Mission ’13, Game 42: Yankees win 5-0

Ah, pitching. It’s the middle of the month and we’re taking a more in-depth look at the Jays at two levels: how they compare to the rest of the AL, and whether they’re improving or declining. Today, as the Jays roll into YS3 to play the Yankees we’ll consider how the pitching staff is performing.

The Yankees swept the Jays in four games late last month; the Jays are looking for a measure of payback. We’re also curious to see what kind of quality this hot streak is. A split is good; a series win is better; a sweep is ideal. Getting swept, well, we won’t go there. Mark Buehrle pitched well his last time out, but struggles against the Yankees; Hiroki Kuroda doesn’t struggle against the Jays.

Kuroda cruised throughout the game as the Jays didn’t really mount a serious challenge after Melky’s double to lead off the game. It was impressive considering how well the Jays were hitting lately. The Jays had some very good AB’s but weren’t able to square up anything against Kuroda.

When we put it into context, Mark Buehrle pitched well through 6 innings. He doesn’t match up well against the Yanks, but held them to 2 runs on 3 hits to that point. It was the seventh inning that was his undoing, as he loaded the bases and gave up a run with none out before being relieved by Aaron Loup. Loup allowed two inherited runners to score, meaning Buehrle gave up 5 ER in the game.

The Jays’ run differential this season (-35 entering the game) means that we’re seeing the bottom of the pecking order in the ‘pen a little too often. The regulars at the bottom of the pecking order are Brad Lincoln, Esmil Rogers, and Brett Cecil. Cameos have been made by Edgar Gonzalez (now with HOU), Mickey Storey, Dave Bush, Justin Germano, and Jeremy Jeffress. I didn’t intend to do this originally, but the numbers just jumped off the page. Here’s how the bottom of the ‘pen has performed:

IP

ER

ERA

H

HR

BB

SO

HBP

WP

sans Cecil

46.0

38

7.77

61

11

24

30

4

3

Cecil

21.0

6

2.57

15

1

7

23

0

2

Total

67.0

44

5.91

76

12

31

53

4

5

This info was adapted from: http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/TOR/2013.shtml

  • compare the overall performance by the staff (see below) and the performance by the bottom of the ‘pen;
  • here’s a revealing look at the proportions: the bottom of the ‘pen has pitched 18.3% of the total innings thus far, but have given up 20.8% of the hits, 23.5% of the HR, 19.7% of the BB, 23.5% of the HBP, 31.3% of the WP, but only 18.5% of the Ks (the proportions are worse when Cecil’s numbers are removed);

Brett Cecil has been terrific. However, the Jays get into too many situations where they need to turn to pitchers who are of such low quality that inherited runners are likely to score and their own performance will cost the Jays runs. It’s a fairly significant issue on a team that gives up too many runs and struggles to score runs consistently.

Here’s how the pitching staff as a whole has performed this season:

R/G

ERA

ShO

SV

IP

H

R

ER

HR

BB

SO

HBP

WP

BF

ERA+

H/9

Total

5.12

4.75

1

11

365.2

378

210

193

51

157

287

17

16

1621

91

9.3

Rank

13

13

t-6

t-4

4

3

3

3

t-2

t-2

11

3

t-7

t-3

13

12

Prev. Rank

15

15

t-7

t-2

6

1

1

2

10

13

14

t-3

t-8

3

14

14

This info was adapted from: http://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/AL/2013.shtml

  • I re-arranged some ranks on the original table for clarity—some in ascending, some in descending order (it felt wrong to say they were ranked 3rd in the AL in R/G and ERA when it really means 3rd worst): anyhow, the upshot is that it was bad a month ago and it’s bad now, though marginally less bad;
  • HR and BB haven’t been re-arranged—the Jays are tied for 2nd worst in the AL in those categories;
  • something not shown on the table is that they’re the 2nd oldest staff in the AL (31.2; New York Yankees, 32.4);
  • the typical Jays game by the middle of April: 9 IP, 11 H, 6 R, 5 ER, 4 BB, 5 SO;
  • consider that over the last month, the typical game has improved to this: 9 IP, 9 H, 5 R, 4 BB, 7 SO (an error or two will have made one of those runs unearned);
  • two fewer hits per game, one less run per game, and a couple more Ks, combined with improved offense means the Jays are giving themselves better chances to win;
  • in the time between glimpses, the Jays haven’t faced any push-overs either;
  • the home run continues to plague the staff: they’d given up 12 in their first 14 games (1.17/gm), but 37 in the 29 games (1.28/gm) since the last glimpse we took;

I think Hiroki Kuroda’s pitched well enough for long enough in the Major Leagues to include him in any discussion about quality pitchers from the NPB. He’s accumulated 16.5 fWAR while posting a 3.61 FIP and a 3.36 ERA in almost 1000 IP since 2008 with the Dodgers and Yankees. This season he’s stranded 82.7% of the runners he’s put on base in 8 games. He knows how to pitch and is exactly the type of pitcher against whom the Jays struggle.

The Jays let this one get away from them in the seventh. It wasn’t a pretty start to the series for the Jays. They’ve now lost nine in a row in Yankee Stadium.

Wes Kepstro

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1 Response to “Mission ’13, Game 42: Yankees win 5-0”


  1. 1 @ALEastbound May 18, 2013 at 12:44 am

    Started from the bottom now we here…

    Tough way to start but the way Kuroda was dealing (and we were hitting so many pitchers pitches) we had almost no chance.


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