10.06.2006

Who was that pitcher, where was Kenny Rogers?

The Yankees game was horrible. Coming into this game most Yankees fans couldn't help but feel good about our chances in this game. Here is what some of the Yankee hitters have done in their careers against Rogers:

Johnny Damon- 49 AB .306/.382/.449 2 HR 7 RBI
Derek Jeter- 20 AB .400/.520/.600 1 HR 2 RBI
Alex Rodriguez- 19 AB .526/.625/1.421 5 HR 9 RBI
Jason Giambi- 23 AB .435/.567/1.000 4 HR 9 RBI
Jorge Posada- 16 AB .500/.500/1.063 2 HR 9 RBI
Bernie Williams- 34 AB .353/.421/.588 2 HR 10 RBI

There was one other simple statistic that was making Yankees fans real confident about this game, and this was Kenny Rogers past numbers in the playoffs:

9 G 20.3 IP 8.85 ERA 32 Hits 20 ER 16 BB 15 K

I guess that is why they say that the game is played on the field. While the Yankees hitters fell into a lull, Rogers elevated his game. Kenny Rogers is basically a pitcher who gets by by throwing strikes and trying to induce groundballs. He doesn't normally strike out many batters as evident by his 99/62 K/BB ratio this season in 204 IP. That translates to 4.3 K/9 IP. Tonight however Rogers struck out 8 while only walking 2 in 7 and 2/3 innings pitched. He did this by spotting his fastball on the corners and throwing that nasty curve with two strikes.

The powerful Yankees lineup could only muster 5 hits the whole game and the team came out looking flat. Rogers figured out this lineup, but the weird thing was that he didn't attack the team like I would have expected him to. I had assumed the way to beat the Yankees was to attack the strike zone. Rogers really didn't do that. He faced 30 Yankee batters and only threw 16 first pitch strikes. Out of his 113 total pitches only about 65 percent were strikes, thats good but not great. I think Rogers was so effective because he pitched smart. The umpire was calling a fairly large strike zone today, looking back at his pitches he got a lot of strikeouts on pitches that were off the plate. Rogers took advantage of this bonus much better than Randy Johnson did. Due to the expanded strike zone Rogers was able to throw primarily away from the Yankee hitters where they really cant do any damage. All of Rogers strikeouts seem to have come on either fastballs just off the plate or curveballs low that the Yankee hitters chased. I give Rogers a lot of credit he kept a team of great hitter guessing for almost eight full innings.

Now the Yankees are left with the difficult task of having to win two straight games just to advance. They also have the handicap that Jaret Wright is currently scheduled to start tomorrow against Jeremy Bonderman. This Yankee fan is not too confident.


I also would like to congratulate the Oakland A's on finally winning a series clinching game, hopefully they will never have to hear about that 9 game streak again. I watched the A's game and that team is firing on all cylinders. Six of there nine starters had a hit as Chavez and Bradley both hit long home runs and Scutaro continued to be a real tough out. I think Haren may be one of the most underrated pitchers in the AL right now. When he is on this kid is real good. Congrats to the A's, now even if the Yanks can come back we will have to face a rested A's team. Its nights like tonight that make me wish I was a Devil Rays fan and I didn't have to deal with the stress of playoff baseball.

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