Thursday, April 16, 2015

Games 7-9

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.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Game 6

As I stated in my last blog, winning this game was as important as the 6th game of the year could be.  2 games back seems a heck of a lot better than 4 games back.  Plus, we had Tanaka going and seeing him pitch well would be nice.  Unfortunately, I didn't see him pitch well.  Forget the hours of blathering regarding whether he had the arm strength velocity and where he was pitching from the announcers.  The only part I agreed with them was you need to work all sides (including the top and the bottom) of the strike zone and showing some high heat is needed to make everything else look better.  My issue with Tanaka was more that he walked 3 guys in 5 innings.  he was trying to be too fine and I think needs to throw some more 4 seam fastballs just for another look and also to make everything else look better.  His slider was controlled well and splitter had downward movement but he wasn't able to get a lot of swing and misses because it was thrown too low (and didn't fool them enough.  It is still early in the year so he can be OK, but the walks were not good especially where and to whom they were given to.  BTW, Schilling made a comment about where his elbow was on "off speed pitches compared to his fastball," and I didn't agree at all with what Schilling was saying because I slowed it up and looked for it.  A batter can see a setup very easily and the release point well but anything behind the windup can't be seen and if there was something it was not blatant.  If anyone has any video where they showed this I would like to see it.

The offense woke up and Boston had some of the fielding issues we have had all year, but it was great to see ARod rip a base clearing double as well as show an excellent eye at the plate.  I know he is striking out but he is making pitchers work and I like his approach.  I don't expect his present .967 OPS but if he can give us anything above .800 that would be good.

I still can't believe how poor our defense has been.  Drew threw one wide of 2nd and Gregorius backed up on a grounder and then couldn't get the handle of the ball until it was too late.  It was listed as a FC and thus no error, but that is a terrible scoring decision, that was an error because he bobbled it and was incorrectly scored.

Last blog I meant to say that Gregorio (Petit) would be the guy that I expect to not be with the team too long and I wrote Gregorius incorrectly.  I have corrected it.  The yanks should have never brought Petit to the team...he isn't very good and his name is confusing...

Let's see if we can get in a groove and go on and win 13 of 20 games or something like that.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Game 5

I missed the 19 inning epic as I didn't have my DVR set for a non Yes network game.

1-4 is not a good start especially when they are against Toronto and Boston so Sundays game is a little important or as important as the 6th game of the season can be.  I would rather not be 4 games back with another loss; Tanaka needs to out dual Buchholz.

The part of the year that has surprised me the most so far is how poor our defense has been.  JR Murphy has two passed balls and throws one into CF on a horrible throw allowing a run to score.  ARod drops a throw at first base and I could care less if he hasn't played there...catch the ball.  Later on ARod barely came off the base on a throw that I could see happening if you are not comfortable at where to be on the base to ensure you stay in contact if you can (probably could have if he stepped up on the base).  but even Tex didn't know what he was doing the other day.  Headley, who has a good reputation for defense has been bad so far this year and Garrett Jones allowed 3 runs to score on what was a bad play in RF and one where he looked really slow.

I hate our 2nd base situation as I mentioned in my first blog.  Petit looks decent on the turn, but he can't hit and doesn't seem like a gem at 2nd base.  The fact he is 30 doesn't show much upside either, but maybe he is a late bloomer?  Doubtful.  I also don;t like that our two middle infielders are Gregorius and Gregorio; too confusing.  My guess is Gregorio won't be on the squad too long.

Last year Beltran was one of the huge disappointments so the hope was he would get back to closer to teh back of his baseball card; but he is off to a bad start.  headley needs to get going as well especially when his defense is so poor.

All the above said, it is REALLY early and a 1-4 run will not be the worst run we have all year (most likely)

I will feel better if we win Sunday; not only because it is Boston and not only to save us from being down 4 games, but I hope Tanaka pitches well; I think he will.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Game 3

Overall, I was not that impressed with CC.  I know the results say the same thing, but I was more concerned that the velocity was 88 most of the day on his fastball.  I know it was cold (so let's not get too crazy yet) so he may be 2 or maybe even 3 off, but for him it is huge because his change was consistently at 83 and 5 MPH is not enough of a difference especially when he did not have his downward fade at the end of the pitch.  If he threw 91 then 83 is right in line (still needs more sink though).  CC's slider was his best pitch last night if you ask me.  He also was a little unlucky, but at the end of the day he didn't get the job done.  If CC can't get his velocity up he is going to need to adjust his grip on his change and slow the pitch up a few MPH.

