Jun
21

Credit Posada’s double to the Mets’ coaches

By

Although the Yankees scored runs in only one inning yesterday, they did put a number of runners into scoring position. But, as we saw most of last week and into the weekend, they’re having trouble bringing those men around to score. From Wednesday through Saturday they were just 2 for 21 with runners in scoring position, and then on Sunday were just 2 for 9 (Swisher’s single and then Tex’s home run). One of those seven misses yesterday came when Jorge Posada doubled with two outs in the eighth.

Normally this would just be trivia, another tally in the column of futility. Yet this particular double caught my attention. When Posada struck the ball it looked like it might fall into the outfield, but it was no sure thing. It was low enough that David Wright could have nabbed it if properly positioned. If anything it seemed like Jason Bay could have gotten to it and limited Posada to one base. Yet none of that happened. The Mets, for some reason, shifted to the right with Posada batting lefty.

For most of the game Posada hit righty against the lefty Johan Santana. As you can see, when he batted with the bases empty against Santana the Mets played in their normal positions. This screen shot comes from Posada’s lead-off fly out in the sixth.

Everything seems in its right place. That should come as no surprise, as Jorge sprays his hits evenly as a righty. The first chart below is his 2009 spray chart as a right-handed hitter. The next is his 2010 chart, which does show a bit of a pull tendency. That, however, is probably due to a small sample size. I suspect that when we hit October Jorge’s righty spray chart will look similar to his 2009 one.


Jorge’s next at-bat came in the eighth, after Santana had left the game. Pitching in his place was the right-handed Fernando Nieve. On a 2-2 count Posada laced that pitch to left. As you can see in the screen shot below, David Wright was playing well off the third base line. You can also see Jason Bay rushing to his right, trying to track the ball down before Posada took second.

It’s tough to judge distances on this, but it appears that if Wright were in his normal position he might have made the play. Surely, if Bay had played Posada straight on he could have made the play. I’m not sure exactly where Bay was positioned, but the spot at which he appears in this screen cap looks like the right spot. I’m assuming he’s already taken a few steps to his right in pursuit of the ball.

Why would the Mets play a shift on Posada? I suppose they had Posada pegged as pull-happy when batting lefty. Looking at his 2010 spray chart below, there’s a definite concentration of grounders to second base. Yet there are also plenty of balls fielded down the left field line. Remember, these spray charts represent where a ball was fielded, not where it landed. There are enough dots, both green and red, to suggest that Posada can take the ball the other way and, therefore, teams shouldn’t play a shift.

While we have a larger sampling of Posada from the left side than from the right in 2010, we can still look back at his 2009 spray chart to get a better idea of what he does while batting lefty.

Yes, there is a concentration of red dots off the third base line. They also happen to be right where the shortstop would be playing normally. Again, I don’t see a reason to shift Wright over that way. There are enough dots directly behind where the third baseman to suggest that Posada can and will take the ball the other way as a lefty.

Teams play the shift against Mark Teixeira, and it actually makes sense. Here’s his spray chart from 2010:

Yes, there are a few dots to the left side. But they pale in comparison to the dots on the right side. Actually, maybe that’s part of the problem. As you can see on his 2009 spray chart, he might have a concentration of hits to right field, but he also has a nice spray of hits to center and left as well.

That concentration just doesn’t exist for Jorge like it does Teixeira. Why, then, would the Mets play a shift against him? I’m not saying that Wright would have made the play had he been in proper position. He would have had a chance, which is far more than he had when he was playing well off the third base line.

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

    Great post.

    That concentration just doesn’t exist for Jorge like it does Teixeira. Why, then, would the Mets play a shift against him?

    My answer: They’re the Mets.

    • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

      They’re like Costanza’s instincts. Whatever they do is wrong, therefore, the opposite must be right.

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

        BTW, small-world random personal note: I’m taking a writing class this semester. The professor is an author of numerous books who is married to a TV writer/producer; he wrote a few episodes of Seinfeld including The Fusilli Jerry (the AssMan episode) and the Marine Biologist (Kramer hitting the golf ball into the whale’s blowhole). He may or may not be one of our guest speakers.

        • A.D.

          George’s monologue in the marine biologist episode is one of my fav Seinfeld moments.

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

            What is that, a Titleist?

        • Thomas

          The Marine Biologist is my favorite episode.

          • http://www.lennysyankees.com lenNY’s Yankees

            Mine too. The look on Kramer’s face when Jerry pulls out the ball.

            • Rose

              Mine too. The look on Kramer’s face when Jerry George pulls out the ball.

              Fixed.

              • http://www.lennysyankees.com lenNY’s Yankees

                Oops.

        • vin

          Awesome. Now that’s a fine education.

        • Rose

          he wrote a few episodes of Seinfeld including The Fusilli Jerry (the AssMan episode)

          Jerry: Who would order a license plate that says “Assman”?
          George: Maybe they’re Wilt Chamberlain’s.

  • A.D.

    That concentration just doesn’t exist for Jorge like it does Teixeira. Why, then, would the Mets play a shift against him?

    Coaches thinking they’re smarter then they actually are?

  • Rose

    Although the Yankees scored runs in only one inning yesterday, they did put a number of runners into scoring position. But, as we saw most of last week and into the weekend, they’re having trouble bringing those men around to score.

    Where’s Gene Hackman Joe Madden when you need him?

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

      I like how both you and the URL of the picture you linked to misspelled Joe Maddon’s name.

      • Rose

        I like how that was all you had to say…lol

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

          I can only work with what little you give me.

          (TWSS)

          • Rose

            You don’t see the striking resemblance of Joe Maddon and Gene Hackman’s character in Enemy of the State?

            I mean it’s no Brad Penny and Larry “The Cable Guy” comparison…but it’s definitely up there…

  • Kevin Ocala, Fl

    Great post, I couldn’t believe my eyes when Jorge went for two. Then, of course, it was obvious that Bay was out of position. Weird…

  • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

    Between this and the constant throwing over when Cano was on 1B I think the Mets had some weird scouting reports.

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

      He’s not Caucasian, therefore he has to be fast.

      /MetsScoutingReport’d

      • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

        Is Joe Morgan working for the Mets now?

  • Yankeefan91 Arod fan

    i was thinking the same thing when i was at the game yesterday i was like watch posada hit it threw third and den he hit a double.

  • deuce bag poster

    The conclusion I reach from this post:

    Mets suck.

    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

      Well of course they suck, we beat them. We don’t beat good teams, amirite???

    • Tampa Yankee

      The conclusion I reach from this post:

      Mets suck are a bunch of deuce bags

  • Brian

    Edited by RAB: Rule of thumb is that if you say “off-topic” in a comment, don’t post it. Or, at the very least, have the courtesy to post it in the section we created just for off-topic posts.

  • CS Yankee

    Jorge is just good for baseball.

    /gritpissandstufflikethat’d

  • vin

    It may just be observational bias, but it really seems to me that the Yanks are usually very well positioned (except for Randy Winn on that 1 play). I don’t know how to quantify it, but that’s what my eyes tell me.

  • http://baseballalamode.blogspot.com Ram’s Bladder Cup

    Do you have home/road spray charts? Maybe at home he’s more apt to pull the ball.

    • http://baseballalamode.blogspot.com Ram’s Bladder Cup

      Hmm, I just took a second look and noticed the overlay is of Yankee Stadium. Does that answer my questsion, or, since you have to choose only one overlay you chose YSIII for all batted balls?