The Mitre/Tomko debate

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In discussing baseball games, we often talk about the fallacy of the predetermined outcome. In a nutshell, the logic is as follows: If something bad happens — a caught stealing — followed by something good — say, a home run — then the Yankees are out a run because, had the caught stealing not happened, the home run would have been a two-run shot. Life and baseball simply do not work that way, and the outcome — the home run — probably doesn’t happen under differing circumstances.

Right now, the Yankees, in their search for a fifth ninth starter, are suffering through a debate over the predetermined outcome. Exhibit A is Brett Tomko in Oakland. On July 22, in order to make room for Sergio Mitre, the Yankees designated Tomko for assignment. He cleared waivers and was released on July 29.

At the time, Tomko had been awful for the Yanks. Pitching in long relief, he threw 15 games for 20.2 innings. He sported a 5.23 ERA and had allowed 26 base runners and 5 home run while striking out just 11. No one — not the Yankees, not their fans — was sad to see him go.

Since joining the A’s in mid-August and pitching as a starter, Tomko has been revelation. He topped off a stellar month on Monday night by tossing a complete game shut out against the Wild Card pretender Texas Rangers. In six starts, he is 4-1 with a 2.95 ERA. He has allowed 31 hits in 36.2 innings and has walked just six. He’s struck out 22 with his K/9 IP at 5.4, up a tick from the 4.8 mark he sported in the Bronx. Why, asked Peter Abraham, can’t the Yankees get players like that?

On the other hand, the Yankees are currently supporting the decline and fall of Sergio Mitre. After last night’s outing, Sergio Mitre’s numbers are horrendous. He is 3-3 with a 7.63 ERA and a 1.761 WHIP. He has thrown 46 innings and has allowed 81 base runners. This isn’t just bad; it’s Kei Igawa bad.

There is the possibility that Mitre hasn’t been as bad as those numbers indicate. As Jamal argued last night, Mitre has a 4.63 ERA in the five starts he has made against non-Toronto teams and a 10.59 mark against the Blue Jays. His FIP against non-Toronto teams stands at 3.55. Overall — and this is a key number — his FIP stands at 5.83.

With these numbers before us, it would seem that the Yanks jettisoned someone who is better than Sergio Mitre in favor of Sergio Mitre. They made a mistake. That’s only half the story because Tomko’s numbers are masking some trends. Brett Tomko’s BABIP while in Oakland is .226; Sergio Mitre’s in New York is .347. Tomko’s Oakland FIP is 5.05. He is currently enjoying an ERA two runs lower than how he is pitching.

The Yankees discarded Tomko because he is a 36-year-old journeyman with a below-average record and a 92 ERA+. That he is having a string of decent starts in Oakland shouldn’t convince us that the Yanks made a mistake. Sure, Oakland is catching lightning in a bottle. Sure, Sergio Mitre has been really bad. But it’s illogical to assume that Tomko would have pitched this far above his career norm in New York.

In a few days, the Yankees will clinch a playoff spot. A few days after that, the team will wrap up the division. Neither Sergio Mitre nor Brett Tomko will come close to the playoffs, and that is that.

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  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

    It’s amazing that you even had to write this post, Ben. Tomko was awful, and a change had to be made. Just because Mitre is awful as well doesn’t mean it wasn’t the right move.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      Also, if they had kept Tomko and enjoyed his little FIP flukiness, chances are they wouldn’t have Gaudin.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Hmmm… you think?

        I think we would have still picked up Gaudin. Even if Tomko’s here and Mitre’s not (or he’s in the minors), we still had JobaGate to worry about, and Gaudin was cheap.

        No way of knowing, though…

        • http://twitter.com/JamalG Jamal G.

          I think Gaudin was brought in for a need, and if they had both Mitre and Tomko readily available to start, there would have been no room or reason for Gaudin on the team. [Just to clarify, the need was a sixth starter.]

  • the artist formerly known as (sic)

    You hear that, Pete Abe?

    • whozat

      Pete abe was kidding.

      • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

        Yes. Yes. We know.

        But plenty of Yankee fans aren’t kidding when they bring up Tomko. That’s alarming.

        • http://z.about.com/d/tvcomedies/1/0/F/-/-/-/judge310_72.jpg The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          I’m pretty sure you were one of the first people to bring this up (in a comment a week or two ago). Just sayin’.

  • Bo

    How could any talent evaluator look at Mitres stuff and say he could succeed in the Al East? I can see a spot start here and there. maybe a long man in the pen. But for him to actually make double digit starts is crazy. But it shows you just how good this team is that they dont even blink.

