Tuesday, October 13, 2015
Ben Lindbergh, writing for Grantland, discusses a “Bullpen Management Above Random” statistic, to see which managers were best in baseball at managing their bullpen, and Joe Girardi has continually ranked near the top in this stat.
Matheny — who told USA Today’s Ted Berg in April that he uses three-year statistical stats as a “tiebreaker” when making bullpen moves but believes that managers “first and foremost have to trust our gut” — ranks at the bottom over a multiyear sample as well as in 2015. Mets manager Terry Collins and Toronto’s Gibbons, who made the perplexing decision to use David Price in low-leverage relief in Monday’s Game 4, aren’t far behind. But Girardi is BMAR’s golden boy.
Girardi is already regarded as a bullpen whisperer; BMAR just clinches the case. In April 2014, Fox Sports reporter Ken Rosenthal passed on the praise of a “rival AL exec” who’d told him that Girardi was “the best [he’d] seen at managing a bullpen.” The BBWAA is onboard: Girardi (who won the NL Manager of the Year Award in 2006) hasn’t finished lower than sixth in AL MotY voting since 2008, even though his high-payroll teams have missed the playoffs twice. After eight seasons in the country’s largest media market, Girardi’s bullpen use still gets a seal of approval from both bloggers and tabloid beat writers, two tough-to-please constituencies. It’s even more impressive that Girardi leads in BMAR given his reluctance to use relievers three days in a row, which limits his options in some high-leverage situations: This season, the Yankees ranked 29th in reliever appearances on zero days’ rest, but they also ranked first in multi-inning outings. For what it’s worth, the Yankees have exceeded their Pythagorean win-loss record by an average of two games per season during Girardi’s years at the helm, as have the Angels during Scioscia’s 16 years in Anaheim. Bochy’s teams have exceeded their Pythagorean records by an average of one win during his 21 seasons.
I will admit that there were a number of times where I was puzzled at some of Girardi’s decisions this year, but I also think that he got way more complaints than he deserved, as the Yankees’ bullpens have always done very well under him, even when he lost Mariano Rivera and suddenly Rafael Soriano became Mo-esque out of nowhere. It is nice to see a statistic that backs up his strong performance.
Sunday, October 11, 2015
What happened to Brett Gardner?
The first half saw the speedy left fielder make it to his first All-Star Game, one of the primary reasons for the Yankees’ surprising ascent to the top of the American League East.
The second half? That was another story.
Following the Yankees’ 21-5 win in Texas on July 28, the Yankees were 57-42 and held a seven-game lead in the American League East.
Gardner – one of three Yankees All-Stars this season – was having a stellar season, hitting .297 with an .850 OPS, 72 runs, 11 home runs, 46 RBI and 15 stolen bases in 93 games.
There was plenty of blame to go around for the Yankees’ late-season struggles, from Alex Rodriguez’s horrific August and September to the crippling injuries to Mark Teixeira and Nathan Eovaldi.
But none stood out as much as Gardner, who hit .196 with a .561 OPS, five homers, 20 RBI and five stolen bases in 58 games from July 29 through the end of the regular season.
Gardner was brutally bad in the second half, although I wouldn’t blame him singularly for the Yankees blowing a seven game division lead over two months. But he sure didn’t help.
Gardner was probably the second most valuable position player on the team overall, even with that abysmal second half. So why trade him? Because he’s one of the few position players that may have positive trade value and who does not have a no-trade clause. You couldn’t give away the albatross known as the five remaining seasons of Jacoby Ellsbury right now. I don’t know if Chase Headley has a no-trade clause, but he’s not exactly someone teams would be lining up to get right now either. I’m fairly certain Brian McCann has a no-trade clause and minimal trade value.
I wouldn’t trade Gardner because his value is probably at a relative low right now, but it makes baseball sense to at least see what’s out there. While it’s tempting to think they could then open a spot for a free agent signing, they could also cobble together a platoon of Chris Young and Slade Heathcott/Mason Williams instead.
I’ll be disappointed if the Yankees do end up trading him, but he’s probably already peaked and his value to the Yankees as a player or a trade chip is likely only going to go down from here.
