Monday, April 5, 2010

NCAA Championship Post

No Yankees tonight, but we have Butler-Duke for the NCAA Championship in what's likely to be the final 65 team tournament. Who ya got?

Fack Youk is pulling for:

We in no way, shape, or form endorse Duke, but in the interests of equal time and because he was an absolute genius, we'll leave you with this for the night:

Enjoy the game Fackers. After this one is over there's one fewer sport to draw attention away from baseball.

Game 1 Recap

[WPA data via FanGraphs]
[The chart above is based on WPA or Win Percentage Added. You can find a thorough explanation of it right here, but very quickly, it measures the general chance a team has of winning given the situation (score, inning, outs, baserunners). WPA tells the story of a game in a quick glance very efficiently. Above, you can tell that the Yanks were in control of the game from the outset but lost control of it late. (The numbers I've added correspond to points below)

You can find more interactive and complete versions of these charts and the data at FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference, but I though it might be nice to post a prettier-looking version here. As always, feedback is welcome in the comments.]

1. Jorge Posada and Curtis Granderson hit back to back homers off of Josh Beckett in the second inning to put the Yankees up 2-0. Posada's was just a cheapie off the Pesky Pole but Granderson launched over the Red Sox bullpen in right-center field. Nick Swisher and Brett Gardner added consecutive singles to give the Yanks four hits in a row, but the only runs they scored came on the solo homers.

2. The Yanks strung together a rally in the fourth that began with a double by Robinson Cano but it wasn't until there were two out that the they cashed in that run. Nick Swisher worked a walk. Brett Gardner and Derek Jeter followed that with consecutive singles, driving in two runs and leaving runners on the corners with Nick Johnson at the plate. Johnson fell in an 0-2 hole and Jeter took off for second. Foolishly, Victor Martinez tried to catch Jeter stealing but didn't, and allowed Gardner to swipe home in the process.

3. When Josh Beckett left the game with two outs in the top of the 5th inning, it appeared that he had been handily outpitched by CC Sabathia. Beckett had surrendered 5 runs and left runners on first and second base. Scott Schoeneweis escaped the inning without further damage but the Sox were down 5-1.

4. With a 5-2 lead, Sabathia began the sixth inning with a walk to Dustin Pedroia. Victor Martinez then doubled, setting the table for the Fackin' Youkstah. Youk sliced a ball down the right field line that Nick Swisher should have probably held to a double, but a poor line to the ball turned it into a three-bagger, equaling the number of triples Youkilis' had all of last season. Adrian Beltre singled home Youk two batters later to tie the game at 5.

5. The Yankees wasted little time in striking back. Like the Sox in the previous half inning, Mark Teixeira led off with a walk and Alex Rodriguez followed that with a double. Robinson Cano drove in Teix on a ground out and Jorge Posada followed that with a single, putting the Yanks up 7-5.

6. Their lead, however, would be short-lived. Chan Ho Park was called upon in the bottom of the 7th and gave up a single to Marco Scutaro then a two run homer to Dustin Pedroia. With the game now tied at 7, Park retired Victor Martinez but gave up a double to Youkilis. Joe Girardi called on Damaso Marte to face David Ortiz and he responded with a wild pitch that allowed Youk to advance to third. He and Jorge Posada got crossed up two pitches later and a catchable fastball rolled towards the backstop, allowing Youk to score and the Sox to take the lead.

7. Joe Girardi called on Joba Chamberlain to keep the game within 1 in the bottom of the 8th. Joba gave up a single to Cameron, a walk to Scutaro and an RBI single to Pedrioa to give the Sox an extra insurance run. He needed 29 pitches to record those three outs.

8. The Yanks brought the tying run to the plate in the 9th inning after Jorge Posada singled with two outs to keep their hopes alive. That allowed Curtis Granderson a shot at extending the game, but he grounded out to third. Granderson tasted both the highs and lows of the rivalry last night, hitting a homer in his first AB as a Yankee and making the last out of the game.


Other thoughts:
  • Marco Scutaro lined out into a double play during the third inning but it appeard that Mike Cameron was safe diving back to first base.

  • Sabathia was in good shape heading into the sixth inning but seemed to lose the strikezone when he came back out to the mound, walking Pedroia on 5 pitches, falling behind Martinez 2-1 and Youkilis 3-0.

  • The home run that Dustin Pedroia hit off of Chan Ho Park probably wouldn't have gotten out of Yankee Stadium, but the double that A-Rod hit in the previous half inning almost certainly would have.

  • Curtis Granderson looked helpless against the first lefty he faced (Schoenewies) but worked a walk against the second (Okijima).

  • Posada had a good night at the plate, but the passed ball that allowed Youkilis to score the go-ahead run was his fault, even if Marte crossed him up.

  • The game lasted 3:46 and really started dragging towards the middle of it. Sure, 16 runs were scored but the pace was far from crisp.