    We all saw Tomko. Some pitchers cannot succeed in NY. No matter how good they look in places like Oakland. He had his shot here. He didnt step up and take it. You have to take advantage when the opportunity is handed to you. You earn it. He didn’t.

    • jsbrendog

      mitre was signed for depth to be the 9th (NINTH!) starter on the depth chart.

      He was signed because he was cheap coming off an injury and he is the type of guy you sign for your 9th (NINTH!!!) starter on the depth chart.

      before his tjs he went on a veyr nice run of half a season showing he was starting to figure it out before his train derailed. The dude might never be any better than he is but he is still only what, 18months removed from tjs?

      he is 28 yrs old.

      Mitre >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> tomko/russ ortiz any day of the week even if he never gets any better than he is right now.

      • Chris

        You also neglect to mention that Mitre is under team control for next year too.

        • Chris

          And it’s 14 months, not 18 months. I’ve heard it mentioned (not sure if it’s true) that a pitcher’s stuff doesn’t fully recover for about 18 months after TJ surgery.

          • jsbrendog

            thank you. both very good points i either forgot or was incorrect about.

            (but hey, i only say stupid movie quotes and never talk baseball so what do you expect)

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              You also attack people. Don’t forget that.

              Oh, and suck at fantasy football. That too.

              • jsbrendog

                ::one single tear::

              • http://twitter.com/JamalG Jamal G.

                My pick of Darren Sporles isn’t looking a year too early, now is it?

                • http://twitter.com/JamalG Jamal G.

                  *Sproles

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  Point, Jamal.

        • Ed

          2 more years actually. Coming into this season he had a little under 4 1/3 years service time. He’ll have about 4 2/3 after the season, so he’ll just miss free agency after next season.

          On a similar note, Gaudin had 4 years and 4 days of service time at the start of the season, and he didn’t make the Paders ML roster until April 26th. If he spends all of next season in the majors, he’ll just miss free agency by a few days of service time.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            Indentured Servitude FTW!

  • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

    By the way, just to clarify my fifth/ninth starter strike-through in the post, here’s the way I see the starting rotation depth chart:

    Sabathia
    Pettitte
    Burnett
    Chamberlain
    Wang (injured)
    Hughes (bullpen)
    Aceves (bullpen)
    Kennedy (injured)
    Mitre/Gaudin

    You could make the argument that Mitre is 10th on the depth chart with Gaudin around, and you wouldn’t be wrong. You could also put Kennedy ahead of that pair as well. At the time he was pressed into service though Mitre was the 8th starter used by the Yanks this year and their 9th choice.

    • Bo

      That list is how little they think of Igawa.

      You mean to tell me a guy with his AAA stats cant get a start for the big team when they are trotting out BP Mitre every 5th day?

      • yankeegirl49

        I mentioned that at the game last night. Could he really do much worse?

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Could he really do much worse?

          Yes.

      • Chris

        Kei Igawa AAA ERA: 3.72 (379 IP)
        Sergio Mitre AAA ERA: 2.40 this year (45 IP), 3.30 career (218 IP)

        Sergio Mitre >> Kei Igawa

      • Ed

        Kei Igawa in AAA this year:
        4.15 ERA in 145.1 IP

        He’s getting worse over time.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Don’t forget Jason Johnson.

    • Makavelli

      An injured Wang comes before a healthy Hughes for the rotation?

      • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

        The Yanks’ original depth chart had Wang ahead of Hughes. That’s what I’ve reproduced. It probably should be:

        Sabathia
        Wang (injured)
        Burnett
        Pettitte
        Chamberlain

        That’s how the Yanks’ best laid plans would have shaken down sans the injury.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          The Opening Day depth chart was:

          1. Sabathia
          2. Wang
          3. Burnett
          4. Pettitte
          5. Chamberlain
          6. Hughes
          7. Kennedy
          8. Aceves
          9. Jason Johnson
          10. Sergio Meattray

          We lost three of them to injury and two of them to the bullpen. That’s how your 10th starter becomes your co-5th starter.

          • jsbrendog

            what happened to jason johnson? mitre just hopped him in the depth chart? i forget.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              Injuries and subsequent ineffectiveness. We cut him last month.

              • jsbrendog

                thankee kindly

          • Rick in Boston

            Wouldn’t Mitre have been lower than #10 at the start of the season because of his suspension?

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        An injured Wang comes before a healthy Hughes for the rotation?

        Considering that Hughes went to the pen in June even though he was healthy because we wanted to shoehorn the injured Wang back in there, yeah, he probably does.

      • http://www.richardiurilli.com Richard Iurilli

        I think that list means that a healthy Wang was higher on the depth chart before the season than a healthy Hughes. Because of the Wang injury, Hughes was next in line.

    • The Lodge

      Josh Towers says Hi.

