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Friday, September 16, 2011
The Week in Yankeemetrics


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

BEST OF THE BEST: MO' MILESTONES FOR THE G.O.A.T.
Mariano Rivera became the second player in major-league history to reach the 600-save milestone on Tuesday night when Russell Martin threw out Ichiro Suzuki for the final out of the Yankees 3-2 win over the Mariners.

Of his 600 saves, this was just the fourth that ended on a caught stealing, according to Elias. Our perennial Guest Yankeemetrician Mark Simon notes that Rivera and Goose Gossage are the only pitchers in Yankees history with multiple saves, in which the final out was recorded via caught stealing. Rivera has four, twice as many as Gossage.

If you're wondering who was the last Mariner to be caught stealing by Rivera, Mr. Simon tells us that it was the legendary Vince Coleman on September 5, 1995. That was also the final start of Rivera's career, a loss during which he allowed five runs and failed to get out of the fifth inning.

ONE RUN SHORT
Last Friday the Yankees arrived in Anaheim, set to play in their third different city in three days. They had lost the previous two games, both to the Orioles and each by a run in extra innings.

While there was no free baseball in the series opener against the Angels, the Yankees did lose another one-run heartbreaker, 2-1, on a walk-off sacrifice fly by Maicer Izturis in the ninth inning.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the last time the Yankees lost three straight games, all by one run, was July 2-4, 1993. And the last time the Yankees had three losses in a row, with the deciding run coming in their opponents' last turn to bat, was May 13-16, 2001.

THIS IS NOT HEAVEN
The Yankees losing streak was extended to four games on Saturday night as Dan Haren pitched a four-hit shutout and the Yankees lost 6-0. This was the second straight dominant pitching performance by the Angels, as the Yankees were held to three hits by Jered Weaver on Friday.

Using the Play Index at Baseball-Reference.com, we know that the last team that held the Yankees to fewer than five hits and one run or fewer in back-to-back games was the Rangers in 1992. It’s the first time that the Angels have done that to the Yankees in a single series.

Dan Haren is the fourth Angel to throw a shutout against the Yankees while allowing four-or-fewer baserunners. Chuck Finley tossed a memorable two-hit, 15-strikeout shutout in 1995 (which was also the debut game for Rivera), while Dean Chance in 1964 and Ken McBride in 1963 also shut down the Yankees in similar fashion.

JESUS, YOGI AND A WHIFF
The Yankees avoided the sweep with a 6-5 comeback victory on Sunday afternoon, as Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano homered to lead the offense.

For Cano, it was his 25th home run in 2011, the third straight season he's reached that milestone. The only other Yankee second baseman to have three consecutive 30-homer seasons was Joe Gordon, from 1938-40.

Granderson hit his 39th longball in 2011 but also struck out for the 158th time this season. He passed Alfonso Soriano in 2002 for the most strikeouts by a Yankee in a single season.

Jesus Montero made his first start a catcher, replacing the injured Martin. The only other Yankees to start at catcher at age 21 or younger were Dioner Navarro (once in 2004), John Ellis, Yogi Berra and Bill Dickey.

THE KING STEPS DOWN
The Yankees continued their road trip north to Seattle, where they beat Felix Hernandez and the Mariners 9-3.

King Felix had won five straight decisions against the Yankees. That was the most consecutive decisions won by a Mariners starter against the Yankees in team history, one more than Jamie Moyer and Mark Langston.

Mark Teixeira hit his fifth homer this season vs the Mariners, one shy of the most by a Yankee vs. the M's in a single season. It was also his eighth at Safeco Field since joining the Yankees, which is tied with Jason Giambi for the most by a Yankee at the ballpark, which opened in 1999.

CONTROL IS OVERRATED
The headlines from the second game in Seattle were dominated by Mariano's 600th save (as we detailed above), but there were some other historical footnotes from the victory that should be recognized too.

A.J. Burnett reached the 10-win mark despite hitting two batters and throwing two wild pitches. Those two wild pitches gave him 25 on the season, passing Tim Leary (1990) for the most in a single season by a Yankee. He also has the fifth-most in a season by any player since 1900.

Burnett became just the fourth Yankee in the Live Ball Era (since 1920) to hit two batters and have two wild pitches in a single game. Rip Collins (1920), Jim Bouton (1965) and Scott Kamieniecki (1992) are the others, and Bouton is the only one to also win the game.

A.J. redeemed himself with a season-high 11 strikeouts in just six innings pitched, including seven of the last 11 batters he faced.

It was the third time in his Yankee career he's had double-digit strikeouts in six innings or fewer. In the last 90 seasons, the only other Yankee pitcher with three such games is David Cone.

Yankee pitchers had 17 total strikeouts in the game. That is one shy of the most strikeouts in a nine-inning game in Yankee history.

AN EXTRA BAD LOSS
The Yankees West Coast trip ended Wednesday night with a disappointing 2-1 loss to the Mariners in the 12th inning on a walk-off homer by Luis Rodriguez. For his heroics, Rodriguez earned our Obscure Yankeemetric of the Week Award:

Rodriguez was just the third number-eight batter since 1950 to hit a walk-off homer in extra innings against the Yankees. Two former Tigers had the others: Howard Johnson in 1984 and Jim Delsing in 1954.

Derek Jeter was 1-for-5 in the game, getting his 150th hit of the season and extending his streak of 150-hit seasons to 16. According to Elias, only two other players in major-league history have had at least 150 hits in 16 consecutive seasons: Hank Aaron (17) and Pete Rose (16).

With the loss, the Yankees fell to an AL-worst 4-10 in extra-inning games. The last time the Yankees had 10-or-more extra-inning losses in a season was 1990, when they were 5-11. In case anyone had forgotten, that 1990 team lost 95 games, setting the record for the most losses in a season since the franchise became known as the Yankees in 1913.

Katie Sharp is a researcher with ESPN Stats & Information