Quick hit: A-Rod hits home run #656, now four away from tying Mays

Alex Rodriguez is now four home runs away from tying Willie Mays after hitting a bomb to deep left field off Orioles starter Bud Norris in the fourth inning of tonight’s game.

No, seriously, he hit that ball really far.

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Game 9: Norris vs. Eovaldi

The Yankees are in Baltimore for one more game before a much-needed off day. Brett Gardner is still out of the lineup but could be a pinch hitter or runner, if needed. He told reporters he expects to be back in the lineup on Friday.

Bud Norris will be facing off against Nathan Eovaldi.

Here are the lineups courtesy of Baseball Press and my laziness:

lineups415

Enjoy the game!

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Quick Hit: Joe’s Early Decisions

I don’t want this to come off like I’m criticizing the manager or trying to play Monday morning quarterback with his decisions, because that’s not my intention.  Just like it’s far too early to make too much of the players’ performance, 8 games is hardly a sizable enough sample to start nitpicking the managerial decisions and blaming the manager for losses.  There have been a few moves that I’ve found particularly puzzling in these first 8 games, however, and I feel like I need to at least get them out of my head and onto the blog for the sake of discussion.

It all really started with the 19-inning game on Friday.  Since then, it seems like it’s been a nonstop rotation of rest days for multiple guys at a time and a very strict use of the platoon rule.  I understand Friday night was a whale of a game to play in this early in the season and I fully respect Joe’s desire to make sure his age 30 and up veteran core gets enough time to recover.  …

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About Last Night: CC Sabathia

In his first start of the season, CC Sabathia faced the Toronto Blue Jays and gave up five runs (four earned) on eight hits in only 5 ⅔ innings to pick up the loss. But he also struck out eight, didn’t walk a batter and didn’t surrender a home run.

Last night’s game was similar in many ways.

“Lucky” Seven and Adam Jones

Seven was a big number for Sabathia last night. He pitched seven innings, gave up seven hits and struck out seven. He also gave up four runs, walked one batter and gave up a home run to Adam Jones. Jones had two RBI last night. He also hit a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the third.

Jones has faced Sabathia more than any other pitcher in baseball (72 plate appearances) and he is batting .273/.306/.545/.851 with four home runs, four doubles, a triple and 14 RBI, but Sabathia shouldn’t feel too bad because eight games into the 2015 season, Jones is batting .429/.469/.929/1.397 with a .579 wOBA and a 278 wRC+.…

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Quick Hit: How About Chris Martin?

Chris Martin vs BOS

Courtesy of Getty Images

It was barely a footnote in last night’s loss, but Chris Martin came out of the bullpen to relieve CC Sabathia and turned in a solid outing.  Clean inning of work, couple strikeouts, an efficient 11 pitches, it was the type of inning we’d usually expect from Dellin Betances but have yet to see in his setup role.  With those struggles being the main bullpen headline thus far, I think it’s worth giving a quick shout out to Martin for the excellent job he’s done in middle relief.

After last night’s appearance, Martin has now pitched 4.2 innings in 5 games.  He’s given up 2 earned runs on 2 hits, all accumulated in his shaky 4th appearance against Boston over the weekend, and struck out 6 while walking only 1.  Not too shabby for a 28-year-old late bloomer who just got his first taste of big league ball last year in pitcher-unfriendly Colorado.  He’s shown the ability to throw his fastball with velocity (mid-90s 4-seamer) and movement around the strike zone, and he’s used his good command to pound that strike zone and work from ahead in the count consistently.…

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Early Yankee BABIP Problems

Can you judge a team’s offense after just eight games? Probably not. But you can look at trends to keep an eye on in the weeks ahead. According to most statistics I am looking at, the Yankees are a middle of the road offense. The one thing lagging behind everything else is the team’s batting average on balls in play or BABIP.

The Yankees are ninth out of thirty teams in runs scored. No doubt that fourteen-run explosion the other night helped that out quite a bit. The team is seventh in ISO, so the power numbers are decent. They are eleventh in wOBA. And they are fifteenth in on-base percentage.

Looking further at the numbers thus far, the team is ground ball / fly ball neutral. In other words, they are not leaning heavily in one batted ball type or the other. The team hasn’t hit a lot of line drives to this point and are 28th in that category.…

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Game 8 Quick Recap: Orioles 4 Yankees 3

Teix K vs BAL

Classic strikeout face. Courtesy of the AP

If you’ve been reading my stuff since AB4AR, then you know my theory on winning streaks.  They don’t really start until you reach 3.  2 of anything in a row is not a streak.  That’s just good small sample size luck.  The Yankees had a chance to start their first true winning streak of 2015 tonight in the second game of their first road series,

CC Sabathia was back on the mound for his second start, and his outing was another frustrating and familiar one.  He gave up the long ball (solo homer by Adam Jones in the 1st), he struggled to throw his fastball for much velocity or consistent command, and his lack of mobility came back to bite him on some bad defensive plays.  The Orioles put up 3 runs on 5 hits against him over the 4 first innings.

To his credit, CC did settle down and work through the next 3 innings unscathed.  …

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Game 8: Sabathia vs. Gonzalez

Here are tonight’s lineups:

New York Yankees Baltimore Orioles
 Jacoby Ellsbury, CF Everth Cabrera, SS
 Chase Headley, 3B Manny Machado, 3B
 Carlos Beltran, RF Adam Jones, CF
 Mark Teixeira, 1B Steve Pearce, 1B
 Brian McCann, C Delmon Young, RF
 Garrett Jones, DH Chris Davis, DH
 Chris Young, LF Jonathan Schoop, 2B
 Stephen Drew, 2B Caleb Joseph, C
 Didi Gregorius, SS Alejandro De Aza, LF
CC Sabathia, SP Miguel Gonzalez, SP

Enjoy the game!

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Early Analysis Of Pineda’s Changeup

The final line of 5 earned runs and 9 hits against in 6+ innings didn’t look great to the naked eye, but if you watched the game last night you probably thought Michael Pineda pitched much better than his line indicated.  He was locating his fastball and slider well, showing great command of each, getting a ton of swings and misses, and he even mixed in another solid batch of changeups.

After 2 starts, one thing that stands out with Pineda compared to last year is his use of the changeup early.  I ID’d it as one of the things to watch for in his first start and he didn’t disappoint, using it 12 times and getting some empty swings on it.  Last night he broke the pitch out 14 times against the Oriole lineup, and once again it was a very effective and useful pitch for him.  The sample sizes are still very small this early, but the statistical implications of the 26 changeups Pineda has thrown are very inspiring.…

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