  • Ed

    Brett Tomko’s BABIP while in Oakland is .226; Sergio Mitre’s in New York is .347.

    Career BABIP:
    Tomko – .296
    Mitre – .334

    Tomko’s will probably go up a lot, but Mitre’s probably won’t change significantly.

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      Right. I don’t think Mitre’s going to get much better than he is now. Trust me; I’m not a Sergio Mitre fan.

  • Bo

    Writers that are pining for Tomko now are showing who they really are. Hacks. You can bash Cashman for plenty of things but not for getting rid of Tomko. Did they not watch him pitch when he was here and do they not check out his stats/peripherals?

  • JohnnyC

    Not to sound like Lombardi but it seems as if Cashman thinks adding Freddy Guzman to the roster is slightly more significant than making reasonably sure we have a fifth starter who can approximate league average performance…and a 6 1/2 game lead with 16 games to go is no mortal lock. The debate is not about Tomko or even Washburn…these are media-friendly straw men. The issue is with Wang out for the season and Joba’s innings limit, the best alternatives we could come up with were a recovering TJS case who’s pitched worse than Kei Igawa and a refugee from the NL West who was in the midst of a losing streak going back more than 6 weeks.

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      Freddy Guzman was a late August pick up who was added to the 40-man for September. He has nothing to do about finding extra starters.

      The point is that the Yanks have better options. They could have stretched out Hughes. They could have deployed Aceves. But they opted to keep these pitchers in the bullpen and are paying the price for it in the form of Sergio Mitre. In reality, Mitre is the Yanks’ 10th starter right now as I say above.

      Why so harsh to Gaudin though? He’s pitched well enough for the Yanks.

      • Chris

        The Yankees are 5-4 in games started by Mitre. It hasn’t been pretty, but they’re still winning. If you put any other starter in there, you’re looking at maybe 1 more win.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          That too.

          Sergio Mitre is a craptastic traveshamockery, but he’s a craptastic traveshamockery that’s pitched into the 5th inning in 6 of his 9 starts.

          The loss last night was ugly, but the good news is we just played an entire game with 9 innings thrown by 4 unimportant guys who won’t be on the postseason roster. That’s 9 innings of rest for important guys who can use it.

      • JohnnyC

        Harsh to Gaudin? No, really, he’s my favorite French sculptor.

        • The Lodge

          Matthew R. Saia Likes This.

          • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

            I’m about to start laughing out loud in the middle of class. Well played, Lodge. Well played.

            • The Lodge

              I’ve been dying to use that one for a while. Glad to be of service.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      …it seems as if Cashman thinks adding Freddy Guzman to the roster is slightly more significant than making reasonably sure we have a fifth starter who can approximate league average performance…

      It is.

      • Chris

        No, it’s not. It’s much more significant.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          I was trying to be nice.

          Adding Guzman: Significant, since he may have a use in the postseason as a speed option off the bench.
          Upgrading Mitre: Utterly moot. Winning or losing Mitre’s starts doesn’t matter at all, since we’re still winning the East handily regardless of those outcomes. And, his spot won’t factor into the postseason roster. He’s only here to be cannon fodder, and it doesn’t matter how good or bad your cannon fodder is.

          • The Lodge

            It’s just too bad that that cannon-fodder keeps going up against the likes of DocH. Anyone else and the bats have a good chance being an equalizer…

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              Yeah, but again, it’s moot. Those Mitre starts don’t matter.

              • The Lodge

                Granted they don’t matter. Although watching a win (or a competitive game even) is more enjoyable than watching what went down last night and last weekend.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  No argument there.

                  Just keep the big picture in mind.

                • The Lodge

                  MIbigpictureND

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  This guy knows what I’m talking about…

    • Kiersten

      Is a fifth starter even relevant right now? I’m much more concerned about our third and fourth starters.

  • pat

    This reminds me of a lunch debate I had last week.

    Hmm do I want the shit sandwich or the turd burger?

    • jsbrendog

      turd sandwich or a giant douche. which do you vote for for president?

      • Jim

        Vote or Die!

  • Kiersten

    I’ll rewrite what I tweeted last night:

    I sleep better at night knowing that Sergio Mitre will be watching the postseason from the same place I will be – the couch.

    • yankeegirl49

      Unless your mom gets tickets and decides to fly you home!

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        I love how the interwebs bring families closer.

        http://themachineisus.files.wo.....-tubes.jpg (safe)

        • yankeegirl49

          Actually its the Yankees that do it for us!

