Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Genius Maker #87

Tough loss for the Yanks after jumping up 2-0 in the first inning...the bats did nothing the rest of the game, although the ump was very bad behind the plate (I actually reviewed the many calls I had major issues with and they were all clearly balls that were called strikes (MLB allows this, but don't always take their word on what type of pitch because it has trouble distinguishing between cutters and fastballs - the HR by Joyce was called a cutter and it clearly was not). What was aggravating to me was that after throwing a curve in the dirt he had Joyce set up for another one as he was not seeing it well and instead Posada and Hughes tried to go inside and while the pitch was up it tailed over the plate...THEY SHOULD HAVE THROWN ANOTHER CURVE! The fact the batter was all over the high fastball shows you how wrong the pitch selection was.

The offense did a bad job though...

Onto the trades. the Yankees got Austin Kearns...I have NO idea why. This is not what they need. He is a righty who actually hits righties a little better. Now unless they see something that they know they can make a 30 year old better, he will not be helpful. His OPS the last 2 years was .630 and again he is better against righties (not what we need to pinch hit for Granderson (or even Gardner possibly). This year his OPS is at least respectable at .764, but that is not what they need, they need a guy who is a lefty killer.

It is not confirmed but it seems like the Yanks also got Lance Berkman. I like this a lot more as Berkman is a guy who could DH against righties all the time. He could be used against lefties but the Yanks would be better off DH'ing Thames. Berkman is at least 200 points higher against righties (where he should be really good). But once again, the Yanks have failed to realize that Granderson should not play against lefties...Gardner should be the every day CF'r and LF should be a platoon. Thames should play against every lefty, but it would be a lot better to DH him and have a left fielder who could hit lefties.

Berkman good, Kearns not good!

I would expect Miranda would be the person sent down because Berkman does everything Miranda can do...but better.

Kearns? Not sure where he should be, I imagine he will be on the bench and maybe start once in awhile in LF? I am not sure who gets cut for him?

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Genius Maker #86

Good to see a few blow outs to give us a few easier wins!

The other day (I need to comment) on a really good tag at SS from Jeter on a high throw from Cervelli. I am usually very critical of how slow Jeter tags or his lack of quickness around the bag, but on the high throw he reached up and then quickly brought the ball all the way down to get the tag on the runner and did so in a way he usually doesn't...and it was very well done!

I also wanted to point out how quickly Cano doubled off a guy at 1st base on a line drive to him where he fired to get the guy before he could get back. Of course, last night he did the same exact thing again...So answer this question, is Cano's offense or defense the best part of his game?

Burnett's curve on Wednesday was as good as we have seen it in awhile. Great bite and that was the difference in him putting up zeros because he let the first runner on base it seemed like every inning; he now has over 11 innings of scoreless ball.

Last night game had some frustration early (until we put up a touchdown in the 7th inning). Cabrera for the Indians got hit by Moseley on a pitch that looked to be over the plate. What made it worse was Cabrera stuck his elbow out. The umps need to use the rule and not award for 1st base on some HBP's... A different frustration happened in the 2nd inning. The Cleveland pitcher was struggling with control and walked ARod, then Cano worked a walk then Swisher flew out followed by another walk by Gardner. So the pitcher has now wlaked teh bases loaded...and Cervelli is coming to the plate. What would your approach be?...especially when you are Cervelli who can't hit righties and have no power? You have to at least take a pitch...right? Nope, he swings at the first pitch and weakly hits back to the pitcher for the start of a 1-6-3 DP to end the inning. Terrible!

In the 5th inning we caught a little break as we had 1st and 3rd with one out and Cano ripped a ball to the 1st baseman in a tailor made 3-6-3 DP, but instead they checked the runner on 3rd and just got Cano at 1st base. this gave us 2nd and 3rd with 2 outs, but unfortunately, Swisher could not take advantage of this as he flied out. BTW, not really sure why Swisher would be dropped in the lineup to 6th and move up Granderson to 2nd? The guy that should be lowered is Jeter as he is one of the weaker hitters in our lineup - Jeter did give us a good 2 out hit in the 6th to give us a 2-1 lead after Gardner worked a great walk (about 9 pitches) and stole 2nd base.

As for trades, Oswalt going to the Phillies will help them and all I can say is that I hope we see him in the World Series...although I do think the Phillies, when healthy, are the best team in the NL. We shall see if any more deals get done...I don't feel pressed to make any deals, but I would always keep an eye on what is out there.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Genius Maker #85

A lot of trade rumors flying around. I am in favor of bringing up Montero and letting the guy be our DH most of the time and emergency 3rd catcher.

With Cliff Lee throwing 9 shutout innings and since being traded to Texas walking 1 guy (non intentionally) and striking out 25 guys, I wanted to take a better look at Justin Smoak; the guy Seattle chose instead of Montero. You know what is amazing is that Smoak was not even all that great in the minors. He will be 24 in December so he isn't a real young guy and in his 303 AAA AB's his OPS is only .786! He is 3-4 years older than Montero. Hard to understand how a catcher (even a poor fielding one)who is 3+ years younger and a much better hitting prospect doesn't have more interest than a weaker hitting 1st baseman who as of now has an OPS of .469 with 1 walk and 22 K's for Seattle. Funny, his line is similar to Cliff Lee's for walks and K's. That is what you get for pulling the plug on a trade with the Yanks at the last second Seattle!

The Genius Maker #84

This was a very poorly played game by the Yankees. Pretty much only Cano's double and the great Gardner throw home throwing out a runner were the only memorable points. However, theses few good moments were overshadowed by some very poor play. Cano gets called for leaving the bag at 2nd too soon on a double play (he did leave a bit early but this is rarely called) and then to compound the stuation, the guy at 1st base was just safe, but he was less safe than Tex was the other night. Cervelli drops the tag at home plate that was perhaps the deciding play in the game and the Yankees offense was pretty offensive. I am not looking to take anything away from the kid who pitched against us, but it wasn't like his stuff was very sharp or overpowering and he left plenty of hittable pitches over the plate for us but we simply didn't take advantage and hit well. One of those days where the hitters just didn't get it done.

CC pitched a good ball game, but the defense let him down. I love CC as a pitcher and there he was throwing 98 on his 123rd and final pitch of the night...We played a bad game outside of CC.

Why wasn't Cervelli pinch hit for in the 8th inning with Posada?

BTW, on the Cano play Jeter should have delivered the ball faster to Cano and not only would the runner on 2nd been out, but I think we would have turned the DP. Those are the subtle difference between turning it or not.