But wouldn’t it be awesome if they could trick someone into trading for Ellsbury instead?
Tuesday, October 6, 2015
Dallas Keuchel continued his season-long mastery of the Yankees with six more scoreless innings, Colby Rasmus and Carlos Gomez homered off Masahiro Tanaka, and the Astros advanced to the American League Division Series with a 3-0 victory on Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium.
With the victory in the AL Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser, the Astros move on to face the Royals in the best-of-five ALDS, which begins on Thursday night in Kansas City (Fox Sports 1). The Yankees’ first postseason appearance in three years was brief, due in large part to Keuchel, who limited them to three hits in a seven-strikeout performance, pitching on three days’ rest for the first time in his pro career.
When I think back upon this game, I think of that line from Bob Dylan’s “Lily, Rosemary and the Jack of Hearts.” You really couldn’t say any of us were surprised by this, right? John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman talk about not being able to predict baseball (well, Sterling does, at least. Waldman just sort of goes along with it), and that’s technically true, but at the same time, you can pretty reasonably guess how things are LIKELY to go, and the most likely scenario was that the dominant lefthanded pitcher, Dallas Keuchel, who had not given up a hit against the Yankees in sixteen innings this year, would continue to do well against them, particularly as they have struggled mightily against all lefthanded pitching recently, let alone someone like Keuchel, who will either be winning the Cy Young this year or will be coming in second place. So no, it was not surprising.
It was not similarly not surprising that Masahiro Tanaka pitched well, but not, like, exceptionally well. Still, two solo shots in five innings is fair enough. Can’t really blame Tanaka. Dellin Betances had an awful seventh inning, but when the team couldn’t even score a single run, it’s hard to knock him too much for giving up a single run.
Well, the season is over, not with a bang but with a whimper. Next year does not necessarily look to be any better than this one, but, well, this one was better than we expected, right? So hope springs eternal for next season. Maybe 5/9th of the lineup won’t go into months-long slumps all at the same time again next year.
1. Jose Altuve (R) 2B: (.313/.353/.459), 4.5 bWAR
2. George Springer (R) RF: (.276/.367/.459), 3.8 bWAR
3. Carlos Correa (R) SS: (.279/.345/.512), 4.1 bWAR
4. Colby Rasmus (L) LF: (.238/.314/.475), 2.6 bWAR
5. Evan Gattis (R) DH: (.246/.285/.463), 0.5 bWAR
6. Carlos Gomez (R) CF: (.255/.314/.409), 2.3 bWAR
7. Luis Valbuena (L) 3B: (.224/.310/.438), 2.1 bWAR
8. Chris Carter (R) 1B: (.199/.307/.427), -0.1 bWAR
9. Jason Castro (L) C: (.211/.283/.365), 1.3 bWAR
Total Lineup bWAR: 21.1
1. Brett Gardner (L) CF: (.259/.343/.399), 3.3 bWAR
2. Chris Young (R) LF: (.252/.320/.453), 1.1 bWAR
3. Carlos Beltran (S) RF: (.276/.337/.471), 0.9 bWAR
4. Alex Rodriguez (R) DH: (.250/.356/.486), 3.0 bWAR
5. Brian McCann (L) C: (.232/.320/.437), 2.7 bWAR
6. Chase Headley (S) 3B: (.259/.324/.369), 1.1 bWAR
7. Greg Bird (L) 1B: (.261/.343/.529), 0.9 bWAR
8. Rob Refsnyder (R) 2B: (.302/.340/.512), 0.3 bWAR
9. Didi Gregorius (L) SS: (.265/.318/.370), 3.3 bWAR
Total Lineup bWAR: 16.6
If the Yankees are going to advance to the playoffs, they’ll have to get past the most effective pitcher in the American League in 2015. Keuchel should win the Cy Young this year, and he has killed left-handed batters this year which is why the Yankees have benched Jacoby Ellsbury and are playing Rob Refsnyder instead of Dustin Ackley.
