Friday, September 18, 2015


Five quick points:

  1. Great to see Severino get back on track and pitch a nice game.  he seems to have a good makeup for a young kid.
  2. Once again Betances pitches over an inning.  Girardi is abusing him...even if he was a starter.  he needs to throw more strikes
  3. After I mentioned how the young kids were doing, it was great to see Heathcott hit the game winning homer.  What a great feeling that must be for him!
  4. After Wednesday's game (Ellsbury got 2 hits) poster child of poor hitting, Drew's OPS was .656.  Ellsbury's was 655.   Yep, Ellsbury has hit that poorly.  When you take SB's into account Jacoby pulls even with him.
  5. At least we know we will make the playoffs

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Stay Positive

I have had so many comments I wanted to make, but once again being after the fact I want to make a few points. 

1)       I was told from one of our long time readers that when the Yankees lose he doesn’t like to even read the papers so he doesn’t like when I am negative.  I said that I have to call them like I see them and I try to point out the positive too…It is what it is and when we are not playing well, so the comments are probably more negative.   

2)       Girardi’s poor job allowing the guys who were pitching well to not pitch more innings in tight games caused Betances to be the top guy in pitches thrown out of the bullpen.  There was no reason on numerous occasions that Betances needed to pitch more than 1 inning (something he has been asked to do far too often).

3)        Part of the above, Girardi has really done a disservice to Warren pulling him from the rotation when he was doing well and then not using him in leverage situations and then not leaving him when he was doing well.  I hope this has not stunted his growth as I think he can be a very solid pitcher for us, but they need to allow him to settle into ONE role

4)       Cashman has done a pretty good job.  While I really disliked the Ellsbury signing (giving elite money for a good player is a bad idea) and I stated we didn’t address 2nd base, there are a lot of very promising things going on.  The minor leagues are starting to produce major league talented players.  We are seeing it from the pitchers (Betances, Severino and Warren were not traded) and the position players.  Bird has done a very solid job filling in at 1st base (losing Tex is a huge blow though) even if I still haven’t seen him hit a fastball since I mentioned it.  Bird’s defense at scooping was good, but he has struggled on bunts and plays where he needs to flip to someone covering.  Slade Heathcott and Mason Williams both got hurt but both seem like legitimate major league OF’rs.  I really liked the move to get Gregorius and his play has been fairly solid of late playing good defense and giving us some offense as well.  In fact, since the All Star break, a period of 193 AB’s, he has an OPS of .786!  His 7 walks during this time is too low, but it is fair to say he has been very good all-around player since the All Star Break.

5)       Ellsbury – I am ticked at him; he needs to play better.  I can’t expect him to be elite (like he is paid), but I expect him to be good and he simply hasn’t been.  His OPS is .660!  That is what I would expect from a minor leaguer being called up to help us when “Ellsbury” gets injured.  He hasn’t even stolen bases well only gaining 2 extra bases (18 SB’s and caught 8 times…each CS takes away 1 SB).  Now you know why I was so against the signing.

6)       Beltran has cooled in September (.656 OPS) and needs some days off.  Overall at .806 that is about right for him.  He is huge for us with Tex out; he must be a factor.

7)       Our 3rd base coach is a huge upgrade from Thompson…nothing else needs to be said here

8)       I know ARod has been struggling, but as long as we give him a blow here and there, I think he is fine.  Outside of him swinging at pitches that were so far out of the strike zone (something he had not done all year), his swing is fine.  Once he gets the eye back again, he will swing pretty well for us (even if not the .897 OPS before the All Star break)

9)       Losing Eovaldi hurts as it causes more pressure on everyone else and the bullpen.  Further, he obviously was getting a lot of wins for us as well and that is hard to replace.  His stuff has gotten better as the year has gone on (he was consistently throwing 100 and his change/splitter was vastly improved).    BTW, another nice pickup by Cashman…(see I can be positive)

10)   Shreve has been struggling a lot of late.  He is really struggling with throwing his changeup for strikes and quality pitches.  Teams have been just waiting on his fastball and doing damage.  In 36 IP before the ASB he had allowed only 22 hits, 13 walks and 3 HRs.  In the 20 IP since he has allowed 18 hits, 17 walks and 5 HR’s.  He has not been good.  17 walks in 20 IP is awful.  I like his stuff, but he needs to find his release point again as he can’t be trusted.  Wilson has struggled of late as well, but I actually think he has been throwing better and has been a little unlucky…but still he hasn’t been good.

11)   Stephen Drew -  He has his batting average over .200, but more importantly he has had a reasonably, almost acceptable OPS of .710 since the All Star Break.  But, his defense has taken a step backward.  The other day when he just whiffed on a weak throw from Headley that would have taken us out of the inning and instead allowed Toronto to tie the game, was just as bad as the play earlier in the game when he whiffed on a routine DP ball and it went off his face (he was able to make the out at first at least).    Still not a good spot for us, but as we move into the playoffs (we should still make the playoffs) maybe he can find a few big plays/hits for us?

