Jarrod Saltalamacchia: “I blame the Hispanics.”

August 31, 2011 | 49 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK

New England Cable News:

Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s analysis of what went on at home plate after Francisco Cervelli’s fourth-inning home run raised some eyebrows among reporters in the Red Sox clubhouse.

It’s just the Latin players,” Saltalamacchia said about Cervelli’s passionate clap as he touched home. “That’s the way they play the game. It’s OK to an extent. If you go a little further than that, that’s when you need to step back.”

Tom Yawkey would be proud.

He doesn’t like them, but Saltalamacchia has no problems using them for household projects.

Yankees beat major a-holes

August 31, 2011 | 130 comments | in Featured | by Louis Winthorpe III

Over 128 laborious pitches (the most in his Yankee tenure), CC Sabathia battled the Red Sox for six innings, striking out 10 and allowing only 2 runs on 10 hits. Boston went 2-13 with RISP. In the meantime, one of the world’s ugliest professional athletes threw at Francisco Cervelli intentionally, only to see him come around to score the 5th Yankee run and extend the lead to three.

Also noted: A superb catch by Brett Gardner in the 8th to bail out Rafael Levoriano.

How many as*holes we got on this ship anyhow?

The NoMaas Ultimate Viewing Guide for the Boston series

August 29, 2011 | 62 comments | in Featured | by SJK

Tuesday: CC Sabathia

Watch the game in full. Meet up with some friends to watch it together or kick back in the comfort of your own home.

Wednesday: Phil Hughes

Watch an inning here and there. Maybe check the score on your cell phone. Multi-task with some other things you need to get done.

Thursday: AJ Burnett

Do not follow the game at all. Find something else to do completely. It’s near the end of the week. Go out on the town and welcome the weekend a day early.

Re-launched: NoMaas Live Game Chat

August 27, 2011 | 0 comment | in Announcements | by SJK

As we enter the home stretch of the regular season, we’ve relaunched our live game chat with new software. Experience live realtime chat with other Yankee fans without the hassle of constantly refreshing traditional game threads. Cheer, vent, complain, and (insert kneejerk reaction here) with all of your brethren — live!

So next time a Yankee game starts, head over to the new and improved NoMaas Live Game Chat.

But try not to get in a situation like this:

Leave the pitcher, take the cannoli

August 27, 2011 | 63 comments | in Featured | by SJK

Put AJ out of his misery, remove him from the rotation

Yankees drop bomb on Athletics

August 25, 2011 | 79 comments | in Featured | by SJK

Three grand slams destroyed the A’s

The “AJ Burnett can’t pitch in August” defense

August 25, 2011 | 24 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by Vizzini

When pressed recently in an ESPN interview on whether A.J. Burnett should be removed from the rotation, Brian Cashman came to Burnett’s defense:

“We have six guys who can pitch in a pennant race, period. AJ Burnett is having his typical terrible August. For whatever reason, he can’t pitch in August, I don’t know why. It is what it is. August is obviously not an effective month for him.”

Cashman did say Electric Stuff! hasn’t pitched like a #2 starter, but thinks that his recent brownouts should be discounted when evaluating his place in the rotation — for his performance will improve once the kids pack up their Justin Bieber lunchboxes and head back to school.

Discerning NoMaas readers surely will turn a jaundiced eye toward remarks of this ilk. We are used to hearing MLB broadcasters attribute some sort of causality to statistical flukes of small sample size all the time: Josh Hamilton hits better in the daytime because his eyes are blue, Robbie Cano can’t hit with runners in scoring position because he lacks mental toughness, David Ortiz is so calm in the clutch because he thinks all Japanese people look alike.

Returning to Cashman’s assertion, it’s easy to see why he thinks August is a cursed month for Burnett. AJ has been a Yankee since 2009 and has posted the following ERAs in August: 6.03, 7.80, 10.70. It sure seems like there must be something going on here, right?

Well, in 2010, August wasn’t Burnett’s worst month. In June, he made 5 starts with an 11.35 ERA. When you further examine Burnett’s career, Cashman’s picture of things disintegrates.

In ’08, August was only Burnett’s third-worst month. In ’07, Burnett had his very best month of the year in August, posting a 1.63 ERA. August was also Burnett’s best month in 2005, 2002, & 2000. In 2004, he somehow mustered a 2.83 ERA in August. Does this mean A.J. was an August Master early in his career but started to lose that mojo as the years rolled by? Not so fast — in 2001, he had a 7.39 August ERA.

Is this starting to look like plain ol’ random variation to you? Good, it should, and it should to Cashman as well. Burnett’s career 4.33 August ERA is the highest of any month for him, but so what? One out of every 6 pitchers is going to have their worst ERA in August (there’s 6 months in the baseball season). There have been 654 pitchers to pitch at least 200 innings in the last decade. We should expect 109 pitchers in that period to have August as their worst month just by random chance. A.J. Burnett is one of them.

This is a lot of digital ink to spill on a comment that Brian Cashman tossed out while taking a defensive posture at the media’s typically thoughtless probing. Yet, there is a deeper lesson here. Our minds have evolved to attach a narrative to every set of events we encounter. When we see a pitcher get rocked, we look for a story that explains the poor outcome. Watch a game on TV and an MLB broadcaster will come up with a single reason for almost every bad outcome for a pitcher. Much of the time the announcers are just plain making stuff up and the numbers will contradict their assertions. Even when the stats seem to support them, it is almost always a statistical blip.

In fact, there are countless factors involved in why a pitcher might get hit hard. Some are under his control to varying degrees: his mechanics, his velocity, his location, his pitch selection. Some are not: the batter’s mechanics, the batter’s guess at what pitch is coming, the fielder’s jump on the ball, the size and consistency of umpire’s strike zone, the wind blowing in or out, the temperature at the stadium, the length of the grass….all these factors pile up on each other and tend to drown out any single reason we may come up with to explain an event.

We are all prone to this habit of illusory correlation. It is a little unnerving to hear the Yankees’ General Manager so blatantly falling into this trap and professing patently silly reasons for his pitcher’s performance. It is disappointing to think that such a major decision as who will be in the rotation might be made based on fundamentally unsound reasoning. We’re hoping this was just a throwaway comment.


August 25, 2011 | 50 comments | in Featured | by SJK

Identifying overvalued assets and then throwing globs of money at them.

The best .346 OBP $180 million can buy

August 24, 2011 | 46 comments | in Quick Analytical Blurbs | by SJK

ESPN-NY on Friday night after Mark Teixiera eclipsed 1,000 Career RBI:

Teixeira…says he values RBIs more than any other stat. “It’s a nice number,” he said. “You get that many in only nine years, you think, ‘I must be doing all right.”‘

Well, he certainly doesn’t value on-base percentage, because Teixeira is on track for the worst OBP of his career. We asked earlier this month if Teixeira had Yankee Stadium’d his swing over the last two seasons, resulting in lower BABIP, lower average, and lower OBP results.

Whatever the reason, he’s not getting on base nearly enough to justify the monster contract that pays him $22.5 million through 2016. He ranks 30th in the AL in OBP and 17th in the league in wOBA (.370).

The big HR and RBI totals will probably fool the masses into thinking he’s an elite hitter in the league, but he’s not. The RBIs especially are inflated because he hits in the middle of a potent Yankee lineup. Stick him on a team with a lesser offense and the RBI defense would evaporate.

Tex is a very solid hitter, but he’s an overrated one.

Free outs: They’re Grrrrreat!

August 23, 2011 | 69 comments | in Featured | by SJK

Yankees 7th in the AL in Sac Bunts and climbing!! (11th in 2010)

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