The New York Yankees Report

Interesting notes and thoughts about the New York Yankees; plus additional musings on baseball.

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Saturday, June 14, 2003
 
ROGER CLEMENS, THE GREATEST PITCHER EVER? – PART ONE

There is no debate that Roger Clemens will be a first-ballot Hall of Fame selection. His Black Ink score is 91 (average HoFer is 40), and his Gray Ink score is 277 (average HoFer is 185). So unlike with Rafael Palmeiro and Fred McGriff, I don’t have to convince anyone that Roger Clemens deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. But since Clemens has just become the first pitcher to win 300 games while pitching his entire career in the five-man rotation, it’s time to ask where The Rocket ranks among the greatest pitchers ever.

In Part One, I'll review Clemens’ career and in Part Two, I'll compare his career versus the greatest pitchers.

The Rocket’s Career

Originally drafted by the New York Mets out of high school, Roger Clemens decided to pitch at the University of Texas instead of signing. While there he compiled a 25-7 record, was an All-American twice, and won the championship game in the 1983 College World Series.

In June 1983, the Red Sox drafted him in the first round (19th player overall). He quickly moved through the Sox system, debuting with the major-league club on May 15, 1984. He won his first game five days later in a 5-4 decision over the Twins, going 7 innings and striking out 7.

In the next season, Clemens managed to go 9-4 before suffering a shoulder injury that led to season-ending surgery in late August. Even though Clemens had pitched only 98.1 innings that season, it was clear that he had amazing potential:

1985
NameAVGOBPSLGOPSERAH/9BB/9K/9HR/9
Clemens.228.302.269.5713.297.63.396.770.46
*Adjusted11811315513313012298129217


*normalized to league average and adjusted for home park factor

Clemens entered the 1986 season with some concerns that he could recover from the shoulder surgery. Clemens quickly answered any questions by opening the season 3-0 and then setting the ML record for strikeouts in a game, by fanning 20 Seattle Mariners (yes, it still counts) on April 29. He went 14-0 before losing his first decision, against Toronto on July 2. He finished the season 24-4 with 2.48 ERA, an adjusted ERA (ERA+) of 168, and 238 strikeouts (v. just 67 walks). He won the All-Star Game MVP, his first AL Cy Young Award, and even was awarded the AL’s Most Valuable Player. Simply, he had one of the greatest seasons for a pitcher in history. And the numbers bear that out:

1986
NameAVGOBPSLGOPSERAH/9BB/9K/9HR/9
Clemens.195.251.264.5152.486.342.378.430.74
*Adjusted134133155144168142144145138


However, the 1986 post-season was a disappointment. In the ALCS against the Angels, Roger was merely average:

NameW-LIPERAHERBBK
Clemens1-122.24.372211717


In Game 1, he game up four runs in the 2nd inning, another in the 3rd, and the Angels ran away with an 8-1 win. Clemens pitched well in Game 4, giving up just 3 runs through 8 innings, but the Angels were able to scratch out a run in the 11th inning off of Calvin Schiraldi to win 4-3 and take a 3 games to 1 lead in the series. But Clemens came back in Game 7, shutting down the Angels, allowing no runs through 7 innings.

Clemens did pitch better in the World Series, but he had two no decisions (including Game 6) and the Sox lost a heartbreaker in seven games.



NameW-LIPERAHERBBK
Clemens0-011.13.1894611


Clemens started the 1987 season slowly, opening the year just 4-6, but he finished strong and won 20 games for the second straight year. The statistics were down from 1986, but he did pitch a career high 281.2 innings and led the league in complete games (18) and shutouts (7), and pitched well enough to capture his second straight Cy Young Award.

In 1988, Clemens finished 18-12 with a 2.93 ERA with 291 strikeouts (a Red Sox record) and again led the league in complete games (14) and shutouts (8). Clemens had an inconsistent 1989, starting strong and finishing strong, and posted a 17-11 record with 3.13 ERA. To that point in his career, it had been his worse. But he was still head and shoulders above the league average.

1989
NameAVGOBPSLGOPSERAH/9BB/9K/9HR/9
Clemens.231.303.337.6403.137.643.308.170.71
*Adjusted11911412011713012398149114


And he pitched a staggering 253.1 innings.

Clemens quickly put to rest any ideas that he was slowing down with his 1990 performance. He went 21-6 with a career-best 1.93 ERA and again led the league with 4 shutouts. His numbers were amazing:

1990
NameAVGOBPSLGOPSERAH/9BB/9K/9HR/9
Clemens.228.276.306.5831.937.613.408.240.28
*Adjusted119126133129212122160146300


Clemens ERA+ was an unbelievable 212. Amazingly, Clemens lost the Cy Young to Bob Welch of the Oakland A’s, who won 27 games that year, despite better numbers.

However came back in 1991 with another solid performance and captured his 3rd Cy Young award, going 18-10 with a 2.62 ERA. Once again, Clemens showed his dominance, leading the league in several important categories: innings pitched (271.3), ERA (2.62), strikeouts (241), games started (35), and shutouts (4). He continued on in 1992, going 18-11 with another league-leading 2.41 ERA and 5 shutouts.

