Game 163’s pitching performances

Game 163 is in the books. We experienced two different types of pitching performance in the play-in-game to get to the play-in-game. Martin Perez and David Price both feature similar repertoires; they both work fastball-changeup and occasionally mix in a breaking ball to keep hitters honest.

Awhile back I did a miniseries of sorts on visualizing pitch sequencing in a manner that seemed more intuitive to me.

I’ve extended that project out a bit to give a clearer visual of what a pitcher tried to establish in each individual start. The result is this:


Please click to expand.


Hopefully that simplifies what David Price and Martin Perez tried to do last night. Perez did a fairly good job of establishing the fastball early in the game and trying to work backwards a bit in the later innings. Price was pretty much all about working off the fastball in a more traditional sense. There’s probably a good reason for that.

Perez had the better stuff yet Price was the one who went the distance giving up only 2 ER on 7 hits.… Click here to read the rest

Yanks end regular season swept on road for first time all year following Rays' dramatic late-inning comeback to clinch Wild Card

(AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

The Yankees capped off the 2011 regular season by getting swept on the road for the first time all year — and swept for only the third time all season — as the Tampa Bay Rays came storming back from a 7-0 deficit to win 8-7 in extra innings. The loss was the Yankees’ fourth in a row, and dropped their record in extra-inning games to a fluky 4-12 on the season. Additionally, the sweep was Tampa’s second-ever sweep of the Yankees, both of which came at Tropicana Field, and it was the first time the Yanks had been swept on the road since last September following that miserable series in Texas when Ron Washington used 8,000 relievers.

Oh, and the Rays’ win combined with a stunning ninth-inning 4-3 Red Sox loss to the Orioles in which Jonathan Papelbon blew a 3-2 lead and Carl Crawford muffed a potential inning-ending catch ensured that Boston’s historical collapse actually came to fruition, and catapulted the Rays into a rather shocking playoff berth via the Wild Card.… Click here to read the rest

Yanks drop second straight game to Tampa Bay

(AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

I admittedly haven’t been watching much baseball since the Yankees clinched their playoff spot last Wednesday, and so I didn’t see a single inning of last night’s 5-3 loss to the Rays. This feeling of ennui in the aftermath of Yankee losses is a weird one — one that will undoubtedly be shaken off come 8:37pm Friday night — but also represents an enjoyable reprieve after 155 games of caring deeply about the outcome of a given Yankee game.

In fact, I couldn’t help but be mildly annoyed to see the Yankees leading 3-2 through six innings while Boston jumped out to a commanding lead over the Baltimore Buck Showalters as I checked my BlackBerry for the score. Thankfully (again, weird to be typing this) Rafael Soriano gave up a three-run homer to Matt Joyce to put the Rays ahead for good, ensuring that the tie for the Wild Card would live another day.

Probably the most important takeaway from this game was that Bartolo Colon was able to go 5.1 innings and only surrender two runs.… Click here to read the rest

Yankees lose to Rays 5-2

(Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)

Ah, the weirdness of having home field advantage through the first two rounds of the playoffs locked up despite still having regular season games to play while your two primary division rivals duke it out for the Wild Card.

James Shields had his way with the Yankees for seemingly the 8,000th time, coming within one out of a complete-game in pitching Tampa Bay to a critical 5-2 victory over the Bombers on Monday — critical for Tampa in that, coupled with Boston’s 6-3 loss to the Orioles, pulled the Rays into a rather unfathomable tie for the AL Wild Card with two games to go.

As regular readers know, I never thought this scenario had an ice cube’s chance in hell of happening, given how incredibly strong Boston looked all year (not to mention the fact that they wrecked the Yankees in the season series), and yet here we are with two days remaining in the regular season and the Red Sox suddenly have a very real chance of missing the dance.… Click here to read the rest

Series Preview | Yankees vs. Rays VI: The end

(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Beginning tonight, the Yanks and Rays duke it out in the final regular season series of the year. The Yanks can win the season series with one win this week; the best the Rays can do is tie it. Aside from exacting a small measure of revenge against Tampa — who won the season series between these two teams for only the second time in team history last season — this series is essentially completely devoid of meaning for the Yankees, having locked up best record in the AL over the weekend, although with the Rays still clinging to a postseason dream, you can rest assured that the Tampa Bay Tampas will be playing all out until they’re officially eliminated. While you may not see all of your favorite Yankees in game action this week, rest assured that the likes of Robinson Cano, Alex Rodriguez and others will stay fresh by taking batting practice against the finest, state-of-the-art pitching machines available.… Click here to read the rest