One other subtle part of the game were the ARod AB's. He took the 1st pitch 3 times and all 3 times the pithes were grooved (one was a slider). the one time he swung at the first pitch it was a breaking ball that was low and he reached for it. Not sure if he guesses on the first pitch, but he was 0-4 on the first pitch and 0-4 in his AB's.

Meanwhile TB turned a very tough and close DP with the bases loaded against Cabrera to end the game...Hopefully Boston will lose.

Update: Boston won and not sure if you are aware but Carl Pavano (yes, the same waste of 3 years Carl Pavano) has won 8 straight decisions for Minnesota and has an ERA of 3.21 to go along with 5 complete games! That makes me sick. He never had overpowering stuff, but when he was on (never for the Yanks), he had very good movement and didn't walk many guys. This year he has allowed only 22 walks in 148.2 innings. He pitches against TB in his next start (right after we get through with them), so lets see if he can help us out on Monday.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Genius Maker #83

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.

Monday, July 26, 2010

The Genius Maker #82 (pre game)

The Yanks announced that Mitre will be pulled from the rotation so that Moseley gets the starts. I don't get why the Yanks make this move aftre only one start? Why didn't they just start Moseley the first time if they really felt Mitre wasn't ready? This is similar to the lack of planning they have had with Joba...This stuff concerns me. Hopefully Moseley will pitch well, but it doesn't make sense to me about Mitre.

There have been a lot of trade rumors. First Haren (a good pitcher) went to the Angels in a good trade for teh Angels. The Yanks supposedly offered Montero for Soria (the KC closer). I would do that straight up but in general the Yanks are better off doing what they did with CC...sign him as a free agent. The Yanks are at their best when they have studs they pay for via free agency and they have an infusion of young and less expensive talent. This is the best formula for producing a winner when you have the advantage of spending more than others. Next year the Yanks should go out and pay for Lee and allow some of the young pitching to get better and the young catching as well. The Yankees may also be in the market for an OF'r or a SS. Of course, dealing with Jeter will be the toughest the Yanks have to face. The poster child for all baseball players to aspire to and a true Yankee will need to be paid for his services, but his defense is weak and his offense has been poor as well (this year). While I expect his offense to be a little better than it has been this year, he doesn't have a position where is offense makes sense. When the Yanks got ARod I had suggested moving Jeter to CF as he tracks balls great. The only place I could see him is as a platoon player in a corner OF spot (His OPS against lefties this year is .912 and righties it is .632...3 prior years it is 100 points higher against lefties). This will be interesting...

Sunday, July 25, 2010

The Genius Maker #81

Today's win gave us 3 out of 4 against KC which seems about right...I am concerned about Hughes though. While he didn't walk anyone, he threw some VERY hittable pitches. He also was throwing mostly 92 all day which is not good enough. When he is throwing 94-95 and cutting the ball at 91 it is FAR better than 92 and the cutter at 88. That being said, the other concern is that he left pitches over the middle of the plate all day. He needs to use his cutter more when he is throwing so slow. For perspective, O'Sullivan was pitching against us and he is a change up and curve ball guy and his fastball gets up to 92...that is not fast enough for Hughes. Outside of getting away with grooved pitches, Hughes was very unlucky that the ump made one of the worst calls I have seen on a SB; calling a guy who was out by a long shot at 2nd safe. I have no idea what the ump was watching, but Jeter got the glove down and put it down in front of the bag and the runner slid right into it. Jeter got up and tossed the ball to Cano to throw it around and was shocked the ump called him safe. Horrible call by the ump that got exacerbated when the next batter (Posednik) hit a opposite field ball that hit low off the fair pole for a 2 run homer.

Back to Hughes (and Joba) I am not sure what is going on with our young guys, but whatever the Yanks are doing is NOT working. Both are young guys who used to throw 97-98 and 95 and are now throwing a good 3 MPH less than expected. Just as bad, their location has not been good. Some Yankee fans have made the assumption that Hughes will go to the pen to solidify the 8th inning??? First, do they forget that last year Hughes was not helpful in the postseason? In fact, Joba was better, plus, Hughes should stay in the rotation anyway as the last thing we want to do is mess with him anymore.

Hughes' ERA in his last 7 starts is 6.48. This isn't about a tired arm, he is not throwing hard and not spotting hhis pitches well. He is 4-2 in those starts which also shows you why wins and losses for a starting pitcher are really more of a function of run support and why a 20 game winner is more about the run support as well. Example: Felix Hernandez for Seattle has started 21 games, is leading the league in innings pitched and has a 2.75 ERA; his record is 7-6.

A couple blogs ago I mentioned Granderson starting to hit the ball better even though he didn't have much to show for it...well today he hit 2 homers and worked a walk...let's hope this continues; I expect it will.

Earlier in the game, Pena scored on a double from Jeter (who is centering the ball a little better as well) and did that reaching the hand slide at home plate. Not only could someone hurt their hand, Pena made a play where if he slid he would have knocked over the catcher before the ball arrived a lot closer. Somebody on the Yanks better teach this team how to deal with home plate, because in a big spot we may get called out on a play that if a normal hard straight slide was used we would be safe.

This game was a close game until the Yanks broke it open with a 1 run in the 6th and 7th and then a 5 spot in the 8th.

Yanks have 4 against Cle and the Fri-Sun against TB followed by 3 against Tor and Fri-Mon against Boston.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Genius Maker 80

I was afraid that Mitre didn’t match up well against KC, but I didn’t think it would be that bad. Great job by Tex keeping us in the game with 2 dingers and also Moseley who pitched 4.2 innings of shutout ball. We had the makings of a great comeback when we had 2 guys on with 2 outs in the 9th and Tex was up looking for his 3rd homer and a tie game, but he grounded out on a very close play. In watching it again, it was VERY close, but I thought he was safe and at worst it was a tie. That was a huge shame because if the ump gave us the call Arod would have been up down by 3 and the bases loaded looking for his 600h HR; talk about an exciting AB…but it was not to be.

The Genius Maker #79

The game was over in the 1st inning when Cano ripped a neck high fastball the opposite way into the gap clearing the loaded bases...

Congratulations to Jorge Posada who is now the 12th Yankee to reach 1000 RBI's and I believe only the 5th catcher in history. Posada has been a great player and an under appreciated one through the Yankee titles, but I have always been a fan and one of the places we held an advantage over other teams was getting such great hitting from the catchers position. In fact, Posada should have been starting a few years earlier in his career as he was much better than Girardi...Posada also has received more bad press regarding his defense than he has deserved over the years. He always called a good game and threw extremely well. Obviously, the shortcomings in his game are becoming more pronounced now, but we are still a better team when he is behind the plate and we have a good DH; granted I know his days behind the plate must be limited and soon his poor defense will be too much of a liability to support him there...I just think he can finish off this year as the main guy...forgetting 2 nights ago.