ARod hit a HR as he jumped all over a high 88 MPH fastball and then later in the game couldn't catch up to a 95 MPH (was way behind).  I think the good fastballs will be hard for Alex unless he is sitting only on it and he sells out to catch up to it.  I was impressed that he went from 1st to 3rd on a "double" into LF by Beltran that was not right down the line.  ARod is not slow now, even if he is not fast either.  It was good to see and also allowed Beltran to get his double.

After this 2nd and 3rd nobody out situation, the Yanks ran into the key point in the game.  Down 4-0, tex ripped a line drive right at the 3rd baseman.  If you had a youngster next to you this was a classic teaching moment because Beltran "froze on a line drive" and this allowed him to get back to 2nd without being doubled off.  If he took one step toward 3rd and immediately tried to get back he would have been out.  It was a very good running play, but one that should happen more often.

The next hitter was Headley and he was ahead 3-0 in the count but ended up taking the 3-0 for a strike and then swinging through a hittable pitch (on the outer 1/3 of the plate) and then watching a good changeup for strike 3.  After Chris Young popped out we blew a huge chance in the game.

A couple of other points.

Toronto got a run after an infield hit then a seeing eye ground ball some how avoided Petit's glove at 2nd base and Beltran threw a one hopper that deflected off the runner and CC (who is the laziest pitcher and never covers first) wasn't backing up 3rd base.  First, CC needs to get his head out of his lazy rear and second, Headley blew the throw because I have no idea why he was on the left field side of 3rd base waiting for the throw. You have to make sure you're in front of the runner (infield side) when the throw is coming from RF and thus it won't/can't hit the runner.  Throws from CF are much trickier for a 3rd baseman but from RF he was in the wrong spot (this was not mentioned on the broadcast?)

Losing 2 of 3 at home to Toronto isn't good, but the weather and the first few games of the season is hard to get too anxious over.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Game 2!

Man, very rough weather to play in.  The worst baseball weather; windy, cool and wet.  But, it made for a very enjoyable game to watch.

Because of the weather, I don't want to take too much out of the game; but here goes.

1st inning - Ellsbury walked and then got picked off, but I thought it was a balk.  Clearly there was movement before the throw to first, but the umps missed it.  BTW, I thought the ump behind home plate did a great job; very consistent.  ARod K'd on a questionable pitch, but he might have been right and that was my only complaint...great job)

Pineda started out very well in full control even breaking out a beautiful 2 seamer that he turned over that moved into a righty.  It was such a strange pitch that Ken Singleton asked what it was.  It wasn't his change as it came in at 90 but it was a fastball he took a little off of.  But, that is something Pineda can do.  He has a good feel on how to pitch.  He cut a few into lefties, he threw a 4 seam fastball and then he threw his slider.  As the game went on his breaking stuff was just spinning (no break) and that caused him to use the changeup which he used masterfully getting two huge k's back to back keeping the Yankees in the game.  Because it was cold nobody was throwing high 90's, but Pineda was throwing mostly 91 and with guys on base sometimes less.

After a leadoff double by Tex (who batted righty against the righty knuckleballer) McCann did a poor job not moving the runner over.  Headley did what McCann needed to do (at the minimum), but now with 2 outs that didn't help much (although with a knuckleballer it does put more pressure on the catcher). Unfortunately, ARod K'd on the same pitch he took for ball 3.

In the 3rd, the Jays had a chance to break it open again with 1 run in and 1st and 2nd nobody out but they decided not to bunt Reyes.  I think this was the turning point of the game.  A fast guy at the plate and a sac that moves two bases is so logical, but instead Reyes made an unproductive out and Pineda used his changeups to K Martin and Bautista.  That was the key to the game if you ask me...poor managing by Gibbons.

There was an odd play where Tex jumped for a ball and it deflected off of his glove (not Tex's fault) that I would have liked to see Drew catch.  He got a lot of glove on it but couldn’t line it up and it cost us a run because it would have been an easy DP.  Good pitching kept us in it.

