/.471/.615 line (5 for 13 with 3 walks) and Mark Reynolds has a .333/.385/1.000 line (4 for 12 with 1 walk and 2 homeruns).

Pitching for the Orioles will be rookie Taiwanese pitcher Wei-Yin Chen. In the NPB, Chen posted a 36-30 record and a 2.69 ERA with a fastball that sit low 90’s, a mid 80’s slider, and your typical repertoire of breaking pitches out of Japan. He was about as successful as Garcia this spring, going 20.0 innings with a 3.60 ERA.… Click here to read the rest