• The Yankees Can’t Beat Unfamiliar Pitchers Fallacy

    Posted by on June 19th, 2009 · Comments (22)

    According to Baseball-Reference.com’s Play Index Pitching Game Finder, since 1996, to date, the Yankees have faced an opposing starting pitcher 374 times where the pitcher had 30 games or less of major league experience.

    Within those 374 times, the opposing starter went on to pitch a game with a Game Score of 60 or more in 68 games. And, within those 374 times, the opposing starter went on to pitch a game with a Game Score of 50 or less in 239 games.

    Also, according to Baseball-Reference.com’s Play Index Pitching Game Finder, since 2004, to date, the Yankees have faced an opposing starting pitcher 149 times where the pitcher had 30 games or less of major league experience.

    Within those 149 times, the opposing starter went on to pitch a game with a Game Score of 60 or more in 29 games. And, within those 149 times, the opposing starter went on to pitch a game with a Game Score of 50 or less in 97 games.

    So, where is the proof that the Yankees struggle so mightily against unfamiliar pitchers?

    Comments on The Yankees Can’t Beat Unfamiliar Pitchers Fallacy

    1. Corey
      June 19th, 2009 | 10:36 am

      what about if we add a condition to this, if the pitcher is left handed?

    2. June 19th, 2009 | 10:44 am

      Look at all the names on the list. I doubt that would change much.

    3. ken
      June 19th, 2009 | 10:51 am

      Steve: thanks for making this point. I am so sick of hearing this on every media outlet. Were it true, then any team would start their AAA pitchers against the Yankees. (Which, I guess, is what the Nats do every night. But I digress…)

      I think it is one of those situations that happens sometimes but you remember it when it does. Here’s another example: A player makes a great play to end an inning and then is the next batter to lead off. The announcer will always say: “Doesn’t it always happen that the player who makes a great defensive play leads off the next inning.”

      Yeeech.

    4. Raf
      June 19th, 2009 | 10:52 am

      So, where is the proof that the Yankees struggle so mightily against unfamiliar pitchers?

      It’s with all the other baseball fallacies that sound good but don’t stand up to analysis.

    5. MJ
      June 19th, 2009 | 10:54 am

      It’s with all the other baseball fallacies that sound good but don’t stand up to analysis.
      ———
      And yet, here we are, talking about it for the 7th time in 10 weeks of play.

    6. June 19th, 2009 | 10:56 am

      Good stuff, Steve.

      (I, of course, define “good stuff” as any post I agree with.)

    7. June 19th, 2009 | 10:58 am

      MJ wrote:

      And yet, here we are, talking about it for the 7th time in 10 weeks of play.

      Yeah, except, as your inclusion of Lannan in this discussion shows, you’re playing kind of fast and loose with the unfamiliar pitcher qualification. Who are the other pitchers you’re talking about?

    8. Raf
      June 19th, 2009 | 11:01 am

      Justin wrote:

      Good stuff, Steve.
      (I, of course, define “good stuff” as any post I agree with.)

      LOL :D

    9. antone
      June 19th, 2009 | 12:33 pm

      What if you changed the analysis to pitchers they are facing for the first time?

      (…and yes I’m still alive)

    10. June 19th, 2009 | 12:38 pm

      Good to see you’re still out there!
      As far as the request, not sure if that’s possible via PI
      but, by using the first career 30 games, it’s close to what you’re looking for…

    11. MJ
      June 19th, 2009 | 12:43 pm

      Yeah, except, as your inclusion of Lannan in this discussion shows, you’re playing kind of fast and loose with the unfamiliar pitcher qualification. Who are the other pitchers you’re talking about?
      ———–
      Besides the three games this week vs. Washington, the others I’m referring to are:

      5/2 vs. Matt Palmer (LAA)
      5/23 vs. J.A. Happ (PHI)
      6/3 vs. Scott Feldman (TEX)
      6/13 vs. Fernando Nieve (NYM)

    12. Corey
      June 19th, 2009 | 12:56 pm

      @ MJ:
      plus losing to players like adam eaton (who they had seen before, but still sucks)

    13. MJ
      June 19th, 2009 | 12:58 pm

      plus losing to players like adam eaton
      ——–
      Losing to Adam Eaton on Mother’s Day Eve down in Baltimore was more a result of Phil Hughes pitching like crap and Mark Teixeira’s brain farts at the plate and in the field. The Yanks scored runs that day (I think we hit 3 or 4 HR that game?) but it was too little, too late after Hughes imploded in the 2nd inning.

