Game 83: Hey Look, Over .500

The Yankees won this one 4-2 to salvage the day’s game and get back over .500 on the season. Hard to say that this was a good day – far from it! – but it honestly could have been a lot worse. I thought it was going to be a lot worse based on the 7th inning in game 1, so I’ll take it.

Let’s get right to the takeaways.

1. Nasty Nestor Gets It Done: Nasty Nestor gave us shades of 2019 with that performance today. He went 3.1 IP in his longest outing of the season, allowing just 2 hits and a run. He struck out 4 and didn’t walk anyone. Here is his pitch plot from the game, which about tells the story:

There’s a lot of white space around the middle there and you can see him working down in the zone on both sides of the plate. An effective strategy, that is. He got 9 whiffs on 28 swings (32%), induced tons of soft contact (85 mph average exit velocity), and was fastball heavy (46%). Cortes and his abnormal deliveries have been one of the few bright spots in the 2021 Yankees’ season, and tonight was no different. He’s been very, very good, and he was again.

2. Darren O’Day Does Not: Unfortunately, Aaron Boone removed Cortes from the game in the 4th inning after he surrendered a double. Let us say that this did not work out super well for him, as most recent decisions have not. He went to Darren O’Day, who I continue to be excited about, so I’m not criticizing Boone too much. It’s just that Cortes was pitching well and O’Day threw a pitch here:

To Pete Alonso, who sent it deep into the right-field seats. That made it 3-2, and it charged a run to Cortes. Gah. He then walked back-to-back batters before settling in and closing the door. He preserved the lead, but it was really emblematic of the season. Really, just nothing is working out for the Yankees these days. Pitching decisions, lineup decisions, bullpen management. Nothing. This was another example, even if it didn’t ultimately result in disaster.

3. That Said, Chad Green Rules: Ah, Chad Green. My favorite. Our man came in and slammed the door shut in this one. He did not have any of the Darren O’Day issues. That’s for damn sure. He pitched 3 perfect innings in relief, striking out 6 in the process. It was a great, great performance from him. The Mets never stood a chance against everyone’s bullpen son Chad Green, and it was glorious. Here’s his pitch chart:

He had a ridiculous 40% whiff-per-swing rate, including 38% on his fastball. In multiple innings. Just a totally vintage 2017 Chad Green game.

4. The Offense Does A Little But Enough: Not a great night for the offense, but they did enough to get the job done. The second inning was when most of the damage was done. It started with a leadoff double from Luke Voit and a bunt single from Rougned Odor. That brought up Gio Urshela, who somehow hit this pitch:

Into the right-field seats. That made it 3-0 Yankees and it would have been enough to win the game. Urshela has been a bit middling in 2021 offensively – .274/.316/.452 (109 wRC+) on the season – but that was a big home run to get them the lead after a debacle of a game this afternoon. A huge hit at the right time. It’s an example of capitalizing when you have a chance, which is happening too far in between this year in 2021. Oh well. This was a good win, at least.

Leftovers

  • Brett Gardner’s Wheels: Brett Gardner scored the 4th Yankee run on a wild pitch. His wheels paid off for the Yankees in this one. He was 0-1 with a walk and a run.
  • Power Vacuum: Rough night for Judge, Stanton, and Sánchez. They went 0-9 with three strikeouts.

Mercifully, the Yankees are off tomorrow. That means we are able to not watch them! Good news all around. They’ll be back on it on Tuesday, when they go to Seattle for a west coast trip. Jameson Taillon (3-4, 5.43 ERA) will take on Justus Sheffield (5-7, 5.88 ERA) in that one. Enjoy your night, everyone.

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16 Comments

  1. MikeD

    Sadly, I don’t have much hope for this group, which was underperforming even before the sticky stuff was banned. Now that it is, we have to wonder about Cole and Chapman. The Yankees have built their pitchers around high-spin pitchers, so it’s reasonable to assume that profile will be hurt more.

    That aside, I’ve watched a lot of baseball over the years, and a second-half revival is still possible. Not enthusiastic, but it could happen.

  2. HenryKrinkle

    Sticky stuff also helps with control and command.

  3. Brian

    Scoring so many runs on wild pitches/pass balls is annoying

  4. I know virtually no one will take the time to actually look at the relationship between spin rate and results other than jump to conclusions (based on very limited data) but, if you look at Cole’s month by month spin rate, his 4 seam fastball now, post the sticky substance crackdown, is pretty much the same as it was in 2018 when he pitched for Houston and went 15-5 with a sub-3 ERA:
    https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/savant-player/gerrit-cole-543037?stats=statcast-r-pitching-mlb

    He hasn’t lost any velocity since the crack down, this could just be a bad spell for him for a variety of reasons other than ‘sticky substances’.

