Daily Archives: August 20, 2011

Game 124 | Yankees @ Twins

Although he did not pitch sharply, Burnett was still able to notch his first win in August in his last start


Lineup:

Derek Jeter SS
Curtis Granderson CF
Mark Teixeira 1B
Robinson Cano 2B
Nick Swisher RF
Andruw Jones DH
Russell Martin C
Eduardo Nunez 3B
Brett Gardner LF

Pitchers:

A.J Burnett (9-9, 4.61 ERA) v.s Francisco Liriano (8-9, 5.12 ERA)

Pregame Notes:

— Alex Rodriguez is still not active on the roster as we had expected. Rodriguez will most likely either be active tomorrow or Tuesday but the later seems more realistic.

— Mark Teixeira made history last night becoming the 6th player and only switch hitter to have at least 1000 RBI’s through his first 9 series.

Yankees released RHP Buddy Carlyle.

Carlyle was ineffective for the Yankees earlier this season, posting a 4.70 ERA and 1.57 WHIP in eight games. He was solid in 27 games for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, holding a 3.98 ERA and 1.19 WHIP, but evidently the Yanks decided they just didn’t have room for him anymore. With the minor league season ending soon, the 33-year-old will probably just take the rest of the year off.

Enjoy the game.

Mailbag – Free Agency, Playoff Rotation, Blown HR, etc….

Here is this week’s mailbag. If you would like your question to be answered in the mailbag, email Mike at yankeesfansunited@gmail.com. Here we go:

@Yankeesandjets8 asked…………….What do you think is going to happen during free agency?

Well, it’s assumed that Sabathia will exercise his right to become a Free Agent. Task #1 for Cashman is to do whatever it takes to lock the big man up. #1 Starters/Horses are VERY difficult to obtain so CC can basically write his own check. Cliff Lee got 5 yrs $120M with a team option so look for CC to get about the same plus a few mil.

Beyond that, look for Cashman to make a move for that elusive #2 starter to team with CC. The top Free Agent pitcher is lefty C.J. Wilson from Texas. He’s a combined 27-13 over the last 2 seasons with a 3.28 era, 7.8 k/9 & 3.6 bb/9.  He will be 31 next year but has only been a starter for 2 seasons so he doesn’t have a lot of mileage on his arm. He’s a true 5-pitch pitcher who limits HRs and gets a lot of ground balls.

If Wilson can’t be signed, Cash may look at Hiroki Kuroda or Mark Buehrle on a 1-yr deal and take a chance on the 2013 Free Agent market where there are a lot of quality pitchers.

Unless Prince can play RF, he doesn't fit with the Yanks.

There are some big name position players on the market in Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, Jose Reyes, David Ortiz, Lance Berkman & Jimmy Rollins. However, the Yanks are locked up at most positions. If they pick up Nick Swisher’s $10.25M club option as expected, the only opening will be at DH. While those big names would look great mashing in the Bronx, I don’t think the team will sign a long-term DH since ARod will need to DH more and more over the next few years. Plus they have highly regarded Jesus Montero in AAA who should get a lot of ABs as DH next season. They may look to team Montero with a veteran lefty hitter such as Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui or Jim Thome – or ideally just bring back Eric Chavez.

@PrimoBledBlue asked: Do you think the Yankees will use a 4-man rotation in the playoffs?

In 2009, Girardi rode a 3-man rotation of CC, AJ & Pettitte throughout the post-season to win the World Series.  This was only possible because of the numerous days off that year but MLB changed the schedule in 2010 to reduce the number of days off during and in-between series. Now there are only 2 scheduled days off per series making 3-man rotations difficult.

I believe the Yanks will use 4 starters but pitch CC on 3-days rest whenever needed. In the Division Series, the Yanks can employ a 3-man rotation by pitching CC in Game 1 and again on 3-days rest in Game 4 if needed.  The other starters could be used on regular 4-days rest. In an ideal situation, if the Yankees sweep the Division Series in 3 games, CC could then be set up to pitch Game 1 of the ALCS on full rest, then again in Games 4 & 7 on 3-days rest. CC is far and away the best starter and he’s an absolute horse who’s had success pitching on short rest. In 6 career starts on 3-days rest, Sabathia is 4-1 with a 1.52 ERA including successful starts vs the Angels & Phillies in the 2009 playoffs.

