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


Pinch hitting: Greg Mathews

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Pinch hitters on Feb 03, 2011 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Our next Pinch Hitter is a a 26-year-old New Jersey native living in Delaware and working for the Wilmington Blue Rocks, which is Kansas City’s High-A affiliate.

Although the currently works for another organization, Greg Mathews is a fourth-generation Yankees fan. “My life revolves around the team and its tradition,” Greg wrote. Andy Pettitte has always been his favorite Yankees pitcher. “If this really is the last we’ve seen of him,” Greg wrote, “I’d like to take this moment to say thank you. AN-DY PETT-ITTE [clap, clap, clapclapclap].”

For his guest post, Greg looked back 10 years to find that this year’s Yankees rotation isn’t necessarily one-of-a-kind. The Yankees have been in this situation before.

Learning from the Past to Embrace the Present

For the Yankees, this has been an unusually quiet and rather uneventful winter. Throughout this offseason, Brian Cashman has been preaching his plan of “patience.”

Patience? PATIENCE? You mean to tell me that the Yankee fan base is supposed to just sit back, watch the rest of the league sign all of the good free agents, and accept the fact that the two pitchers rounding out the rotation of our favorite team are named Ivan Nova and Sergio Mitre? Plan “A” was Cliff Lee and Andy Pettitte, but now we’re supposed to believe that Nova and Mitre — or “patience” — is a sufficient backup plan?

Yes. That is precisely what the Yankees should do and we, as Yankee fans, need to embrace that plan. We’ve been down a similar road in the past.

Ten years ago – 2001 — the Yankees were heading into the season with a rotation of Mike Mussina, Roger Clemens, Andy Pettite, Orlando Hernandez and Ted Lilly. On paper, that’s a comforting rotation with a strong front three. It became a different story though, once the season began. Hernandez had thrown 410 innings over the previous two years and the Yanks were going to have to stomach the growing pains of Ted Lilly’s first full year as a starter. Then, “El-Duque” got hurt. Hernandez threw only 94.2 innings in 16 starts, which was 100 innings less than he threw in 2000.

How did the Yankees fill that 100-inning void? Randy Keisler and Sterling Hitchcock were called upon, and they combined to throw 102 innings in 2001. Keisler, in 50.2 innings, had an ERA of 6.22 and a WHIP of 1.697. Hitchcock had an ERA of 6.49 and a WHIP of 1.656 during his 51.1 innings. Combined, they faced 559 batters and 196 of them reached base, 82 of them scored and only three were unearned. That is a lot of base-runners and a lot of runs allowed in a 102-inning period.

Yet, that team made it all the way to Game 7 of the World Series.

At the moment, the rotation in place for the 2011 season isn’t all that different. Yes, they’re banking on A.J. Burnett rebounding, but if he can even get to just the 2009 A.J., they’ll have a similarly strong front three when you add CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes.

Lilly had three career starts under his belt before 2001, and they all came in 1999. He threw eight innings for the Yankees in 2000. Nova is going into this season with seven starts under his belt and his 42 major league innings are 10.1 more than Lilly’s 31.2 when the Yankees declared him the fifth starter. Think of Nova as this year’s Lilly. If Nova can pitch like he did in 2010, but over the course of 120-140 innings this year, he’ll end up with similar statistics to Lilly’s rookie year, and possibly a little better.

We all know what the Yankees are getting (or not getting) when Mitre takes the mound. Even though his three starts last year are a small sample size, his numbers are right in line with his only full season (27 starts) as a starter in 2007. His WHIP in 2007 with the Marlins was 1.483, which is just about even with his WHIP of 1.463 in those three starts last year. Pitching fulltime in the AL East is going to cause that to rise a bit, but essentially that’s how he should perform.

The parallels between the 2001 and 2011 rotations aren’t exact or perfect, but they are certainly very close. The Yankees are relying on Burnett having a bounce-back year, and if he can do that, they are in very good shape. I don’t think there’s any doubt that the back of the rotation will look different when the calendar turns to June or July. Whether it’s a trade for a starter or a starter from AAA being promoted, we’ll see. Brian Cashman has the right idea, though.

Patience is important. With an offense like the Yanks have, it doesn’t matter what other teams do; the Yankees can afford to be patient. Just making a move to make a move isn’t going to improve the rotation, but being patient and making the right move will pay huge dividends.

Associated Press photo of Mussina

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188 Responses to “Pinch hitting: Greg Mathews”

  1. blake February 3rd, 2011 at 9:04 am

    Really good post….one of the best so far.

  2. Erin February 3rd, 2011 at 9:07 am

    Great post Greg! :)

  3. MTU February 3rd, 2011 at 9:08 am

    Not much to disagree with except I prefer a little more experience at the backend which Garcia, etc. may provide.

    Would be wonderful if AP returns but I’m not counting on it anymore.

    Let the candidates compete for the 4/5 spots. That’s the way to go IMO.

    Excellent post. Thanks.

    :)

  4. MTU February 3rd, 2011 at 9:09 am

    Greg-

    Be sure to feed us the inside dope on the Royals farm system.

    Thanks.

    ;)

  5. Chuck58 February 3rd, 2011 at 9:10 am

    Good to remember the past… thank you, Greg.

    Hi, Erin :-) Stayin’ warm?

  6. MTU February 3rd, 2011 at 9:12 am

    Erin-

    What were the final snow accumulations ?

  7. Erin February 3rd, 2011 at 9:13 am

    Hi Chuck! Trying to. LOL

    :)

  8. JCPD February 3rd, 2011 at 9:15 am

    MTU, it’s always about you and your “dope”. You really need to kick the habit. ;-) Great post, Greg. OK everyone, what’s the over/under on time before someone comes on here to criticize the guest post. I’m saying 45 minutes

  9. Erin February 3rd, 2011 at 9:15 am

    MTU- I believe it was about 20 inches. Fun stuff. ;)

  10. upstate kate February 3rd, 2011 at 9:16 am

    good post

    and speaking of patience, here is an article (hopefully) by Peter Gammons in praise of Cashman

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/articl.....8;c_id=mlb

  11. Chuck58 February 3rd, 2011 at 9:17 am

    Wow… all of my pals out in the midwest got pummeled.
    Thankfully, all are okay :-)

  12. MTU February 3rd, 2011 at 9:18 am

    JCPD-

    I’ve been trying but I guess I’m just hooked.

    Need those baseball injections Man ! Mainline.

    :)

    Erin-

    As long as you are safe. Thanks for the info. Drifting must be incredible.

    :)

  13. NYY626 - Andy in 2011 February 3rd, 2011 at 9:20 am

    did anyone happen to watch regis and kelly yesterday? Minka was cute and Regis’s love for jeter is quite amusing.

  14. Chuck58 February 3rd, 2011 at 9:22 am

    JC, 10 AM is a good guess….

  15. Erin February 3rd, 2011 at 9:23 am

    MTU-the drifting makes for some very interesting drives.

    Luckily my brother had the day off today so he was kind enough to let me borrow his big SUV with 4 wheel drive. I doubt my car would have made it.

  16. rodg12 February 3rd, 2011 at 9:25 am

    How’s everyone doing this fine (well, kinda) morning? Hope any of my blog mates in the Chicago area made it through things okay.

  17. MTU February 3rd, 2011 at 9:26 am

    Erin-

    I heard it was the 3rd most powerful storm on record in Chitown history.

    That definitely says something.

    Drink lot’s of hot chocolate and kep the 4WD engaged.

    :)

  18. MTU February 3rd, 2011 at 9:26 am

    sp: keep

  19. Erin February 3rd, 2011 at 9:26 am

    NYY626 – Andy in 2011 February 3rd, 2011 at 9:20 am
    did anyone happen to watch regis and kelly yesterday? Minka was cute and Regis?s love for jeter is quite amusing.

    *********************************
    I wanted to watch, but it got preempted with all of the weather coverage.

    I figured Regis wouldn’t be able to resist bringing up Jeter. LOL

  20. Erica in NY February 3rd, 2011 at 9:27 am

    Erin-

    Buying my Rav with 4-Wheel Drive was one of the smartest decisions I made in a long time.

    My car is a beast. I used to fear for my life driving in bad weather in my Carolla.

    I don’t know why 4-Wheel drive isn’t made standard as a safety requrement.

  21. MTU February 3rd, 2011 at 9:27 am

    Rodg-

    Glad you are OK too.

    What were your totals like ?

  22. MTU February 3rd, 2011 at 9:29 am

    Erica-

    Did you get the V6 version ?

    Because they want to make more money silly.

    You’re an accountant you should know that.

    :)

  23. NYY626 - Andy in 2011 February 3rd, 2011 at 9:31 am

    Erin – Kelly Ripa opened with “Regis has been dying to meet you because you share a common love” it was cute. Minka tried to downplay the jeter talk but she did say to regis “oh yeah didnt you try to makeout with him or something” Very funny.

  24. Stottlemyre68 February 3rd, 2011 at 9:33 am

    Good post! One thing about Cashman’s patience is that he wants to wait until the price is right. In the old days, other teams would hold George up, especially when it came to dealing away prospects. Some still think they can do it with Cash — compare what the Twins were supposedly asking from the Yanks for Santana compared with what they accepted from the Mets — and it’s important for Cash to establish that those days are over.