Burnett pitched fairly well and while the outcome was good, his lack of command of his curveball will not allow him to put up zeros in the future. I also would like to see his velocity get back up to 95+ so that his change at 87 is a difference.

Nice job by Gaudin and Albaladejo closing out the game only allowing one run over the final 4 innings. I had mentioned bring up up Albie and he has looked pretty good this year; hopefully we can find a hot pitcher, although some say he will be optioned back down for Mitre...doesn't make sense to me

BTW, Montero has been hitting about .500 since he was almost traded and I would not be surprised if we saw him come up and do some DH'ng. A platoon of Miranda and Thames is decent, but I would like to see Thames give Granderson a rest against lefties (moving Gardner to CF). On that note, I am starting to see some signs from Granderson that he is coming out of his funk. The numbers don't really show it as he is only hitting .250 over the last 10 games with only 1 walk, but he is starting to center the ball better now and is less off balance than he has been. I said this earlier, but I believe batting him more against righties will give him greater confidence to get him going rather than facing lefties and getting dominated. Hopefully he can get it going...

Mitre goes tomorrow and he doesn't match up that great against them as they are a good batting average team so they should get some hits off of him. It will be important that he gets some DP's.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Genius Maker #78

This was a pretty crazy game. There were so many things one could write about and so many pitch selection debates that I could write a blog so long nobody would want to read it.

Overall, I thought Posada called a good game. There were times I disagreed that worked, there were times I agreed that didn't work, but there were a lot of times I agreed and they did work. One such time was when Rich Ankiel was up in the 6th inning with 2 guys on and he had a 1-2 count on him. This was one of those times where a curve low was the absolute pitch to throw and they did and he struck out swinging. Same situation when Robertson was pitching in the 7th after relieving CC (who was left in at least one batter too long) and was facing the righty Aviles. Robertson's curve was not his best so he was throwing more fastballs and he had Aviles leaning out over the plate fouling off outside pitches. Going to the curve did not seem an option but busting a fastball in was and Posada called it, Robertson hit the target, Aviles was jammed and weakly popped up to Tex.

Now outside of Posada's good calling of a game, good blocking of pitches in the dirt and solid offensive day, he had an embarrassing night. The play that will stand out in everyone's mind will be the man on 3rd with one out and Posada blocked a swinging strike 3 in the dirt and checked the runner back to 3rd and instead of throwing the runner out at 1st, he tugged his throw into LF trying to get the runner at 3rd. Now it was an awful throw and turned into an awful play. In that situation, you probably don't want to take a chance and you should look the runner back and fire to 1st base to get the out making it 2 outs and a runner on 3rd with a 5-3 lead. However, I will say that if Posada makes an accurate throw, the runner would have been out, the throw had the guy. The 2nd embarrassing play that not too many people will think about was on a tremendous throw by Gardner that was on target with Posada blocking the plate; but for some reason Posada decided he didn't need to tag the runner and only held up the ball like he did! It was the strangest non tag I have ever seen and it was as if Posada forgot the rules? Fortunately, the ump called the runner out as the throw clearly beat the guy by a lot and the ump was shielded from the non tag; no ump would ever think a fielder would purposely not tag a guy so I could see the bad call. The 3rd embarrassing thing posada did was on another nicely blocked 3rd strike, instead of reaching out and tagging the runner who started toward first base, Jorge decided to throw him out, but instead of getting an angle he lobbed the ball over the runner and threw too high. Tex had to reach up and catch the ball and quick step back to the bag to get the out...Posada was lucky there. Posada also threw a little high and wide to 3rd base on a strike out throw out and while the runner should have been called out (ARod tagged him before he reached the base), the inaccurate throw gave the ump an opportunity to call him safe...Like I said...crazy game.

Some other crazy stuff...CC was called for a balk that nobody seemed to know what happened. I felt CC moved his front leg before he threw to 2nd base, but it was a bit ticky tack. i would much rather see pitchers called for not coming to a complete stop as this happens too much IMO.

Cano made a very nice catch over his shoulder, but what made the play interesting is that I don't think I have ever seen an infielder wave off everyone on a ball where his back was to the for the ball is one thing, wave people off on that is crazy.

Jeter did his usual slow movement toward a ball up the middle, but looked really bad when a play most SS's make standing up he had to dive for, but he missed it when the ball went off his right hand and then over his glove as both his hands were extended on a half dive. It looked a little pathetic.

Posednik got eaten up on a line drive by Tex that I think he should have caught but he played back on the ball and he turned a possible out into a double as it went right by him.

Dejesus made a fantastic catch on a long hard hit by Jeter, but when he hit the fence, he bent his wrist very bad and could not squeeze the ball any more and had to leave the game. Jeter ended up getting an inside the park HR out of it.

ARod hit is 599th HR and got up again in the 8th inning with the crowd going crazy looking for number 600. ARod hit a line drive double to RC...I hope he gets 600 quickly...or Maybe August 3rd when I am at the game.

ARod swing the bat better and so did Jeter. Jeter's 3 hits the other day were pretty weak, but he hit much better today; I hope he gets hot now.

The Yanks pulled away for a 10-4 win!

As I write this, Boston has just allowed 5 runs in the bottom of the 9th inning and Seattle has come back to tie the game. (they were down 6-1 in the 9th) :) Seattle is now up in the bottom of the 10th. UPDATE: Boston won in 13 innings :(

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Genius Maker #77

Bottom line is that we took 2 of 3 from TB! Nice work!

The concern is that both Pettitte and Burnett may have come out of the weekend series with some downtime (most assuredly Pettitte's groin will make him miss 4+ starts - I would expect Mitre to fill in).

Do you think the All Star game contributed to the poor performances by Pettitte and Price? CC didn't have good control either? I really dislike the All Star game mid season.

