Starting pitching letting down Yanks in June

Cashman: All quiet on the Yankee front
Midday rumor round-up: Pedro, Papelbon

After the dismal series against the Nats, it’s easy to blame the Yanks’ recent woes on the bats. They scored just six runs in three games against the league’s worst-pitching team, and that is inexcusable. They have had troubles hitting with runners in scoring position lately, an ailment which plagued their 2008 campaign. That obviously has to change if this team is going to come charging back, but there is one other area in which the team has been lacking this month. Starting pitching.

Teams win and lose by their starters. Good starting pitching will translate into more wins. Poor starting pitching will put more pressure on the offense which, as we’ve seen over the past series, doesn’t always come through. In May, when the Yankees ripped off nine straight and then continued playing well for a few more weeks, they saw an improvement in their starting pitching. In April the rotation sported a 5.41 ERA. In May that dropped a full run. That, along with the resurgence of Teixeira, explains much of the Yankees successful run that month.

Where do they stand in June? The staff in general has posted a respectable 4.15 ERA, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. The bullpen has been beyond stellar this month, allowing just 15 earned runs over 49.1 innings for a 2.74 ERA. The starters have been much worse, raising their ERA a half point over May, 4.91. This has put more pressure on the offense, which hasn’t responded. After posting a collective .282/.349/.497 line in May, they’ve sunk to .245/.344/.435 in June. In other words, it’s no surprise that the team is 8-8 this month.

The importance of good starting pitching cannot be overstated. Perhaps no franchise better illustrates this point than the 2000/2001 Seattle Mariners. In 2000 the team won 91 games, a respectable total, and the staff put up a 4.53 ERA (4.56 for the starters). Then, in 2001, after A-Rod left for Texas*, the team won 116 games. The reason? Their staff ERA dropped to 3.54 (3.77 for the starters).

*This is where I think the “A-Rod will never win” meme began. People saw that he left, and that the Mariners got better, but failed to recognize that it was the pitching which put them over the top. / Posnanski’d

We can and will talk about the Yankees offense later. On the pitching front, though, the bullpen has saved the team this month. Remember when they were a liability? Now they’re a big part of the reason the team has managed to go 8-8 this month, despite a half-run increase in the starters’ ERA and a .066 drop in the offense’s OPS.

The adage “pitching wins championships” has become a cliche for a reason. As the team is currently playing, they look much like the Yankees teams of the past five years: all offense, mediocre pitching. So when the offense starts to slump, as it’s going to do at various points in the season, the pitching isn’t there to compensate. If the Yanks are going to hit their stride and retake the AL East, the starters will have to play to expectations. Otherwise, the Yanks will find themselves in a place similar to last year.

Cashman: All quiet on the Yankee front
Midday rumor round-up: Pedro, Papelbon
  • Evan NYC

    Hopefully sometime soon all three (offense, starting pitching, bullpen) will click on all cylanders. Seems in April the offense was the best part of their game, in May the offense and starting pitching clicked, and now in June the bullpen is finally turning a corner. In July-Sept could we see them put it all together? I hope so.

  • Rebecca-Optimist Prime

    The starting pitching seemed to take a dive when both Posada and Wang returned. I’m going to put the bigger onus here on Wang, because that actively disrupted the flow of the rotation.

    Rule number one: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

    • JP

      Someone is going to say “groove schmoove, we need Jorge and Wanger if we’re gonna win.” But I have thought the same thing…we got in a nice groove, and then they disrupted everything, we got spanked in Boston, and it’s April again. Sort of.

    • Jamal G.

      In basketball and football, yes, I can understand that sentiment, the former especially. However, when it comes to baseball, I can’t see how flow can be any kind of determining factor on a player’s performance. Baseball is one of the most individualistic sports there are that consists of multiple players on the playing field at the same time, I really don’t think there’s anything to this.

      The only aspect of teamwork that’s involved in a game of baseball is the relationship between the pitcher and catcher, and whatever Chien-Ming Wang does is not going to affect the mentality and/or performances of CC Sabathia, Joba Chamberlain, A.J. Burnett, or Andy Pettitte. You want to argue that Jorge Posada’s ability to call a game is a factor? Fine, but I think that argument was aptly put to bed when this blog posted Posada’s CERA relative to the team’s ERA over his career.

      • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

        Well said. I fail to see how CMW’s reinsertion into the rotation could have any effect on the other starting pitchers. Just for the sake of argument, even if you disagree with Jamal and believe that teamwork/flow matter in baseball, the starters are never even on the field together nor do they ever pitch in the same games. They’re separate entities.

        • Chris

          I agree, but having Wang back in the rotation hasn’t helped:

          Hughes as a starter: 5.45 ERA
          Wang as a starter: 8.76 ERA (not counting his first 3 starts of the year)

          • Nady Nation

            Point taken, but that’s still only one out of 5 games. Wang being less effective than Hughes shouldn’t have any bearing on Joba’s lack of control, AJ’s inconsistency, or Andy’s suckage.

            • Chris

              I dug into the data more, and I think most of the increase in ERA can be attributed to Wang.

              Starters June ERA: 4.91
              Without Wang June ERA: 4.32

              If we were to use Hughes’ ERA (as a starter = 5.45) for Wang’s innings, then the staff ERA would be 4.44. For comparison, the staff ERA in May was 4.41.

              • ChriS

                Huh. Well, that pretty much shoots a hole in that post.

                And Hughes has been phenomenal since about mid-May. So that 5.45 ERA as a starters is a little out of whack because of his ugly first two starts.

                All in all, the Yankees are a very good team and they’re having a bit of a downturn after a spectacular May. There are some questions (starting to bug me is whether ARod really is healthy enough to play or if a DL stint is in the near-future), including Joba’s mechanics, Berroa, Marte, Nady, Gardner now, and Jeter’s ankle.

            • The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

              Right… My point (well, Jamal’s point) had nothing to do with Wang’s performance and its effect on the numbers, it was about whether having CMW in the rotation has any effect on the other starters.

    • JP

      Maybe not flow in the sense of a basketball team, but there is a flow between pitchers and catchers, and one might reasonably assume that the more you work with one single catcher, the more comfortable and routine it becomes; or the corollary, Jorge returns, and the pitchers have to adjust to a different catcher’s way of doing things.

      Admittedly, it’d be a feeble excuse; they’re professionals, they should be able to adapt quickly.

      There is also the personality issue. Baseball players are much more savvy today at handling the media, particularly in shielding themselves from controversy, keeping clubhouse squabbles and so forth private. But one of the bloggers put in a post a few weeks ago “it’s well known Jorge Posada has an abrasive personality…” Certainly it’s possible that having a guy back behind the plate who rubs you the wrong way could affect your performance. Again, though, maybe for some guys, the return of an abrasive taskmaster could have a positive effect, so this isn’t a valid excuse for anything, either.

      Just one thing – analysis of Posada’s CERA doesn’t prove anything, at all, about his game calling ability. Since “catcher’s” ERA is just an aggregate of pitchers’ ERA, the higher proportion of innings a catcher catches, the more exactly his CERA will track that of the pitchers. All those numbers show is that Jorge has been the regular catcher for the Yankees for years. There is nothing specific or statistically inherent in the calculation of CERA that proves it says anything about a catcher’s ability to call a game or play defense behind the plate.

  • sweet

    its the errors

  • LiveFromNewYork

    I am a diehard fan and do adhere to “that’s baseball” a lot of the time. BUT there are a couple of things that are inexcuseable. One is not having won a single game against the Red Sox. That is a combination of pitching/hitting/management. Another is a shutout by the Nats. That’s all on offense. ALL on offense. In fact the most frustrating moments this year have come from the offense. A pitcher is one person and if the pitcher doesn’t have it or can’t find their spots, it’s hard to do anything but bring in another guy who may or may not have his stuff that night. With offense, 9 guys fail. NINE (or more when they put in pinch hitters). To me, that’s inexcuseable.

    Arguably, there are guys hitting well and getting on base, but they have been stranded there. It’s more frustrating when the bottom of the order gets on and the top of the order can’t bring them home. While the bottom of the order gets on, and Gardy steals like a crazy person, the top of the order should be able to bring them home. And they’re not doing that. To me that is more inexcuseable than a starter not having it.

  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    Somewhat mis-timed in that I think we’re more upset at the bats right now than the pitching following the Washington debacle, but I’ve also noticed a return to throwing too many pitches and not being able to close the deal on innings.

  • LiveFromNewYork

    And I don’t bitch in the game threads because I can’t stand the trolls and their negativity but that doesn’t mean I’m hap-hap-happy.