Keuchel is going on three days rest, but I don’t think that’s going to be a big deal. The main thing we can hope for is that Masahiro Tanaka can match zeros with Keuchel and the Yankees can get a run off the Astros’ bullpen, which may not be all that easy either since they have some pretty solid relievers as well.
I didn’t think the Yankees would be here, so I guess I’m happy about that. But I’ll be happier if they can pull off the impossible and beat Keuchel.
# PITCHERS (9)
68 Betances, Dellin
48 Miller, Andrew
55 Mitchell, Bryan
47 Nova, Ivan
67 Pazos, James
40 Severino, Luis
19 Tanaka, Masahiro
43 Warren, Adam
41 Wilson, Justin
# CATCHERS (3)
34 McCann, Brian
66 Murphy, John Ryan
73 Sanchez, Gary
# INFIELDERS (7)
29 Ackley, Dustin
31 Bird, Greg
18 Gregorius, Didi
12 Headley, Chase
64 Refsnyder, Rob
13 Rodriguez, Alex
17 Ryan, Brendan
# OUTFIELDERS (6)
36 Beltran, Carlos
22 Ellsbury, Jacoby
11 Gardner, Brett
72 Heathcott, Slade
70 Noel, Rico
24 Young, Chris
Pretty weird seeing a deep and versatile bench. Oh what the seven man bullpen has wrought.
“His drinking got really bad this weekend, and it put him in a really bad place,” said a source close to the team.
“He was afraid. He felt that if I don’t do this now and go into rehab, I don’t know what is going to happen.”
The last straw for Sabathia came during the team’s final regular-season series in Baltimore, where he spent most of his time pounding drinks at a hotel, the source said.
Sabathia, 35, arrived there with his teammates late Thursday after his home victory against the Red Sox clinched a playoff spot for the Yankees.
By Friday, the pitcher looked “out of it” as the team waited around Baltimore’s Camden Yards to play a game that was eventually rained out.
“He drank every day last week apart from the day he pitched,” the source said. “The tipping point was Friday when he was at the stadium. He carried on drinking Saturday.”
CC is about the last player I’d have expected to have a drinking problem, but I’m glad to see him trying to combat it. It’s not likely it will impact his team that much since I would give them maybe a 20% chance of advancing past tonight’s game anyway. I don’t think the drinking is the cause of CC’s decline from effectiveness. I think the drinking is likely because of his decline.
I am not going to be policing comments and banning people, so I’ll just ask that this since this is an emotional topic let’s try to be respectful to each other and to differing viewpoints. For those who have shared or may share related personal stories, thank you for your honesty and openness.
Monday, October 5, 2015
Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia has checked into an alcohol rehab center, the team announced. He will not be available to pitch in the postseason.
Here is Sabathia’s statement:
“Today I am checking myself into an alcohol rehabilitation center to receive the professional care and assistance needed to treat my disease.
“I love baseball and I love my teammates like brothers, and I am also fully aware that I am leaving at a time when we should all be coming together for one last push toward the World Series. It hurts me deeply to do this now, but I owe it to myself and to my family to get myself right. I want to take control of my disease, and I want to be a better man, father and player.
“I want to thank the New York Yankees organization for their encouragement and understanding. Their support gives me great strength and has allowed me to move forward with this decision with a clear mind.
“As difficult as this decision is to share publicly, I don’t want to run and hide. But for now please respect my family’s need for privacy as we work through this challenge together.
“Being an adult means being accountable. Being a baseball player means that others look up to you. I want my kids—and others who may have become fans of mine over the years—to know that I am not too big of a man to ask for help. I want to hold my head up high, have a full heart and be the type of person again that I can be proud of. And that’s exactly what I am going to do.
“I am looking forward to being out on the field with my team next season playing the game that brings me so much happiness.”
The timing is unfortunate for the Yankees, but this situation is much bigger than baseball. Sabathia clearly has a problem and realizes he needs help right away. It takes a lot of courage to admit that. Good for him.
Hopefully Sabathia can get through this.
