May
23

Eight-run 7th gives Yanks series win over Mets

By

The first six innings of Sunday afternoon’s game against the Mets was vintage 2011 Yankees. They scored a run early via the homerun but left a trillion runners on base while the pitching staff put forth a representative performance. We’ve seen this movie a few times this season, it usually has a sad ending. But not this time, the Yankees scored eight runs in the seventh inning, helping push them to a series win in the first leg of the Subway Series.

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

The Big Inning

Through the first six innings of the game, the Yankees went hitless in a dozen at-bats with men on base. Not necessarily scoring position, just men on base. They wasted a Jorge Posada leadoff walk in the second, a Derek Jeter leadoff single in the third, and a Chris Dickerson leadoff single in the fifth, so when Brett Gardner slapped a leadoff single through Mike Pelfrey’s legs to start the seventh, we all figured it would be more of the same. Pelfrey was visibly annoyed at something after the hit, probably himself for not knocking down (though it wasn’t an easy play by any means), and it all came apart after that.

Dickerson took three straight balls and eventually walked on five pitches to follow Gardner, and when Frankie Cervelli tried to give himself up on a sacrifice bunt, the Mets’ starter instead hit him in the shoulder/chest with a pitch. Pelfrey’s next and final pitch (number 101 on the day) was a sinker that didn’t sink to Jeter, who found a hole with a four-hopper back up the middle. Both Gardner and Dickerson came around to score, tying the game at three, but the Yankees were just getting started.

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

The next batter was Curtis Granderson, the man with the second most homeruns on the planet, but he was ordered to sacrifice bunt the two runners up. I still don’t get it. Mark Teixeira was intentionally walked to load the bases and create the force at every base, and a giant hack from Alex Rodriguez resulted in a little dribbler down the third base line, perfectly placed to result in a go-ahead, run scoring infield single. Robinson Cano was next up and I thought his at-bat was pretty huge. Instead of hacking at the first pitch (like he’s prone to do), he just stepped back and took the first offering from Pedro Beato, which just so happened to be a ball. The next pitch was off the plate for another ball, then Cano jumped all over the 2-0 fastball for a run scoring single to short right field. It’s amazing what happens when you get a hitter’s count, eh?

The Yankees went 4-for-7 with two walks, a hit-by-pitch, and a sacrifice bunt with men on base in the inning, including three straight hits at one point. Gardner and Dickerson each contributed a two-run bloop double a few batters after Cano did his thing, turning the game into a total laugher. The  team finished the day 5-for-10 with runners in scoring position, and all five hits came in that seventh inning. The eight runs was the Yankees’ most in an inning this season, eclipsing the seven runs they hung on the Orioles late last month. Pretty much everything went their way for once; the bunt worked (in theory), the hits dropped in, they tacked on runs … it was glorious.

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Mr. Nova Nova

Boy did Ivan Nova bend in this one. The Mets had him on the ropes seemingly all afternoon, but the young right-hander limited the damage to one inning even though he put a dozen men on base in six-and-two-thirds innings of work. The three-run second inning started with a weak ground ball single past the Jeter statue the Yankees have ever so kindly erected at shortstop, as well as a bobbled double play ball by Nova and an error on Jeter when he just flat out whiffed on a throw from Cervelli at second. The botched double play ball was the real killer, instead of a man on third with two outs, Nova was stuck with men on second and third with just one out.

Derp. (AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Nova’s big weakness is his complete inability to miss bats, and it showed in that second inning. Fernando Martinez worked a seven pitch at-bat before singling with two strikes, and a few batters later Willie Harris singled in Bay on a 0-2 count for the Amazin’s first run. Jason Pridie had another 0-2, run-scoring single two batters later. Nova came into this game having struck out just 4.95 men per nine innings and generating a swing-and-miss on just 4.2% of his pitches this year, well-below-average rates. One of his two strikeouts against the Mets was looking, and he got just five swing-throughs out of his 110 pitches.

It works for Nova because he gets a healthy amount of ground balls (50.7% this year, 14 out of 20 outs in this game), but when you’re stuck with men in scoring position with less than two outs, a run is almost guaranteed score against these types of pitchers. We’ll take three runs in 6.2 IP out of Nova all year long, but not every opposing team is going to go 2-for-10 with men in scoring position. Got a little lucky on Sunday.

Leftovers

You know who’s been sneaky good this year? Luis Ayala. The three-week stint on the disabled list makes it a little less obvious, but he stranded Carlos Beltran on second after taking over for Nova in the seventh before firing a perfect eighth. He’s struck out nine men in 12 innings this year, a 6.75 K/9 that’s well-above his career rate (5.90). Add in just two unintentional walks and about 45% ground balls, and you’ve got yourself a servicable middle reliever. Who knows how long it’ll last, but Ayala’s definitely contributed more than I ever expected him too.