    • Jamal G.

      … but that doesn’t mean I’m hap-hap-happy.

      True, I can understand being just hap-happy, but hap-hap-happy? No, that’s just redonkulous.

  • mryankee

    How about Jobas velocity as Michael say asked “what happened to 98” why do I see Jusin Verlander-Jon Lester and Edwin jACKSON ALL THROWING 95-98 AND DOMINATING AND jOBA BEING AN AVERAGE PITCHER-THIS 91-92 GARBAGE NEEDS TO STOP AND HE NEEDS TO STEP UP AND THRO THE BALL

    • Benjamin Kabak

      Step away from the caps lock key.

    • Mike Axisa

      No need to yell.

    • Colombo

      There are so many things wrong with this comment…

      • BklynJT

        Yeah, but he has a point. What in the world is up with Joba’s velocity????

        • Matt ACTY/BBD

          I’m not as concerned with the velocity because of the fact that his K-Rate is still high.

          • JP

            I agree. His numbers still look like a power pitcher’s.

  • stuart

    shocking pitching wins…

    there biggest issue pitching wise is the base on balls. they are near the top with strikeouts and even have a respectable BA against it is the walks that are killing them.
    thw walks are killing them in 2 ways it drives up the pitch count and obviously playing in a bandbox lead to multi run homers.

    i also agree baseball really is not a team sport it is a team sport played by 9 individuals at a time… the only way wang has hurt the team is by pitching poorly, flow and all those other subjective terms like ; gutsy, gritty, hard nosed are all BS….

  • mryankee

    Ok My bad on the caps but is my comment wrong and if so why??

    • Colombo

      Firstly…the reply button is your friend, not your enemy…

      Secondly, you are basing Joba’s velocity on what he threw coming out of the pen. Sure, he can ramp it up to 95-97 at times, but maybe he is just not the guy who is going to sit there for 110 pitches. While fastball velocity is sexy, it is not necessarily a prerequisite for success (See Farnsworth, Kyle). Also, remember that Joba is 23, compared to 25 for Lester and 26 for Verlander. Have a little patience and you might see Joba go from what he is now (a very good starter) to what everyone expects him to become (an ace)

      • I Remember Celerino Sanchez

        Not to mention, the numbers mryankee sited were exaggerated.

        As per Fangraphs, the average fastball velocity in 2009 for the pitchers he mentioned are as follows:

        Joba 92.4
        Verlander 95.5
        Lester 93.3
        Jackson 94.4

        So, it’s not 98 v. 91-92.

        • BklynJT

          He’s basically losing 3mph difference between his fb to slider. It probably doesn’t seem like a lot but notice how badly Johan got hit with his 3mph fb velocity drop and its affect on his change up. It probably didn’t help that he missed location against the Yankees, but he probably got away with those when he was throwing harder fastballs.

      • BklynJT

        I dont buy any of that. Last year Joba’s velocity as a starter was 95.5 ish. This year he had one game where his velocity was at 95 throughout the game. Explain why all the other games he’s throwing 91-92. Mechanics or Injury?

        • jsbrendog

          last yr he ended with a shoulder injury. so i dont give a shit what his velocit was last yr because it is mroe than possible his 95.5 “max effort” aused it

          • BklynJT

            This year he had one game where his velocity was at 95 throughout the game.

            That’s what confuses me. If he’s holding back because he doesnt want to go max effort, like you claim, explain the several games where he was throwing mid 90s fb throughout the game?

  • JP

    I’ll bet Joba has a sore shoulder. He did go on the DL for it, so it could be an issue. Maybe when he dials it up to 98, he hurts alot the next day, so he’s backing off a little.

  • mryankee

    So a shore shoulder(not a bad theory) but not a rotator cuff or a ligament issue-is preventing him from throwing hard so we now have Jaret Wright the younger version?

    • JP

      Huh? When I say a “sore shoulder”, I’m talking about a symptom, implying an underlying injury of some sort. Yes, that would include something like a rotator cuff strain, impingement, etc. I don’t think he’d be able to pitch at all with something more serious like a labrum injury.

      People always go to “mechanics” today when something like this happens. I don’t know crap about pitching mechanics, but as any golfer knows you can go crazy thinking about sports mechanics, and often “fixing” them doesn’t do any good with respect to performance…if I had to bet, I’d be betting an injury is more likely behind any velocity problems he’s having.

