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The Week in Yankeemetrics

7/22/2011

Our weekly review of the good, the bad and the odd in Yankeeland

FIRST-INNING FOLLIES

The Yankees opened the second half of the season with a four-game set north of the border against the Blue Jays. The series opener was an error-filled slugfest that resulted in a 16-7 loss for the Yanks.

Bartolo Colon threw 42 pitches but allowed an unprecedented eight runs while getting just two outs in the first inning. According to Elias, he's the fourth Yankees starter to allow at least eight runs in less than one inning pitched. The others in this illustrious group are Allan Russell (1919), Andy Hawkins (1989) and Orlando Hernandez (2000).

Overall, it was a mostly unwatchable performance by the entire pitching staff, which gave up 20 hits and 16 runs, despite not allowing a longball. From the terrific Play Index at Baseball-Reference.com, here's a bullet-point list of notes:

• It was the first time since a 1934 game against the Tigers that the Yankees gave up at least 20 hits without a homer (thanks to perennial Guest Yankeemetrician of the Week Mark Simon for that note)

• The last time the Yankees gave up at least 16 runs without a home run was 1978 versus the Indians, and the last time they did that on the road was a 1951 game against the Philadelphia Athletics.

• It was the first time since a 24-6 loss to the Indians in 1928 they gave up at least 16 runs and 20 hits, with no homers allowed.

Jo-Jo Reyes somehow got the win despite a line that included seven earned runs and just 5⅓ innings pitched. He's the first starter in the Live Ball Era (since 1920) to win a game against the Yankees, while allowing at least seven earned runs and pitching fewer than six innings.

BLUEBIRD BLOWOUT

The Yankees didn’t fare much better on Friday night, losing another blowout to the Blue Jays, 7-1. It marked the first time the Yankees lost back-to-back games by at least six runs in Toronto.

Freddy Garcia had his first bad start in pinstripes, allowing a season-high six runs (five earned) in five innings. But he was effective in getting the Jays to whiff, with 19 swings-and-misses, the third-most by a Yankee this season and the most in a loss.

SABATHIA THE STREAK-STOPPER

CC Sabathia helped the Yankees end their two-game slide after the break, as he tossed eight innings of one-run ball in the Yankees' 4-1 win over Toronto.

Most Consecutive Starts Won, 8+ K
Yankees Since 1920

He continued to state his case for the AL Cy Young, becoming the second pitcher in Yankees history with five-or-more consecutive starts of at least seven innings pitched and one-or-fewer runs allowed. Steve Kline had six such straight starts in 1972, according to Elias.

Sabathia also became the third Yankees pitcher in the last 90 seasons to win five straight starts with eight-or-more strikeouts in each outing.

BRETT THE JET

The Yankees salvaged a series split with a 7-2 win on Sunday afternoon. Brett Gardner continued his red-hot play at the plate and on the basepaths, with his second straight game of three hits and a stolen base.

He's the third Yankees outfielder in the last 20 seasons to have three hits and a stolen base in consecutive games, joining Johnny Damon (2006) and Chad Curtis (1997).

Phil Hughes had his best start since coming off the disabled list, pitching six innings and allowing two runs on four hits. Prior to the game, he'd begun the season with four straight starts of five-or-fewer innings and at least five hits allowed. Only one Yankees pitcher in the Live Ball Era had a longer streak like that to start a season: Chien-Ming Wang in 2009.

RUSSELL WINS IT WITHOUT MUSCLE

The road trip continued Monday as the Yankees headed south to Tampa Bay for another four-game series. The Yankees overcame a subpar outing from A.J. Burnett and a late 4-1 deficit to win the opener 5-4.

Russell Martin drew a bases-loaded walk in the top of the ninth inning to force in the game-winning run. Martin's patience not only paid off for the Yankees, but it also earned our obscure Yankeemetric of the Week:

Since 1950, the only other Yankees catcher to walk with the bases-loaded in a tie game in the ninth inning or later is Jorge Posada. Posada did it three times, in 2002, 2003 and 2004, and each time it was a "walk-off" walk. That makes Martin the first to do it in a road game.

Burnett nearly cost the Yankees the game, allowing four runs (three earned) on eight hits and six walks in his 5 ⅓ innings on the mound. The last Yankees pitcher to allow that many hits and that many walks in a single start of fewer than six innings was Dwight Gooden in August 1996.

BART IS BACK

In another tight game, the Yankees ended up on the losing side, 3-2. Bartolo Colon bounced back from one of the worst starts of his career, striking out a season-high nine batters in 6⅓ innings.

In the Live Ball Era, just two other Yankees at the age of 38 or older have struck out at least nine batters in as few innings as Colon did: Randy Johnson, Orlando Hernandez and Roger Clemens.

Brett Gardner was a sparkplug again for the Yankees' offense, going 2-for-3 with two stolen bases. It's his fifth game this season with multiple hits and multiple swipes.

He joins a list of four other Yankees since 1920 with at least five multi-hit, multi-steal games in a season: Rickey Henderson, Snuffy Stirnweiss, Ben Chapman, and Bob Meusel.

BLANKING BY THE BAY

The Yankees shut out the Rays 4-0 on Wednesday, as Freddy Garcia tossed 6⅔ scoreless innings despite allowing eight hits for the win. The only other Yankees starter in the last 90 seasons to give up that many hits in as few innings as Garcia, while holding the opponent scoreless was Denny Neagle in August 2000 vs. the Angels.

David Robertson pitched a perfect eighth inning, and in his 41st appearance this season, has yet to give up a home run. He’s tied with Mariano Rivera (2006) for the most consecutive games to begin a season without allowing a homer by a Yankees pitcher.

Garcia, Robertson, Boone Logan and Rivera struck out a combined 12 batters and didn’t walk anybody. The only other time in the last 10 seasons the Yankees threw a shutout while striking out 12-or-more batters with zero walks allowed was July 7, 2006, in a 1-0 win over the Rays.

CC COMPLETES THE LOSS

In the third game this series decided by one run, the Yankees were on the losing end again, 2-1. CC Sabathia went the distance, pitching eight innings while striking out eight batters.

Despite the loss, it was his sixth straight start allowing two runs or fewer and with eight-or-more strikeouts. The only other Yankees pitcher since 1920 with a streak like that was Mike Mussina, who had a similar six-start streak in 2003.

Brett Gardner went 1-for-4 and didn’t have a steal for the first time since July 15. He ended a streak of five straight games reaching base at least twice and a stolen base. Only one Yankee in the Live Ball Era has had a longer streak: Rickey Henderson, who had a seven-game streak in 1988 and a 6-gamer in 1986.

Katie Sharp is a researcher with ESPN Stats & Information