(AP Photo/Bill Kostroun)

Granderson’s first inning solo homer came on a sinker down and in, his 16th of the year. He didn’t hit number 16 until September 2nd last year, and he’s an equal opportunity long ball threat: eight have come off righties, eight have come off lefties, eight have come at home, and eight have come on the road. I wish Grandy could do better than a .328 OBP, but that’s nitpicking when he’s hitting the ball out of the park like this.

Jeter, Gardner, and Dickerson all had two hits, and Dickerson added the walk as well. He’s reached base in six of his 11 plate appearances since coming up. A-Rod went 4-for-5 with a strikeout, and he now has 13 hits in his last 26 at-bats. As ugly as that slump was, Alex is now hitting .324/.370/.529 in his last 17 games. I guess it’s all in the leg kick, eh? Jorge Posada, meanwhile, went 1-for-3 with a walk and a whiff and is now hitting .368/.538/.520 over the last nine games.

WPA Graph & Box Score

Heh, look at the flat part of the graph when Grandy bunted. Anyway, MLB.com has the box score and video highlights while FanGraphs has some other neat stuff.

Up Next

Jose Bautista and the rest of the Blue Jays are coming to town for a three-game series starting Monday night. Bartolo Colon gets the ball against Carlos Villanueva, who is coming out of the bullpen to make the spot start.

Categories : Game Stories

45 Comments»

  1. Xstar7 says:

    That’ll do Yankees, that’ll do.

  2. dela g says:

    great effing win. It shut my met fan brother up

  3. BigBlueAL says:

    Marc Carig had the best line of the night calling the Yankees the Bronx Bunters. lol

  4. bexarama says:

    Robinson’s hackiness annoys me too, but he’s hitting .350/.349/.725 on the first pitch (40 PA, so SSS disclaimer).

    Anyway, yay Yankees :3

  5. LEOLUCCA RANDISI says:

    To keep this on topic that was a great game by the Yankees, and all the more sweeter because my mom is a Met’s fan and its always great when the Yankees beat the Met’s or the Sux! But now I must unveil the best movie trailer I have seen in years I give you “TIN TIN THE SECRET OF THE UNICORN” DIRECTED BY STEVEN SPIELBERG AND PRODUCED BY PETER JACKSON,
    http://youtu.be/D38EsaX_QTY

    • V says:

      Um… no.

      • LEOLUCCA RANDISI says:

        ?

        • V says:

          The Yankees are awesome and I’m glad they beat the Mets! does not make off-topic posts on-topic.

          • LEOLUCCA RANDISI says:

            Most of my post was on topic is it hurting anyone else if I plug a really cool looking movie as well? you no, some of us here have lives outside of Yankees baseball. Yankees nerds we are but some of us also have other interests. If I offended you I am truly sorry.

            • dalelama says:

              But the trailer was effing stupid…obviously you haven’t seen many.

              • LEOLUCCA RANDISI says:

                I consider my self a movie buff I love the classics like Lawrence of Arabia, Ben Hur, Casablanca and I love the newer classics like The star Wars Saga, Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park and Lord Of The Rings. I think George Lucas AND Steven Spielberg are GODS that revolutionized the movie industry for the better! so This set of movies looks spectacular IMHO and unfortunately in America this movie wont do good like it will in Europe so, I’m sorry if I committed an offense by talking off topic that apparently in your eyes is worse then killing somebody, again, Im sorry….

            • V says:

              1) “know”
              2) Grow up.
              3) No one cares about your stupid trailer.
              4) Read the fucking rules of the site.

              • V says:

                5) We have open threads. Post your junk that no one cares about there.

              • LEOLUCCA RANDISI says:

                who’s the immature one now? You are throwing insults left and right I have been posting here for a while now and have been nothing but respectable to other posters I didn’t totally derail this topic with my original post, I did at least bring up Sundays game. GROW UP GET OUT OF YOUR PARENTS BASEMENT AND GET A GIRL FRIEND OR SOMETHING I DON’T NO WHAT TO TELL YOU. There is a world outside of the Yankees….

  6. NHyankeesfan says:

    Im a little worried about Bartolo facing the Blue Jays. He’s been great this year but the Blue Jays hit RHP’s a lot better than LHP’s, and they love fastballs. I just hope one of his 2 seamers drifts off the plate and drills Bautista

    • Sayid J. says:

      Hm. I’d much prefer one of his 2 seamers drift back over the outside corner for strike three, but that’s just me guess.

    • Monteroisdinero says:

      He’s already been very good against them in Toronto. He’s been good in just about every start. How about we score 10-15 runs for him for once?

  7. LEOLUCCA RANDISI says:

    Colon has been great this year no need to be worried.

  8. Thomas Cassidy says:

    I don’t mean to kill the mood or bash the Yankees after this win. But God, I HATE Cervelli.