From 1986-1992, Roger Clemens was the greatest pitcher on the planet, and arguably had put together the seven best seasons ever:

1986-92
NameAVGOBPSLGOPSERAH/9BB/9K/9HR/9
Clemens.222.276.317.5932.667.372.438.370.55
*Adjusted118120125123153122139148162


During these seven seasons, Clemens went an amazing 136-63 (.683) and led the league in the following categories:

ERA – 4 times

ERA+ – 4 times

Wins – 2 times

20 win seasons – 3 times (with 3 18-win seasons)

WHIP – 2 times

Strikeouts – 2 times

Complete games – 2 times

Shutouts – 5 times

In addition, he won three Cy Young Awards (and was robbed of one), an AL MVP, and an All-Star Game MVP.

And then, Roger Clemens inexplicable slumped for the next four seasons. He had his first losing season in 1993, 10-13 with a 4.46 ERA. In the strike season of 1994, he rebounded, going 9-7 with a much-improved 2.85 ERA (2nd best in the AL). Hampered by injuries in 1995, Clemens went 10-5, pitching only 140 innings (a career low), with a 4.18 ERA. Clemens again struggled during the 1996 season, finishing the year 10-13 with a 3.63 ERA (good for 7th best in the league). GM Dan Duquette believed Clemens was in the “twilight of his career” and failed to sign him to a new contract during the off season. So, Clemens went north of the border, signing a 4-year, $40 million contract with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Many suggest that this was Duquette’s biggest mistake during his tenure as Red Sox GM. While it is obvious Clemens’ numbers were down from the previous seven seasons, he was still a productive pitcher, well above average:

1993-96
NameAVGOBPSLGOPSERAH/9BB/9K/9HR/9
Clemens.236.316.362.6783.777.923.678.660.80
*Adjusted115110118114125119102144135


And in fact, Clemens pitched very well in the second half of the 1996 season. He went 6-2, 2.09 ERA and struck out 123 batters in 111.1 innings. He culminated that with his second 20-strikeout performance against the Tigers (yes, it still counts) on September 18. Bottom line, Clemens was still the Rocket, but he wouldn’t wear a Red Sox uniform anymore.

Clemens pitched two unbelievable seasons in Toronto. In 1997, he went 21-7, and won the pitcher’s Triple Crown, leading in wins (21), ERA (2.05), strikeouts (292), en route to his 4th Cy Young Award. Further, he led the league in innings pitched (264) and tied for the league lead in complete games and shutouts. He also posted a career high 226 ERA+.

For an encore, Clemens returned in 1998 and duplicated his Triple Crown performance, leading the league in wins (20), ERA (2.65), and strikeouts (271). He became just the fourth pitcher in history to win the pitcher’s Triple Crown in consecutive seasons (Grove, Alexander, Koufax). And he was honored with an unprecedented 5th Cy Young Award.

During this span, Clemens re-established himself as the best pitcher on the planet. He went 41-13 and put up some amazing numbers:

1997-98
NameAVGOBPSLGOPSERAH/9BB/9K/9HR/9
Clemens.206.274.293.5672.336.732.8210.160.36
*Adjusted132126147137198141124157308


While all of these numbers are remarkable, his ERA+ is just phenomenal. During his two seasons in Toronto, Clemens posted an ERA+ of 226 and 176, both league-leading. More phenomenal was that he was this effective while pitching 498.2 innings during those two seasons.

But Clemens was still without a World Series Championship. He threatened to exercise an out clause in his contract that would force the club to trade him. He didn’t, but the Jays traded him anyway to New York Yankees in the February 18, 1999. He went out and won his first 5 decisions as a Yankee. But his season was disappointing, 14-10 with a 4.60 ERA without leading in a major pitching category. However, the Rocket was back in the playoffs. He pitch brilliantly in his only start against the Rangers in the Division playoff, going 7 innings, allowing no runs, and just 3 hits, walking 2, striking out 2. The Yankees went on to sweep the Rangers 3-0.

But, things weren’t so smooth in the ALCS versus his old ball club. He was thumped in Game 3, giving up 5 runs and 6 hits in just 2 innings of work. But Clemens made up for it in Game 4 of the World Series, going 7.2, allowing just 1 run and 4 hits. His win closed out the sweep of the Braves and gave him his first World Series Championship.

Clemens pitched better in 2000, going 13-8 with 3.70 ERA. His postseason didn’t get off to a great start losing two games to the upstart Oakland A’s. He lost Game 1, allowing 4 runs in 6 innings. He was touched up in Game 4, giving up 6 runs in just 5 innings. But after that, Clemens was unhittable.

In Game 4 of the ALCS against Seattle, Roger pitched a complete game 1-hit shutout, striking out 15 Mariners. He followed it up in Game 2 of the World Series, allowing no runs and just 2 hits in 8 innings. And the Yanks would go on to win another championship in five games.