      Hughes is now regularly in the 94-96 mph range, and last year he was hovering around 90. He was injured last year, and the year before, and it took a long time before he was back at 100%. Maybe Joba will do the same thing.

      • BklynJT

        Hughes is 94-96 out of the pen. He’s roughly 92-94 as a starter. Now why in the world did Joba lose 7mph in transition from bullpen to starting? And velocity may be sexy, but it’s the reason that everyone is sooo high on Joba. Without it, he’s just your average pitcher.

        • Nady Nation

          That’s ridiculous. His velocity alone is not the reason why everyone is so high on him. It’s b/c he has 3 plus pitches, which gives him the potential to be a top-line starter.

          • BklynJT

            How is that ridiculous? Joba is a fastball pitcher. he set’s everything up with his fastballs. That means higher velocity on his FB makes his other pitches soooo much better. Losing a 3mph difference between your fb and slider/curve is a big thing, I would think. And what’s Joba’s 4th PLUS pitch, cause his change up isn’t anything special. He only throws it 5% of the time. Losing 3 mph on a pitch that you throw 64% of the time is a big deal.

            FB %(velocity)
            63.5% (92.4)

            Slider %(velocity)
            22.9% (84.0)

            CB %(velocity)
            8.2% (77.6)

            CH %(velocity)
            5.4% (81.7)

            • Nady Nation

              Joba’s fastball hasn’t been the reason why he’s struggled at times this year. It’s because he’s had subpar control and is walking too many guys, leading to his uneconomical pitch counts and early exits.

              • BklynJT

                Joba seems afraid of contact to me, thus the reason for his high walk rate.

                Maybe the stadium has something to do with it. He does have a road era of 2.72 and home era of 5.18. He has walked 5 fewer guys on the road while pitching 3 more innings. Also his SO/9 rate is 3 points higher at home than on the road (9.8 vs 6.9), which tells me that he is bat shy and trying to get batters to chase.

                Also, his HR/FB% is at 13% this year, up from 5.8 last year. Could his lower velocity have anything to do with that? Maybe, but there are also way too many variables this year (new stadium, possible injury, posada catching =P) to pinpoint what the cause of Joba’s inconsistencies. But you have to admit that a higher velocity Joba (potential #1 ace of a staff) >>>>> lower velocity Joba (potential #2/#3 pitcher on a staff), and that’s all I’m trying to say

                • JP

                  Pitchers fall in love with certain pitchers. I remember them saying about KRod, that he was too in love with his curveball and should throw his fastball more.

                  Somethings can’t be taught, they have to be learned, on your own.

                  I don’t know if the best way for Joba to pitch is “pounding the zone” with his fastball and using the slider as an out pitch, or pitching backwards and using the slider and off speed stuff more. Or something in between. What I do know is that he won’t ever be a great pitcher until he learns how to call the right pitches himself, and trust them.

                  There are guys with great control who throw more breaking pitches and use the fastball as a change up…pitching backwards. David Wells, Sonnanstine. Joba is not this type of pitcher, but maybe he likes doing things this way, and he’s too stubborn to change. Maybe he did it this way in the minors or in collegiate ball or whatever else he played in, because in those leagues there weren’t any hitters good enough to lay off his slider.

                  Power pitchers at their best put hitters on the defensive with hard fastballs on the corners, and then finishe them off with split fingered fastballs, sliders, etc. It’s a puzzle to me why Joba doesn’t seem to want to do this naturally.

                  I love pitchers who keep people off balance and throw all sorts of junk. I read that hitters in the 70s would get 3 abs against Mike Cuellar, and all they’d see is changeups, sliders, and other assorted junk. Then, in their last at bat, he’d throw his 86 mph fastball, and it would look like 96 and they couldn’t hit it.

                  But Joba shouldn’t be this type of pitcher.

        • JP

          He’s not an average pitcher without 98 mph heat. He’s 23 years old and has 3 MLB level pitches.

          Maybe he lost 7 mph because he’s hurt now, and he wasn’t in 2007 when he was pitching the 8th inning.

          • BklynJT

            I also believe he is hurt. All I’m saying is that the Joba who throws 91-92 isn’t the potential ace of this staff that we were all looking forward to.