  • Stryker

    we wouldn’t have this problem if the yankees weren’t so short-sighted and had kept hughes in the rotation. these mitre stinkers would logically be hughes’ starts and i can almost guarantee he would keep the team in the game better than mitre has. fact of the matter is the yankees fucked up big time here and outings like this are what we have to show for it. i’d hope mitre isn’t with the major league team, barring emergency of course, in 2010.

    but alas what’s happened happened and like they say, hindsight is 20/20. no use in complaining about it, i guess.

    • Chris

      On the flip side, Hughes has been more valuable to the Yankees as a reliever than he was as a starter.

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

        That’s a bit specious. Had he remained a starter, or transitioned back soon enough, he might have provided more value as a starter than he has as a reliever.

        • Chris

          The only way you can make that argument is if you assume that his performance as a starter in June and later would be significantly better than his performance as a starter in May. That may be the case, but it’s far from certain.

          In his 1 month as a starter he was worth 2.1 RAR. In each month as a reliever, he’s been worth 5.0 RAR.

      • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

        If Hughes had stayed in the rotation, I think he’d have been more valuable to the Yankees than he has been as a reliever. He’d definitely be more valuable than Mitre has been.

        • Moshe Mandel

          You might be right, but it would be pretty close between rotation Hughes and bullpen Hughes in terms of value. I’m not so sure Hughes would be any better than Joba has been, and Joba has been less valuable than Hughes in 2009.

          • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

            Hm, that’s a good point. Of course, for either side of it we’re just speculating. Hughes could’ve been golden in the rotation or he could’ve been Mitre, Jr.

        • Chris

          That’s certainly possible, but not likely. Sergio Mitre has been worth 3.1 RAR as a starter this year in roughly 2 months of work, or 1.6 RAR per month.

          Hughes’ likely replacement in the bullpen would be David Robertson. He’s averaging roughly 2.0 RAR per month (7.1 RAR in 3.5 months in the majors).

          As I mentioned above, Hughes has been worth 2.1 RAR per month as a starter and 5.0 as a reliever.

          So moving Hughes to the rotation gains you about +0.5 RAR per month. Moving him out of the bullpen loses you about -3.0 RAR per month. The net is loss of -2.5 RAR per month.

          The only way your argument works is if you assume that Hughes would perform significantly better as a starter in June and beyond. If that’s your opinion, that’s fine, but my opinion that he wouldn’t improve is just as valid.

          • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

            Good breakdown. I definitely see your point.

          • Tank Foster

            Hughes would have been better as a starter than Mitre, for sure.

            But you end up with this domino effect with pitching staffs. There was a period of time where, when Bruney was injured and Marte not yet back, the Yankees were getting pretty crappy relief pitching from everyone not named Rivera and Aceves. This leads to leaving the starters in there longer, or overusing the few good guys you have, in order to try to lock down the games you are winning. Hughes has been so good in the bullpen he not only settled things down in May/June, but he has been lights out and has saved other bullpen arms.

            The Yankees have so much hitting that they’ve been able to tolerate having lousy back end starters.

            I reeeeeeally wanted Hughes starting this entire season, but I’m actually glad the way it worked out. Now, if they don’t transition him back to being a starter next year, I’se gonna be pissed.

            • Chris

              Now, if they don’t transition him back to being a starter next year, I’se gonna be pissed.

              I agree completely. And from what I read, Cashman agrees as well.

    • Kiersten

      The Yankees have the best record in baseball with Mitre/Gaudin in the rotation. Why should they have Hughes starting instead of Mitre? I know generally fifth starters are more valuable than relievers, but right now Hughes is more valuable out of the pen.

      Whether Hughes should be starting instead of Joba though is a whole other issue.

      • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

        Hmm, guess my comment got lost so here goes again:

        Hughes should be starting over Mitre because:
        1. He’s probably a better pitcher.
        2. His future with the Yankees is much brighter and he needs the innings to build up arm strength/stamina, gain experience and develop his pitches.

        Hughes may have value now, but had he been soaking up more innings, he’d probably be more valuable to the Yankees than he would out of the ‘pen (especially considering how sparingly he’s been used).

        And, Hughes and Chamberlain should be starting for as long as possible.

        • yankeegirl49

          I’m with you Matt..agreed 100%.

        • Kiersten

          Well basically my point is that it doesn’t matter. Obviously he’s a better pitcher, and yes it does matter in terms of his long-term development, but in terms of the 2009 Yankees, he is more valuable out of the pen since, once again, the fifth starter does not even matter even a little bit. I could go out there and pitch every 5 days and the Yankees will still be playing in October.

    • sangreal

      Fucked up big time? We have a winning record when Mitre starts (5-4) — even if you really believe that Bruney pitching the late innings in close games wouldn’t cost us those 4 games, it still hasn’t had any serious impact on the season.

