Apr
06

Freddy catches a break

By

His YMCA needs work. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

I’m not sure too many Yankees fans have much in faith in Freddy Garcia, but I think that pretty much every fan base can say that about their favorite team’s fifth starter. So, naturally, you want to have every advantage possible whenever the last guy in your rotation takes the mound. You want the A+ lineup out there and a rested bullpen, but this is baseball and that’s not always possible. No matter what the score is late in the game tonight, it’s unlikely Garcia will be able to hand the ball off to Rafael Soriano or Mariano Rivera for help given their recent workloads. such is life.

Thankfully, Ron Gardenhire threw Garcia a little bit of a bone tonight. Here’s the lineup he’s sending out there this evening, courtesy of Kelsie Smith

  1. Denard Span, LHB
  2. Tsuyoshi Nishioka, SHB
  3. Delmon Young, RHB
  4. Justin Morneau, LHB
  5. Jason Kubel, LHB
  6. Michael Cuddyer, RHB
  7. Danny Valencia, RHB
  8. Drew Butera, RHB
  9. Alexi Casilla, SHB

It doesn’t really matter who is playing where (Kubel’s the DH), but the important thing is that neither Joe Mauer or Jim Thome is in the lineup. Mauer is a .419/.486/.774 career hitter against Garcia, the second highest* OPS against any pitcher in his career (min. 30 PA). Thome hasn’t hit for much power (relative term) against Sweaty Freddy (just a .174 ISO vs. .281 career), but his .471 OBP is his highest against any pitcher ever (min. 30 PA again). Yeah, Mauer’s a catcher and he needs to rest, but Gardenhire took his two best weapons against Garcia right out of the lineup.

Furthermore, four of the top five hitters in the lineup are left-handed (counting Nishioka, and it’s five of six if you count Casilla when the lineup turns over), which plays right into Freddy’s strength: the changeup. Joe broke the pitch down back in February, but the short version is that he pounds the outside corner with the pitch against lefties and generates a ton (more than 22% last year) of swings and misses with it. Whenever you’re throwing just 87, 88, 89, changing speeds is that much more important, and Garcia has done a fine job of adapting to that approach later in his career. That said, the changeup is a feel pitch, and it’s going to be cold in the Bronx tonight. It could get ugly if he hangs a few.

The Twins made life a little easier on Garcia tonight be removing what amounts to their two best hitters from the lineup, and also by stacking a bunch of lefties together. That certainly doesn’t guarantee success for Freddy tonight, but he needs all the help he can get and Gardenhire did him a slight favor. If that’s not enough, the Twinkies are 22-23 with Butera behind the plate since the beginning of last year. Hey, I’ll take it.

* The first? How about .500/.567/.885 against Felix Hernandez. Mauer’s good at this baseballing thing.

Categories : Pitching

30 Comments»

  1. Greg G. says:

    Geez, Mauer’s line against King Felix is downright silly.

  2. Fair Weather Freddy says:

    Interesting. Brian Costello of the NY Post tweeted that Soriano said that Scott Boras called him this morning and said he needs to talk to the media. Can’t be blowing them off like that

  3. Yank the Frank says:

    You just can’t predict baseball Suzyn…

  4. AndrewYF says:

    Not to be outdone, Girardi has benched Posada, Martin and Jeter.

    It’s a battle of the house money lineups!

  5. Freddy’s change presumably was the impetus behind his reverse platoon split last year.

    vs RHB as RHP: 322 PA, .287/.329/.497 (.826) against
    vs LHB as RHP: 348 PA, .271/.329/.454 (.784) against

  6. Yank the Frank says:

    Tampa Bay has lost again. Freddy get ready.

  7. Poopy Pants says:

    I still smell a loss. Tired bullpen, the bats went cold.

    I hope I’m wrong.

  8. Bullwinkle says:

    Can anyone help? I know Jeter is benched for tonite but where can I see today’s lineup? I need to know if Martin is playing tonite for fantasy.

  9. Freddy's Mom says:

    I need help too: what in the sam hill happened to the rotation order? Why did CC pitch ahead of Garcia? It would appear as of now that Garcia is no. 2, but that is not how I understand the order. Strange I have not seen any discussion of this anywhere.

    • Long answer: Thanks to the off-day last Friday, CC was able to throw on regular rest last night, so they did so to slot him on Sunday against the Red Sox, and also presumably to break up Nova and Garcia in the rotation to avoid any stress on the bullpen they might inflict (as the two starters most likely to have shortened outings.)

      Short answer: The order of the rotation is pretty irrelevant. Who cares.

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