Looking back at recent complete game shutouts

After going an AL record 341 games between nine-inning complete games, the Yankees have received two such efforts in the last week. CC Sabathia did the honors against the Blue Jays last Tuesday and Bartolo Colon did the same to the Athletics yesterday, but you might remember that Sabathia’s was not a shutout. He allowed four runs in the early innings of that game before settling down. A big reason why the Yankees have had so few complete games (shutouts or otherwise) in recent years is Mariano Rivera, and that’s a pretty damn good reason. In honor of Colon’s gem, let’s look back at the last five complete game shutouts thrown by Yankees’ pitchers.

(AP Photo/Rob Carr)

CC Sabathia (May 8th, 2009 vs. Orioles)

This game is more memorable for Alex Rodriguez than Sabathia. After missing the first 28 games of the season due to his hip surgery, A-Rod returned to the lineup in Baltimore and promptly hit a three run homerun on the first pitch in his first at-bat. That swing gave the Yankees a lead Sabathia would protect for all nine innings, allowing four hits and a walk on 112 pitches. Two of those hits led off the ninth, but CC rebounded to punch out the next three for outs numbers 25, 26, and 27. This was Sabathia’s “welcome to New York” moment of sorts; he came into the game with a 4.85 ERA and the Yankees were just 2-4 in his starts. (Game Score: 86)

(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Chien-Ming Wang (July 28th, 2006 vs. Devil Rays)

Two years before his career effectively ended while running the bases in Houston (sob sob), CMW tossed nine shutout and fairly typical CMW innings against the team former known as the Devil Rays at home. He struck out just one of the 30 batters he faced, getting 19 ground ball outs and seven in the air. Tampa didn’t put a man on base until the fifth inning, when they got one of their two hits. It was vintage Chien-Ming Wang, he threw just 104 pitches thanks to the impatient Devil Rays’ batters. (Game Score: 82)

(AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Aaron Small (Sept. 3rd, 2005 vs. Athletics)

Yep, Aaron Small. Fun fact: He made just nine starts in 2005 despite that 10-0 record. The other win came in long relief. The Yankees gave Small just one run of support through the first six innings, so his margin for error was small. He allowed five hits and two walks on 112 pitches, but only once did Oakland have two runners on base at the same time. Small struck out just three, getting most of the other outs in the air and on line drives. Good thing he was pitching in spacious Whatever They Called It Back Then Coliseum. (Game Score: 78).

Mike Mussina (June 14th, 2005 vs. Pirates)

It wasn’t until the fifth inning that the Pirates put someone on base, and Bernie Williams saved the shutout by throwing a runner out at the plate in the sixth inning. No, seriously. Bernie really threw a runner (Matt Lawton) out at the plate. Moose struck out six and walked one, surrendering five hits in this game, throwing a tidy 109 pitches in the interleague matchup. The Yankees scored seven runs before the fifth inning was over, making life a little easier for their starter. (Game Score: 82)

(AP Photo/John Froschauer)

Carl Pavano (May 17th, 2005 vs. Mariners)

Pavano didn’t do much for the Yankees, so this game was easily his best in pinstripes. This was before the days of the completely punchless Mariners offense, and Pavano allowed just five singles and a hit batsman against seven strikeouts. Two of those hits came in the fourth inning and another two came in the ninth, when the Yankees were up six-zip. This was Pavano’s ninth start of the season, and he’d make just 17 more over the next three and a half seasons with New York. (Game Score: 84)

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Moose owns four of the six complete game shutouts before those five games, with the other two going to Roger Clemens and David Wells. Boomer actually threw nine complete game shutouts in pinstripes, six more than Andy Pettitte did in 273 fewer starts. Wow. Here’s a list of all 806 CG SHO in Yankees’ history.

Colon dominates A’s in Memorial Day shutout

Like a boss. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

How did you celebrate Memorial Day? Bartolo Colon honored those who gave their lives defending this country by throwing a complete game shutout, and I doubt you did something as cool as that. The Athletics managed to hit just seven (!!!) balls out of the infield in nine innings, and two of those balls were leadoff doubles that did not come around to score. The final tally: nine innings, four hits, no walks, six strikeouts, eleven ground balls, and just 103 pitches. Amazing. That’s what Colon has been. Amazing.

As for the rest of the team … Mark Teixeira hit a first inning two-run homer, his seventh jack in eleven games. Robinson Cano doubled and tripled, Frankie Cervelli and Brett Gardner each stole two bases, and Nick Swisher even managed to reach base twice (single and a walk). Solid day all around and a textbook win. Great pitching, the long ball, and a few manufactured runs. Everyone’s happy.

