Tuesday Afternoon Open Thread: 7/8/14

Guess what happened 14 years ago today?

The Yankees swept a doubleheader against the Mets. But that wasn’t the big story. The Yankees won both games 4-2. But that wasn’t the big story. Dwight Gooden picked up a win for the Yankees in the day game of the twin bill. But that wasn’t the big story. The fact that it was a split venue doubleheader also wasn’t the big story.

This was:

I was at that game, sitting in my old Sunday seats at the old Stadium – it was a makeup game from a previous rainout (6/11/00). As soon as the ball hit Piazza, my mother, who was sitting to my left, put her head into my shoulder and said, “Oh my God, is he moving?” She couldn’t look and for a few scary moments, we all thought the worst. You could hear a pin drop in the Stadium. Thankfully, Piazza was alive, he left the game and a new “rivalry” was born.…

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About Last Night: Shane Greene

So Shane Greene did pretty well last night. He lasted six innings, gave up two runs on four hits, struck out two and didn’t walk a batter.

Here’s his hit chart with outs included. He induced a lot of ground balls:

hit-chart (49)

He made one mistake in the bottom of the fifth inning, giving up a home run to Nick Swisher but all in all, it was a nice first start for Greene who picked up his first MLB win.

Here’s the Swisher home run which came on an 89 mph slider over the plate:

atbat-summary (67)

So far this season, between last night’s start and his appearance in the Yankees’ 14-5 win against the Red Sox on 4/24, Greene has thrown 110 pitches; 66 fastballs, 1 changeup, 31 sliders and 12 cutters. He gave up one hit on his slider – the home run to Swisher – and gave up two hits on the fastball and one on the cutter.

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Power-Hitting Brett Gardner

Brett Gardner home run

One of the most popular nicknames for Brett Gardner is GGBG — Gritty Gutty Brett Gardner. Though Gardner still embodies those characteristics, he’s also added another tool to his game this season…

The Gritty Gutty Power Hitting Brett Gardner.

With nearly half of the season remaining, Gardner has already matched his career-best home run total (set last year), and is on pace for the highest slugging percentage and isolated power marks of his major-league career.

Let’s take a deeper look at how Gardner has transformed himself from a slap-hitting, bottom-of-the-order player to a top-of-the-lineup hitter with modest pop and pull-side power.

A More Powerful Gardner
One reason to be optimistic that his power surge is sustainable is the fact that Gardner is simply hitting the ball harder and farther this season than ever before.

Inside Edge tracks every at-bat of every game and categorizes each ball in play as “hard-hit”, “medium-hit” or “soft-hit”. The video trackers are looking for “beneficial trajectory and velocity and contact with the sweet spot of the bat” to determine whether the ball was hit hard or softly.…

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Game 88: The Curious Case of Brian Roberts

This season, Brian Roberts has walked in 8.7% of his plate appearances, which is quite good – league-average, for reference, is 7.9%. The majority of his offensive value is derived from his ability to take a walk, in fact, as his .315 OBP is almost perfectly league-average. However, it seems as though Roberts has changed his approach at the plate a bit over the past few weeks, as he has not taken a walk in his last 14 games … over which time he is batting .293/.293/.534 (including two of his four home runs this season).

Is it safe to call it a change in approach, though? Surprisingly, yes. Or, maybe, at least. Over his first 62 games, Roberts swung at 28.4% of pitches out of the zone, 73.1% of pitches in the zone, and 48.9% of pitches overall. Since then, those percentages are 36.6%, 75.7%, and 55.4%, respectively.

Of course, this could be small sample size noise – and it probably is.…

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Quick Hit: Severino Makes the Mid-Season Top-50 for BA and BP

Heading into this season, Luis Severino was widely regarded as one of the better pitching prospects in the Yankees system, and while that may not be saying too much, it was something. Baseball Prospectus (subscription required) named him as a prospect on the rise, and John Sickels saw him as the...

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Scouting Shane Greene, or “Can he be any worse than he was in his MLB debut?”

TOn April 24, 2014, Shane Greene made his Major League debut against the Boston Red Sox. It was an inauspicious introduction to the bigs, to say the least, as Greene would retire only one of the five batters that he faced, thanks to poor command and porous defense. When the dust had settled (after Adam Warren allowed two inherited runners to score), Greene had produced the following line: 0.1 IP, 0 H, 3 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 1 K. Derek Jeter and Brian McCann welcomed him to the show by botching a routine play and allowing a passed ball, respectively – but Greene was just as bad as those gruesome numbers suggest. And with that, he was sent back to the RailRiders.

Drafted in the 15th round of the 2009 draft, Greene has long been regarded as a sleeper by many Yankees bloggers. Clocking in at 6’4″ and around 200 pounds, he has the build of a prototypical right-handed power pitcher, with a 92 to 94 MPH fastball and mid-80s slider to back it up.…

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Yankeemetrics: July 3-6 (Twins)

Zelous Wheeler is all smiles after his first career homer. (Photo credit: Jim Mone/AP)

Zelous Wheeler is all smiles after his first career home run. (Photo credit: Jim Mone/AP)

”Wheels up, Zelous!”
The Yankees snapped their season-high five-game losing streak with a win in the series opener at Minnesota, despite a career-worst night from Masahiro Tanaka.

Tanaka allowed a season-high nine hits and four earned runs, snapping his quality start streak at 16 games, which was tied with CC Sabathia (2010) for the longest in Yankees history.

The 16 quality starts in a row had also matched the longest streak to begin an MLB career, set by the Expos’ Steve Rogers in 1973.

He did get his 12th win of the season, becoming the first Yankee rookie to have at least 12 wins prior to the All-Star break. The last rookie on any team to do that was the Reds’ Wayne Simpson in 1970.

With 130 strikeouts and 12 wins this season, Tanaka is the first pitcher in franchise history to reach both of those marks before the All-Star break.…

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Jeter going to the All Star Game isn’t the problem

jeter3400Derek Jeter is going to start the All Star Game at shortstop in his final MLB season.

Many people have a problem with this. I don’t.

At 40 years old, Jeter is hitting .273 with a .323 on-base percentage, .328 slugging and .651 OPS. It’s not pretty.

Should Jeter start the All Star Game based on those numbers? If the nature of the ASG is to truly honor the best of the best (and part of it is), then no. There are more deserving short stops in the American League such as Kansas City’s Alcides Escobar.

Yet, the problem isn’t Derek Jeter or that fans get to decide the starters. The problem is – and will be – that the All Star Game is supposed to mean something more than just an exhibition for fans. Using the All Star Game to decide which league gets home field advantage for the World Series has been an awful idea. Downright terrible.

The All Star Game is meant to be an exhibition game for fans getting to watch their favorite players represent their teams.…

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Jeter Elected To Start In The 2014 All-Star Game

Derek Jeter was voted into the All-Star game by the fans for the 9th time in his career. This will be his 14th and final All-Star game. He’s the seventh player in American League history to earn nine fan elections to start the All-Star Game. The other six were Cal Ripken, George Brett, Rod Carew, Ken Griffey Jr., Ichiro Suzuki, and Ivan Rodriguez.

Jeter was given the news after the Yankees’ 9-7 win over the Twins and he told reporters, “I’m happy I get the opportunity to come back here. It’s special for me.” The game will be held at Target Field on July 15. 

Per ESPN Stats and Info: Only Mickey Mantle (13) and Yogi Berra (11) have more All-Star starts as Yankees.

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