            • Mike Axisa

              If there was the slightest bit of evidence that he’s hurt, they wouldn’t be running him out there.

              • BklynJT

                People believe Pettitte is hurt, yet they still run him out there. And yes i know there is a difference.

                But maybe Joba feels some discomfort and isn’t saying anything. Maybe he’s holding back and or altering his mechanics? You gotta wonder about this since he is coming back from a shoulder injury/tightness from last year.

              • JP

                Maybe he isn’t telling anyone.

    • JP

      Oh and please I hope we don’t have Jaret Wright 2.0.

      • Chris

        Jaret Wright was never as good as Joba is now.

  • Jon G

    I honestly think that with so many underperforming pitchers, we have to start wondering if it’s time for a new pitching coach…

    • Stryker

      why should eiland be held responsible for guys who are going out there and under performing? yes, he’s the pitching coach – but he’s not the one going out there and being inefficient or serving meatballs to batters.

      like he has said – he can’t go out there and stand over the guy’s shoulder every start. he can light a fire under their ass all he wants but ultimately it’s the pitchers themselves who have to execute.

      • JP

        Maybe he has them working on the wrong things. Maybe he is a lousy motivator. Maybe he doesn’t work them enough, or maybe he works them too little.

        The coach is supposed to make the pitchers achieve their highest possible level of performance. Maybe he’s no good at it.

        Your point is perfectly valid, too…maybe Eiland is excellent, and the guys are just failing to execute.

        In the old days, Eiland probably wouldn’t have even come back for this season…

        • jsbrendog

          or maybe its all luck or based on talent and ego.

          leo mazzone in atlanta = amazing superstar envy of all

          leo mazzone in baltimore every pitcher blows donkey sack

    • whozat

      Yeah, it couldn’t be because AJ has always, always been exactly this pitcher could it? It couldn’t be that Joba thinks he knows what’s best out there and keeps shaking his catcher off to throw a slider off the plate, could it? It couldn’t be that Andy thinks if he lets guys hit the ball it’ll be a homer, could it? I mean…he only SAID that to the media.

      You want there to be an easy answer: fire Eiland and it’ll get better. Sorry, that’s just not going to have any impact at all. Joba needs to start listening to his catcher and stop nibbling. Andy needs to sack up and start attacking the bottom of the zone and realize that a solo shot is way less bad than six walks in an outing — and that his fastball really isn’t going to get by anyone unless he’s using his breaking stuff more effectively. AJ…well, this is just the beginning of the Yankees regretting that signing.

      • JP


        Joba: shoulder hurts, so he’s afraid to throw his 91 mph fastball, because he sees guys hitting it.

        Andy: back hurts, so he can’t spot his pitches where he wants, and he walks lots of guys.

        Both of these have nothing to do with Eiland, either.

    • ChriS

      Who’s underperforming? And by what metric?

      All the pitchers seem to be within their range of ability.

      • jsbrendog

        or hsitorical performance (burnett = wild even when on just for one)

  • Jon G

    When Hughes was starting, he was averaging more like 92, but touching 94-96. As a reliever, he can just let it all go in a shorter spurt, so he’s up there consistently, and I’ve even seen one 97 that I remember.

    You put Joba back in the pen, and he’s likely to be back up to 95-98 consistently.

    He’s clearly still honing his craft, and with all these walks, seems to be running into some Verasian mental issues — nibbling around the zone instead of just challenging hitters with his electric stuff.

    • BklynJT

      That doesn’t explain the fact that joba was averaging 95.5 as a starter last year… before the injury. He’s gotta be injured and taking it easy on his shoulder.

      • jsbrendog

        That doesn’t explain the fact that joba was averaging 95.5 as a starter last year… before the injury.

        you answered your own q. BEFORE the shoulder injury.

        the light has gone on injobas head he can still be an ace and hsustain his k rate with 2 or 3 mph of fhis fb and therefore NOT get injured

        his wildness and inconsistency is hurting him, not his velocity. pitch counts.

        • BklynJT

          I’m willing to accept the fact that Joba’s holding back because he is concerned with getting injured. Who know’s what’s going on in that dudes head. And I really do think his wildness has alot to do with him pitching away from contact @ yankee stadium.

