Link Brigade: Hughes, Gardner, Cliff Lee, Mo, Pitching

Pettitte's simulated start pushed back a day
Modell's, Yanks team up for discount day-of-game tickets

I’ve come across plenty of good stuff today, all worthy of at least a mention here. Hopefully these can get you through the rest of your working day.

Phil Hughes, then and now

Friend of RAB Jay Jaffe, in his new digs at Pinstriped Bible, takes a look at the difference between Phil Hughes‘s first 13 starts and his last eight. There are some pretty stark differences, especially in his strikeout and home run numbers. He also digs into some PitchFX data, a conversation that continued on Twitter later in the afternoon. Harry Pavlidis supplied some stats on his cutter. I’d click through the entire feed to see the other stuff he came up with.

The upshot: Hughes has allowed just one home run on his curveball all year.

The other side of the Gardner argument

Yesterday Ben wrote an article about Brett Gardner and what his slump means for the Yankees’ off-season. It’s always suspect when a player exceeds all expectations for a good portion of a season, so when Gardner slumped I understood the concern. At Pending Pinstripes, Greg Fertel takes a look at the argument from the other side, noting that as long as Brett turns around to average production from here on out he’ll serve as a quality outfielder next year, allowing the Yanks to spend potential Carl Crawford money elsewhere. Say, on a pitcher like…

The market for Cliff Lee

At TYU, Stephen R., an excellent mid-season addition to the site, exhaustively examines Lee’s possible landing points. To him it comes down to three primary contenders: the Yanks, the Dodgers, and the Rangers. Given the state of baseball and how each team is currently constructed, I like the Yanks’ chances in this one. It’s tough not to.

Jack Curry on Mariano Rivera

Perhaps the best off-season addition for the Yankees didn’t come on the field, but instead on their broadcast crew. Jack Curry has been wonderful in his new role. He even, from time to time, dusts off the writing chops he employed at the New York Times. This time he’s written about Mo and his ability to shake the pressure and do what he does.

Does pitching really win championships?

We know the old adage, and we’ve seen it at work plenty of times. But at ESPN (insider only, unfortunately), FanGraphs’ Jack Moore examines the past five years of playoff data and tries to determine if it actually holds true. Better pitching does give a team an advantage, but it might not be as great as you think. There are plenty of other factors that go into building a championship team.

Pettitte's simulated start pushed back a day
Modell's, Yanks team up for discount day-of-game tickets
  • Fair Weather Freddy

    Edited by RAB: This is not the first time we’ve warned you about off-topic comments. Please stop.

    • Fair Weather Freddy

      “Warned” Lighten up will YA! Its not like I used foul language or something.

      • Joseph Pawlikowski

        No, but as we state explicitly in our commenting guidelines, we ask that you keep comments on topic. We would actually rather you use foul language than post off-topic. Much rather.

        • ultimate913

          As long as the foul language is on topic, it’s okay. Like this.

          Fuck Jack Z. for not trading Lee to the Yanks. We shouldn’t even have this conversation about Lee coming to the Yanks.


  • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

    At TYU, Stephen… exhaustively examines Lee’s possible landing points. To him it comes down to three primary contenders: the Yanks, the Dodgers, and the Rangers.

    A great writeup by Stephen. I think he’s underselling the Tigers, though.

    The Tigers haven’t reached the playoffs since losing in the 2006 World Series.

    “I feel we’re gonna get back there,” Ilitch said. “We’re cleaning up a boatload of contracts — we’re gonna be in a position where we’ll be down to 60 or 70 million. I think I’m at the point now where I got this foundation, where I want to beat Boston and I want to beat New York. We got there in 2006, but we haven’t been able to stay there.”

    So even with all the expiring contracts, there’s no plan to back off?

    “Oh no, no, I’m not that kind of guy,” Ilitch said, smiling. “I’m not normal that way.”–Dombrowski–Leyland-will-be-back-with-Tigers-in-2011#ixzz0vvPLFGbF

    Detroit Tigers: Drunken Sailors. This is not a small market club, and it’s flush with cash to burn. They must be counted as real players in the Lee sweepstakes.

    • Pete

      very true

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        A Lee-Verlander combo would be ridonkulous.

        Luckily, the last time the Yankees got outbid for someone they really wanted (non-blind-posting-fee-division) was… never.

        • Zanath

          Money is a part of it, but I get the feeling that Lee really wants to pitch in New York. Plus, his good buddy CC is here. I have a feeling he will be here next year. It certainly has been fascinating to see him evolve into a top flight pitcher.

        • Zack

          And Scherzer/Porcello would be their 3/4 too.

          • Chris

            Good. At least the Yankees can be certain they’ll win those games.

            • JobaWockeeZ

              Scherzer has been nothing but good since coming back from AAA.

              • Zanath

                This. Also, Porcello has pitched decently since he’s come back as well.

                • Chris

                  So, for half a season (less for Porcello) they’ve pitched well. Call me unconvinced.

                  • V

                    That’s nice. They are both Phil Hughes level prospects, and I’d trade any prospect (non Montero division) for either, and I’d trade Montero for both.

        • Stephen R.

          Lee-Verlander would be ridonkulous.

          Strasburg-Lee would be ridonkulous amped up on Boli.

          /likes thinking up bizarre FA scenarios.

          • bexarama

            I wasn’t on the Mariners bandwagon but Felix/Lee is the most ridiculous-sounding thing of all.

            • Total Dominication

              Halladay/Lee, oh wait.

