Yankeemetrics: West Coast mess (May 28-31)

Can I get some help, guys? (Ben Margot/AP)
Can I get some help, guys? (Ben Margot/AP)

As Mike wrote on Thursday night (actually Friday morning), the Yankees series-opening defeat was not just a bad loss, it was a Bad Loss. How Bad, really? Sure, the Yankees squandered a three-run lead to the team with the worst record in baseball … but that doesn’t even begin to explain the extent of the Bad-ness.

Entering the game, Oakland:
• was 0-5 on Thursdays this season;
• had lost its last 10 games started by a left-handed pitcher;
• was 2-15 in one-run games this season, on pace to be worst such record by any team in the modern era (since 1900);
• had lost last its 12 home games decided by one run, the longest such streak since the 1894 Cubs (not a typo)

CC Sabathia didn’t pitch as poorly as his numbers in the box score, but regardless fell to 2-7 with a 5.67 ERA in 10 starts this season. He is the first Yankee with seven losses before the team’s 50th game of the season since Tommy John in 1989.

The 46-year-old southpaw had an eerily similar line to Sabathia’s after 10 starts (and the 44th game of the season), with a 5.80 ERA and 2-7 record. He was released by the Yankees after that 10th start against the Angels on May 25, and wouldn’t pitch in another major-league game in his career. Welp.

No chance
Sometimes mismatches on paper turn out to be … mismatches on the field, too. And that’s exactly what happened on Friday night in the Yankees 6-2 loss to Sonny Gray and the A’s.

Sonny Gray, an early Cy Young candidate, held the Yankees to four hits over eight innings. He’s the first A’s pitcher to allow fewer than five hits in eight-or-more innings pitched against the Yankees since Mark Mulder on May 11, 2003.

If you’re looking for highlights, look no further than the bat of Brian McCann, who extended his streak of games with a homer to four. He is just the fourth Yankee catcher to hit a home run in four straight games, joining Bill Dickey, Yogi Berra and Mike Stanley.

Belting it
The Yankees snapped a four-game losing streak in Oakland with a come-from-behind win on Saturday night. Entering the game, they had lost 11 of their last 12 games at the Coliseum, their worst 12-game stretch there since 1989-91.

Carlos Beltran was the hero with his two-run homer in the sixth inning that turned a 3-2 deficit into a 4-3 lead for the Yankees. Before Saturday, Beltran had just three homers in 154 at-bats in Oakland, his lowest homer rate (one every 51 at-bats) at any ballpark he’d played at least 25 games.

McCann gave the Yankees the early 1-0 lead with a first-inning RBI single. It was his eighth straight game with a hit and an RBI, matching Allen Robinson (1946) and Yogi (1956) for the longest such streak by a Yankee catcher in franchise history.

One bad pitch
The Yankees wasted another strong outing by Adam Warren on Sunday afternoon, losing 3-0 to the A’s in the series finale.

Warren surrendered just two runs over seven innings, and his only mistake was a 1-1 fastball in the sixth frame that Stephen Vogt sent over the right field fence. He’s now got a 2.70 ERA in his last four starts, but the Yankees have won just one of those four games. Overall this season, Warren has six starts allowing no more than three runs without getting a win; the only AL pitcher with more such “hard-luck” starts is Baltimore’s Wei-Yin Chen (7).

Jesse Chavez put the Yankees’ bats on ice, holding them without a run over eight innings. He’s the first A’s pitcher to throw eight scoreless innings against the Yankees at home since Steve Ontiveros tossed a one-hit shutout nearly 20 years ago on May 27, 1995. Chavez also joined Vida Blue (1976) as the only pitchers to not allow a run or a walk with at least eight innings pitched against the Yankees in Oakland since the team moved to the west coast in 1968.

Fan Confidence Poll: June 1st, 2015

Record Last Week: 4-3 (34 RS, 21 RA)
Season Record: 26-25 (228 RS, 218 RA, 27-24 pythag. record)
Opponents This Week: @ Mariners (three games, Mon. to Weds.), Thurs. OFF, vs. Angels (three games, Fri. to Sun.)

Top stories from last week:

Please take a second to answer the poll below and give us an idea of how confident you are in the team. You can view the interactive Fan Confidence Graph anytime via the nav bar above, or by clicking here. Thanks in advance for voting.