The question of who the 2, 3 & 4 starters will be won’t be answered until the end of the year.  All of the starters are basically auditioning for the remaining 6 weeks of the season but if I had to choose right now I’d go with Nova, Garcia & Hughes with Colon in the pen and AJ back home watching on TV. I’d have my non-CC starters on short leashes. Adding Colon to an already stacked bullpen, Girardi will have many weapons to use at the first sign of trouble.

@tousenthesnake asked……..Who has the most golden gloves in Yanks history?

The Rawlings Gold Glove Award has only been awarded since 1957 so many of the all-time great Yanks weren’t eligible. But the Yankee with the most Gold Glove awards is Don Mattingly with 9.  Donnie Baseball won every year at 1B from 1985 to 1994 with the exception of an injury shortened 1990 season.

Current Yankees with Gold Gloves are Eric Chavez (6), Derek Jeter (5), Mark Teixeira (4), Alex Rodriguez (2) , Russell Martin (1) and Robinson Cano (1).  If I had a vote, I would vote for Martin, Tex, Cano & Brett Gardner to win Gold Gloves in 2011.

 @tazc23 asked…….Are the Yankees concerned that the final Royals’ game may have an effect at the end of the season?

 Dana DeMuth made a terrible decision on Billy Butler’s HR that wasn’t, and that run was the difference in a 5-4 loss. Girardi should have protested the call since the umpires clearly made a decision against the rules. However, a blown call in the 4th inning of  Game #121 of the season shouldn’t be the reason why the team doesn’t win the Al East or Wild Card. The Yanks had several opportunities in the game to score but went just 1-for-10 with RISP and Cano & Posada both failed to deliver with the bases loaded in the 9th. So while the call was horrible, the team has moved on and will not dwell on it.

@tazc23 also asked………Are teams told what actually constitutes a HR in some stadiums ?

Yes, the umpires go over the stadium grounds rules and exchane lineup cards with a manager or coach from each team prior to the first game of every series. Yankees 3B-coack Mick Kelleher went over the rules before Monday’s series opener. Kelleher said that his understanding was that the ball needed to also clear a chain-link fence and padded railing to be a home run.

“We went over the ground rules and they were pretty explicit and clear, but there was one question that I had: it was about the top rail in left-center field,” Kelleher said. “It was padded; the ball had to leave the ballpark. We talked about that twice. … It doesn’t make sense to me. The ball never left the ballpark, so how could it be a home run?”

@ehom87 asked: Even with review the umpire could make the wrong call. Is there anyway to improve the review process to ensure the right call is made?

In this case, replay verified what the umps saw live but the problem was with misinterpretation of the stadium ground-rules.  Someone from the league office should have been called to clarify the ground-rule. Steve Palermo, an umpires supervisor who was in attendance at Kauffman Stadium, took the crew out to the left-field fence after the game and pointed out the discrepancy between the ground rule and what was called. If Palermo was at that game, why didn’t he intervene during the replay? I think an umpire supervisor or league exec should be on call to answer questions like these during replay reviews.

The Mystery of A.J. Burnett’s “Stuff”

We’ve all grown sick and tired of listening to people say, “Oh Burnett’s stuff is so good. Why does he pitch so poorly?” That answer is a simple one. It is his lack of mental pitching ability. He just doesn’t have what it takes in his head to put all of his talents together. Understood.

But even with such mental woes, Burnett’s stuff does come to be questioned. Does A.J. still have the kind of superb, hard to hit pitching in him? Well, it has at least been partially diminished.

Courtesy: Pitch Fx ~ Fangraphs

As you can see above, A.J.’s average fastball velocity has gone quite a bit down

over the years. That comes with age. Don’t forget, Burnett is 34 years old. An upper 90’s fastball does not necessarily last for a whole career. However what is worry-some is Burnett’s velocity range. In 2007-2009, his velocity range was pretty good – a strong variety of speeds for his fastball. But in the past two years, Burnett’s fastball has been not only slower but a much too similar speed each time. His fastball has become too predictable in both velocity and in location (the mental part). Even back in 2007 when A.J. could ramp up and throw a 98 mph fastball, he could still go to a lower velocity such as 91 mph to keep the hitter off balance.

