Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Genius Maker #48

The Yanks offense did its job against Greinke. Remember there were some people who wanted the Yanks to get Greinke. His record is good this year, but he has not pitched well.

Freddie Garcia did a good job allowing 8 hits in 6 innings but only 2 runs because of no walks. He is 7-6 for us, but his ERA is better than we could have hoped at 3.28.

Don’t look now but Swisher has his OPS up to .800!

The Yanks are 13-4 since their last beating by Boston. After Boston got shut out on a 2 hitter by Cliff Lee last night, the Yanks are now 1.5 games in first place. Imagine where we would be if we didn’t lose 7 games in a row to Boston (1-8 this year)?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Genius Maker #47

The Yanks found themselves down 3-0 after Wiggington homered on a fastball that was supposed to be outside but it leaked over the plate and then on an 0-2 pitch a fastball that was supposed to be outside for a ball ended up leaking into the middle of the plate. The 3rd run came in after a walk, as SB, a GB to move the runner over and a sac fly.

The yanks were getting no hit until the 5th inning when Cano lined a hard single to left. This was important because their pitcher Nicasio had yet to pitch from the stretch. He fell behind Swisher 3-0 and Swish was given the green light, but unfortunately pulled the pitch foul. Fortunately, the next pitch was right down the middle and Swisher didn’t miss it to close the gap to 3-2. Posada then followed with a solo shot to tie the score.

Interestingly, those were the two guys I singled out yesterday as swinging well…and it continued.

The tie was short lived as Martin/Nova didn’t learn their lesson as they gave Wigginton another fastball that he cleared the fence with. I was upset here as I felt a slider was the best pitch based on the swings that Wiggington had. In fact, they went to the slider in a previous AB and he dribbled one down to ARod. I thought with 2 outs and nobody on this was a poor decision and it cost us.

The Yanks responded with Gardner beating out his 2nd bunt this series and then stole 2nd leading to a run after ARod knocked him in.

Logan did a really nice job in the 7th coming in with a runner on 1st and getting 2 outs before Martin threw one into CF moving the runner to 3rd. Logan then was able to get Helton to ground out to end the threat. On the bounced throw form Martin, Flaherty made the perfect comment when he said, “Martin is mad at himself as he had the runner with a normal throw, but he would have liked to have his SS pick that play.” Nunez has shown to not be reliable at SS and his play around the bag has not been that solid either. Earlier in the game, he let a groundball go right under his glove on an easy DP.

In the bottom of the 7th Posada worked a great walk seeing 8 pitches before getting to first. I would have pinch run right there, but Girardi decided to wait until Posada got to 2nd. Fortunately for us, Posada got there as Martin crushed a ball that ate up Tulowitsky at SS. Girardi then made his move to Dickerson, who easily scored on Nunez’ ground ball. Posada might have scored on the play, but with Posada’s glacier like speed, I am glad we didn’t get to see the outcome.

With a 5-4 lead Robertson pitched a clean 8th with 2 K’s, Teixeira added a solo HR (his league leading 23rd), and the Rivera closed out Old Timer’s Day by striking out the side to end the game.

Boston and TB won as well.

The Genius Maker #46

Before the game started I said to my daughter that this was a Yankee game they should win 75% of the time. Coming off a loss with CC going against a weak pitcher sounded very good to me. Not only that, the Rockies are vulnerable against lefties as they start a lot of them. The only non starter playing was Cervelli and I felt good about this game. I even checked the line which was -240 to win 100…so why not put a few doughnuts down based on my feelings?

CC came out firing hitting 97 in the first inning. When he is pumping like that, he is really tough. He threw both his harder and softer breaking ball well, but still didn’t have his “A” changeup. Either way, he flew threw their lineup pitching a great game. He only threw 103 pitches and could have easily had a complete game, but Girardi decided to let Buddy Carlyle allow 2 runs in the 9th to make the score look a little closer than the 8-3 blow out was.

