Happy Anniversary, Derek Jeter!

Happy Anniversary, Derek Jeter! Nine years ago today, you hit your first (and so far only) career grand slam!

I was at this game, sitting in the left field bleachers and the Cubs fans sitting behind me couldn’t figure out why we were all flipping out so much over a grand slam that turned a 3-1 game into a 7-1 game in the middle of June. I can recall telling one of the girls behind me who was visiting from Chicago that it was Jeter’s first grand slam and she couldn’t believe it.

She said, “Wait, really? The first of his career?”

I nodded.

“Wow, that’s surprising. It seems like he’d have a few by now.”

Then I explained that his numbers up to that point with the bases loaded were really good (his average was north of .300 if I recall correctly) it was just that he had never hit a home run.…

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Mark Buehrle Scouting Report: 6/18/14

Tonight, the Yankees will be facing Mark Buehrle who is coming into tonight’s game with a 10-3 record and I thought it would be fun to look at how he’s been pitching so far this season.

Here is where he likes to throw the ball. He likes using the entire plate:
strike-zone (21)

Overall Buehrle’s holding opposing batters to a .256/.308/.372/.680 line, a .291 BABIP and a .298 wOBA. His K/BB ratio is 55/26.

This is how he pitches to righties:
strike-zone (22)

Righties are batting .272/.321/.388/.709 with three home runs and 41 strikeouts.

hit-chart (36)

This is how he pitches to lefties:
strike-zone (23)

Lefties are batting .216/.277/.333/.610 with one home run and 14 strikeouts.

hit-chart (35)

So far in 2014, batters have had the most success against Buehrle when he throws his fastball. They’re batting .298/.380/.404/.783 conversely, Buehrle has his highest strikeout rate (18.3%) on his fastball. His most successful pitch seems to be his cutter which is holding opposing batters to a .167/.250/.208/.458 line.

He’s given up four home runs all season: Two of them have come on his changeup and two have come on his fastball.…

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Can Heath Bell Be Of Any Value?

Heath Bell 2014

Courtesy of Getty Images

(Syndicated from An A-Blog for A-Rod)

The shuffling and re-shuffling of the middle relief deck has been a constant for the Yankees this year.  Early injuries to the starters, some DL stints at the front end of the ‘pen, and a lot of really poor performances have combined to create a rotation of mostly mediocre characters through the last 2 spots and the Yanks are very much still in search of a couple of reliable options.  They’ve got rookie Jose Ramirez in one spot for the moment and the recently-acquired David Huff in the other.  You’ll remember him from his tandem starter duties with Phil Hughes last season.

Another move Cash made to add some organizational depth was signing Heath Bell to a MiL deal last Friday.  Bell was released by the Rays earlier in the season after putting up a 7.27 ERA in 17.1 IP and most recently he had been pitching some OK ball for the Baltimore Orioles’ Triple-A affiliate (4.22/3.24 in 10.2 IP).  …

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About Last Night: Yep, You Guessed It, It’s Tanaka Again

First of all, I’d like to take the time to thank Masahiro Tanaka for being a total badass and allowing me to do these posts about him every five days. With that said, let’s see what happened against the Blue Jays.

The night got off to an inauspicious start when Jose Reyes took Tanaka deep on the first pitch of the game:

atbat-summary (36)

And after getting Melky Cabrera to line out, he got Jose Bautista to strike out swinging (low splitter pitch 5):

atbat-summary (37)

But then Edwin Encarnacion hit a single:
atbat-summary (38)

Then Brett Lawrie hit a single:

atbat-summary (39)

And just when you thought that maybe the Blue Jays were going to be the ones to break through and have a big inning against Tanaka, he strikes out Dioner Navarro for the third out (low splitter pitch 4):

atbat-summary (40)

The one thing I love about watching Tanaka is that his “bad” games would be considered excellent starts for the majority of starters in the majors. If someone else gave up a home run on the first pitch of the game and had two runners on with a chance to have a big inning, a lot of pitchers would buckle under the pressure.…

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What to expect from Chase Whitley in the future

Whitley vs KC
It’s hard to believe that before being called up to the Yankees in mid-May, Chase Whitley had made just 14 career starts at the minor-league level and six of those came this season at Triple-A.

Fast-forward to June 18 and he’s now making his seventh major-league start and, despite joining the rotation six weeks into the season, he has the second-highest WAR among Yankee starting pitchers behind only Masahiro Tanaka.

The Yankees are 5-1 in his starts and his ERA of 2.41 ranks in the top 10 in the American League among starters with at least 30 innings pitched. Is Whitley for real and what can we expect in the future?

Luck factors
The first two things to look at when deciding whether a pitcher is pitching above/below his true talent are FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) and BABIP (Batting Average on Balls In Play).

Whitley’s FIP of 2.58 is close enough to his ERA to show he’s not out-pitching his peripherals, and his BABIP of .291 is only slightly below the league average of .300 which indicates he has not been especially lucky on his balls in play.…

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Quick Game 69 Recap: We’re Not Worthy!

post-38815-Waynes-World-Were-Not-Worthy-g-vpD0

Seriously, gang.  I don’t think we’re worthy of seeing starting pitching like this.  Masahiro Tanaka turned in another virtuoso performance last night in his second start against the Toronto Blue Jays, his first time facing them since his first start of the season.  His only blemish was the first pitch he threw to Jose Reyes to start the game, a 4-seamer down the pipe that Reyes hit out for a solo home run.  After that, he was standard Tanaka.  Lotta swings and misses, lotta Ks, and only 1 real scoring threat in 6 innings of work.

Offensively, the Yanks were driven by Brett Gardner‘s 2-run Yankee Stadium Special home run in the bottom of the 3rd.  Kelly Johnson hit a 1-run double to put a duck on the pond for Gardner, and he did what a good hitter should do with a hanging curveball.  The only other run came on a good manufacturing job in the 5th.  Derek Jeter singled to lead off the inning, moved to second on a wild pitch, third on an Ellsbury groundout, and scored on a single by Mark Teixeira.…

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Game 69 – Please don’t whack Tanak

The New York Yankees are back home at Yankee Stadium after a successful road trip (anytime you win more than you lose with a West Coast swing is a good thing) that did have its share of ugh moments. And the pitching match-up is a potentially sparkling arm party. The Yankees, of course, host the current...

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Tuesday Afternoon Open Thread: 6/17/14

Welcome to this afternoon’s open thread.

Feel free to discuss whatever you’d like – there’s a lot of stuff happening this week – and in case you missed anything that was published earlier today on the site, here are your links:

  • Brad dreams of Giancarlo Stanton becoming a Yankee
  • Katie wrote about Solarte’s latest slump
  • William interviewed former Yankee Rudy May
    [Note from your benevolent Overlord: Please take time to read this amazing interview. William's incredible thoughtfulness, research and preparation in his line of questioning is as good as anyone will see in an interview. Whether you know/remember Rudy May or not, his honest and refreshing answers are a perfect fit to William's questions. Kudos, William. You done good, sir--jason]

Enjoy!

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