12)   The last comment I want to make was in the Toronto game where we were losing 6-0 and we came back to make it 6-4 and still had 2nd and 3rd with only 1 out.  Chris Young was at the plate against a lefty and popped up and then Ellsbury failed again.  This was a huge spot, but we still closed the game to 2 going into the 7th.  Then Girardi let Capuano stay in the game to pitch the 7th!  I had people over and exclaimed “WTF is Girardi doing?  How can Capuano be allowed to pitch any high leverage situations?  This is Toronto and we are coming back!”   Fast forward to later that inning and Capuano is being pulled with the score 8-4 with 2 outs and 1st and 3rd.  This was just idiotic and another one of the many blunders Girardi has made this year.  His game management is not where it needs to be.  He and Coughlin must discuss “strategy”

Monday, September 7, 2015

I have been watching all the games and will first discuss today’s (Labor Day game).

Pineda started out missing spots badly, especially with 2 outs.  The killer blow was the 0-2 pitch where he threw a 95 MPH fastball over the plate and it got turned around for a 3 run HR and made us play catch-up.  We feel further behind when Baltimore did something I was not sure was legal.  They had a runner on first base and they had their batter check their swing trying to hit a slow roller and move the runners over.  They actually did this twice in a row because the first time the batter reached first base as the Yankees seemed perplexed.    I looked it up in Girardi’s playbook and it wasn’t there, but when I looked up the rules, it was called a sacrifice bunt.  There was even something called a squeeze play, but Girardi has never called for one of them.          ;-)

I only bring up the bunt because Bird messed the play up as the bunt went by Pineda, who hustled off the mound, and when Bird fielded it he looked toward 2nd and never threw to Pineda who would have beaten the runner.  I don’t know what Bird said after the game, but he messed that up and we were down 4-1.  Pineda pitched pretty well after that, but the damage was done.  Fortunately, after getting to 4-2, Murphy hit a 2 run HR and ARod hit a solo one to put us up by a run before Wilson hung a slider to Machado who tied the game up.  Bird more than made up for his error when Matusz (the lefty from Baltimore) returned the favor Pineda offered Baltimore earlier on the 0-2 count, by hanging a slider on an 0-2 count that Bird hit deep into the bullpen for a 3 run HR!  This was after 2 fastballs that got Bird into an 0-2 hole.  I also bring this up because this followed suit with something I had been noticing over the past 5 or so games.  Bird has really struggled squaring up fastballs.  He keeps fouling them off and I am talking about very hittable pitches.  But, he has been hitting the off speed ball very well.    I know he has some hits on the fastballs this year, but I am 100% positive that over the past week he has not lined up a fastball but has hit the off speed pitches.  I was so aware of this that when he was down 0-2, I was hoping they would throw him a breaking ball…I don’t know if it is a just a fluke run, but it is something to watch as it has happened enough to be noticed.

Betances made it interesting by walking 3 and striking out 3 but held Baltimore scoreless.  His control needs to be better or he is going to have a few bad games.  I would like to see Girardi use the bullpen better to make sure he only pitches one inning until the playoffs.

Miller finished up allowing a run, but I thought he threw the ball well.  He made one mistake walking Pearce and Pearce scored on a single after we allowed him to steal 2nd base.

With Toronto losing, we are half a game back.  Should be interesting as we play Toronto 7 times in our last 26 games.  Winning the division is a big deal as the wild card teams have to play that one game playoff.

Some notes/thought on the previous week of games:

        First, I don’t get the September callups?  During the most important time of the year, you get to use so many more players in these key games?  Teams that didn’t have depth get a big jump and you can platoon, pinch run and matchup so much more than you normally could…it just doesn’t make sense to me?

       In the Boston series, McCann had a great block with 1st and 2nd and nobody out and then on the next pitch the guy dribbled one down the 3rd base line that McCann hopped on before it went foul (and it would have) and he threw to 3rd to get the force out that he kept in order from that excellent block.  Great sequence!

       Drew had a brain freeze when he tried to tag up at 2nd base with one out on a ball that ended up going off the wall, but it would have just cost a base if Gardner didn’t exacerbate it by stopping at 2nd when he noticed Drew wasn’t running but then running right up Drew anyway and then getting tagged out.  Very poor play by Drew, but I think Gardner’s was even worse.

      Didi has been playing some excellent defense and his arm has really helped get some outs.  In today’s game, Didi made a very good hustle play to back up a ball Headley slowed down and when he got there he slid and popped up and threw a strike to the plate to get the guy trying to get the extra base

       Speaking of plays at the plate, JR murphy was trying to score on a double from 1st base and as he was sliding home the ball hit Murphy in the helmet.  Nobody said anything about it, but the catcher was behind Murphy and the ball (he was in foul territory behind the 3rd base line).  If he is in front of the play, he could catch the ball and tag Murphy before it hits his helmet and he probably would have been out.