Given the team's current roster construction, farm system, management, etc., how confident are you in the Yankees' overall future?

Yanks waste Warren’s strong outing, drop finale 3-0 to A’s

Source: FanGraphs

Well that was a total letdown. The Yankees wasted Adam Warren‘s strong pitching performance because they couldn’t muster anything against Jesse Chavez, who threw 42 pitches in the first two innings and 68 in the next six. The final score was 3-0 Athletics. Let’s recap:

  • Not A Reliever: At this point the Yankees would be nuts to take Warren out of the rotation. He held Oakland to two runs in seven effective innings for his fourth consecutive strong start, with both runs coming on a two-run homer by Stephen Vogt, who has been one of the best hitters in baseball this year. It looked like a jam shot pop-up off the bat, but it kept carrying and carrying. Warren’s been really good the last four times out. He’s a starter.
  • Shutout: The Yankees scattered eight hits in the game, and four of the eight came in the first two innings. Mark Teixeira struck out and Carlos Beltran grounded out with two on to end the first, and Jose Pirela lined into a bad luck double play with two on in the second. The Yankees did not have another runner make it as far as second base until the ninth inning, when Alex Rodriguez singled and Beltran walked to bring the tying run to the plate with one out. Unfortunately, Brian McCann struck out and Garrett Jones fouled out to end the game. Womp womp.
  • Leftovers: Esmil Rogers and Jacob Lindgren combined to allow an insurance run in the eighth. Rogers put runners on the corners with two singles and Lindgren allowed a sac fly … Ramon Flores went 1-3, picking up his first MLB hit on a little ground ball single through the left side of the infield leading off the second … A-Rod and Didi Gregorius both had two hits.

Here’s the box score, video highlights, updated standings, Bullpen Workload page, and Announcer Standings page. The Yankees are done with the Athletics — did you know they’re 2-8 in the O.co Coliseum the last three seasons? true story — and now head up to Seattle for a three-game set against Robbie Cano and the Mariners. Former Mariner Michael Pineda will pitch against his former team for the first time Monday night. His opponent? Felix Hernandez.

Sunday Night Open Thread

The Yankees lost to the Athletics for the third time in four games earlier this afternoon, and they’ve won just five times in this last 18 games. And yet somehow they are still tied for first place in the AL East. Baseball has become just one giant blob of thoroughly mediocre teams. What a bore.

Anyway, here is tonight’s open thread. The ESPN Sunday Night Game is the Tigers and Angels (Price vs. Shoemaker), and that’s about it for spots. Talk about that game or anything else right here.

DotF: Luis Severino makes Triple-A debut, Brendan Ryan begins rehab assignment

Triple-A Scranton (7-2 loss to Norfolk)

  • CF Mason Williams: 1-5, 2 K
  • LF Ben Gamel: 2-5, 1 3B, 2 K — 23-for-67 (.343) in his last 17 games
  • 2B Rob Refsnyder: 0-4, 2 K
  • C Austin Romine: 1-4, 1 R, 1 2B
  • RF Tyler Austin: 0-2, 1 R, 2 BB, 1 K — he’s going to start hitting at some point, right?
  • RHP Luis Severino: 4.1 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 4/4 GB/FB — 57 of 91 pitches were strikes (63%), plus he picked a runner off first … a little inefficient but not awful for his first career Triple-A start, especially since he’s roughly six years longer than the average International League player
  • LHP Tyler Webb: 1.2 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 1/2 GB/FB — 22 of 27 pitches were strikes (81%)
  • RHP Nick Rumbelow: 2 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 4/0 GB/FB — 19 of 31 pitches were strikes (61%) … he’s allowed 16 runs in 26 innings this year after allowing 17 runs in 58.1 innings last year
  • RHP Jose Ramirez: 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K, 2/0 GB/FB — 17 of 24 pitches were strikes (71%)

[Read more…]

Game 51: Split


I don’t know how many people hung around to watch last night, but the Yankees grabbed a nice come from behind win over the Athletics and now have a chance to earn a split of this four-game series. All things considered, I’ll take it. Winning a four-game series is pretty tough — the Yankees did do it twice earlier this year — so getting a split is acceptable.

