Yanks guarantee series win over Toronto

Trenton clinches division title in loss
Sunday morning links

Both times the Yankees faced the Blue Jays in August they lost the series 2-1. There are worse things than 2-1 series losses, especially to a team that has played like the Jays. It’s not like they lose a series to the Indians or Royals. With yesterday’s victory the Yankees locked down another series.

Biggest Hit: Mr. Automatic

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

What type of runs would you like? Do you like yours when down in a close game? How about game-tying? I hear that go-ahead runs are just the tastiest. Except walk-off, of course. Walk-off runs are the juiciest runs of them all. Marcus Thames has cooked up all of them this season. Yesterday he prepared us a helping of go-ahead runs.

The game took some early turns. Neither starter got through the fifth. Javier Vazquez did make a bid, but Joe Girardi removed him in a first and third, two outs situation in the fifth. In a scenario that we will discuss in a moment, the Blue Jays tied the game. It stayed that way for a couple of innings. Until Marcus Thames came to the plate, that is.

Thames actually led off in the bottom half of the fifth, but he realized that he had plenty of time. Instead of pulverizing a Jesse Carlson slider he merely grounded it to third. It was a gift by appearances, but Thames was just biding his time. In the seventh he recognized that the situation had become dire. Carlson retired six straight and his successor, Jason Frasor, added two to the tally. But then Robinson Cano snapped the skid with his second up-the-middle single of the game. Thames would not let the opportunity pass.

Frasor threw his first pitch, a slider, towards the inside edge. Thames swung, but he managed only to foul it away. Carlson, fool that he is, tried the same thing again, but this pitch he left right in the center of the plate. Thames put a mighty swing on it and drove it to the bit field in left-center. But it could not contain Thames. He sent the ball into the visitor’s bullpen, putting his Yankees ahead.

A curious pitching change

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Over the course of a season the manager makes hundreds of pitching changes. There is no way that they’ll all work. Most of the time, if he’s a good manager, he’ll make the right call. But most is just more than 50 percent. There are plenty of times when the manager will make a good call that fails. Other times he’ll make a plain bad call. It happens. Joe Girardi mostly makes the right call. Yesterday he made a suspect one.

Javier Vazquez was not pitching like he had during his previous two relief outings. His fastball didn’t crack 90. He didn’t have the command necessary to compensate for his diminished velocity. He threw too many damn sliders, a pitch that just hasn’t worked this year. It amounted to three runs through four innings, both on second inning home runs. But Vazquez had settled down, allowing no runs in the third and fourth before retiring the first two batters in the fifth. But then he walked Jose Bautista. No biggie. It became a biggie, apparently, when Vernon Wells followed with a single.

That brought Overbay, who had homered earlier in the game, to the plate. Joe Girardi bound out of the dugout after the single, so it was clear that he in no way would let Vazquez face Overbay again. That might sound like a reasonable position, especially considering how Javy looked, but there were a few things to consider here. First, the tying run was 270 feet away, so it would have taken a big hit to score him. Second, the homer earlier on the game came on a slider. Letting Vazquez pitch to Overbay, but forbidding him to throw a slider, was probably the right call. But Girardi went to Dustin Moseley. I fail to see the upgrade.

Maybe if he’d gone to Robertson, or Chamberlain, or even Logan, I wouldn’t have thought it such a bad call. But Moseley? Maybe he could have brought Moseley in to eat an inning or two after that. The big guns in the pen have been worked hard lately. That tends to happen when you win a lot of games in a short span. If Girardi wants to go with the long man in the sixth with a two-run lead, so be it. But Moseley with the tying runs on base? It just seems odd coming from a guy who, just a month and a half ago, used Robertson in the third inning in a crucial situation.

This doesn’t make Girardi a bad manager. No one will make the right call 100 percent of the time. But this seemed like a fairly obvious one. Don’t go to Moseley with the tying run on base unless it’s of the utmost necessity.

Wrap-around lineup

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

For much of the season Brett Gardner has hit ninth. That makes him a “second lead-off hitter,” whatever that means. Really, it means he’s hitting ninth. I don’t know why Girardi does it, but he likes having that second leadoff hitting advantage. But ever since A-Rod‘s injury Girardi has found a spot in the top of the lineup for Gardner. Which makes sense. He takes pitches, he gets on base, and he’s a threat to steal. That means not having a wrap-around lineup. Unless you do.