Clemens picked up in 2001 where he left off in the postseason with another 20-win season. He went 20-3 (pitching an amazing 220.3 innings at 38) with a 3.51 ERA and picked up his 6th Cy Young Award (probably didn’t deserve it, but he was robbed in 1990).

While many would agree that Clemens hasn’t been the dominating Clemens in New York, he has been very good:

1999-2002
NameAVGOBPSLGOPSERAH/9BB/9K/9HR/9
Clemens.232.321.352.6733.367.803.249.200.72
*Adjusted116106123115138121108144158


He has remained extremely effective in New York, while continuing to be a workhorse, averaging 198 innings in his 4 seasons.

PREVIEW: On Monday I’ll examine where Clemens ranks among the all-time greats.



Friday, June 13, 2003
 
SERIES RECAP: HOUSTON ASTROS
The Yankees managed to win 2 of 3 from the Astros to win their first interleague series this season. The Yanks won the rubber game despite trailing after the 6th inning. It was the first time all year that the Yanks won a game after trailing after 6th inning or later.

Game 1
Mike Mussina went 7 innings giving up just 2 runs to stop his 4-game losing streak. Matsui continued his hot streak, going 3-for-4 with a double. Jorge Posada added a 2-run homerun.

Game 2
Six Astros pitchers combined to no-hit the Yanks, Roy Oswalt, Pete Munro, Kirk Saarloos, Brad Lidge, Octavio Dotel, and Billy Wagner. Meanwhile, Jeff Weaver struggled, lasting 6.1 innings allowing 10 hits and 5 runs. Richard Hidalgo had 2 doubles and 2 RBI, while Brad Ausmus went 3-for-4 to lead the Astros.

Game 3
The Yanks won their first game of the season when trailing after the 6th inning when Alfonso Soriano hit an RBI-single off of Octavio Dotel in the 8th inning. Antonio Osuna earned the win, pitching 2 scoreless innings. David Wells allowed 5 runs and 10 hits in 6 innings of work.

The Yankees zoomed back ahead of the Sox by a half a game when they dropped their final game to the Cardinals..

HITTING
Despite losing 2 of 3 games, the Houston Astros still out scored and out hit the Yanks during the series. The Astros scored 16 runs on 34 hits for the series, while the Yanks managed 11 runs on 20 hits. Obviously, the no-hitter brought the Yanks totals down for the series.

TeamABRHBBSOHRAVGOBPSLGOPS
Yanks92112011231.217.302.304.606
Astros10916344193.312.333.495.829


The Astros mustered 13 extra-base hits, including 3 HR, v. the Yanks 6 extra-base hits and 1 HR. However, the Yanks continued to draw walks, getting 11 for the series, while the Astros managed just 4. Jorge Posada had 4 of the Yankee walks. Although managing just 1 hit for the series, Posada led the team in OPS and hit the only Yankee homerun.

PlayerABRHRBIBBSOHRAVGOBPSLGOPS
J. Posada5212411.200.556.8001.356


Hideki Matsui continued to remain hot leading the team in hits and runs for the series with 5.
PlayerABRHRBIBBSOHRAVGOBPSLGOPS
H. Matsui12352000.417.417.500.917


But of course, most of the Yankees struggled, especially Alfonso Soriano and Derek Jeter. They combined for just 3 singles and 8 strikeouts.

PlayerABRHRBIBBSOHRAVGOBPSLGOPS
A. Soriano12221130.167.231.167.397
D. Jeter11010250.091.231.091.322


How bad are things going for the Yankees right now? Brad Ausmus, the Astros worst hitter among the regulars, had his best series.

PlayerABRHRBIBBSOHRAVGOBPSLGOPS
B. Ausmus7141010.571.571.7141.286


Less suprising, Craig Biggio and Lance Berkman also put together a fine series.

PlayerABRHRBIBBSOHRAVGOBPSLGOPS
C. Biggio13352021.385.429.7691.198
L. Berkman11342231.364.462.6361.098

But they did stop Jeff Bagwell and Jeff Kent, who hit for a .571 and .558 OPS respectively.

PITCHING
The Yankee starters were inconsistent again allowing 12 of 16 runs and 28 of 34 hits.

NameIPHRERBBSOHRERAOPS
Mussina78221612.57.803
Weaver6.110551217.11.974
Wells610551407.50.894
Totals19.128121231225.59.893


David Wells did walk his 4th batter on the season. But he also had another HB, which means he still has more HB than BB for the season.

The bullpen was just fair.

NameIPHRERBBSOHRERAOPS
Relievers7.26441714.70.647


But 3 of the 4 runs the relievers allowed were in Game 2, in which the Yanks were shut out. So, those runs didn’t hurt much. Mariano Rivera was brilliant, saving 2 games, pitching 2 scoreless and hitless innings, and striking out 3 of the 6 batters he faced. Chris Hammond also pitched 1.1 scoreless and hitless innings, striking out 2 of the 4 batters he faced.

The Astros starters struggled in Yankee Stadium. Wade Miller and Jeriome Robertson gave up 9 runs in 12.2 innings, while Roy Oswalt pitched just one inning due to a groin injury.