  25. SJ44 February 3rd, 2011 at 9:34 am

    Outstanding guest post.

    Patience and perspective are good things.

    It cracks me up when I read some folks writing on here this is an 85-86 win team, horribly flawed, with no chance at the playoffs.

    Even for folks who live to be negative, it’s a horribly skewed, and wrong, opinion.

    This is still, even in it’s present construction, a Top 5 team in baseball.

    Meaning……they still can win the WS, whether Andy comes back or not.

    They may have to win games a little differently than in past years and some new faces will have to contribute.

    Either way, it’s still a very good team heading to ST.

  26. rodg12 February 3rd, 2011 at 9:34 am

    # MTU February 3rd, 2011 at 9:27 am

    Rodg-

    Glad you are OK too.

    What were your totals like ?
    ————————————–
    Thanks, MTU. We ended up with about 6 inches where I’m at. The worst part was the high winds Tuesday night into yesterday. Gave us blizzard conditions where travel was basically shut down all throughout Central Iowa. Luckily I was just able to stay in and didn’t need to travel anywhere.

    Erin –
    Saw some pictures from my buddy in Chicago. Whole lot of snow.

  27. Erin February 3rd, 2011 at 9:34 am

    Erica-eventually I’ll have to get something with 4 wheel drive.

    My car has actually never had too many problems in the snow, but I didn’t even want to consider taking it out today. lol

  28. Erin February 3rd, 2011 at 9:35 am

    NYY626 – Andy in 2011 February 3rd, 2011 at 9:31 am
    Erin ? Kelly Ripa opened with ?Regis has been dying to meet you because you share a common love? it was cute. Minka tried to downplay the jeter talk but she did say to regis ?oh yeah didnt you try to makeout with him or something? Very funny.

    **************************
    How cute! I wish I could’ve seen it. I’ll have to see if it’s on their website.

  29. Erin February 3rd, 2011 at 9:37 am

    rodg12 February 3rd, 2011 at 9:34 am

    Erin ?
    Saw some pictures from my buddy in Chicago. Whole lot of snow.

    *********************
    rodg- a whole lot of snow is exactly right. ;)

  30. Erica in NY February 3rd, 2011 at 9:39 am

    Erin February 3rd, 2011 at 9:34 am
    Erica-eventually I’ll have to get something with 4 wheel drive.

    My car has actually never had too many problems in the snow, but I didn’t even want to consider taking it out today. lol

    ************

    After a few experiences skidding across multiple lanes on a highway and being amazed that I didn’t crash- I knew something had to be done

    MTU-
    To be honest I am not sure. I have the standard version whatever that means

  31. upstate kate February 3rd, 2011 at 9:39 am

    I don’t have 4WD, but I do have 4 snow tires on my Accord and it goes anywhere.

  32. MTU February 3rd, 2011 at 9:40 am

    Rodg-

    Thanks.

    I think I mentioned that I have a friend who grew up in Clinton.

    His son still lives in Cedar Rapids.

    All he ever said was how bad Iowa Winters were and how glad he was to get away from them.

    He lives in Tucson now.

    Got to run. Hiking today.

    have a good one everyone.

    :)

  33. Chip February 3rd, 2011 at 9:41 am

    Very nice post.

    As I said when FAs were coming off the board and people here wanted the Yankees to sign someone – anyone – spending big money on average players to satisfy your fan base doesn’t make you a good team – it makes you the Mets.

    The Yankees have brought in some veterans to plug holes until either other teams fall out and players become available via trade or youngsters like Montero, Phelps, Warren, etc are ready to step up and into the heart of a pennant race.

  34. MTU February 3rd, 2011 at 9:43 am

    Erica-

    It says “V6″ on the back. The 4 cylinder is plenty strong but the V6 would be my choice.

    It really goes.

    Kate-

    You definitely should have 4WD drive where you live.

    In fact, an Arctic Cat would be just perfect.

    :)

  35. blake February 3rd, 2011 at 9:43 am

    The Yanks arguably have the best lineup in baseball and the best bullpen in baseball. Whether you like the Soriano contract or not the additions to the pen were the best way to indirectly help the rotation if direct solutions weren’t available. The 3-5 portion of the rotation is the only weakness right now but that is lessened by the strong pen and by having one of the better 1-2 starter punches in the league …..should be a fun spring.

  36. Erica in NY February 3rd, 2011 at 9:45 am

    MTU February 3rd, 2011 at 9:43 am
    Erica-

    It says “V6? on the back. The 4 cylinder is plenty strong but the V6 would be my choice
    ***********

    I am definitely 4-cylinder

  37. Chip February 3rd, 2011 at 9:46 am

    blake February 3rd, 2011 at 9:43 am
    The Yanks arguably have the best lineup in baseball and the best bullpen in baseball. Whether you like the Soriano contract or not the additions to the pen were the best way to indirectly help the rotation if direct solutions weren’t available. The 3-5 portion of the rotation is the only weakness right now but that is lessened by the strong pen and by having one of the better 1-2 starter punches in the league …..should be a fun spring.

    —————–

    Yup – I don’t mind being the underdog.

  38. SJ44 February 3rd, 2011 at 9:47 am

    I think discounting the Yankees is a very big mistake.

    It will happen though.

    Expect this place to go bonkers when “media experts” predict the Yankees won’t make the playoffs. That will happen so the “Nervous Nellies”, who hang on media predictions, better brace themselves.

    When you have deep pockets, a very good team, an excellent farm system, and only one hole to fill, discounting the Yankees is a very big mistake.

  39. randy l. February 3rd, 2011 at 9:48 am

    “At the moment, the rotation in place for the 2011 season isn’t all that different. Yes, they’re banking on A.J. Burnett rebounding, but if he can even get to just the 2009 A.J., they’ll have a similarly strong front three when you add CC Sabathia and Phil Hughes.”

    wow, i can’t agree with this at all. mussina, clemens, and pettitte were in their prime ( clemens prime on peds that is). ramiro mendoza was in his prime in the bullpen backing up the starters .

    sabathia is an ace and matches clemens. hughes comes closer to matching pettitte’s 2001 when he had a 3.99 era. who matches mussina with a 3.15 era?

    so basically it’s aj burnett against mussina’s 3.15 era.

    how is that even remotely the same?

    aj burnett is a total wild card. no one knows what he’s going to do. if we could sign on for him rolling out a 4.5 era we’d take it. a 4.5 era is not a 3.15 era.

    nova could be lilly. garcia in the four hole again is a wild card though he could match el duque.

    so basically it comes down to mussina vs burnett.

    this is just not a comparable. burnett is being given way too much credit. this is just plain wrong on paper. i’d be delighted if burnett rolls out a 3.5 era , but the probability of that is so low that it doesn’t seem possible.

    also the yankees won the al east by 13 1/2 games. they were playing for much of the year with a big cushion. chances are if they weren’t they would have upgraded the rotation in the last two spots.

    i do not see this year’s yankees winning the american league east by 13 1/2 games.

    that’s about as likely as aj burnett matching mussina’s 2001 year.

  40. Chip February 3rd, 2011 at 9:49 am

    For what it’s worth – which isn’t much – Buster Olney made his playoff predictions:

    Boston
    Twins
    Rangers
    A’s

    Not sure who can look at Texas and think they’re a playoff team; but as they did make the World Series I suppose they deserve the benefit of the doubt. I tend to agree with Lance Berkman’s opinion that too many of their pitchers had career years last year for them to expect a repeat performance.

  41. upstate kate February 3rd, 2011 at 9:49 am

    I kinda like the Yankees being thought of as an underdog…it will be all the more satisfying when they win!

  42. Jerkface February 3rd, 2011 at 9:50 am

    Buster Olney’s endearing himself to ESPN again with his prediction. Rangers, A’s, Twins, Boston

    Dumb.

  43. Cashman needs to go February 3rd, 2011 at 9:51 am

    The only difference between 2001 and 2011 is EVERY team in the AL East in 2001 sucked except the yankees – thats not the case in 2011….

  44. Jerkface February 3rd, 2011 at 9:52 am

    Theres no way two teams come out of the west and 1 is not the angels. If the A’s make it it will be as div champs with around 87ish wins or something. If 2 teams come out of the west that means something crazy has happened and the Angels/Rangers/A’s won 95-97 games.

    A better wild card bet is the White Sox, if you really don’t want to pick the Yankees, but the wildcard is definitely coming out of the east.

    Its Boston/Yanks again, unless either get devastated by injury.

  45. flyankee February 3rd, 2011 at 9:52 am

    This should be a fun and competive year, I believe that it will end up 1 yankees 2 redsux 3 rays

  46. blake February 3rd, 2011 at 9:53 am

    The last Vegas odds j saw on who will win the WS had the Sox as 5:1 and the Yanks as 6:1…..the guys that have money riding on this know its much closer than it seems. I think you can argue that Boston is better than the Yankees on paper right now but its much closer than many are making out and really one qualify starter could be enough to tip the scales the other way……

  47. NYY626 - Andy in 2011 February 3rd, 2011 at 9:54 am

    I’d be shocked if the wildcard doesnt come out of the AL East, as would most people i’m sure….

