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Entries in Joe Girardi (3)

Wednesday
Jul242013

Why the Yankees have gone 23-28 Since May 26

This is not a look at the injuries, turmoil, or the budgetary restrictions of the 2013 New York Yankees.

To quote Dragnet's Joe Friday, "Just the facts, ma'am."

Since May 26

After play on May 26, the Yankees were 30-19 (.612) and basically tied with the Red Sox who were 31-20 (.608) for first place. Since that date, the Yankees have been 23-28 (.451) the third worst record in the AL, only "better" than the Astros 20-29 (.408) and the White Sox 15-34 (.306).

With their victory last night, Boston for the 58th consecutive day remained in first place in the AL East, but don't be misled by that, they have only pulled away from the Yankees and Jays (24-25). Boston and Baltimore each have played 30-21 ball since then and the Rays have a 34-18 record, the best record in baseball since that date. 

So what's gone wrong for the Yankees?

Nine to Know since May 26:

  1. The Yankees are hitting .238 as a team, the Astros at .223 are the only team with a lower batting average.
  2. The Bronx Bombers have hit 27 homers, only the Giants with 24 have hit fewer long balls.
  3. The Yankees have a .303 OBP, topping only the Marlins (.299) and the Astros (.284).
  4. Travis Hafner has hit .160 with four homers and Vernon Wells has hit .207 with no homers.
  5. The 3-4-5 batters have a slash line of .221/.294/.337.
  6. From the 7th inning on, the Yankees are hitting .213 tied with the Brewers for the worst BA in baseball.
  7. Yankees from the right side of the plate are hitting .206/.267/.253. Their .520 OPS is the worst in baseball (the Tigers righties' OPS is .807).
  8. Andy Pettitte is 3-4 with 5.04 ERA and 1.410 WHIP.
  9. CC Sabathia is 5-4 with a 4.80 ERA and a 1.212 WHIP. 

Should Joe Girardi be manager of the year?

This has been a trying season for Yankee Universe and there is no indication that it is going to get much better.

Brian Cashman keeps working the phones, Joe Girardi keeps working on keeping his non-injured players looking for wins, and the press keeps working on the impending Alex Rodriguez bombshell. 

The fact that the Yankees are just seven back in the AL East and just 5.5 back in the AL Wild Card race has some people talking about Girardi as Manager of the Year.

While Girardi would appreciate this memorable honor, I'm sure in future years Girardi will be doing everything he can to forget this season, not remember it.

 

 

Tuesday
Oct042011

Comparing strike zones for Sabathia and Verlander

During last night's ALDS Game Three between the New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers, Yankee manager Joe Girardi mentioned during his in-game interview that he thought CC Sabathia wasn't getting some borderline calls from home plate umpire Gerry Davis.  He also brought it up in the post-game interview saying of CC, “I actually thought he made a lot of good pitches tonight and I thought the zone was a small zone.”

So was CC getting squeezed? Was Justin Verlander getting a better strike zone to work with?  Or both?

Let’s take a look at some of the numbers and heat maps.

(Click image to enlarge)

The most noticeable difference here is the strikes Gerry Davis was calling for Verlander off the outside edge to lefty hitters.  Verlander also benefitted from a few strikes that were a bit high.  However, it's tough to say whether CC would have gotten any similar calls in that area since he didn't throw anything there that was taken by any Detroit hitters. The up and away strike to RHB also seems to have tipped in Verlander's favor, while CC was getting the low and away area.

So what do the numbers say?

Game 3 - Gerry Davis Strike Zone
Strike Zone Called BallsOut of Strike Zone Called Strikes
Sabathia63
Verlander510
Called Strike% In Strike ZoneCalled Strike% Out of Strike Zone
Sabathia62.5%7.3%
Verlander70.6%19.6%

So what does this tell us? Essentially, CC and Verlander missed out on about the same number of called strikes in the strike zone. However, Verlander greatly benefited from an expanded zone, getting more than three times as many called strikes on pitches outside of the PitchFX defined strike zone. Most of those pitches are likely the outside strikes to lefties you see in the above heat maps.

As for the percentages, CC was getting fewer strikes called overall in the strike zone. A 62.5% strike zone called strike rate is pretty low. During the regular season, Gerry Davis correctly called 76.8% of strikes in the strike zone, and 78.9% for left-handed pitchers. For whatever reason, he simply was not giving CC much of a zone to work with yesterday.

Granted, we are talking about a total of just 16 taken pitches in the strike zone for CC and 17 for Verlander. If CC was throwing to some borderline spots that Gerry Davis does not normally call while Verlander was not, it could explain the disproportionate results.

However, for strikes called out of the strike zone, it is pretty clear that Verlander was the big beneficiary in last night's game. Three of his strikes called on pitches out of the zone were deciding strike three pitches.

Thursday
Jul072011

Phil Hughes Returns, Sort Of

Yankees right-hander Phil Hughes made his first major league start in nearly three months last night at Progressive Field, taking a loss against the Indians while allowing two runs in five innings pitched. Hughes, on the DL since mid-April with right shoulder inflammation, walked and whiffed two Indians apiece while also beaning two batters and tossing a wild pitch.

The Bombers' would-be number two starter behind CC Sabathia regained some, but not all, of the zip that was conspicuously absent on his fastball in April. Hughes averaged 91.5 MPH with his heater against Cleveland, topping out at 92.9 MPH.

That's certainly better than his 89.3 MPH showing in the season's opening month. Still, he didn't look like the same pitcher who sat at 92.5 MPH and maxed out at 96 in 2010. Hughes didn't get a swing and miss on any of the 40 fastballs that he threw. By contrast, Hughes' near-20 percent fastball miss rate last year ranked just outside the top 10 among starting pitchers.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi ascribes the lack of whiffs to Hughes elevating his fastball too much:

I think that's because he was up a lot. When it's up, it's flat; when it's flat, it's easy to keep your bat on the same plane. He's got to get a better downhill plane the next time he goes out.

 Here's the frequency of Hughes' fastball location from last night's start:

Girardi was right. It seems like Hughes is trying to use the same pitching approach as last year, but without the same quality of stuff.

Hughes elevated his fastball a lot last season, and to great effect. Forty-four percent of his fastballs were thrown up in the zone, and hitters managed just a .241 Weighted On-Base Average against the high heat (.328 league average). Forty-nine percent of his fastballs have been in the upper third of the zone this season. In a small sample, hitters have a .418 wOBA against Hughes' elevated fastballs in 2011.

Climbing the ladder with a fastball that can hit 96 on the gun is a different story than trying to do the same with an offering that doesn't break 92. Hughes' high heat could be a problem if he can't rediscover that extra gear on his fastball.