ARod had a really good game, but looked hobbled on a standup double. I was worried but he did score on a very shallow fly ball (pop up) by Swisher so he is probably just a little banged up. Posada swung the bat well and now has his OPS up to a still low .718…but in the month of June his OPS is .900. His bad start will pull the numbers down all year, but lately he has been good. Swisher has had an excellent June also with a 1.052 OPS.

Cano had another rough game…I think he needs to work on his mental game; the guy has the ability to be the best in the game, but he gets himself out. His .840 OPS is still solid, but he should be above .900 with his talent. He is basically on his career OPS and at 28 he should be having his prime years now and through the next few years. Surprisingly, he has hit lefties well this year (.934 OPS) compared to righties (.797). He will be OK, but we could use the Cano I expect him to be.

Old Yankee Jeff Karstens picked up the win against Boston last night and combined with the Yankees win flipped the standings with us back in 1st. BTW, I do list the standings on the website on the top right. It is a 3 team race so I am only listing NY, Boston and TB.

I am a few doughnuts richer this morning!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Genius Maker #45

The offense did a poor job again…getting to be a broken record as guys just simply are not performing the way they should. We had some very tough ump calls, specifically Nick Swisher who had 3 very bad pitches called strikes on him, one to put him into a 2 strike hole, one where he struck out on a high changeup and one where the pitch actually barely touched the (inside part) of the opposite batters box. Yes, it was on the “left” side, on the over head angle, of the batters box line for a righty. If it touches the line it is clearly a ball but it crossed over and barely touched the other side. It would have been nice if Burnett got the benefit of a few calls or even calling some pitches that looked good.

In a 4-2 loss every play is important and the Yanks made too many mistakes.

AJ and martin did a very poor job early on throwing way too many fastballs. It was so obvious they should have been using the change and curve more. Almost all the damage was done on fastballs. Later in the game, the Yanks made the adjustment but the 4 runs were in already. Burnett struck out 3 guys in the 6th, but one of them got past Martin as he needed to block and smother the swinging strike. Burnett came back and struck out the next batter (breaking ball) to tie a major league record with 4 strikeouts in one inning.

BTW, I have an NCAA Division I record that is similar to that…meaning it is one that is shared by many. I went an entire year without committing an error. The only difference is that mine could never be broken and someone could strike out 5 batters. I would bet mine has a lot more people in the not so exclusive club though.

Cano, had an awful approach at the plate. It would be really nice if he could actually get to the plate and recognize a pitch as a ball and not swing rather than going up to the plate saying I will not swing at this pitch no matter what. Key spot early on, he swung at a first pitch change out of the strike zone…of course he did hit a line drive that doubled ARod off, but still we had the pitcher with a high pitch count and he was throwing balls…take a pitch or only swing at a pitch you want. Later he did the same thing swinging at a first pitch change out of the zone. Very frustrating.

Tex just didn’t see the ball well as he swung at about 6 changes and curves out of the strike zone.

The team missed some hittable pitches and simply didn’t get the job done…with some help from the umps. We also got a bad call at second base on throw out by Martin. Nunez scooped the ball but in doing so took his mitt up and then had to bring it back down to tag the runner. He did tag him in time and should have been called out as the throw beat him (which usually gives you the benefit of the doubt) and he did tag him before the runner touched the base (which usually means he should be called out). Very frustrating…

I was mentioning how poor I think Cervelli is and I decided to back my comment up with some stats. Defense – He receives the ball well and blocks balls well, but he is erratic with his throws. He has only thrown out 2 guys out of 21 (worst in baseball for any catcher that has thrown out anyone this year) and he has the 2nd lowest fielding % of catchers in baseball with 5 errors (3rd most) in limited play. The guy with lowest fielding % has thrown out 40% of SB attempts though. His .501 OPS is 69th for catchers…yeah, that is pretty horrible... For comparison, Jose Molina who left us because his offense was so bad, has a career OPS of .627. Martin has thrown out 30% of the runners as a comp with the same pitchers.