BALTIMORE — The Yankees are calling it a fresh start and, boy, that sure sounds nice, right? The slate is clean, the scoreboard turned back to all zeroes, and hope is fresh for the start of the postseason on Tuesday when they face the Astros in the American League wild-card game at the Stadium.
Maybe the Yanks’ recent stretch of awful play was just one of those bad streaks that every team endures during the long, 162-game slog of a season. They don’t have to dwell on it any longer, because they’ve got this new beginning and that’s something they must cling to after a rough week.
“Everything is erased,” is how Joe Girardi put it.
Convenient rhetoric or a real-live second chance? Maybe our real answer comes when they take on the tall task of Houston ace Dallas Keuchel and his young, talented teammates.
Because however the Yankees looked as they dropped six of their final seven games − tired is one adjective that springs to mind − they have a chance to prove that they are something more than the club that’s looked so dreadful for a week.
Maybe that week really was a window into what kind of team they are now after six months of play. But they can change the conversation by pounding Keuchel, keeping the Astros in the ballpark − good luck, they tied the Blue Jays for the most homers in the majors with 230 − and advancing to a division series date with the Royals.
If I had an AL Cy Young vote, it’d be Keuchel in a runaway. But I don’t.
Anyway, Keuchel has faced the Yankees twice in 2015 and has held them to a line of .161/.175/.179 which I think is roughly what Jacoby Ellsbury hit this season. In 16 scoreless innings against the Yankees, Keuchel has allowed nine hits, walked one and struck out 21. In 2015 he’s held left-handed hitters to a line of .177/.201/.260 with a strikeout to walk ratio of 8.33 compared to a line of .227/.277/.328 and a strikeout to walk ratio of 3.69 vs. right-handed hitters. That’s not good news for a Yankee team whose primarily starting lineup may have as many as six left-handed batters in it if Joe Girardi decides to start Dustin Ackley at 2B along with Ellsbury, Brett Gardner, Brian McCann, Greg Bird and Didi Gregorius. He may opt to go with Brendan Ryan for the ‘platoon advantage’ ignoring the fact that it’s not an advantage if the player you’re using to gain the advantage couldn’t hit water if he fell off of a boat. The odds of Girardi playing Robert Refsnyder are roughly the same as the odds of Ugly Johnny Dickshot becoming a Chase Headley fan.
Granted, Keuchel will be starting on three days’ rest, something he’s never done in his career (although he did start once on two days rest after an 11 pitch relief outing in 2013 and did pretty well).
If I were a betting man, I’d bet pretty much everything I own that the Yankees will not score against Keuchel. That doesn’t mean they can’t win tomorrow, but it sure does make it harder.
We’ll see what happens.
Sunday, October 4, 2015
BALTIMORE—The Yankees secured home-field advantage against the Astros in Tuesday night’s American League Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser at Yankee Stadium.
They did so despite losing, 9-4, to the Orioles on Sunday at Camden Yards because the Astros also dropped a 5-3 decision to the D-backs in Phoenix.
Rough end to the regular season, but everything starts from scratch on Tuesday.
This game will determine if the Yankees will be embarrassed by Dallas Keuchel in Houston or in New York.
Normally I’d suggest ignoring this game and watching some NFL, but I’d be telling a bunch of “New York” Giants fans to watch their team get waxed by New York’s only actual NFL team, so I won’t. I guess watch this instead if you must.
Saturday, October 3, 2015
If the Yankees are going to clinch home-field advantage in Tuesday’s American League Wild Card Game presented by Budweiser, it may have to wait until the final day of the regular season on Sunday.
The Yanks lost both ends of Saturday’s split day-night doubleheader to the Orioles, dropping the nightcap, 4-3, when reliever Dellin Betances tossed a wild pitch in the eighth inning that scored Paul Janish with the winning run. Betances had come on to relieve Luis Severino, who threw seven innings of five-hit ball, but allowed Baltimore’s first three runs.
Pretty tough loss in the second game.
Okay, so here are the possible scenarios for tomorrow.
First off, if the Royals lose and the Blue Jays win, the Blue Jays play the winner of the Play-In Game.
If they both lose, the Royals play the winner of the Play-in Game.