The Yankees did a great job coming back against Price regardless of the situation. I was extremely encouraged by ARod ripping a line drive up the middle where he was all over a high fastball and then later hitting a HR. He has not looked good at the plate and I hope he is coming out as we need him bad, especially with Jeter looking very weak at the plate. Jeter's OPS is now 719. This is simply awful for the guy who gets up more often than anyone else in your lineup. Now, I am not saying Jeter is done as people don't just drop off like he has, but we are hurting the team leaving him in the leadoff spot. What we should do (and I doubt it happens) is to swap Jeter and Gardner. It would separate Gardner and Granderson more and would give AB's to a guy who is leading the league in pitches per AB and has an 808 OPS, but in this case case more important, a .398 OBP. Another option would be to swap Jeter and Granderson in some odd attempt to jump start both of them. The fact we have the best record in baseball has allowed the poor starts for Jeter and Granderson to remain on the back burner. BTW, I don't really like Granderson in the leadoff spot because I don't think he should be playing against a lefty and swapping the leadoff guy around all the time is probably not that healthy, although probably isn't too bad. Both Granderson and Jeter have platoon splits where they each are around 250 points better against one side and maybe the answer is to platoon Granderson and Jeter in the 1 hole and then get some bench help for the player that is dropped in the lineup once in awhile. For example, let Granderson leadoff against righties and Jeter leadoff against lefties and once in awhile give each of them a blow when they are against their tougher matchup. If Pena were hitting the way I think he can, he would be a good option, but he has not hit well this year so far. Nothing has changed regarding my feelings of Granderson being a great platoon player and in fact his struggles may be that he is facing too many lefties.

I am giving ideas here, but I am not satisfied with status quo and the lineup from 2-6 should not be touched. I would make a move with Jeter (short term hopefully).

Being in 1st place with the best record in baseball is hiding the poor play of Jeter and Granderson, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't be looking to improve.

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Genius Maker #76

The tribute game to George and Bob…

I wasn’t too happy to see CC struggle with fastball command as much as ever. However, he was able to spot some big pitches and work his way out of jams. There was a ton to this game, but getting out of bases loaded and nobody out twice and only allowing 2 runs was some nice pitching. I didn’t like when they allowed the Longoria single on a fastball, but I really thought Posada called a great game.

ARod is really struggling. Had some counts in his favor in key spots and still couldn’t come through.

Tex had 2 chances to make some in between hop scoops and was 0-2 including one that led to an ARod error.

Nice call of the Posada HR on a 3-0 pitch by Singleton who right before the pitch, said, I would expect Posada to get the green light…and then boom, Posada hit the first homer of his career on a 3-0 pitch.

Swisher hits the game tying bomb of Benoit who had absolutely sick numbers this year. We were lucky he was not able to throw strikes with his fastball and he couldn’t use his other pitches.

Swisher needed to hit after misplaying a fly ball into a 2 base error…really bad play.

Robertson threw the best inning of ball we have seen in some time. I give some credit to Posada for throwing more curveballs but understanding when to throw the fastball to mix it up. Robertson struck out all 3 batters he faced!

With the score tied, I thought Girardi had an interesting call whether to go right to Rivera or try and get a few more outs (maybe an inning) out of Robertson. No real right or wrong answer, but he went to the Genius Maker. Rivera broke the first two batters bats, but unfortunately one of them went right with the ball and arrived about the same time to ARod and ARod backed away from the bat and missed the ball. It is hard to criticize that play because the bad things that could happen for one out probably do not outweigh the benefits. Fortunately, Rivera picked off Upton before breaking another bat and striking out the last guy.

Upton getting picked off and then whining is a microcosm of a guy with immense talent that is a head case. I don’t want guys like that on my team.

The home plate ump liked to punch out people on questionable calls. We had it done 2 times and TB had it done to them 3 times.

Granderson led of the 9th with a single against a lefty (Choate). Then Girardi used Pena to sac over Granderson. I thought they may try a steal first and then bunt as I think Granderson could have stolen the base, but Girardi went with the sac bringing up Gardner against the lefty. Fortunately Choate still struggled with his control and walked Gardner. That setup the Jeter game winning hit in the game he gave opening tribute. Unfortunately, he continues to hit very poorly and had two pitches right over the middle of the plate that he missed and ended up waving at a curve in the dirt.

That brought up Swisher, who delivered a game winning hit and made Swisher the clear hitting star as he was the only Yankee with more than 1 hit and finished the day with 3!

Very exciting win! Boston lost also and is now 6.5 games back! This was the game we should have won though with CC going against Shields and was the most favorable matchup for us.

The Genius Maker #75

At least we get some meaningful baseball tonight! The Red Sox got crushed by Texas so it is time for the Yanks to take at least 2 of 3 from TB. I would love for them to leave 5 out! But, I will be fine with winning 2.

The Yankee bullpen could use a jolt in the arm and while Mitre and Aceves would be very helpful (especially Aceves), one arm that may make sense is Jonathan Albaladejo. Before you say he sucks (which he did last year), he does have a lot of movement on his pitches and his stats this year are serious. As the closer in Wilkes Barre here are his numbers:
IP 44.2
Hits 25
walks 12
K's 59
ERA 1.09
29 saves (which is a record at the break)
His stuff was always good, his issue was his location was bad. Maybe he has figured it out? I would expect he gets the call pretty soon, or he is traded. He is 28 so he isn't too young.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

All Star Game

I have to admit I didn't watch the game and while I wanted us to be able to get home field advantage for the World Series, I don't find the game interesting or too important. I do recognize the home field could be important, but I would like to win with other teams players. I am pretty ticked that Hughes got into the game. Why? here is a guy we are resting and missing starts which not only is impacting the games he doesn't pitch, but seems to hurt him in subsequent starts, plus the reason why we are doing it is to limit his work this year! So why in the world are we pitching him in a less meaningful game? Again, the home field advantage is a good thing, but it isn't that critical and more important, you are talking about how much of an impact will he really have in the game? Of course, as it turned out, he had a pretty negative impact, but that is not the point; the point is he should not have pitched in the game!

We have had the passing of two great Yankee icons. Shepperd was 99 and George 80. I viewed George as someone who wanted to win badly and made the Yankees a first class organization as every player talked about how the amenities for the Yankee players were the best in the league. George could be a tyrant as a boss, but he was also a very generous person with charities and most important to the Yankee fans, he gave everything he could to put the best product on the field every single year. THANK YOU GEORGE!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Genius Maker #74

Even though CC only struck out one batter he had the best velocity he has had all year. He was cruising along and was only in trouble one inning. Texiera continued his hot hitting getting 4 hits and the Yanks cruised to a 8-2 win.

We now enter the most boring time of the year and for us we don't get baseball for 4 full days.

It is time to get caught up on past blogs and moving forward I will post about where we are and what I expect (in the next few days).

