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Archive for April 20th, 2011

April was usually a frustrating time for Mattingly.

Don Mattingly turned 50 today, which for any Yankee fan growing up in the 1980s is a little startling. Although the team suffered through one of its longest championship droughts during Mattingly’s tenure, Donnie Baseball was still able to capture the hearts of an entire generation, so it’s hard to think of him as being a relic from an another era.

During his playing career, Mattingly’s birthday was always easy to remember because it seemed as if he never quite got going until after it passed. Long before Mark Teixeira became famous for his early season struggles, Mattingly turned slow starts into an art form. Whether he was in his prime or toward the end of his career, April was usually a frustrating time for Mattingly.

If it seems as if the Yankees have been through this before with Mattingly, it’s because they have. Everyone knows what to expect now, a plodding start followed by a fast summer. If it’s cold, so is Mattingly. Even in his magic years, Mattingly was no better than an ordinary April hitter.” – John Heyman, Newsday, April 19, 1994

Mattingly, Month by Month

Split PA R HR RBI BA OBP SLG OPS
April/March 1001 124 11 122 0.266 0.338 0.381 0.719
May 1248 172 41 185 0.325 0.380 0.502 0.882
June 1290 163 34 173 0.307 0.351 0.449 0.800
July 1349 189 42 195 0.324 0.367 0.508 0.875
August 1341 176 45 199 0.309 0.358 0.487 0.845
Sept/Oct 1492 183 49 225 0.305 0.352 0.477 0.829

Source:  Baseball-reference.com

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vs. Brett Cecil PA BA OBP SLG HR RBI
Derek Jeter SS 23 0.316 0.435 0.316 0 0
Nick Swisher RF 15 0.250 0.400 0.250 0 1
Mark Teixeira 1B 22 0.200 0.455 0.467 1 1
Alex Rodriguez 3B 15 0.286 0.267 0.571 1 2
Robinson Cano 2B 19 0.294 0.368 0.529 1 1
Andruw Jones LF 3 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Jorge Posada DH 18 0.294 0.333 0.353 0 3
Russell Martin C 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Curtis Granderson CF 13 0.083 0.154 0.083 0 0
Total 128 0.248 0.357 0.367 3 8
             
vs. Bartolo Colon PA BA OBP SLG HR RBI
Yunel Escobar SS 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Corey Patterson CF 12 0.273 0.333 0.273 0 2
Jose Bautista RF 2 0.500 0.500 0.500 0 0
Adam Lind 1B 5 0.400 0.400 0.400 0 0
Edwin Encarnacion DH 3 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
J.P. Arencibia C 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
Travis Snider LF 4 0.000 0.250 0.000 0 1
Jayson Nix 2B 0 0.000 0.000 0.000 0 0
John McDonald 3B 5 0.400 0.400 0.400 0 0
Total 31 0.276 0.323 0.276 0 3

 

Yankees vs. Blue Jays    
Season: 2011 Season: 2010 Season: 2009 All-Time
TOR: 1-0 TOR: 10-8 NYY: 12-6 NYY: 267-216
       
  Last 10 Away vs. LHP
Yankees 6-4 1-3 2-2
  Last 10 Home vs. RHP
Blue Jays 3-7 5-2 5-8

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(In addition to appearing at The Captain’s Blog, this post is also being syndicated at TheYankeeAnalysts.)

Mariano Rivera’s accomplishments can’t be overstated. But, what can we say about his failures?

Mariano Rivera has seldom had reason to hang his head during his illustrious career.

Over 17 seasons, the reliever has consistently dominated the opposition, compiling an astounding ERA+ of 205, which is the highest total by any pitcher throwing over 1,000 innings. Incredibly, he has been even better in the post season, where his 0.71 ERA in 139 2/3 innings is without compare. In other words, Rivera’s superhuman reputation is certainly well deserved.

Because there are so many ways to trumpet Rivera’s successes, it’s easy to take him for granted.  That’s why it’s still a shock when the Yankees’ closer blows a save. Even at the age of 41, Rivera still portrays an air of perfection, so those startling glimpses of his mortality can often be unsettling.

Despite the considerable amount of evidence suggesting otherwise, Rivera is a human being. After all, he has blown 68 regular season saves in his career. However, even in his failures, the future Hall of Famer has managed to stand out.

Picking Up the Pieces: Top Closers Performance In Blown Saves

Player W L W-L% ERA IP WHIP
Mariano Rivera 17 22 0.436 11.01 85 2.44
John Franco 23 37 0.383 9.99 121.2 2.67
Dennis Eckersley 15 25 0.375 12.01 81.2 2.28
Rollie Fingers 26 45 0.366 7.45 206.2 1.97
Jeff Reardon 18 33 0.353 11.96 122.2 2.5
Billy Wagner 11 21 0.344 12.68 71 2.61
Lee Smith 20 39 0.339 11.89 125.2 2.75
Randy Myers 11 26 0.297 12.34 73.2
2.84 
Trevor Hoffman 12 31 0.279 17.29 76 2.92
Troy Percival 9 25 0.265 19.97 48.2
3.49 

Source: Baseball-reference.com

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The Yankees’ have sorely needed more innings from their starters, but having Ivan Nova come out of the bullpen to pitch the 10th inning probably wasn’t the best way to go about it.

After a rough day, Travis Snider exults in his game winning hit (Photo: AP).

The late inning cameo by Nova was necessitated by Mariano Rivera’s rare inability to polish off a save. From the very pitch to Yunel Escobar, the Yankees’ closer, who was pitching in his league leading 10th game, seemed to be without his usual command. As a result, Rivera left several cutters over the plate, allowing the Blue Jays to string together four hits during a game tying tally. The most uncharacteristic part of the inning, however, was a rare four pitch walk to Jose Bautista, who came to the plate with one out and a runner on third. Despite only representing the tying run, Rivera seemed to pitch around the Blue Jays’ slugger, an approach that wouldn’t be advisable for a mediocre reliever, let alone the best to every play the game. Sure enough, Bautista eventually came around to score the tying run on Jason McDonald’s safety squeeze.

Before the climatic late innings, A.J. Burnett and Kyle Drabek pitched into and out of trouble, stranding several base runners along the way. Both pitchers wound up retiring after only 5 1/3 innings, meaning the outcome would be decided by the bullpens. Before Rivera’s misstep, which snapped a string of seven consecutive converted saves to start the season, it looked as if the Yankees were going to get the best of that battle, but the immortal closer proved to be the weak link in what has been, for the most part, Joe Girardi’s winning late game formula.

Most Consecutive Saves by a Yankee to Start a Season

Pitcher Start End SV IP ERA
Mariano Rivera 4/1/2008 8/7/2008 28 29.1 0.31
Lee Guetterman 4/12/1989 9/30/1989 13 23 0.00
Mariano Rivera 4/7/2004 5/9/2004 12 12.1 0.73
Marshall Bridges 4/27/1962 7/7/1962 11 13 0.69
Steve Hamilton 4/28/1968 8/27/1968 10 11.1 0.79

Source: Baseball-reference.com

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