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


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.

Categories : Links


  1. Fair Weather Freddy says:

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

  2. 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.”

    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.

  3. Zanath says:

    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.

  4. 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.


  5. Chris says:

    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.

  6. Newbie says:

    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.

  7. Kiko Jones says:

    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 says:

      excellent point.

    • Thomas says:

      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 says:

        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 says:

      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.

  8. Thomas says:

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

  9. Poopy Pants says:

    “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.

  10. Jerome S says:

    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.

  11. mike c says:

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

    • Carlosologist says:

      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.

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