AJ f/x

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For the first time this season we can take a look at some Pitch f/x data and not have to try to figure out what went wrong. Except for a minor third inning hiccup, AJ Burnett handled the Orioles well yesterday afternoon, throwing 98 pitches in five and a third innings of work. You’d like to see him be more efficient, but it’s only April. Plus the ump was a little tight on the corners, which certainly didn’t help AJ or Alfredo Simon.

Those 98 pitches were made up of 59 fastballs, 34 curveballs, and just 5 sliders. Pitch f/x says he didn’t throw any changeups, which is kind of surprising, but whatever. Burnett was pretty overpowering at times, but when he missed his spots the O’s really put a charge into it. It was great to see a Yankee pitcher be able to get out of a tight spot by striking a guy or two out; in years past we were stuck watching contact oriented pitchers rely on a shotty defense to escape a jamb.

Let’s kick this off with the usual, the flight paths. Hopefully you’re familiar with these by now. Remember, click on any graph in this post for a larger view.

Bird's Eye View

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Categories : Analysis
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Happy Minor League Opening Day Day. One of my most favorite days of the year. Full lineups and pitching stats in honor of the start of the season, enjoy.

Oh, and check out that Ohlendorf kid. Good for him.

Triple-A Scranton (11-3 win over Lehigh Valley) it’s too bad Eric Duncan has been relegated to bench duties these days
Kevin Russo: 1 for 5, 2 R, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K
John Rodriguez: 0 for 3, 2 R, 2 BB, 1 K, 1 HBP, 1 E (fielding)
Todd Linden: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 1 K
Shelley Duncan: 2 for 5, 2 R, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K
Juan Miranda: 3 for 5, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBI – hit a three run homer off a lefty … boost that trade value baby!
Austin Jackson: 1 for 4, 1 RBI, 1 BB, 2 K – first career at-bat in AAA resulted in an RBI single
Justin Leone: 0 for 5, 1 K
Angel Berroa: 2 for 4, 2 R, 1 2B, 1 BB – after his hot spring, he just keeps on hitting
Kevin Cash: 2 for 3, 1 R, 2 BB, 1 PB
Jason Johnson: 4.2 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 9-1 GB/FB – 46 of 78 pitches were strikes (60.0%)
Anthony Claggett: 1.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 1-2 GB/FB – 11 of 20 pitches were strikes
Mark Melancon: 2 IP, zeroes, 3 K, 1-2 GB/FB – 19 of 26 pitches were strikes … mark it down, he’ll be up no later than May 15th
Steven Jackson: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 0-3 GB/FB – 7 of 10 pitches were strikes

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Categories : Down on the Farm
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Finally, some real baseball to talk about. We’ve been waiting all winter to talk about actual baseball, and we got it with three games this week. It didn’t start off so hot, but the landslide victory today erased all the ill emotions wrought by the first two losses. Mike and I break down what we saw in the first series of the season.

An interesting question we touch on a couple of time: If Ransom continues to look this bad — and he could certainly rebound — do you place him on waivers when A-Rod comes back and stick with Pena? There’s certainly a case for it. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that and Ransom picks it up over the next few series.

Onto the podcast. It is available in a number of formats. You can download it here by right clicking on that link and selecting Save As. Load it onto your MP3 player and listen to it on the commute home. If you want to play it in your browser, just left click the link. You can also subscribe to the podcast feed, which will send it to you every Thursday. You can also subscribe in iTunes. Finally, we have the embedded audio player below.

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Categories : Podcast
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How clutch are the Yankees? Short-sighted people said that this afternoon’s game was a “must win,” and the Yanks delivered. Powered by 13 base hits, including three home runs, they rolled over the Orioles for their first victory of the season. A.J. Burnett had a successful debut in pinstripes, going five and a third to pick up the W. The bullpen went the rest of the way without allowing a baserunner.

A.J. looked absolutely filthy in the first two innings. His fastball ran in the mid 90s, and his breaking stuff was on for the most part. He ran into a little trouble with control in the third, and was a little shaky in the fourth, but managed an easy fifth before hitting 100 pitches with one out in the sixth. The Yanks were up 7-2 at that point, and A.J.’s victory was all but assured.

Nick Swisher, 1 for 1 with a double and a walk heading into the game, took advantage of his opportunity today, going 3 for 5 with a go-ahead homer and a double. It looked like Nick Markakis had a chance to catch the homer, but a fan ended up snagging it once it was out of play. He seemed proud. I’m guessing he was a Yanks fan.

