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Entries in New York Yankees (126)

Friday
Sep022011

Jon Lester's 43 Pitch First Inning vs. The Yankees

After last night's game between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox, NESN broadcasters Jerry Remy and Don Orsillo discussed Jon Lester's 43 pitch first inning.  Remy said that it looked like Lester wasn't getting some calls from home plate umpire Alfonso Marquez that looked to be strikes.

Here's Lester's heat map from that first inning:

Jon Lester's First Inning vs. The Yankees (9/1/11)
43 Pitches, 26 strikes

Of all the pitches he threw in that first inning, there was only one that was called a ball yet was located inside the strike zone - a 0-0 pitch to Nick Swisher, who eventually struck out swinging.

Jon Lester - Called Balls within the Strike Zone (1st inning)

The only other pitch Marquez called incorrectly was a 2-1 strike to Mark Teixeira that was located off the outside edge of the zone.

Jon Lester - Called Strikes Outside the Strike Zone (1st inning)

There was a lot of talk about the strike zone throughout the game, but overall Marquez was fairly consistent.  And Lester's long first inning was likely not the result of any squeezing on Marquez's part.

Friday
Sep022011

Burnett Gets Down

A.J. Burnett of the New York Yankees allowed the Red Sox just two runs in 5 1/3 innings, the first time in two months that he allowed less than three runs in an outing.  Burnett's problem this season come from throwing the ball down the middle of the plate:

A.J. Burnett, pitch frequency, 2011 season through August.Note the big red blob right down the pipe.  Going into his last start, Burnett stated he wanted to get his pitches down.  One pitch that often ended in the middle of the plate was his sinker, a pitch that really should go out of the strike zone.  He got that pitch down Thursday night.

A.J. Burnett, pitch frequency on sinker. 2011 Thru August on the left, Sept 1 on the right.

A.J. threw the pitch with more consistent downward movement, and even managed to make it dart left and right:

A.J. Burnett, movement on sinker. 2011 Thru August on the left, Sept 1 on the right.It should be noted that even leaving the sinker up, Burnett recorded the most success on the pitch, with a .206 BA against through the end of August.  Against the better sinker, the Red Sox were 1 for 6, the one hit coming in the fifth inning when a couple were left up. 

A.J. also abandonded his change up and cut fastball Thrusday night.  Neither of those pitches produced good results during the season.  Concentrating on throwing the sinker made that pitch better, and Burnett wound up with a more successful outing than usual.

Wednesday
Aug312011

Beckett Leans to the Left

Josh Beckett of the Boston Red Sox showed great success against the Yankees this season, particularly against the New York left-handed batters.  The lefties combined for a .156/.239/.219 slash line, striking out 31% of the 71 batters he faced.  What is the secret of his success?

First, Beckett stays in the strike zone:

Josh Beckett, pitch frequency vs. Yankees LHB, 2011.More importantly, he's throwing different speeds to different parts of the strike zone.

Josh Beckett, release velocity vs. Yankees LHB, 2011.He works his fastball higher in the strike zone, and often out of the strike zone.  He's showing fastball where lefties don't like to swing, and the off-speed pitches where they like to chase.  That's resulting the Yankees hitters not swinging at many good pitches:

Josh Beckett, swing rate by Yankees LHB, 2011.The Yankees lefties are giving Beckett the inside part of the plate.  They are also chasing pitches down and away, pitches that likely don't result in good outcomes.  His location, change of speeds and pitch types keep these batters totally off balance.  It's a text book case of how to pitch to batters who have the platoon advantage.