     I took some notes, so you don’t think I was making up the Bird hitting non fastballs.  My note said, he is not squaring up fastballs and his HR was a hanging splitter (In the Boston game)

      Severino is doing well, although I really hated to see 4 walks.  His change is working very well and he has movement on his pitches and they go in every direction to keep the batter off balance.  I would like his slider to be a little sharper and also something a little slower (curve?), but very hard to be anything but excited for a 21 year old who has pitched 6 games and has a 2.04 ERA!

      There was a play that Drew was given an error when the throw came in from CF (I think it was Gardner) and the ball hit the bag and ricocheted away allowing the runner to move up.  Michael Kay must have said 2 or 3 times he wasn’t sure how Drew can get that error and he was sure they would change it.  The runner was going to try to go to 2nd base and all I saw was a perfect throw that happen to hit the base because Drew inexplicably took the throw behind the bag when the runner didn’t go to 2nd allowing the ball to hit the bag.  If he just stays on the bag he catches it??? Drew deserved the error.

      I will go into stats of our players on my next blog!

Hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend!  

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Ugly Game

While nova simply could not throw his curve for a strike unless he hung it, This game got out of hand because of a terrible play by Ellsbury in CF.  He got about as bad a read on a ball as possible (VERY late start) and then came running in and took a poor line to the ball, playing it off to the side, and not getting a glove on it to attempt to knock it down.  he turned a routine out into a triple (the scoring is absurd as that is an error, I don't care whether he got a glove on it or not - the word error means a mistake and that was clearly a mistake).  In the first inning, pitchers need help and this was the opposite and was a large reason the game got out of hand.

BTW, this was the type of game Ellsbury and Didi could take a game off with a lefty on the mound..of course, they just got a game off (at a bad time).

Today they talked about possibly moving CC to the pen. Maybe they should read this blog earlier because they spoke to his good job at getting lefties out...

Good to see Tex back in the lineup.

They should just drop Capuano now; of course they never should have gotten him in the first place.

Brendan Ryan was the only Yankee pitcher to not allow a run...and he pitched 2 scoreless innings.

At least it is only one leos!

Monday, August 24, 2015

Finally, A Post!

Hello Fellow Genius Makers!

I have been catching a lot of well-deserved flak for not writing in a long time…As I said, I started a new job and then went on a 2 week Europe trip, but I have been watching and or looking at the box scores when away.  I have wanted to write after a bunch of games, but just have not been able to…so let’s get to it!

I will focus on the Cleveland series and then go through my thoughts from the last bunch of weeks.

Losing 3 of 4 at home to Cleveland is disappointing; Cleveland is not very good.  The first game, I felt the Yankees did not hit well as they had a ton of hittable pitches and couldn’t cash in on them.  Friday night, Carrasco was tough to hit so I give them a pass, but the defense and not hitting the bullpen was an issue.  Beltran let a ball go over his head that he took a terrible path to and then gave up, McCann dropped a popup in the stands (not an easy play, but one that should be made) and the next pitch was a HR, and Brendan Ryan uncharacteristically messed up a slow bounding ball that cost us a run and could have been more.  Maybe his absurd moustache got in the way?  The win was a good one as we watched Severino once again show that he has solid major league stuff.  I still think he will need something he can throw that is less than 88 MPH, but throwing a consistent 96-97 with an 88 MPH change that has good movement is very effective.  His slider at 88 also is the one concern I have, but because he mixes in a cutter at around 91/92 his ball is moving in a lot of different directions between the cutter moving left, the change going down and right and the slider down and to the left.  Another breaking pitch in the 82/83 range would be very effective and make everything else even stronger.   He is exciting though and has pitched to a 2.74 ERA in his 4 starts.    It is pretty clear he can be a mid 3 ERA guy already.  Last night was frustrating to watch Betances give up the game winning run because he simply could not throw a strike with his breaking ball and an excellent fastball hitter jumped on what he knew was coming and drilled a HR.  Betances has elite stuff, but needs to get better command of his pitches so he can throw either one at any time (which he already does).  He still has been great, so I am nitpicking, but 27 walks in 66 IP is one area for improvement. 