Francisco Cervelli had another pleasantly surprising day. He doubled twice and came around to score both times, first thanks to a wild pitch and second thanks to a Derek Jeter chopper that — to invoke Michael Kay — fortuitously ricocheted off the third base bag. As Chad Jennings relays, it was the first multi-double game of Cervelli’s career. It’s always a little easier to score runs when the bottom of the order produces. Cervelli deserves much praise for his recent timely hits.

Graph and Box

If I just saw this graph and the final score, I’d probably think that this was a pretty good game. And I’d be right.

More green lines at FanGraphs. Fogies can get their fix with the traditional box.

Up Next

It’s never a bad game when you’re looking at not only a sweep, but a ninth straight win. Phil Hughes goes for it, while Brett Cecil tries to stop it. It’s Day Game No. 4 of 5 from the Bronx.

Trenton clinches division title in loss
Sunday morning links
  • http://twitter.com/Mattpat11 Matt DiBari

    I can’t find fault in removing Javier Vazquez from the game in a big spot. He’s giving up homers at an absolutely ridiculous rate. I’m not letting him pitch to the go ahead run there.

    But there should have been someone better than Moseley coming in.

    • It’sATarp

      yeah the problem was bringing Moseley is that he has a worse homerun rate (19.6% hr/FB to javy’s 13.6% hr/FB) than Javy and even less of an ability to strike people out. while Girardi said post game he picked Moseley b/c the guy after overbay (hill?) crushes lefties, he did had plenty of choices that wasn’t Moseley to go to for one out.

      • Zack

        Yeah that’s a poor excuse. All of the sudden he’s against match ups? You have extra arms down there, use them.

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

      Exactly. No problem with pulling Javy, and I’m not like DERRRRP FIRE GIRARDI or anything because of that. The problem was putting in Moseley when literally anyone else in that bullpen would’ve been a better choice.

      • Max

        Chad J:

        ‘On Girardi’s decision to use Moseley instead of Boone Logan to face left-handed hitter Lyle Overbay: “Nope (never considered Logan). There’s a guy also behind Overbay that crushes left-handers.”

        That guy behind Overbay was John Buck, who ultimately made the final out of the inning. Also of note about the Overbay decision: Overbay was 1-for-4 in his career against Logan, 0-for-7 against Moseley. His left-right splits are minimal this season.’

      • Chris

        I don’t necessarily have a problem bringing in Moseley there, but if you’re going to do it then keep him in for a few innings. There’s absolutely no reason to bring him in for just one out.

      • cr1

        It’s not like this is news about Girardi — his tendency to overmanage and while doing so to fall into geeky mistakes has been evident from the start.

        But we don’t have too much to complain about. Overall he does a good enough job and this tendency is one we’ve already learned to live with.

        Sometimes the players involved may get a bit testy but that’s only to be expected.

        • Bob Stone


  • Johan Iz My Brohan

    Win #17 for Hughes, here we come!

    • Carlosologist

      Hughes could have 20 if he only gets skipped once. CC, Andy, and Phil have been the cogs in this rotation. A good and fresh Phil is one of the more crucial things to playoff success.

      • Jerome S

        But if we want a Phresh Phil ( :) ) in the playoffs, then we should skip his last two starts. Just sayin’.

        • Carlosologist

          I think the Yanks should skip him on 9/11 at Texas and on 9/24 against Tampa Bay. He’ll be able to get a start on the 18th and should pitch the rest of the way into the postseason.

        • mikebk

          problem is that he has responded very poorly to extra rest (being skipped) so far this year. yes, SSS and all that.

          • Chris

            I agree with this. I don’t want him making a big playoff start on too long rest. Skip some starts earlier in September so he can have a tune up start or two right before the playoffs.

  • PaulF

    Broxton is extremely wide.

    If Girardi needed a righty and he was only going to face two batters, it would’ve been cool to see Albie in that spot.

    When was the last time the Yankees had a 10 game win streak?

    • http://twitter.com/stophamm3rtime Dela G

      When was the last time the Yankees had a 10 game win streak?

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


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

      Broxton is extremely wide.

      And the Yankees/Torre killed him, eesh.

    • Carlosologist


      No, seriously, the last time we won ten in a row was in 2005.

  • Carlosologist

    Hey look, San Francisco has a lead!

    • Carlosologist

      reply fail, apologies.

    • Jerome S

      Thank God! I’d really like to see someone sock it to the damn Padres. San Francisco never wins much, though.