    • Stephen R.

      I may be underselling them. To be sure, the fact that Ordonez is not returning at $15M per year changes their math significantly. I just look at 3B (Inge, leaving as FA), SS (Peralta, Santiago, Worth), C (Avila, Laird), LF (Damon, leaving as FA) and DH and wonder if they might try to spread the money around rather than blow 50% of it on free agents. At the same time, they do seem to favor getting big names for big money. So, I get the argument for them being a contender for Lee.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        Like I said, though, great piece. Well researched, well written.

        • Stephen R.

          Thank ya sir.

  • Zanath

    Curry has been fantastic. I wish they would let him do more analysis in the booth, he was great he was there for a short period.

  • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

    From the “Does pitching really rule in October?” link:

    Now, the test. Let’s take a look at every playoff series since 2005 and see how the xFIPs of all the teams stack up against one another.


  • Chris

    From Greg Fertel on Gardner’s splits:

    Through May 9: .344/.425/.419, .388 BABIP, 11.1 BB%, 11.1 K%
    May 10 – June 21: .310/.389/.434, .358 BABIP, 11.4 BB%, 14.1 K%
    June 22 – Aug 11: .205/.324/.287, ..274 BABIP, 13.8 BB%, 24.8 K%

    That last time period could be broken out differently:
    June 22 – July 30: .236/.387/.337, .292 BABIP, 17.8 BB%, 19.6 K%
    July 31 – Aug 11: .121/.121/.152, .211 BABIP, 0 BB%, 42 K%

    The problems for Gardner really started around the end of July. He was scuffling a little bit from the middle of June through the end of July, but then fell off a cliff since then. With this short a period of sucking, I don’t see any reason that he shouldn’t be expected to return to an OBP in the high 300’s for the rest of the season.

  • Newbie

    If Hughes continues to put up the same 5.06 FIP since June 19, and Vazquez continues to produce in the same way he has since that skipped start in May, do you start Hughes (innings considerations aside) in the playoffs? I would say no, as long as Burnett does not completely fall off from now till then.

  • Kiko Jones

    Pitching is an incredibly important part of winning championships but if it were as dominant a factor as suggested, wouldn’t the Braves have won way more than just one WS in the ’90s with the incomparable Maddux-Smoltz-Glavine trifecta?

    • thurdonpaul

      excellent point.

    • Thomas

      The same could also be said for Oakland’s Big 3, which never made it out of the first round (IIRC).

      Of course as the actually saying goes “Good pitching beat good hitting, but the Yankees beat all.”

      • nsalem

        1988-1990 Oakland A’s entered there three WS appearances as heavy favorites and lost 2 of the three. They ran into the hot hands of Hershieser in 1988 and Rios in 1990. There fate was similar to that of the dominant 1969-1971 teams of the Baltimore Orioles who also lost in two of three WS tries in which they entered as the favorites. The similarities I see in both teams
        (69-71) Orioles and (88-90) A’s were both teams reliance on the 3 Run Homer type innings which they were unable to produce vs staffs like the 69 Mets and 90 Reds led by Rios and The Nasty Boys.

    • bexarama

      Yep, pitching is unbelievably important but it’s not everything. Plus the playoffs are a crazy, crazy, crazy land.

      And the Diamondbacks would’ve won in 2002, too.

  • Thomas

    Joe for the title you should have went with “Charge of the Link Brigade.”

    • Joseph Pawlikowski

      A missed opportunity for sure.

  • Poopy Pants

    “as long as Brett turns around to average production from here on out he’ll serve as a quality outfielder next year, allowing the Yanks to spend potential Carl Crawford money elsewhere. Say, on a pitcher like…”

    But Kabak wrote recently that the Yanks will be able to sign both after this season.

    • Angelo

      That doesn’t mean they should or have to.

      • nsalem

        Crawford is a luxury. Lee is a necessity.

        • Angelo

          Exactly my point.

          • nsalem

            I don’t think the Yankees can afford both Crawford and Lee.
            I think we are underestimating the war that is going to take place for these two players. The demand for lee is going to be so intense and I can see an out of control 4 or 5 team bidding war for his talents.

    • Joseph Pawlikowski

      I fail to see the point.

      • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        The point is, you’re dumb and your blog sucks. NOMAAS FTW!!!!


      • nsalem

        My opinion is that the Yankees need an ace such as Cliff Lee
        more than we need a great left fielder like Crawford over the next several years. My rational is that we can find position players hat approach Crwaford’s ability, but it would almost impossible to find someone near Lee’s caliber. In thinking about the future I am also taking to account that Pettitte’s time here is limited. Burnett although extremely talented is not much more than a .500 pitcher. I think Phil will be very successful over the long term. Most importantly I am considering that it is possible that CC can opt out after next year. This situation would leave us without a big time ace going into the 2012 season making it very difficult to go deep inti the playoffs. Lee can prevent this scenario while I don’t believe Crawford can.

        • tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          Joe wasn’t addressing his comment to you.

  • Jerome S

    Potential rotation next year: CC, Lee, Pettitte (?), Hughes, AJ.
    Quite a turnaround from ’08. That kinda rotation could be the best in baseball next year

    hypothetically speaking.

    • CS Yankee

      A left, A left, A left, right, right!


  • mike c

    one can only hope that lee will take his talents to NY

    • Carlosologist

      He’ll either go where the big money is calling him or he can go to Miami to play with his buds.

      Oh wait, his buds are in New York.