A couple of other comments from the series:

1.        I don’t understand Girard’s thought process in resting guys like Ellsbury and Didi against a righty?  While the pitcher was not better against righties, why not get them a blow when a lefty is on the mound; they obviously were not hurt as Girardi brought them in later in the game anyway (which doesn’t really give their bodies rest anyway because they have to get ready twice in many ways).  As I have said before, if you want to give someone rest, it would be best to shut them down for the day and know you won’t use them and this way the body does get a full rest.  It is also why I stated I didn’t want any of my players going to the All Star game; why do I want to have to rest my players during games that matter so they can play in games that don’t matter?
2.        In the last game, Gardner made an accurate throw home on a short fly ball to get a double play.  The play made by JR Murphy though was an excellent one.  Gardner’s throw was not going to make it on a fly and Murphy decided to come up and get it on a shorter hop (it was a little longer than he would have liked) which was as close as he could move up and still make the tag.  It was a very tough play and he adjusted very well and made a fantastic “scoop” and tag.  At 24 years of age, he is a solid backup and can develop into a nice starter.  He can hit the ball the opposite way and is more of a line drive hitter than a HR hitter but has room to grow.  His eye could get a little better in terms of taking walks, but his defense is solid
3.        McCann came into the game to catch after DH’ing and made a terrific throw (Didi snapped the tag well too) to throw out a base stealer.  McCann’s ability to throw guys out has been great this year to go along with a very solid .780 OPS.  I don’t like his new stance as I don’t see it being that effective the way he sets up, but that may also be because it looks very uncomfortable to me.
4.        CC getting injured may be a blessing.  I am not sure how bad his knee pain is, but maybe this will force Girardi to make the decision he should have made a while ago.   There is not a single pitcher in all of baseball who has pitched as much as CC (138 IP with a 5.27 ERA) has who has a higher ERA…not one!  That says it all.  The other factor is he simply does not have good stuff and his command is not good enough to get rid of it.  Yesterday was a microcosm of his issues.  He is ahead in the count and tries to come inside with his 89-91 MPH fastball and he leaves it over the middle of the plate and gets ripped for a double.  Later, he has the same exact situation and he tries to come in again and leaves it over the plate and allows a 2 run HR.  You simply can’t make those mistakes on a consistent basis and be remotely effective.   I have said since the day they moved Warren out of the rotation that Warren (more on Warren later) deserved to stay in there and CC should be used as a LOOGY and they could drop Capuano and have another bench player to pinch hit for Didi against a lefty or Drew (who has not been as horrible since the All Star break with a .718 OPS since the All Star break).  Still not good, but not the anemic .536 OPS he had last year or even the .526 OPS he had through May this year.   Michael Kay made a comment that I thought was absurd when he said that Drew probably felt that he could help the team the most by getting to 20 HR’s.  I assume that was Mike’s opinion and Drew wouldn’t have said that, but regardless, it is a stupid comment because hitting 20 HR’s by itself doesn’t mean a whole lot…so if he gets 5 more HR’s and doesn’t get any other hits or walks or play defense, that is the best way he can help the team???  Of course, not, the best way he can help the team is to play solid defense and give us at the minimum an OPS of .720 and hopefully more.
5.        I don’t like the umpiring crew we had for Cleveland; even though we got a huge break in the win when they incorrectly ruled that Didi was within the area of turning two on a bad throw by our rookie 1st baseman (Bird).  We were not necessarily getting the bad calls with the exception of last night where the umpire was simply bad.  Ellsbury got called out on a clear ball 4 in the 9th inning.  Man on first with one out (and a fast man) or 2 outs and nobody on is a huge difference.  Very inconsistent and what made it even more annoying was he had just called a better pitch a ball earlier in the count…really bad and impossible to bat when an ump is so inconsistent.
6.        One last comment about last night’s game was when Cleveland’s pitcher was really struggling throwing strikes and after a single and a walk to Gardner, Bauer went 3-0 to Beltran.  I said out loud do not give him the green light and when Michael Kay asked the question I said NO!  Beltran actually got a very good pitch to hit and when he swung I thought he might have gotten it, but he didn’t and flew out to the warning track.  As it turned out, the pitch he got was a good one to swing it, but I still would have given him the take sign as their pitcher was struggling.  Announcers said he has earned the right to swing 3-0, but more important the manager should control game as the players should not be as smart as the manager when it comes to strategy.  I don’t think their pitcher could throw 3 strikes in a row at that point and what happened is the reason you don’t swing in that spot…you could still get out on a perfectly hittable pitch…

