Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for October 15th, 2010

vs. C.J. Wilson PA BA OBP SLG HR RBI
Derek Jeter SS 17 0.357 0.471 0.571 1 2
Nick Swisher RF 24 0.300 0.417 0.600 1 6
Mark Teixeira 1B 7 0.000 0.286 0.000 0 0
Alex Rodriguez 3B 19 0.077 0.368 0.154 0 2
Robinson Cano 2B 17 0.286 0.412 0.357 0 0
Marcus Thames DH 11 0.455 0.455 0.455 0 1
Jorge Posada C 5 0.000 0.400 0.000 0 0
Curtis Granderson CF 7 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 1
Brett Gardner LF 5 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Total 112 0.231 0.339 0.352 2 12
             
vs. C.C. Sabathia PA BA OBP SLG HR RBI
Elvis Andrus SS 2 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Michael Young 3B 40 0.316 0.325 0.421 0 5
Josh Hamilton CF 13 0.100 0.308 0.200 0 0
Vladimir Guerrero DH 25 0.217 0.240 0.435 1 3
Nelson Cruz LF 5 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Ian Kinsler 2B 10 0.222 0.300 0.889 2 4
Jeff Francoeur RF 13 0.167 0.231 0.167 0 1
Matt Treanor C 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Jorge Cantu 1B 12 0.083 0.083 0.167 0 0
Total 120 0.207 0.250 0.360 3 13
Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Tonight’s ALCS opens deep in the heart of Texas, and the Rangers will be looking to settle the score for three recent postseason eliminations suffered at the hands of the Yankees. Even though the storyline seems similar to the just completed ALDS against the Twins, the challenge facing the Yankees this time around should be much greater.

Offense Comparison, Season Totals

  BB% K% OBP SLG ISO Spd wRC wRAA wOBA
Yankees 10.40% 20.40% 0.350 0.436 0.169 5.3 865 132 0.347
Rangers 8.10% 17.50% 0.338 0.419 0.143 4.9 785 61 0.333

Source: Fangraphs.com

Texas Hold ‘Em

If the numbers above look familiar, it’s because the Rangers offense is very similar to the Twins’, but with one significant exception: speed. Unlike the plodding Twins, the Rangers stole 123 bases in 161 attempts and have a lineup that can include as many as six stolen base threats. That could be bad news for the Yankees, who trailed the league in nabbing would-be base stealers, particularly in games started by the right handed Phil Hughes and AJ Burnett. Lost amid all the talk about the Rangers’ speed, however, is the fact that the Yankees actually do that part of the game better. Not only did the Bronx Bombers flex their muscles in 2010 with 201 HRs, but they also stole 103 bases in 133 attempts, a success rate six points better than the Rangers’. Nonetheless, the Yankees will need to do a better job holding runners close in late game situations as the Rangers are undoubtedly planning to test the arm of Jorge Posada.

Ironically, one area in which the Rangers do standout is in terms of the number of sacrifice bunts employed. In a sure sign that these aren’t your daddy’s Rangers, Ron Washington had his offense lay down a sacrifice in a league leading 53 situations. Considering the Yankees’ overall offensive superiority, if Washington continues to play for one run, he could be putting his team at a disadvantage.  

Key Offensive Players

A popular misconception about the Rangers is their lineup is vulnerable to right handed pitchers. However, the team actually had a much higher OPS against them (.772 vs. .718 versus lefties). A big reason for that split was Josh Hamilton, whose OPS against righties was a sparkling 1.163. Also pitching in against righties have been David Murphy (.847) and Mitch Moreland (.869), but Hamilton’s real partner in crime has been Nelson Cruz (.941). Because Cruz also handles lefties with ease (.976), his presence in the lineup serves as a much needed counterweight, regardless of what kind of pitcher is on the mound.

In a lineup as deep as the Yankees, it’s hard to single out any one hitter, but in this series, it could be Robinson Cano. In 2010, Alex Rodriguez pummeled the Rangers to the tune of .360/.515/.720 in 33 plate appearances, including eight walks. As a result, you can bet Rangers’ pitchers will be loath to let Arod beat them. As his protection in the lineup, Cano is likely to find himself in several key situations, and his performance in them could go along way in determining the Yankees’ success in the series.