Back on the horse today with CC going!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Genius Maker #44

On Monday night the Yanks scored 4 runs in the first inning and like a lot of the games, they didn't do much the rest of the game. They held on to win 5-3 as Rivera showed why he is a Genius Maker by not allowing the poor move by Girardi in taking out Nova to cost the Yanks a win. 105 pitches and 7 straight scoreless innings after allowing 1 in the first was a time to let the kid finish the game…at the least let him face the righty leading off the inning. Then after Logan hit the lefty on the first pitch, I thought he would leave Logan in to face another lefty…instead whistle for the Genius Maker to save the day.

As for the game, outside of the excellent first inning, the Yanks only run scored came in the 8th inning on a gift by the SS who failed to catch a throw form the catcher where Granderson was dead to rights. Not only was Grandy safe on the error, but he went to 3rd on the error and then scored on a wild pitch. That was painful, if you were a Reds fan.

Andrew Jones didn’t run out a DP where he must have thought there were two outs. After the play they showed Girardi checking on Jones’ ankle, but Jones stayed in the game. I think that was all BS because if his ankle was bad he would be out of a 4-1 game for defensive replacement. I think he just had a brain cramp that was pretty sad.

The final piece saw Nunez picked off. Nunex also made a very nice dive in the 9th inning, but should have tried to get the out at 3rd instead of throwing very late to first…but he might have been safe at 3rd anyway.
It was great to see Nova go 8 innings and not walk a batter. He worked his slider more than usual and it was effective. If he doesn’t walk batters he will do very well!

Crazy stat – On the Yanks pitching staff right now, Nova has the highest ERA…it is only 4.13. That is pretty darn great.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Genius Maker #43

Happy Father’s Day!

Friday saw the Yankee offense put an embarrassing effort. Doug Davis, who had a 5.90 ERA coming into the game and the Cubs had not won a single game in his 6 starts, shut us down for 1 run and only 3 hits in 7.1 innings. That is a pathetic job by the offense against the 35 year old slop throwing southpaw.

Saturday’s game was a pretty exciting game (although I watched it fast on DVR). My comments:

Granderson is still doing well, but it appears that he is struggling a little now against lefties as has been his issue in the past. Not sure if stats back me up or not on this, but he seems to be chasing a lot of bad pitches that he was not before.

Gardner’s defense has been phenomenal. In this game, he made a catch not many LF’rs make, but took his speed and then threw a perfect strike to home to double up an attempt tag up by Pena and this was the play of the game.

Martin, who blocked what seemed like almost 10 balls in the dirt during the game took a hard hit on Pena and then showed Pena the ball afterward. That is something I have done before; in fact, I once lightly tossed the ball underhand at a guy after he ran me over. While on this, people have asked my opinion about being able to run over catchers. First, I must say that I see both sides to the discussion (The purity of the game side and the safety side). My feeling is that if a catcher gives the runner plenty of space to slide, there should be no collision. If a catcher has the ball and then smothers the plate then the runner should be able to knock him over. There are so many little comments that can be made because home plate is different in that you can over run home plate so there is no worry about too much speed going into the non force play. I once got leveled catching a ball in front of the plate and then immediately turning toward the runner I got lifted off my feet. This guy was 6’1” 225 easy and I went flying. I held on to the ball as I lifted myself up and walked back to the dugout removing my lip from my teeth. I still have a barely visible cut above my lip from that blast. Who knows if my herniated disc in my neck or even my broken disc in my back was caused by that one blow? I doubt the back is, but the neck is possible, along with a hundred other possibilities such as every foul ball off my mask (which doesn’t hurt BTW and is like getting hit with a heavy pillow). In summary, I think it is a little excessive to be able to run over a catcher. The issue is I am not sure what rule would be the best to enforce with the exception of the comment I gave before about leaving the runner a spot to slide. There is not a clear cut answer.

Sorry for the tangent…

Cano continues to play at best average in the field and with his elite talent it is really frustrating. He has been sloppy and lazy. He committed another error yesterday and could have had 2 errors on the same play if Pena were heads up on 3rd. Not getting home by Pena was costly as the great play by Gardner ended the inning right after that.

