Game 6 was the best game of the year. Partially because the Yankees won, but mostly because there were so many “this pitch is critical” situations. Obviously, Drew hitting the Grand Slam was the key offensive moment and it was thrilling. However, all the Betances AB’s and him finding the right pitches in a game he clearly struggled, to get out of the jam(s) was very exciting. Then a great job by Miller going 1 2/3 inning to get the hard earned save (can’t ask for a much tougher save than that). Every pitch was tense. Miller has stepped in and done great so far. I could go on about the great batter/pitcher confrontations but this writeup is a little late for that. I will say that I did not like a lot of the pitch selection calls by Murphy (Even if they worked at times and I may not have been correct), but the one that stood out was throwing a fastball to Adam Jones when he hit is HR off Pineda in the 6th to give Baltimore a 4-2 lead. I think the best way to pitch Jones is to throw off speed pitches low and away and the timing (and the location were bad) That being said, Murphy has it well and he made two terrific throws. Honestly, Murphy has outplayed McCann so far. McCann hasn’t even blocked balls well so far and needs to get going (he didn’t turn his body toward home plate on an attempted block and the ball skipped away toward first. I was looking back on some of my posts (I forgot how much I was against the Ellsbury signing because of the cost) and I was not a fan of the McCann signing, but I did say I expected a slight uptick in his numbers this year. Time will tell. BTW, will someone tell McCann to hide his throwing hand when pitches are coming? I think it should be hidden even when guys are on base and if a pitch is in the dirt or a guy is stealing you expose it, but with nobody on, there is no excuse leaving it in the open. I said the same thing about Cervelli before he was lost to for an extended period of time on a foul tip.
A couple of other points on the last few games:
Leiter and Singleton had an interesting exchange when on a 2-0 pitch that was on the outer half of the plate was watched for strike one. Leiter (paraphrased) said, “I don’t get why a batter would let that go on 2-0, let her fly.” Singleton correctly responded, “I think he was looking for a specific zone to let her fly and that pitch was more of a pitchers pitch on the outside corner. However, then Singleton on the next pitch said,” like that pitch” referring to a breaking ball that was hittable and then Leiter correctly said, but that was a different speed pitch and that may not be what he was looking for. I found it interesting because they were each right and wrong at different times. (yeah, I know, I am odd, but this is also why I don’t listen to the announcers very much as a fast forward through games).
From what I heard, Gardner asked out of the AB where Drew came up and hot the Grand Slam, supposedly saying that after getting hit twice in the same spot (probably should wear a wrist guard) he was not the guy to be up in that spot. Glad he did the unselfish thing!
CC is mediocre now and especially with his own defensive shortcomings, I can only hope he gives us 6 innings of 3 run baseball.
The Yankees challenged Gardner’s bunt where he was thrown out at first base. I don’t think it should have been overturned, but if you ask me whether I thought he was safe I would say yes…but it was incredibly close. That being said, veterans of this blog know that I have always had an issue with the way 1st basemen prepare to receive a ball form either a catcher or pitcher on a ball in front of the plate. They all do what Davis did and that is have their feet on the base path between 1st and 2nd and their left foot on the bag so that they are facing the batter. I have written this many times and even explained it to people, but the fielders don’t stretch toward the throw when it is close and this was a great example. They lose 2 to 3 feet by not stretching and it can be the difference between out and safe. If you stand up with your feet in line with each other parallel and then reach out as far as you can you can only stretch your arm length (this is what Davis did and Tex does and most do). But now keep one foot on the bag and then stretch forward with one foot and you gain probably 2-3 feet. I know the throw is shorter from home, but Tex does the same thing and it has cost us an out before. One of the things I can’t explain.
A couple questionable moves, but in game 8 why would Petit lead off the 9th inning? I would have put ARod in the leadoff spot rather than the 2 out spot because of the OBP advantage. Again in the 9th Petit batted in game 9. When you are losing and Petit is batting in the 9th; you have some real issues; almost anyone else is a better option.
Finally, I don’t agree with the way Girardi rests players. Sure if you can rest a few innings here and there in blow outs that is fine, but do some of our guys really need a blow this early in the year? Not only that, if you are going to rest them… then rest them 100%. What I mean by that is if you are giving ARod a day off, give him a day off where he doesn’t get loose, and will not throw, swing or play. All he does his rest and get any ultrasound, ice or whatever it is; but he gets a full day off. If they have to prepare that they may be in the game by stretching throwing running etc… then you are defeating the purpose. Obviously, PT players will always have to be ready but your FT players should get full rest and that is a ton better than even getting one AB which still takes a toll on your body because of the prep (not the actual AB). In a pitchers example, it would be the equivalent of a reliever getting up every game to come into the game but never coming in. He could actually need a day off from 2 or 3 consecutive sessions where he was almost used. Bottom line, play the guys and giving them a full days rest would be healthier in my opinion. BTW, I heard the argument that tired guys are more injury prone…and while that is probably true, the Yankees have been pretty darn injured the past years so whatever we are doing is not working. Give a guy a complete day off and that is MUCH better than 2 or even 3 half days off…and you get more actual playing time out of your player.
3-6 is not a good start, but not too many players are playing at or above where one would expect them to be as well. No need to panic yet.