Until last night, the Yanks hadn't lost more than one game in a row this year. Of their 5 defeats thus far, the only one they were defeated by more than two runs was the series opener against Tampa Bay. That explains how they have been winning at a 69% clip and still have a Pythagorean record that matches their actual won-lost results (11-5). Much of this can be attributed to their excellent starting pitching so far.
Javier Vazquez is the only Yankee starter with an ERA over 3.20 and doesn't have two wins to his name. As a rotation, they have allowed the fifth fewest runs in the American League and are tied for second in most innings per appearance.
Even amidst this great stretch for the Yankees' starters, in terms of results, Andy Pettitte has distinguished himself. In his three starts this year (including six shutout innings against the Angels), he has pitched 20 innings and given up only three runs and zero home runs and he's done this despite putting a lot of men on base (1.200 WHIP). Allowing baserunners is nothing new for Pettitte, but he's done so in an uncharacteristic fashion thus far, walking more than usual while giving up fewer hits. True to his reputation, Pettitte has been able to pitch out of jams, tallying a sky high strand rate of 88%. Saying that he's been getting by on smoke and mirrors would be a little too harsh, but Pettitte has been fortunate to give up as few runs as he has thus far.
Like Pettitte, Joel Pineiro isn't the Angels ace in name but is off to the best start of any of his fellow rotation mates. Pineiro dominated the Yankees ten days ago in the Bronx, holding them to one run over seven innings by blitzing the strikezone with sinking fastballs.
Aside from and the fact that they are both off to a great start and their names both begin with P there are a few more similarities between today's starting hurlers. Pineiro has pitched one-third of an inning more than Pettitte and allowed one more run. Pineiro's peripheral numbers also indicate that he's outperformed his traditional stat line this far as his FIP is a run higher than his ERA. He's allowed about a hit per inning and struck out just 6/9 IP but walked only three batters this year.
Pineiro has the same 88% strand rate as Pettitte and sabermetric principles tell us that those percentages are unsustainable. Either they are going to have to start allowing fewer baserunners or they can expect to see more of them eventually coming around to the plate. Don't take it from me, I brought some original gangstas from Compton to put it in your ear.
No prevention from this mention of sorts,
Your're a victim, from my driveby of thoughts,
No extensions, all attempts are to fail,
Blinded by the light, it's time you learn braile.
No lineups today, neither Matt nor I will be at our computers when they are posted. Enjoy the game.