While on Cano, he is getting his hits and it is hard to complain about an .864 OPS, but he should be over .900 and has the ability to be over 1.000. He has to learn some plate discipline and pitch recognition. At 28 I would hope it would start to happen, but he has not improved at all in that department.

Cory Wade has an excellent changeup and seems like a good change of pace out of the bullpen. Out of all the guys who have come up this year, he and Noesi are the guys I think have a future.

Some updates on OPS:
Granderson .959
Teixeira .901
Cano .864
ARod .862
Gardner .789 (think about is his SB’s were better to go along with the elite defense)
Martin .771
Swisher .731
Nunez .709 (Big hit last night, but still needs to tighten up his defense)
Posada .695
Jeter .649 (at this level he really is not missed much)
Cervelli .528 (at this level he belongs in the minor leagues)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Genius Maker #42

In the first inning the Yanks ran themselves out of the inning when Swisher far over slid 3rd base with nobody out and was tagged out. Then Granderson got caught stealing. The next inning, with 1st and 2nd nobody out Posada hit into a DP. This looked like the 1-0 game all over again. However, Martin got a big 2 out hit to knock in a run.

Brian Gordon was as advertised showing a 90 MPH fastball with a little cut and a 69 MPH curve with good break and good control. His main issue was hitting 2 guys with the curve ball. Overall, he looked OK to me, especially when he worked in his slider which I think is very important he uses. He can keep guys off balance and throw strikes he can be a Garcia type of guy. After struggling through the 5th inning, Girardi really blundered in allowing him to come out for the 6th inning. He has not thrown a lot of innings so he should have come out regardless of the pitch count. He then allowed a 4 pitch walk (I was cursing at Girardi), but Martin gunned out the runner stealing before Gordon allowed another hit and finally Girardi took him out. Noesi, Robertson, Rivera and Cody Wade pitched the final 6 2/3 innings of scores ball allowing Brett Gardner to knock in Granderson with the winning run in the 12 inning. Ironically, in the 9th inning, Granderson was up with the bases loaded and 1 out and struck out on a curve that was not close.

Boston won so the Yanks are still 1.5 back.

The Genius Maker #41

Interesting lineup with recalled Pena at 3rd base, Nunez at SS. Against the lefty, the Yanks opted to DH ARod and put Swish in the leadoff spot against a lefty. It appears that Girardi may be reading the blog (it just takes him an inordinate amount of time to come around) as he not only made a reasonable move in leading off Swish against the lefty, but now seems OK with a platoon out of the leadoff spot with Jeter gone – something I have been advocating for a very long time. This may bode well for us when Jeter comes back (have he and Gardner platoon out of the 1st and last spot depending on the pitcher.

As for the game, Nova struggled with command most of the night and fought through a little over 5 innings against a good offense to get the win. Nova had good velocity, but struggled with his offspeed pitches. The Yankees offense exploded for 5 homers with our Tex going yard from both sides of the plate. After falling behind 2-0, the Yanks offense kept hitting all night (would have been nice to have 2 of those runs the previous night) as they scored in all but two innings in a 12-4 victory.

A lot has been made of the Yanks scoring so many runs (%) via the HR, but when you hit so many of them, isn’t that common? People are penalizing the Yanks for hitting a HR instead of a single or double? Doesn’t make much sense to me... Yes, if you have guys with lower batting averages (The Yanks rank 10th in batting average in baseball with RISP), it can look worse at times, but if you walk and hit more HR's than another type of team, the production will be there, but it may come in bunches. Overall, the Yanks OPS is 3rd in baseball with RISP behind STL and Baltimore. Overall, that is reasonable and good.

Getting back to the game, Cano had yet another play where he didn’t make a play that should be an 80% for him. He went to his right and had a lot of time to set and throw to first, but instead took a few steps toward LF and then flipped to first but threw wildly. He is getting lazy in the field and it is annoying to watch a player with elite skills not play at the elite level he is capable of. Don’t get me wrong, Cano is great, but it is frustrating to watch because he could be the hands down best player in the game.