If they both win, the Royals play the winner of the Play-in Game.
Now for the other stuff…
1. Yankees win, Astros win, Angels win
The Yankees host the winner of a one-game playoff between the Astros and Rangers to determine the winner of the AL West.
2. Yankees lose, Astros win, Angels win
I think the Yankees still host the winner of a one-game playoff between the Astros and Rangers to determine the winner of the AL West.
3. Yankees win, Astros win, Angels lose.
The Yankees host the Astros in the Play-In Game. The Rangers win the AL West.
4. Yankees lose, Astros win, Angels lose
The Astros host the Yankees in the Play-in Game. The Rangers win the AL West.
5. Yankees win, Astros lose, Angels win
The Yankees host the winner of a one-game playoff between the Astros and Angels. The Rangers win the AL West.
6. Yankees lose, Astros lose, Angels win
The Yankees host the winner of a one-game playoff between the Astros and Angels. The Rangers win the AL West.
7. Yankees lose, Astros lose, Angels lose.
The Yankees host the Astros in the Play-In Game. The Rangers win the AL West.
8. Yankees win, Astros lose, Angels lose.
The Yankees host the Astros in the Play-in Game. The Rangers win the AL West.
So, a lot of scenarios where the Yankees still host the Play-In Game. But I don’t think I’d bet it.
Yankees (87-72) @ Orioles (78-81) , Saturday October 3, 2015 , House Money Double Header
Game 1 Lineups
1. Brett Gardner (L) CF: (.262/.346/.405), 3.5 bWAR
2. Rob Refsnyder (R) 2B: (.286/.333/.514), 0.1 bWAR
3. Alex Rodriguez (R) DH: (.252/.357/.491), 3.0 bWAR
4. Chris Young (R) LF: (.251/.318/.448), 1.1 bWAR
5. Chase Headley (S) 3B: (.262/.326/.374), 1.4 bWAR
6. John Ryan Murphy (R) C: (.283/.329/.414), 0.6 bWAR
7. Jose Pirela (R) RF: (.229/.247/.314), -0.6 bWAR
8. Austin Romine (R) 1B: (—-/—-/—-), 0.0 bWAR
9. Brendan Ryan (R) SS: (.228/.276/.337), 0.0 bWAR
Total Lineup bWAR: 9.1
I’m not sure the weather will even allow these games to be played…
1. Jacoby Ellsbury (L) CF: (.261/.320/.351), 2.0 bWAR
2. Dustin Ackley (L) LF: (.229/.281/.424), -0.9 bWAR
3. Carlos Beltran (S) DH: (.273/.333/.470), 0.7 bWAR
4. Brian McCann (L) C: (.234/.321/.441), 2.8 bWAR
5. Greg Bird (L) 1B: (.255/.337/.530), 0.8 bWAR
6. Rob Refsnyder (R) 2B: (.286/.333/.514), 0.1 bWAR
7. Didi Gregorius (L) SS: (.263/.317/.364), 3.1 bWAR
8. Slade Heathcott (L) RF: (.391/.370/.696), 0.3 bWAR
9. Brendan Ryan (R) 3B: (.228/.276/.337), 0.0 bWAR
Total Lineup bWAR: 8.9
1. Nolan Reimold (R) CF: (.236/.324/.373), -0.3 bWAR
2. Gerardo Parra (L) RF: (.283/.320/.444), 0.6 bWAR
3. Manny Machado (R) 3B: (.287/.360/.498), 6.9 bWAR
4. Chris Davis (L) 1B: (.258/.355/.549), 4.7 bWAR
5. Steve Pearce (R) LF: (.223/.295/.433), -0.1 bWAR
6. Steve Clevenger (L) DH: (.303/.333/.461), 0.5 bWAR
7. Caleb Joseph (R) C: (.237/.301/.397), 2.3 bWAR
8. Ryan Flaherty (L) 2B: (.208/.289/.365), -0.2 bWAR
9. Paul Janish (R) SS: (.250/.242/.313), 0.1 bWAR
Total Lineup bWAR: 14.5