Daily Archives: April 14, 2012

Minor Night Cap 2 of 2: Segedin, Bichette Jr., Tyler Austin

Tampa Yankees W 8-0

PTF J.R. Murphy -(DNP)  Notes: Toussen, Flores, Segedin, and Mojica all had 2 hits.  Segedin had 3 RBI’s.

PTF Nik Turley (N/A)

Zachary Nuding (W, 1-0) 5.0 3 0 0 1 6 0 0.00
Aaron Dott 2.0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0.00
Mark Montgomery 2.0 0 0 0 1 3 0 3.38

Charleston River Dogs W 8-5

PTF Dante Bichette Jr. – 4 AB’S, 2 Runs, 2 Hits, 1 RBI, 1BB Notes: Tyler Austin who is still on fire had 2 Runs 4 Hits (2 Doubles) and 1 BB.  He is hitting .429 on the short season.  Mason Williams also had 2 hits and 1 run scored.

PTF Bryan Mitchell (N/A)

Scottie Allen (W, 1-1) 5.0 6 4 4 1 3 1 9.00
Pedro Guerra (H, 2) 2.0 1 0 0 0 1 0 1.50
Philip Wetherell 2.0 3 1 1 2 1 0 1.50

Minor Night Cap 1 of 2: Melky Mesa, Dewayne Wise, Kevin Russo

Empire State Yankees W 6-4

PTF Romine (DL) Notes:  Dewayne Wise filled up the stat card today.  He had 1 Run, 2 Hits (Solo Homer, Double), 2 Rbi’s, 1BB and 1K.  Doug Bernier had 2 hits one which was a double and he also had and RBI.  Kevin Russo also had 2 hits and 2 RBI’s.

PTF Dellin Betances (N/A)

Adam Warren (W, 1-1) 6.2 7 2 2 2 1 0 7.45
Juan Cedeno (H, 1) 1.1 2 1 1 1 1 0 2.25
Cody Eppley (S, 1) 1.0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0.00

Trenton Thunder L 8-5

PTF Zolio Almonte – 4AB’s 0 Hits 1K  Notes: Melky Mesa had 3 hits once of which was a solo homer.  Mesa also had two stolen bases.  Ronnier Mustelier had one run, 2 hits, and 1K.

PTF Brett Marshall (N/A)

Josh Romanski 5.0 6 3 3 2 3 0 5.23
Ryan Pope (H, 1)(L, 0-2) 1.0 3 2 2 2 0 0 9.00
Francisco Rondon (BS, 1) 2.0 2 3 3 1 3 2 13.50

I will update the other two games (Tampa & Charleston) tonight when they finish.

Comparing Kuroda’s Pitch f/x Numbers from Start to Start

After his first start of the season, Yankee fans were already quite worried that Hiroki Kuroda would be unsuccessful in his transition from the NL West to the AL East. His command was all over the place and he was hit extremely hard by the Rays. He was immediately criticized as not being cut out to pitch in the heavy hitting AL East. However, Kuroda may just have silenced his critics with his terrific start yesterday. He looked very sharp and was able to keep the Angels’ hitters off balance in his 8 inning shutout. Now it doesn’t take a genius to know that one strong showing doesn’t foretell that a pitcher will pitch that way for the rest of the season. However, we can analyze his performance yesterday and determine what the key will be for maintaining a similar level of success.

4/13/12 game vs. Angels

4/7/12 start vs. Rays

Let’s make some observations, shall we?

Average Speed – From start to start, Kuroda’s average speed on his pitches was pretty similar. If anything, his curveball against the Rays was a bit faster than versus the Angels, and his spliiter was a couple mph faster against the Angels.

Max Speed – Like the average speed, the max speed was for the most similar from start to start, especially for his four-seam fastball and sinker. However against the Angels, Kuroda threw the slider with quite a bit more pop than in his first start. In addition, he juiced up the splitter a few mph against the Angels while throwing the curveball a bit slower.

Average Horizontal Break – The general trend of the above statistics is that Kuroda’s four-seam fastball and variations (sinker and splitter) typically had a lot more horizontal movement in his start yesterday than in his start versus the Rays. This could be the reason why these pitches were quite a bit more effective yesterday. His faster pitches ran away from lefties and rammed in toward righties. On the other hand, Kuroda’s slider and curveball both moved much less in the horizontal direction in yesterday’s start.

Average Vertical Break – What is somewhat surprising with these numbers is that Kuroda generated a ton more vertical movement in his terrible start against the Rays than in the effective one yesterday. It could be that the greater downward movement came at the cost of Kuroda’s command on April 7th. In that case, the sharper the movement we see from Kuroda’s pitches, the more success he will probably have across the board.

Pitch Count – In his start yesterday, Kuroda relied greatly on the sinker/slider combination as evidenced by the above pitch totals. In general, he used his four-seam fastball much less and did a better job of mixing in his secondary pitches than he did against the Rays.

