Saturday, April 24, 2010

Game 17 WPA Chart

1. Swisher's double

First pitch tomorrow is at 3:35PM tomorrow as the Yanks and Javier Vazquez look to win their sixth consecutive series to start the season for the first time in franchise history.

Game 17: Stranded On Death Row

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.

Game 16 Recap

[WPA data via FanGraphs]

1. Despite allowing the first three batters he faced to reach base, A.J. Burnett was poised to escape the first inning without any damage. Eric Aybar's walk was erased when he was picked off stealing and a double by Torii Hunter followed by a Bobby Abreu single put runners on the corners with one out. Hideki Matsui lined out to short before Kendry Morales chopped a sky high ball of the plate that netted him an infield single and an RBI. Angels 1-0.

2. The Yankees got it going in the third as back to back doubles by Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter tied the game at one. After Nick Johnson struck out looking and Mark Teixeira was hit by a pitch, A-Rod drove Jeter in with a single to left. Robinson Cano came to the plate next with two outs and men on first and second and pulled a single into shallow right field.

Aiming to put the Yanks up by two tuns, Teixeira came barreling around third base and just as the ball was bouncing over Angels' catcher Bobby Wilson, Teix plowed into him like a freight train, sending Wilson and his equipment flying backwards as he got up to make sure he touched the plate. Teix was fine, but Wilson had to be taken out of the game immediately and carried down the dugout steps back into the locker room. 3-1 Yankees.

3. The Yankees only lead of the game didn't last long. Abreu and Hunter led off the bottom of the 3rd with a double and a single. Matsui grounded into a double play that scored a run and again Burnett was close to escaping an inning but ultimately did not. He hit Kendry Morales with a pitch and gave up back to back doubles to Juan Rivera and Macier Izturus that put the Angels ahead 4-3.

4. Nick Swisher tied the game at 4 with a solo shot off of Santana in the 4th.

5. The score remained deadlocked until the bottom of the 8th when Joba Chamberlain gave up a long single to Hideki Matusi to lead off the inning, bringing up his nemesis, Kendry Morales. At that point, Morales was 4-6 off Joba and he improved that ratio when he smacked a go-ahead two run home deep over the right field fence. The Angels took the lead 6-4 and Brain Fuentes sat the Yanks down 1-2-3 in the 9th. Game over, as the Bombers dropped their second in a row.

IFs, ANDs & BUTs
  • The Angels had just lost catcher Jeff Mathis with a broken wrist and Bobby Wilson was making his first Major League start. He sustained a concussion and an ankle injury but nothing too serious. It was unfortunate that Teixeira collided with him so squarely but everyone involved agreed that it was a clean play and there doesn't seem to be any lingering anger over the incident.

  • The Yankees stubbed their toe badly in the sixth inning. After Curtis Granderson walked and Nick Swisher was hit by a pitch, Brett Gardner squared to bunt and ended up popping and eye-high fastball right back to Ervin Santana. Next, Jeter lined one back up the middle that almost took Santana's head off, but got slowed down by his grasping try enough for Howie Kedrick to get the out at second base. There were runners on the corners for Nick Johnson but he grounded out to second to end the inning.

  • Santana and Burnett had very similar nights, both going just about six innings (6.1 for A.J.), giving up 8 and 9 hits, 4 runs (all earned), each hit 2 batters and struck out 3. They threw 103 and 104 pitches, respectively (about 60%) for strikes and neither factored into the decision.

  • Burnett made an awesome stab on a ball up the middle to end the 4th inning.

  • The pitch that Morales homered on was a hanging slider. That was obviously the death knell for the Yanks but the inability to capitalize in the 6th, particularly Gardner's failed bunt attempted was a huge missed opportunity.
The Yanks look to shake it off and get back at it this afternoon, as the game is on FOX at 4.