Pitching Comparison, Prospective Starters in 2010

  W L ERA IP WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
Yankees 110 51 3.78 1272 2/3 1.27 8.43 1.00 3.00 7.31 2.44
Rangers 75 58 3.64 1155 1/3 1.19 7.81 0.82 2.91 7.73 2.66

Note: Cliff Lee’s numbers with the Seattle Mariners are not included. The statistics for pitchers tentatively scheduled to throw a second time have been counted twice.
Source: Fangraphs.com 

Return of AJ

The Yankees emerged from the ALDS with fewer questions about their starting rotation, but the ALCS reintroduces perhaps their biggest concern…A.J. Burnett. The Yankees enigmatic right hander is currently scheduled to go in game four (although he could be pushed back if the Yankees decide to use Sabathia on three days rest), which coming on the heels of Cliff Lee’s start in game three, could make Burnett’s performance a pivotal factor in the series. It would be wrong, however, to let one start by Burnett overshadow the matchup advantages that the Yankees will enjoy because of the Rangers’ need to hold Lee back until the third game, especially if Burnett is opposed by Tommy Hunter, whose pitch-to-contact approach from the right side doesn’t usually bode well against the Yankees.

Key Pitching Matchups

Cliff Lee and C.C. Sabathia will not be facing each other in the ALCS.  Instead, CJ Wilson will square off against Sabathia. Although Wilson had a very good season, he was 0-3 with a 5.65 ERA in 14 1/3 innings against the Yankees. There will be no such margin for error against Sabathia, who has yielded only a .533 OPS against to the current Texas’ roster, so the Rangers need Wilson to reverse that trend. Meanwhile, the Yankees should feel a little more comfortable with their counter to the Ranger’s ace. Although Lee has arguably been one of the most dominant postseason hurlers, Pettitte has been the most prolific. Interestingly, many of the big name hitters in each lineup have done well against both lefties, so each confrontation could be more about limiting the damage than shutting down the opposition.

Colby Lewis has mostly relied on a fastball and slider combination to fuel his successful return to the majors, but that plays directly into the Yankees hands as the Bronx Bombers rank third and first, respectively, in terms of runs above average generated against each pitch. What’s more, Lewis’ tendency to allow fly balls could also get him in trouble against the power laden Yankee lineup. Opposing Lewis in a games 2 and 6 will be Phil Hughes, who also is also prone to the fly ball. Unlike Lewis, however, Hughes’ has a more diverse arsenal, and the Rangers have not been particularly successful against his cutter/curveball combo. Ultimately, who keeps the ball in the park most could determine the outcome of the games in which Hughes and Lewis pitch.

Yankees’ Starters vs. Current Rangers’ Batters

  PA HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Andy Pettitte 173 5 21 17 27 0.327 0.390 0.497 0.886
C.C. Sabathia 155 3 14 8 34 0.182 0.232 0.301 0.533
Phil Hughes 42 0 1 2 8 0.100 0.143 0.150 0.293
AJ Burnett 238 7 24 20 50 0.207 0.286 0.352 0.638
Total 608 15 60 47 119 0.226 0.291 0.364 0.655

Source: Baseball-reference.com

Rangers’ Starters vs. Current Yankees’ Batters

  PA HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Cliff Lee 354 11 44 20 62 0.269 0.314 0.456 0.770
CJ Wilson 146 2 18 21 35 0.248 0.372 0.355 0.728
Colby Lewis 21 2 3 3 5 0.167 0.286 0.500 0.786
Tommy Hunter 32 0 1 1 3 0.333 0.355 0.333 0.688
Total 553 15 66 45 105 0.264 0.327 0.421 0.749

Source: Baseball-reference.com

Whose Pen Is Mightier?

Both the Yankees and Rangers featured strong bullpens. In fact, their performance was nearly identical. In Texas’ first round series against the Rays, however, the much relied upon trio of Neftali Feliz, Derek Holland and Darren Oliver struggled a bit, so if their woes carry over to the ALCS, the late game advantage could swing in favor of the Yankees. Although Mariano Rivera remains as the Yankees ultimate late inning edge, it should be noted that the Rangers hung two blown saves on the great closer back in September.

