NEW YORK- The Miami Marlins visited the New York Yankees in the beautiful new Yankee Stadium with a chance for a four-game sweep of the home-and-home set. On Wednesday, they came away with a close 2-1 loss. On Friday, the game's balance went a little differently. It was a close contest early on, as both starting pitchers settled in nicely to start. Mat Latos struggled early on, giving up three hits and a run in the first inning and running into some tight jams early. He settled in after the second inning, however, and ran up what appeared to be a second straight nice start. By the end of the fifth inning, Latos and the Marlins looked like they were in business. The big righty had recorded six strikeouts versus just two walks and only given up the lone first inning run,
More importantly, the velocity remained on point, though it did not approach the kind of numbers we saw against the Colorado Rockies last week. While the average fastball last week hit 93.4 mph, last night's fastballs were a little slower at 92.9 mph on average. Still, all of these numbers were higher than his usual amount, meaning for the second straight start, Latos has seemingly regained velocity. As I did years ago with Javier Vazquez, let's track Latos pre- and post-velocity change. All numbers by Brooks Baseball.
|Latos, 2015||FB Velo (mph)||K%||BB%||ERA||FIP|
The velocity gain is still present after two starts, and while most of these numbers are heavily influenced by the fantastic start versus the Rockies, Latos is still looking good as of right now. It remains to be seen if any of this will stick, but it will be fun to watch.
Here were some other notes from last night's game against the Yankees, which I viewed live from Yankee Stadium.
- Latos had thrown 97 pitches by the end of the fifth inning, but manager Dan Jennings kept him out there. He was noticeably gassed by that point, with his velocity having dropped down to the 90 mph range on his fastball with decent consistency. It is easy to say in hindsight that this was an error, but if you have a guy who already struggled a little early and has been velocity-dependent all year, maybe you should be quicker to pull him from the game.
- Even when Jennings made the move, he did so making little sense in the matter. The Yankees had Chase Headley, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixeira, and Brian McCann coming up in the next four hitters. Headley and Teixeira are both switch hitters, and while Headley has been slightly better for his career versus righties, Teixeira is the opposite. The immediate concern is the hot-hitting Rodriguez, who is a right-hander. In this situation, a righty makes more sense, but Jennings turns to Mike Dunn, the lefty reliever, instead.
- In the next inning, the Yankees featured Teixeira, McCann, the switch-hitting Carlos Beltran, and a following procession of lefties in Didi Gregorius, Stephen Drew, and Mason Williams. This would have been the right time to turn to Dunn, but after Dunn gave up a homer to Beltran, Jennings made the switch to the righty Carter Capps. We don't know if things would have gone any better the other way around, but it feels like the right play should have been to Capps or another righty in the sixth and Dunn to face McCann and company afterward.
- By the way, all the Yankees fans were very confused about Capps's odd delivery. Totally legal, everyone!
- I watched this live.
And it was beautiful. That line shot was super impressive given all the long fly balls that were hit this game. There was no doubt that was traveling out of here, and it got out in a hurry and surprised people. Stanton rocketed that at an exit velocity of 110.5 mph, his eighth homer at that line drive velocity of greater than 110 mph. That one traveled a true distance of 405 feet according to ESPN Home Run Tracker, and it was the longest home run he has hit in that down-the-line direction this year. The 25th homer of the season was yet another impressive one, and it was even more impressive watching live.
- There were a few Marlins fans in attendance in my section with me. One kid and his parent apparently traveled over to see the game and held up a sign proudly stating his efforts.
He sat a bit too far ahead of me for me to be able to comfortably get his attention, but I did talk to a lady and her son who were at the game. She recanted her tales of true Marlins fanhood, which I appreciated. Her advice to me? Place your children strategically in baseball cities so you have as many places to stay when you're making your baseball parks rounds.
Her most interesting tidbit? She made a bet with a friend back in 2003 that the Fish could win the World Series, and she got a tattoo to commemorate the bet and the victory.
- Once the game began to give way and we headed into the eighth inning, I tried to beat the crowd to make my way out, as the drive home was going to be long and I was going to be on three hours of sleep in the last day and a half. However, I stuck around for the final plate appearance of Alex Rodriguez's night. Rodriguez is one hit shy of the 3,000-hit mark, and Yankees fans were on their feet with the cameras out to see just what would happen.
Sam Dyson threw four inside pitches for a four-pitch walk and the fans were booing vociferously. The entire stadium showered Dyson with the boo birds, then many quickly left the park along with me to beat the early traffic out of the stadium.
- That just shows you that Yankees fans are just as blase about their team as Marlins fans are. Miami fans get a bad rap from all sports for their nonchalant attitudes. We casually get ripped for leaving early to beat Miami traffic. We do the wave in game while stuff is happening. Well, Yankees fans were doing the exact same thing last night. It just goes to show you that no matter where you go, baseball games are long and fans go into business for themselves no matter what.