Interesting idea by Tom Tango

On his blog, Tango talked about the Phillies using a new pitcher every time through the Yankees lineup. Here’s his take:

Anyway, as you can see, each time through the order, the hitters get an extra 8-12 points of OBP and 20-33 points of SLG.  This is not much out of the ordinary for the league in general, which you can tell by looking at the sOPS+ column: they are 12% to 16% better than the league against facing the starting pitcher the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd time.  But, they kill relievers, being 36% better than the league average.

Considering Lee, Hamels, and Pedro will all be throwing on short rest in games 4-7, this could be an excellent idea. But what about the Yankees? Should they employ this strategy, especially with Chad Gaudin pitching or Andy Pettitte starting on short rest start?

Facing a pitcher the first, second, and third time around, the Phillies were better than the league average by 6%, 3%, and 12% respectively. Against relievers, the Phillies were 7% better than the league average.  The one time when the Phillies offense pounced, was when facing a pitcher the fourth time around. Moreover, the Phillies had a 9% increase between the second time facing a pitcher and the third time. So what should the Yankees do?

The Yankees should try to limit their starters from facing the Phillies lineup no more than 2-3 times through. Even if the pitcher is having a dominant game. Ideally, with this information, the Yankees should look to employ this strategy.

In game one the Yankees should limit CC to three times through the Phillies lineup. An additional benefit with that, is that CC will be less fatigued pitching on short rest in game four. In game four, the Yankees should limit CC to no more than 2.5 times through the Phillies lineup. Again, it will save him pitches for a game seven on short rest.

If the Yankees keep their starters from going too deep in a game, they can prevent the Phillies from gaining an edge late in the game, they can conserve the starters pitches so they are less fatigued on short rest, and it will limit the potential risks of a Chad Gaudin start in game five or a potential Andy Pettitte on short rest start in game six.

Now, in no way am I saying it is a strict strategy the Yankees need to an employ. If it’s game seven and CC has a low pitch count through six or seven, it might actually be better to keep him in. But as the stats show, the more you keep the starter in, the more the opponenet will start to hit. So the Yankees should look to the bullpen earlier in the World Series. And they have the pen to do so with former starters in Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, and Alfredo Aceves- plus everyone knows Mo can go two innings- as they will all be able to  throw multiple innings per game.


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