      We were 4-3 in games started by Hughes, and 3-6 in games started by CMW btw.

  • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

    It’s too bad that the best fifth starter option is still in the bullpen.

  • http://www.twitter.com/hopjake Jake H

    While Mitre has sucked Tomko was terrible.

  • Makavelli

    What I don’t like is Boston’s (new current) 4 man rotation for the ALCS compared to ours.

    Lester = Sabathia
    Beckett = Burnett
    Buchholz = Pettitte (though lately, Buchholz has been better)
    Last nights Dice K > Joba Chamberlain (since Aug 6)

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Patience, young padawan.

      • Makavelli

        I know I know…but taking a step back…it seems the Red Sox are taking a step forward…while we seem to be taking a step back. Yes, we’re still winning games…but going up against playoff caliber pitching…makes me nervous a little bit. Especially when watching the likes of Burnett and Joba lately…they have been nothing more than miserable.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Our step back is intentional. We’re throwing these games away because we know it’s in the bag already.

          If we were fighting for a playoff spot like the Sox are, Joba would probably be going 6+ innings with no cap and Pettitte would be throwing tonight. Mitre would have been DFA’d already and we would have signed Paul Byrd and Pedro Martinez in desperate moves to find lightning in a bottle.

          We’re not playing sparkling baseball right now because we don’t have to play sparkling baseball right now. And yet, we still are 7-3 in our last 10, like JoePow said, just like the scawy, scawy Sox.

          • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

            I think it’s even more significant that from now through October 4, the Red Sox will play baseball every single day. Not one day off. The Yankees will kick it three times. I think that’s a pretty damn significant advantage.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              We have three scheduled off days, plus a few more off days. They’re called “Sergio Mitre Starts”.

              • AndrewYF

                Can’t they be Chad Gaudin starts instead?

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  Meh, maybe. I’m anticipating both Mitre and Gaudin in the rotation at the same time, with some CC and Andy and Joba skipping/delaying.

          • Makavelli

            That’s true. Never thought of it like that…

            I guess I’m one of those who likes to see the Yankees riding high into the playoffs…while 7-3 is still riding high…I was more referencing the way they looked lol. But when I look at it like this…it makes sense.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              MIbigpictureND

              (h/t The Lodge)

    • Chris

      Dice-K wasn’t really much better than Joba. He had 3 BB, 5 K and a 6:4:6 FB:GB:LD ratio.

      For comparison, since Aug 6, in every 6 innings Joba has averaged 3.3 BB, 4.5 K, and 7:10:6 FB:GB:LD

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        Yes, but who got the win? And what era were they playing in?

      • Makavelli

        Regardless of the interior numbers Joba has been leaving (that may look decent)…his starts are still VERY bad. Dissecting each start to try and “look on the bright side” of things only works for so long. Sooner or later you realize that…regardless of these positive numbers…he’s still a liability and while we’re winning some of his 3 inning starts…he’s not contributing much in them.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          while we’re winning some of his 3 inning starts…he’s not contributing much in them.

          That’s by design, Makavelli. Can’t fault Joba for that.

        • Chris

          My point wasn’t that Joba has been good since August 6th – he hasn’t been.

          My point is that Dice-K wasn’t good last night either – just lucky.

          • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

            Well couldn’t you argue he’s been lucky since last year? I mean, the high strikeout rate and low hit rate definitely help offset the high walk rate, but the latter is still not desirable.

            • Chris

              You could argue he was lucky all of last year. I don’t think you could argue that it extended to this year at all. In 2007 his peripherals were better but his performance was worse, so his luck was about neutral.

              It’s possible that this guy is a statistical aberration. Just not likely.

              • jsbrendog

                so far, historically (SSS) japanese pitchers come in and can experience a few years of odminance but then get either figured out or lose it (see: hideo nomo)

                there has yet to be a japanese starter who can sustain success through a career in the us.

                Dice-K is about due for that free fall in a year or two.

                (there is a chance he becomes the one to break the norm of this model but with his peripherals one can guess that not bloody likely)

                • Chris

                  In defense of Japanese pitchers, most of them come over in their late 20’s or early 30’s. It shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone that they’re good for the first couple of years and then start to struggle.

    • Tank Foster

      The Yankees’ and Red Sox pitching has been pretty similar, on balance, this year. The Red Sox might have a slight advantage in terms of playoff rotations, as you point out, but it isn’t a huge one. And it might not even be an advantage, especially since Dice-K and Buchholz could both be crappy in the playoffs; they’re far from sure things. Yankee bullpen is probably a titch better – deeper – now, too, and that matters a bit more in the playoffs.

      Hitting? Well, good pitching beats good hitting, I know, but the Yankees hitting this year is other-worldly.