NameIPHRERBBSOHRERAOPS
Miller77554516.43.799
Oswalt10000200.00.000
Robertson5.27443206.35.779
Totals13.214997915.93.748

The Astro bullpen was brilliant, including the combined no hitter in Game 2.
NameIPHRERBBSOHRERAOPS
Relievers11.162141400.79.419


Although Dotel was hung with the loss in Game 3, the run he gave up was unearned.

DEFENSE
The Yanks made just 1 error in the series, a bad throw by Jeter. But it didn’t hurt them. The Astros made only 2 errors in the series, but the last one, Bagwell misplayed a ground ball, ended up being winning run and costing them Game 3. The Yanks turned 3 DP, while the Astros didn’t turn any. But Astro Lance Berkman did provide an outfield assist, when he threw Trammell out at the plate.

BASERUNNING
The Yankees went 0-for-3 in steal attempts, with Soriano getting caught twice and Mondesi once. Ausmus nabbed two of the steal attempts and Greg Zaun got the other. The Astros went 3-for-3 in steal attempts, all coming in Game 3 off of David Wells and John Flaherty. There were 3 wild pitches in the series, one each by Octavio Dotel, Jason Anderson, and Jeff Weaver. Only Weaver’s was costly allowing a runner from third to score.

Well, the Yanks won the series, but there is no joy in Gotham. Game 2 was an embarrassment and they could have just as easily lost Games 1 and 3 too. It was reported that Steinbrenner and Cashman were speaking yesterday to evaluate the team. I would expect some changes soon. But as bad as things are the Yanks are 4-5 in interleague action, 5-5 in June, and remain just a half-game behind the Sox for the division lead.

The Yanks now welcome the St. Louis Cardinals into the Stadium for a 3-game series.

SERIES PREVIEW: ST. LOUIS CARDINALS
I don't have time to do the usual series preview. Suffice it to say, the Cardinals can hit, but their pitching is just average. They enter the Stadium at 35-29 a game back in the Central. Having just taken 2 of 3 from the Sox, they are now 7-2 in interleague play.

HITTING
The Cardinals are second in the league in hitting, scoring 364 runs in 64 games. However, they do lead the league in BA at .288. Their attack is led by the league's best hitter, Albert Pujols (maybe even the best player in the league), who is hitting .382/.444/.711/1.155. He is closely followed by Gold Glove CF Jim Edmonds, .316/.408/.660/1.068.

PITCHING
The Cards are 10th in the NL in ERA with a 4.33. But the Yanks will face their two best starters in the series, Woody Williams is 8-1 with a 2.33 ERA and Matt Morris is 7-3 with a 3.06 ERA.

PITCHING PROBABLES

Game 1

Clemens 6-4, 3.81 ERA

Simontacchi 4-3, 6.56 ERA

Game 2

Pettitte 5-6, 5.33 ERA

Morris 7-3, 3.06 ERA

Game 3

Mussina 8-4, 3.05

Williams 8-1, 2.33 ERA

The Yanks really need to win 2 of 3 from the Cards and it's not going to be easy. Yankee pitching, particularly the starters, are struggling and the Cards are great hitters. If they Yanks don't hit and pitch well it could be another long weekend. Tonight Clemens will try for the fourth.... you know I think you are all aware of what's at stake tonight with Clemens. So far, the Yanks are 1-2 in games in which Clemens tries for 300. It's the best matchup for the Yanks and it's as close as you can have to a must-win game.







Thursday, June 12, 2003
 
TOOTHLESS TIGERS
Last night I watched a little of the Dodgers and Tigers game, wondering if either team would score a run or get a hit. I especially worried about the Tigers, the worst offense facing the best pitching. Through their first 61 games, the Toothless Tigers have scored only 191 runs. That’s an average of only 3.13 runs per game. Granted, they play in a severe pitcher’s park. The Tigers are averaging 3.41 runs on the road and 2.77 at home. But even, if you adjust for the park factor, the Tigs still average only 3.44 runs per game. The Dodgers currently average 3.53, and that’s not including their huge park factor, and they don’t have the benefit of the DH. Let’s face it, the Tigers just can’t hit; and I suspect playing in Coors Field wouldn’t help all that much.

But just how bad are they? Beginning in the strike shortened 1994 season, runs have been plentiful in the American League.

YearRuns/G
19945.23
19955.06
19965.39
19974.93
19985.01
19995.18
20005.30
20014.86
20024.81


During those season, only two teams have averaged less than 4 runs per game, 1998 Tampa Bay Devil Rays (3.83) and 2002 Detroit Tigers (3.57) – a sign of things to come, I guess. And in defense of the Devil Rays, 1998 was their first season in existence. Right now, the Tigers are averaging a paltry 3.13 runs per game.

The Tigers are on pace to score 507 runs this season. Amazingly, they would score fewer runs than the California Angels did in the 1994 season (543)… and the Angels only played 115 games because of the strike! Unless these Tigs’ bats wake up, they will easily be the worst offensive team of this new homerun ball era.

