Tuesday, May 29, 2018

After Memorial Day Weekend

In somewhat of a change, I will have a smaller focus on the game in this and discuss some statcast numbers on the strike zone.  First, some comments about the games this weekend.
Saturday - was just a very p[oor pitching performance by Sonny Gray (ERA now 5.98) after what was one of his better games.  That was the most frustrating part as I was hoping he would get into a groove.  The Yankees jumped out 4-1 but the bats went silent after the 2nd inning and Kahnle was bad in his first game back.
Sunday - Tanaka navigated his way through 6 innings and only allowed a solo HR to Trout while the bullpen of Robertson, Betances and Chapman closed out the final 3.  Chapman ended the 3-1 win on a slider that missed its mark by a lot but caught the top of the strike zone.
Monday - Verlander has been pitching great and he kept it going against us.  He is throwing all of his pitches really well and has looked great this year.  I said it after the first game he pitched against us, but he looks as good as he ever has.  His pickup by Houston has been one of the best pickups of a pitcher I can remember.  I also think that the matchup of our number 5 (German) against Verlander was a tough one so Boone rested a struggling Stanton (swinging at terrible pitches), dropped Didi (a good move as he has been in a dreadful slump) and moved Bird up to the 4th spot.  I give Boone credit as he will make the moves he thinks are right and while it seems like a "well, of course" moment, I have heard managers say, I am sticking with "this" because it has worked in the past.  Torres committed his 5th error on a bad throw after dropping a ball from Andujar on Saturday.  His defense is and will be fine, but he has shown a few lack of concentration plays; 5 errors are too many.

OK, I have made comments about the umpiring and I am always very careful not to try and be a homer on calls.  I think I still tend to remember the bad calls against us and forget the good ones for us, so I try and track them in my head to try and stay reasonably neutral.  I have definitely been more annoyed at calls rather than feeling fortunate (I have pointed out some of our breaks), but some stats show that we have been getting the short end of the stick.
While I really don't like the box on my live feed and think it should be used on the replay of pitches only, the box has shown that the Yankees (along with the SF Giants) have been the most victimized teams.  Statcast has shown that the Yankees and Giants have seen 242 pitches out of the strike zone called strikes against them this year.  Judge has seen 47 balls out of the box called strikes which are most in the majors; Gardner has the 5th most against him.
So, we have been getting the short end on calls which is probably a good thing as the hope is it equals out.  The box itself though has some problems.  Outside of the fact I don't like the way it blocks my view of the game, it is not consistent for the batters sizes (they say they adjust it, but the replays don't align for me on where the top and bottom of the zone are for Altuve and Judge as an example.  Further, I have seen many times where the live feed showed the ball inside the strike zone and the replay showed the pitch on the line?  How can that be?  It may be pretty close, but that should not happen!
As for close calls, Boone said something interesting; He comments how announcers will say that a two-strike pitch was "too close to take," and he disputes that by saying, "What does that mean?  If it's a ball and I've got two strikes on me, what are my chances of getting on base with two strikes? Probably not great. If I take that pitch that's a ball out of the zone and I swing at it, what are my chances of getting a hit on that? Probably not very good. But if I take a ball, there's a good chance that it gets called a ball and I'm going to first base. So I don't really buy into protecting the plate, especially with our guys."
I find this quote interesting in that I like the thought process, but being right, isn't always the correct path when dealing with subjectivity.  While I agree with what he is saying, the concept behind swinging at a pitch that is close is about trying to take the subjectivity out of the equation and taking more control of the situation.  That is not to say that you should swing at a ball.  But we see strike zones where an ump consistently calls a pitch off the plate a strike and if that is going to happen, why would you not swing at it?  There is a lot to this, we could discuss that the strike zone is the strike zone and it is hard for a batter to take what he has always trained on and then adjust every night based on the ump; but in many ways, that is what has been done most of their careers.  
Anyway, to set up some interactive comments, feel free to email me your thoughts on the subject.  While we are on it, feel free to email me a question/thought you may have and I will try and answer it; I could post your name if you like or make it anonymous.
Have a great week!

1 comment:

  1. Any Statcast numbers on how the Yankee pitchers have fared with the ball/strike calls?