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Elimination Day

[ 76 ] October 6, 2011 |

…for someone. Hopefully the home team. If I wanted to be optimistic, I could point out that while the Yankee starter in Game 4 was a better bet than the basic numbers might indicate, Nova is worse. 5.4 K/9, with a less than 2-1 K/W ratio, ain’t that good, and his low HR rate in that park screams “fluke.” The Tigers do have some power and might be able to get to him. Fister isn’t a great bet either, but he gets a few more Ks and has much better command. What I don’t like about the game is that the Yankees have a very deep and very rested bullpen, so if Nova doesn’t have anything the Yanks aren’t a lot worse off. They can use their ace and the Tigers can’t, Rivera is better than Valverde, Roberston better than Benoit, etc. It’s hard to think this will work out.

It’s also NHL opening Night; congrats to the Bruins fans out their on banner-raising day and performing such an invaluable service to humanity last June. I have to object to the characterization of the Flames as “most likely to disappoint.” This implies that someone expects them to be good…

And on that second optimistic note, let’s call this an open thread.

…Giradri managing like he’s in a Tony LaRussa wet dream. I actually think cutting bait on Nova was a good idea but platoon matchups with 1 on in the 4th might be a bit much.

…Trying to watch hockey to avoid watching the Yankees take lead you really absorb the fact that the mean Yankee half-inning is about 90 minutes.

…would feel better about this lead if Tigers didn’t strike out on terrible pitches at least twice an inning. And 3 runs ain’t going to hold up if they need 5 innings from the bullpen.

…49-for-49 my ass, this is terrifying. And I think we can be pretty safe in assuming the Yankees won’t be first-pitch swinging.

…woo-hoo! Congrats Tigers, and time to break out the good stuff.

Comments (76)

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  1. Linnaeus says:

    I’ll be cheering for my Tigers, but I were I betting man, I’d have to go with the Yankees.

  2. 4jkb4ia says:

    Ya gotta believe!

  3. 4jkb4ia says:

    (Instead of having access to the TV I will have to visit the grocery store to get quinces, chicken etc.)

  4. howard says:

    For the second key game in a row, i’ll be on a plane but i’m nowherr near as confident in the yanks as the yank haters are!

    Meanwhile i’ll just again note that despite texeira doing zilch in more than 100I postseason plate appearances as a yank, it never gets mentioned, while arod gets dissed every postseason ohfer….

    • howard says:

      so i missed the game, but i can read the box score: fundamentally, arod, texeira, jeter, and swisher collectively did next to nothing with the bat the entire series.

      power to the tigers….

      • John Protevi says:

        Howard, I salute your sportsmanship.

        • howard says:

          john, when theirs’n beat yours’n fair and square there’s nothing to do but congratulate ‘em and figure out how to get better next year (since, for the yanks, that will require the discovery of the fountain of youth, it’s going to be a tough haul).

  5. Scott Lemieux says:

    Have I mentioned lately how much I like Delmon Young’s approach at the plate?

  6. gorillagogo says:

    On the NHL front, who in their right mind scheduled the Penguins to open the season on the road in Vancouver? The game doesn’t start until 10 PM! On opening day! Aargh.

  7. Scott Lemieux says:

    Jesus, the Tigers swing at a lot of terrible pitches.

  8. Scott Lemieux says:

    Smart move by Girardi. Nova had shit.

  9. Morbo says:

    For crying out loud with the bunts.

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      Although if Kelly is going to swing at 3-2 pitches a foot and a half out of the strike zone it can make the nutty strategy look OK.

  10. wengler says:

    Captain Cheeseburger with the K.

    The Yanks only need about 9 more pitchers to finish this one out in 9.

  11. c u n d gulag says:

    3-0 now thanks to Martinez, after Grandy,who made two great plays the other night, bobbles a hard liner to center.

    Think the Sawx wish they’d kept Martinez this year?

    And Howard’s right, Tex ain’t done shit in his 3 years in the Playoffs and WS.

    CC – 3 K’s, 2 sinlges, 1 run.

    They Yanks better score soon. And a lot. If this game’s tied in the 9th, and say The Hammer of God’s already gone two innings, who pitches the extra innings?
    Maybe Whitey Ford was in the house for some Yankee pregame ritual.

  12. Anderson says:

    Yankees look like they’re heading for the beach this weekend.

  13. JB2 says:

    Tygs still need nine tough outs; Max or Benoit in the 7th?

  14. Richard says:

    He walked Texeira with the bases loaded. Holy Christ

  15. Scott Lemieux says:

    Whew. But I’ll say it again — Tigers need more runs. Not getting two more scoreless innings from this bullpen.

  16. JB2 says:

    I love my Tigers more than life itself; we need 6 very tough outs. Godspeed Joaquin.

  17. Morbo says:

    Is it my bias, or are the announcers insufferable?

  18. 4jkb4ia says:

    My husband had a big headache, so I couldn’t go to the grocery store. But I can make it tomorrow morning.

    Valverde v. Granderson is this whole game.

  19. Scott Lemieux says:

    SO the only way the Tigers get more than a run for Valverde to work with is if the bottom of the lineup scores against the best postseason pitcher ever. Goody.

  20. Scott Lemieux says:

    2 pitches, 2 outs. I remain utterly confident that the Tigers will lose, in part because that won’t happen in the bottom of the inning.

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      Glad to be wrong! Great as he is, Cano does have a bad approach sometimes. Now get Slappy.