  48. Chip February 3rd, 2011 at 9:55 am

    The one aspect of Randy’s post that I’ll agree with is that the Yankees aren’t going to run away with the AL East.

    The AL East is a lot stronger today than it was 10 years ago.

    In 2001 Boston had the second best record in the AL East with 82 wins, Toronto had 80, Baltimore and Tampa had 63 and 62 respectively.

    The level of competition that the Yankees will face on a regular basis is a lot stiffer today.

  49. Jerkface February 3rd, 2011 at 9:57 am

    sabathia is an ace and matches clemens. hughes comes closer to matching pettitte’s 2001 when he had a 3.99 era. who matches mussina with a 3.15 era?

    Sabathia matches Mussina. Hughes matches inbetween Clemens and Pettitte, and then its easier to fill out the rest.

  50. Jerkface February 3rd, 2011 at 9:58 am

    Infact, I’d say its likely CC matches Mussina, Hughes matches Clemens, and Burnett matches Pettitte

  51. Erin February 3rd, 2011 at 10:01 am

    Olney has 2 teams coming out of the AL West? 8O

  52. randy l. February 3rd, 2011 at 10:01 am

    i think the 2011yankees can match the 2001 yankees in record but it will most likely be because of an increased offensive total and not an equal pitching staff. the yankees in 2001 only scored 804 runs which the 2011 yankees should surpass easily.

    the 2001 team had a 4.02 era. i see that as very unlikely for 2011. i think the yankee staff looks to be more like a 4.50 team era +/- .

  53. Jerkface February 3rd, 2011 at 10:02 am

    But I do agree that the Yankees won’t have an easy division to deal with as they did in 2001. But they also won’t have to deal with a 100 win wild card team coming out of the west.

  54. Crawdaddy February 3rd, 2011 at 10:03 am

    Historically, Olney has been horrible making predictions.

  55. blake February 3rd, 2011 at 10:05 am

    Buster is really bad at this sort of thing.

    My guess:

    Yankees
    Red Sox
    White Sox
    Texas (but the As will give them a fight).

  56. BoJo February 3rd, 2011 at 10:05 am

    Nice article. Good job.

  57. Doreen February 3rd, 2011 at 10:05 am

    It will certainly be interesting to see things unfold this season.

    I like the perspective that the guest post brings. Randy l brings up an interesting counterpoint that is not without merit.

    But I do expect the Yankees to be in the fight all season.

    ****
    Erin -

    Glad you’re safe and able to get around.

    Funny thing – we were living in Naperville in 1998/1999 and we were visiting back east for Christmas when the last big storm hit that area. We couldn’t fly home for a couple of days. I remember landing at O’Hare and the the snow on the streets driving home was like a wall of snow. We had some terrific neighbors who had shoveled our driveway and walk.

    *****

    upstate kate -

    I like that the Yankees are “underdogs,” too. :)

  58. Jerkface February 3rd, 2011 at 10:06 am

    the 2001 team had a 4.02 era. i see that as very unlikely for 2011. i think the yankee staff looks to be more like a 4.50 team era +/- .

    You’re crazy. 4.50 team ERA? The 2010 Yankees with all their crappy everything had a 4.06 team ERA and the 2011 team has a far superior bullpen and won’t have the ghost of javy vazquez’s 6 ERA. You have to go back to the Torre-era teams who had troublesome bullpens due to Torre burning everyone out and a lack of quality prospects who could come up and mitigate damage to get a 4.50 team era yankee team.

    The 2011 Yankees will be 4.00 team ERA +/- .25

  59. BoJo February 3rd, 2011 at 10:07 am

    My guess

    Yankees
    Twins
    A’s
    WC–Orioles (how about that for going out on a ledge?!)

  60. Chip February 3rd, 2011 at 10:07 am

    randy l. February 3rd, 2011 at 10:01 am
    i think the 2011yankees can match the 2001 yankees in record but it will most likely be because of an increased offensive total and not an equal pitching staff. the yankees in 2001 only scored 804 runs which the 2011 yankees should surpass easily.

    the 2001 team had a 4.02 era. i see that as very unlikely for 2011. i think the yankee staff looks to be more like a 4.50 team era +/- .

    ————————-

    Maybe.

    If you go back and really look at the 2001 teams, not just in the East but in the AL in general – you only had three really good teams. The Yankees, A’s and Mariners.

    Not only has the AL East improved vastly from where it was, but there are more competative teams in the Central as well.

    Overall I think the American League is just overwhelmingly strong.

    On a related note I think all the people who claim the Yankees are “bad for baseball” need to take note of how strong the AL is becoming and realize that a driving force behind that improved level of competition is that you have teams trying to keep up with the Yankees (and Red Sox).

    I think if you took Baltimore and Toronto out of the AL East, split them up, and put them in any other divisions in baseball they would be playoff contenders

    Detroit, Chicago, the Twins, all are very strong teams.

    Angels had an off year last year but they’ll be back this year – A’s have improved as well.

  61. Chip February 3rd, 2011 at 10:07 am

    My picks:

    Yankees
    Tigers
    Angels
    White Sox

  62. Joe from Long Island February 3rd, 2011 at 10:09 am

    Good morning, to all –

    1. Last thread, but Chad’s reference to Donnie Collins’ essay about his grandmother was terrific, just as Chad said.

    2. Nice post on patience. History is littered with the bodies of those who weren’t.

    FWIW, about pre-season predictions – In Yogi Berra’s bio, by Allan Barra (I heartily recommend it, for knowledge about Yogi, as well as baseball history), it seems that every year during that historical 1949-1953 dynasty, when the Yanks won the WS every single year, the writers predicted them to finish in the middle of the pack. And then, they finally picked them to win the pennant – in 1954.

  63. Chip February 3rd, 2011 at 10:09 am

    My NL Picks:

    Philly
    Cubs
    Giants
    Cards

  64. Mell February 3rd, 2011 at 10:09 am

    “WC–Orioles (how about that for going out on a ledge?!)”

    The ledge is behind you. By picking the O’s, you’ve jumped off it.

  65. Cashman needs to go February 3rd, 2011 at 10:10 am

    Jerkface February 3rd, 2011 at 10:02 am
    But I do agree that the Yankees won’t have an easy division to deal with as they did in 2001. But they also won’t have to deal with a 100 win wild card team coming out of the west.

    ***********************************

    The Twins, Whitesox and Tigers all got better this offseason – while the royals with the grienke trade are now a AAA team and the indians plain suck….the twins, WS and tigers get to play those 2 craptastic teams like what 18 times each….so you won’t see two 100 win teams in the west but you may get two 97/98 win teams in the central….the yankees ain’t winning 97/98 games this year with the current roster…

  66. SJ44 February 3rd, 2011 at 10:11 am

    Given Sabathia, Hughes and their bullpen, particularly Mo and Soriano, it’s practically impossible for them to have a team ERA 4.50 or higher.

    It would mean the entire pitching staff will have fallen off the cliff.

    Highly unlikely.

  67. randy l. February 3rd, 2011 at 10:11 am

    “Infact, I’d say its likely CC matches Mussina, Hughes matches Clemens, and Burnett matches Pettitte”

    in that scenario, clemens 3.51 era is half a run better than hughes has ever done as a starter. it’s possible that hughes will match clemens, but that’s a best case scenario.

    i’ll give you that in a best case scenario the 2011 pitching can match the 2001 pitching but that’s a pollyanna way of looking at things. the worst case scenario is juts as likely to happen.

    it’s probably a 20% chance that burnett comes up with 3.99 era like pettitte did.

    on paper,no way 2011 sabathia, hughes, burnett matches up with 2001 mussina, clemens, and pettitte.

  68. Mell February 3rd, 2011 at 10:12 am

    I’ll go with Yankees, Boston, A’s and White Sox (though Minnesota and Detroit are just as good a guess there) in the AL.

    NL? Phillies, Braves, Reds, Rockies.

  69. Erin February 3rd, 2011 at 10:12 am

    Doreen-thank you!

    There are a couple walls of snow in the parking lot where I work. It was kind of cool walking between them this morning. lol

  70. Crawdaddy February 3rd, 2011 at 10:12 am

    Randy L and trolls seem to be on the same page.

  71. Jerkface February 3rd, 2011 at 10:14 am

    Ok Randy, but just saying that you intentionally lined up the pitching to force an extreme scenario. You avoided matching CC with Mussina, which is the most likely, giving you an extreme gulf between Mussina and Burnett.

    If you match them up on their likely stats, the 2011 staff can match the 2001 staff, and at any rate, if you look at the overall strength of the club is very possible they match the team ERA of the 2001 team.

  72. BoJo February 3rd, 2011 at 10:15 am

    One name I liked out of the Peter Gammons articles:

    “which leaves 20-25 starts to Ivan Nova, Banuelos … maybe even a Gio Gonzalez, if Cashman will give Billy Beane enough of his prospects.”

    Won’t happen easily, and probably not at all…but that kid looks like he is on the verge of becoming a very good pitcher, perhaps an All-Star.