Graph showing a decline in stuff.

This fastball decline in fact beings a chain reaction into A.J.’s curve-ball. Because he has become less able to put batters away with a high 90s fastball, Burnett has used it less. As a result, he started using his curve much, much more.

2010 was a wake up call for Burnett. It was then that A.J. discovered that his fastball just wasn’t what it was. In his mind, he had to now compensate with his curve. This year, A.J. has used the hook 31.8 percent of the time. In total for each year before this year, Burnett averaged using his curve just 25.7 percent. What must have happened was: A.J. thought since he had such an electric curve, he could throw it more to make up for the diminished fastball. Instead of that happening, hitters have seen it more, and have thus been able to hit it with more success.

Year Fastball % Curveball % Change-up %
2002 69.8 25.1 5.1
2003 73.8 17.4 7.7
2004 71.9 20 4.7
2005 63.6 26.2 9.9
2006 67 28.8 4.2
2007 66.7 26.3 7.1
2008 64.7 29.2 5
2009 65.9 31 3.1
2010 69 27.4 3.5
2011 57.6 31.8 10.6
Year wFastball wCurveball
2002 32.5 7.2
2003 -3.4 1.8
2004 4.3 9.8
2005 7.4 20.2
2006 -4.1 8.7
2007 8.2 13.9
2008 -5.9 13
2009 -14.4 16
2010 -14.3 -3.9
2011 -15.7 8.8

(wFastball & wCurveball basically show the value of the pitch to the pitcher, or fastball/curveball runs above average)

The above numbers and graphs speak for themselves. Although the majority of A.J. Burnett’s “Pitching Problem” is mental, his moderately declining stuff is an undeniable factor.

Morning Bits: Hughes, Garcia, A-Rod, SWB, Laffey

Wow how about Hughes last night.  He looked great.  Hopefully he continues this for the stretch run.  Also good to see some production for Martin.  Also another 2 hits from the Captain.

here are your morning links…

* His place in the rotation is secure, Hughes shows why he deserves it.

* Garcia was placed on the DL to make room for a new player.

* A-Rod could DH in Sunday’s game.

* SWB Yankees dropped their 9th straight game.

* Laffey acquired by the Yankees.

 

AL EAST STANDINGS

EAST W L PCT GB HOME ROAD RS RA DIFF STRK L10
NY Yankees 76 47 .618 40-24 36-23 668 478 +190 Won 2 7-3
Boston 76 48 .613 .5 38-24 38-24 660 516 +144 Won 2 5-5
Tampa Bay 67 56 .545 9 32-28 35-28 522 477 +45 Won 3 8-2
Toronto 64 61 .512 13 31-29 33-32 593 567 +26 Lost 1 6-4
Baltimore 47 75 .385 28.5 29-35 18-40 509 652 -143 Lost 3 3-7

Hughes, Martin Power Yankees to Victory

NY Yankees AB R H RBI BB SO LOB AVG
Gardner, LF 5 1 1 0 0 0 2 .280
Jeter, SS 5 2 2 0 0 1 1 .292
Nunez, E, SS 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .266
Granderson, CF 3 1 2 1 2 0 0 .284
Teixeira, 1B 4 1 2 3 0 0 2 .252
Cano, 2B 5 0 1 1 0 0 3 .304
Swisher, RF 5 0 1 0 0 2 3 .268
Chavez, Er, 3B 5 0 0 0 0 2 3 .261
Posada, DH 3 1 1 0 1 0 2 .238
Martin, C 4 2 3 3 0 1 1 .232
Totals 39 8 13 8 3 6 17 .269

 

NY Yankees IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Hughes, P(W, 4-4) 7.2 2 1 1 3 2 1 5.75
Logan 0.1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2.84
Ayala 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 1.36
Totals 9.0 2 1 1 3 3 1 3.55

Story by Jordan Snelling of MLB.com

MINNEAPOLIS — If he keeps pitching the way he has lately, Phil Hughes could play a huge role for the Yankees down the stretch. At the very least, he is going to make it difficult for manager Joe Girardi to decide which starter to take out to get back to a five-man rotation.