      • Makavelli

        True. I mean just look at the 2004 ALCS pitching rotation comparisons…the Sox had a 20+ game winner in Curt Schilling AND Pedro Martinez while we had a mediocre Mike Mussina as our ace and mediocre Jon Leiber as our #2…it’s actually more impressive that we actually took the first 3 games than it is them coming back 3 games to none in my eyes…

        • Ed

          Schilling was hurt. Pedro was just a shadow of what he used to be. That was the “I call the Yankees my daddy” season. Derek Lowe was awful that year. Wakefield was his usual self. They were a very beatable team.

          • Chris

            They started Derek Lowe on 2 days rest. Not 3. Two.

            That should be all you need to know about their rotation.

      • Rick in Boston

        I did some looking up of numbers courtesy of BR:

        The Yankees have a Team OPS+ of 120 this year. In no year since the strike has an AL team had an OPS+ that high. The closest was Seattle in ’97 (OPS+ of 119).

        The Yankees are just that good on offense that it will take either the Yankees tanking it offensively or Pedro circa 2000 showing up to stop the Yankees in the playoffs.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Modern day Murderers Row.

          • Makavelli

            Plus Cano!

          • Rick in Boston

            The ’27 Yankees had an OPS+ of 128. The A’s and Tigers tied for the second highest OPS+ with 99.

            • Ed

              Now you’ve got me curious. Looking around, that’s not too crazy. You don’t get many teams over 100 OPS+ in general.

              But, looking checking random years on baseball reference, the league averages seem to fall at an OPS+ of 94 rather often, and its usually very close to that if it’s not. Isn’t the definition of OPS+ that 100 is a league average player? How can the overall league average fall below that every year?

              • AndrewYF

                OPS+ adjusts for park. It’s why the Sox have an OPS+ of 103, despite their stellar .804 team OPS.

                • andrew

                  Even with adjusting for park, you’d still that it should come out to be 100. That’s the point of adjusting for things like the park.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              Which is why I didn’t say “Flapper-Era Murderers Row”.

          • The Lodge

            Modern Day Gas-House Gorillas
            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v.....re=related
            (safe) (OUT!)

        • Makavelli

          That OPS+ number is deceiving though. Is there a way to check the team’s OPS+ # against playoff caliber pitchers? For all we know, we could be shut down by guys like Kazmir, Lee, Lester, etc…but make up with brutal smashings against the Jeremy Guthrie’s of the world…

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

            http://www.google.com

            (No, i don’t feel like helping you find black-storm linings in every white fluffy cloud.)

            • Makavelli

              Google? Never heard of it…

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                Jules: You know the shows on TV?
                Vincent: I don’t watch TV.
                Jules: Yes, but, you are aware that there’s an invention called television, and on this invention they show shows, right?

          • Rick in Boston

            The following is a very rough calculation and does not take very much into account other than what BR has available. It’s pretty much crap and I wouldn’t hand this in as home work or a work project if I were you (and yes, step away from the ledge):

            Yankees vs. Top Starters of Potential Playoff Opponents
            Lester: 101 OPS+
            Beckett: 118 OPS+
            Buchholz: 115 OPS+
            Dice-BB: N/A (has not pitched against NYY this year, but his OPS vs. MLB is 1.013)
            Verlander: 92 OPS+
            Jackson: 100 OPS+
            Washburn: 140 OPS+
            Kazmir: 73 OPS+
            Lackey: 84 OPS+

            • Rick in Boston

              And yes, TSJC, I should have let him Google it himself, but I was worried that he would jump off the ledge.

            • Rick in Boston

              Oh, and I forget: SSSS (Super Small Sample Size) Warnings abound on these numbers.

  • Frank

    It seems to me there is more to worry about than a 5th starter. Right now, this staff consists of CC, Pettitte(tired shoulder), and a very inconsistent Burnett and Joba as the 3rd and 4th starters. If Pettitte’s shoulder turns out to be a serious issue, and AJ doesn’t pitch better and get deeper into games, this team could get whacked again in the first round. And lets not assume this division is a lock. Boston has been playing well and are only 5 back in the loss column. By this time next week, this race could be much, much closer.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

      Last 10:

      Yanks: 7-3
      Sox: 7-3

      • Frank

        That may be true but the Yanks have a critical 6 game west coast trip starting Friday which includes 3 in Anaheim, which we all know is a house of horrors for them.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          And that critical 6 game west coast trip?

          It still doesn’t matter.

          It’s in the bag already. We are winning the AL East. Period, end of story.

          • Chris

            Yeah, it’s not like we’re the Mets.

          • mryankee

            I brought that up earlier that the lead was down to five games in the loss column and the sox are on a hot streak.