  73. Mell February 3rd, 2011 at 10:15 am

    “Given Sabathia, Hughes and their bullpen, particularly Mo and Soriano, it’s practically impossible for them to have a team ERA 4.50 or higher”

    To lend some perspective to just how crazy the 4.50 theory is, in 2010, only the Orioles (4.59) and Royals (4.97) exceeded a 4.50 ERA. No other team had an ERA higher than 4.30.

  74. Jerkface February 3rd, 2011 at 10:16 am

    The Twins, Whitesox and Tigers all got better this offseason

    They all got better and are still no where near the quality of a team like the Yankees. Which means that they might beat up on the royals, but they’ll still lose vs other quality teams. No one in the central is running away with it. The twins won less games than the Yankees last year while putting up a .700 WP against the entire AL central.

  75. BoJo February 3rd, 2011 at 10:16 am

    Mell February 3rd, 2011 at 10:09 am

    “WC–Orioles (how about that for going out on a ledge?!)”

    The ledge is behind you. By picking the O’s, you’ve jumped off it.
    _—————-
    I BELIEVEEEEEEEE in the POWER OF THE BUCK!!!

    “Don’t F*CK with Buck!”

    :lol:

  76. Jerkface February 3rd, 2011 at 10:19 am

    http://dempseysarmy.blogspot.c.....es-of.html

    Linked from Craig Calcaterra

  77. Crawdaddy February 3rd, 2011 at 10:19 am

    ” i think the yankee staff looks to be more like a 4.50 team era”

    Randy,

    Please explain how this year’s Yankee team will be 4.50 yet the 2010 Yankee team with all of it’s problems with AJ and Javy was 4.06 ERA? I guess you expect AJ to decline even further than he did last year along with getting worse performances out of Javy’s replacements.

  78. Jerkface February 3rd, 2011 at 10:20 am

    Those who are pessimistic will cite outlandishly poor figures without the respect to consider how they will come into being.

  79. Chip February 3rd, 2011 at 10:22 am

    BoJo February 3rd, 2011 at 10:16 am
    Mell February 3rd, 2011 at 10:09 am

    “WC–Orioles (how about that for going out on a ledge?!)”

    The ledge is behind you. By picking the O’s, you’ve jumped off it.
    _—————-
    I BELIEVEEEEEEEE in the POWER OF THE BUCK!!!

    “Don’t F*CK with Buck!”
    ——————

    I believe in Buck – I love their lineup – and I think in a couple of years they’ll have the pitching to match but not right now.

  80. blake February 3rd, 2011 at 10:22 am

    The Yanks are one Andy Pettite away from having the fewest weaknesses in baseball.

  81. Bronx Jeers February 3rd, 2011 at 10:23 am

    I remember in 2004 I had Brown, Javy and Lieber replacing the production of Clemens, Pettitte and Boomer.

    Now that’s optimism with a capital “O” :smile:

  82. BoJo February 3rd, 2011 at 10:23 am

    Chip–

    It might not happen but I will look like a freakin genius if it does!

    :lol:

  83. Chip February 3rd, 2011 at 10:24 am

    Jerkface February 3rd, 2011 at 10:16 am
    The Twins, Whitesox and Tigers all got better this offseason

    They all got better and are still no where near the quality of a team like the Yankees. Which means that they might beat up on the royals, but they’ll still lose vs other quality teams. No one in the central is running away with it. The twins won less games than the Yankees last year while putting up a .700 WP against the entire AL central.

    —————-

    You have to like the pitching staffs in both Chicago and Detroit. I don’t care for the defense on either team, but their lineups are going to be very good as well.

    I think the Twins are good, but I may have jumped the gun by saying they got better – their pen took a lot of hits this winter.

  84. Jerkface February 3rd, 2011 at 10:24 am

    I believe in Buck – I love their lineup – and I think in a couple of years they’ll have the pitching to match but not right now.

    Its always going to be a couple of years, for whatever reason the Orioles brand and uniform are toxic. Their entire farm system basically crashed last year, every prospect suffered significant setbacks either performance wise or injury wise. Its almost a joke with the orioles fans I know that any oriole top prospect, upon reaching the majors, will regress to the very worst percentile performance base. It doesn’t help their ownership keeps signing terrible relievers to big deals as well.

    I look at them to continue to struggle.

  85. hman23 February 3rd, 2011 at 10:24 am

    Jerkface -

    Are you saying that going into 2001 you had the same amount of confidence in Pettitte that you do in Burnett coming into this year?

  86. Crawdaddy February 3rd, 2011 at 10:25 am

    “The Yanks are one Andy Pettite away from having the fewest weaknesses in baseball.”

    I’m not so sure about that level of optimism.

  87. Jerkface February 3rd, 2011 at 10:25 am

    You have to like the pitching staffs in both Chicago and Detroit. I don’t care for the defense on either team, but their lineups are going to be very good as well.

    I don’t like the tigers staff. I like Verlander and Scherzer, the rest is trash. The White Sox are the strongest team in the central for me right now, but even they aren’t as good as the Yankees.

  88. BoJo February 3rd, 2011 at 10:25 am

    In the Central, it is still hard to bet against an organization like the Twins–who are well run and apparently do the best job in baseball at developing low cost pitchers.

    :-)

  89. Jerkface February 3rd, 2011 at 10:26 am

    Are you saying that going into 2001 you had the same amount of confidence in Pettitte that you do in Burnett coming into this year?

    No. What are you talking about?

  90. Patrick February 3rd, 2011 at 10:26 am

    My playoff predictions..

    Yankees
    Red Sox
    White Sox
    A’s

    I think it will be down to the wire in the central (Twins) and the west (Rangers) and I also think the Rays will be in the wild card race until the end.

  91. BoJo February 3rd, 2011 at 10:26 am

    Anyone trying to run Coke out every fifth day should be arrested.

  92. blake February 3rd, 2011 at 10:26 am

    Crawdaddy,

    Who would have less?

  93. randy l. February 3rd, 2011 at 10:26 am

    let me fine tune that 4.50 era+/- .

    in 2001, the yankees team era of 4.02 was third in the league.

    in 2010, the yankees team era of 4.06 was 7th or middle of the pack.

    i think the yankees 2011 era is going to be middle of the pack =/- .

    this means in a best case scenario with pitching the 2011 yankees will be as good as the 2001 team.

    that’s my point.

    the guest post is looking at a best case scenario as being equal to the 2001 team pitching.
    as i said, i’ll give anyone that, but it is as likely the worst case scenario happens .

    people are just whistling through the cemetery with the best case scenario for 2011 pitching.

    the 2011 team has a lot of strengths. starting pitching isn’t one of them.

  94. Chuck58 February 3rd, 2011 at 10:27 am

    Joe, and the crazy thing about the predictions for 1954 – the Yanks DID win 103 games! Sadly for them, Cleveland won 111.

    Erin – I love having 4 wheel drive and anitlock brakes. Ford F-150 :-)

  95. Crawdaddy February 3rd, 2011 at 10:27 am

    “Those who are pessimistic will cite outlandishly poor figures without the respect to consider how they will come into being.

    Randy needs to explain his level of pessimism regarding his prediction of 4.50 ERA.

  96. Chuck58 February 3rd, 2011 at 10:27 am

    “Antilock…” ;-)

  97. Chip February 3rd, 2011 at 10:28 am

    BoJo February 3rd, 2011 at 10:23 am
    Chip–

    It might not happen but I will look like a freakin genius if it does!

    ——————–

    quite true.

    I’m just so impressed with Baltimore’s winter – the Buck/McPhail combo did a tremendous job. They just need that one horse of a pitcher for the front of the rotation to help bring the kids along.

    Right now their rotation is what: Matuz, Guthrie, Arietta, Duchscherer, Tillman

    With Gonzalez, Accardo, Koji setting up Gregg in the pen

    Great lineup:

    Roberts
    Jones
    Markakis
    Reynolds
    Scott
    D. Lee
    Wieters
    Hardy
    Pie

  98. Crawdaddy February 3rd, 2011 at 10:29 am

    So Randy are you backing down from the 4.50 ERA for the 2011 Yankees?

  99. Mell February 3rd, 2011 at 10:29 am

    “Won’t happen easily, and probably not at all…but that kid looks like he is on the verge of becoming a very good pitcher, perhaps an All-Star.”

    Always wonder about A’s pitchers, as the home/road spilts are always a consideration with them. As a team they posted a 3.04 at home and 4.15 on the road. Gio’s splits were as pronounced as he posted a 2.56 ERA and 1.19 WHIP in cavernous Oakland and a 3.98 and 1.43 WHIP everywhere else. BAbip was .235 in Oakland and .318 elsewhere. He wasn’t terrible away from home, but the home park clearly skews his numbers.

  100. Jerkface February 3rd, 2011 at 10:29 am

    in 2001, the yankees team era of 4.02 was third in the league.

    in 2010, the yankees team era of 4.06 was 7th or middle of the pack.

    i think the yankees 2011 era is going to be middle of the pack =/- .

    Ok, but the 2001 team was playing in the steroid era and the league average team scored 60 more runs total than a league average team in 2010, but the Yankees have maintained a steroid era offense exitting the steroid era, which means that having a middle of the pack pitching is less of a disadvantage than you think.