Robinson Cano continued his impressive start with a 3 for 4 performance of his own, including a walk and a home run. After a slow start last year Cano is proving it’s not an April thing. He’s 6 for 11 right now with a double, a homer, and three walks. Best of all, his plate appearances are a lot better than they were at the beginning of last year. He’s working deep counts in some ABs, and when he swings early in the count he’s usually making solid contact. It’s early, of course, just a three game sample, but it’s a welcome sight to see a more discerning Robinson Cano at the plate.

Not to be overshadowed by the offense and A.J., the bullpen did about as well as it could, tossing 3.2 perfect innings, including six strikeouts. Mark Teixeira had two hits, including a game-tying homer in the fourth, his first as a Yankee. Ramiro Pena picked up his first Major League hit in his first Major League at bat. Melky got…an at bat. Way to spoil the fun, Melky.

We’ll do it again tomorrow when Andy Pettitte takes the hill for his season debut in Kansas City for their home opener. Game time is 4:10, so plenty of us will hear John Sterling’s voice for the first time this year on our commute home. Joy.

Categories : Game Stories
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Keep the convo going here.

Categories : Game Threads
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Two days, two clunkers for the Yankees and their starting pitchers. While the team is scoring runs, the starting pitchers are doing everything but preventing them, and they’re doing so in dubious record-setting fashion.

For the first time in Yankee team history, the team’s starting pitchers have failed to strike anybody out in back-to-back games to start the season. While Chien-Ming Wang isn’t known for his K’s, this achievement speaks volumes of the lack of command exhibited by Wang and Sabathia this week.

On the season, Yanks’ starters have thrown 8 innings and have allowed 13 runs on 17 hits and eight walks. A.J. Burnett can’t really do much worse, right?

Anyway, as Burnett prepares to make his Yankee debut at 1:35 p.m. this afternoon, there have been some good signs early on this season. Johnny Damon, Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano have been on base a combined 16 times, but the trio have scored just 4 runs among them. It will all click soon enough.

So for the Yankees, A.J. Burnett will take the mound this afternoon. The Yanks signed Burnett to a five-year, $82.5 million deal in December, and at the time, Joe didn’t like it. Burnett was impressive this spring, but after watching the Yanks the last two days though, that’s a pretty useless evaluation. He throws a high-90s fastball, an excellent change-up and a great curveball. When he’s on, he’s as tough a pitcher as anyone in the AL, and he led the league in strike outs last year.

Offensively, the Yanks are shaking things up today. Nick Swisher is making his first start in pinstripes. He bats sixth and plays right field. Jose Molina is spelling Jorge Posada, and Hideki Matsui is the odd man out as Xavier Nady will be the DH and, oddly enough, the clean-up hitter. The Yanks facing Alfredo Simon, another pitcher against whom they have never hit.

Jeter SS
Damon LF
Teixeira 1B
Nady DH
Cano 2B
Swisher RF
Ransom 3B
Gardner CF
Molina C

Burnett P

Categories : Game Threads
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Over the last two days, the generally friendly Orioles fans have rained boos upon their native son. Mark Teixeira, current Yankee but a Marylander by birth, hasn’t received a very warm welcome in Charm City, and I have to wonder if perhaps the Orioles fans aren’t quite as knowledgeable about the game as I once thought them to be.

This story stretches back to this off-season. Orioles fans pretty much assumed Mark Teixeira would be theirs. Baltimore needed a big star to slot into the middle of their lineup. With an organization stocked with pitching, a stud catcher on the way and some solid pieces in place, Mark Teixeira could have drawn crowds like no Oriole had since the days of Cal, and he would have provided some veteran leadership and offensive pop for the team.

So the Orioles reportedly made a seven-year, $150-million offer to Teixeira. When the dust settled, he signed with the Yanks for one more year and a not-insignificant $30 million more. He also had higher offers on the table from at least the Red Sox and possibly the Nationals and Angels as well.

For his part, Teixeira says the boos don’t bother him. He, after all, as an Oriole fan was booed as a kid in Baltimore for wearing a Don Mattingly jersey to Yankee-Orioles games. I expect to get booed in every single visiting stadium,” Teixeira said. “The Yankees, you love ‘em or you hate ‘em. In Baltimore, you definitely don’t love ‘em.”

But that’s besides the point. The Orioles’ fans are just misdirecting their jeers. Who among them would have eschewed that extra $30 million? Who among them would have turned down another year? Who among them would have objectively picked the Orioles — with no .500 seasons since 1997 — as a winner over the Yankees?

If anything, Baltimoreans should be booing Peter Angelos. He could have had Teixeira for a few dollars more, and Teixeira — a perfect fit anywhere — would have been ideal for a franchise struggling to compete in the AL East while facing declining attendance numbers. So boo Teixeira, Baltimore. He’ll be hearing all over for years to come this year, but good luck with that whole winning thing as long as your team’s current ownership is in place.

Categories : Rants
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