Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Playoff Edition post game 2 Anaheim

I promised myself that no matter who won the game I would be excited to discuss the game. I am glad that I don’t have to draw deep to do it.

Man, there is so much to discuss and so many different decisions that were good and bad.

Without writing a book I will try and hit the highlights.

Cano’s triple was good to see as his production along with Swisher (who scored after a walk) and Texiera’s has been very weak.
I thought Burnett pitched well, but I had a lot of issues with the pitch selection. Once again Molina was trying to go for strikeouts rather than letting Burnett’s stuff take over (of course it could be Burnett, but I don’t see Burnett shaking off too many curve balls). Molina going out to the mound so much also gets Burnett out of his rhythm
I had some issues with Girardi in the 5th inning. After the very long AJ Burnett inning Cabrera led off with a single. Now, I probably would have pinch hit for Molina in that spot. I know Burnett was still in the game, but he had 2 more innings max and I want my better hitter up there. But, I understand if you are going to bunt, then Molina staying up there is OK. I am not a fan of the bunt in that situation (4 innings to go playing for only 1 run is not the best, but if Molina is up you bunt and there is no question you bunt). After Molina failed to bunt (pretty pathetic), we got a gift and hit that 22% chance of Molina getting hit (it actually happens 1-5 times so it will happen) we had 1st and 2nd with nobody out. Now, this is a great time to bunt as you get twice the production out of your sacrifice. I thought a bunt with Jeter was the correct call (BTW, none of my thoughts here are hindsight and the 4 people I was in touch with during the game can back me up. Molina did get a hit and I would pinch hit for him so all my decisions are not correct). Girardi eschewed the bunt and Jeter hit into a DP. All the Yankee DP’s are frustrating but this one was especially annoying to me.
I thought Girardi took out Burnett at the exact time I would. In fact, I said the next guy that gets on I would take him out because he had thrown over 100 pitches and I didn’t want him pitching from the stretch. Unfortunately, it happened because of an error by Cano, but I still think it was the right move with the score 2-2 and 1 out in the 7th inning.
Going to Coke (or Marte) was the right move as well turning Chone Figgins to his weak side, but Coke made the huge mistake of walking Figgins (who is not good from the right side) Coke did come back to get a huge out striking out Abreu
Then it was Joba time. He induced a weak grounder and then struck out Guerrero and did a great job
Bottom of the 7th after Swisher singled, I think Girardi again did the right thing by pinch running Gardner for Swisher, but Gardner never got a read on Saunders and Cano hit into the DP. They could have tried a hit and run, but this is just one of those things as Gardner doesn’t have great reading instincts
Big issue in the top of the 8th. If Girardi already has in his mind that bringing Rivera in the 8th with 2 outs is OK (Something I still find very strange as what is with this threshold of only 1 and 1/3 innings?) then Joba should have stayed in the game so that if the game went into extra innings you have Hughes for 2 later on. But, Girardi did what Torre used to do (never plan for extra innings) and used our two best setup guys for 3 outs.
Now, I actually had something written in my blog yesterday that when I erased it never made it to the published blog. It was about being at the stadium and hearing Enter Sandman and then watching Rivera jog out to the mound. It really is something special we all should cherish. It is amazing how fantastic he has been and for so long. He is the true Genius Maker and tonight while Girardi only got 3 outs form Hughes and Joba, Rivera throws 2.1 innings of scoreless innings. I also think we saw about 5 bloop hits/outs in the time he was in. For perspective, Coke, Joba, Hughes and Marte pitched a total of 1.2 innings. Everyone should have Enter Sandman queued up in their house and ready to blast when he comes into the game. Play the music, stand there and bow or clap and tell every young person you see that the best this game has ever seen is about to pitch. What really blows my mind is how incredible effective he still is; Mariano is about to turn 40 in November!
Ace walking Matthews to lead of the 11th was terrible and I really hated the pitch selection. I wanted the changeup bad in that AB and they never through it. Chone dropped that one in front of a shallow Damon and most LF’rs would have been able to throw out the speedy Matthews at home but with Damons rag arm, I was screaming to throw to 2nd as I only wanted one run in Fuentes pitching. Damon threw home and gave up 2nd base. Fortunately ARod started the DP to get us out of further trouble.
Then ARod makes a mockery of the clutch folks once again with an almost mid boggling homer if you watched his hand position and arms on the swing. He simply has amazing power and he did it again for us!
I was surprised Girardi let Guzman bat after ARod as I thought he would go to Hairston with the lefty on the mound and predictable Guzman looked bad.
Top 12 I thought Girardi again made the right move going to Marte with one out with Morales coming up and Marte did a great job and looked good getting Morales out. Girardi then went to Robertson and while I like Marte better than most and would give him more leeway than most, I understand not having much confidence in him as he hasn’t been that good. However, with him looking good in that AB, I would have left him in to get more innings out of a good pitcher. In fact I was reminded of my own words of leaving a guy in when he was pitching well and it was also one of the reasons why taking Aceves out was a good move as he wasn’t too sharp. Robertson relieved and allowed a double to a bad hitter in Mathis, but worked his way out of another nail biting jam.
Bottom Scoscia had an interesting dilemma in walking Texiera, who has done nothing, to pitch to ARod. He made the right decision as ARod popped up. Santana is much better against righties and my guess is that along with Santana having decent career numbers against ARod made the decision.
Amazing that Jeter made a bad mishap as well and then shockingly Cano failed in the top of the 13th again just missing a ball. Robertson did a very good job of pitching out of the jam and saving Cano’s hide.
Bottom of the 13th Girardi finally brought in Hairston and my hero came through…LOL. While I did say that Hairston probably deserved to be on the roster over Hinske, I didn’t think he would get into the game unless something strange happened. Well, it surely did tonight and like Molina did earlier, sometimes you get that 1-5 chance. Santana not wanting to walk Hairston, gave him a pitch to hit, Hairston did a great job and came through with a solid single and it was time for us to play small ball. Gardner did his job and Cano was correctly walked.
Cabrera hits a grounder to the right side and after going a long way, what the heck was Izturis thinking throwing to 2nd base? You go to 1st base and now you have 2 outs; he had NO chance for a DP. Thankfully he threw the ball away, but Chone Figgins was right there to back up. Luckily for us he bobbled the ball because Hairston would have been dead at home plate if he didn’t.

It was a very sloppy game that was played in horrible baseball weather; so maybe some mulligans are in order. There were a ton of interesting decisions and pitch sequences with the game on the line that made this a great game even with the conditions. Huge win for the good guys.

2 to go with 6 to go for the big prize!

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