Sunday, June 13, 2010

Game 63: Astronomy

So far in this series, as was expected coming in, the Yankees have taken care of business. The Astros are a one of the very worst teams in baseball and anything less than a series victory would have been a serious letdown. Now that the Bombers have taken the first two games by totally different means - one tight contest with no home runs and one blowout with five of them - they look to Phil Hughes to put them in position to complete the sweep.

Phil has gone through a mildly medicore stretch (by his standards) over his last five starts, allowing 15 runs in 30.2 IP (4.40 ERA) but has still struck out a batter an inning (29) - just about five times more than he's walked (6). The difference is that he's been slightly more hittable over this stretch, surrendering 34 hits over that span as opposed to just 22 knocks in the first 39 frames he pitched this season.

Houston sends 38 year old journeyman/swingman Brian Moehler to the mound for his fourth start of the season. Between starting and relief, the junk-balling righty has allowed 22 runs in 31 1/3 innings (6.12 ERA) while giving up 46 hits striking out 13 and walking 11. Jeter, A-Rod and to a lesser extent, Posada are the only three Yanks to have faced him in somewhat significant sample sizes (from his days in Detroit over 10 years ago, most likely) and the results have all been good for our guys.

In terms of the pitching match up, the stars seem to have aligned in favor of the Yankees. Hopefully the cosmos have a sweep in store for the Bombers.

It's the nexus of the crisis,
And the origin of storms,
Just the place to hopelessly,
Encounter time, and then came meeeeee.

Same deal as yesterday, both Matt and I are all sorts of tied up. You know where to find them.

Game 62 Win Expectancy Chart

[Win Expectancy data via FanGraphs]

I wasn't able to catch any of this game on TV but I did want to share this anecdote from the postgame show on the radio. Suzyn Waldman was interviewing Derek Jeter and in her typical overly-motherly, fawning way was asking him what it mean to tie Rickey Henderson atop the all-time lead off home run list and going on and on about how special it must be.

Jeter sort of laughed and said, "Well, I think it was just his record for the Yankees, and he was only here for what, two years?". It was about four year's worth of games to be precise, but the point still stands. Keep it in your pants, Suzyn.