In the 6th Gardner's speed saved at least one run with a nice running catch.

Chris Martin (he is 28 and has 16 innings in the majors with Colorado) came in to pitch the 7th for us and he did a really nice job.  He was impressive in that he worked both sides of the plate showing a nice cutter going into a lefty but also being able to run the fastball into righties.  I don’t remember seeing a breaking ball, but his control and movement were very good.

Headley made a nice heads up play getting into scoring position on a fly to LF by ARod, but we stranded him.

Betances came in for the 8th but his control was off walking two guys.  McCann made a terrible play trying to throw behind the runner for a few reasons.  The pitch was a bad one and I give McCann credit for picking it clean, but he was lucky he did pick it clean (a run would have scored if it got by him.  I assume he felt the runner would take too much of a lead, but he threw low to Tex (for the 2nd time and Tex didn't block the ball.  I write it that way because the previous low throw by McCann had Tex lift up his glove to scoop it and I thought Tex got a little lucky as his entire goal is to block the ball from going into RF and left the "5 hole" open but the ball came up so he was a little lucky.  This time he did the same thing and lifted the glove and the ball went under into RF for a run.  Tex always lifts his glove high to make it look spectacular and I wish he would just make the play (which I think he only does about average compared to others).  To be fair, Tex made a good scoop to end the game and did get another one earlier as well.

Into the bottom of the 8th down 3-1.  After a bloop leadoff double from Chris Young (who pinch hit for Didi), we mount our comeback with a line bullet single by Ellsbury (on base every time tonight) and then a HBP, a walk, another HBP and then Headley hit a soft line one hopper off the pitcher that went toward SS and somehow Reyes couldn’t corral it either and it went by him scoring 2 runs and giving us our first lead of the game (and the year).

Miller came in for the first save opportunity post the genius maker and in terrible conditions looked excellent.  His fastball was spotted perfectly and his sharp slurve was very effective with nobody getting a solid look or piece of it. Miller threw 10 pitches, 8 for strikes, got 1 K and the rest was clean!

That was enjoyable!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Opening Day!

Hello Yankee fans!  I hope this email/blog reaches you all safely

I will review the entire more in depth as we move forward but I do want to say while this team is flawed we have a better team than last year...and that team won 84 games, even if they probably should have been closer to .500.   I see many people picking the Yankee for last place in the division and I don't see that at all; the pitching and defense is too good.  Of course our offense will really struggle unless we get good performances from every question mark...and there are a lot.  I do see Beltran playing much better offensively, I think ARod will be a much better DH than we put out there last year and I would think Ellsbury should be a little better.   I feel that Headley will give us solid 3rd base production (probably around .760 OPS) and McCann will at least do what he did last year (considering it was his worst year in the majors at a .692 OPS) and I could see an increase in his production as well.  These are all pluses so far.  I hate our 2nd base situation, but it is virtually impossible for Drew to be worse than last year...right?  We lose a lot oat 2nd though as Prado  did well when he came over.  Gregorius may not hit like Jeter, but honestly I would be disappointed if he didn't.  Last year Didi had an OPS of .653, Jeter had an OPS of .617.  Defensively he is a big upgrade over Jeter and that should be an overall plus.  That leaves us with Tex.  His "stubborness" gives me no reason to see a big uptick, but if you look at his career, at 34 he should not be done.  His OPS was .807 in 2012 and 2013 he barely played and was injured so I won't count that.  Last year he had an OPS of .711.  He shouldn't be much worse than that and could be better.  Gardner, should give us an OPS around .750 with some SB help.  I don't know what happened to the guy who averaged 48 SB's with only being caught 11 times on 2010 and 2011, but he still is a positive on the bases stealing 21 and being caught 5 times last year, so that adds to his OPS.

So the weak offense should be better this year IMO.

Our pitching could be very good.  We will miss the genius Maker coming out of the pen (and no I won't change the blog least for awhile), but we have a lot of arms and the best starting team we have had in some time.  of course, we need to stay healthy but that is very hard to predict.   I don't understand all this talk about Tanaka though and his velocity may be down?  Not sure what that is about, but his control was not great today and I didn't think his breaking pitches were sharp.

Let's use that to transition into the game...