Rays wreck Yanks as Moore wins first career MLB start

Just what the AL East needed. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

I skipped this one, and it looks like I didn’t miss all that much, as the Rays bludgeoned the Yanks 15-8 behind a beastly performance from rookie phenom Matt Moore, who struck out 11 Yankees and allowed zero runs over five innings, picking up the win in his first career Major League start. Ordinarily the Yankees getting completely and utterly shutdown by a rookie they’ve never seen before would drive me up a wall, except for the fact that (a) the Yankees clearly (and correctly) didn’t care whether they won this game, as evidenced by the many regulars who received a night off, and (b) Moore is arguably the top pitching prospect in the galaxy, and his dominating performance wasn’t exactly a surprise, regardless of the constitution of the Yankee lineup.

Bartolo Colon was only able to go three innings and ultimately gave up seven runs (five earned), and some seem to be questioning his postseason rotation candidacy.… Click here to read the rest

Yankees clinch 17th American League East title; beat Rays 4-2

It never gets old. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Approximately seven hours after earning their 2011 postseason berth, the Yankees clinched their 17th American League East title, beating the Rays 4-2, sweeping the doubleheader, securing the series victory and ensuring a stress-free final week of the season as the team prepares to kick off the American League Division Series next Friday, September 30.

CC Sabathia and Jeremy Hellickson were locked in a pitchers’ duel in this one, with the former going 7 1/3 and giving up two runs — both on solo home runs, to Kelly Shoppach and Sean Rodriguez, natch — and the latter going seven and also giving up two runs and limiting the Yankees to only two hits.

Sabathia threw 127 pitches but couldn’t get through the 8th, and after loading the bases Joe Girardi summoned David Robertson to do what he’s done all season — get out of a bases-loaded jam, this time on only one pitch.… Click here to read the rest

Nova hurls another gem as Yanks shut Rays out 5-0

Ivan Nova, welcoming me back to Yankee Stadium for the first time in over five months in style. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

For all of the success Ivan Nova has had this season, I’m amazed I haven’t read more about the fact that this was a player the Yankees didn’t even protect in the 2008 Rule V draft, and who they nearly lost to San Diego for chump change until the Padres apparently decided he wasn’t good enough for them.

Nova continued to show why he’ll almost certainly be getting the ball in Game  2 of the ALDS, firing 7 2/3 shutout innings — tied for his second-longest outing of the season — against the Rays and leading the Yankees to a 5-0 victory. The outing — in which Nova gave up six hits, walked three and struck three men out — was Nova’s 5th-best of the season by Game Score (67), and also tied for best Game Score of any member of the Yankee rotation in the month of September (CC Sabathia put up a 67 on September 4 against Toronto and Bartolo Colon also did it September 9 against the Angels), although he appeared poised to turn in arguably his best start ever, if not for a Casey Kotchman two-out walk in the eighth.… Click here to read the rest

Series Preview | Yankees vs. Rays V: Shields is the new Felix

Move over Felix, there's a new Owner and Sole Proprietor of the New York Yankees professional baseball franchise in town. (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)

The Yankees kick off their last 10 games of the season with four against the Rays this week, three against Boston this weekend and three more with the Rays next Monday through Wednesday, before the ALDS kicks off on Friday, September 30.

This week’s set was initially supposed to be a two-gamer, but rain has forced the series to both double in size and also include a doubleheader on Wednesday. The Yankees are 6-5 against the Rays on the season, which is only two wins shy of their total against Tampa Bay in all of 2010.

The Rays came into September lightning-hot and have managed to put a scare into Red Sox Nation, creeping to within two games of the Wild Card. However, the team’s elite play really came just a bit too late, and while the remote possibility of the Rays catching up and overtaking the Red Sox remains, it still seems highly unlikely — two games may not sound like much, but that’s still a tall order with only 10 games to play, especially when you consider the Rays still need a little help from Boston.… Click here to read the rest