  • ZZ

    I really don’t understand all the angst in this recap over the slider. First off, only 8 of his pitches today were classified as sliders, but lets just assume he really did throw a lot of sliders today.

    None of his pitches have been remotely good this year. The slider is no different than any of his other pitches because his stuff has been awful in general as a result of his diminished velocity and poor consistency with his mechanics. So, if we use the logic that the pitch has not really worked for him this year we may as well take away all his other pitches and see if he can learn a knuckleball.

    Then the forbid him from throwing a slider to Overbay is just ignoring so many of the factors going on in the game and basically just saying Overbay hit a HR off a slider earlier, so that must be the problem. Incredibly incomplete thought there. The pitch selection was not the issue at all. Vazquez had nothing today. It is hard to even describe how bad his stuff was. Almost every out that he got today was a minor miracle in itself. He was battling with himself on nearly every pitch and just hoping he could fool the Blue Jays or keep them a little off balanced.

    Taking away a pitch from Vazquez is the absolutely last thing you would want to do on a day like today. If he was predictable at all or tried to establish any of his pitches he would have gotten crushed. If he went up there trying to pump fastballs to a dead red hitting team, he would have gotten crushed.

    All his pitches were terrible today, because he was getting under the ball so much. Taking away one of them accomplishes nothing and only further hinders his ability to get outs.

    • Jerome S

      “None of his pitches have been remotely good this year.”

      I need what you’re smoking.

      • ZZ


      • ZZ

        Please don’t tell me you read my post and thought to yourself, “This guy ZZ actually thinks that of 2,446 pitches Javier Vazquez has thrown this season, not a single one has been remotely good. What is he smoking?”

        • drill me deep/ jabadiah Gammons

          my friend has a band by the name of ‘mediocre at best’, that’s pretty much what i think of Javy.

          He sucked in 2008 with the Chisox, it believe this encore is the same version without the same Velo.

          IN JAVY, Jabadiah Gammons do not trust.

          Casey Kelly is prolly better than him, I kid , I kid .

          • FIPster Doofus

            How exactly did Javy suck in 2008? Because his win-loss record and ERA were poor? Let’s go by numbers that gauge individual performance far better: 6.3 IP/S, 8.64 K/9, 2.64 BB/9, 3.74 FIP, 3.85 xFIP, 4.8 fWAR. Vazquez was really good in ’08.

            • drill me deep/ jabadiah Gammons

              huh? the guy sported 4.7 ERA and imploded down the stretch in 2008 , when his team were in a dead heat with MN and desperately need his help. he then proceed to explode in the game one of 2008 playoff.

              but sure, Win/loss or ERA doesn’t quite matter in the face k/bb and FIPS in the wonderful metric world.

              why don’t you tell Ozzie Guillen his FIP when he gave up 7 ER on 9/27/08 while his team were already in a 4 game skid and desperately needed javy assistance.

              but carry on, tell yourself he was really good. you sir are certainly entitled to you opinion.

              • FIPster Doofus

                Javy did not pitch well down the stretch in 2008; that doesn’t mean he had a bad season. In fact, I guarantee every advanced stats-minded person here – and there are many – would’ve taken Javy’s ’08 numbers this year. Unfortunately, he has been a huge disappointment.

                • drill me deep/ jabadiah Gammons

                  Mr.Doofus, I have already given you my opinion on why i think Javy ‘sucked’ in 2008. and, you disagree with my premise of poor late season performances and playoff implosion does constitute a ‘poor’ season .
                  it seems fundamentally, we have a different opinion of the word ‘suck’ means in baseball term in regard to pitcher performance in relationship to a team.

                  which is fine…we disagree on the assertion of argument that can not be factually proved and disaproved IMO.

                  In fact, I guarantee every advanced stats-minded person here – and there are many – would’ve taken Javy’s ’08 numbers this year.

                  two things about your statement
                  1.a majority of ‘advanced stats mind’ consensus does not necessary lead to correct conclusion of opinion.

                  2.with that said, javy is having a statistically poorer season than 2008 ,hence, any reasonable person would have taken 08. I have never contend it to the be case otherwise.

                  which leads to this, you are entitled to you opinions.

                  finally, i will say this about Fangraph or Tangotiger stats and sabermetric in general, there is nothing terribly advance about any those ‘advance stats’ , that are fairly simple linear equation based statistics attempting to analyze an aspect of the complex construct of 3D world of baseball. while this further quantitative analysis of data might gleam some aspect of the whole picture of causation , it is by no mean conclusive and really should be held as any absolute to any baseball arguments. it simply offers another different way to look at underlying construct.