          Some supporting evidence
          Home Era 5.18
          Home SO/9 9.8
          Home 21bb in 33 ip

          Away Era 2.72
          Away SO/9 6.9
          Away 16bb in 36.1 ip

          Also, his hr/fb rate is at 13% this year, up from 5.8% last year. Seems like YS3 is having a negative affect on the Yankees bat shyness and thus walk rates

  • Jon G

    Stryker, so following that logic, when Rich Kotite was the Jet’s coach, it was the team’s fault for not executing his winning plan?

    Had nothing to do with Kotite not being a good enough coach to GET the players executing?

    • whozat

      This is a complete red herring.

    • Stryker

      ok, then why are the mariners’ starting pitchers injured/sucking outside of washburn (who maybe has finally put it together). stottlemyre, a “successful” pitching coach for the yankees, is the pitching coach for the M’s. and their pitching has been mediocre. it’s not the pitching coach.

  • JP

    Has anyone tried blaming the umpires yet? Boston pitchers seem to get a better strike zone.

    /tongue out of cheek

    • Colombo

      Thats because Boston pitchers pound the strike zone more, aren’t afraid of anyone, taught the value of throwing strikes in the great Boston minor league system, are generally better pitchers than anyone else, volunteer at soup kitchens and homeless shelters on the days they don’t pitch, never jaywalk, etc.

      PS – I read about all this in ESPN magazine.

      • JP

        That’s ESPN the Magazine.

        • Colombo

          Woops…my bad.

          Gammons is probably waiting outside for me with an authentic Jason Varitek bat…

          • jsbrendog

            comment of the month in my eyes

  • Jon G


    When I see one or two players on a staff struggling, it’s probably the player’s issues. But when I see multiple good pitchers on a staff struggling, I wonder about the pitching coach — about whether he is really getting through to his players. Make all the excuses you want about players having to execute what the coach tells them to do, but part of being a good coach is getting through to the players in a way that gets them executing…

    • ChriS

      But when I see multiple good pitchers on a staff struggling,

      Which pitchers? Struggling how? Show me the numbers and what they should be doing. CMW is the only pitcher on the staff that’s struggling unexpectedly.

      • Jon G

        Which pitchers?

        1. When’s the last time Pettite had 6 walks (didn’t he have something like that the other day?)

        2. Joba’s control wasn’t much of a problem as a reliever — why so much nibbling as a starter? I do see that point about how he pitches away, but a good pitching coach should be able to help his staff around that!

        3. Burnett’s inconsistency is maddening. If only he pitched for us the way he consistently pitched against us! (admittedly, he didn’t last year either) Hopefully that last game was a turning point for him

        4. Wang’s issues… Seem to be improving — we’ll see next start.

        5. Hughes has been much better lately, albeit as a reliever. But he had nibbling syndrome also (something that he’ll likely get over as he matures).

        I just feel like (hypothesize, technically speaking — too busy to dig for supporting data) that there are several pitchers not pitching to their capabilities on this team. To the point that I have to wonder whether the pitching coach is effectively getting through to his players right now. As you all know, coaching is weird — there has to be chemistry both ways — and I just don’t see this staff firing on full cylanders, and it didn’t last year either.

  • Rob in CT

    The defense has been a problem of late, as well (which has had its impact on the starters’ performances). They should have won the Wang start 2-1, but lost 3-2 b/c of bad D.

    • Rob in CT

      Well, 1 of the 3 runs is on the ump. One on the D. The other was the Dunn HR (my oh my was that crushed).

      The point stands, though. The D has fallen off a bit. Couple that with the return of the artist formerly known as Chien-Ming Wang and there ya go.

  • yankee in virginia

    burnett and sabbathia have to get better

    there is no good reason to rebuild wang — he was a horse but the sinker low k ratio was always suspect — when hughes has proven he is at least equal to joba in terms of young arm requiring rotation development —

    there is something wrong with the pitching philosophy — blame eiland and girardi — stick with me — we want economical games – low pitch counts

    the yankees top four pitchers — sabbathia hughes burnett and chamberline have high end velocity and terrific swing and mis out pitches

    so why are the 0-2 1-2 counts running to 3-2

    why does sabbathia throughh soft against a 200 hitter who has not show he can handle the hard stuff — three run homer result

    how often is the bottom end of the opposing lineup setting the table or driving in the run – because the studs are trying ti finess or trick when they can overpower

    — — game strategies — how many games are lost in the 8th and 9th because of girardi —

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