Nunez is giving us some offense out of the SS position. He ripped a ball up the middle with the bases juiced and one out and the pitcher deflected it to the SS for a tough break DP, but he bounced back with a HR and a single. He did misplay another ball at SS, but he also made a play ranging to his left that Jeter most likely would not have made.

Cervelli makes far too many off line throws (2 more last night), but he did do a good job blocking the plate on a play at the plate.

ARod came home on a Jones single and the play was close, but ARod made it because he slid straight into home rather than the slide by and touch with the hand. Going straight in got him there the fastest and it made a difference.

Ayala did a bad job in relief

The Yanks brought in Ayala, Wade and Marquez…How many people reading this have any clue about 2 of these 3? For the record the Yanks also added a guy named Brian Gordon to their pitching staff and he is expected to start tonight. He is an interesting pickup as he was a position player until 2008 when he made the transition to pitching. He is 32 years old so his time is now, but he was very good with the Phillies minor league team this year. From what I have read, he is a control type of pitcher, but has movement to strike batters out. This year, in the Phillies minors, he pitched 55 innings (9 starting and 3 in relief) allowing only 39 hits, walking 7 and striking out 56. The walk to K ratio is phenomenal. He does not appear like a guy who will go long in the start, but a guy who can throw strikes with movement can be effective with the Yanks. I am looking forward to watching him. I like that Cashman and his team were all over this as Gordon had an opt out clause and the Yanks went after him. He may stink, but I like taking the chance. BTW, his ERA was only 1.14 in those 55 innings. The two prior years were mostly out of the pen and he had an ERA of 3.47 with solid walk to K ratios.

Beckett pitched a one hitter for Boston…arghhh. Oh, and if anyone cares, the Bruins won the Stanley Cup in 7 games beating Vancouver.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Genius Maker #41

At least the offense only went into its shell for one game. Facing the hottest pitcher in the league, in fact, Ugando was 7-0 with an ERA of 1 something against the rest of baseball, the Yanks knocked him out in the 2nd inning. This time, with the bases loaded the Yanks came through as Nunez had a big hit to get the first run across and then both Granderson and Tex got on top of high 95 mph fastballs that were balls and ripped them to RF. This is no easy task on a good fastball so the Yanks were clearly looking fastball and got it. About 4 weeks ago I was mentioning how Tex was having trouble getting on top of the high fastball...he didn't have trouble yesterday.

It took an injury to Jeter to finally have the top of the lineup the way I have been asking for it since the All Star break last year...and the Yanks didn't disappoint. Gardner collected 3 hits and has his OPS up to .788 which is great for him because his defense is worth a ton in LF and normally we would be adding a lot because of all his extra SB's. Unfortunately, that part is not helping as of yet, but by the end of the year it will.

There was another subtle change in the lineup and that saw Posada ahead of Swisher. I would expect to see that against righties for a little while.

The real question is whether the Yanks leave Gardner in the 1 spot against a lefty. I could go either way on this as Gardner is better against righties. I would not touch 2-5, but we could put Swisher in that spot against a lefty. His OPS against lefties is 1.014 so he has been phenomenal against lefties (only .599 against righties).

This is a good chance for Nunez to show what he can do...time for him to step up, he has some tools so let's see if he can hold his own and play at least as well as Jeter. I expect to see more range and quickness defensively, better tagging around the base and probably an extra error compared to Jeter. Offensively, I would be disappointed if Nunez couldn't match what Jeter was doing.

Cervelli is simply awful right now and with Martin's back a problem, I would look at 2 options. 1) see if Posada can catch at all. I know the Yanks have been reluctant, but I am not sure why. Does anyone think that catching 5-10 games a year will cripple him? If nothing else, why wouldn't Posada be their emergency catcher? if so, get him a game or 2 so when you do it he is ready. 2) Take a look at bringing up Montero and get him some action. I was never a fan of Cervelli, but I have totally given up on him. I like his energy, but he simply is not good.

