Friday, May 27, 2011
The Week in Yankeemetrics SWING ... AND A MISS
The opening game of the Subway Series turned into an unlikely pitcher’s duel between R.A. Dickey and Ivan Nova, with the Mets prevailing 2-1. The Yankees suffered through another frustrating day at the plate, with just four hits and 11 strikeouts.
If that sounds like a familiar line, you are correct. It’s the fourth time this season the so-called Bronx Bombers have been held to five hits or fewer while whiffing at least 10 times in a game.
According to Baseball-Reference.com, never before in the last 90 seasons has a Yankee team had that many games of five-or-fewer hits and at least 10 strikeouts this early into the season (through 43 games).
CLEARING THE BASES
The Yankee bats woke up in the second game of the series, as the team hit four home runs en route to a 7-3 win. While the number of longballs was significant -- it marked their fifth four-homer game this year (in 2010 they had only four such games the entire season) -- the more interesting number was zero, as in the number of players the team left on base in the game.
This was the 16th time in the Live Ball Era (since 1920) that the Yankees had zero men left on base in a game, and the first time in a win since April 26, 1988, against the Royals.
Even more noteworthy is that this is just the second time they put at least seven runners on base and had none left on base. The other game was a 5-4 victory over Cleveland on April 23, 1987.
SMALLBALL + LONGBALL = WIN!
The rubber game of the Subway Series went to the Yankees, who won 9-3 thanks to an eight-run explosion in the seventh inning. Given all the scrutiny about the Yankees being too dependent on the longball to score runs this season, it’s worth noting that they scored all eight of those runs without a homer.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this was the 27th time in the past 10 seasons the Yankees had scored at least eight runs in an inning, but it was only the second time over that span that they did so without a ball leaving the park.
Yankees with 16+ HR First 45 Team Games
1921, 1926-28, 1930
The Yankees did score another run in the game, and more predictably it was a home run by Curtis Granderson, his 16th of the season. Granderson is the sixth Yankee with at least 16 homers within the team’s first 45 games, joining a list that includes some of the team’s all-time great sluggers.
THE GRANDERSON AND CANO SHOW
The Blue Jays came to the Bronx on Monday and took the first game of the series 7-3. Granderson and Robinson Cano can’t be blamed for the loss though, as they provided all of the Yankees' offense, with Granderson crossing the plate three times and Cano driving in all three runs.
Granderson, who also walked three times and went 0-for-2, earns our Obscure Yankeemetric of the Week for his performance. He became the first Yankee over the last 90 seasons to score all of the team’s runs without getting a hit, in a game the team scored at least three runs.
BIG SLICE OF PIE FOR TEIXEIRA
On Tuesday, Mark Teixeira delivered the Yankees' second walk-off win of the season with a game-winning single in the ninth inning to clinch the 5-4 victory. Teixeira would not have tasted pie without the clutch hitting of Granderson, who tied the game with a two-out single before Teixeira stepped to the plate.
This was Granderson’s second two-out, game-tying hit in the ninth inning or later this season. Granderson joins Gary Sheffield (2005), Roberto Kelly (1991), Willie Randolph (1980) and Graig Nettles (1975) as the only Yankees in the last 50 years to have two clutch hits like that in the same season … and it’s not even June yet!
Fellow ESPNNewYork.com blogger Mark Simon chimes in here with our first Guest Yankeemetric of the Week (and a great flashback to a memorable comeback win):
In this game, the Yankees were one out from defeat, but got a hit to tie from Granderson, and a hit to win via walk-off from Teixeira.
It's the first time the Yankees went "hit to tie, followed by hit to win" in consecutive plate appearances when down to their last out since August 27, 2005. That day, they rallied from 7-3 down in the bottom of the ninth to beat the Royals 8-7, tying the game on a two-out RBI double by Sheffield and winning it on a single by Alex Rodriguez.
JONESIN’ LIKE IT'S 1996 AGAIN
The Yankees won the final game of the series 7-3 thanks to a huge game from Andruw Jones, who recorded his 41st career multi-homer game with two mighty blasts that traveled more than a combined 850 feet.
Jones had three hits and four RBIs on the day, becoming just the sixth Yankee in the Live Ball Era (since 1920) to have at least two homers, three hits and four RBIs in the same game while batting eighth.
The only other Yankee over the last 50 seasons to do it was Tony Clark, in a game also vs. Toronto in 2004. Before that, Andy Carey (1958), Joe Collins (1952), Babe Dahlgren (1940 and twice in 1939), and Tony Lazzeri (twice in 1936) achieved the feat.
Katie Sharp is a researcher with ESPN Stats & Information