Players to Watch, NL East

Greetings to all those readers who still have power (I don’t; I’m writing this from the library). In keeping with some of my last posts, I’m going to throw a small bit of limelight onto some players outside the Yankee scope of things. I’ve covered the NL West and NL Central, so now I’ll turn my attention to a division a bit closer to home, the NL East. There are two players we should watch out for, one on each side of the ball, in Philadelphia. The first is Jayson Werth, whom I’ve recently discussed. Werth is in the final Continue reading Players to Watch, NL East

In the end, it’s up to the pitchers to execute

CC Sabathia serves as an organic counter-argument to the notion that a three-man rotation, reliant upon four possible short-rest performances from its three starters, does not work in the World Series. In Game 1 against the Phillies, Sabathia pitched well and, in Game 4, to everyone’s surprise (well, not really), he also pitched well. Basically, despite performing on short-rest, Sabathia pitched as he normally does, rewarding Joe Girardi’s confidence in an abbreviated rotation. However, thanks to A.J. Burnett’s memorable Game 5 implosion (6 ER over 2 IP), the three-man rotation, which seemed like a good idea after Sabathia’s outing, has Continue reading In the end, it’s up to the pitchers to execute

Pettitte will start Game 6

It is officially confirmed. Tomorrow, at Yankee Stadium, Andy Pettitte will start Game 6 on short-rest. In his career, Pettitte has started 14 games on 3 days of rest, winning only 4 of those starts (6 losses). During those 86 2/3 innings, which is a fairly “substantial” sample, Pettitte had a 4.15 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP. He held opponents to a .266/.345/.387 line, striking out 69 while walking 38. Pettitte last started on 3 days of rest in 2006, when he was 35-years old. However, Ed Price (FanHouse) reminds us that Pettitte has not started on 3 days of Continue reading Pettitte will start Game 6

Nick’s new stance

From Ken Rosenthal (FOX Sports): For Alex Rodriguez, the adjustment was simple — swing at strikes, the way he did in the first two rounds of the playoffs. For Nick Swisher, the change was far more dramatic — stunning, in fact, considering that it came in the middle of the World Series. Swisher, benched in Game 2, completely overhauled his stance for Game 3, spreading his legs far apart in the batter’s box. So much for his 4-for-35 slump in the postseason. Swisher went 2-for-4 in the Yankees’ 8-5 victory, hitting a double to start a three-run rally in the Continue reading Nick’s new stance

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 Continue reading WS G3: Yankees @ Phillies

Hitting Hamels’ changeup

Cole Hamels’ best pitch this year is, once again, his changeup. The pitch, which generally clocks in around 78-81 mph, on average, was thrown just over 30% of the time in 2009. It serves as Hamels’ main strikeout offering and, according to pitch value data, was 11.7 runs above average, the second best changeup value in the NL (only Tim Lincecum’s changeup was better). He’ll throw the changeup to right-handed hitters—low and away—as well as left-handed hitters—low and away—and, when facing righties, Hamels is not afraid to come inside with the pitch to induce a weak groundout. Therefore, while Hamels Continue reading Hitting Hamels’ changeup

A-Rod, where did you go?

Alex Rodriguez has 6 strikeouts, thus far, in the World Series. He’s performing like it’s 2006. Here’s Tom Verducci’s (SI) take on A-Rod’s first two games of the series: Those were some funky swings Alex Rodriguez took in Games 1 and 2 in the World Series, looking nothing like the compact, balanced strokes he took in the ALDS and ALCS. His swing was at times lengthened and at times became very defensive, more of swatting for the ball or feeling for it than taking a quick path to it. It’s almost as if he’s a shooter in basketball whose stroke Continue reading A-Rod, where did you go?

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 Continue reading Hairston replaces Swisher