Other notes:
·       Speaking of strategy, I had a ton of issues with Girardi over the weeks I didn’t write.  It started with some of his inexplicable moves with the bullpen taking guys out who were throwing very well (like Warren) after only 2/3 of an inning so he could bring in Betances in a tie game and pitch him for 5 or 6 outs and then being stuck without anyone in extra innings.  I have said this for years (I used to get mad at Torre for doing the same thing) if a guy is going well in a close game you want to ride him as long as you can because the game may go into extra innings and you never know when a good pitcher just doesn’t have it.  This cost us a Toronto game (Unfortunately, I knew Toronto would be the team we had to worry about) and led to that bad sweep they had against us.  It hurt because he also ended up wasting Betances’ innings and he wasn’t available after that.  The ripple effect set us up for that bad run.
·       Continuing on Girardi (you have to allow me to vent after this much time)…One of the strange moves made by Girardi was when he took out (I think it was Justin Wilson) who was throwing fine, but did throw a wild pitch on an 0-2 count that allowed the tying run to 2nd base.  So on a 1-2 count he switched to Betances (I think) and Betances ended up walking that batter and we lost the game.  The move itself in the right spot I am OK with (meaning taking a pitcher out mid-stream for a specific reason I am fine with), but it was surprising in the situation that was going on.  That being said, it was Joe’s pompous, arrogant, condescending response when asked about it by the media that ticks me off. After the game when questioned about it, Girardi simply said it was "Strategy."  When prompted again, he said something like "It was strategy--that's all I'm saying on the subject--you can print what you want."  He pulls that crap all the time and it bothers me a lot.  He is simply not genuine in his responses; I think we get BS all the time from him.  I don’t think he is a bad person and he is not a bad manager, he just takes too long to make decisions (such as moving Robby Thompson off of 3rd base), but his condescending tone annoys me.
·       In the Cleveland series there was a play that nobody mentioned but when JR Murphy was throwing the pitch back to the pitcher he threw it off the helmet of Brantley the lefty batter.   I am not sure if I have ever seen that throwing back to the pitcher?
·       Eovaldi has been a very lucky pitcher having a 13-2 record and a 4.24 ERA.  It goes to show you why the record of a pitcher is more about run support…note I said more and not exclusively as you need to understand the situation and sometimes pitch according to that situation.  Meaning with a big lead you may groove a few more pitches to avoid walks and you may even give up a run to get an out, but regardless 13-2 is very lucky with a 4.24 ERA.
·       I said I would get back to Warren…He has been excellent over his last 10.2 scoreless innings allowing only 4 hits and 2 walks and striking out 11.  As I have said, should be in the rotation.  His ERA as a starter was 3.59 and there was no reason to move him.    Hopefully Mitchell comes back strong, but we are very deep at starters and this is more the reason to pull CC, maybe we get lucky and he is injured and it forces Girard’s hand?
·       Finally, I wanted to note the retiring of Posada and Pettitte’s numbers.  It was cool to see but I was more interested in listening to some of their comments; I paid more attention to Posada.  But I thought it was interesting that the first person that came to mind when they were asked the toughest hitter to get out was Edgar Martinez.  Manny was also brought up, but Posada talked about how Edgar was so balanced at the plate and he didn’t have a weakness you could exploit.  Edgar should be proud as that is best compliment you can get as a hitter.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Saturday's Game

I have said before how I think Flaherty (Flash) is a good announcer, but I have found myself disagreeing with him a lot of late.  In the game Saturday afternoon, He said in the first inning how much sharper Tanaka looked and I was watching the games on tape delay (as usual) with my daughter (who was more just in the room watching occasionally and when I replayed with commentary) and said out loud, “I have no idea what he is seeing?”  From the start, I saw a pitcher who was not painting corners and was behind almost all hitters with decent/mediocre stuff.  His slider and curve were inconsistent each time thrown as was his splitter.  His fastball was 90 most of the time and topping out at 93 a few times but I don’t think any of those were for strikes.   Somewhere in the 4th or so Flash said that his stuff looked good, but he seemed out of sorts.  I didn’t think his stuff looked good and his command was very poor as well.  Now, I am not saying I have no faith in Tanaka, but I am saying he has not thrown well his last two outings and Girardi stuck with him too long in both outings.  He will get it back, I am confident in that, but as a manager you need to see what a guy has... so while Girardi was drinking the same Kool-Aid Flaherty was, Girardi almost cost us the game.  Fortunately, McCann bailed out Tex in the first inning, after Tex popped into an infield fly rule with nobody out and bases loaded , by hitting a no doubt grand slam.  The Yanks added 2 more on a 2 run homer by Chris Young as the Houston pitcher was throwing up hanging changeups after topping out his fastball at 89.

The Yanks had a 6-0 lead until Tanaka gave it back over 5 innings.

Tex, who hurt us early in this game at the plate, came through with a very nice 2 run double to LC and the Yankees almost added another run when McCann also went the other way on a very slow change from Neshak, but Tex got a bad jump/read and held at 3rd.  The Yanks did add their 9th run when Headley crushed a ball to LC (from the right side).  I didn’t hear how far that ball was but I can guarantee it was 50 feet further than the listed 411 feet on ESPN)

The bullpen pitched 4 scoreless innings with all of them looking pretty good.  Mitchell has a 96/97 MPH fastball and a good curve and clearly has strike out stuff.  Shreve got out of a jam and Wilson held the 8th turning it over to Betances who didn’t paint corners but his stuff was good enough to get the final 3 outs only allowing 1 hit.