  101. Chip February 3rd, 2011 at 10:30 am

    Jerkface February 3rd, 2011 at 10:25 am
    You have to like the pitching staffs in both Chicago and Detroit. I don’t care for the defense on either team, but their lineups are going to be very good as well.

    I don’t like the tigers staff. I like Verlander and Scherzer, the rest is trash. The White Sox are the strongest team in the central for me right now, but even they aren’t as good as the Yankees.

    —————

    I’ll grant you that Coke and Penny are unknowns (they’re hoping Coke gives them the same sort of season that CJ Wilson got from Texas and Penny bounces back) but also the Tigers have a very strong pen.

  102. Patrick February 3rd, 2011 at 10:31 am

    The Orioles have a “great” lineup? It’s an ok lineup with a zillion question marks.

  103. Crawdaddy February 3rd, 2011 at 10:31 am

    “Crawdaddy,

    Who would have less?”

    I think the Red Sox are still the class of baseball on paper. I think their starting pitching is going to be better than some around think with only the catching spot being a real weakness.

  104. Jerkface February 3rd, 2011 at 10:33 am

    The 2001 Yankees had an OPS+ of 100, exactly average, the 2010 yankees had an OPS+ of 109, the highest of any team.

  105. Jerkface February 3rd, 2011 at 10:34 am

    I’ll grant you that Coke and Penny are unknowns (they’re hoping Coke gives them the same sort of season that CJ Wilson got from Texas and Penny bounces back) but also the Tigers have a very strong pen.

    Weren’t you against Benoit? Their pen is full of a lot of guys who are going to be around 3.5 to 4+ era’s. They don’t have the 2 era type guy that can lock down a bullpen. White Sox atleast have Thornton.

  106. Chip February 3rd, 2011 at 10:35 am

    Mell February 3rd, 2011 at 10:29 am
    “Won’t happen easily, and probably not at all…but that kid looks like he is on the verge of becoming a very good pitcher, perhaps an All-Star.”

    Always wonder about A’s pitchers, as the home/road spilts are always a consideration with them. As a team they posted a 3.04 at home and 4.15 on the road. Gio’s splits were as pronounced as he posted a 2.56 ERA and 1.19 WHIP in cavernous Oakland and a 3.98 and 1.43 WHIP everywhere else. BAbip was .235 in Oakland and .318 elsewhere. He wasn’t terrible away from home, but the home park clearly skews his numbers.

    ——————-

    I’m not a huge Gio fan – to be honest I prefered Vin to Gio

  107. Patrick February 3rd, 2011 at 10:35 am

    Craw,

    It’s possible that the Red Sox have a great rotation but I think you have to question Beckett and Matsuzaka. I’ll give Lackey a pass for 2010 because he’s usually very good but the former 2 pitchers are insanely inconsistent.

    I also think SS and CF are weaknesses for Boston, as well as defense at 3B. And of course, the catcher position as you mentioned.

  108. Mell February 3rd, 2011 at 10:35 am

    “I like Verlander and Scherzer, the rest is trash”

    If Porcello comes in somewhere between last year and 2009, he’d be OK. I think Coke might be an interesting guy to watch as a starter too.

    Could be one ugly defense on that team though. They stand to have about 3-4 DH’s in the field.

  109. randy l. February 3rd, 2011 at 10:35 am

    “Please explain how this year’s Yankee team will be 4.50 yet the 2010 Yankee team with all of it’s problems with AJ and Javy was 4.06 ERA?”

    i said 4.50 era =/-

    i could see a 4.3 era without pettitte and one of the spots , the 4 or 5 spot falling off the cliff.

    the problem with the yankees 4.06 era is that it was 7th in the league which is middle of the pack.

    i probably should have said 4.25 era+/- .

    best case scenario they go lower. worst case they go way higher.

    the real point is even with a great looking bullpen they look to be a middle of the pack team with overall pitching.

    the 2001 team was third in pitching. i don’t see that in the most likely scenario with the 2011 team.

    i still think the 2011 team is going to be good with the strength of the offense bullpen, and defense.

  110. Chip February 3rd, 2011 at 10:36 am

    Jerkface February 3rd, 2011 at 10:34 am
    I’ll grant you that Coke and Penny are unknowns (they’re hoping Coke gives them the same sort of season that CJ Wilson got from Texas and Penny bounces back) but also the Tigers have a very strong pen.

    Weren’t you against Benoit? Their pen is full of a lot of guys who are going to be around 3.5 to 4+ era’s. They don’t have the 2 era type guy that can lock down a bullpen. White Sox atleast have Thornton.
    ——————

    I’m still against Benoit – their pen was good last year and much as I think their closer is an a-hole I can’t argue against the results.

  111. blake February 3rd, 2011 at 10:36 am

    Craw,

    If Pettite is there I think 3-5 for Boston is just as questionable as the Yankees. I like the Yankees pen better, I like the Yankees catching situation better, and I think their lineup has more balance and less injury risk…..they would be a very solid and well rounded team with Andy.

  112. hman23 February 3rd, 2011 at 10:36 am

    Jerkface -

    Your 9:58 post equating the two.

  113. Chip February 3rd, 2011 at 10:36 am

    Mell February 3rd, 2011 at 10:35 am
    “I like Verlander and Scherzer, the rest is trash”

    If Porcello comes in somewhere between last year and 2009, he’d be OK. I think Coke might be an interesting guy to watch as a starter too.

    Could be one ugly defense on that team though. They stand to have about 3-4 DH’s in the field.

    ———–

    I think Detroit, Chicago and Toronto could be three of the worst defensive teams in the AL this year.

  114. randy l. February 3rd, 2011 at 10:38 am

    “The 2001 Yankees had an OPS+ of 100, exactly average, the 2010 yankees had an OPS+ of 109, the highest of any team.”

    which is why the 2011 team compares overall favorably with the 2001 team.

    but it’s not with starting pitching.

  115. Jerkface February 3rd, 2011 at 10:38 am

    I’m still against Benoit – their pen was good last year and much as I think their closer is an a-hole I can’t argue against the results.

    Their pen last year had 3 guys with with WHIPs above 1.4, its not even like the 3rd best pen in the AL.

  116. Erin February 3rd, 2011 at 10:38 am

    Chuck58 February 3rd, 2011 at 10:27 am

    Erin ? I love having 4 wheel drive and anitlock brakes. Ford F-150

    **************************
    Chuck-it was VERY nice having 4 wheel drive this morning. I don’t think there’s any way my car would have made it.

    I may have to go car shopping before next winter. :)

  117. Chip February 3rd, 2011 at 10:38 am

    Jerkface February 3rd, 2011 at 10:38 am
    I’m still against Benoit – their pen was good last year and much as I think their closer is an a-hole I can’t argue against the results.

    Their pen last year had 3 guys with with WHIPs above 1.4, its not even like the 3rd best pen in the AL
    ————-

    I stand corrected then.

  118. Jerkface February 3rd, 2011 at 10:39 am

    Your 9:58 post equating the two.

    Which had nothing to do with what I expected of Andy Pettitte going into 2001.

  119. Mell February 3rd, 2011 at 10:40 am

    “I’m not a huge Gio fan – to be honest I prefered Vin to Gio”

    Not I. Mazzaro is too hittable. Definitely like Gonzalez better. Guy to watch in Oakland is Bret Anderson. Terrific talent, but some arm woes. Many think TJS is in his future.

  120. Greg M February 3rd, 2011 at 10:42 am

    Thanks everyone!

    @MTU – sure thing. The kids the Royals have coming up are indeed good.

    @Randy L. – AJ absolutely had an awful year in 2010. But 2010 is not the norm for him. If he gets back to his 2009 level, they’ll be fine. I also disagree with that 20% chance. If he gives up ONE less ER in 2009, his 4.04 ERA drops to 3.99. So the chance that he gives a similar level of production is very good.

  121. Yazman February 3rd, 2011 at 10:43 am

    Note that Nova and Mitre are in the rotation BEFORE any injuries.

    The recent back-of-rotation-option signings will help when injuries inevitably hit.

  122. Jerkface February 3rd, 2011 at 10:44 am

    The recent back-of-rotation-option signings will help when injuries inevitably hit.

    Mitre is not opening in the rotation.

  123. Patrick February 3rd, 2011 at 10:45 am

    There is no way Mitre wins a rotation spot over Colon and Garcia.

  124. Mell February 3rd, 2011 at 10:46 am

    “There is no way Mitre wins a rotation spot over Colon and Garcia”

    Could see him easily winning over Colon. Not Garcia though.

  125. randy l. February 3rd, 2011 at 10:47 am

    “…the Yankees have maintained a steroid era offense exitting the steroid era, which means that having a middle of the pack pitching is less of a disadvantage than you think.”

    jerkface-

    we’re in agreement on this. i think the offense of the 2011 team carries it.

    i’m just saying the guest post is overly optimistic in comparing the top 2001 starters with the the 2011 starters.

    it’s looking at the best case scenario with starting pitching and is not a real strength of the team.

    it’s the offense as you say. i agree.

  126. Patrick February 3rd, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Could see him easily winning over Colon. Not Garcia though.

    Well yeah, but I felt I should include Colon in the statement.

  127. hardwired7 February 3rd, 2011 at 10:48 am

    Buster Olney’s prediction from 2010:

    World Series winner: Colorado Rockies.

