Very tough game last night and one that the Yanks should feel very good about winning. Granderson's 2 run homer was huge as he came up big in a game that looked like the Yanks would lose 2-1 and waste a good outing by Vazquez and a lot was caused by the umps taking them out of two rallies with bad calls.
First, right before the homer Posada had a great AB working back from an 0-2 hole and one where he thought strike 2 was a ball (it was close). He let go some very good pitches by Westbrook (who really threw well) and worked the count full. When Westbrook threw a strike away, Posada drilled it between 3rd and short with a very nice swing. Posada has really been hitting some hard balls over the past few weeks, including a deep line drive to CF that was caught and just missing a 3 run homer in the 9th that he hit to the wall...but I get ahead of myself.
At the end of 4 innings, each team had 1 hit and they were homers (Hafner and Swish). However, the Yankees got a very bad break when Texiera was doubled up on a sinking line drive by ARod that was misplayed by the left fielder and he trapped the ball. Tex who was on his way to 2nd got a good look as the ball bounced up into Crowe's bare hand off the ground and just beat Crowe's throw to 2nd. However, the ump ruled he caught the ball and tagged Tex out. I watched the play a few times and I am sure that the ball bounced on the ground and up but I know at least one die hard Yankee fan that felt the glove was under the ball when it hit the ground. Regardless, the ump called ARod out and had to make a call and Tex got doubled off. This was big because instead of 1st and 2nd with one out and 3 straight guys getting a hit or walk, the inning was over.
In the top of the 5th, Posada worked a walk on a 3-2 count and up stepped Granderson who ripped a shot that just missed a homer, Choo made a nice play off the wall and threw a strike to 2nd base to nail Granderson. However, the ump blew this call as well as Granderson was in before the tag. Granderson should have questioned the call in my opinion, but he just walked off the field. Instead of 2nd and 3rd and 1 out there was Posada on 3rd with 2 outs. Cano got out. Huge call!
In the 6th Vazquez allowed his 2nd run on a 2 out double knocking in a run. But the 7th was where Javy needed to show some grit. His pitch count was below 100, but he was not as sharp as earlier and after allowing his 3rd double in 3 innings, he threw a wild pitch and then walked Crowe. So it is 1st and 3rd with 2 outs and the Yanks trailing 2-1. Huge moment and Vazquez got Donald to ground out and end the threat. Good job by Javy there.
In the top of the 8th was when Posada led off with a single and Granderson hit the huge 2 run homer. One part that I was very annoyed with was Girardi not pinch running for Posada. Here it is the 8th inning and you are down by a run, how is it possible you let your slowest runner stay in the game on 1st base? Only after a ball in the dirt that was blocked by the catcher did the announcers even make a comment about it (I guess they thought about it when Posada didn't take 2nd base?) I think it was a terrible non decision by Girardi that worked out because Granderson homered anyway. Also, Posada did get up with 2 outs in the 9th and just missed a 3 run homer that was caught at the wall. So one could make a case that Posada had a chance to get up again, but I don't buy it and I think it was a terrible decision that win or lose I need to criticize. Even bad moves work out sometimes.
I was still on Girardi for allowing Vazquez to come out for the 8th inning. I know his pitch count was not too high (right around 100), but I thought he let it all out to get the out in the 7th inning and he had allowed a double in 3 straight innings. I recognize Girardi didn't have faith in Joba, but I did not want Javy back out there. After falling behind 3-0 and then aiming 2 strikes (the 3-0 pitch was ball 4) Javy walked the guy on a 3-2 count anyway. I was scared that Girardi was going to leave him in again, but after Javy threw to first base, Girardi called on Robertson who did a great job inducing a ground ball DP where Cano made a fantastic turn on a tough throw from Jeter. Cano had to reach across his body (toward CF) and then turn and fire to 1st base...which he did perfectly. Cano's defense has been outstanding! Girardi then went to Logan against the lefty and while he hung one slider, threw very hard (hit 97 once and 95 consistently), and struck out Choo! Great job guys. BTW, Robertson did a good job by throwing strikes and keeping the runner close because Cleveland could have bunted and they tried a hit and run; keeping the runner close was important (look at that Joba).
This led to the Genius Maker coming in with only one 1 run to spare. The first batter reached on a broken bat single up the middle...right away Cleveland is in business. Hafner weakly nubbed one to Rivera who had only one play at 1st. So the tying run is at 2nd with one out. Rivera breaks a bat for a weak grounder to 3rd and fires a 95 MPH heater in on the hands of LaPorta who tamely grounds to Cano to end the game! So Rivera faces 4 batters and breaks 2 bats and gets 2 other weak grounders...The Genius Maker is having his best statistical year at the age of 40!
two quick notes:
Cervelli has been anemic at the plate of late. After starting hot his OPS in June and July has been about .540 combined. I think he is closer to the .540 than he is to the .788 he had over the 1st 2 months. Honestly, he reminds me of Girardi, a guy who will give you about a .660 OPS, call a good game and block balls well. I think Cervelli throws a little better than Girardi did, but Cervelli might not be as accurate. BTW, Cervelli has an OPS of .810 against lefties and an OPS of .598 against righties. Girardi should be playing Cervelli against lefties a little more and benching him against righties. I understand we want to give Posada rest, but if you have some choices I would use that as my barometer.
Joba - I have reached the point with Joba where I think it would do him well to spend a few weeks in the minors where he can work out some of his flaws in his delivery and give him a wake up call. Joba has the stuff to be successful, but he simply can't duplicate his delivery on a consistent basis and it is causing him to be inconsistent with his location and his velocity. I mean, how many guys can throw from 92 - 97 with their fastball? This would be a great time as he would be able to hopefully right himself in only 3 weeks and get back to help us for the stretch run. Logan went down and since coming back has been much more consistent (in fact, I am starting to get confidence in the guy and he is getting lefties out). I defended Joba, but it is time to do what is right for him for the long term; he can't get the work in he needs at the major league level.
Garza pitched a no hitter for TB and Boston won.