Other Notes:
·      The ump was pretty bad in this game as he was very inconsistent.  If anything he gave us the benefit of the doubt and we also got a large break when the ump at 2nd ruled their 2nd baseman was off the bag on a possible DP.  He was off but he then kicked the bag with his right foot.  Houston correctly challenged it but we caught a break when the replay ruled inconclusive (I guess?).  I am pretty sure he touched the base, but I can see why the umpire live ruled him off as he was on it then got off to catch the ball, but he missed the drag/kick of the right foot into the bag.  This was a huge call as The Yanks ended up scoring 3 runs in that inning and could have had more if Beltran didn’t hit into a DP with 1st and 3rd and 1 out.
·      Beltran also misplayed a line drive that should have been caught into a double by coming in on the ball and then VERY slowly turning to go back after his mistake.
·      Early in the game Chris Young bunted Gardner over to 2nd on his own and the announcers questioned a hot guy doing that, but I think he was trying for a hit so I have no issue.  That being said, in the 8th inning with Gardner on first, I wanted either Gardner to steal early or a bunt and run or just a bunt and instead Young hit into the fielders’ choice where we caught the break on the reviewed play.  Gardner has to run earlier in the count to avoid the possible DP and in that spot they needed to get something going.
·      Finally, I have said this a few times over the years, but why do we want the Yankees in the All Star game?  I want my guys to rest during the break so we don’t have to rest them during games that matter.  Please, let other teams take all their players so we can rest up and give us the best chance to win games that matter…and we even save some money on All Star appearances that maybe we can spend on some 2nd baseman.  Seriously, do you want to see Betances or Miller pitch during the All Star game?  I don’t!

June 26

I know I have not written in a while but I have been watching, but just haven’t been able to find the time to write it down (I started a new job).  Rather than go through all the games, I wanted to highlight when the Yankees started into a bad funk a few weeks back.  I thought it was 100% because of Girardi’s terrible decision to not pitch Betances in the 8th inning of a game we had just taken a 2 run lead on and instead allowed Lindgren to pitch and allow a 2 run HR to tie the game which sent it into extra innings that we ended up losing.  A terrible decision (a head scratching one) not only cost us that one game, but we had to use pitchers we would not have had to and we went into a bad spell just because of the bad decision.

Last night’s Houston game was a nice win and it came from a source that had been ice cold…until the last week…Chris Young.  After his hot start where his OPS was over 1.000 mid-May, he was horrible compiling a .125 average and a .420 OPS over a month of a play.  However, over the last 8 games he has been 16 -34 and was the entire offense with a 3 run HR last night (and it was a good AB).  I had a feeling we may lose the game when we stranded 5 runner in the 7th and 8th innings but Shreve, who has really been outstanding this year, holding opposing batters to a batting average of .172 and an OPS of .516, struck out the side, Wilson got 2 outs with a walk and Betances went the final 4 outs for his 5th save to win 3-2.    Betances still has not been able to spot his fastball well, but his breaking ball was sharp (after the other night where he was throwing spinners) and he threw enough fastballs to keep the batters off balance.  BTW, Tex made a heads up play on an easy grounder down the line by making sure he charged it and got it in fair territory.  Tex also made a good catch going back on a popup.  It was not that hard, but he did get a great jump on it which enabled the play to be easier.

A couple of other comments:

  • ·       Girardi has still yet to try a suicide squeeze (or safety) in his time as manager.  At some point he needs to add that to his repertoire…if nothing other than to get the thought in opposing teams’ minds.  There have been dozens of times where it would have made sense.
  • ·      It was great to see Nova pitch well.  I have always been a fan and with him, Tanaka, Warren, Pineda and Eovaldi, that is an excellent starting staff.  Note, I do not have CC in the mix if I had my way.  I would use CC out of the pen as a lefty specialist.  CC has been very tough on lefties (.458 OPS in 82 Ab’s), but righties torch him with an OPS against of .954 (274 AB’s).  These numbers are similar for last year as well where lefties had an OPS of .570 and righties .921.  This is enough for me to pull the plug and make him a lefty specialist.  CC could also fill the role as a long reliever as well (you could drop Capuano), but his value would be as a LOOGY.
  • ·       It is a shame Mason Williams hurt his shoulder as he is clearly an outstanding defender and his offense looks at least acceptable and possibly good.  In his very limited numbers, he was successful (.890 OPS).  Heathcott looked like he could belong as well.  Florez defense was solid, but he was light at the stick, but he could develop.  Either way, I was glad to see some minor league guys come up who weren’t pitchers.
  • ·       We still need help at 2nd base.  I am OK sticking with Didi as he has been a little better of late and he clearly has upside.  Pirela is a platoon guy and should start against lefties.  Drew has hit with some power and has played good defense but his overall offense is not good enough and it is hard to think he will turn it around.
  • ·       ARod is leading our team in OPS .923, with Tex behind him at .902, then Gardner at an impressive .850 (.885 if you count his SB’s) and then McCann at .810.  Those are all very good numbers!  Getting .810 out of a catcher is very helpful…I always felt that Posada was a big differentiator for us and while he was giving us a consistent .880 OPS in his prime years.  McCann is not nearly that high, but when you take the 30 starting catchers in the big leagues his OPS puts him at about 6th best.  That is good!
  • ·       Beltran is up to a .742 OPS after his terrible start.  He had an OPS of .816 in May and it is .893 in June.
  • ·       Headley has been a head scratcher this year.  He has 3 more errors so far this year than he has ever had in an entire season!  He also has been 50 OPS points below offensively where we would hope he would be.  We may have to use Brendan Ryan at 3rd base sometimes for defense if this continues as he has killed us this year.  I think it is a fluke, but he just has been bad defensively.
  • ·       4 teams within a game of 1st place…only Boston is “out of it.”  I have said since the beginning, I still think Toronto is our biggest threat, but it seems Baltimore and Tampa don’t agree with me.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Keep The Brooms Out!