I wish all of our guys would say thanks but no thanks to the All Star, especially to the HR derby (which I think is silly and will mess up your swing)

Finally, I wanted to comment on what Robbie Thompson (our 3rd base coach) was saying after he was getting all sorts of guys thrown out at the plate, many of which with nobody out. I am paraphrasing, but he said he will continue to be aggressive because anyone can stop the guys from scoring, but if I am not getting guys thrown out then I am not doing my job. He continued stating that if you look at some of the plays we were thrown out,it took 2 perfect throws to get us out. My take: There are times where taking a chance make sense and there are times where taking a chance do not make sense. Trying to score a guy with 2 outs and getting thrown out with 2 perfect throws makes a lot of sense, in fact, you could argue getting thrown out 50% of the time there would make some sense. But, I don't think it is ever prudent to get thrown out with nobody out, and I don't care how many perfect throws it took. We have been thrown out at least 5 times at home nobody out in only the 1st half of the year; that is unacceptable and I think he should lose his job. Not only does he obviously not get it, I don't think he has the best judgment.

The Genius Maker #73

OK, I know most of you are calling for Joba's head or Girardi's for sticking with Joba as the 8th inning guy. But, I want to take a little different view here. First, the Yankee offense simply needs to do more than score one run on a solo homer. They need to do more and I don't care who is on the mound. Felix was not that sharp that they couldn't get a couple of big hits rather than leave 2 guys on base all the time. Leaving a 1 run lead to the final 2 innings is going to fail sometimes and whether it was a Grand Slam or just 2 runs, it didn't really matter.

Before I get to Joba, I want to point out that Javy pitched a great game and he showed toughness getting out of the 7th (I was glad Joe stuck with him as a test even though many would have criticized Joe for keeping Javy in there too long) Javy's ERA is now a somewhat respectable 4.45. His last 11 starts have netted an ERA of 2.75!

As for Joba, I actually think he was not nearly as bad as the stat line shows. His command/control needs to be better, but he was throwing 96-97 on almost every fastball and actually hit 99 on the ground out by Ichiro. That is a good sign. Also, the first hit was located well and the guy hit it off the end of the bat for a bloop single. Then after he got Ichiro out, Chone Figgines broke his bat and dumped a single into LF. Two cheap hits with one out and Branyon stepped up. The count went 3-1 (which is Joba's fault with his command/control) and the runners moved up on a pitch Cervelli didn't catch, but could have. Still I blame Joba for the wild pitch/passed ball. Now with 2nd and 3rd and a 3-1 count Girardi called for an intentional walk of Branyan? I did not get this at all. Branyan is a huge strike out candidate and I would have let Joba either walk him himself or challenge him with his stuff. I didn't like the free pass as Branyan is not a singles guy anyway. He is pretty much a homer or an out. So after I didn't like that play (it also put pressure on Joba to HAVE to throw strikes), Joba started Lopez out with 2 sliders that both looked pretty good and neither was called a strike. This ump was really inconsistent all night and in review on MLB game day, they both hit the border of strikes with the first one looking like a solid strike (that is the way I had it live too). So, instead of at least 1-1 it was 2-0 and Joba had to throw a strike so Lopez was sitting fastball. Surprisingly, Joba threw a pretty high fastball (out of the strike zone)and Lopez was geared up for it and ready and jumped on it for the homer. It was a very good piece of hitting because while he knew it was coming, getting on top of a 96 MPH fastball that was very high is not easy to do.

I am not happy with the way Joba has pitched, but I think they need to keep using him in whatever role that makes sense based on teh options. Right now, Marte is the only other guy I have faith in the pen outside of Rivera, but the others are not doing well. We need Aceves back and possibly Mitre could help as well. Robertson should be able to make himself more relevant. I was not thrilled with getting Park, but his stuff could be good if he could be more consistent, but he has not even been close to being consistent and at this age can we expect that?

Some people have said after allowing the 2 singles Marte should have been in to face Branyan. I would not disagree with that move, with the expectation that Rivera would pitch the final 1.1 innings. However, considering the good velocity of Joba and both hits were real cheap, I understand Girardi sticking with Joba.

At the end of the day Joba did not have good control of his breaking pitches (his fastball control was average), but he was limited at that point. I still like his curve as a first pitch strike to get ahead of guys and also as a switch to the slider, but I am not giving up on Joba...he is the same age as Hughes.

Finally, some people have stated that Hughes will go to the pen for the playoffs or maybe he should go now. To that I say remember the postseason last year, Hughes was not very effective and Joba was better than he was. Leave Hughes in the rotation and let Joba pitch in whatever role makes sense based on who is doing better in the pen. Right now, Joba is still the best righty outside of Rivera. I hope Aceves can get his back straightened out or Cashman will need to get some support.

BTW, Cervelli's defense has really been poor lately. He has not thrown well at all and had an easy pickoff at 2nd base in the 7th inning that would have bailed out Javy, but he blew the throw. Pena saved Javy on the pop up to get the final out. He also has not thrown guys out well of late as his accuracy has been bad. The Yankee pitchers do a poor job of holding runners on, sans Pettitte, but Cervelli has only thrown out 5 runners out of 36, even Posada has thrown out 7 of 37, which is still not good.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Genius Maker - A Must Watch

The Genius Maker #72

Seattle has a pretty weak hitting team. While Hughes had a solid fastball last night (generally 94-95 even though he hit 96 a couple times), his command of the fastball was not great as he missed his target often. Posada called a great game as there were about 5 times where I was adamant about what to throw and Posada did it 4 of the times. The one he didn't happened to be the double knocking in their only run. I wanted nothing but fastballs as the batter swung through 3 fastballs in his 1st AB and took one for a strike before Hughes threw a cutter that was hit for the double. It was still a fastball, but it didn't have the extra 5 MPH that the batter was struggling with. Hughes cutter also did not have greta movement.

The Yankee starting pitching has allowed more than 1 run only once on this west coast trip...and that was when Burnett allowed 2. Weak hitting teams or not, that is impressive. This is the 1st time since 2002 that the Yanks have allowed 2 runs or less in 5 straight games.

Teixeira (now on base in 30 straight games) and Cano were the offense tonight as Cano had a huge 2 out triple and Tex had 2 dingers. Tex's OPS is now above .800 for the year and not that far behind ARod's .839. Posada's OPS is down to .837 as the hand injury has impacted his swing. When you look mostly at ARod, Tex, Jeter (.730) and Granderson's poor OPS (.713) it shows you how good our starting pitching has been, along with the Genius Maker. The only player really playing above where you could have thought is Swisher with his .910 OPS. I also think our defense is really good with Gardner in LF as he seems to get to a ball I am not so sure an average speed guy would get to every couple of games. Add him to Tex and Cano and our defense is solid. The middle relief has been shaky, but overall only TB in the AL has allowed less runs than us. Our offense is 2nd only to Boston in runs scored which shows you how much better we could do offensively. I think it is reasonable to project our offense to be the #1 scoring offense when the season ends.