    He had the Giants and the Rangers both finishing 3rd in their divisions.

    When it comes to making prognostications, he’s no great shakes.

  128. Patrick February 3rd, 2011 at 10:50 am

    For NL I’d go with…

    Phillies
    Brewers
    Rockies
    WC = Giants

  129. Chip February 3rd, 2011 at 10:54 am

    Mell February 3rd, 2011 at 10:40 am
    “I’m not a huge Gio fan – to be honest I prefered Vin to Gio”

    Not I. Mazzaro is too hittable. Definitely like Gonzalez better. Guy to watch in Oakland is Bret Anderson. Terrific talent, but some arm woes. Many think TJS is in his future.

    ————–

    I’m a huge fan of Anderson.

    Before Beane traded for DeJesus and failed to sign the Japanese pitcher I was pining for the Yankees to swing a deal for him.

  130. pat February 3rd, 2011 at 10:54 am

    Erin

    Here’s an A-Rod gossip break for you.

    http://www.directv.com/DTVAPP/.....d=P7260108

  131. Chip February 3rd, 2011 at 10:54 am

    Jerkface February 3rd, 2011 at 10:44 am
    The recent back-of-rotation-option signings will help when injuries inevitably hit.

    Mitre is not opening in the rotation.

    —————-

    Mitre may not make the roster at all.

  132. randy l. February 3rd, 2011 at 10:55 am

    “Randy L and trolls seem to be on the same page.”

    craddaddy-

    go finish lighting your cashman altar candles . :)

  133. BoJo February 3rd, 2011 at 10:55 am

    Mell–

    I agree about BA, but he is unavailable. I like Gio regardless of stadium because he is learning to master the change up and pitching…getting smarter.

    Put him on Yankees with better offense and defense and I think he would win 18-20 games.

  134. Jerkface February 3rd, 2011 at 10:57 am

    I like Gio, his 2 best games weren’t even in Oakland. Infact, most of the games in which he went deep were not in oakland.

  135. Patrick February 3rd, 2011 at 11:04 am

    Brett Anderson is a future Cy Young winner if he can stay healthy

  136. Mell February 3rd, 2011 at 11:07 am

    “I like Gio, his 2 best games weren’t even in Oakland. Infact, most of the games in which he went deep were not in oakland.”

    6.4 innings per start in Oakland, 5.8 innings per start on the road. 12 games of 7 IP or more, and 8 of those were at OACC or whatever they call that place now.

  137. Jerkface February 3rd, 2011 at 11:08 am

    6.4 innings per start in Oakland, 5.8 innings per start on the road. 12 games of 7 IP or more, and 8 of those were at OACC or whatever they call that place now.

    I’m dumb and was looking at his ‘non-@’ games as being out of oakland for some reason.

  138. G. Love February 3rd, 2011 at 11:08 am

    I don’t know why, it’s probably just wishful thinking…but I don’t think Boston is going to make the post season.

    Something crazy is going to happen there. I think the team deviated so far from Theo’s plan/vision for the future that it’s going to backfire on them whether it be from injuries again, poor performance or that pitching rotation being similar to last years.

    Historically, when Boston has their chest’s puffed out like this it never works out.

    It’s going to be a fun season to watch. I love it that the Yankees are expected to tank.

    Olney looks like a moron right now for picking against a team that has maybe 1 question mark in the rotation (which team doesn’t have at least 1 question mark in the rotation?).

    Without Andy in the fold, I think the Yankees have done a good job supplying rotation candidates old and young to compete for the open spots. I also think that kind of competition brings something special out in the special players. Nothing is being handed to anyone here and if you want one of the spots you’re going to have to earn it to keep it because there will be someone nipping at your heels in the organization ready to take it from you.

    That’s why if we can get Millwood into camp on a minor league deal similar to Garcia’s I do it. Let them all fight it out and give the team as many options as they can.

    With the depth the Yankees have brewing in the minors, veterans will not be given the slack they were before with the exception of the established long time vets like Jeter who will be given time no matter what the results.

  139. Cashman needs to go February 3rd, 2011 at 11:09 am

    I think the Twins are good, but I may have jumped the gun by saying they got better – their pen took a lot of hits this winter.

    *********************************************

    They’ll be better only if morneau and nathan get healthy..if not they’ll be the same as they were last year – which was good enough to win the central…

    and you may come back and say “Well thats asking alot to have them both healthy and productive” to which i would respond..well if thats the case then its asking alot to have jeter, tex, arod, granderson, posada, burnett, the #4 and 5 starters, joba, robertson, logan and russell martin all go back to being healthy, productive and for some turn back the clock – and hoping there are no major injuries because the bench is super weak and if any of them have to play an extended amount of time the yankees are in trouble…

  140. hman23 February 3rd, 2011 at 11:11 am

    Jerkface -

    You wrote “Pettitte matches Burnett.”

    Just probing why you think that is given that the original post concerns expectations coming into a year. I cannot see that comparison at all. Given the season that Pettitte had in 2000 and the one AJ had last year.

    Do you seriously think those two should be put on the same level?

  141. Wave Your Hat February 3rd, 2011 at 11:12 am

    The guest post doesn’t fill me with confidence about 2011.

    In 2001, the Yanks won 95 games. The AL East wasn’t the powerhouse it is now. The next best team, Boston, managed only 82 wins, and Baltimore and Tampa were the two worst teams in the AL.

    If the Yanks had played in the AL West they would have finished a distant third, out of the playoffs.

    The Yanks had three pitchers everyone knew were solid going into 2001 – Mussina, Clemens and Pettitte. Those three predictably came through with solid years.

    Hernandez had posted a 4.51 ERA in 2000, and proceeded to disappoint in 2001. Ted Lilly was basically an untested kid who didn’t shine. The replacement starters, outside of 3 games from El Duquecito, did not pitch well.

    The one good point of comparison is the bullpen (we hope).

    Basically, the Yanks prospered in 2001 because of the weak AL East, against which the Yanks went 50-24. Against the rest of the AL, we went 35-33.

    The Yanks aren’t facing a weak AL East this time around, and they don’t have three solid starters (please come back Andy!).

  142. Jerkface February 3rd, 2011 at 11:12 am

    They’ll be better only if morneau and nathan get healthy..if not they’ll be the same as they were last year – which was good enough to win the central…

    I know you’re just a troll but the 2010 Twins got 350 PA’s of 1.055 OPS Justin Morneau. Its not like they were without. And I’m not sure how Morneau having a concussion he still hasn’t recovered from or Nathan recovering from arm surgery at 36 is the same as anything related to Tex, A-rod, Granderson, Joba, Robertson, Logan, Posada or whoever the #4 or #5 starters are.

  143. Jerkface February 3rd, 2011 at 11:14 am

    You wrote “Pettitte matches Burnett.”

    Just probing why you think that is given that the original post concerns expectations coming into a year. I cannot see that comparison at all. Given the season that Pettitte had in 2000 and the one AJ had last year.

    Do you seriously think those two should be put on the same level?

    No, it was just for Randy’s stupid numbers game that was dumb. If you look at what pettitte produced on the field, a 4 ERA, and are wondering how the 2011 Yankees could match a 4 ERA, I think Burnett could do that. It doesn’t have anything to do with them being similar pitchers or anything in that regard.

    And to be fair, 2001 Pettitte was 2 seasons removed from a 4.7 ERA

  144. randy l. February 3rd, 2011 at 11:14 am

    “If he gives up ONE less ER in 2009, his 4.04 ERA drops to 3.99. So the chance that he gives a similar level of production is very good.”

    greg m-

    the problem is you are comparing what aj did two years ago.he had a 5.26 era last year. that’s who he is right now until he proves otherwise.

    i think the 648 innings that mussina, clemens, and pettite threw with an average era of 3.55 is much better than anything ,but the best case scenario of sabathia, hughes, and burnett will throw.

    last year sabathia, hughes and burnett threw 599 innings at a 4.21 era.

    so you are saying that the yankees top three guys are likely to reduce their era by .66 runs?
    i think that is a best scenario and a possible one. just not a likely one.

    one thing your post does though is show how important aj burnett is to the 2011 team.

    if rothschild can get aj burnett back to who he was the yankees are a much better team.

    also , good luck with your baseball career. i realize you can’t say much because of your job, but you should throw more baseball stuff into the blog. i wouldn’t announce you work for the royals though. in the pro world it’s amateurish to root for teams. you root for whoever pays you. :)

  145. Jerkface February 3rd, 2011 at 11:16 am

    And if you look at the peripherals, 2000 Pettitte is actually very similar to 2010 Burnett.

  146. BoJo February 3rd, 2011 at 11:23 am

    Mell–

    I really don’t care what the home/away splits are for Gio. Having seen him pitch, I see a good young arm who is mastering the art of pitching. Being a lefty makes him even more intriguing. Putting him in YS with a better defense and offense makes him very attractive.

