MLB needs to address umpiring problem sooner rather than later

To give you an idea of why Lawrie was so hacked off, here’s the strikezone Miller called in Tuesday night’s Rays-Blue Jays game:

(click to enlarge)

As you can see, Miller was clearly calling a wide zone behind the plate, giving the outside corner and then some to pitchers against hitters from both sides of the plate. That doesn’t excuse Lawrie’s belligerent reaction, by any means, but answer me this: what is Miller’s punishment for being bad at his job going to be? A player who had this much trouble commanding the zone would be in danger of losing his job in one way or another but, so far as we know, there’s is absolutely no discipline for the people who are supposed to enforce the rules of the game for being completely incompetent at their jobs. Will Miller’s pay be docked for this game? Will he be sent back to umpiring school for a refresher course on calling balls and strikes?…

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No, Henny Penny, the sky is not falling

Baseball has a long schedule. And 37 games out of 162 hardly make a case. Last year’s World Champion, St. Louis Cardinals were four games over .500 after 130 games last season. In 2010, the World Champion, San Francisco Giants were a game over .500 after 78 games. And guess what, the 2009 World Champion, New York Yankees were just 20-17 after 37 games and were in third place, four and a half games behind the division leader. Sound familiar?

Just about every area of this current Yankee team has concerns. Yes, the team cannot seem to win unless they homer. Yes, the rotation has had its struggles. Yes, injuries have affected the bullpen and the outfield. Yes, the team is old. And yes, the team plays in a tough division filled with good teams. And don’t think those Red Sox are dead yet. But every season is different and poses new challenges and problems. This current team has not had a hot streak yet.…

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Hughes rides new approach to success

The biggest difference with Hughes these days continues to be his near total abandonment of his cutter. Far from letting it all hang out with his four-seamer, however, Hughes has also been utilizing his changeup and his curveball with increasing frequency in his last three starts. The culmination of that trend was his last start this past Saturday against the Mariners when Hughes called on the fastball just 58% of the time (slightly less often than before he called on the great spirit of the bullpen, actually), and threw four cutters out of 112 total pitches. The difference? 14 changeups and 29 curveballs. Yes, over 1 in 4 of the pitches Hughes threw against the Mariners was a curveball, a pitch that was almost laughably bad earlier this season. Far from utilizing it as a show me pitch or getting in trouble with it, however, Hughes threw the pitch for a strike over half the time (51.7%), and generated a whiff rate of 6.9% and a foul ball rate of 10.3%.…

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Breaking down Kuroda’s stinker

Here’s a visual representation of Kuroda’s location Wednesday night, marked by pitch type:

All those pitches in the middle of the plate just jump right out at you, don’t they? The sinker, in particular, was often left up and over the plate and, indeed, the sinker was Kuroda’s least effective pitch according to Brooks Baseball’s linear weights.

Now let’s look at each of the home runs Kuroda allowed last night. First the two-run bomb J.P. Arencibia hit in the second inning:

The home run came on a slider that just didn’t get off of the plate in time, and which Arencibia was able to get in front of and square up for a home run. Not a bad pitch to throw in a full count, but Arencibia had already seen three in the at bat, and apparently was ready to hit one that caught that much of the plate.

The three run home run Edwin Encarnacion hit in the next inning:

This time the home run comes on a sinker up and slightly off the outside corner.…

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Morning stroll down memory lane

Whenever someone mentions Jason Giabmi’s tenure with the Yankees, I get pretty peeved. He wasn’t exactly the player he was in Oakland and his glove was, well, let’s just not talk about that. However, he was still productive with the bat, posting a .404 OBP and a .525 SLG (.925 OPS) in his time with...

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