Finalizing my thought on the Lee trade
Justin Smoak was the key player Seattle got from Texas. he is only 23 so it is hard to make a good judgment on the guy and honestly I have never seen him swing (or concentrated on him), but in full time action this year, he has an underwhelming OPS of .669 OPS. The guy may be awesome, but I am not so sure our package wasn't better. For perspective we are making judgments on Colin Curtis (25) and Pena who will be 25 in a about a week. So he is about a 1.5 behind our guys, which can be a lot at that age, but Montero looks like he could be a huge hitter and at a premium position (he could always move to 1st). Baseball America rankings:

Justin Smoak #13
Jesus Montero #4

Kind of interesting, but perhaps we were saved if we can sign Lee next year and then still have our prospects. i respect Cashman for putting a stake in the ground and giving up more, but having Lee and the player we were supposed to move Javy for would have made us better. Texas now has 2 good lefties they could throw at us and while our team OPS is slightly better against lefties, I think we are a little more vulnerable to lefties (I guess that is more of a prediction that flies in the face of the stats).

Friday, July 9, 2010

Possible Cliff Lee Trade

I received a few texts today regarding the Yankee deal with Cliff Lee was imminent. I also saw the Yanks deal with the Mariners was on the 1 yard line. I guess we need a new goal line back...

I am torn as I always feel a little odd as the team with the highest payroll to go out and grab a guy like this, however, he is a difference maker and Texas just became a huge threat. That being said, we should just outbid everyone for him next year...within reason. While Lee has been dominant after his minor league assignment a few years ago, he is not a spring chicken and will be 32 next month. So how long of a deal can you give him? Maybe you give him a 4 year deal? Either way, maybe this was all a ploy to get the Mariners to deal him today so that Lee won't pitch against us tonight and to ensure TB or Boston didn't get him? If so, great job. I would like to add another righty stick to PH or platoon with Granderson and/or Gardner.

The other part of this is that Texas should have locked up the their division with this move. They were already the best team in the division and this just ended it barring some huge injuries. Texas made a great move signing Guerrero for only 5.5 mil dollars as he has been an excellent DH this year (OPS of .933).

The Genius Maker #71

These west coast games are rough on sleeping...

The good part is that this game went very quickly because Pettitte shut down the weak hitting Mariner lineup and our lineup got a lot of hits, but didn't string enough of them for a decent inning.

The difference in the game is that they have Aardsma and we have the Genius Maker and that is about it.

Swisher was the man on offense. Fresh off his buzz from finding out he made the All Star team, Swish was 4-4 with a key double in the 9th inning which was followed by Captain Clutch (ARod) knocking in 2 runs with 2 outs after Tex popped up with men on 2nd and 3rd and 1 out.

I have to knock Jeter on a few items.

Each SS had a mirror play on a ball in the hole where they grabbed the ball and threw to 2nd to start a DP. The Seattle SS got in front of the ball, planted and immediately threw while Jeter couldn't get in front of it so he had to jump on throw. They completed the DP and we didn't and Cano had a better turn than Figgins. Jeter also missed a line drive up the middle where he didn't get off the ground; he just looks a step slow everywhere to me. In fact, he has to be the only leadoff hitter in baseball where the pitchers don't even throw over when he leads off a 1-1 tie in the 9th getting on base and the threat of a steal isn't even there.

I also think he has way too much movement at the plate. Jeter's OPS is now below .750 and his slug is below .400.

Other notes:

Gardner made a really big play by getting over on a single and throwing out Ichiro at 3rd base. Ichiro was on 1st with nobody out and after the single Gardner cut it off and threw a strike to Pena who made a good tag. That was a huge play because instead of 1st and 3rd with nobody out it was man on 1st with 1 out. Good thing Gardner played very well in the field because he had a terrible batting day (0-4 with 3 K's)

ARod made a good running play getting to 3rd base with nobody out on the 8th by getting a good jump on a ball in the dirt and their catcher Bard didn't block the ball well. ARod ended up scoring the tying run at the time

Andy is 11-2 with a crazy 2.70 ERA!

Boston is 5 games out!!!!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Genius Maker #70

Break out the brooms! The Yanks are a season high 22 games above .500!

Burnett did not throw particularly great, but I was very happy to see he and Cervelli work in the change up and Cervelli called it at smart times. I little more disparity than 4 MPH would be better, but it was still very effective.

The Yanks rested Granderson instead of Gardner against the lefty and Gardner had a good game offensively as well as making a real nice running catch to LC on a ball tailing away from him that I am not sure if Granderson would have gotten to (maybe). Granderson did come in later for defensive purposes (correctly) and got a weak jump on a ball and let one drop in front of him that Gardner might have been able to get.

Teixeira put an exclamation point on a 5 run 4th inning with a 3 run bomb to keep his streak of reaching base intact.

ARod dropped a pop up by overrunning it in the vast foul territory; he has never been that comfortable on pop ups and I can only hope he gets back in a groove of catching them so it doesn't become mental. He is better at a reaction position like 3rd and he has been playing very well there of late, but the pop ups give a person a lot of time. ARod seems to catch the ball in front of face too much instead of off to the side more IMO. In this case he kept looking to the stands and took his eye off the ball and overran it.

Marte has been doing better of late. The key to him is throwing strikes as he is not too easy to hit when he is ahead in the count. Overall he has allowed only 10 hits in 17.2 innings (great), but he has allowed 11 walks (awful). The OPS against him is .580 though so he has been effective. Overall, lefties have an OPS of .468 hitting only .146 with a .200 OBP and a .268 slug. As I have said last year, being the only lefty (usually), he is a key component of the bullpen, especially as we get to the playoffs.

Pena got 2 his first 2 hits of the year against a lefty!!! The Yanks rested Cano so that he could play in the All Star game...OK, maybe they just wanted to give him a rest, but you know how I feel. I was happy to hear that he will not partake in the HR derby as that screws up guys swings. However, they said it was due to a stiff back; that is not good. The same news was about Rivera who they said had a stiff knee...hopefully they are just being smart.