Like I said before, I didn't see Tanaka being sharp with his command.  His pitches were inconsistent and then the game got out of hand when he walked the number 9 hitter with nobody out and a guy on first base (being held there by an excellent play by Gardner.  When Reyes came up with 1st and 2nd and nobody out it was an obvious bunt situation but the Yankees were not smooth on their defense as Headley (while playing in) didn't charge immediately or at full throttle and Tanaka almost got to it screening Headley and he threw a little wide of 1st for an error.  This opened up the flood gates , especially after Tanaka through the wrong pitch in a bad location to Encarcion.  Going back to the wild throw by Headley...I think Tex made a terrible play and should have at the minimum knocked the ball down and with a very good play could have scooped it for an out.  his problem was he missed teh base when he went to the bag and actually had his right foot on the bag instead of against it and then never strode/stretched toward the throw.  it was as if he stretched to soon and therefore could not move for the ball.  In actuality he just fell over and did a very poor job.

The only other comments on this bad start to the year were that ARod looked good at the plate and what the heck was Didi thinking in the 8th inning with 2 guys on and 2 outs getting caught stealing 3rd base?  I have no idea if Girardi had any comments in the post game, but if there was ever a don;t steal sign, this was it.  It was a horrible play and what made it worse was it was right after a pitching change so we had time to discuss any strategy.  FWIW, it was not a double steal (runner on 1st didn't go) so I would assume Didi went on his own.  Ugh.!

Considering Toronto is the team most people think will win the division, it would be good to start out the year taking them, but it is a long year as we know.

If we can stay in the race, we could add a 2nd baseman to help us later in the year...or maybe Drew can actually recreate his career .747 OPS.   For me, I am interested in a lot of the pitchers and also to see if Didi can develop into a .700+ OPS guy with excellent defense and I am intrigued to see how ARod does (I am not a hater like most).  Headley also seems like a good guy so I am glad he is on the team.  Oh, one last thing, it was good to see McCann try and bunt when the heavy shift was on.  The next time up they brought the shift back some and on the pitch they moved toward third so it is important to do that and he will get some easy hits that way (ARE YOU WATCHING TEX!)

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Genius Maker 7-12-14

I am am finally in my new home and getting settled in so the last few days I have watched a little more of the Yankees.  Outside of being too busy to watch and post in depth, this Yankee team isn't all that exciting and the moves the Yankees have made have not been very good.  That being said, I felt that today's game was an important one if the Yankees have any hope.  They really need to win the division games.  Of course, even if we can somehow win the division, the A's, Detroit and Angels are far more talented.  This is not a reason to stop trying, but it is a reason to not mortgage ANY future for present deals.

As for today's game.  I was annoyed when Jeter got thrown out early in the game when he was on 1st and 2 outs and Tex doubled.  Jeter running to 2nd turned and watched to see if the ball was fair and ended up just barely getting thrown out at home to end the inning.  He also fixed his helmet while running which might have slowed him a tiny bit as well.  But, why isn't he just off with 2 strikes, why stop and watch the ball?  That is very poor on his part.

Ichiro came up with 1st and 2nd and nobody out; if the game is close he should be bunting almost every time in that spot; not sure why he isn't?

As stated numerous times our infield defense is atrocious; Jeter didn't make a play last night that cost us that game and today Johnson made a terrible play that didn't cost us.  tex isn't even playing as well as normal at first base.

It is pretty clear that since year 1 of Girardi's hiring of our terrible 3rd base coach I have been all over him, but today we had two guys thrown out at home (I had no issue sending Jeter, but sending Ellsbury was absurd) and we lead the league with 16 guys thrown out at home this year...16!  Robby Thompson is a terrible 3rd base coach and Girardi should be fired for keeping him all these years; seriously.

I would also can our conditioning coach...whatever we are doing isn't working; crazy how many injuries again , especially with the pitching staff.  Not sure who is to blame, but the fact that it has been going one for a few years is enough of a trend for me.

On a positive note, Green looked great today and has been good in his 3 major league starts.  he didn't start the year well, but he has good command of a curve and a very good slider against righties and a fastball that he can turn over to sink at 92-94 and he can throw a 4 seamer when he wants to throw a little harder.  very impressive; hopefully he can stay sharp.