Hughes dominated the Twins on Friday, backed by a pair of Russell Martin home runs, as the Yankees cruised to an 8-1 victory at Target Field, maintaining their half-game lead over the Red Sox in the American League East.

“I thought he mixed his pitches tremendously,” Girardi said. “He used all his pitches tonight.

“And all his pitches have been consistent, [that] is the biggest difference for me.”

After giving up a solo home run to Trevor Plouffe, the second batter he faced, Hughes did not allow another hit until the eighth inning. Hughes issued a leadoff walk in the second before retiring the next 14 batters in a row.

Overall, Hughes retired 22 of 27 batters faced.

Read the rest of this entry

Minor Night Cap 8/19/11

SWB L 7-4

BATTING
2B: Bernier (11, Baker, B).
HR: Lamb (5, 1st inning off Baker, B, 2 on, 0 out), Nunez, L (2, 2nd inning off Baker, B, 0 on, 0 out).
TB: Dickerson; Bernier 2; Lamb 5; Laird; Nunez, L 4.
RBI: Lamb 3 (23), Nunez, L (22).

Pitching

Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Phelps, D 2.2 5 4 4 3 4 1 3.68
Kontos (L, 4-4) 4.1 5 2 2 0 4 0 2.82
Proctor 1.0 3 1 1 0 2 0 1.42
Whelan 1.0 0 0 0 1 1 0 2.20

Tampa W 5-3

BATTING
2B: Mack (13, Thornburg), Roller (11, Marzec).
HR: Abeita (2, 7th inning off Thornburg, 2 on, 2 out).
TB: Almonte, A; Roller 2; Mack 3; Segedin; Johnson, C; Abeita 4.
RBI: Segedin (14), Abeita 3 (16), Roller (26).
2-out RBI: Abeita 3.

Pitching

Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Romanski (W, 7-5) 6.0 7 3 3 0 8 1 3.11
Claiborne (H, 6) 2.0 0 0 0 1 2 0 3.34
Flannery (S, 15) 1.0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1.41

Charleston W 1-0

BATTING
TB: Toussen; Grote; Feliz; Lassiter.

Pitching

Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Barreda 4.0 3 0 0 1 4 0 3.80
Gerritse 2.0 1 0 0 0 2 0 0.00
Dott (W, 2-0) 2.0 0 0 0 0 4 0 1.26
Montgomery (S, 12) 1.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2.21

Staten Island L 4-0

BATTING
2B: Wilson, Z (11, Smith, B).
TB: Culver; Grice; Austin; Nunez, R; Wilson, Z 2.

Pitching

Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Oliver 6.0 5 0 0 0 5 0 3.79
Paullus 1.0 0 0 0 0 1 0 4.13
Wetherell (L, 3-2) 1.0 3 4 2 0 1 0 2.38

Gulf Coast W 2-1

BATTING
2B: Lopez, Da (8, Vargas, Jo).
TB: Rosario, J 3; Custodio; Bichette 2; Taveras, D 2; Lopez, Da 3; Kuo.
RBI: Lopez, Da (13), Kuo (17).
Runners left in scoring position, 2 out: Kuo; Duran; Bichette 2.

Pitching

Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Nuding 3.0 2 1 1 0 4 0 3.00
Martinez, D 2.0 2 0 0 0 4 0 1.20
Isabel 2.0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3.45
Checo 1.2 1 0 0 2 3 0 2.57
Vinas (W, 1-0) 0.1 0 0 0 0 0 0 8.71

Gulf Coast L 11-1 F/7

BATTING
2B: Lopez, Da (10, Jensen), Anderson, T (5, Navarette).
HR: Rosario, J (5, 1st inning off Jensen, 0 on, 0 out).
TB: Rosario, J 5; Tejeda, I; Duran; Lopez, Da 2; Anderson, T 2.
RBI: Rosario, J (24).

Pitching

Player IP H R ER BB SO HR ERA
Cruz, D (L, 4-1) 4.0 6 3 2 0 4 1 6.54
Smith 0.1 2 2 2 2 0 0 54.00
Mahoney 1.0 1 2 2 1 0 0 23.14
Johnson, T 0.1 2 4 3 2 0 0 17.05
Agramonte 0.1 0 0 0 1 0 0 2.84