TB beat the banged up Red Sox again

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Genius Maker #69

This game was the ARod and CC show. CC had the best fastball he has had all year. He was consistently 95 MPH and hit 96 at times. Oakland's huge stadium and weak hitting lineup made it a very good matchup for minimizing runs. Meanwhile, ARod, by himself knocked in more runs against the Oakland starting pitcher than he has allowed in any game this year. ARod did it on a Grand Slam and a solo homer. The GS was particularly enjoyable because it came after the inning was extended because Gardner got down to 2nd base blazing fast and caused the turn to be delayed allowing Jeter to NOT hit into a DP. Then Tex got hit by a pitch (when he was down in the count) and ARod followed with his bomb on a 3-1 pitch. This was a classic example of how important the count is. On the 2-1 pitch, ARod checked his swing on a curve in the dirt and by controlling himself, got the count in his favor where the pitcher (Cahill)had to give in and he crushed it. He would not have seen that pitch on 2-2. Cahill is a pitcher that has really good movement on his pitches and ARod was the man last night.

Tex made a really good play on pop up that would have been out of play in every other stadium in the league. He went a long way and stuck out his glove near the stands.

TB beat Boston again

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Genius Maker #68

I hate the Oakland camera; tough to judge the strike zone and the movement.

Javy pitched a very good game today. The run support for him has not been good. The stat I saw was he had about 3.5 runs/game while others were in the 7's and 6's. That is a huge reason why the wins and losses are what they are. i think Burnett's was about 4.5. (UPDATED with correct numbers: Hughes 7.7 r/g, CC and Pettitte 6.1 and AJ was 4.4)

The Yanks only scored 3 runs, but Tex got a homer and has continued to swing better. unfortunately ARod and Jeter have not. Jeter is moving far more than he ever has and he could use some of the Swisher non movement techniques to help out.

Joba was throwing 95-97 so that was good to see and the Genius Maker got the job done even though the movement didn't seem very good.

Teixeira odd stats- he has an OPS of 1.025 in the day and .701 at night under the lights. That is a surprisingly huge discrepancy.

There are some rumors the Yanks are looking at Ty Wiggington. I don't see any reason to get Wiggington unless we give up nothing for him and take on his contract. Over his last 100 AB's this year his OPS is barely above .500. Now I know he started off hot (over .900 OPS over the first 170 AB's of the year) but his overall OPS is .776 this year and he doesn't have a platoon advantage that is strong this year (actually is better against righties this year). Pena has a better glove and at 24 I would rather let him play well against righties and if we need someone else try Russo against lefties. Now if I knew one of our infielders would be injured that is a different story as I would think Wiggington would be a better every day option than Pena, but I don't want to make that assumption otherwise we should trade for Cliff Lee assuming one of starters will go down. Last Year Wiggington had an OPS of .714 playing in Baltimore. The slump he is in right now scares me away a little but his overall OPS of .770 is about what you would expect from him because it is more in line with his career numbers than last year which was a big drop off. Maybe at 32 he is aging faster than most, but either way, I don't like the fit.

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Genius Maker #67

I don't think I could be more frustrated in a win where we picked up a game on Boston.

10 reasons (no order):

1) 3 times we were thrown out at home plate (our 3rd base coach should lose his job, along with our sliding coach.

Actually, I was only mad at our 3rd base coach once out of the 3. However, that one was HORRIBLE! This is now at least the 6th time we have been thrown out at home with nobody out and it killed a rally. There was/is no excuse for that. The other 2 were chances that I thought were fine to take as they took very good throws and good blocking by Molina along with a terrible slide by Teixera. I have been very critical of the Yankees sliding past home plate and then touching the plater rather than going in straight and hard into home plate. For the record, Swisher twice did what I like, however, I am talking about when you beat the throw. The time to go around the guy is when you are beat and you need to try and resort to trickery. Tex had the throw beat by plenty and decided to fore-go either running Molina over or sliding straight in in which he would have been definitely safe. He blew that play. As of for Swisher, one play he went right in on a play that Molina did about as good a job as possible blocking the plate as the ball got there in time where he could drop a knee down (MUCH stronger) and Swisher was stood up for a split second which was enough for Molina to get the tag down. There wasn't too much for Swisher to do there (Except be a little faster).

2) Posada got hurt

He took a foul ball off his glove hand ring finger. It is a sprain and he should be OK, but any finger can hurt the swing and even the catch.

3) Scoring decisions like the double to ARod yesterday and the Gardner homer.

The scoring is really messed up as the scorers usually use the silly rule that if you get your glove on it you should catch it. Arod's "double" the other day should have been an out, yet it was lost in the sun. Isn't that an error; somewhere you lost site of the ball and while you can't control items like that, the player does not deserve a hit. Gardner hit a fly out that should have gotten Morrow out of the inning, but it was lost in the sun and he got an inside the park "homer." I agree with Kay on this one as I have always felt there should be a team error so the integrity of the pitchers ERA and the batters OPS should remain intact. Just a pet peeve of mine.

4) An inconsistent home plate ump

This always frustrated me and it had an impact throughout the game. Probably didn't help either team more than the other, but it is frustrating

5) The Genius Maker blows a save

The ump did not give Mo the benefit of 2 calls that would have bailed him out (others were worse that weer called strikes), but Mo did not have good movement or control so allowing only one run was not so bad...but frustrating

6) Poor pitch selection

Hughes did not throw the change or cutter enough. Robertson threw too many fastballs...again. I thought Mo should have tailed the fastball in a couple times, but overall I was a little frustrated at the pitch selection. To be fair, after a bunch of time where it hurt us, Robertson did throw yet another fastball to Molina when he struck him out. It was a hittable pitch that Molina was on, but he missed it, but it did end up being effective.

7) Hughes Struggling again after skipping his turn

More on Hughes in number 10

8) I didn't like Girardi's decision to bunt Cervelli in the 10th inning with a lefty on the mound and Granderson coming up (followed by Gardner). I was less concerned about Gardner, but when are the Yankees going to realize what i said at the beginning of the year and that is Granderson is not good against lefties and should be platooned. The Yankees need a bench player to come off and bat for Granderson in those spots.

9) The ongoing struggles of Granderson

To continue the last point, Granderson has been looking worse of late. Obviously, a .704 OPS is terrible for him, but it is the fact that the Yanks have allowed him to get about 40% of his AB's against lefties. I will find my quote, but at the beginning of the year I said something about the sooner the Yanks realize that he should be platooned the better we will be. Even struggling his is still a really good hitter against righties. As bad as he has been his OPS is .842 and while it should be over .900 he is still effective against righties.