    When I look at these stats the number that jumps out at me is the swing and miss rate, which has dropped way down recently for both his fastball and slider. That’s probably more of a location issue (or pitch selection) than anything else.

    Look, if he continues to pitch like this it’s not good but plenty of great pitchers have gone through a string of bad starts in their careers at one point or another and recovered, I’m willing to think that is likely for Cole as well.

    • HenryKrinkle

      Sticky stuff also helps with control and command.

      • You said that twice, where is your statistical or visual evidence to support that contention?

        As I said, it could be a location (command) issue and that could be ‘sticky’ related or it could be for an entirely different reason. It could also be that he’s tipping pitches without realizing it.

        I don’t jump to conclusions although it was obvious to me in May that this team was playing really bad baseball (and posted it on this board multiple times) and nothing that has happened since has changed that opinion.

        The Yankees have Cole signed for another 8+ years, that contract isn’t going away any more than ARod’s contract went away when he was taking PEDs. There is plenty of time for the facts to determine whether his dominance has been related to the use of Spider Tack or something else and it’s premature to already reach a decision except to complain for the sake of complaining.

        • Bartholomew

          I did hear david cone say it, but he might not be a good enough source for you. Currently digging through the MLB official sticky stuff stat book to get those stats and also looking through some old video, but that may take some time. Perhaps you can just prove us wrong?

          • MG309

            I posted a direct link to the same source that Cone uses regarding pitching spin rates, velocity and the movement of each pitch, did you take any time to look at the data between 2018 and now or is it beyond your level of comprehension?

        • HenryKrinkle

          Why the snark? I’m sooo sorry that I posted twice. I don’t often post here, so I mistakenly replied to the OP rather than you the first time. Also, I couldn’t delete the first.

          All I was saying is that sticky stuff is about more than spin rate. Now you say the command/control issue might be related to Spider Tack, but you didn’t before. You listed location as simply a part of garden variety pitching issues along with selection. Just as you introduced other angles, so did I. And as the other guy mentioned, big league pitchers (like Cone and Leiter) have talked about how difficult a ball is to control without substance. Do you think rosin is on every mound b/c it makes no difference? Do you think it’s allowed — like going to your fingers in cold weather — b/c it makes difference? Or can you take the logical leap that better grip improves command and control? It’s allowed for safety reasons b/c a big league ball is bigger and slicker than most people realize, and throwing it at high velocity is dangerous. Try throwing a billiard ball with a mitten on and see if a better grip would improve your ability to throw it where you want. Like PEDS, they used this stuff for a difference making reason. Cole obliquely admitted to it, and he also said there are other ways to get the job done. Maybe he’s struggling with that transition. So, I’m willing to think a definitive change in one variable — that the person in question admits to making — might have something to do with the “bad spell” that occurred right after that change.

  5. DZB

    If Cole does indeed regress to the pre-sticky pitcher he was for the Pirates, then he will deservingly be booed mercilessly at Yankees stadium for the rest of his career. He certainly cashed in on the advantage it gave him, but if his stuff is that diminished without it, then he will look like one of the worst FA signings in history.

    • Broussard Yankee

      I hope that Cole has not been the creation of “sticks stuff.” If so, he would be a cheat, just like Sosa, McGuire, Bonds, and Rodriguez. More concerning for Hal would be whether the Yankees gave him that long term contract based on a misrepresentation of who he was.

  6. Steve

    Chapman being selected for the All Star game is hilarious.

    • JJ Dools

      My exact thought. His ERA in recent starts is insane and makes him basically unusable.

  7. TwainsYankee

    Can I get a hit of what everyone is smoking?

  8. Esteddardban Florial

    I thought it was the best win of the season, Bobby, and it just goes to show you why you can’t give up on this ballclub just yet. Never ever give up. I’ve been saying for months that Nestor should be a starter. Matt V called him the left handed El Duque and that’s such a good comparison. He doesn’t throw hard but he keeps hitters off balance with the funky delivery and change of speeds. Boone once again erred by taking him out too early but Green bailed him out. Wouldn’t have wanted that Green guy to close out game 1 and win both games. That would be too much winning for one day.

    Not much offense but it’ll come as we get into the dog days. What I like about Boone is his patience to just sit back and wait for the 3 run HR, which came off the bat of Gio. A lot to be positive about as we head out West, mainly that the games are on so late I won’t have to watch them.

  9. When Green is right, he’s awesome.

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