Boston lost 4-0 so we are 1.5 back after this 12-4 victory.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Genius Maker #40

Great hitting game on Sunday as the Yanks rolled! The only point I want to make about the game was a bad play Canp made on a play they gave an error to ARod on. ARod through a little wide to 2nd base, but Cano thought there was only one out and took the throw by stepping toward 3rd base rather than stepping toward the pitcher to make the catch easy…he messed it up and it annoyed me because he has just been sloppy. He has so much talent, but he has played poorly defensively for a player with his immense talents.

For Monday’s game I wanted to see if we could keep the bats alive. The start was great as we loaded the bases with nobody out, but ARod flew out to medium shallow CF (Jeter would have made it because the CF’r double pumped, but it was shallow), Cano took strike one and then swung at 5 balls before striking out, and then Swisher got out. The 2nd and 3rd innings saw the Yanks get 2 guys on again and get out each time. Frustrating! Two other plays annoyed me (see a trend)…One was Cervelli, (who simply is not good) was up with 1st and 2nd and nobody out in a clear bunt situation. He pulls the bunt back on a clear curve ball strike, then fouls off a weak bunt attempt and then watches a curve strike 3 (close pitch, but swing the bat). The other was Gardner. On a 3-2 count he decides to catch the 3rd baseman sleeping and decides to bunt….of course he bunts it foul for strike 3. That wouldn’t have been so horrible (although kind of dumb), but he bunted on a clear ball 4. Please remove your head from your rectum!

So after the offensive juggernaut, the Yanks get shut out 1-0! Great job by Burnett, wasted with such a pathetic offensive performance.

Hopefully Colon and Jeter will be OK…Jete's didn't seem too bad and Colon should be OK with rest, but you hate to see him lose his head of steam.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Genius Maker #39

The offense wakes up in an 11-7 win that was really a blow out until a late rally that I was not too worried about.

A few comments:

Nova pitched very well. His control of his very good curve still needs some work, but he threw hard and with movement and decent control. His change was effective as well. He threw exactly 100 pitches in getting through 7 innings. He only allowed 4 hits and 3 walks...if he can keep those walks down he will be very solid. His ERA is a respectable 4.30!

The Yankees called up AAA closer Kevin Whelan who had only 6 walks in 27 innings as the closer and he walked 4 in his first outing. He has a very odd delivery...It was hard to make a judgment on him as he couldn't throw strikes. I don't have too much faith in the other guys we have in the middle relief roles, so hopefully it was just his first game nerves. He is 27 so it is not like he is that young.

The way the game shaped up, I thought Girardi should have used Logan to get a lefty out somewhere instead of guys like Sanit and Pendleton. I don't see much of a future for either of them.

Girardi went to Rivera really early, but I was OK with that as he hadn't worked in a little bit. Just close out the game and get the win.

There was some action in the game as the Yanks were all over Carmona early on and after a long HR by Granderson, Carmona threw high and inside to Tex and hit him in the back. Tex barked "throw the ball over the plate" twice and both benches and bullpens ran onto the field. Girardi and Acta went face to face yelling at each other. It looked like the last words came form Acta and while my lip reading skills may be marginal, it appeared he said, F U.

Jorge has been swinging the bat well of late and that is very big for us. He actually has a .787 OPS against righties this year and should play against all of them. I just realized he has an OPS of .807 at home and only .556 on the road. My first reaction was these splits just seem to be anomalies, but the home and away one is and has been large for him over the previous 2 years. In 2009 and 2010 the OPS differential is about .240 points...just about the same as this year. That is really surprising, but maybe the comfort of being home while DH'ing more makes a difference? The lefty/righty split was never an issue before, so I think this IS just a fluke. Either way, you ride the wave you are given. BTW, Jorge had a big 2 out hit early on, but did make another base running mistake. I think Posada has been a difference maker for this team in having such good offense from the catchers position, however, when you combine his glacier like speed with some of the worst base running instincts, he is one of the worst liabilities on the base paths you can have.

