Has The Solarte Party Come To An End?

After a hot start in Tampa this March, I was one of Yangervis Solarte‘s biggest doubters. A career minor leaguer rarely starts hitting major league pitching out of no where, and the small sample size of spring training wasn’t enough to disprove over 2,800 plate appearances in the minor leagues. But the infielder kept hitting, and by the second week of the regular season, I stopped doubting him and enjoyed the show. Solarte showcased bat speed, contact, an eye at the plate, and he was extremely versatile with his ability to switch-hit and play nearly anywhere on the infield.

None of this has changed. Solarte still has the same ability he did in April, but my fear was that we’d quickly learn something about Solarte that would finally expose a weakness. Either that didn’t happen or he made adjustments quicker than it could catch up to his statistics, because Solarte kept up his hot bat for two and half months between March, April, and mid-May.…

Read more

Bottom Of The Order Coming Up Big Lately

Ichiro vs CHW

I’m actually going to say something positive about Ichiro. Believe it. Courtesy of Getty Images

(Syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod.  Stats, for once, have been updated to include last night’s game)

Consistent offensive production continues to be a big problem for the Yankees as May winds down.  Carlos Beltran is on the DL, Teix may or may not have to join him because of his wrist stiffness, and Brian McCann and Alfonso Soriano have been unable to find their footing to carry the middle of the order.  Despite all of this, the Yankees have won 4 of their last 7 games and 8 of their last 13 over the last 2 weeks.  It’s been the bottom of the order and the rotating cast of characters inhabiting it that have had a lot to do with that.

Look no further than Brian Roberts‘ game-winning hit with the bases loaded in the 12th on Monday as an example.  That was his 3rd hit in 6 extra inning plate appearances this season and he has 5 hits, 4 runs scored, and 2 RBI in his last 4 games.  …

Read more

Everything was bad: Cardinals 6, Yankees 0

Ugh.

This is one of those games you just want to forget even happened because everything about it was bad: The offense (what offense?), the defense (two errors and other not-so-great plays), the pitching etc. Even worse, the Yankees helped Cards starter Lance Lynn record the first complete game shutout of his career. The Yankees were only able to muster five hits all night. Good job, everyone! Stellar!

Read more

Game 51: Phelps vs. Lynn

Welcome to tonight’s game thread!

Here are your lineups:

YANKEES
1. Brett Gardner (L) LF
2. Derek Jeter (R) SS
3. Jacoby Ellsbury (L) CF
4. Brian McCann (L) C
5. Yangervis Solarte (S) 3B
6. Alfonso Soriano (R) RF
7. Brian Roberts (S) 2B
8. Kelly Johnson (L) 1B
9. David Phelps (R) P

CARDS
1. Matt Carpenter (L) 3B
2. Kolten Wong (L) 2B
3. Matt Holliday (R) LF
4. Matt Adams (L) 1B
5. Yadier Molina (R) C
6. Allen Craig (R) RF
7. Jhonny Peralta (R) SS
8. Jon Jay (L) CF
9. Lance Lynn (R) P

Enjoy the game.

[Lineups courtesy of baseballpress.com]

Read more

The Importance of Shawn Kelley

nypost.com

nypost.com

Shawn Kelley might not be the highest profile player among the Yankees’ walking wounded with Carlos Beltran, CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda and Ivan Nova also on the disabled list, but that does not mean he isn’t missed. Joe Girardi said yesterday that Kelley played catch at 75 feet, so hopefully that means he is progressing well.

Brad wrote here earlier today about how Vidal Nuno, David Phelps and Chase Whitley need to pitch further into games and he is right: The Yankees are tied with the Rays for 26th in MLB in innings from their starters with 289.1 innings. This is causing Girardi to go completely out of his normal routine and rely heavily on Dellin Betances and Adam Warren. Those two and David Robertson are Girardi’s only reliable relievers right now and if he had Kelley at his disposal, he would be able to lighten their workload.

Kelley has been a steal since he came over in a trade from the Seattle Mariners last season.…

Read more

Could The Yankees’ Outfield Defense Actually Be A Detriment?

AP/Nathan Denette

AP/Nathan Denette

There was little question about just how good the Yankees’ outfield defense could be after the previous offseason. Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner are two of the best defensive outfielders in baseball, and although Alfonso Soriano has a bad reputation in the corner, his range over the last few years has gone from passable to above average. With Gardner headed back to left field, Soriano and Ichiro Suzuki switched to the smaller right field, and Ellsbury in center, the Yankees should have elite defense in the outfield. The bigger question surrounded the infield defense, which has been a major topic of discussion since the beginning of the season.

Starting 2014, the Yankees’ pitching staff looked extremely ground ball friendly. Ivan Nova, CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, and Masahiro Tanaka each throw a heavy sinker to induce soft ground balls, and Michael Pineda was the only fly ball pitcher in the rotation. Since then, the Yankees have also brought Chase Whitley, David Phelps, and Vidal Nuno into the mix, and each of these three feature two-seamers and sinkers.…

Read more

MLB Run Scoring Decline Part 1: It’s Not About The Bullpens in 3 Charts

Last week, I posted a graph showing the history of MLB run scoring since 1946. The graph showed a steady decline in run scoring since it peaked in 2000, including a fairly precipitous drop over the last 4 years.

The most common thing, other than the exit of PEDs, that I’ve been hearing from commentators trying to explain the drop has been the growth of ‘power bullpens’ or ‘specialized bullpens.’ Generally, they’ll point to relievers throwing 96 coming out in the 7th inning, and talk about how that just didn’t happen a few years ago. Up until I started looking at the evidence, I believed that this was a big explanation for the decline in run scoring.

But not so much. Let’s start with RP usage:

This chart could be a post on its own. It’s pretty cool to watch relief usage grow over time. After four decades of growth, the starter/reliever shares of innings stabilized. 2014′s usage patterns are not significantly different from 2000′s.…

Read more