Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Game 146: The Man's Too Strong

Tonight the Yankees begin their last series of the season against the Blue Jays, a quick two game set in the Bronx. The Yanks lead the season tilt 11-5, winning every series against Toronto save for a 4 game split the last time they met.

Sergio Mitre and his 7.02 ERA will jump the bump for the Bombers this evening. After his brilliant one-hit outing against the White Sox was cut short by a line drive to his forearm, Mitre was rocked for his worst start of the year his last time out by the same team he'll be facing tonight.

The Serge was tagged for 9 runs in 4 1/3 IP and two more unearned came to the plate during that time. He struck out 5 and didn't give up any home runs, but the Yanks made three errors behind him and every ball the Jays hit seemed to find a hole. At the risk of jinxing the man, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that this start can't possibly be as bad as his last one.

Going against the Yankees tonight will be the man that has given the most trouble as a starting pitcher since he has entered the league.

Starting with at the end of the non-waiver trade deadline, Roy Halladay didn't appear to be himself. During his six starts in August, opponents hit .316/.333/.526 against him including 8 home runs, his most in a single month since April of 2003. He gave up 22 earned runs in 42 innings and allowed another 5 unearned to that total. To the casual observer, it might have seemed like he had been thrown off of his game or had mentally given in after not being traded.

However, Doc's K/BB ratio was still a fantastic 7.20, and he had gotten quite unlucky in terms of BABIP (.354) and HR/FB% (14.4%). It should have come as much of a surprise then, that he has started off September with two vintage Halladay starts, a complete game shutout against the Yankees on the 4th and a complete game loss against the Twins on the 9th.

He's thrown 9 innings in three of his four starts against the Yanks this year but has just two wins to show for his efforts. In 34 career starts against them, he has more complete games (7) than he does losses (6). He haunts the Yankees like no other active pitcher and they're going to need to put forth a solid offensive effort to overcome the strength of Halladay.

And I can still hear his laughter,
And I can still hear his song,
The man's too big,
The man's too strong.


  1. isn't it sad to listen to the announcers be completely ignorant of the tools out there on the web (fangraphs in this case)... i noticed cone started using stats from it which is awesome, but kay can't even remember the name of the site... and the other guys in the booth are amazed there are actually websites on the web that keep track of this stuff... its as if these guys aren't paid to follow baseball...

  2. I noticed that too, Anon. Thought it was awesome that Cone has been mentioning FanGraphs on the air recently.

    The problem with the guys in the booth is that they already have their jobs and don't have much of an incentive to get better at them. It'd be great if they were interested in the new wave of data out there but the amount of time they've been around the game and their access to the team probably make them think they don't need to learn anything new. And obviously they're wrong.

  3. For the second time today, I'm going to go off on a negative rant despite the great general state of affairs in Yankeedom:

    I've fucking had it with Michael Kay. I can't stand listening to this tool anymore. I never particularly cared for him, though I did find him to be more palatable once he was separated from Sterling on the radio. But that's it. This Jeter chase was the straw that broke the camel's back for me.

    I've had enough of his schtick. His corny jokes. His anachronistic pop culture references. His stupid catch phrases. His continual kissing of O'Neill's ass. His fake arguing with Flaherty. His stupid plugs for his radio show. His false sense of grandeur. His contrived enthusiasm. I can't take it anymore.

    Yet the guy is ubiquitous. You can't escape him. I realize that not everyone who reads here likes what we do, but there's are hundreds of other Yankee blogs out there - you can easily get some coverage elsewhere. But if I want to watch a Yankee game I have one choice and one only - and 75% of the time that choice includes Michael Kay and I've had it. And yet my only alernative is the radio which is even worse. Who the hell signs off the continued employment of these ass holes?!?!?!

    And no, there wasn't one specific thing tonight that set me off - this has just built up over time.

    /end rant

  4. "Who the hell signs off the continued employment of these ass holes?!?!?!"

    Wouldn't that be the Steinbrenners? It must really suck to hate your own announcers. I love the Red Sox announcers on TV AND radio. Their voices are like music.

  5. The team has some input on it, though these days I'm not sure how concerned Hal or Hank is about who's calling the game. But it's also the media entity - YES for TV, WCBS for radio. While YES and the Yankees are owned by the same holding company, they are separate and distinct business entities. And YES has a ton invested in Michael Kay.

    I don't hate all the announcers. Singleton and Cone are quite good in my opinion; I like Leiter; Flaherty has his moments. But because of the rotating roster YES employs, we don't get those guys a lot. Kay far and away calls the most games, and with the possible exception of O'Neill - he's the worst of the lot.

    The relationship between fans and announcers is an important one. I know Kay, Sterling, and Waldman have their supporters, but I'm certainly not one of them. Be grateful you enjoy your broadcasters - it's not very pleasant when you don't.