New York at Toronto, 13-15 September
Friday, September 13 2019 @ 09:05 AM EDT
Contributed by: Magpie
The Yankees haven't quite clinched the division - technically, they haven't even clinched a post-season berth - but we're in Magic Number territory and there's a pretty good chance they'll make all these things official this weekend.
The Bombers have won 97 games (and counting!) despite a run of injuries that should have been crippling and could not possibly have been anticipated. It hasn't happened because they were running out a bunch of guys in their mid 30s. The players who did fit that description - Sabathia, Encarnacion, and now Happ - have indeed missed time, even if Brett Gardner somehow goes through life untouched, banging his bat on dugout roofs. And pitchers can get hurt at any time, whether they're old like Sabathia and Happ, or young like German and Severino. It's been the blizzard of injuries to position players that has been weird. Sanchez, Bird, Tauchman, Gregorius, Andujar, Hicks, Judge, Stanton are all position players in their 20s and all have missed (or are about to miss) significant time.
You see, this should be karma catching up with them, divine retribution for their general air of entitlement and general commitment to evil. It ought to be. But instead they're 97-51. I no longer understand the world I live in, assuming that I ever did.
Anyway. I thought I'd take a quick peek at how the Jays have run the bases this season. I'm pretty sure that a single season is a pretty small sample, but whatever happened... happened. So what happened?
The Jays have made 42 outs on the bases this season. The league average is 44 and the Jays should be below the league average because they don't get very many people on base. I estimate that the Jays have had 1,476 base runners this season and they've lost 2.84% of them. The average AL team has had 1,652 base runners - quite a few more, as it turns out - so they've lost around 2.66% of them. This is very possibly too small a thing to be significant, or even interesting.
Here's what I did find interesting. The average distribution of outs on the bases goes like this: 13.6% at first base, 31.8% at second base, 22.7% at third base, and 31.8% at home plate. That's not what Toronto has done. The Jays have had just 7 men thrown out at home this season, 16.7% of their total, fewest in the league. (Luis Rivera, take a bow?) They're close enough to the league average in outs at first base (14.3%). They've had a couple more guys thrown at third base (26.2%) and a lot more guys thrown out at second (42.9%). So the biggest issue - not that it's really much of an issue - seems to involve players coming out of the batter's box and being a little over-ambitious. Or being not quite as fast as they think they are. Anyway, that sort of thing and players getting doubled off first base accounts for more than half of the baserunners lost. Once they're actually on base, they're not running into a lot of outs.
Justin Smoak, who is just godawful slow, and Vlad Guerrero, who is not quite as quick as he thinks he is, have made the most outs on the bases (5 apiece), but that's mostly because Freddy Galvis has been playing for another team for the last six weeks. You might expect Smoak to be the least likely to take an extra base, and you'd be right, but Brandon Drury is equally cautious on the bases. In fact, the team as a whole has been pretty conservative on the base paths once they get there. Considering how seldom they get there, this does seem prudent. Lourdes Gurriel and Billy McKinney are the only guys who've really been aggressive in taking the extra base. Hernandez and Grichuk have been around the league average or just over. Everybody else has been proceeding with caution.
What, nothing to see here? Hey, I was curious, I took a look, and having invested the energy I'm telling you about it!
Matchups? What do we have...
Fri 13 Sep - Tanaka (10-8, 4.53) vs Kay (0-0, 3.18)
Sat 14 Sep - Paxton (13-6, 3.96) vs Waguespack (4-4, 4.55)
Sun 15 Sep - ??? vs ???
Fifteen games left, six wins needed to avoid the 100 losses.