        • vin

          I still don’t see what’s so critical about 3 games in Seattle. Anaheim sucks, no doubt, but a 6 game set sandwiched between two off-days and 3 games in Seattle… I’ll take my chances.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

      Also, the Sox have no more days off this season. The Yankees have 3. That’s three games the Yankees will rest while the Red Sox will play.

      I’d say the Yankees are still sitting pretty here.

      • Tom Zig

        3 off days > getting Dice-BB back.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      Yeah… no.

      • Tom Zig

        Phase 1 and 2 of your plan are complete:

        Phase 1: Dice-K returns and pitches respectable.
        Phase 2: Dice-K stays in the rotation
        Phase 3: Dice-K poops the bed the rest of the way and/or the playoffs

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          He’s a sleeper cell.

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      When did Yankee fans turn into late-1990s Red Sox fans? Or Mets fans? Jeez. It’s a 6.5 game lead with 16 games left. Get off the ledge.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        What the fuck happened to the Delta I used to know? Where’s the spirit? Where’s the guts, huh?

        This could be the greatest night of our lives, but you’re gonna let it be the worst! “Ooh, we’re afraid to go with you Bluto, we might get in trouble.” Well, just KISS MY ASS FROM NOW ON! NOT ME, I’M NOT GONNA TAKE THIS! Wormer, he’s a DEAD MAN! Marmalard? DEAD!

        NIEDERMEYER–

        • jsbrendog

          DEAD!! Bluto’s right.

      • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

        When did Yankee fans turn into late-1990s Red Sox fans?

        Between ’02 and now.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          Yeah? Well, snap out of that shit. It’s been long enough.

          • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD

            You: Preaching
            Me: Choir

            • jsbrendog

              me: chuckling

              • Chris

                No laughing in church. What do you think this is, congress?

                • jsbrendog

                  YOU LIE!

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  I’m shocked that Wilson didn’t stand up and throw his shoes.

      • Makavelli

        What doesn’t make sense is how a scrappy slap hitting Angels team (plus some power) STILL can’t figure out how to play in Fenway Park…

        I’ll never understand it. Slap hitters should eat that park up!! Look at Pedroia! Is it that intimidating?

        • Tom Zig

          All you have to do is just hit it to the outfield, their awful defense will do you all the favors in the world.

          • Makavelli

            Exactly. NESN was bragging the other day about the amount of Jason Bay’s outfield assists…couldn’t help but laugh knowing that most Sox fans don’t realize or think about the wall being the only reason that happens with everyone they put out there…

            • Tom Zig

              If Jason Bay played left field in Yankee Stadium on a consistent basis, it would have terrible repercussions

              • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                Numerous people would die on a nightly basis.

      • http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v21/riddering/Baseball/joba-chamberlain-makes-an-amazing-d.jpg Riddering

        The good people of Yankeedom need to remember:

        No lead is safe for Boston.

        Boston.

        Take that home and taste it. Tastes good.

  • Tom Zig

    Do you know who would be a better 5th starter?

    Justin Verlander

    mmmmmm…………………

    • AndrewYF

      If the Yankees won 3 fewer games in 2006, they would have had Rick Porcello instead of Andrew Brackman.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

        I blame ARod.

    • mryankee

      I agree with you

  • http://www.twitter.com/MatthewHarris84 Matt H. :: Sec105

    I am just mad that Tomko never got a fair shake at being a starter.

    I’m not saying I know he would have produced like he’s doing for the A’s, but he never even got the chance…

  • miketotheg

    mitre/tomko debate?
    mitre sucks.
    tomko is gone and trying to cash in on free agent money in the al west.

    what debate?

    where’s the rumble in the jungle post?

    i think that pitcher carlson elbowed posada, not the other way around. who backs up the catcher, between the lines, on the 1st base side??

  • Makavelli

    A debate about a 5th starter at the end of September is kind of moot at this point, no? This subject might have been better debated in July or August…but neither of these guys would have anything to do with the playoffs what-so-ever. We’re basically arguing about which guy could do a better “mop-up” job at the end of the season where we’re more than likely going to finish with the best record in baseball…which will be quite nice.

  • mryankee

    Hi there all I am sure I will be bashed in about 10 seconds, I actually agree that getting rid of Tomko was the right move. Tomko was not pitching well here and he has thrived in a non playoff picthers ballpark scenario. I give him credit my issue is with the choosing of Mitre and/or sticking with him this long. I guess I don’t quite understand the thinking and I am sure the wiser more knowledgeable posters will help me. When Chien Mien Wang went down for the season and the pitching program for Joba Chamberlain was set in order. Why did Cashman not get a more quality more depandable starter. 2 reasons 1: at that point of the season the outcome of a playoff spot was still in doubt. 2: the other teams in the americal leagus clearly had (or the ones we will face) more dependable rotations 1-5. I say dependable not meaning great not meaning lights out.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

      I guess I don’t quite understand the thinking and I am sure the wiser more knowledgeable posters will help me.

