Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Jon Lannan Stymies The Yankee Offense, Yanks Lose 3-2

Tonight's 3-2 loss to the Nationals pretty much sucks the big one. You never want to lose to a team that would be 21 games or so behind you if they were in your division, and definitely if they're that far back in June. There's not much to say about the game itself. Chien-Ming Wang's start was average. It wasn't bad. It wasn't good. I agree with the C+ grade that Kay and Flaherty gave him. This was a big game for the Wanger. His spot in the rotation was riding on it. I think he did enough to get another start. I'd expect him to.

The Yankees offense just couldn't get it going. I know that this is the Nationals but John Lannan is the real deal. He's not a slouch and many think of him as a perennial Cy Young contender. He's a great pitcher and is just in a bad position playing for the Nats. This loss would sting a lot more if it were anybody else.

There's been quite a bit of discussion lately about the Yankees and their perceived inability to hit guys they've never seen before. I've written about it several times over the years. After work today, as I was waiting to go to softball, I started looking at how the Yankees have fared against starters they've never faced. I put some data together to see if perception was reality. It was a manual process. I went through every box score, looking at the starter and checking game logs to see if they faced off against the Yanks. All the stats were pulled from the box scores, so it is possible I made an error or overlooked something.

By my count, the Yankees have faced 12 starters this year that they haven't faced before. I didn't count today's start against Lannan or when they faced Anthony Reyes. Both guys have close to 300 innings under their belt and that's enough for a good scouting report. Here are some stats for the 12 guys. If I missed someone, or if you catch an error, let me know and I'll correct it. Check these stats out and decide for yourself:

  1. Koji Uehara: 5-21 (.238) - was 1st ML start, Yanks lost 7-5
  2. Alfredo Simon: 4-19 (.211) - had previously pitched 13 ML innings, Yanks won 11-2
  3. Brett Anderson: 9-25 (.360) - 3rd career ML start, Yanks won 9-7, left with 7-5 lead
  4. Rick Porcello: 6-17 (.353) -4th career ML start, Yanks won 8-6
  5. Anthony Ortega: 8-26 (.308) - 2nd career ML start, Yanks won 7-4, left 4-4 tie
  6. Matt Palmer: 3-22 (.136) - 5th career ML start, Yanks lost 8-4
  7. Jeff Niemann: 3-12 (.250) - 8th career ML start, Yanks lost 8-6, left with 4-2 lead
  8. Scott Richmond: 7-12 (.583) - 12th career ML start, Yanks won 8-2
  9. Brad Bergesen: 3-21 (.143) - 5th career ML start, Yanks won 9-1
  10. J.A. Happ: 4-21 (.190) - 6th career ML start, Yanks won 5-4, left with 4-2 lead
  11. Fernando Nieve: 4-24 (.167) - had previously pitched 109 ML innings, Yanks lost 6-2
  12. Shairon Martis: 4-21 (.190) - 17th career ML start, Yanks won 5-3, left with 3-2 lead
  • The Yanks record in those 12 games is 8-4, with 5 wins coming off bullpen.
  • As a team, the Yanks hit 60-241 (.249)
  • They hit under .200 in 5 of the 12 games, and over .250 in 4 of the 12 games with lowest if those 4 being .308.
  • Opposing pitchers threw 61.2 innings w/ERA of 5.25 and WHIP of 1.36
  • If you remove the worst start by Richmond, they hit .231, WHIP 1.25, ERA 4.65
  • If you also remove the Porcello start, they hit .222, WHIP 1.17, ERA 4.00. They hit .222 in 10 of the 12 starts.
  • If you remove the best start (Palmer) and the worst start (Richmond), they hit .242, WHIP 1.30, 5.03 ERA
  • 8 of the 38 runs they were charged with were given up be RPs.
  • Surprisingly, they only struck out 25 times

If you add in the start by Anthony Reyes, the numbers don't change much. The Yanks hit .250 off him and won the game but it came off the bullpen. Obviously if you add in today's start by Lannan, they get even worse.

I think the numbers show they struggle. Beating only 4 of the 12 SPs with a combined .249 average is struggling in my book. It's .222 in 10 of the 12 games. And again, I quickly put this together so it may not be 100% accurate. I'm 98% positive I caught everyone and got the numbers right. I didn't include RPs because quite frankly, I don't have the time for that.

So what do you think? Fact or fiction: the Yankees struggle against starters they've never faced? If you think it's fact, why do you think they struggle? Lack of preparation? Poor scouting? Whose fault is it? Kevin Long? The players? The scouts? I think it's probably a combo of all three. That's my theory anyway.

The Yanks face a guy named Craig Stammen tomorrow. It'll be his 6th career start. One can only imagine how this will go.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,