Why are the Tigers this bad? For a start, as a team they’e hitting only .609 OPS.

Team
BAOBPSLGOPSHR
.216.283.326.60945

There just about nothing Tiger hitters do well… well except for striking out.


BB/PASO/PABB/SOHR/PA
.08.19.43.02


These young hitters are hitting like young hitters, striking out a lot, not working walking, and not hitting homeruns. Only 27% of their hits are extra-base hits.

Dmitri Young is the only hitter with an OPS above league average (.762) with .840 in 222 AB. Bobby Higginson is close with .704 in 213 AB. Kevin Witt is also close at .751 but that’s in only 53 AB.

Catcher Brandon Inge has just been awful with .156/.227/.292/.519. So you might ask why don’t they bench him. Well, they can’t because his OPS is double his back up Matt Walbeck, .100/.100/.120/.220.

Here’s the OPS by position in the batting order. (Player with the most PA in that spot is shown).
POSNAMEPAOPS
1Andres Torres94.544
2Ramon Santiago105.487
3Bobby Higginson173.683
4Dmitri Young230.879
5Carlos Pena87.811
6Craig Monroe80.526
7Eric Munson110.762
8Brandon Inge126.514
9Omar Infante69.410


It’s hard to score runs when your leadoff hitter sports a .267 OBP. Of course they acquired Alex Sanchez from the Brewers and made him their new leadoff hitter. Unfortunately, since he’s joined the Tigers, he’s hitting .250/.278/.308/.585.

The Tigers have used 8 players as their DH, and they’ve combined for .257/.326/.398/.724. That includes just 6 HR. Yup, any way you look at it, the Tigs are just terrible.

Are they the worst ever? Win Shares identifies the 1910 Boston Braves as the weakest hitting team ever. They scored only 495 runs in 153 games while playing in a hitter’s park. Their R+ was 76. Right now, the Tigers R+ is 70. The Tigers are currently worse than the worst Dead Ball Era team. I do expect the Tigers hitting to improve throughout the year. But if they Young or Higginson are injured for any amount of time, it’s very possible they’ll end up the worst ever.

Well, they got just one run off of the Dodgers last night and that’s not going to help at all.

NO!-NO! TIMES SIX
Just about the time I think the Yanks have pulled out of their slump, something happens and they slink backwards. That happened again for me last night. I can accept a no hitter. In any one night a pitcher can get hot and have everything working and dominate major league hitters. But it’s really embarrassing to be no hit by 6 different pitchers. For me, that says more about the Yanks than the pitching. (Although the Astros bullpen is amazing).

I’m starting to collect a bunch of low moments of the season: 3-game sweep by the Rangers, 4-game sweep by the Blue Jays, the 8-game losing streak at home. But last night was it for me. The pitching was bad, the defense was bad, and the hitting… well, it was historically bad. The Yanks began the season playing well for 4 weeks. Now it's been six weeks of bad baseball. At some point, you have to say this isn't a slump, and that the first 4 weeks of the season were the aberation.



Wednesday, June 11, 2003
 
WHERE HAVE YOU GONE…JUAN ACEVEDO?

The Yankees released Juan Acevedo outright yesterday, June 10th. In his last appearance as a Yankee, Acevedo gave up a 3-run HR to Eric Karros, ending Roger Clemens’ bid for his 300th win.

Originally, I was planning on doing this entry on making the argument that either Al Reyes or Jason Anderson deserved to take Acevedo’s role in the pen and make Acevedo a mop up man or release him. It looks like the Yanks figured it out on their own. But let’s examine Acevedo a little bit.

Acevedo’s brief Yankee career spanned just 25 appearances.

GIPW-L-S-H-BHRERBBSOHRERA
2525.20-3-6-3-1342422101957.71


Juan Acevedo was signed over the off season as a set up man to replace Ramiro Mendoza. But he began the season as the Yankee closer when Mariano Rivera was placed on the DL. During that time Acevedo was 5-for-5 in save opportunities. But truthfully, he was not pitching well.

APRIL
GIPW-L-SHRERBBSOHRERA
1010.10-1-3149921028.10


After Rivera’s return, Acevedo moved into his original role of setup man. But May was cruel to Acevedo and he went 0-2 with a 7.82 ERA. Things didn’t improve in June. He did get his 6th save of the season in a 10-9 win over the Tigers in a marathon 17-inning game on June 1st. But Acevedo faced only one batter, getting him to fly out.

The death knell started with his homerun ball to Eric Karros, blowing a save and costing Clemens 300 wins. The next night, he gave up 4 hits and 2 R (1 earned; although he made the error) in 2 innings of work.

Almost all of the numbers are bad for Acevedo. With runners on base, hitters OPS was .871, with no one on OPS was 1.030. His OPS was .948 with runners in scoring position. About the only good news was a .471 with runners in scoring position and 2 outs. But how about a 2.000 OPS with bases loaded (2-for-4), including a grand slam. What had to be the final negative was the 13.11 ERA at Yankee Stadium. Acevedo’s contract was only $900,000 (tip money for the Yanks), exactly .006% of the Yanks’ opening day payroll, so they could afford to release him. Frankly, the Yanks just had no other choice. Acevedo’s only possible role with the team was as a mop up man.