After blowing up in the first inning and then cruising to a victory on Saturday, it looked like the Angels would turn the table on us in the first inning.  After a terrible pitch selection where Murphy and CC somehow thought it would make sense to throw a 3-2 fastball on the inside part of the plate to Trout (right after throwing a fastball further inside for a ball on the previous pitch), CC followed up with a hanging breaking ball to Pujols for back to back jacks.  To clarify my statement on terrible pitch/location selection, I will offer the following.  On 2-2 they decided to try and throw a fastball inside to Trout.  I have no issue with this; in fact, it was a good pitch that was just off the plate inside.  The issue I had was now on 3-2 they called the same pitch, just easier to hit, for a strike and CC would have hit Murphy’s glove if that pesky bat didn’t crush the ball first.  I do not like having to make the same pitch better, the best way to work is making the pitches just a little worse.  In this case, the pitch should have been the slider that looked like it was over the middle of the plate, but dropped down and in.  All the Yankees did was get Trout aware of the pitch inside and then gave him an easier one.  When I saw them lining up inside I made a comment to my brother (we watched the game together) as I assumed it would be a slider…bad decision that cost us a run.

CC made a lot of bad pitches in the 1st inning, but got away with only 2 runs.

The Yankees went to work after playing small ball for a run (double by Pirela, and 2 productive outs), but getting a HR by Young (about time) and a huge 3 run HR by Gardner right after I proclaimed to my brother, this is a huge pitch in the game.  It was a 2-0 pitch that Wilson wanted outside, but he got it inside and Gardner just jumped on it getting the barrel out and lined a huge 3 run HR. 

Wilson bridged the gap for us in the 7th and Betances and Miller K’d 5 of the last 6 batters for victory.  (BMW – Betances Miller Win)

Back to back sweeps, 1.5 game lead over Tampa and 4.5 over Toronto (who I felt would be the biggest hurdle at the start of the year)

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Friday 6-5-15

Friday night was an odd game.  We faced the slop throwing righty or “crafty righty” Jeff Weaver.  Drew and Tex were able to sneak a few homers over the short porch to give us a 4 run lead and we tacked on a few runs to get us to an 8-1 lead entering the 9th.  The one run Anaheim scored was when Eovaldi, who was pitching very well, ran out of gas in the 6th inning, uncharacteristically walking the bases loaded.  Girardi correctly pulled him and Shreve did another nice job allowing one run on a weak grounder and then after a 3-2 walk, he struck out Aybar to end the threat.  After Shreve got through the 7th and Lindgren got through the 8th, Girardi correctly went to Rogers IMO, but incorrectly moved Pirela to 2nd while giving Tex rest for the final inning…moving Drew to 3rd and Headley to 1B.  Now in an 8-1 game it probably doesn’t matter, but one inning to get Pirela lose and moving Headley to 1B seemed like a waste to me…and truth be told, it made no difference defensively as Pirela had one play and he made it, but the inning unraveled and it could have mattered.  Rogers was horrific.  He allowed a single, double, infield single, wild pitch, walk and a single before Girardi went to Betances.  I can’t blame Joe for leaving in Rogers that long with such a lead.  Now the score was still only 8-3, but the tying run is on deck (making this a save situation and a very easy one at that).  Betances could not find the strike zone, allowing a single, and 2 walks which made our lead 8-6 with bases loaded and nobody out!