Strikes % – It is fairly interesting that there is a correlation between the average horizontal break of Kuroda’s four-seamer,  and sinker, and their percentage of strikes. In yesterday’s start, Kuroda threw those two pitches with better horizontal movement and command. Aside from that, he also threw the curveball and slider for a greater number of strikes against the Angels than versus the Rays which clearly was a help.

Swinging Strikes % – The number of times Kuroda got swinging strikes with his pitches was fairly similar from start to start. However, this isn’t true in the case of his sinker. In the start against the Rays, the sinker got Kuroda 4 swinging strikes while that number was 0 in yesterday’s start. This is most likely a result of the sinker’s larger vertical break in the miserable April 7 start.

Linear Weights – Linear Weights are pretty complicated but to put it simply, the lower the number, the better that pitch was. Therefore it is clear that all of Hiroki Kuroda’s pitches were more effective in the Angels start. The sinker specfically was a very nasty pitch yesterday for him with a linear weight of roughly -2.3.

Several conclusions can be drawn from these observations:

1) Less seems to be more in terms of vertical movement for Kuroda’s sinker. It was a much more effective pitch at a vertical break of 5.29 rather than 5.85.

2) When it comes to Kuroda’s four-seam fastball, sinker, and splitter, the more horizontal movement the better.

3) The less Kuroda uses the four-seamer and the more he mixes in his secondary pitches, the more effective he will be.

4) Kuroda doesn’t need to get swinging strikes with his sinker to have success. He seems to be at his best when he just throws the sinker low and generates ground-balls.

It is important to acknowledge that although these conclusions are well supported by the Pitch f/x data, this is still a pretty small sample size. The four above points won’t necessarily be true all the time, but the data does give us a good idea of what to look for in Kuroda’s future starts with the Yankees.

Pitch F/x data courtesy of Brooks Baseball 

Game 8 Lineup: Angels vs. Yankees

Lineup vs. Angels:

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

Phil Hughes RHP

Start Time: 1:05pm
Field: Yankee Stadium
Radio: WCBS



Enjoy the game everyone!

Morning Bits: Rivera, Pujols, A-Rod, Cano, Swisher

Good morning everyone and a Happy Saturday to you all!! Phil Hughes will take the mound for Game 2! Here are your morning links:

— Ever want to see Mariano Rivera’s cutter in 3D? Well now you can. Here the New York Times simulates Mariano Rivera’s cutter in 3D! (Note: You’ll need red-cyan glasses to see it in 3D. It still looks pretty cool in 2D.)

— Now that Alex Rodriguez’s bat has awoken, the Yankees should be cautious…because Albert Pujols may be next. In that case, can we get a shutout from Hughes & Nova this weekend as well?

— It turns out that the binder was right…this time. After switching Alex Rodriguez & Robinson Cano, the Yankees lineup has been producing.

— Nick Swisher believes that the Yankees could be the modern day “Murder’s Row.” Nice Swish, but Jim Leyland of the Tigers had a different idea on what to name the Yankees lineup: “Murder’s Row & Cano.”

Kuroda shuts down Angels as Yankees win home opener 5-0

Everything was going right for the Yankees home opener. Jorge Posada returned to throw the first pitch, it was a warm beautiful 61 degrees at the ball park and Hiroki Kuroda was set to pitch the home opener. Kuroda admitted that he had butterflies before pitching the home opener but if he did have them, it didn’t show as he was able to shutout the L.A Angels and help the Yankees go above .500 with a 5-0 win.

KURODA GOES 8: Hiroki Kuroda went 8 shutout innings with 5 hits, pitching like the pitcher that the Yankees signed in January. Kuroda was taken out in the 9th inning after allowing a runner to reach first base. David Robertson closed out the 9th inning.

SWISHER DOES IT AGAIN: Fresh off of his heroics in Baltimore, Nick Swisher was able get a bases clearing RBI double which gave the Yankees a 3-0 lead at the time. Swisher did something that the Yankees desperately needed; hit with RISP with 2 outs.

630TH CAREER A-BOMB FOR A-ROD: Alex Rodriguez hit a solo shot today which polished his 3 for 4 day. It wasn’t just any HR. It was Alex Rodriguez’s 630th career HR which tied him 5th on the All Time Baseball HR list with Ken Griffey Jr. Now that’s a way to start the season.

THE GRANDY MAN CAN: For a guy that has been struggling, Curtis Granderson put on a laser show today. He hit a laser line drive HR into the lower deck to give the Yankees the 5th and final run. Hopefully this is the hit that gets Curtis Granderson going.

POSADA THROWS FIRST PITCH: Jorge Posada set foot in Yankee Stadium today for the first time since he announced his retirement. Posada threw the ceremonial first pitch to his father in what Posada describe as an emotional moment. Posada also spoke about what he was doing now that he’s retired; he’s playing the role of Mr. Mom to his 2 kids.

WHAT’S NEXT: The Yankees will take on the Angels again for Game 2 of this 3 game set. Phil Hughes is set to take the mound for the Yankees while C.J Wilson will take the mound for the Angels. First pitch is at 1:05pm.