Thursday, May 10, 2012

Series Wrap: vs. Rays 5/8 - 5/10

Game One

Ivan Nova's last two starts certainly were not exactly "great". He had his shortest outing of the year against the Tigers going 5.1 innings, while giving up 6 runs, but the offense came through with 7 runs so that Ivan could avoid his first loss in a long time. Unfortunately, in Nova's next start, the offense gave him nothing. He surrendered 5 runs to the Orioles in 6.1 innings, and the Yankee bats didn't even score once, giving Ivan his first loss in his last 20 starts.

So how would Ivan respond?

Ben Zobrist led off the game with a line-drive single, but Nova responded by striking out Carlos Pena. The next hitter, BJ Upton, worked the count full before swinging and missing strike 3. And on that pitch Russell Martin was able to throw out Zobrist who tried to steal 2nd base. Nova then got the next 11 batters out, before Jeff Keppinger hit one just out of reach of Derek Jeter, giving him a single. Will Rhymes hit a single right after that, but Sean Rodriguez was left wanting when he swing and missed a slider for strike three. Solo shots by Jose Molina and Luke Scott gave the Rays a couple of runs, but they weren't able to get any more than that off of Nova.

Rafael Soriano, the new set-up man for the Yankees, gave up a run in the 8th inning after a triple and wild pitch. However strikeouts to Pena, Upton, and Scott ended the 8th. Enter David Robertson for his first save opportunity after we lost Rivera for the season. To nobody's surprise Robertson loaded the bases thanks to a walk, a single, and another walk. And who came to the plate for the Rays? Carlos Pena. Not the guy Yankee fans wanted to see. Carlos was 0-for-4 with 3 Ks coming into that at bat, so plenty of people were probably saying he was due. But five pitches into the at bat Pena watched a fastball for strike three, giving Houdini his first save of the season.

Six Yankee hitters had one base hit in the game, but it was two solo home runs off the bat of Raul Ibanez that was most impressive. Curtis Granderson and Mark Teixeira pitched in with an RBI a piece, helping give the Yankees the win in the series opener.

Game Two

Zobrist led off the previous game with a single, but that wasn't good enough for him. No, he led off this game with a double down the right field line. Phelps then walked Carlos Pena, leading me to think he was going to pitch his way out of the rotation, making Girardi's decision on who to remove for Pettitte easy. Even after getting BJ Upton to fly out, and Matt Joyce to ground out, he walked Luke Scott to load the bases. This caused Larry Rothchild to pay the mound a visit, something you don't want to see in the 1st inning. I don't know what he said to Phelps, but Will Rhymes grounded out to end the inning without the Rays scoring.

David Phelps had 1-2-3 innings in the 2nd and 3rd, and only allowed a single to Joyce in the 4th. Phelps got into trouble again in the 5th, but channeled David Robertson and got out of that too. Phelps was more effficient in this start that his last, but his pitch count was still getting up there after giving up a double to Elliot Johnson with two outs in the 6th. Girardi ended up pulling David, and Boone Logan got Sean Rodriguez to ground out. Rafael Soriano came in in the 8th inning, and immediately gave up a single to BJ Upton. A throwing error by Robbie Cano gave the Rays men on 1st and 2nd with no outs, but a strikeout, ground out, and fly out ended the 8th.

Robertson's 2nd save opportunity started off badly, as he gave up back-to-back singles before a walk to Ben Zobrist loaded the bases with no outs. Carlos Pena got another chance against D-Rob, but struck out yet again. I started thinking David would get a ground ball to end the game on a double play, but BJ Upton had other ideas as he hit a deep fly ball to right field, scoring Sean Rodriguez on a sac fly. Although he'd already blown the save, it looked like Robertson would avoid the loss as he started off Matt Joyce with a couple of called strikes. Robertson threw one in the dirt for ball one, and Joyce fouled off a 4th straight curveball. David went with a fastball for pitch #5, and Joyce was waiting for it, blasting a 3-run home run over Swisher's head.

Although ARod, Cano, and Swisher had 2 hits a piece, while Jeter, Ibanez, and Martin added in hits of their own, the Yankees couldn't put up more than one run. The #RISPFAIL hashtag came back to haunt the team, as they went 0-for-8 with RISP, leaving a total of 20 men on the bases. And even though the Yankees did have 9 hits in the game, only Cano was able to hit something better than a single. Raul Ibanez hit a single after Nick Swisher led off the bottom of the 9th with a K, but Russell Martin and Dewayne Wise hit line drives right at 'em for the 2nd and 3rd outs, giving the Rays the comeback win.

Game Three

Although he gave up 8 runs over his last 3 starts, CC Sabathia went 8 innings in each of them. On top of that, CC struck out 21 batters against only 3 walks in those starts as well. So the guy that labored through 6 innings, giving up a total of 9 runs, in his first two starts is gone. The Workhorse is back, and took the mound in the rubber match of the series.

Eduardo Nunez booted a ball in the 1st inning, allowing Sean Rodriguez to score an unearned run. Then, in the very next inning, another error by Nunee led to another unearned run. I'm going to take a closer look at Eduardo Nunez, to see if he has any value in the field, or if he's a DH-only who doesn't quite hit well enough to be a DH.