What happened to Acevedo? And was it possible to predict Acevedo’s decline this year? For the last 4 seasons, Acevedo has pitched exclusively as a reliever.









YEARGIPERAH/9BB/9SO/9HR/9
20006282.23.818.383.375.551.20
20015860.14.1810.145.227.010.90
20026574.22.658.202.775.180.48
20032525.27.7111.923.516.661.75


There’s a pattern here. Good year, so-so year, good year, bad year. The only possible warning sign could have been that despite having a good ERA in 2002, his strikeout rate was the lowest among these seasons. Overall, I’d say it would have been tough to predict this bad of a season for Acevedo.

However, it’s interesting to note, Acevedo’s best season came in 1998 with the Cardinals, a 2.56 ERA in 98.1 innings. In the next season his ERA almost doubled, 5.89 in 102.1 innings. Last season was Acevedo’s second best season and so far he has followed it up with his worst, 7.71 ERA.

Considering the lack of pitching talent out there right now, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a team pick him up this week, try to fix what’s wrong, and put trot him out to the mound. It’s not a bad idea for some teams. Something is clearly wrong with Acevedo and it’s probably fixable. But, the pressure that surrounds the Yanks doesn’t allow them to take the time to do it themselves. And so, there goes Acevedo, and I don’t expect it’ll take long for another arm to be acquired. The only question is which arm will leave New York to obtain it, Jason Anderson? Brandon Claussen? In the long run, Acevedo will cost the Yanks at least two pitchers instead of one.

WHERE HAVE YOU GONE… JOSE CONTRERAS?
Of course the bad news yesterday was that Jose Contreras was placed on the 15-day DL with shoulder soreness. It’s unfortunate, because Contreras has been the best starter for the Yanks since returning from his minor league demotion. Hopefully, he can return and remain effective. Jeff Weaver will take Contreras’ spot in the rotation.





Tuesday, June 10, 2003
 
SERIES PREVIEW: HOUSTON ASTROS
The Yankees open up a 10-game homestand against the Houston Astros. The Yanks are 2-4 so far in interleague play, while the Astros are a perfect 6-0; however, the Astros did play the Orioles and Devil Rays.

The Astros currently lead the NL Central with a record of 36-27. The Astros enter the Stadium on a hot streak, winning their last 7 and they’re 9-1 over their last 10 games. This series begin a 6-game road trip for the ‘stros and they have struggled a little bit away from Minute Maid Field. The Astros are just 14-15 on the road this year.


HITTING
The Astros are hitting above average in the NL. They are currently fourth in the league in runs scored with 319. Here is the Astros standing against the league.


NameABRHBBSOHRAVGOBPSLGOPS
Astros217531958122438770.267.341.427.768
*Adjusted 10311010510294109102102102102

*normalized to league, but does not consider park factor.

With a minimum of 100 AB, Morgan Ensberg leads in OPS, followed closely by Richard Hidalgo, and Jeff Kent.

NameABRHRBIBBSOHRAVGOBPSLGOPS
M. Ensberg103283531181510.340.448.6701.118
R. Hidalgo10829492624248.310.412.532.943
J. Kent230407446234010.322.386.548.934
L. Berkman204445938384011.289.405.510.915
J. Bagwell243396925294511.284.367.465.832


PITCHING
The Astros combine their solid hitting with solid pitching.


NameIPHRERBBSOHRERAOPS
Astros570561274253231454563.99.737
Adjusted1021019594105109869298


The Astros sport two starters with an ERA below league average. But amazingly, they have 3 relievers with ERA under 2.00, Brad Lidge, Billy Wagner, and Octavio Dotel.
NameIPERAH/9BB/9SO/9HR/9
B. Lidge36.11.495.954.467.430.00
B. Wagner36.11.735.701.7311.400.74
O. Dotel34.21.824.672.8610.640.52


DEFENSE
The Astros are 6th in fielding percentage in the NL at .985. They have committed 37 errors, allowing only 18 unearned runs to score, most in the NL.


CATEGORYNo.LG RANK
Errors377
F PCT.9856
RF38.214
ZF.82914


INJURIES
Craig Biggio is day-to-day with a bruised left calf.