    • mbonzo says:

      Not like he’s coming back from an injury or something. I’ve actually be really impressed with his bat so far. His catching… ehhhh, but I don’t know how to judge it from such SSS after the injury.

  9. forensic says:

    Jeter’s hit broke an 0-22 streak for him with the bases loaded. Yikes.

  10. Jonathan says:

    First off, that picture of Jeter makes it look like he just shit that ball out and he has a Joker smile. Secondly, the call on Jorge for strike 3 was one of the worst calls I’ve seen in a long time. I know on a curveball the ball is technically a strike some times when it seems it’s definitely a ball but that wasn’t technically a strike or even close to what an umpire normally calls. In all fairness the guy fucking sucked on several other occasions but wow. I couldn’t believe Jorge didn’t get tossed. And thirdly, don’t forget that 3 run inning was also aided by a bermuda triangle bloop. They scored 3 runs and the only ball hit remotely hard was a single up the middle.

    Maybe we should have Granderson/Gardner play the outfield alone and have an extra infielder play close to up the middle to make up for the 3 plays a night that Jeter doesn’t make and that most high school kids would. Kind of like the rover in early little league.

    • dalelama says:

      “First off, that picture of Jeter makes it look like he just shit that ball out and he has a Joker smile.”

      My hats off to the early morning depravity of your mind.

    • Monteroisdinero says:

      You have it reversed. The OTHER team needs five infielders when Jeter bats. 3rd baseman plays in for the Jeter swinging “topper bunt”, ss regular position, left fielder to the right of 2B, 2nd baseman playing in the hole and 1st baseman guards the line.

      It would take Jeter all season to get 3,000 hits!

  11. AndrewYF says:

    I can’t wait until Jesus Montero comes up and Girardi has him bunt.

  12. virginia yankee says:

    Nice Win — I suppose now the “Relying on Home Run Crowd” will be happy. Consider the luck of the game — nothing really hit hard off Nova but “timely”, “seeing eye”, Jeter’s error, a foul pop up just too far, and then for the Yankees – waste your best recent hitter with a bunt, fail to PH for Cervelli, play Cervelli in the 1st place (I know day after night stuff” but Martin has seen Pelfrey, he is not breaking down, the Yankees are in a fight for the WC and do not have a lead or an evident edge), ARod perfect swinging bunt, Walking Tex ahead of ARod – Tex was woeful against Pelfrey, etc etc

    The dinks and stuff add up to a scratched out win – they happen as a result of swings just as HR are the result of swings – BUT I DON”T WANT CRAPPY LINEUPS and BUNTS AND STUPIDLY TIMES STEALS in a misbegotten effort to “Create” runs- as long as the Yankees are not TRYING to LIft the Fly Ball we will get games like these but I am delighted with the line drive HRs. Torre (do I actually miss him) believed in “riding the hot hand” — he would “never” take the bat out of ARod’s hand (Scratch that) — out of TINO’s hand or Cano’s– or currently Granderson. He would not send futile hitters to the plate — he played “suspect” lineups after he has the series win — GIRARDI is simply poor – maybe the players love him.

    • Zack says:

      he is not breaking down

      Except he has a history of breaking down.
      Only 3 catchers caught over 130 games last year, that’s mean at minimum catchers are going to get 30 games off. Those games come on day after night games, and in the middle of 7-8-9 games in a row.

    • Monteroisdinero says:

      Agree with everything (usually do with Virginia Yankee because I am one as well currently). Once an engineer, always an engineer. Girardi won’t change so a-bunting we will go. Every player on the Yanks will bunt if the binder says so-except for Tex, Alex & Cano because they are the 3-4-5 and the binder says no!!!!!!!

    • Torre (do I actually miss him) believed in “riding the hot hand”

      Until the arm that hand was attached to broke and fell off, yes.

      He would not send futile hitters to the plate

      Joe Girardi, Scott Brosius, Shane Spencer, Luis Sojo, Clay Bellinger, Jose Vizcaino, Jim Leyritz, Chris Turner, Enrique Wilson, Todd Greene, Ron Coomer, Chris Widger, John Flaherty, Bubba Trammell, David Dellucci, Bubba Crosby, Andy Phillips, Miguel Cairo, etc., etc.

      he played “suspect” lineups after he has the series win

      I’m not going to go through all the gamelogs from 1996 through 2007, but I’m 100% positive this is bullshit. Joe Torre played subpar players to give his starters a rest just like every other manager: when those starters needed a rest. Even if that rest was before the “all-important” series was locked in as a win.

    • steve (different one) says:

      If you know about the “day game after the night game” thing, why list I as a complaint? It’s a silly complaint.

  13. Bryan L says:

    Flat out offensive assault.