  147. Cashman needs to go February 3rd, 2011 at 11:23 am

    Jerkface…

    Let me add to what the 50 or so posters have already said…your name fits you well..

    so i guess i’ve been trolling since 2009…

    i don’t know what to say if you can’t figure out that having morneau for the whole year as compared to half a year isn’t a better thing….or maybe your reading comprehension isn’t at top level when i wrote “They’ll be better only if morneau and nathan get healthy..if not they’ll be the same as they were last year – which was good enough to win the central”

    if you weren’t paying attention granderson SUCKED for 5 out of the 6 months last year, i know rose colored glasses blocked certain problems away but i’m not ready to proclaim grandy a HOF just yet – once posada gets hurt you’ll be seeing cervelli or andruw jones (or god help us greg golson) alot more, joba sucks and i don’t expect that to change, logan was good for about a month and a half last year when he wasn’t in the minors or stinking it up in the playoffs..

    oh and one last thing…my post was addressed to chip since he had responded to my claim that the twins will be better AND they play in the AL central…

    i’d rather be a troll than a imbecile….

  148. randy l. February 3rd, 2011 at 11:24 am

    “it was just for Randy’s stupid numbers game that was dumb”

    jerkface-

    typical guy who grew up when they didn’t hit people who likes to throw out the word “dumb”.

    you agree that the strength of the yankees in 2011 is likely to be their offense and bullpen and that their starting pitching is likely to be middle of the pack.

    the 2001 team was third in the league in pitching.

    i don’t see how our viewpoints on the yankees in 2001 and 2011 are very different.

    of course , if you want to argue just for the sake of arguing knock yourself out.

  149. Jerkface February 3rd, 2011 at 11:26 am

    last year sabathia, hughes and burnett threw 599 innings at a 4.21 era.

    If Sabathia stays the same, Hughes improves to 3.75, and Burnett drops to 4.5 they’ll throw a combined: 3.76 , so I don’t think its out of the realm of possibility.

  150. Mell February 3rd, 2011 at 11:27 am

    “And if you look at the peripherals, 2000 Pettitte is actually very similar to 2010 Burnett”

    Yeah, but the environment wasn’t. AL teams averaged 5.3 runs per game, hit .276 with an OBP of .350 in 2000. In 2010, AL teams scored 4.45 runs per game, hit .260 with an OBP of .327.

  151. dan l February 3rd, 2011 at 11:27 am

    What a lousy post! The Yankees won 95 games in 2001 on the strength of Clemens great year. The team went 27-5-1 in games he started.

    If CC has a team win year like Clemens did in 01 the Yankees will make the post season easily.

    Why didn’t you compare Mitre’s whip in 07 to the NL average whip in 07 for starting pitchers? Heck he is a ground ball pitcher that pitched in front of a terrible team defense that year. Also in 07 his hr/9 rate was very good. In 09 coming back from TJ surgery it was terrible and last he drastically improved that with erratic playing time.

    Last year Mitre in his only start following a start pitched decent.

  152. Wave Your Hat February 3rd, 2011 at 11:28 am

    “the 2001 team was third in the league in pitching.”

    If CC wins the Cy Young this year and two additional starters combine for 65 starts and around a 3.50 ERA, Yanks will do just fine.

  153. randy l. February 3rd, 2011 at 11:28 am

    “And if you look at the peripherals, 2000 Pettitte is actually very similar to 2010 Burnett.”

    jerkface-

    burnett 2010 whip 1.51

    pettitte 2001 1.31

    show us those peripherals.

    can’t wait.

  154. hman23 February 3rd, 2011 at 11:29 am

    Pettitte was not dominant to be sure, but his ERA was a full run lower (during the peak of the steroid era). His ERA+ was 111, AJ’s was 81 which I think really shows where each was in comparison with the league.

    AJ is coming off of a 5.26 ERA — in a season that was dramatically better for pitchers across the board. Hell, Nova pitched better than he did.

    But, I certainly am not going to fault you for being optimistic. I am with AJ to a degree as well. His stuff is simply too good.

  155. RS February 3rd, 2011 at 11:30 am

    I think the Yankees have a very good team. It’s incredibly unlikely that Burnett will pitch to a 5.00+ ERA again when his career ERA is under 4.00. I also have a feeling Hughes will be more consistant this year and finish with a solid 3.80-4.00 ERA, which will be good enough for 15-18 wins on this team. If Pettitte comes back at all this year, it will be a huge boost, and there’s still plenty of time to make a trade for a starter.

    And one good thing about having a shaky rotation but a great offense and bullpen, is we should see a lot of exciting comeback wins :)

  156. randy l. February 3rd, 2011 at 11:32 am

    wave your hat-

    i think with having added soriano to the bullpen and with the offense they have the yankees are indeed fine for 2011.

    i’m just saying it ain’t the starting pitching that’s strong.

  157. Jerkface February 3rd, 2011 at 11:33 am

    typical guy who grew up when they didn’t hit people who likes to throw out the word “dumb”.

    Touchy, touchy. I think your comparison of the three pitchers in how you lined them up was dumb, or at best purposely misleading as I already pointed out (not matching up the player most likely to have the best season with the guy who had the best season in 2001). The non-dumb portion of our discussion though is ok, our viewpoints are not different. Except that I think that as the run scoring environment decreases, and subsequently a 4.00 team ERA isn’t as good, that pitching becomes less important than offense.

    The worse your offense is, the better your pitching has to be right? But the Yankees have the best offense, almost yearly, and the only year they didnt make the playoffs was because their offense stank.

    if theres a bunch of good offenses, then having a team ERA of 4.02 and being third is great. When theres not a bunch of good offenses, you don’t necessarily need to be the third best staff, because your pitching doesn’t necessarily have to be better than the other teams. It just has to keep the gap between the offenses.

    If the Yankees have a top 3 pitching staff they will win 100+ games. As it stands, they are going to win 95ish games just by fielding a competent pitching staff, because their offense is so good. And they will likely end up with 3 pitchers who are close to what 2001 Yankees had. But if you really wanted to make a convincing argument, you should look at the ERA+ of those pitchers. Sabathia’s 3.18 2010 ERA was 10% worse than mussina’s 2001 3.15 ERA!

  158. blake February 3rd, 2011 at 11:34 am

    Hughes is gonna be very good this year….

  159. Mell February 3rd, 2011 at 11:34 am

    “burnett 2010 whip 1.51

    pettitte 2001 1.31″

    Randy:

    JF referenced Pettitte’s 2000 season (1.46 WHIP) rather than 2001.

  160. Patrick February 3rd, 2011 at 11:35 am

    Jerkface, if you disagree with me I will punch you.

  161. Wave Your Hat February 3rd, 2011 at 11:35 am

    “i think with having added soriano to the bullpen and with the offense they have the yankees are indeed fine for 2011.”

    Soriano, if he stays healthy, will pitch what, 65 innings? After Mo and Soriano, the pen looks OK but any of the other guys could easily disappoint. And, the 2001 bullpen was great, it is a very high bar to match.

  162. RS February 3rd, 2011 at 11:36 am

    “if you weren’t paying attention granderson SUCKED for 5 out of the 6 months last year”

    And he still finished with 26 HR and will likely be the #8 or #9 hitter…

  163. BoJo February 3rd, 2011 at 11:36 am

    Regarding this raging debate of 2001 versus 2011 based on relative ERAs–wake me when they start assigning play-off spots to such pre-season calculations.

  164. Jerkface February 3rd, 2011 at 11:36 am

    burnett 2010 whip 1.51

    pettitte 2001 1.31

    show us those peripherals.

    can’t wait.

    Its not 2001 vs 2010, its 2000 vs 2010, remember its the preceding year.

    2000 Andy Pettitte: 1.461 WHIP , 9.6 H/9, .7 HR/9, 3.5 BB/9, 5.5 K/9
    2010 Burnett: 1.511 WHIP , 9.8 H/9, 1.2 HR/9, 3.8 BB/9, 7 K/9

    Thats similar, but Mell is absolutely right, the run scoring environments were different, but I think given the 1999 season and 2000 season, I don’t think people could have argued that Andy would pitch as well as he did in 2001 (Though I was and am a huge pettitte fan so of course I thought he was going to be awesome every year).

  165. Wave Your Hat February 3rd, 2011 at 11:37 am

    “As it stands, they are going to win 95ish games just by fielding a competent pitching staff, because their offense is so good.”

    If Andy doesn’t come back, don’t be so sure. The AL East environment will be very challenging this year.

  166. hman23 February 3rd, 2011 at 11:37 am

    He also later referenced ERA+.

    Here, AJ and Pettitte are not even close.

  167. Erica in NY February 3rd, 2011 at 11:39 am

    Patrick February 3rd, 2011 at 11:35 am
    Jerkface, if you disagree with me I will punch you.

    *****************

    Under the O’Neill banner please!

    (And consider selling tickets)

  168. Jerkface February 3rd, 2011 at 11:40 am

    If Andy doesn’t come back, don’t be so sure. The AL East environment will be very challenging this year.

    Meh, the yankees were .500 or below against everyone but the orioles last year and they turned out fine.

  169. hman23 February 3rd, 2011 at 11:41 am

    Bojo -

    They don’t assign playoff spots on it, but pre-season calculations are relevant during the off-season when you are talking about constructing your team, wouldn’t you agree?

