The LoHud Yankees Blog

A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News

Flash Points: John Flaherty breaks down the Game 5 pitching match-up

Posted by: Sam Borden - Posted in Misc on Oct 22, 2009 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Former Yankee and current YES Network analyst John Flaherty has agreed to break down the pitching match-up for every Yankees postseason game exclusively on the LoHud Yankees blog. Be sure to check him out on the pre- and post-game show on YES today. Here’s his take on the Game 5 starters:

YANKEES: RHP A.J. Burnett (0-0, 2.19 ERA in postseason)

WHAT’S HE THROW? “Two kinds of fastballs, power curveball, change-up.”

STRENGTHS: “I thought at the beginning of Game 2, his rhythm and tempo were fantastic. I had been worried about him being a little too excited but he looked under control, and that is critical for an emotional pitcher. His curveball was excellent despite the cold weather, and you would think he would be even more comfortable with the curveball out in California with the temperatures being better, so I look for that to be a crucial pitch for him again.”

WEAKNESSES: “I think the one negative we saw in Game 2 was when the Angels got on base, he got a little distracted – he spiked a few curveballs in the dirt and got a little out of sorts. The Yankees have made such an effort here to pay attention to baserunners, so there isn’t much you can do about that. The key is going to be limiting those opportunities – keeping the walks down and not hitting any batters, which A.J. has been known to do sometimes. You don’t want to give the Angels any free bases.”


ANGELS: RHP John Lackey (1-1, 1.38 in postseason)

WHAT’S HE THROW? “Fastball, curveball, hard slider, but his pitch is his fastball. He’s got a straight one, a four-seamer, and a hard biting two-seamer.”

STRENGTHS: “I thought he was pretty good in Game 1 – the defense let him down quite a bit. He competes. If you’re the Angels and you have one guy in that rotation that you have a must-win, you want it to be Lackey. Make-up is not a problem with him. I like the fact that he throws both fastballs to both sides of the plate, so from a hitting standpoint you have a lot to think about. The velocity isn’t overpowering, but out of his hand you don’t know what to look for – is it diving or is it a true fastball?”

WEAKNESSES: “It’s really got to be a wait-and-see approach with someone like Lackey. I think the Yankees are going to pay attention early on, just like they did with Kazmir, and try to push that pitch count. The first couple of batters of the night, all the Yankees in the dugout are going to be paying attention to see, does this guy have his location tonight? If he does, you have to be aggressive because you can’t fall behind a guy like Lackey. If he doesn’t, they’ll try to make him work and get into that bullpen.”


EDGE: “I favor the Yankees overal in this game because they’re looking to close this thing out. Judging by what you hear coming out of the clubhouse, they’re not looking ahead and they’re focused on the job they’ve got. I think Lackey is going to pitch a good ballgame but I think the Yankees are going to be too much in the end.”




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