I did not track all the pitches, but I did not like the pitch selection as I thought we threw far too many breaking balls.  My take was he controlled the fastball better (not well, but better) and the batters seeing him have less control would lay off any breaking ball and only swing at the fastball.  This appeared to be the Angels strategy as well.  However, what makes pitch selection so interesting; is that the other side of the coin is that if Betances could throw a breaking ball for a strike he would get an easy “taken” strike.   While the McCann Betances strategy hurt us to get us to 8-6, it started to pay off as we struck out Niewenhuis on a 2-2 pitch.  Then Betances fell behind 3-1 before getting a grounder to SS that Didi made a diving stop and got the force out at 2nd (huge play/pitch on a 3-1 count in that spot considering Betances had thrown a lot of pitches and control was shabby).  Carlos Perez was sent up to pinch hit with the score 8-7 (1st and 3rd).   Betances threw a breaking ball for a strike, then two breaking balls for balls, then another breaking ball for a swinging strike before throwing his 5th breaking ball in a row to strike out Perez swinging on Dellins' 33rd pitch…Whew!!!

1st inning, Didi made an outstanding dive going up the middle showing range that way we have not seen in a decade to get an out.  While Didi did boot his 8th error later, it was not horrible as the runner went right in front of him and his footwork was off as he might have been thinking of getting the runner at 3rd.  It was not a good play, but I think Didi is starting to play the game like most thought he would.

Drew hit 2 homers in the game and as awful as he has been at the plate, had been very solid in the field.  Maybe this is his turning point?  Doubtful, but he did raise his OPS 46 points to a still anemic .583.    With Ellsbury out and Flores really giving us another out at the plate (so far) we need someone to step up.

Gardner was on 1st against Weaver who throws slow and allows a lot of SB’s and it took Gardner 4 or 5 pitches to go and easily get the SB.  He is blazing fast, but he clearly does not have base stealing skill.  The AB could have been over waiting so many pitches.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Sweeping in Seattle

Tanaka looked excellent tonight!  He had command of all of his pitches and he used the entire strike zone.  I felt like you could randomly choose a pitch at any time to any batter and he would deliver the pitch pretty close to wear he wanted it.  The impressive thing about Tanaka is that he seems to make adjustments with his pitches and the speeds he throws them.  He will run his fastball at 91 and then throw a 95 MPH fastball but he can still get movement on it.  He also will mix up his splitters speed much like a knuckleballer can change speeds.  On an 80 pitch limit he got us through 7 innings without a walk while striking out 9!  VERY encouraging.

The Yankees offense was Tex hitting his 16th and Jones giving us back to back homers as he hit a 2 run HR on a fastball that was supposed to be outside but their pitcher missed badly and got it more inside.  Good job by Jones supplying most of our offense the last two nights.

Girardi almost messed up this game in the 8th.  For some reason he brought in Capuano.  Capuano only allowed a single and struck out a guy, but I didn’t understand the thought process at all.  It was as if the plan was to go to Capuano when Tanaka came out in the 6th inning (or so) and then Girardi just stuck with the plan.   My take is Capuano has no business being in a 3-1 game in the 8th inning, unless you are desperate to get a lefty out.     Joe then went to Miller to get 5 outs after a shaky outing last night.  Now, I am OK with this, but it makes me think back to what I wrote two nights ago and why in the world was Betances in the 8th inning of a 7-2 game???  Because of that stupidity, Miller was called on to extend himself.  He really struggled finding the strike zone, especially with his breaking ball or his 97 MPH fastball.  In fact, Miller had to throw 94 MPH just to throw strikes.  First, Miller hit Weeks on his slider, and then he walked Zunino on 4 pitches to load the bases with 1 out.  He then fell behind Morrison 3-0 before just getting a 94 MPH fastball for a strike.  On 3-1 he gave Morrison a very hittable fastball and we were fortunate he swung through it to make the count full.  Miller then threw his slider and Morrison swung at ball 4 for the 2nd out.  Miller then pitched ahead of Austin Jackson and got him to ground to 3rd and escape the bases loaded one out jam.  He looked good in the 9th allowing a 2 strike hit through the shift but ended the inning on his 35th pitch.   

JR Murphy is 1-9 on this west coast trip and has looked awful.  He has swung at some awful pitches.  If McCann is out for any time we need JR to get his strike zone fixed quickly.  McCann will have an MRI tomorrow I believe?

I was a little surprised they designated Carpenter for assignment.  I know he has not pitched well, but only having two righties doesn’t make sense and is Lindgren that much better.  Carpenter throws 96 so you have something to work with and while he is 29, he was extremely good 2 years ago with Atlanta and was respectable last year.  I didn’t like his command and I am sure that is what the Yankees saw as well, but I would have more confidence in him then some of the guys we have? 

Didi made an outstanding dive to his right (up the middle because he was shifted to the right side of 2nd base) and made a good throw to first.  Headley also made an excellent diving stop to his left.

Nice sweep!