I won't be able to write as often but I will pop in from time to time.  Hope everyone is enjoying their summer!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Yankees and Pineda should have been much smarter about using pine tar or whatever substance Pineda wanted to use.  Even the coach of Boston said before the game I would hope he is more discreet about it.  After what happened last time with the same team, it was just stupid to do what they did.  The announcers (which I normally don't normally hear too much of the way I watch) were spot on in their comments.  It makes sense to have a legal substance for all pitchers to have grip.  They have a rosin bag for a reason when it is hot, so why not something that helps when it is cold?  Most pitchers do something in the cold to help with grip, but Pineda and the Yankees were just thumbing their noses at the rules and doing so against the same team they just had an issue with...

As for the game, I was disappointed that Lackey looked very good.  His slider was very good as usual, but he had great run on his fastball and was spotting pitches well.  Pineda was not as bad as it looked but credit Boston hitters for good AB's.  After Pineda started out throwing a consistent 93 in his early starts he has been consistently at 91 of late but getting it up there at 93 when he wanted a little more.  He has good movement though and his off speed pitches move as well.  I would like his changeup a little slower, but I like the way the Yankee pitchers are taking something off their fastballs at times and then bringing it harder when needed.  Tanaka did a great job of that the other night having a range of 91-95 on his fastball and it looked to me that there was a great plan of when to mix it up.  Of course, his breaking ball and fork ball were excellent and I was thrilled to see that.  I thought he was the great the other night!

Nova probably getting Tommy John surgery is a big blow; it is amazing how a guy is throwing and then shakes his arm and the next thing you know he needs Tommy John surgery. I shake my arm like that after every throw when I play softball...

A few other comments:

Jeter's defense has really been ugly.  He hurt Nova by messing up a fairly easy play up the middle on a ball that did have a lot of spin but he should have fielded the ball very close to the last hop to avoid the spin. In fact, on that play his first step was toward 3rd which made it even worse.   Then later on a routine grounder he threw it in the dirt and Tex couldn't scoop it.  Tex has played very poorly in the field this year as well.  In fact the Yankee defense has been pretty poor.  Even Gardner struggled yesterday in RF, but that does take some getting used to as the spin goes the opposite way and Gardner misjudged the ball down the line; even if he was afraid of the wall; he should have gone full speed and slid.

A bunch of nights ago, Ichiro was thrown out stealing on a play he beat the throw but ended up being tagged out because he has to have the worst slide of any very good base stealer in the history of the game.  He literally digs his front foot into the ground and it slows him up a lot, let alone the possible injury risk if he digs in too hard.  Next time you watch him steal, you will see a player that slows himself up sliding more than any player I have ever seen.  It is amazing he has stolen 473 bases with a success rate of 82%; if he knew how to slide I bet it would be closer to 90%.  That being said, he has played far better than we could have hoped so far and I hope he keeps it up (I doubt it though).  The crazy thing is he is hitting lefties at a .915 OPS and righties at .722.

McCann has started to go the other way with some power and that is very good to see.  I like that he is adjusting to the shift...take note Mark Teixeira!  I hate that mark says that he would not consider laying down a bunt or going away from his strength; I think it is absurd.  It doesn't mean he should change his entire approach, but what it means is if you get a fastball out over the plate or you wait on an outside breaking pitch you can serve it into LF and take a hit.  or lay a bunt down once in awhile and take the easy base?  The fact Tex has 1 extra base hit and has a pathetic .555 OPS makes you wonder why he is being so stubborn?  He will hit better regardless if he listens to me, but why not maximize your chances?

Kelly Johnson has done a nice job at the plate for us getting some power and being able to hit both ways so far (a little better against righties).

I am not sure how much longer we will keep the Brian Roberts experiment going?  He should not be playing against righties as I thought he was going to platoon with Johnson when we got him...that probably should still happen.  Of course, that is assuming Solarte can keep it up.  I can't get a good read on Solarte because he is such a free swinger.  Usually, that will lead to lower OPS based on not walking and getting himself out too much, but he has shown a good ability to make contact.  He appears to be much better from the left side of the plate than the right as his swing is quicker to the ball.  I just looked up his numbers and Solarte has an OPS of 1.076 against righties and .577 against lefties; I didn't realize there was such a large discrepancy, but I do like his swing and approach from the left side a lot more.