The Yankees have won two in a row, four of six, six of nine, and nine of 13. They also held multi-run leads in their two most recent losses, so those games were winnable. RAB will back to normal on Tuesday, when Freddy Garcia gives it a go against Brett Anderson. Here’s the WPA graph and box score of Bartolo gem.

Betances strong in Trenton win

Triple-A Scranton (8-5 loss to Indianapolis)
Austin Krum, LF: 1 for 5, 1 R, 1 RBI
Ramiro Pena, SS: 0 for 4, 1 R, 1 BB, 3 K
Jesus Montero, DH: 2 for 4, 1 2B, 1 K
Jorge Vazquez, 1B: 0 for 4, 2 K, 1 E (missed a catch)
Justin Maxwell, CF: 0 for 3, 1 BB, 2 K
Brandon Laird, 3B, Kevin Russo, 2B & Dan Brewer, RF: all 2 for 4, 1 R – Laird and Russo doubled, Brewer whiffed and caught stealing … Laird also committed a fielding error
Gus Molina, C: 1 for 4, 1 RBI, 1 K
Adam Warren, RHP: 6 IP, 9 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 K, 1 WP, 5-6 GB/FB – 53 of 92 pitches were strikes (57.6%)
Kanekoa Texeira, RHP: 1 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 3-0 GB/FB – 20 of 32 pitches were strikes (62.5%)
George Kontos, RHP: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 2-1 GB/FB – eight of his dozen pitches were strikes

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Open Thread: It is … off the pole! See ya!

I was putting the Athletics Series Preview together last night and writing about Grant Balfour reminded me of that shot from last September. That bat speed is just ridiculous, it’s a fastball up around his eyes and Curtis Granderson still got so far out in front of it that it nearly went foul. Don’t ever change, Curtis.

Anyway, here’s your open thread for the night as you wind down from the long Memorial Day weekend. The Mets are playing the Pirates (Gee vs. Morton), and that’s pretty much it. Talk about whatever you want, go nuts.

2011 Draft: Dillon Howard

The draft is just seven days away, so between now and then I’m going to highlight some players individually rather than lump a few together in one post.

Dillon Howard | RHP

The best draft prospect in Arkansas, Howard has been on the radar for a long time thanks to his consistently impressive performances at showcase events and with summer traveling teams. He hasn’t had a great senior year at Searcy High School, but no one gets drafted based on high school stats. He’s committed to Arkansas.

Scouting Report
A 6-foot-3, 200 lb. right-hander, Howard has pitched consistently at 91-94 with a fastball that runs in on righties, and he’s gotten it up as high as 96 in the past. He could legitimately sit in the mid-90’s once he’s done growing. Howard’s breaking ball is inconsistent, resembling a curveball on some days and a slider on others, but he’s certainly shown the ability to make the ball spin. His changeup is very much a work in progress, as is his overall command despite a sound delivery. Howard is an athletic kid that played all over the infield in high school, and his passion for the game shows in his play.

Last week we heard that the Yankees are “heavily in” on Howard, who is supposedly asking for big bucks to skip out on the Razorbacks. The kid has a chance for a big time fastball with a power breaking ball, which are instant tools for success. Howard has significant upside, and adding a changeup will give him true top of the rotation ability. The draft class is deep enough that teams unwilling to meet his asking price will have viable alternatives, so it’s not impossible that he could still be around when the Yankees pick at number 51.

Keith Law and Baseball America ranked Howard as the 18th and 31st best prospect in the draft in their latest rankings.

Game 52: Memorial Day

I dunno, what do you think? They’re certainly better than those bright red monstrosities from two years ago, thought I actually liked the all-white hats from last year. They had an old timey feel to them, I guess. These two-tone hats aren’t completely awful, but I won’t be rushing out to buy one anytime soon. Here’s the lineup…

Derek Jeter, SS
Curtis Granderson, CF
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Alex Rodriguez, 3B
Robinson Cano, 2B
Jorge Posada, DH
Nick Swisher, RF
Brett Gardner, LF
Frankie Cervelli, C – Russell Martin was scratched with a sore toe

Bartolo Colon, SP

This afternoon’s game can be seen at 4:05pm ET on YES. Enjoy and happy Memorial Day.

Yankees will stay on rotation despite off day

Via Marc Carig, the Yankees intend to stay on rotation this week and will use Thursday’s off day to give the five starters an extra day of rest. That means Ivan Nova will start Friday even though he could have easily been skipped since Thursday would have been his normal day to pitch. Following Saturday’s dismantling at the hands of the Mariners, Nova has now allowed 16 runs and 39 baserunners in 18.2 IP over his last four starts. He’s also dangerously close to a sub-1.00 K/BB ratio on the year (27 K, 24 BB), and his 3.9% swing-and-miss rate is dead last among qualified starters. Meh.