Adam Warren will be on the mound this afternoon looking to continue his recent run of success. His last three starts have been really good — combined 19.2 IP, 13 H, 7 R, 6 ER, 5 BB, 16 K — and he’s pitched into the seventh inning each time. Warren seems to be getting more comfortable as a big league starter each time out. Nice to see. Here is the A’s lineup and here is the Yanks’ lineup:

  1. LF Brett Gardner
  2. 3B Chase Headley
  3. DH Alex Rodriguez
  4. 1B Mark Teixeira
  5. RF Carlos Beltran
  6. LF Ramon Flores
  7. C John Ryan Murphy
  8. SS Didi Gregorius
  9. 2B Jose Pirela
    RHP Adam Warren

It’s nice and sunny in the East Bay this afternoon. Today’s game will begin at 4:05pm and can be seen on YES. Enjoy.

Roster Move: Chris Martin (elbow) was activated off the 15-day DL and optioned to Triple-A Scranton, the Yankees announced. I’m moderately surprised because the Yankees clearly like Martin. Good example of a fringe roster guy losing his spot to injury. Sucks.

McCann’s May

A predictable thing happens when you don’t look at a player’s statline for a while; it changes. As the year goes on, those changes get less drastic as plate appearances rack up and their results have minimal impact on rate stats like BA, OBP, SLG, wOBA, etc. And though May is about to end, we’re still early enough that things can change pretty drastically if you don’t look for a while. Of course, it helps if you end the month on a big time power surge, hitting homers in four of the last five games like Brian McCann has.

After his home run streak, not including last night’s game, the McCannibal’s season line sits at .253/.319/.473 with a .339 wOBA and a 115 wRC+. The last time I looked at McCann’s line, his wRC+ was stuck somewhere in the high 80s. While the average, OBP, and wOBA are below his career lines, his 115 wRC+ is actually one point above his career mark. That places him third in the AL among qualified catchers in terms of wRC+. There are only four qualifiers at catcher in the AL this year–McCann, Stephen Vogt (184!); Russell Martin (133); and Salvador Perez (106)–and they’re all hitting pretty well. The average AL catcher (not including McCann’s numbers) is putting up a .293 wOBA this year, so not only is McCann above the league average at the plate this year, he’s also obliterating what all but three other catchers in the AL are doing.

If we take a look at the gamelogs, the fifth month of the year was a tale of two Mays for McCann. From May 1 to May 24, McCann reached base just 20 times in 77 PAs and his line was pretty ugly: .203/.260/.319/.579. Then, to end the month, he absolutely exploded and hit homers in four straight games from the 25th to the 29th, raising his monthly line to .244/.319/.488/.807. In April, he hit .266/.319/.453, so May was slightly better, thanks to the home run binge. Now, that binge “taints” what was a bad May, but we can’t pretend it didn’t happen, so let’s hop on over to Brooks Baseball and investigate something that helped McCann get to where he is now.

In April , McCann saw mostly fastballs and, for the most part, he handled them. He hit .333 against them with a .482 slugging percentage (.148 ISo, .348 BABIP), including one homer. He’s continued that in May, though in a slightly different manner. His .304 average against heaters is a big drop off, but he’s smacking them around and out of the park more: .870 SLG; .565 ISO; four home runs–two of those came in the stretch from the 25-29th, two of them didn’t.

Looking farther down on that chart, you’ll notice a big improvement against sliders. Opponents threw just 40 sliders to McCann in April, and he didn’t do a lot with them. He hit just .125 against them with a .000 ISO. In May, opponents must have picked up on his April struggles against the pitch, and challenged McCann with sliders, throwing him 65.  Against sliders this month, McCann has hit .267 with three singles and a home run. The sample isn’t huge, but it does show some recognition of a problem that McCann adjusted to this month.

McCann’s tenure in pinstripes has been odd for sure. Taking the long view, he’s hit well for a catcher and despite some blocking troubles this season, has been more than fine behind the plate. Still, there’s a sense that McCann isn’t doing as well as he could be or that he’s somehow not living up to the lofty expectations we hoisted onto him when he signed with the team prior to last year. The McCann we’ve seen so far is probably the McCann we’re going to see going forward–some ugly stretches and some bursts of power–and that’s okay. Catchers, like always, are hitting poorly in 2015 and McCann is more than likely to outpace what the average AL catcher puts out; adding in his solid defense and that’s something we can be happy with going forward.