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Friday, September 24, 2010
Win or lose, Yankeemetrics aplenty


Milestone wins for CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes, a shocking blown save by the Great Mariano, and more puzzling pitching feats by A.J. Burnett headline another week in Yankeemetrics:

SEPTEMBER 17 vs ORIOLES
Alex Rodriguez homered with two outs in the ninth inning to give the Yankees another comeback win. It was his 25th home run in the ninth inning as a Yankee. And with the blast, he passed Graig Nettles for the most home runs in the ninth inning by a Bronx Bomber since 1974.

My blogging colleague, Mark Simon looked through the Baseball-Reference.com home run logs and found Rodriguez has hit a go-ahead home run three times, in situations in which the Yankees were down to their last out. Dating back to 1950, the only Yankee to do that more than once was Bobby Murcer (2). Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris each only did it once.

A.J. Burnett allowed his 35th stolen base of the season, setting the Yankees single-season record for most stolen bases allowed. He passes Roger Clemens, who allowed 34 in 2001.

Burnett also hit his 15th and 16th batter this season. That is tied for the sixth-most all-time by a Yankee pitcher. And only one other Yankee in the live ball era (since 1920) has hit more batters in a season - Tommy Byrne hit 17 in 1950.

SEPTEMBER 18 vs ORIOLES
On a day where Simon pointed out that the Yankees reached 90 wins for the 58th time (the next-most by an AL team is the Athletics with 28), CC Sabathia finally reached the 20-win milestone in an 11-3 victory over Baltimore.

Here’s a few statistical nuggets on his accomplishment.

He is the fourth Yankee in last 70 years to be the first in majors to 20 wins, and the first since Ron Guidry in 1978

He is the ninth Yankee lefty to win 20 games in a season and the first since Andy Pettitte in 2003.

It’s no surprise he got win number 20 against the Orioles, a team that he has owned this season. He is now 5-1 against them in 2010, becoming the fourth Yankees starter to have at least five wins vs the Orioles since the team moved to Baltimore in 1954. Andy Pettitte won six games in 2003, David Wells won five in 2002, and Whitey Ford won five in both 1960 and 1959.

One final note on Sabathia’s performance – it was his 21st start allowing three earned runs or fewer while pitching at least seven innings. He ties Mike Mussina (2001) and Ron Guidry (1985) for the second-most starts in a season in the last 30 seasons, trailing only Melido Perez’s 22 such starts in 1992.

SEPTEMBER 19 vs ORIOLES
A heartbreaking loss for the Yankees in Andy Pettitte’s first start since coming off the disabled list as Mariano Rivera blew his fourth save of the season and second in September.

How rare is that? It is the first time in his career he's had two blown saves in a season in September or later. Yet, it wasn’t so rare that it came in Baltimore - it was his fourth blown save at Camden Yards. The only stadium he's had more blown saves at is Fenway Park, where he’s blown seven saves.

He blew the save by allowing a game-tying ninth inning homer to Luke Scott. That was just the second homer he’s allowed this season and first since May 16, snapping a streak of 43 straight appearances without allowing a homer. Amazingly, that only the second-longest single-season streak of his career, behind a 49-appearance streak in 2005.

SEPTEMBER 20 vs RAYS
Alex Rodriguez’s sacrifice fly with the bases loaded in the fifth inning was his 33rd bases loaded RBI for the Yankees, tying Don Mattingly for the second-most by a Yankee since 1974. Only Jorge Posada, with 34, has more.

Curtis Granderson had a career night with two homers, five RBI and a stolen base. He is the first Yankees centerfielder with two home runs and five RBI in a game since Bernie Williams in 2000 and the seventh player (32nd time) to do it since 1920. However, Granderson is the first one to also steal a base in the same game!

SEPTEMBER 21 vs RAYS
Bad news and good news for Phil Hughes in the Yankees 8-3 win over the Rays…

The Bad News: Hughes allowed his 20th home run in the Bronx, matching Scott Sanderson in 1992 for the all-time Yankees record for most homers allowed at home.

The Good News: he got his 17th win of the season, which is tied for the fourth-most by a Yankee under the age of 25 in the last 40 seasons, and the most since Andy Pettitte won 21 in 1996.



SEPTEMBER 22 vs RAYS
A.J. Burnett was the tough-luck loser in this game, as a two-hour rain delay forced him to watch the bullpen allow six runs in the final six innings after he left with the game tied 1-1. It was Burnett’s 14th loss of the season, matching the highest total for any Yankees pitcher over the last 18 seasons. The last Yankees pitcher with more than 14 losses was Melido Perez in 1992 (13–16).

Burnett had pitched effectively in his three innings, allowing just two hits and one run, but still got tagged with the loss. He is seventh Yankee in the live ball era to get a loss while pitching three innings or fewer, allowing one run or fewer and giving up two hits or fewer – the last have this unfortunate pitching line was Rick Rhoden on August 29, 1987 vs the Mariners. But Burnett shouldn’t get too down – two other pitchers on the list are Ron Guidry (in 1981) and Whitey Ford (in 1967).

SEPTEMBER 23 vs RAYS
CC Sabathia had a night to forget with a final tally of seven earned runs, ten hits in five and a third innings. He is the fifth Yankees lefty starter since 1920 to give up at least seven earned runs and ten hits in less than six innings. The other names on this exclusive list – Andy Pettitte (in 2008 and 2007), David Wells (twice in 2003), Denny Neagle (in 2000) and Lefty Gomez (in 1938).

Javier Vazquez may have one-upped Sabathia’s awful performance, though, as he managed to hit three straight batters in the seventh inning. Vazquez is just the third Yankees reliever to hit three batters in a single game in the live ball era, matching a feat accomplished by none other than Dale Mohorcic in 1989 and Bob Turley in 1962. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, he's the first Yankee to hit three batters in a row.

But let's end on a positive note, with Derek Jeter extending his hit streak to a season-best 12 games.

Simon checked with Elias and the two counted 44 Jeter hit streaks of 10+ games (with the note that a 20-game streak counts for two 10s). That ranks tied with Ichiro Suzuki for 10th-most all-time. Ty Cobb is the all-time leader with 79 such streaks. Jeter holds the Yankees record.

And for those who wonder whether Jeter should hit No. 1 or No. 2, check out Simon's slashline comparison:

Jeter career in No. 1 slot -- .313 BA/.385 OBP/.455 slugging pct
Jeter career in No. 2 slot -- .314 BA/.386 OBP/.454 slugging pct