Yankees individual clutch hitting

Yesterday, Katie Sharp had a terrific piece on the historic fail of the Yankees in the clutch hitting department. Like all great writing, the post made me think and it also confirmed (judging by the comments) what most of us have been seeing with our eyes all season. To call it bleak has been an understatement. The first question it raised was: Is this a total team breakdown or just certain segments of the lineup? So I decided to piggyback on Katie’s work and take a look.

Katie focused on three statistics: Runners in Scoring Position (RISP), Runners in Scoring Position with Two Outs (I’ll shorten that to RISP2) and Late and Close. She found the Yankees as a team to not only be way below league average in all three of these categories, but historically bad for Yankee teams since 1973 when this sort of data started to be compiled.

I took a look at the twelve players with more than fifty plate appearances that have only played for the Yankees this season.…

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Thursday Morning Musings: 8/14/14

You know, I always say I miss having YES and access to almost every televised Yankee game out here in Wisconsin.  For the last few seasons, I’ve almost caved and upgraded to a real cable package with MLB Extra Innings to be able to watch more games.  Today I feel really glad that I haven’t done that because I don’t think I would be a very enjoyable person to be around if I had the ability to watch the last 2 season’s worth of games.  Boring and bad baseball.  Not a fun combination.

– I haven’t put on my “bullpen decision overreacting” hat in a while, so I’m going to get a couple in from last night’s game.  First, I didn’t understand the move to pull Pineda.  Yes, I know he gave up a few hard-hit balls in the 5th, I know his velocity was dropping, I know he’s coming back from 4 months off.  I get why the move made sense.  …

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Yankeemetrics: August 11-13 (Orioles)

Michael Pineda pitched well in his first start since April 23, but the Yankees still lost. (Photo: New York Daily News)

Michael Pineda pitched well in his first start since April 23, but the Yankees still lost. (Photo: New York Daily News)

Nightmare in Charm City, Part I
A 3-1 lead is never safe, especially when you are facing the team that leads the majors in home runs and your team leads the league in home runs allowed. That’s the lesson learned after Monday’s 11-3 loss to the Orioles.

Brett Gardner had his usual hot start, hitting a triple in his first at-bat. That was his third triple leading off a game this season, becoming the first Yankee to do that in a single season since Roy White in 1974.

The Yankees scored two runs in the second inning on an error-filled play that simply has to be watched, or heard, to appreciate it. The Orioles ended up committing three errors in the game, which normally would mean a win for the Yankees – except this is not a normal season.

The only other game the Yankees have lost in Baltimore when the Orioles made at least three errors came more than 50 years ago on September 21, 1961.…

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Game 119 Recap: Orioles 5 Yankees 3

For the early part of tonight’s game, the story was Michael Pineda.  He was back, he looked really good, and he was mowing down the Baltimore lineup.  Then the Yankee lineup did its usual disappearing act, Joe made a couple of questionable decisions, and the bullpen gagged away another late lead.

To call Pineda “really good” as I did above was an understatement for the first 4 innings.  Pineda was perfect.  12 up, 12 down, 45 pitches to do so, and 4 strikeouts.  He had everything working.  4-seamers and cutters in the low 90s, lotta early strikes, swing-and-miss slider.  He wasn’t going to his changeup much, but he didn’t really need it to be effective the first 2 times through the order.

The Yankees scored 3 runs in the game and had 6 hits as a team.  2 of the runs and half the hits came in the top of the 3rd, when Stephen Drew doubled with 1 out and Francisco Cervelli smoked a 2-run home run off Chris Tillman on a 3-2 curveball.  …

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Game 119: The Return of Big Mike

Michael Pineda returns to the Yankees’ starting rotation tonight. Let’s hope all goes well and that if he’s using pine tar, he’s hiding it well. Although, Buck Showalter spoke with reporters earlier today and said he wouldn’t care if Pineda used pine tar, in fact, he seems to be encouraging other pitchers to do the same.

I don’t trust him. I think it’s a trap.

