May
09

The 2011 Yankee Killers

By

Great players are great for a reason, and there’s only so much you can do to contain them. We just watched Miguel Cabrera thoroughly manhandle Yankees’ pitching for four games last week, unsurprising since he’s a phenomenal player on a career path that usually points to Cooperstown. So, naturally, I bitched and moaned every time the Yankees didn’t pitch around him with runners on base, just like I have all season whenever they’ve opted to pitch to the other team’s best player with ducks on the pond.

The above table recaps how the opponent’s top hitter performed against the Yankees in each series they’ve played this year. Cherry picking? Of course, I don’t think any of us really thinks that Dustin Pedroia is the best hitter on the Red Sox, but he sure looked like it during that series in Boston a few weeks ago. The point is that there always seems to be that one guy on the other team that just destroys the Yankees in any given series. Overall, the other clubs’ best players have combined for a .466 wOBA (six homers) against New York in 134 plate appearances this year. Alex Rodriguez had a .446 wOBA in 2007, for reference. All other hitters have combined for a measly .293 wOBA during that time, which is 2007 Miguel Cairo. Yeah, it’s a big difference.

Where am I going with this? I have no idea, just thought it was an interesting nugget to share. I didn’t think the gap would be that big, frankly. It’s easy to say the Yankees need to do a better job of pitching to the other team’s best players, but sheesh, we all know it’s not that simple. Should they maybe be a little more liberal with intentional walks, especially when you have Ryan Raburn protecting Miggy or the hacktastic Adam Jones behind Luke Scott? Yeah, probably. I’m not a fan of giving out free baserunners, but I’m even less of a fan of letting the opponent’s one huge bat beat you.

Categories : Pitching

34 Comments»

  1. Luke Scott being at the bottom of that list, twice… well, that makes me smile.

    (ducks Luke Scott’s horde of semi-automatic weapons and plantain chips)

  2. MannyGeee says:

    Great players are great for a reason, and there’s only so much you can do to contain them.

    Yet Micheal Young…

    /baffled

  3. bexarama says:

    IBBs are fine in some situations – I never really mind IBBing Miggy or Bautista – but people tend to go a little crazy with them. IBBing Pedroia with that Boston lineup would be silly, IMO, and that’s if he he was hitting well which he isn’t so far this year. And Michael Young is Michael Young. Even with Cruz and Hamilton gone, he’s not a guy you fear. So he’s had some good games against the Yankees… I don’t think he’s the person you give the IBB treatment to. (Only kind of related: Ian Kinsler is 0-for-22 against the Yankees this year with a .179 OBP against them.)

    Also, Miggy has a .302 wOBA against the Yankees? Huh, that’s… not that impressive.

  4. Who was the intentional walk from the “everyone else” category? I can’t remember.

    Morneau? Ordoñez? Lind? Hamilton? Dunn? Gonzalez?

  5. Jorge says:

    Other than Mauer, that reads as a list of players that make me want to hurl on sight.

    May Luke Scott be exiled to a land of failed pitching prospects and Peter Angelos forever.

  6. bakekrukow412 says:

    Remember Trot Nixon? He seemed to always be a Yankee killer when he was with the Sux.

    • Mister Delaware says:

      I refuse to ever give full credit to a platoon player. There’s an unstated 2 for everything hypothetical 10 on Nixon’s ledger as far as I’m concerned. Hated him.

    • JGS says:

      Not really, he just had a couple of particularly big hits.

      Trot Nixon, career: .274/.364/.464/.828 (wow, that’s better than I remember).

      Trot Nixon vs. NYY, career: .246/.350/.406/.756.

      He did however, hit .333/.429/.750 in the 2003 ALCS, with three home runs in the final four games, including a ninth inning homer that put game 6 out of reach, and a solo shot that made it 4-0 in Game 7.

      • bakekrukow412 says:

        I remember that homer, actually MLB Network just had on that whole game, and they had Bernie, Boone, and Pedro there for commentary.

        Funny with all the technology available to us now, we can look these stats up so fast. I always remember him being on of those annoying guys who was always up, and always got a hit. But looking back that whole 2003 Sox team reeks of steroid use now.

      • bexarama says:

        He also hit Clemens really well: .400/.500/.950 in 48 ABs. (And he never had a PA against Clemens outside when Clemens was on NYY and he was on BOS.)

        His name is still Trot Nixon, however

        • Rick in Boston says:

          If memory serves me right, Nixon hit the homer in the epic Clemens/Pedro showdown on Sunday Night baseball in that happened sometime between ’99 and ’01.

        • Accent Shallow says:

          And he’s still a horse’s ass.

  7. Guns of the Navarone (a mushroom cloud layin' muthafucka, muthafucka) says:

    I thought the Yankees did a great job with Cabrera in the second series. He’s just literally the best hitter in the AL right now. He hit a lot of great pitches that just made me shrug my shoulders and tip my cap.

  8. forensic says:

    Pedroia in that series was maybe the most frustrating one of the season so far. Nobody’s really noticing because he pumped up his numbers so much in just those 3 games, but he’s having a pretty terrible season so far:

    3 games vs. Yanks: .692/.733/1.154, 3 doubles, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 1 K
    30 games vs. Others: .184/.307/.219, 1 double, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 25 K

  9. Monteroisdinero says:

    I fear Yankee killers who are on the mound more. Even Joe G can binder his way out of these hitters with a little help from his RAB friends on his laptop.

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