The LoHud Yankees Blog

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


“He just happened to throw a ball that didn’t cut”

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc on Aug 10, 2011 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

After Bobby Abreu homered off Mariano Rivera last night, Yankees manager Joe Girardi asked his pitcher and catcher for the details.

“I asked about the pitch that Bobby hit, and they said it just didn’t cut,” Girardi said. “It just didn’t cut for whatever reason.”

Sometimes cutters don’t cut — even for Rivera — and sometimes that’s the only explanation necessary. But the Yankees closer is 41 years old, and he’s now coughed up a crucial run in back-to-back games. It’s hard not to wonder whether he’s becoming more and more human.

Career ERA: 2.23
2011 ERA: 2.23

Career WHIP: 1.000
2011 WHIP: 0.99

Career K per 9 IP: 8.21
2011 K per 9 IP: 7.92

Career BB per 9 IP: 2.05
2011 BB per 9 IP: 1.02

Career OpBA: .211
2011 OpBA: .243

Career HR per 9 IP: 0.5
2011 HR per 9 IP: 0.4

Two differences jump out: Rivera’s basically stopped walking people, but he’s giving up hits more frequently. In terms of base runners, it basically evens out — hence the almost identical WHIP — but there is some statistical evidence that Rivera’s giving up solid contact a little more often. His line drive rate and fly ball rate are climbing, but his batting average on balls in play also suggests some bad luck.

“I haven’t really noticed that (hitters are squaring up the ball more often),” Girardi said. “You look at the first hit he gave up, it was a jam shot that was hit between the second baseman and the right fielder. He just happened to throw a ball that didn’t cut. That was the biggest difference.”

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