Very sloppy game for a 3-2 game. Each team made 2 errors but really had 3 or 4. Tex let one through his legs, Jeter made one official error and another that should have been real costly but JJ Hardy assumed Jeter would make a play that almost any SS would make and stopped at 3rd assuming there would be a play at 3rd. I know Jeter has little range, but that was a play that has to be made by a major league ball player and to make it worse he failed to keep the ball in the infield; but we caught a break. Cano had the same issue, although it was a really hard play, but I would have liked to see him dive to keep the ball in the infield, just knock it down; it cost us a run (even though a much tougher play). That being said, the play that got me very mad at a time I was supposed to be happy was watching our 3rd base coach make yet another terrible decision getting Ichiro thrown out by 15 feet. Somehow the catcher didn’t move his feet and Ichiro got around the first tag and then did a little of the swim move and avoided the 2nd tag to get in for one of our 2 runs! Robby Thompson should have been fired 2 years ago, but if he doesn’t get fired this year then we are not holding our coaches accountable for bad play; the guy is simply the worst 3rd base coach I have ever seen. Jeter made another error on a bad throw that he stayed back on the ball and honestly looked very shaky on a few other plays. I don’t know why he is sitting back and waiting for the ball to play him, but he has not looked good defensively.
Pettitte had excellent movement and location on his pitches most of the night. I felt he got squeezed a little more than Chen, but he pitched well and that is encouraging. He made two big mistakes; one where he walked JJ Hardy on 4 pitches with 1st and 2nd and 2 outs (after a broken bat hit and another off the end hit) and the 2nd right after that when he hung his slider out over the plate to Chris Davis who lined a single scoring 2. Chris Davis is perhaps the only guy who has hit the ball sharply for Baltimore. We really should have taken 2 the way they hit, but our own offense didn’t do well and when we did we hit it at people. ARod’s numbers look bad, but in the first inning he hit a line drive shot that Jeter took off on and got doubled up. That is a tough play for Jeter to read, but you are taught to freeze on line drives and Jeter didn’t while Ichiro did otherwise we would have had a triple play. That was a tough break for us. ARod did line another ball through the left side which was good to see, but didn’t do anything the rest of the game. I think against righties, ARod needs to drop to the 5 spot. I also don’t love Ichiro batting 2nd against a lefty as he didn’t hit the ball out of the infield.
The 7th inning was a big chance for us after we got two cheap hits in a row (Nunez bloop and Jeter’s hit) using Nunez’ speed. After a FC to Ichiro, O’Day was brought in to face ARod (a good move by Buck). It was a good battle, but on a 3-2 pitch and Ichiro running, O’Day made a great sweeping curve that was right on the black and ARod missed it. We needed ARod to foul that off, but you do have to tip your hat when the other team pitches well and that was a perfect pitch. In fact, I thought Chen made a lot of quality pitches on the black. After ARod got Buck had the lefty Matusz walk Cano to face the switch hitting Swisher. Matusz gets hit by righties to the tune of a .932 OPS against righties, but Swisher has bad numbers off of him. In Game 1, Swisher took two pitches down the middle (one a breaking ball) so I expected him to be a little more aggressive this time. The first pitch was in the dirt so that was easy to lay off (in fact both runners moved up) and the next pitch was huge as Matusz once again caught the middle of the plate but Swisher watched it; a big chance lost. After another ball Swisher watched another strike before making the count full. He then missed fastball off the end of the bat and flew out fairly weakly. This was our last chance big chance as it turned out. Tex did lead of the 8th with a single and you could have pinch run for him with Gardner, but in a one run game I understand NOT doing that. You have to tie it before you win it so perhaps it should have been done. If it were the 9th I think you have to but I can see not doing it in the 8th so I am not being critical, but perhaps we needed to be more aggressive there?
In the 9th, while we needed to do whatever we could to come back, I said to my brother Jeter will ground out on the 1st pitch and that is what he did. My feeling was that Johnson would have his better sinker and I was afraid Jeter would try to swing at it after not seeing such a good sinker all game. I wish he would have taken it. Johnson looked overpowering unfortunately.
The offense (and defense) needs to be better as there is little excuse for scoring only 2 runs in that small ball park…and it would have been only one if Ichiro didn’t pull a Houdini at home.
I still believe we will win this series and struggle next series, but nothing would surprise me. They have Gonzalez going (righty) and he has a 2.74 ERA on the road this year. He is a little tougher on righties but righties have him more HR’s off of him so his overall is pretty equal (he is slightly better against righties (.685-.701).
Cano ( I like splitting up my lefties, but Cano could bat 3rd)
I think he will start Ibanez, but I like Ibanez being the pinch hitter for Martin and I love Gardner’s defense, but I understand this as Gardner has not seen a lot of time.
With Kuroda on the mound this is the game we should win. Hughes is up next and he scares me.