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:

gm163final

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

How good are the Texas Rangers?

Only Miguel Cabrera frightens me more.

The Yankees have had the best record in baseball for most of the Summer. That kind of performance will get you acknowledged as the best team in your league 100% of the time, but it would be unwise for the Yankees and their fans to get complacent. For most of the season the Texas Rangers have been right on the Yankees’ heals, competing for the best overall record. A lot can change between now and the end of the season, but there’s a good chance that the Yankees’ path to the World Series runs through the Lone Star State. All this begs the question: How good is Texas?

The short answer is pretty good. According to Fangraphs, the Rangers have the second best position players in the AL and the best pitching staff in all of baseball. We can debate whether or not fWAR is the best means of evaluating a team, but there is no doubt that this serves as a reliable indicator that the Rangers are a solid squad.… Click here to read the rest

"Who would you rather face?"

I hate this question. However, it’s an inevitable one that baseball fans will continue to ask because until you know who your team’s postseason opponent is there isn’t really much else one can do aside from debate whether one team would be “preferable” to the other.

The reason I hate this question is because there’s no good answer. There are no “easy” teams to play in the playoffs. If a team is good enough to make the playoffs, then they’re a good team. The general consensus among Yankee fans on Twitter and elsewhere seems to be that Texas would represent an easier go of it in the American League Division Series, due primarily to their plethora of left-handed starters — a subset of pitchers the 2011 Yankees have crushed better than anyone in Major League Baseball this season.

While the thought of facing multiple lefthanders does seem appealing on its face, it’s not as if the Ranger southpaws the Yankees would be facing are chopped liver.… Click here to read the rest

Yankees blow Rangers out 12-4 for second straight game

See Robbie, good things happen when you take the first pitch of an at-bat. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

For the second straight evening the Yankees won a 12-4 laugher against the Rangers, although unlike Tuesday night it didn’t get that way until midway through the game. The Rangers actually held two leads in the early going, but the Yankees battled back, and were able to add seven more runs to the 5-4 lead they took into the fifth.

Ivan Nova was good enough, although once again wasn’t really fooling anyone, finishing the game with a 5 2/3 innings of four-run ball along with seven hits, three walks and only two strikeouts. Derek Holland was worse, getting touched up for six runs in five frames.

Digging out of early holes is always a huge morale booster, and the Yankees wasted no time erasing the Rangers’ early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first on a Mark Teixeira two-run jack. Tex would later crush another two-run jack, from the left side, marking the 11th time in his career he hit home runs from both sides of the plate in one game.… Click here to read the rest

Yanks dump Rangers 12-4

Moments before this blast I turned to my wife and said "Grandy's going yard." Not that it was such a bold call, but it was pretty awesome that he literally went ahead and did just that. (REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine)

Nothing soothes the nerves quite like a good old-fashioned blowout.

Despite fooling most of the American League this season, the Yankees are apparently on to Alexi Ogando‘s chicanery, as they knocked him around for six runs in a mere 1 2/3 innings en route to a 12-4 blowout of the Rangers. This was the second time on two tries this season they hung at least five on Ogando, and last night they really didn’t waste any time.

Alex Rodriguez got things going in the second inning with a leadoff single. After a Robinson Cano pop-out, Jorge Posada doubled, putting men on 2nd and 3rd with one out and bringing Nick Swisher to the plate. Swisher worked a seven-pitch walk, and Eduardo Nunez followed with a bases-loaded single, to plate the first run of the game.… Click here to read the rest

Series Preview | Yankees vs. Rangers III

(photo c/o Getty)

The Yankees and Rangers meet for the third and final time of the 2011 season tonight, squaring off for a three-game set in the Bronx. The Yankees have won four out of the six games the two teams have played thus far.

Texas is 7-5 in June, and started the month out with five straight wins but is coming off a four-game set with last-place Minnesota in which they lost three times. The Twins actually held the third-best-wOBA-in-the-AL Rangers to two total runs over their last two games.

The Ranger pitching staff, which began the year on fire, has regressed to the point of posting the second-worst collective FIP in the league, at 4.33, due in no small part to an AL-worst 1.16 HR/9. However, they’re outpitching that FIP by a fairly significant margin, with an ERA of 3.74 — this, along with the offense, explains how they’ve managed to remain in first place. However, the surprising Mariners are actually right on Texas’ heels, only 1.5 games out of first place.… Click here to read the rest

Bronx Bombers ride the rally rollercoaster; lose 7-5

Barty Blew it (c/o Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

As you may have guessed from the title, the Yanks showcased some serious moxie during last night’s bout only to ultimately taste the bitter pangs of defeat. Let’s see if we can briefly relive that exhausting experience one more time.

Just as the old (and slightly obvious) baseball adage states, the outcome of the game generally begins and ends with the quality of the pitching. Needless to say, Bartolo Colon didn’t have his best stuff and it cost him early. During the bottom of the first, Michael Young began his offensive onslaught with a home run.

Later in the second inning, David Murphy sent a line drive into the stands forcing the score to 2-0. Mitch Moreland singled; Chris Davis walked; and then, Julio Borbon drove the proverbial dagger straight through the heart with a bases clearing triple that split the gap between Granderson and Swisher. 

Finally, Ian Kinsler sent a sacrifice fly all the way to the wall (which Andruw Jones managed to catch) that brought about the fifth run.… Click here to read the rest

Yankees recall joys of winning; 4-1 over Rangers

After “enjoying” the cold spacious confines of Comerica, the Yanks were definitely in need of a win. Fortunately, last night provided just such an occasion. Let’s break it down.

Offense:
It’s only appropriate to quote a cliché Sterling-ism. “The Grandyman can, ohh, the Grandyman can!” Curtis smashed two booming homeruns. The first shot was deposited in the top of the first. Jeter singled and Curtis Granderson promptly gave the Yanks a 2-0 lead. Matt Harrison was as advertised; he struggled early in the game (he’d eventually settle down and retire 10 in a row), and boy, did Grandy make him pay.

The top of the second was interesting to say the least. Harrison played right into the Yankee MO as he started the inning off with consecutive walks to Jorge Posada and Russell Martin. For whatever reason, Brett Gardner (much to everyone’s chagrin), laid down the requisite bunt. Elvis Andrus made the grab, tossed it Adrian Beltre, and before you knew it, Posada was tagged out running to third.… Click here to read the rest

Yankees vs. Rangers II: Deep in the heart

This weekend, the Yankees and Rangers meet for the second of three times this season — this is the Bombers’ only trip to Texas — with nearly identical pitching match-ups as the two teams’ first three-game set.

The Rangers enter this series with perhaps slightly less swagger than they did the Bronx three weeks ago, as the team has cooled off considerably since its 9-1 start. While the Rangers remain a very good team, it’s no surprise that they’ve returned to earth to an extent, given the otherwordly performances they’d received from their starters through the first two weeks of the season.

As expected, both the rotation and the bullpen have undergone considerable regression, with the starters falling from a collective 2.45 ERA/3.41 FIP on April 16 to 3.94/4.39 as of the morning of May 4, while the relief corps have dropped from a 2.76 ERA/4.46 FIP to a 4.03 ERA/4.74 FIP. While we knew the Rangers were in for a regression, that’s a pretty steep fall, and partially explains why Texas gone 6-9 since leaving the Bronx (again, through the morning of May 4).… Click here to read the rest