Someone who has excellent base running instincts is ARod...who hit a bomb during the game...a little left of made the bleachers out there; it was crushed!

Last comment and this won't come off so well after he ended up hitting 3 bullet hits in the game...but hey I make my comments as I see them. Cano got up after Carmona walked the bases loaded and decided he was going to take the first pitch. That is fine and is a good strategy. the problem with Cano is that he can't recognize the pitches too well so when he takes a pitch it is almost always because he says I won;t swing no matter what and not, "that pitch is a ball...hold up." Then, Cano almost always swings at the next pitch as long as he can reach it. His, "I am swinging no matter what" is what drive me crazy and he almost always does it after he takes a pitch. This is why he has only 10 walks this year (of course he had one last night as well to make me look stupid). I think sometimes his incredibly quick hands and the fact he can put a bat on almost anything plays against him sometimes. The only thing holding him back is his plate discipline/approach. In that early AB with the bases loaded he swung at 4 of the 1st 6 pitches and only 1 was a strike. of course, he hit a missile (single) later in the AB so all is forgotten by many, but the issue is still there. Just to drive this point home, Cano was up with bases loaded an 2 outs against Boston in the 3rd inning of teh final game. Beckett was down 2-0 and had just walked Granderson on 4 pitches and hen he hit ARod to load the bases for Cano. Robbie swung at the first pitch, which by itself is not necessarily bad, but he swung at a cutter that bore in on his hands that ended the inning. There is a site called Fangraphs that tracks pitches and trends...Simply put, even though he is seeing less pitches in teh strike zone than in his previous years, he is swinging more. He is swinging at 57% of all the pitches he has seen even though only 43% of them are strikes. I am not trying to beat up Robbie, but his talent should translate into a .900+ OPS every year.

Boy the Yanks could use Feliciano back with Joba out. It does appear that Soriano, Felciano and Hughes will be back this year.

Last comment...the Red Sox are going to be incredibly tough with Big Poppy hitting so well. Ortiz now has an OPS of .992 that leads their team.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Genius Maker #38

Fortunately, I have been away on business and did not get to watch Boston sweep us again at home. These games will come back to haunt us unless we start to play up to our offensive ability. Two runs in the first and then the Yanks bats go silent. CC was pitching well, but then the wheels fell off and Robertson (who is now critical) did a terrible job leading to Boston's 8-3 win.

Joba is now out for the year. This is a big blow, especially on top of Soriano who is out until the All Star break.

The offense is the part of the team that is hurting us though. Outside of Granderson, not one Yankee is above his career OPS...not one! Tex is doing well, but his career is .912 and he is at .893. Guys like ARod (-.122), Swisher (-.128), Posada (-.174) and Jeter (-.178) are the big culprits. BTW, as I predicted earlier when Posada was awful (not that he has been great lately and that running play last Sunday was atrocious), he will have a higher OPS than Jeter. As bad as Jorge and Swisher have been, Swisher is at .691, Posada is at .677 and Jeter is at .654 (the same as Cervelli). Once Jeter breaks 3000 hits, they need to drop him in the lineup and try and spark the team against righties. Go ahead and do what I said last year and platoon them in the leadoff spot.

Back to Joba. My only comment is the same thing some of the veterans of this blog have read and that is I thought the Joba rules were handled terribly and I didn't like the way the Yanks treated Joba (and even Hughes). I am OK with limiting some of the volume of pitches/innings, not to over extend them, but the Yanks took it to an extreme that was illogical (as I barked about at the time). Now after both of these "super stud" young talents have been injured, maybe the Yankees will re-think their position? You don't abuse any pitcher, but nothing says a young guy can't start 30 times and throw 6 innings and not break 110 pitches and throw 180 innings - 200 innings.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

The Genius Maker #37

I was fortunate to be at the game in LA today. The pitch selection is harder to make comments on so I will focus on the game itself. My thoughts:

Colon seemed to struggle throwing any of his off-speed stuff for strikes and that made it tough to be effective.

