Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Links: Did strike zone cost Yankees?
By David Schoenfield
Did home-plate umpire Gerry Davis cost the Yankees the game last night? There is some feeling that CC Sabathia got squeezed a little more than Justin Verlander. Here, check out the location charts from Brooksbaseball at It's About the Money.
One of the bloggers from the site says both Sabathia and Verlander had five strikes called balls, while Sabathia had 13 balls called strikes and Verlander had 18 balls called strikes. Verlander threw 120 pitches to Sabathia's 106, so if that count is accurate, Verlander did benefit from a couple extra called strikes, but I don't see evidence that Sabathia was getting squeezed in comparison to Verlander.
Look, it looks like ump bashing is going to be a popular theme this year: Tony La Russa did it in the middle of the game of the other night, Joe Girardi whined last night. But the bottom line: Sabathia gave up 13 baserunners in 5.1 innings; that's not the umpire's fault. Verlander pitched through the tight strike zone to strike out 11 batters, while Sabathia could only put away three. As Ian O'Connor writes at ESPNNewYork, CC is to blame, not Davis ... and Sabathia knows that better than anyone.
Not to mention: No team has benefited from more blown calls over the years than the Yankees. I'm not defending Gerry Davis, but strike zones are never going to be perfect As long as the umps get all the calls in the field correct (well, and we avoid the Eric Gregg Strike Zone), I won't complain.
- As Mike McClary points out The Daily Fungo, 12 of Jose Valverde's 19 pitches were called balls. With 53 pitches over two days, I can't foresee Jim Leyland using Valverde to close, unless he's forced to use Joaquin Benoit for a couple innings earlier in the game. Valverde says he'll be ready.
- Bill Baer takes a closer look at Cliff Lee's Game 2 performance, breaking down how many of the 12 hits he allowed were unlucky and how many were Lee's "fault." I agree with Bill's general premise that Lee didn't pitch as poor as his final line indicates and that there's no reason not to expect a vintage Lee outing in his next start (if he gets one, of course). At the same time, I don't really agree with Bill's premise, as he seems to be saying that eight of the 12 hits were lucky. Lee was leaving a lot of balls in the middle of the plate and the Cardinals were hitting those pitches. Remember, at times Lee can be very hittable -- no matter his strikeout/walk ratio. He was one of only nine starters to allow 10 or more at least five times during the regular season. Unlucky a bit? Perhaps. Did he pitch well? No.
- Mike Napoli is awesome.
- Arizona turns to rookie Josh Collmenter in Game 3, over veteran Joe Saunders. As Jack Moore writes, Collmenter relies on deception and his funky over-the-top delivery. Jack reports that Collmenter hasn't pitched as well the second or third time he faces a team; this will be his third start against the Brewers.
- A bunch of notes on the Rangers, including some historic performances of sorts from Colby Lewis (good) and Mike Adams (bad).
- Yes, you know this: The Yankees now turn to A.J. Burnett.
- Finally, for a good laugh: Check out this video on the new movie about the Yankees, "Too Much Moneyball."