Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Postseason Bullpen

How many pitchers should the Yankees carry in the American League Divisional series?

Pick me!

I think the answer to that is fairly simple... they should only carry 11 pitchers. I don't see any reason to carry a 12th pitcher, because they really shouldn't be needed. Heck, I'm not even sure a 12th pitcher is needed in the ALCS or World Series. Especially with the bullpen the Yankees could bring with them, as it would carry two pitchers that could go three or more innings.

The way I see it, 10 of those 11 spots are set. The rotation will consist of four men... Sabathia, Pettitte, Kuroda, and Hughes. The bullpen will then have these 6 guys... Soriano (closer), Robertson (set-up), Chamberlain (righty), Logan (lefty), Rapada (lefty), and Phelps (long-man).

You're probably asking yourself, "so who is that other guy that can go 'three or more innings'"? Well, the team actually has three pitchers that could fill that spot.

Oh, man, I don't know.

Freddy Garcia is the first possibility. Sweaty's ERA has been an unimpressive 5.25 this year, to go along with a WHIP of 1.382. Even though he's walked a few more hitters than normal this season (BB/9 of 3.0 this season, opposed to a career mark of 2.8), Freddy has struck out quite a few more (7.3 K/9 as opposed to under 6 in each of the last 3 seasons). Even if we lower the sample size things don't look any better, since in the last 28 days (3 games against 32 batters) his batting line against is .267/.353/.667.

Then there's Derek Lowe. Since Derek debuted with the Yankees on August 13th against the Rangers, putting up a very nice line of 4IP, 2H, 0R, 0BB, 4K, his ERA and WHIP have been 3.04 and 1.268, respectively. And in his last 9 appearances, having faced 51 batters, Lowe's triple-slash against is also an impressive .149/.216/.149. One thing I noticed is that there's nothing totally out of the ordinary in terms of strikeouts, walks, or BABIP against. He's striking out less hitters than he has in his career (5.3 K/9 with the Yanks this season, versus 5.8 K/9 in his career), walking only slightly less hitters (2.3 BB/9 vs. 2.7), and his BABIP against is .289 vs. a career mark of .301.

And finally we come to Ivan Nova. It's insane that this is a guy that was thought to be entrenched in the middle of the rotation, thanks to a 2011 in which he had 16 wins with a 3.70 ERA. But thanks to an ERA this season of 5.02 and WHIP of 1.468... here we are. And it's not that he's striking out less hitters, or walking more of them. He's actually walking just as many hitters as last season (3.0 BB/9 in 2012, 3.1 BB/9 in 2011), while striking out a lot more (6.6 K/9 in 2012, 8.1 K/9 in 2012). The issue is more balls are being hit into play (.333 BABIP this year, .284 last), which hurts more when his line drive percentage against is significantly higher (22% this year, 17% last). And his triple-slash against of .283/.356/.547 in his last 3 starts doesn't help.

So the choice for that last bullpen spot is obvious to me... Derek Lowe.

"Hey, Cervelli, am I doing this 'fist pump' thing right?"

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)