Anyway, here are your lineups:

YANKEES
Brett Gardner LF
Derek Jeter SS
Jacoby Ellsbury CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Carlos Beltran DH
Chase Headley 3B
Stephen Drew 2B
Martin Prado RF
Francisco Cervelli C

ORIOLES
Nick Markakis RF
Chris Davis 3B
Adam Jones CF
Nelson Cruz DH
Delmon Young LF
Steve Pearce 1B
Ryan Flaherty SS
Jonathan Schoop 2B
Nick Hundley C

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Quick Hit: The Rebirth Of ManBan

Way back after the end of last season, I wrote a post hypothesizing and somewhat advocating for the idea of Manny Banuelos being a contender for a Major League rotation spot this year.  I knew the team was going to play it extra safe with him and they have, but I also knew that there was going to be a need for starting pitching at some point.  My rationale was that if Banuelos was healthy and stretched out, he was just as good a fill-in candidate as anybody else.

For the better part of this season, his first back from TJS, ManBan has been neither stretched out, healthy, nor very good.  Many of his early-season starts were limited to no more than 3 innings and he missed chunks of time in May and late June with blister problems and shoulder fatigue.  He went through a 4-game stretch in which he gave up 12 ER and walked 6 in 8.2 innings pitched after coming back from the shoulder-related time off.  …

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A Refresher Course On Michael Pineda

Pineda vs CHC

Courtesy of Getty Images

It’s been almost 4 months since Michael Pineda pitched for the Yankees.  16 weeks exactly.  111 days.  That’s a pretty long time, and with his Yankee career up to this point consisting of only the 4 starts he made this earlier season, it raises or re-raises a lot of questions about what we can expect from him tonight and for the remainder of the season.  What kind of velocity will he have on his fastball?  Will he be able to sustain it?  How sharp will his slider be?  How will his command be?  How many pitches/innings will Joe let him throw?  How many will he be able to throw?  Will he get hurt again?  It’s not a short list.

In an attempt to answer or bare minimum be better prepared to answer those questions, let’s take a look back at Pineda’s 4 games in April and revisit what he did in his only meaningful time as a member of the New York Yankees.…

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Wednesday Morning Food For Thought: Hirok Skip A Cause For Concern?

The big story to come out of last night’s rain-related postponement was Michael Pineda‘s return staying on schedule.  Rather than push everybody back in the rotation a day, the Yankees elected to keep Pineda slated for tonight’s start and moved Shane Greene back a few days to Saturday.  That sets up Brandon McCarthy, Greene, and Chris Capuano for the weekend series against Tampa Bay.

The smaller, but not insignificant, part of that story is Greene taking Hiroki Kuroda‘s spot in the rotation while Kuroda gets bumped back to Tuesday against the Astros.  Cash was quick to let it be known that the decision is not due to injury, but did tell Mark Feinsand that the team feels “he would benefit from the rest.”

Well what does that mean?  Is Hirok tired?  Did he say something to somebody after his last start?  Is there some kind of smaller injury that the team doesn’t want to disclose?  Those 2 declarations made back-to-back makes the situation seem sketchier than it needs to be.  …

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Yankees historically bad clutch hitting

This is a familiar shot for the Yankees this season. (Photo: Mark Bonifacio/New York Daily News)

This is a familiar scene for the Yankees this season. (Photo: Mark Bonifacio/New York Daily News)

It’s a minor miracle that my television set has survived the entire season so far, given the numerous times I wanted to throw hard objects at the screen in frustration after watching yet another Yankee ground out to end an inning with a couple men on base.

Though is there is little evidence that “clutch” hitting is a repeatable skill, what has already happened in the past is real and cannot be undone. And what the Yankees have done in pressure situations so far this season is nearing historic, record-setting lows.

To measure the performance of the team’s bats in various situations, I used a stat found on baseball-reference.com called Split OPS+ (adjusted OPS relative to the league’s OPS in the split). A 100 is league average, and each point up or down is one percentage point above or below league average.

There are a couple advantages to using this statistic:

1) OPS is a better measurement to use than batting average, since a walk can be just as valuable as a hit in these situations and a homer is definitely more valuable than a single.…

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