Probable Pitching Match Ups

Game 1
NAMEW-LIPERAH/9BB/9K/9HR/9
M. Mussina7-484.13.097.361.609.391.07
W. Miller4-671.14.678.203.537.570.63


Game 2
NAMEW-LIPERAH/9BB/9K/9HR/9
J. Contreras3-125.14.627.464.979.240.36
R. Oswalt4-472.23.109.042.488.550.87


Game 3
NAMEW-LIPERAH/9BB/9K/9HR/9
D. Wells8-285.23.369.140.324.830.95
J. Robertson4-3576.1611.053.166.470.95


PROJECTED LINEUP

v. RHP
NAMEOPS
C. Biggio CF.774
M. Ensberg 3B1.118 – possibly G. Blum
J. Bagwell 1B.836
J. Kent 3B.934
L. Berkman LF.915
R. Hidalgo RF.943
B. Ausmus C.531
A. Everett SS.666


v. LHP
NAMEOPS
C. Biggio CF/RF.774
M. Ensberg 3B1.118 – possibly G. Blum
J. Bagwell 1B.836
J. Kent 3B.934
L. Berkman LF.915
B. Hunter RF/CF.943
B. Ausmus C.531
A. Everett SS.666




 
SERIES PREVIEW: HOUSTON ASTROS
The Yankees open up a 10-game homestand against the Houston Astros. The Yanks are 2-4 so far in interleague play, while the Astros are a perfect 6-0; however, the Astros did play the Orioles and Devil Rays.


The Astros currently lead the NL Central with a record of 36-27. The Astros enter the Stadium on a hot streak, winning their last 7 consecutive games and 9-1 over their last 10 games. This series begin a 6-game road trip for the ‘stros and they have struggled a little bit away from Minute Maid Field. The Astros are just 14-15 on the road this year.



HITTING
The Astros are hitting above average in the NL. They are currently fourth in the league in runs scored with 319. Here is the Astros standing against the league.


NameABRHBBSOHRAVGOBPSLGOPS
Astros217531958122438770.267.341.427.768
*Adjusted 10311010510294109102102102102

*normalized to league, but does not consider park factor.


With a minimum of 100 AB, Morgan Ensberg leads in OPS, followed closely by Richard Hidalgo, and Jeff Kent.

24
NameABRHRBIBBSOHRAVGOBPSLGOPS
M. Ensberg103283531181510.340.448.6701.118
R. Hidalgo108294926248.310.412.532.943
J. Kent230407446234010.322.386.548.934
L. Berkman204445938384011.289.405.510.915
J. Bagwell243396925294511.284.367.465.832


PITCHING
The Astros combine their solid hitting with solid pitching.


NameIPHRERBBSOHRERAOPS
Astros570561274253231454563.99.737
Adjusted1021019594105109869298


The Astros sport two starters with an ERA below league average. But amazingly, they have 3 relievers with ERA under 2.00, Brad Lidge, Billy Wagner, and Octavio Dotel.

NameIPERAH/9BB/9SO/9HR/9
B. Lidge36.11.495.954.467.430.00
B. Wagner36.11.735.701.7311.400.74
O. Dotel34.21.824.672.8610.640.52




DEFENSE
The Astros are 6th in fielding percentage in the NL at .985. They have committed 37 errors, allowing only 18 unearned runs to score, most in the NL.



CATEGORYNo.LG RANK
Errors377
F PCT.9856
RF38.214
ZF.82914


INJURIES
Craig Biggio is day-to-day with a bruised left calf.

Probable Pitching Match Ups
Game 1
NAMEW-LIPERAH/9BB/9K/9HR/9
M. Mussina7-484.13.097.361.609.391.07
W. Miller4-671.14.678.203.537.570.63

Game 2
NAMEW-LIPERAH/9BB/9K/9HR/9
J. Contreras3-125.14.627.464.979.240.36
R. Oswalt4-472.23.109.042.488.550.87

Game 3
NAMEW-LIPERAH/9BB/9K/9HR/9
D. Wells8-285.23.369.140.324.830.95
J. Robertson4-3576.1611.053.166.470.95




PROJECTED LINEUP
v. RHP











NAME OPS
C. Biggio CF.774
M. Ensberg 3B1.118 – possibly G. Blum
J. Bagwell 1B.836
J. Kent 3B.934
L. Berkman LF.915
R. Hidalgo RF.943
B. Ausmus C.531
A. Everett SS.666

v. LHP
NAMEOPS
C. Biggio CF/RF.774
M. Ensberg 3B1.118 – possibly G. Blum
J. Bagwell 1B.836
J. Kent 3B.934
L. Berkman LF.915
B. Hunter RF/CF.943
B. Ausmus C.531
A. Everett SS.666




Monday, June 09, 2003
 
SERIES RECAP: CHICAGO CUBS
The Cubs took 2 of 3 from the Yankees this weekend, and the Yanks have now lost their first two interleague series, with a record of 2-4 so far in interleague play.

Game 1
David Wells went 7.2 innings allowing 7 hits and 2 runs to beat the Cubs. Giambi powered the Yanks with a 3-run home run, while Juan Rivera had a 2-run, 2-out single.

Game 2
Roger Clemens failed for the third time to garner his 300th win. Clemens left in the 7th inning with a 1-0 lead and two on. Juan Acevedo came in and Eric Karros hit the first pitch for a 3-run home run. Cubs got two more in the eighth off of Jeff Weaver. Both Yankee runs were scored on solo home runs by Hideki Matsui and Jorge Posada.

Game 3
Andy Pettitte lasted only 1.2 innings allowing 6 runs and 6 hits. The Yanks rallied behind home runs by Giambi, Ventura, and Mondesi. But the Cubs managed two more runs in 7th inning off of Acevedo to hold on for an 8-7 win.