      Nah, we’re kinda tired of educating you on everything all the time. We’re starting to get comfortable with just letting you wallow in your own ignorance, like a pig wallows in his own filth.

      • mryankee

        Well personally I would rather do that than be a f-ing jerk like you.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

          I’m an f–ing jerk. And you’re a broken record who wants shit explained to him that’s already been explained to him in crystal clear detail several dozen times before.

          I’d rather be an asshole than dumb.

          • mryankee

            Difference between you and I. I dont attack people or ridicule them when they post. I dont care if you disagree with my posts or dont like my toughts. You want to compare me to a pig in filth-I take exception to that. You dont like my posts dont respond.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

              I dont attack people or ridicule them when they post.

              Neither do I.

              I attack and ridicule people when they post the same tired questions over and over again that have already been answered and explained to them ad nauseam. We addressed these issues with you before, mryankee. We showed you how you were wrong time and time again. We did it patiently and without snark.

              You have lost your right to patience and snark-free responses. Because you keep pressing your agenda, even though it’s been universally discredited.

              You say that “some of the wiser more knowledgeable posters will help me.” We don’t want to help you because you don’t want to be helped.

              • mryankee

                I have not nor ever had an agenda as you put it. I have only posted what was on my mind. Some of the things I have said(like concern about the Yankees lead) have been talk about in prior posts without my pushing the agenda. Somethings I have been wrong about and been corrected and some things I see one way you see another. If someone wants to respond to me or treat me with respect I will do the same to him-her. If not then that is ok to. Yes and sometimes or a lot of times I have gone off topic because I react to what I am thining or feeling at that time.

                • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside

                  I’m sure you don’t think you have an agenda, but you do. And, no, “what I am thining or feeling at that time” is not valid justification for going off topic, especially when you’ve already been spoken to about that transgression as well.

                  Whatevs. Maybe you’ll learn eventually, maybe not. I give up on you, you’re a lost cause.

                  Enjoy your wallowing.

                • mryankee

                  Well i will try to go on without you as a “posting” pal and you know what you want to call me a pig then thats on you.

    • Rick in Boston

      By dependable you mean cannon fodder, right? Because that’s all any team in the AL has for 4/5 starters at this point. Heck, until the deadline, the Tigers only had two pitchers.

      Cashman could have upgraded, but he chose not to for two major reasons: One, he believed that the talent on hand was going to be as good in the AL East as anything he could bring in. Two, the price tag on the pitchers he was after was a lot higher than the perceived value was. Hence, Cashman played the cards he was dealt. He could have upgraded the roster with better internal pieces, but as discussed above, injuries and the need to improve the bullpen meant that the number 10 option is now pitching in the #5 spot.

      • mryankee

        You know what I think your right. I just hate to see the lead falling off day by day as it has the last few days. However in the playoffs I think it wont matter as much. As there will only be a need for starters 1-4-and the bullpen has been very good.

        • Rick in Boston

          But it hasn’t been falling that much – over the last 10 games, both the Yankees and teh Red Sox are 7-3. Yes, it’s gone down from where it was the other day, but the Sox have to be historically great and the Yankees have to be historically awful over the next couple of weeks for the lead to disappear.

          • mryankee

            The only concern I have in that regard is the west coast trip. 1: they might see Felix Hernandez one day (i dont know if pitching matchups have been announced) 2: they are historically bad at Anaheim Stadium. The red sox again have been hot-now could they cool down of course. I am just saying as we sit here today there is osme cause for concern. I said some.

            • Rick in Boston

              King Felix pitches Saturday against CC. Not worried.

              • mryankee

                Thats a good matchup-no doubt-In the end your right the Yanks will probably win the division. You just hate to te see the sox starting to creep up after all the good the yanks did against them in the last two series.

                • Jack

                  You just hate to te see the sox starting to creep up after all the good the yanks did against them in the last two series.

                  http://riveraveblues.com/2009/.....ent-583011

                • Rick in Boston

                  I’ll worry about the Red Sox if they make it to the ALCS. Here deep in the heart of the “Nation”, they’ve shifted their focus to the Patriots.

  • Charlie

    wow, non-toronto starts. thats just ridiculous. if you take out starts against certain teams, you can make a lot of bad pitchers look okay. his FIP is awful, too. i do agree there was nothing wrong with releasing tomko, him and mitre both suck.

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