Bullpen Comparison, 2010 Totals

  ERA K/9 BB/9 K/BB HR/9 WHIP LOB%
Yankees 3.47 7.69 3.61 2.13 0.92 1.25 77.00%
Rangers 3.38 7.58 3.63 2.09 0.86 1.27 77.90%

Source: Fangraphs.com

On defense, both teams feature outfields with plus range along with infields that are somewhat below average, although both Cano and Feliz appear much better to the eye than defensive metrics like UZR/150. The Rangers’ greatest advantage in the field is behind the plate, at least on nights when Bengie Molina is catching.

Prediction: Yankees in Five

The Yankees and Rangers are evenly matched in pitching, both starting and the bullpen, and defense, but the Bronx Bombers do have a decided edge with the bats. As a result, the Yankees should have more of a margin for error against pitchers not named Cliff Lee. That luxury, combined with Sabathia’s historic dominance over the Rangers, should be enough for the Yankees to wrap the series up in five games. If that doesn’t happen, you can bet the Yankees will want to get it done by game six because even with Pettitte slated to go in the finale, the specter of beating Lee with all the marbles on the line seems daunting.

Read Full Post »

A New York Yankees spokesperson has informed the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) that the singing of homophobic lyrics at Yankee Stadium will not be tolerated, and any fan engaging in such action will be ejected from the premises. Although you’d like to think that such a policy would go without saying, recent actions at game three of the ALDS necessitated the announcement. Sadly, such behavior has become all too common in the bleachers at Yankee Stadium.

One of the best parts of the new Yankee Stadium is the bleachers are not only inexpensive, but they provide an excellent view of the ballgame. Unfortunately, however, they have also become a haven for abhorrent behavior. I was lucky enough to attend game three in the left field bleachers, and although I didn’t witness the homophobic parody mentioned above, the level of profanity was discouraging. Apparently, to a disturbingly large percentage of section 237, cursing and berating Twins fans was of more interest than the game. Such behavior is not uncommon in the bleachers, and it’s time for the Yankees to put an end to it.

Yankee fans pride themselves on being knowledgeable and loyal, but those who behave like miscreants give all of us a bad name. It’s one thing to ride the opposition, and even the opposition’s fans, but quite another to be vulgar and abusive. If an increasingly vocal component of the fan base can’t control its behavior, it may be time for those who actually care about the game to demand that the Yankees take measures to ensure that everyone can enjoy a safe environment. Whether it is removing alcohol sales from close proximity to the bleachers, increasing security or more strictly enforcing compliance with existing rules of conduct, the Yankees shouldn’t wait for complaints to show up on their doorstep.

In the meantime, the majority of Yankee fans, who are among the best in the game, need to send the message that vile behavior will not be tolerated. The Bleacher Creatures, in particular, should take ownership of this issue. Their pre-game roll call is the kind of ritual that exemplifies the passion of Yankee fans, so perhaps that group could use its influence to discourage those around them who get out of hand? The fact of the matter is every Yankee fan has the responsibility to expose those who not only embarrass the fan base, but the city as well. Otherwise, the negative stereotypes often used to disparage Yankee fans will turn out to be well deserved.

Read Full Post »

When the Yankees swept the ALDS, they increased their postseason winning streak over the Minnesota Twins to nine games. Coincidentally, the Yankees also happen to be riding a nine game winning streak against the Texas Rangers, the team they will now face in the postseason. Listed below is a breakdown of the Yankees postseason record against every opponent, followed by some interesting facts.

