I started a blog earlier today that was somewhat of a scouting report. I spent some time researching so we could have an idea of how Luis Cessa’s strengths and weaknesses matched up against the strengths and weaknesses of the Seattle lineup. Then there was an announcement that Cessa wouldn’t be starting today for the Yankees, Caleb Smith would.
Stares at laptop blankly, blinks…
So today’s blog will be a little more of random quick hits about that to which we’ll need to pay attention today. In no particular order:
Brett Gardner is leading off. Chase Headley should be. Headley’s on base percentage against right handed pitching is .382, 21 points higher against right handed pitching than Gardner’s. Gardner has 12 more home runs than Headley does against right handed pitching. I.e., in situations with no one on base, which the lead off hitter usually faces, Headley and his OBP are more valuable. In situations where a) it’s more likely someone will be on base, Gardner’s power is more valuable, and b) weaker hitters are coming up next, Gardner’s base stealing ability is more valuable. This is not atom splitting.
If the game is within two runs either way, from the 6th inning on, no one goes in until both Betances and Chapman have pitched. Then, neither comes out until a) the score changes to a lead of 3 runs or more for either team or b) they’ve reached their pitch limits. Neither pitched yesterday and this game counts as much as any other game this year, so if the game is close your best players need to be on the field. I still never cease to be amazed I need to write that last sentence…Speaking of which…
Todd Frazier has no business being in the lineup. Todd Frazier has been the equivalent of a minor league player for two plus years and going at this point. Among 41 Major League players who have played 80% or more of their games at first base or third base and have enough at bats to qualify for the batting title, Frazier is 36th in OBP and 36th in slugging percentage. 36 among 41. He is one of the worst corner infielders in the major leagues and has no business being on the field and taking away at bats from Garrett Cooper as long as Garrett Cooper is on the roster. And on somewhat of a side note, after reading mainstream media and talking to other fans in person over the past few days, I’ve been floored by the number of people who thought Frazier wasn’t awful, and in fact had something to offer the Yankees.
The first guy out of the Yankee bullpen today needs to be a righty. I expect Smith to pitch well, but in the event he doesn’t the first guy out of the pen needs to be a righty. Another one of Joe Girardi’s lesser known inabilities, is his inability to be aware of platoon splits. The very advanced concepts and complexities of right handed vs. left handed (cough…sarcasm…cough…) is something any teenager who played Strat-o-Matic baseball could have explained to you in 1984. When there is a lineup that is set up to face a left handed starting pitcher, bringing in a right handed pitcher gives you a platoon advantage for at least one trip through the lineup. This gives you a massive advantage for 2 or 3 innings and Joey Bullpen rarely uses it to the Yankees advantage.
As always, thanks to Baseball Reference and Fangraphs for the statistics.