Splitting up: Comparing Tanaka’s and Iwakuma’s Splitter

Masahiro Tanaka and Hisashi Iwakuma have a lot more in common than sharing a dugout and a uniform in Japan a few years ago.

Both have excelled as starting pitchers in the United States – Iwakuma’s 2.66 ERA since joining the Mariners rotation in July 2012 is the best among AL starters and Tanaka’s 2.02 ERA leads the AL this season – and both feature nasty splitters as their primary “out” pitches.

With the two former Rakuten Golden Eagles teammates set to go on back-to-back nights in Seattle, here’s an in-depth look how the two pitchers have dominated hitters with that signature split-fingered fastball.

Stats don’t lie
The results have been nearly identical for both Iwakuma and Tanaka this season when they throw their splitter. Iwakuma has a 23-point advantage in OPS allowed thanks to a few more walks allowed with the pitch by Tanaka, while both are holding batters to nearly identical batting averages and slugging percentages.

Hisashi Iwakuma vs Masahiro Tanaka Splitter This Season
Pitches BA OBP SLG
Iwakuma 165 .133 .133 .183
Tanaka 310 .135 .150 .189

They both throw the pitch about 25 percent of the time in all counts and 40 percent of the time when ahead in the count, while Iwakuma leans on his splitter a little bit more in two-strike counts (50% vs 41%).…

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The Solarte Party Still Isn’t Over

Coming into the season, many Yankee fans weren’t familiar with Yangervis Solarte and even now, over 60 games into the season, people still aren’t exactly sure about him.

Right now, Solarte is batting .299/.368/.458/.826 in 54 games and 151 PA. He has six home runs, 28 RBI, his K% is 10.9% (25), his BB% is 10% (23), his wOBA is .360, and his BABIP is .312.

Most fans probably believed that Solarte would slow down by now and while he has hit a few rough patches this season – during his latest rough stretch which lasted from May 15-28, he batted .149/.200/.213 – he always seems to rebound – in the 10 games since that cold spell, Solarte has hit .371/.421/.571 in the 10 games since.*

Solarte is a switch hitter and against lefties, Solarte is batting .271/.312/.357/.669 with a 14.1 K% and a 5.1% BB%.

hit-chart (31)

Against righties, Solarte is doing a bit better batting .313/.397/.511/.909 with a 9.3% K% and a 12.6% BB%.…

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Yankees Announce Old-Timers’ Roster

The Yankees announced who will be appearing at the Stadium for this year’s Old-Timers’ Day on June 22.

Here’s the list courtesy of the New York Yankees’ media relations department:

Jesse Barfield

Yogi Berra

Brian Boehringer

Scott Bradley

Dr. Bobby Brown

Maggie Coleman (Widow)

David Cone

Johnny Damon*

Bucky Dent

Al Downing

Brian Doyle

John Flaherty

Whitey Ford

Jake Gibbs

Joe Girardi

Rich Gossage

Ron Guidry

Charlie Hayes

Rickey Henderson

Orlando Hernandez

Arlene Howard (Widow)

Helen Hunter (Widow)

Reggie Jackson

Scott Kamieniecki

Pat Kelly

Don Larsen

Graeme Lloyd

Hector Lopez

Jill Martin (Widow)

Tino Martinez

Hideki Matsui*

Lee Mazzilli

Stump Merrill

Gene Michael

Gene Monahan (Trainer)

John Montefusco*

Diana Munson (Widow)

Kay Murcer (Widow)

Jeff Nelson

Paul O’Neill

Joe Pepitone

Andy Phillips

Willie Randolph

Bobby Richardson

Mickey Rivers

Joe Torre

David Wells

Roy White

(*First-Time Old-Timer)

Before the Old-Timers’ game, the Yankees will honor Gossage’s Hall of Fame career by unveiling a plaque in Monument Park.

Familiar faces, Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui, will make their Old-Timers’ Day debuts along with John Montefusco who played with the Yankees from 1983-1986.…

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Yankeemetrics: June 6-8 (Royals)

The Chase is On
The Yankees started their 10-game road trip with a 4-2 win over the Royals, getting a timely hit from the struggling
Brian McCann and a strong outing from rookie Chase Whitley.

Whitley earned his first major-league win, allowing two runs in seven innings. Prior to this outing he had four no-decisions in four career starts, which made him the first Yankees pitcher to make a start in each of his first four major-league games and record a no-decision in each of them, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

Two key stats have made Whitley successful so far in his rookie campaign: zero home runs allowed and just three walks in 26 innings.

He is one of two Yankees in the last 30 years to not allow a homer in each of his first five major-league starts. The other is Chien-Ming Wang, who also started his career with five homer-free starts in 2005.

Whitley is one of 37 Yankees in the last 100 years to make a start in each of his first five career games.…

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What To Do With Cervelli When He’s Ready To Be Activated?

Cervelli Hamstring 2014

Courtesy of Getty Images

While daily updates on Shawn Kelley‘s back, Carlos Beltran‘s elbow, Mark Teixeira‘s wrist, and what impact level of treadmill CC is walking on have become a common part of the Yankee news cycle lately, Francisco Cervelli has been quietly working his way back from his April hamstring strain.  It started a few weeks ago when he began running the bases and taking BP at the team complex in Tampa and it’s continued over the past week as he’s played in a handful of MiL rehab games.  Cervelli is eligible to be activated off the 60-day disabled list this Saturday and Joe is going to have a tough decision to make on what to do with him.  On a team that has holes everywhere, there doesn’t seem to be a clear way for Cervelli to come in and help.

Before he pulled up lame running the bases in April, it hadn’t been a very good start for Cervelli.  …

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Yankees Need Beltran and McCann

Brian Cashman’s comments today about potential changes today were a long time coming.

“We’re just trying to move this thing along,” Cashman told Donnie Collins of the Scranton Times-Tribune. “If there are guys struggling in New York, I can’t wait.”

The Yankees have been unbearable to watch lately, as they have averaged 2.67...

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Shaking Things Up With Pirela Or Refsnyder

I’ve been an avid fan of moving Brian Roberts to a bench position, or perhaps even off the active roster, in favor of Kelly Johnson. Roberts hasn’t been good in five years, and despite limited playing time and learning new positions, I’ve preferred Johnson’s power potential this season. On the other hand, the Yankees seem to like Roberts’ ability to switch-hit. Being able to hit for both sides is really all he’s got going for him at this point, but that point is moot when the numbers continue to show that he can’t hit anyone.

Roberts is now batting .239/.317/.350 in 203 plate appearances this season. He’s started 49 games, and he’s shown that his age and injury troubles have hurt him both defensively and offensively. 2009 was the last time Roberts had an OPS over .800, and it was the last time he played a full season. I’d love to see Johnson get a chance at his true position of second base, but the team seems unwilling to give Johnson the torch.…

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