Yankees All-Time Post Season Record, by Opponent

  W L T W% Series W Series L Longest WStrk Longest LStrk
Chicago Cubs 8 0   1.000 2 0 8 0
San Diego Padres 4 0   1.000 1 0 4 0
Texas Rangers 9 1   0.900 3 0 9 0
Minnesota Twins 12 2   0.857 4 0 9 1
Atlanta Braves 8 2   0.800 2 0 8 2
Baltimore Orioles 4 1   0.800 1 0 3 1
New York Mets 4 1   0.800 1 0 2 1
Philadelphia Phillies 8 2   0.800 2 0 4 1
Oakland Athletics 9 4   0.692 3 0 3 2
Pittsburgh Pirates 7 4   0.636 1 1 4 2
Seattle Mariners 10 6   0.625 2 1 3 4
Cincinnati Reds 8 5   0.615 2 1 5 4
Brooklyn Dodgers 27 17   0.614 6 1 5 3
Milwaukee Brewers 3 2   0.600 1 0 2 2
Boston Red Sox 11 8   0.579 2 1 4 4
San Francisco Giants 4 3   0.571 1 0 1 1
New York Giants 19 16 1 0.543 4 2 4 8
St. Louis Cardinals 15 13   0.536 2 3 5 4
Kansas City Royals 9 8   0.529 3 1 3 3
Milwaukee Braves 7 7   0.500 1 1 3 3
Anaheim Angels 7 8   0.467 1 2 2 3
Cleveland Indians 7 8   0.467 1 2 3 2
Los Angeles Dodgers 10 12   0.455 2 2 6 4
Arizona Diamondbacks 3 4   0.429 0 1 3 2
Florida Marlins 2 4   0.333 0 1 2 3
Detroit Tigers 1 3   0.250 0 1 1 3

Source: Baseball-reference.com

Yankees All-Time Post Season Record, by Series

  W L W% Game WStrk Game LStrk Series W Series L Series WStrk Series LStrk
ALDS 39 27 0.591 6 (2x) 4 (2x) 10 6 4 3
ALCS 43 24 0.642 5 4 11 2 7 1
WS 134 89 0.598 14 8 27 13 8 2
Total 216 140 0.605 12 (2x) 8 48 21 11 4

Source: Baseball-reference.com

World Series Record, By Game

  W L T Pct
Game 1 24 16   0.600
Game 2 23 16 1 0.575
Game 3 26 14   0.650
Game 4 24 16   0.600
Game 5 18 12   0.600
Game 6 14 8   0.636
Game 7 5 7   0.417

Source: Baseball-reference.com

American League Playoff Record, By Game

  ALCS   ALDS
  W L Pct   W L Pct
Game 1 9 4 0.692 Game 1 10 6 0.625
Game 2 8 5 0.615 Game 2 10 6 0.625
Game 3 7 6 0.538 Game 3 11 5 0.688
Game 4 8 3 0.727 Game 4 5 7 0.417
Game 5 7 3 0.700 Game 5 3 3 0.500
Game 6 3 2 0.600        
Game 7 1 1 0.500        

Source: Baseball-reference.com

Total Postseason Record, By Game

  W L T Pct
Game 1 43 26   0.623
Game 2 41 27 1 0.594
Game 3 44 25   0.638
Game 4 37 26   0.587
Game 5 28 18   0.609
Game 6 17 10   0.630
Game 7 6 8   0.429

Source: Baseball-reference.com

 Fun Facts

  • The Diamondbacks, Marlins and Tigers are the only teams against whom the Yankees have not won a postseason series (among those they have played).
  • The Cardinals are the only team to have won more World Series than they lost against the Yankees.
  • The Yankees are 11-3 in “Subway Series”.
  • The Yankees have never faced the Rays, Blue Jays, White Sox, Nationals/Expos, Astros and Rockies in the postseason.
  • The Yankees longest postseason losing streak was eight games, suffered at the hands of the New York Giants from game 6 of the 1921 World Series until Game 1 of the 1923 World Series.
  • The Yankees longest winning streak in the World Series is 14 games, beginning in game 3 of the 1996 World Series and lasting until game 3 of the 2000 World Series.
  • The Yankees record for most consecutive post season wins is 12 games, which was accomplished twice: over the 1927, 28 and 36 World Series as well as Game 4 of the 1998 ALCS through Game 2 of the 1999 ALCS.
  • The Yankees won a record 11 postseason series, beginning with the 1998 ALDS and ending with the 2001 World Series. From 1927 to 1941, the Yankees won all eight of the World Series in which they played. The record for most World Series victories in consecutive years is five, established by the 1949-1953 Yankees.
  • The only Yankee to ever win two postseason MVP awards is Mariano Rivera, who earned the hardware in the 1999 World Series and 2003 ALCS.
  • The Yankees postseason winning percentage of .605 is better than the team’s regular season winning percentage of .568.

Read Full Post »