The Yankees slipped back into second place, .5 game behind the Sox, with the loss on Sunday night.

HITTING
The Cubs outscored the Yankees 16-14 during the series. Despite scoring fewer runs and hitting for less average, the Yanks posted a better OBP and OPS and hit more HR for the series.
TeamABRHBBSOHRAVGOBPSLGOPS
Yanks99142513356.253.353.495.848
Cubs10016292185.290.304.510.814


The main reason for the Yanks better OBP was BB and HBP. The Yanks had 13 BB and 3 HBP, compared to just 2 BB for the Cubs.

Hideki Matsui has excelled since dropping down in the order, leading all Yankee hitters in OPS for the series.
PlayerABRHRBIBBSOHRAVGOBPSLGOPS
H. Matsui8251311.625.7501.1251.875


Jason Giambi is clearly back to being the Giambambino with his 4th good series in a row.
PlayerABRHRBIBBSOHRAVGOBPSLGOPS
J. Giambi10334242.300.4291.0001.429


Jorge Posada and Raul Mondesi also had a good series offensively.
PlayerABRHRBIBBSOHRAVGOBPSLGOPS
J. Posada7223121.286.444.7141.159
R. Mondesi13241041.308.308.6921.000


Suprisingly, Ramon Martinez led all Cubs’ hitters in OPS.
PlayerABRHRBIBBSOHRAVGOBPSLGOPS
R. Martinez9333022.333.3331.0001.333


Moises Alou also hit well during the series.
PlayerABRHRBIBBSOHRAVGOBPSLGOPS
M. Alou11253121.455.500.8181.318


With regards to Sammy Sosa, the Yanks weren’t able to stop him but they did contain him. He went 4-11, but all 4 hits were singles.

PITCHING
The Yankees got two good efforts from David Wells and Roger Clemens, but Andy Pettitte continued to struggle, lasting just 1.2 innings.
NameIPHRERBBSOHRERAOPS
Wells7.27330423.52.667
Clemens6.13221502.84.372
Pettitte1.266611233.402.144
Totals15.216111121046.32.790


Overall, the bullpen pitched fairly well.
NameIPHRERBBSOHRERAOPS
Relievers9.113540813.86.850


Sterling Hitchcock pitched 2.2 scoreless innings allowing just 1 hit.

Juan Acevedo was his usual, blowing Clemens chance at 300, while Jeff Weaver struggled in his first two relief appearances.
NameIPHRERBBSOHRERAOPS
Acevedo2.25320116.751.000
Weaver1.242202010.801.500


Amazingly, Yankee pitching allowed just 2 BB during the series.

The Big Three starters for the Cubs pitched well, but the Yanks were able to get to them, hitting 4 HR. Although, they struck out a slew of Yankees, 26 in 19.2 innings.
NameIPHRERBBSOHRERAOPS
Zambrano69553517.50.974
Wood7.231131111.17.454
Prior673311024.501.037
Totals19.2199972644.12.920


DEFENSE
The Yanks made 4 errors during the series, leading to 1 unearned run, while the Cubs committed 2 errors, no on which hurt them. The Cubs were able to turn 2 double plays over the weekend.

BASERUNNING
Neither team had much success stealing bases, the Yanks went 0-1 and the Cubs went 1-3, with Grudzielanek getting the only steal. Jeter was caught by the Yanks and Charles Gipson got picked off to kill the 9th inning rally in Game 3.

THIRD TIME NOT THE CHARM FOR CLEMENS
The Rocket lost his third attempt to reach his 300th win. Unlike in his first two attempts, Clemens pitched extremely well and left the game with a slim 1-0 lead. Perhaps the biggest reason Clemens lost was because of the injury to Hee Seop Choi. Karros replaced Choi at 1B after the injury. In the 7th inning he came up with two men on and Clemens was replaced by… Juan Acevedo. Juan Acevedo? And the lead last exactly not even one pitch. Karros parked Acevedo’s first pitch in the left field bleachers. If Choi was still in the game would Torre have put Acevedo in? No chance. He probably would’ve gone with Hammond or Hitchcock. Maybe we would have seen the same result, but I’d take my chances.

Roger left after throwing just 85 pitches. I don’t have enough information to judge whether or not that was a good decision. It’s possible Clemens asked out or Torre took him out because of Clemens’ illness. What I can’t figure out for the life of me was why Torre put Acevedo in. Acevedo has been just awful, especially lately. He should not be pitching in a close game right now. Okay, maybe there’s a favorable matchup? Unlikely, I don’t know for sure, but I doubt Karros and Acevedo have faced each other, or very few if they have. Okay, maybe there was no one else. Nope, Jason Anderson, Jeff Weaver, Antonio and Osuna were available RHP. Like I said, I don’t get it.

It’s going to be tough for Roger to get 300. It’s just not another game. It’s obvious that the other team’s are keyed up and the Yanks appear nervous, especially the relievers.