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Archive for June 1st, 2010

Despite a whole host of injuries and a disastrous week in the middle of the month, the Yankees exited May just two games behind the Rays in the loss column, only one game worse than at the end of April.

On offense, the Yankees were without Curtis Granderson, Nick Johnson and Jorge Posada for a combined 60 games in the month, yet incredibly still managed to score 5.9 runs per game, a half run improvement over their April output. Unfortunately, the increased offense was not enough to offset the additional run per game that the pitching and defense combined to yield. As a result, the Yankees winning percentage in the month dipped from .676 in April to .552 in May, the latter being two wins lower than their expected total based on run differential. Below is a recap of the month:

AL East Standings for May

  W L W-L% GB RS RA
Jays 19 10 0.655 164 117
Red Sox 18 11 0.621 1 166 132
Rays 17 12 0.586 2 122 102
Yankees 16 13 0.552 3 171 132
Orioles 10 18 0.357 8.5 100 135

 

      Offense ERA
Yankees W L R/G OBP SLG Total Starters Relievers
April 15 7 5.4 0.36 0.454 3.55 3.41 3.94
May 16 13 5.9 0.37 0.451 4.25 3.96 4.94

Nick Swisher and Alex Rodriguez were the two main contributors to the Yankees offense. Not only did both hitters compile impressive statistics in the month, but they also came up with several big hits (Swisher’s WPA for the month was .813, followed closely by Arod at .779). Robinson Cano also came on strong in the last half of the month and posted a near .900 OPS, while Mark Teixeira contributed a solid line of .280/.366/.475 with 25 RBIs, despite suffering a rough 2-24 stretch in the middle of the month.

The biggest disappointment of the month had to be the Captain, who posted a dismal .702 OPS despite hitting .486 over an eight game hitting streak to end the month. The only hitters with a lower OPS in the month were Marcus Thames, Kevin Russo, Ramiro Pena and Chad Moeller, although that quartet combined to have fewer at bats than Jeter. In spite of their struggles, both Jeter and Thames made their lone May home runs count as each proved to be a game winner.

Best of May (Hitters)

  AB R HR RBI BA  OBP SLG WPA
Nick Swisher 91 24 7 17 0.374 0.441 0.670 0.813
A. Rodriguez 103 16 3 22 0.330 0.408 0.534 0.779
Robinson Cano 116 18 5 27 0.336 0.381 0.509 0.133

Worst of May (Hitters)

Hitter AB R HR RBI BA OBP SLG WPA
Derek Jeter 128 18 1 13 0.281 0.343 0.359 0.159
Ramiro Pena 34 8 0 4 0.235 0.270 0.265 0.071
Marcus Thames 45 4 1 8 0.222 0.373 0.311 0.190

Andy Pettitte and Phil Hughes were brilliant in May, posting a combined 8-2 record with an ERA just around 3. Surprisingly, the only other pitcher on the staff with an ERA under 4 in at least 10 innings was Sergio Mitre, who recorded a 3.38 ERA in 18 1/3 innings split between the rotation and the bullpen.

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The Washington Nationals celebrated Memorial Day by crushing the Houston Astros 14-4, but that was only an appetizer to the main course. After the game, the team announced that Stephen Strasburg would be making his major league debut on Tuesday, June 8.

Fans hoping to attend Stephen Strasburg's first game will have to look to the secondary market, where tickets are selling well above face value.

Speculation about Strasburg’s eventual debut has made the Nationals one of baseball’s hottest tickets on StubHub, the league’s official secondary market. For the June 8 game, StubHub currently lists 2,580 available tickets at a minimum cost of $65.50, including over 175 tickets priced at $500 or more. For comparison, the site lists 750 available tickets for the team’s next Tuesday home game (June 22, which was well outside the window of Strasburg speculation). The minimum price for that date is $8.50 per ticket; only eight seats are listed at over $500. 

Fans hoping to see Strasburg throw his first pitch in the majors will have to pay those inflated prices because the Nationals’ website indicates that tickets for the game are no longer available for purchase. Unless the official announcement sparked an immediate rush to purchase the remaining inventory, you can bet the Nationals are holding some aside to include in partial season packages.

Through Sunday’s games, the Nationals ranked 14th in average attendance at 20,760 fans per game. The addition of Strasburg to the roster should help boost that total considerably, especially every fifth day. Perhaps not coincidentally, Strasburg is on track to start five of his first seven games at home, which could have a meaningful impact on both the Nationals’ position in the standings and their bottom line.

In addition to boosting the gate when he pitches, the addition of Strasburg has the potential to make the Nationals a legitimate playoff contender. At 26-26, the team is still alive in both the NL East and wildcard races, so the addition of an ace starter could keep them in contention throughout the summer. If that comes to fruition, the Nationals should enjoy an attendance increase for all games, not just the ones in which Strasburg pitches. (more…)

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