  14. Brian in North Hampshire (formerly New Hampshire) says:

    WPA of the Granderson Bunt in the 7th was +.003 and the RE24 was -.12. Statistically speaking we lost .12 expected runs on average, even if the probability adde of us winning increased…likely due to the fact that it got us closer to the end of the game with a lead.

    • Tim says:

      But we didn’t have a lead at the time of the bunt or immediately after the bunt. The game was still tied.

  15. Vandelay Industries says:

    but not every opposing team is going to go 2-for-10 with men in scoring position. Got a little lucky on Sunday.

    You’re right. Ivan Nova never will get a chance to face the Yankees while a member of this team.

  16. theyankeewarrior says:

    Great win. This team has the second best run differential in all of baseball. If they hit with RISP, and keep getting solid starts/relief work, they will stay in first all year.

  17. pat says:

    Jose Bautista has accumulated 4.3 WAR on the year. Votto and Howie Kendrick are tied for second with 2.8 each.

  18. steve (different one) says:

    Even though I do not disagree with your conclusion, isn’t Girardi getting ripped for the wrong reasons?

    IMO, Granderson’s home run total is NOT the relevant statistic to base the bunt decision on. Bringing it up seems like an emotional reaction. The relevant statistic is his OBP, and (ironically) as this article point out, his is merely average, and below average against LHP. Is it low enough to justify the bunt there? I don’t think so, but it’s not like Girardi asked Rickey Hendersen to bunt either.

    If Granderson had 20 home runs but a .200/.200/.600 line, would bunting be dumb (provided he is a competent bunter)? Maybe not. The most important thing is that he does not make an out in that situation. Even though Granderson has 16 home runs, the odds of him hitting a home run in ANY ONE PA are still very low.

    I don’t like the bunt there because it’s only the 7th inning and the game was already tied. Has Girardi bunted WAY too much this year? Absolutely. He deserves to be criticized for that, but the decision yesterday is a little more nuanced than everyone is making it out to be.

    • Klemy says:

      But his odds of making an out are really high as well, when we are terming his planned at bat as a “sacrifice”. If he’s swinging away, it doesn’t need to be a homerun to be a positive impact.

      Also, isn’t saying, “If Granderson had 20 home runs but a .200/.200/.600 line, would bunting be dumb (provided he is a competent bunter)?” creating your own argument?

      • steve (different one) says:

        Again, I’m not arguing the conclusion. I am arguing how the criticism was presented. In 2 posts, the decision was criticized and twice it was mentioned that Granderson has more home runs than anyone besides Bautista.

        The implication is that you don’t bunt with a guy who hits a lot of home runs.

        I am just saying that I think that is the wrong way to look at it. If a guys hits lots of HRs but makes a ton of outs, the math might change.

        I’m prob being pedandic, but it still struck me as a way to color the argument with emotion, I.e. “How can you bunt with a guy who SEEMS to hit a Home run every time up??”. In reality, I really want to how often he doesn’t make an out, not that some of his non-outs go over the fence.

        • V says:

          Btw, I started (but didn’t finish) a complete analysis last night.

          Obviously, estimators for the rates are needed (I was going to use current 2011 #s as a proxy for ‘true talent’), but if you know a batter’s ‘true’ walk, strikeout, groundball, flyball, line drive, % of groundballs = (outs, singles, doubles, triples), % of flyballs = (outs, singles, doubles, triples), % of line drives = (outs, singles, doubles, triples), you can estimate the probability of outcomes under the ‘bunt’ and ‘don’t bunt’ scenarios.

          If Granderson walks (9% chance), bases are loaded with no outs. If he strikes out (23% chance), 2 on and 1 out. If he hits a grounder (21% chance) there is a 22% chance he gets a hit and a 78% chance he gets an out (in other words, there’s a 5% chance he grounds a hit (assume 100% are infield hits, bases loaded nobody out) and a 16% he grounds into an out (assume 100% chance of double play, runner moving up, man on 3rd, 2 outs)

          So, outcomes before and after Granderson’s bunt (assume 100% chance of intentional walk of Teixeira).

          Before bunt:
          1) 9% chance of walk
          2) 23% chance of strikeout
          3) 5% grounds a hit
          4) 16% grounds into double play
          5) 24% chance of a flyout (assume no advancement)
          6) 8% chance of homerun
          7) 3% chance of double+ (assume Jeter can score from 1st)
          8) 3% chance of lineout (assume no one doubled up)
          9) 9% chance of lined base hit (assume 100% are singles)

          So:
          14% chance of bases loaded, nobody out,
          8% chance of 3 run HR and nobody out,
          3% chance of 2 run 2B and one on, nobody out,
          9% chance of 1 run 1B and two on, nobody out,
          50% chance of man on first and second, 1 out,
          16% chance of man on third, 2 out.

          Repeat analysis with future batters. I’ll see if I have the time tonight.

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