      Ugh, thanks for reminding me! LOL!

    14. June 19th, 2009 | 2:52 pm

      [...] beliefs rather than dig under the surface to see if our preconceived notions may be false. As the following excerpt from Steve at WasWatching shows, every time the Yankees play poorly against a new face, many of us [...]

    15. Fred Stanley
      June 19th, 2009 | 3:32 pm

      Just to play devil’s advocate, why are using 30 games as the dispositive parameter? I think that the fans’ frustration comes from the fact that it “seems” like the Yankees get shut down by pitchers who are literally replacement level – guys who have just been called up to fill a spot (e.g., Nieve), and who perform way above their talent level. I don’t think the fans are frustrated (at least I’m not frustrated) when they get shut down by young pitchers who are coming into their own, such as Lannon or Edinson Volquez, who shut them down last season.

    16. June 19th, 2009 | 3:39 pm

      I used 30 games or less as the cut because I thought 30 games was a fair measure of what a full major league season would be for a SP. And, I wanted to see those who were truly green to the majors – in the sense that they did not have a full season under their belt when they faced the Yankees.

    17. Fred Stanley
      June 19th, 2009 | 4:11 pm

      I hear ya, and that makes sense. But there’s a difference between “green and talented” and “green and not-so-much.” Your cut-off doesn’t account for that (and I understand that accounting for that would take a lot of time and effort), and I think that it’s the losing to the latter is what has driven this frustration/hysteria, not the former. And it’s also worth remembering that the Yankees did quite well against one pitcher of the first category back in April: Rick Porcello.

    18. MJ
      June 19th, 2009 | 4:40 pm

      Fred raises a good point. The frustration I’m feeling isn’t because the Yanks got shut down by some young, inexperieced pitcher with pedigree but by some young, inexperienced pitcher whose stuff (and pedigree) mark him as average to below-average.

      If the Yanks got dominated by Porcello or Holland or Cahill the way they got dominated by Nieve, Martis and Stammen then I could at least understand it. But this is getting annoying to say the least. As I wrote, this marks at least 6 times in 10 weeks that a no-name has shut down the Yanks (I would include Lannan as a 7th because he’s not a pitcher that arrived with much pedigree and never appeared on any top-10 prospect lists for the Nationals).

      Of course, it’s worth mentioning that the real culprit in all of this is the hitters’ poor approach at the plate. Why would experienced, savvy, professional hitters let this happen three games in a row? Why take hacks early in counts three days in a row? How can you make the same mistakes over and over and over again? Did Kevin Long get laryngitis this week?

    19. June 19th, 2009 | 4:48 pm

      Last time I checked, Baseball-Reference.com’s Play Index Pitching Game Finder didn’t have a filter for “no-name” pitchers only. ;-)

    20. Fred Stanley
      June 19th, 2009 | 5:08 pm

      The frustration also stems from the fact that it “seems” that the same no-name pitch who beat the Yankees get eaten alive by the Red Sox hitters.

    21. butchie22
      June 20th, 2009 | 10:45 am

      Steve it’s ultimately a case of perception vs reality. Funny how Kay mentioned that even hearing the 26-12 stat(where Yankees have beaten pitchers 26 times that they haven’t seen this year compared to 12 losses) , Kay still seemed to think that they were inclined to lose against first look pitchers. Anecdotely
      , the Yanks had recently lost 3 games to pitchers they had never really seen before in the case of the Mets and Nationals series.

      Lannon is not a bad pitcher at all, so the anyone claiming that he is subpar or something to that effect is using hyperbole to say the least. BUT the other pitchers? Kevin Long does tons of work on each pre-series on opposing pitchers, what is going on? Are the scouts doing the right job? More importantly is it a case of slump collusion, where a few key players fall asleep at the plate and the rest follow against a so-so newbie? All, I know is that something is skewed with the metric.

      Antone is still alive? Good to see so! Welcome back,mate…………

    22. ken
      June 20th, 2009 | 11:24 am

      The more I watch baseball the more I buy into the ‘pitching and defense’ mantra. (See: New York Yankees 1996-2000).

      I can’t find fault with this team’s offense. It will produce. It will also go through offensive slumps as all teams do (even the Sox).

    Leave a reply

    You must be logged in to post a comment.