Scott Sizemore will probably platoon against lefties as he looks good so far.  I think he has had some tough AB's, meaning the pitchers have made good pitches against him and so far in only 8 AB's against lefties he has 4 hits (2 doubles).

Let's get this last game against Boston!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Before I get into last night's game and then a more thorough view of the team to date, I was looking through this site and down the right side of the page.  I was looking at my archive of posts and noticed that if I were a ball player the trend would be that peaked in 2010.  My posts started low in 08 and then increased to 29 in 09 until my peak of 2010 where I had 156 and then down hill to 111, 91 and only 40 last year. The way this year started and I am in the process of moving (only around the corner), I may need to work to get to 40...hopefully I can have a bounce back year!

Last night's game (Sunday):  Nuno did a nice job stepping in and mixing things up and seemed more comfortable starting than in relief where he might not "pitch" as much as throw strikes.  His stuff is not great, but yesterday he did the job for us.  In a 1-0 game I was surprised Girardi took Phelps out after only 1.1 innings and he had just struck out Myers to lead off the inning?   He wanted Thornton to face a lefty (Loney),  but when your starter is out after 5 you need to get some length out of someone who is looking decent.  Unless it is a key situation you should not be matching up so much in a tight game with 8 more outs to go; because it could be a lot more outs and in this case it was as it went into extra innings.

Speaking the obvious, our defense in the infield is pretty bad.  The one guy you expected to be your best, Tex, has been bad with 3 errors in limited time.  Even Dean Anna, who has been very good defensively blew one yesterday.  Roberts, who has been awful at the plate and weak defensively, had a poor call error against him as he clearly caught the ball on the attempted DP and then moved the ball toward his throwing hand and lost the ball in the exchange.  I am not sure why Girardi didn't review it as I thought it was clear?  It ended up costing us as we would have been out of the inning with no damage, but instead they tied the score.

Staying on defense; Jeter's lack of range has been extremely evident all year as many times I was very surprised he didn't get to a ball.  In this same 7th inning a rocket was hit to his right (in the hole) and Jeter was only able to dive similar to what a 3rd baseman would do on a rocket shot, but if Jeter could have taken a half or a full step he would have made the play.  I looked at the play in slow mo and other player did take a step; the reaction is just not there for Jeter.

I am glad to see Girardi not be afraid of taking Jeter out and in this game he took Jeter out after a leadoff single in the 11th to use Ichiro as a pinch runner.  It didn't work as Ichiro got thrown out and then Anna ended up batting in a key spot (not the way you would draw it up), but Anna did come through with the key AB in the game working a walk in a good 8 pitch AB where Anna was down 1-2 before working the count back and fouling off pitches before he held up on a breaking ball away.  This forced in the go ahead run after Maddon intentionally walked Ellsbury to load up the bases.  Maddon is not afraid to go the unorthodox way and I think he is an excellent manager.  I think he turned the game around in this series when the Yanks were up 4-0 and had a threat going when Jeter stepped to the plate in the 4th inning.  He decided to make a move early because this was the one opportunity to try and stop the bleeding and keep the game in check.  He yanked his pitcher early and brought in a righty to face Jeter...he got Jeter out and then Tampa came back and ended up blowing us out.  That was a key point in the game and Maddon knew it.

Two quick things and I will go through the players later tonight.  I hope Nova will be fine.  His stuff is good, but he just needs to get it under control as he hung far too many pitches, but give Tampa credit as they took advantage when he made a mistake.  I am very interested to see Pineda pitch again.  His first game I commented on him throwing a consistent 93 and getting up to 95.  This last outing he started about the same and then the rest of the game he was at 90.  I am not sure if anyone else said anything as he was very effective, but it was clear his velocity dropped a lot.  he was getting a lot of movement and that is probably better, but still showing the 93+ MPH makes the other pitches that much better.  He has done a great job of throwing strikes, walking only 3 batters in 18 innings.  I am interested to see how his velocity is is possible the cold weather does impact this, but when he started at one speed and then it changed a lot I have concerns.  Like I said though, he can still be effective changing speeds, having good movement and hitting spots without walking many guys; and he has done that so far.

Hey, we are in 1st place!