      • howard says:

        scott, i have a theory (partly based on posada, who has enough plate appearances post-season to be meaningful) that two types of hitters are likely, long term, to underperform in the postseason.

        one is the type known as “catchers,” since they are likely to be tired (this is the posada aspect).

        the other, about which i’m less definite, are hitters who lack strong strike zone command, and while cano (who is the source of this aspect of the theory) has come a long way on his strike-zone command, he is still, fundamentally, a 1970s pittsburgh pirate type hitter: he is up there to swing, batter!

        • Scott Lemieux says:

          Interesting. OTOH, Cano has done better than Teixeira or Swisher, both very disciplined hitters, so who knows. It is interesting that a washed-up Posada had a terrific series after not catching all year.

          Anyway, I’ll be on the hook to Planned Parenthood this time, so that’s a little consolation. :)

          • howard says:

            scott, just to pursue the point for you, me, and the other handful of fanatics still reading:

            i’ve long been interested in the question of whether, given a large enough sample size, individual post-season performance would normalize to regular season performance.

            my baseline assumption is that you’ve got both better pitchers and hitters in the post-season than you’ve got in the regular season overall, so therefore, they should cancel and we should see normalized performance.

            of course, historically there wasn’t enough of a sample size to examine, but now, there’s at least a handful of yanks (jeter, bernie, posada, pettite, rivera) who have enough data points to examine.

            jeter, bernie, and pettite all pretty much do perform to their norms; rivera, of course, outperforms his norm.

            and posada, in what is now 492 post-season plate appearances, is 100 points of ops lower in the postseason (the difference, primarily, is in power: his post-season isolated power is 38 points lower; his obp is 16 points lower).

            so that led me to the first part of the theory: it’s a very long season for catchers. (this would be easy enough for a true data fanatic to test, as it would be possible to crunch all post-season numbers aggregately by position and compare them to the teams’ performance by position aggregately during the regular season, but i’m not the data maven to do it).

            and then we have the case of cano, who in 176 post-season plate appearnce is 45 ops points lower, which led me to the strike zone command theory (interestingly, as cano’s strike zone command has improved, so has his post-season performance: over his last 60 post-season plate appearances, his ops is 1.066, as opposed to an ops of .533 in his previous 116 plate appearances).

            as for the likes of swisher and texeira, who have drastically underperformed as postseason yanks, i suspect that really is small sample size, although some around the yanks think swisher gets too revved up in the postseason and loses some of his normal plate discipline.

            anyhow, given the current gop attacks on planned parenthood, i’m happy to give my part for the regular season and you can do your part for this….

            • Anonymous says:

              Howard, as a fellow Yanks fan, I would point you to Cano’s BB-K ratio this year; neither that nor the more granular data at bb-ref supports your narrative (one which I was tempted by last night.)

              Also, Tex and Swish have stunk in the postseason period, not just in pinstripes….but it really is just the breaks. The 2000-2012 Yankees have underachieved, but look at the 1990s. What ya gonna do?

              • howard says:

                anonymous, let’s pursue the point.

                my primary contention is that cano will always be a free swinger. i assume you’re not disagreeing with that.

                my secondary contention, based on both watching lots of games and on the stats, is that cano has noticeably better command of the strike zone today than he did as a young player.

                for example, his first 4 seasons, he averaged a walk every 23.8 plate appearances; his last 3 he averaged a walk every 15.7 plate appearances.

                in addition, he is driving the ball better, which again suggests better strike zone command: his isolated power numbers his first 4 years were .161, .183, .182, and .137. the last 3 they’ve been .200, .215, and .231.

                (as a side note, i believe his k rate is up because he is trying to drive the ball for more power and therefore taking more swings and misses)

                his average ops+ his first 4 years was 109 (if i remove his awful 4th season, it goes to 117); his average ops the last 3 years has been 130.

                in short, i think there’s lots of evidence that cano has better command of the strike zone than he once did: he walks more often and his isolated power is up considerably.

                p.s. texeira (20 plate appearances) and swisher (33) have such small non-yankee post-season stats that i truly don’t much care about them, but even if we add them in, i believe the same thing: if they had enough plate appearances, the numbers would probably normalize….

                • howard says:

                  anonymous, truth is, i had a break and couldn’t resist one more data point for you.

                  over cano’s first four years, his line drive rate was 19.2%, with a single season high of 20.2% (his otherwise pretty crummy 2008).

                  over his last 3, it’s been 21.9%, with a low of 21.3%, and this year’s career high of 22.9%.

                  this, too, i think speaks for the fact that his overall command of the strike zone has improved over the last 3 years compared to his first 4.

  21. 4jkb4ia says:

    Scott, we’ve seen this movie before.

  22. wengler says:

    And A-Rod did strike out.

  23. 4jkb4ia says:

    The Yankees lose so seldom you have to celebrate every single time–W.P. Kinsella

  24. Linnaeus says:

    So, I was wrong. I have no problem admitting that. At all.

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      YEs, painful as it is I must concede my conception of the arc of this game turned out to be erroneous. How tragic.

  25. Scott Lemieux says:

    Awesome! 2 killer Ks from Slappy.

  26. JB2 says:

    PAPA!!!!

    Tough game to sit through; never thought my guys had a chance until strike 3.

  27. rea says:

    Woo! Hoo!

  28. Morbo says:

    What a crazy series, Cabrera hits .200; Martinez .222; Perralta .222; Avila .062. Tell me that and I would think it was Yankees in 3, but Kelly hit .364; Young hit .316 (and 3 homers); Maggs hit .455; Inge hit .429. Man…

    • howard says:

      of course, morbo, as i noted above, arod, texeira, jeter, and swisher had equally poor series, and no one picked up the slack quite as much on the yankee side….

  29. ADS says:

    The ghost of Steve Gilliard is smiling….

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