10) All Star Game

This has been something I wanted to write about for awhile, but why do we want our players in the All Star game? I don't! I want our players to get the rest they need so they don't need to miss games when it matters! Why do we want the team to be weaker because of the All Star game? I will be pissed if Hughes throws an out in the All Star game. he misses a start and sucks for 2 starts after just so he can play in the All Star game? What the heck are we resting our guys for? I never vote for the Yankees as I want them to get their rest. never understood this phenomenon. BTW, it cost the team money when they go to the All Star game as either they pay a bonus or they will have more leverage in contract negotiations.

On a positive note, the Yanks gutted out a win and Thames came off the bench to deliver the game winning hit. the Yanks need more specialist like him to help us out. We need a blazing fast guy to pinch run and guys who can come off the bench and do real well against a lefty or righty (platoon bench guy). Granderson needs to be sat down against any lefty in a key spot. ARod made a very heads up play in the top of the 10th allowing a pop up bunt to drop when the batter didn't run, but what surprised me was that he looked to 3rd first and almost didn't get the runner at 2nd before completing the DP. Why did he look to 3rd base first? Didn't he know what defense they were in and that nobody would be at 3rd base? He almost didn't get the guy at 2nd base and that could have been disastrous. It was a heads up play by ARod and a bad play by Encarnacion to not run.

Cano really missed some very hittable pitches in this game...Hopefully he will right the ship.

Gardner has really been playing excellent defense in LF. I still think he should be in CF and Granderson should be in LF. Maybe once the Yanks realize that our every day player is Gardner and not Granderson, they will make that switch?

Friday, July 2, 2010

The Genius Maker #66

Burnett pitched pretty well; thank you Eiland. He was helped by Toronto struggling (Wells swinging at ball 4 was a big help early in the game) and a fairly wide strike zone, but he nailed some corners. He also worked in about 3-4 changeups.

However, this game was lost in 2 main spots.

1) Bottom of the 3rd inning and the Yanks are up 1-0. They have bases loaded and nobody out with ARod up. The pitcher is really struggling and falls behind ARod 2-0. With Cano and Posada on deck, this has the making of at least 2 runs and could be a lot more. 6 pitches later, both ARod and Cano have struck out and the entire game changed. Posada hit a hard grounder the 2nd baseman made a nice play on and we didn't score a run! Almost inexplicable. ARod deserves a lot of blame, but Cano didn't do well either.

2) 6th inning, still 1-0 and the Yanks have 1st and 2nd and nobody out with Cervelli up. This is a bunting situation! In fact it is almost the perfect bunting situation, only later in the game with the same score is it better. Instead Girardi allows Cervelli to hit into a DP that basically ended the inning. I was really ticked off.

A few other notes:

*Joba was not sharp, but I am getting tired of so many 3 ball sliders that could be walks if the batters lay off the pitch...THROW STRIKES! I don't care about a strikeout, I want an out!
*Cervelli has had a lot of troubles throwing of late (and what should have been a passed ball or 2). Today he threw one away as he bounced it, but he has not thrown well of late. i am not sure of the numbers, but I bet you they are not good of late. Also, I hated his pitch selection with Robertson. How is it possible that Robertson threw 20 pitches and they were all fastballs until finally throwing a curve when the guy was bunting? The Yanks were lucky to get out of the 10th inning the way Robertson was hit. In the 11th, Robertson hung an 0-2 curve for a single and that was a huge pitch.
*Losing in extra innings always stinks, but I am more concerned with the offense not doing a good job. They should be better.
*Granderson is not good against lefties and while he is a pretty good CF'r, as I stated at the beginning of the year, I think Gardner should be in CF. Gardner made a fantastic catch earlier in the game and I also think he has more range in CF and might have caught 2 balls that Granderson did not get to in the past 2 games.
*The Genius Maker was not sharp, but worked out of allowing 1 hit. he could have gotten out of the inning with a DP if Jeter wasn't so slow on getting the ball to Cano. I think it was the right move letting Rivera only throw the one inning.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

The Genius Maker #65

CC had a very good fastball tonight that had good life and was consistently 94-95. His change was a tough one for him as he didn't have good location on it most of the night and his curve was decent. Seattle does not have a great offense, but with the Yankees swinging the bat so poorly the game was only 2-0 going into the 8th inning. After listening to the announcers tonight I know why I usually fast forward like crazy...they were talking up what a great game Rowland Smith was throwing and at one point it he had pitched 4 innings and allowed 2 runs on a high pitch count. Then the Yanks had the bases loaded in the 6th and failed to get in any runs. His overall line was good, but he was not throwing well, the Yanks were hitting poorly. As I stated in an earlier post, I don't understand why the Yanks choose to rest players in the infield and play Pena when a lefty is on the mound? It is like they don't have a plan. Pena, who has been horrible at the plate this year, has always been better from the left side of the plate and this year he is still looking for his first hit from the right side.

In the 8th inning, CC walked the leadoff hitter, got an out and then allowed a single before getting another out. While CC was not sharp at this point, I was OK leaving him in the game against Branyan as Branyan is better against righties and he homered off of Marte earlier in the series. After Posada did a very bad job of letting the ball go to the screen for a passed ball, Kay was all over how huge it was moving the runners over. Now this is clearly true and it was a bad play, but with 2 outs it is time for CC to get the lefty out. With an open base, he threw a 3-1 pitch down the middle and Branyan ripped it on one hop to Swisher. He had a shot at Ichiro at home, but he didn't have too much on his throw (a strong armed RF could have gunned him out). Tex correctly cut the ball off and easily got Branyan going to 2nd to end the inning, but the score was tied. Kay continued talking about how huge the play was moving the runners over (and it was), but we also got an out on the play and that was huge as well. Imagine if it was 1st and 2nd and the same hit happened and it was either bases loaded or 1st and 2nd with the score 2-1 and the inning was still going on...Seattle might not have scored anything, but they also might have blown it open with CC out of the game and probably Joba in. I am only saying it might have been worse if the passed ball didn't happen.

Thankfully Seattle went to their horrible closer, who throws 94 but it is very straight and he didn't throw anything but a fastball. Swisher somehow struck out, but Tex singled an ARod hit a homer pulling his hands way in but putting a good swing on a high and a little outside pitch for a dinger. It was an odd swing, but he hit it well. Aardsma now has a 5.33 ERA and is 0-5 ( I know he was good last year). On the other end of the spectrum, The Genius Maker came in and threw 13 pitches to dominate the 9th for his 18th save. He has now allowed only 12 hits in 30.1 innings. His WHIP is an unreal and career best 0.59; he looks as good as ever...The Genius Maker!