  170. Mell February 3rd, 2011 at 11:42 am

    “If CC wins the Cy Young this year and two additional starters combine for 65 starts and around a 3.50 ERA, Yanks will do just fine”

    If they have that, they’ll win 105+ games. It’s just not a very likely to happen though. If Sabathia is pitching at a Cy Young level and the next 2 best guys hit at around a 4.00 ERA, a far more likely scenario, they’ll win 95-98 games.

  171. RS February 3rd, 2011 at 11:42 am

    “Soriano, if he stays healthy, will pitch what, 65 innings? After Mo and Soriano, the pen looks OK but any of the other guys could easily disappoint.”

    Soriano and Mo alone is a huge advantage. What other team has one reliever that posted a sub 2.00 ERA last year, let alone two? Robertson and Joba are usually hit or miss, but having the two of them plus Feliciano for the 7th inning allows all three to be used in situational roles, which gives them a shorter leash. Joba and Robertson did considerably better last year when they were removed from the 8th inning.

    We’re also not counting the possibly contributions of minor league arms like Brackman, who can help out in the bullpen towards the end of the year.

  172. Jerkface February 3rd, 2011 at 11:43 am

    Randy, another thing on team ERA

    Look at them in sequence

    2001
    3.54
    3.59
    4.02
    4.15
    4.2
    4.28
    4.47
    4.51
    4.55
    4.64
    4.67
    4.87
    4.94
    5.01
    5.71

    2010
    3.58
    3.78
    3.93
    3.95
    3.95
    4.04
    4.06
    4.09
    4.14
    4.20
    4.23
    4.30
    4.30
    4.59
    4.97

    9 teams separated by .3 runs ? All the teams are much closer than in 2001. The Yankees can have a middle of the pack rotation and have it be as useful as the 2001 yankees rotation just given how good they are overall.

    To achieve the power of the 2001 rotation in this crappy offensive era, they would have to have a 3.75 team ERA.

  173. BoJo February 3rd, 2011 at 11:43 am

    hman23 February 3rd, 2011 at 11:41 am

    Bojo -

    They don’t assign playoff spots on it, but pre-season calculations are relevant during the off-season when you are talking about constructing your team, wouldn’t you agree?
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++
    I think looking at any one stat area is meaningless, and comparing against a prior year is totally meaningless.

    To me, the game is played by 25 men per side…offense, defense, pitching, and strategy are all vital components.

    They all play a part (which is why I can predict Orioles doing well because of Buck’s strategies even thought hey don’t look great on paper).

  174. Wave Your Hat February 3rd, 2011 at 11:44 am

    “Meh, the yankees were .500 or below against everyone but the orioles last year and they turned out fine.”

    To that I’d say one, every year is different, two, the AL East will be better this year than last, and three, if Andy doesn’t come back, the Yanks will be worse. And we only won 95 last year.

  175. Jerkface February 3rd, 2011 at 11:44 am

    Under the O’Neill banner please!

    (And consider selling tickets)

    I’m too pretty to get in a fight.

  176. Jerkface February 3rd, 2011 at 11:46 am

    To that I’d say one, every year is different, two, the AL East will be better this year than last, and three, if Andy doesn’t come back, the Yanks will be worse. And we only won 95 last year.

    Every year IS different, but I don’t think the AL east being ‘harder’ is going to affect the Yankees win total really, but I guess the yankees could win 95 games and the rays and red sox win 97+ or something, though I don’t see that happening.

    I disagree on your third point. The Yankees already better than last year without Andy.

  177. BoJo February 3rd, 2011 at 11:46 am

    I correct my last statement–it is a 40 man roster that gets the team through the season…and comparing a limited subset of that roster to determine future outcomes is futile.

  178. Wave Your Hat February 3rd, 2011 at 11:47 am

    “disagree on your third point. The Yankees already better than last year without Andy.”

    Suit yourself.

  179. randy l. February 3rd, 2011 at 11:48 am

    “The non-dumb portion of our discussion though is ok, our viewpoints are not different.”

    i rest my case :)

  180. BoJo February 3rd, 2011 at 11:49 am

    I agree with Jerkface. IMO, this is already a better team than last year. The bullpen is stronger for the full year. Defense at C is better, and I expect bounce back years for offensive leaders. And I expect SP to be better without Javy and some improvement from AJ, plus the young arms ready to come up.

  181. Patrick February 3rd, 2011 at 11:51 am

    You can look at it both ways. I could say Andy is gone, Burnett is starting his downward trend, Gardner’s season was a fluke and he has wrist problems, Granderson had a terrible season, Jeter is done, A-rod hasn’t been the same since his hip injury, Tex had the worst season of his career, etc etc

    Or I could say Burnett and Jeter are due for bounce back seasons, Martin upgrades the catcher position, moving Posada to DH upgrades the DH position, Soriano locks down the pen, Gardner and Hughes are ready to take the next step, etc.

    it is a mystery

  182. Chip February 3rd, 2011 at 11:51 am

    Cashman needs to go February 3rd, 2011 at 11:23 am
    Jerkface…

    Let me add to what the 50 or so posters have already said…your name fits you well..

    so i guess i’ve been trolling since 2009…

    i don’t know what to say if you can’t figure out that having morneau for the whole year as compared to half a year isn’t a better thing….or maybe your reading comprehension isn’t at top level when i wrote “They’ll be better only if morneau and nathan get healthy..if not they’ll be the same as they were last year – which was good enough to win the central”

    if you weren’t paying attention granderson SUCKED for 5 out of the 6 months last year, i know rose colored glasses blocked certain problems away but i’m not ready to proclaim grandy a HOF just yet – once posada gets hurt you’ll be seeing cervelli or andruw jones (or god help us greg golson) alot more, joba sucks and i don’t expect that to change, logan was good for about a month and a half last year when he wasn’t in the minors or stinking it up in the playoffs..

    oh and one last thing…my post was addressed to chip since he had responded to my claim that the twins will be better AND they play in the AL central…

    i’d rather be a troll than a imbecile….

    ———————

    A few thoughts:

    1. Posada’s health is not as big a question now as it was last year since he won’t be catching. If, however, he does get hurt it doesn’t mean an increased role for Cervelli or Greg Golson – it likely means an increased role for either Jesus Montero or Eduardo Nunez.

    2. Boone Logan actually had three very solid months from June – August; and this year he will have the additional help of not being the lone lefty in the pen.

    3. Joba is going to pitch in the 6th and 7th innings – he will not be a major impact player one way or another.

    4. Curtis Granderson was hurt for 2 months and still managed to produce very solid numbers for the Yankees – and improved towards the end when he and Kevin Long worked on his approach at the plate. He will now have an entire spring training with which to further work with Long.

    5. A-Rod, Tex, Jeter and Posada all had down seasons – to think that none of them are going to rebound is a little silly.

    6. On the flip side I do not expect that Nick Swisher will have the same success with the BA that he had last year, but again, perhaps the work with Long is paying dividends.

  183. BoJo February 3rd, 2011 at 11:51 am

    BTW–I also expect a big acquisition at trading deadline this year…I beleive Mets will try to unload both Santana and Beltran, and my hope is that Cashman picks them both up for pennant run.

  184. randy l. February 3rd, 2011 at 11:53 am

    jerkface-

    yeah , if the yankees 2010 era had dropped just .14 runs , they’d have been third in the league in team era.

    bottom line , though, is the yankee rotation is not the strength of this team.

  185. Wave Your Hat February 3rd, 2011 at 11:54 am

    “it is a mystery”

    Only time will tell, LOL.

    This year I’m just rooting for the team, come what will. Hopefully, what comes will be good. Right now I just don’t feel a need to psyche myself up for the year buying into scenarios I don’t totally believe in.

  186. BoJo February 3rd, 2011 at 11:57 am

    Patrick February 3rd, 2011 at 11:51 am

    You can look at it both ways. I could say Andy is gone, Burnett is starting his downward trend, Gardner’s season was a fluke and he has wrist problems, Granderson had a terrible season, Jeter is done, A-rod hasn’t been the same since his hip injury, Tex had the worst season of his career, etc etc

    Or I could say Burnett and Jeter are due for bounce back seasons, Martin upgrades the catcher position, moving Posada to DH upgrades the DH position, Soriano locks down the pen, Gardner and Hughes are ready to take the next step, etc.

    it is a mystery
    ++++++++++++++
    Valid point. I judge my predictions based on what I see on the field, and back that with statistical analysis–rather than the other way around.

    I also look at both in context–meaning I consider where the player is in his development or career.

    Based on that, I see that AJ is healthy and had some good outings late–I expect improvement.

    Hughes still has upside–although I view him mainly as a #3 type…

    Nova has very good stuff and has upside.

    Gardner has shown the intelligence and drive to succeed and take it up a notch. He is NOT over-matched.

  187. Erica in NY February 3rd, 2011 at 11:58 am

    :arrow:

  188. BoJo February 3rd, 2011 at 11:59 am

    randy l. February 3rd, 2011 at 11:53 am

    jerkface-

    yeah , if the yankees 2010 era had dropped just .14 runs , they’d have been third in the league in team era.

    bottom line , though, is the yankee rotation is not the strength of this team.
    +++++++++++++++
    So what? Does it have to be?
    Other teams have won with similiar staffs. Again, it’s a team sport. Many aspects go into winning…but I know you already know that.

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