          • dan

            you r right .kelly belongs in the hall- just like those other under performing minor league red sox

      • drill me deep/ jabadiah Gammons

        in da flying dutchman country we smoke O.G.Kush, we roll deep.

  • a plethora of pinatas

    Cecil has owned us this year. I’ll be pissed if we don’t figure him out this time around. It’s time we return the favor and shove it up his a$$!

    • http://twitter.com/stophamm3rtime Dela G

      is cecil the right hander with the glasses?

      i hate that guy

      • drill me deep/ jabadiah Gammons

        he is a ‘crafty’ lefty, Marcum is the righty dude you prolly were thinking of…

        PS, just finished watching ‘The Road’ , fucking awesome movie, makes me want to go out and make an apocalypse happen!

        • Gonzo

          Read the book too!

          • drill me deep/ jabadiah Gammons

            me read ‘blood Meridian’ long time ago, me likes it…haven’t read this one.

        • http://twitter.com/stophamm3rtime Dela G

          oh ok, thanks

          well lets pound the crap out of cecil anyways

          i wish we could beat up marcum…

        • dalelama

          Actually I thought it was just so so….Can’t understand why the idiot left the underground bunker before all supplies exhausted.

      • MattG

        Cecil is the guy the Jays took with their pick immediately after Brackman, and will forever be linked to Brackman in my mind.

        I will also forever link him to Jeremy Bleich. I like to think that had Brackman’s slot somehow been the Yankees second pick that year, they would’ve taken the surer, lower-ceiling option (Cecil) at the 800K figure than Brackman himself, much like they did with Bleich the next year.

        That’s a fascinating debate, Cecil vs Brackman.

    • drill me deep/ jabadiah Gammons

      i concurred , time to put some sizzle up in that Cecil you know what. btw, nice alliteration in your handle.
      one of fav is the ‘the beastly beatitude of Balthasar’

      • drill me deep/ jabadiah Gammons

        reply fail, intend to address to plethora!

  • ecks

    Who would’ve thought… http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2010/02/yankees-sign-marcus-thames.html

    To think we signed this guy for less than a million bucks… Raise your hand if you thought Thames would have a .393 wOBA at this point in the season, even if it’s just in 186 PAs.

    • PaulF

      Also makes you remember a time when people thought Randy Winn would end up starting over Gardner.

  • ecks

    By the way, for comparison; in 517 PAs, Damon has a .336 wOBA and a 1.4 WAR (per fangraphs); in 186 PAs, Thames has a .393 wOBA and a .9 WAR.

    Of course, the metrics aren’t perfect, and it fails to account for the differences in schedule, etc… But boy does this make Cashman look good, even if I think he didn’t expect it to work out this well.

  • MikeD

    It’s late so I might be missing something here, but how is this a guarantee of a series win against Toronto? Isn’t this a four-game series, concluding Monday? The Yankees have won the first two games, which means this is not yet a series win. It means we can’t lose the series.

    • Kit

      The series ends tomorrow, MikeD. We play the Orioles on Monday.

      • Kit

        Well, today, since it’s 3 AM.

        • Slappy White

          WHAT is Kit doing up at 3am ?

  • dan

    javier sucks and should not be on the playoff roster………….we have been there before………………

  • MattG

    I would like to mention the 3-2 pitch to Bautista. I could not believe that was called a strike. The win-expectancy on that one pitch must’ve been enormous.

    Huge break. Please enstate an automated strike zone now. I’d lose my mind if that went against the Yankees in October.

    • JimAbbottFan

      It was the third largest LI adjustment of the day (2.71), with the WE shifting from 35.8% to 44.2% (8.4%), but it definitely felt much bigger given it was either 1 out with guys on first and second, or bases loaded and no outs.

      Robbie Cano had the best LI of the day (3.03) with his bases loaded single, while our goody buddy Thames had the highest WE shift (54.4% to 85.8%).

      But yeah, I wouldn’t think that last pitch to Bautista would ever be called a strike, but who knows if there was something going on at the plate we obviously weren’t hearing and the ump made the call based on Jose’s AB attitude all game. Not that such antics should affect umpires, but hey, I’ll take it.

  • dan

    are you saying the yankees had a chance to draft brett cecil