Anyway, Sabathia went into cruise control after the 2nd inning, as the Rays were barely able to put anybody on base. After the 2nd inning Tampa could only muster 3 singles and a walk, while one of those singles was erased right away by a double play. In the 6th inning CC got Brandon Guyer, Carlos Pena, and Elliot Johnson to all strike out swinging. The big guy ended up giving the Yankees another 8 inning start, his 4th in a row, while not allowing a single earned run, striking out 10 and only walking one.

The Yankee bats were facing David Price in this one. Price has a 3.35 ERA so far in his MLB career, including an impressive 2.35 going into this game in 2012. He actually faced the Yankees in the Rays 2nd game of the year, and went 6.1 innings while giving up only 2 runs off of 5 hits and 4 walks. Although David was able to complete the 7th inning this time around, he gave up 5 runs off of 11 hits and 3 walks. Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano hit home runs off of Price, while Rodriguez and Nunez contributed a couple hits a piece. What I, and surely all Yankee fans, were really happy about was the team's 3-for-9 performance with RISP.

Rafael Soriano gave up a run on just one hit. That hit came off the bat of Elliot Johnson, who then stole 2nd base. Elliot was able to score after moving to 3rd base on a groundout by Matt Joyce, then went home when Will Rhymes grounded out. But Zobrist flied out to CF to end the game, giving the Yankees the series victory.

Series Awards

Jake Taylor Award*
Robinson Cano - 6/11, 1 R, 3 RBI, 1 HR, 2 2B

Gentry Award*
Mark Teixeira - 1/10, 1 RBI, 10 LOB

Rick Vaughn Award*
CC Sabathia - Game 3: 8 IP, 7 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 10 K

Kelner Award*
David Robertson - Game 2: .2 IP, 3 H, 4 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HR

Next Series

vs. Mariners 5/11 - 5/13


*The awards are named after one of the best baseball movies of all time... Major League.

Jake Taylor Award - Awarded to the most valuable position player. Named after the hard-nose veteran catcher that, despite making the league minimum, was the heart and soul of the 1989 American League East winning Cleveland Indians.

Gentry Award - Awarded to the least valuable position player. Named after the very first man cut from the 1989 Cleveland Indians, #47 Gentry. A man so insignificant he wasn't even given a first name.

Rick Vaughn - Awarded to the best pitcher in the series. This one is, of course, named after the "Wild Thing". The man that made Clu Haywood look silly in the division deciding game.

Kelner Award - Awarded to the worst pitcher in the series. Named after the Opening Day starter for the '89 Indians. Not a good game for Mr. Kelner, as Indians' announcer Harry Doyle famously quipped "thank God" after Kelner left the game. And yet another bad player without a first name.

Rays @ Yankees 5/10/12


An Eduardo NunEEEEEEEz error leads to the Rays taking a 1-0 lead in the 1st, although a great throwing assist by Nick Swisher prevented a second run from scoring with a play at the plate.

Robinson Cano extended his hit streak to 8 games.

S. Rodriguez adds an rbi single in the 2nd to make it 2-0 Rays, again after another NunEEEEEEEZ error. 


Chris Stewart continues to impress with his bat this season and hits a game tying rbi hit and takes third on an errant throw into the outfield. 2-2

Yankees win 5-3. Soriano gets the save 
Beat Those Rays!!!

Tonight is the rubber game of the three game series between the Yanks and the Rays at the Stadium. Tonight CC Sabathia will put his four start win streak on the line against Rays lefty David Price. The game will be played at 7:05 pm ET and it will be televised on YES and MLB Network.

Both Brett Gardner and Eric Chavez are available to come off the DL and neither are listed as available players. A collective sigh of relief for all Dewayne Wise fans...

Here is tonight's lineup.

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

Gardner Suffers Set Back In Rehab Game

Brett Gardner was expected to come off the DL today but instead will be heading back to the doctor to get a MRI on his sore elbow. He played in the game yesterday and reported that everything was fine but after the game his elbow was sore and swollen.

I think this is nothing but a precautionary move and while none of us are happy to see it, well except maybe Dewayne Wise, we should all understand that 100 + games of a healthy Brett Gardner is better then him rushing back and getting a more serious injury.

Get well soon Brett.... please!

Understand Sabermetrics : Walks + Hits / Innings Pitched (WHIP)

We have done the first three stats mainly geared towards hitters, let us let the pitchers get their time to shine shall we? A great way to look at how well a pitcher is doing is to look at his walks + hits by innings pitched, or more commonly known as WHIP. It is basically the pitchers statmeticians answer to moneyball and OBP. Basically what WHIP studies is the number of base runners a pitcher allows per inning pitched. Moneyball guys want players who get on base and pitchers WHIP, invented in 1979 by Daniel Okrent, shows a pitchers ability to keep those moneyball guys off the bases. 

The lowest single season WHIP in baseball history was posted by Red Sox starter , and son of the Yankees, Pedro Martinez with a 0.7373 WHIP in 2000. Addie Joss has the current record for career lowest WHIP with a 0.9678 WHIP in nearly 3000 IP with the Cleveland Indians. Currently Mariano Rivera is ranked third in WHIP for his career. 

Let us use a Yankee to put this more in perspective so let us use Mariano Rivera.  Mariano , in 2011, had a staggering 8 walks and 47 hits allowed in his 61.1 IP. That makes Mariano's WHIP set at 0.90 which is amazing.