Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Game 27: Buenas Tardes Amigo

Buenas tardes Fackers, y feliz Cinco de Mayo. Today marks the 148th anniversary of the Battle of Puebla, more popularly known as Cinco de Mayo, during which the Mexican Army improbably defeated the French. The Yankees, who feature two of the eleven Mexican-born players currently in the Major Leagues, will celebrate with a getaway day matinee, saying good afternoon to the Orioles as they wrap up their three game set.

Andy Pettitte looks to continue his strong start to the 2010 season and give the Yankees the sweep. Through five starts, Pettitte stands at 3-0, with a 2.12 ERA and a 1.15 WHIP. He is still outperforming both his FIP (3.07) and xFIP (4.01) by a good margin, thanks in large part to a high strand rate (82.9%) and a low BABIP (.276). The good news is, he's been so successful not just because of those somewhat lucky numbers, but because his walks are low and he's allowed just a single home run in 34 IP. Further, if Pettitte's ERA matched his FIP or even his xFIP, no one would be complaining about it at this point.

Baltimore is an old friend to Pettitte. He's has made 38 starts and 2 relief appearances against the Orioles in his 16 year career. He's 26-6 with a 3.60 ERA against them. Clearly there are several good starts mixed in there, but perhaps none better than Pettitte's second most recent against the O's. Last August 31st, Pettitte was perfect at Camden Yards through six and two thirds, finishing the night with 8 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 BB, and 8 K. Pettitte enjoyed great success against Baltimore in three starts last year, posting a 2.21 ERA, a 0.89 WHIP, and striking out 21 against just 5 walks in 20.1 IP.

For the Orioles, David Hernandez will get the ball. Hernandez faced the Yankees twice as a rookie last year. On July 20th, he held them to six baserunners and a single run over six innings of work, but wasn't around for the decision by the time Hideki Matsui's home run gave the Yankees yet another walkoff win. He wasn't quite so lucky on September 1st, as the Yankees touched him up for five runs in as many innings while working six walks. If there was any silver lining, it was that Hernandez held them to just four hits and struck out seven.

After a poor 2009, Hernandez has made modest improvements through the first five starts of his sophomore campaign. Though winless, his ERA is a respectable 4.55, just about in line with his 4.65 FIP. However, he's allowing far too many baserunners, walking an unsightly 4.9 per nine, and yielding a hit per inning. He can't blame the hits on bad luck, as his BABIP of .291 is better than league average, and his xFIP of 5.98 suggests that things could have been worse for him thus far. If he can't keep the walks under control or keeps giving up hits in bunches, he likely won't last long this afternoon. Even in its weakened state, the Yankees lineup will feast upon that.

Stuck at the office today? Yeah, me too. Luckily, thanks to Yankees on YES, I'll be able to follow along on my computer. Of course, most of my attention will be on spreadsheets and emails and the like, but I'm sure I'll check in here and there. Let's commiserate in the comments.

Buenas tardes amigo
Hola my good friend
Cinco de Mayo's on Tuesday
And I hoped we'd see each other again

Jeter's back in the field today, and Nick Johnson returns to the lineup in the two spot as the DH. With Jorge Posada still hobbled and an off day tomorrow, Francisco Cervelli catches the day game after a night game. Randy Winn draws the winning number in today's left field lottery.
Derek Jeter SS
Nick Johnson DH
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Brett Gardner CF
Francisco Cervelli C
Randy Winn LF

Update 12:50 PM: Jones is a late scratch. Lugo moves up to the leadoff spot, Lou Montanez replaces Jones in CF and Lugo in the 9 hole
Julio Lugo SS
Adam Jones CF
Ty Wigginton 2B
Nick Markakis RF
Miguel Tejada 3B
Garrett Atkins 1B
Matt Wieters DH
Nolan Reimold LF
Craig Tatum C
Julio Lugo SS
Lou Montanez CF

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