Girardi went to Robertson early but Colon was struggling so it seemed OK to me. Unfortunately, Robertson struggled also, but got out of the jam. I was surprised he came out in the next inning after throwing 20 pitches, but Girardi was trying to get the final 11 outs any way he could. I just don’t get why he extends guys when they are struggling but won’t do it when they are doing well…just doesn’t make any sense. Joba then came in and also struggled. His velocity and control were not good, but he got out of it. Then, came the Genius Maker, who also didn’t seem sharp, but worked out of his jam for the 5-3 victory. My conclusion is that The Angels are a weak hitting team and a better hitting team would have put up a lot more runs today. The huge play and help was when Kendrick struck out swinging at ball 4 (with 2 guys on)

Gardner got caught stealing on a play where he got an awful jump and Cervelli (who was awful at the plate striking out 3 times) swung through the high pitch. Girardi over-thought the situation instead of just bunting him over.

Cano made a great play on a grounder he came in and fired across his body to barely get Hunter at first. This was a big play with 2nd and 3rd at the time.

Tex hit 2 homers and carried us; the 2nd one was a bomb!

The Angels hats with the halo on them are silly looking

The Yankee fans must have been 30% of the people in the stands…it was pretty cool.

6-3 on the road trip; time to win the Red Sox series

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Genius Maker #36

Jeter started the game with a great AB fouling off I believe 10 pitches and working a 15 pitch out. While it was an out it really gave the Yankees a huge advantage in the game. While Weaver should not have gone past the 5th, he ended up going through the 7th because the Yankees simply didn’t hit him (and he was helped on Cano and Martin going out on 1 pitch in the 5th or 6th). I don’t think people realize how much of a difference it is facing the middle relief but it is many times the difference between winning and losing. If the Yanks could have done just slightly better the Jeter AB could have been the reason for a victory.

I thought the ump was great on fastballs all night but was too lenient calling the outside curve from Weaver (up and outside specifically) for strikes. Granderson had 2 that I didn’t agree with. The ump also called a change on Swisher away that was a ball. While on the umps, in a pretty big spot in the 8th inning, the 1st base ump made one of the worst check swing calls I have ever seen. The ump really needs to get suspended and fined when he turned ARod’s AB into a 2 strike situation. Many times people say “the worst I have ever seen” in pure hyperbole, but seriously, it was not even close and ARod never broke his wrists at all and also held up. It was simply awful. In fact, it was so bad, ARod shook his head in disbelief and was ready to move on, when he had to stop again and say something to the home ump because it was so wrong. Terrible job by the 1st base ump.

The 2nd base ump made a great call on a pathetic (non) tag by Jeter on a stolen base throw. Veterans on this blog have seen me write about how much better Cano is on the tags at 2nd than Jeter, but this play by Jeter was pretty weak. Not only did he field the throw far too close to the pitchers side of 2nd, he lazily swept high without snapping down. The runner didn’t even reach the base on his own at first and then eventually made it.

The offense did a poor job and thus the loss. Nova was pretty good, but he needs to throw more changes to allow his plus curve and plus fastball to be more effective.

The 3-2 loss combined with the Red Sox win puts the Yanks only 1 game ahead

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Genius Maker #35

Oakland has been the answer to our issues as we have had two easy victories. Most players got healthy in the first 2 games. One player that has been dropping and shows why catching can wear you down is Russell Martin. His OPS is down to a still strong and respectable .821, but the bangs and bruises he has been hit with lately have put him in a slump (zero hits in his last 13 AB's). That being said, I have been thrilled with him this year and he has an excellent arm in throwing guys out.

ARod has been doing OK at the plate, but where is the power? He has become a singles hitter. In his last about 40 AB's he has not hit an extra base hit! He isn't slumping from a batting average standpoint as he has had 14 hits in this time period, but not one of them was an extra base hit.

Back in first place...where we belong!