I will do my best to fulfill my promise yesterday…
Jeter started things off with a bomb. Then ARod follows with one in the 4th and then Damon in the 5th and the Yanks are up 2-0 in the series and 3-0 in the game. Pretty good considering this game and last they were something like 0-14 with RISP.
Now I will move into the strategy part of the game (or lack thereof)
I was making comments about pitch selection to my brother most of the night and one of the guys we zeroed in on was Howie Kendrick who is someone who always kills us. I think they said something like .380 against us. My comment was that I hope we learned form our mistakes and stop throwing this guy inside pitches, he loves the fast ball and we need to go outside with slow stuff or at least stay away. Let’s say that they should pitch him like other teams are pitching to Swisher, who I said shouldn’t play if Girardi insists on playing Melky. I said that I would play Gardner in CF and then Girardi can play Melky in RF if he wanted to bench Swisher (who has looked awful and never adjusted to any off speed pitches all night).
Now remember I am calling every pitch so when Kendrick comes up I am talking about pitching him away and working the off speed pitches. Pettitte and Posada decide to bring a fastball inside to Hendrick and the score is 3-1. I am ticked at the stupidity.
BTW, did anyone want Cano to bunt with 1st and 2nd and nobody out? Twice we had this opportunity and twice we chose not and didn’t score. I am not a big fan of the sacrifice, except real late and as I said before 1st and 2nd with nobody out is the best time to give up an out.
6th inning 2 outs nobody on and Abreu gets a hit with 2 outs and up steps Guerrero. Vlad can hit and also swing at anything. Once again we come inside on Vlad when off speed stuff away or high fastballs were the calls. At 2-2 Girardi came out to the mound as it appeared they didn’t know what to throw and when Girardi left it seemed Pettitte was really ticked off? Anyway, whatever Girardi said seemed to work perfectly…for Anaheim as Posada put down a 2 for the curve which made sense but Pettitte threw to first. Then the pitch was changed and Vlad, who is a terrific low ball hitter, got a fastball down and in to give him the easiest swing at a ball and he hits a 2 run bomb. I am really ticked as I would not have thrown that pitch nor is it what I said I wanted to throw. I am incredibly ticked and can’t believe they changed the pitch. I am sure we won’t get the truth but that one pitch was enormous. I have now blown my top at the terrible pitch selection.
Bottom of the 7th inning Joba comes and even though we have a ton of tape on Kendrick and even know he already turned on a fastball for a homer, Joba throws a fastball and Kendrick hits a triple! Are you kidding me? My head is exploding right now. Joba not looking very good and they get a long sac fly. Then after a double against Joba, it is clear he isn’t that sharp so correctly (or maybe lucky) Girardi takes Joba out for Marte. On one pitch Marte gets out of the jam. Good job.
Top 8th - Matsui walks and Girardi runs for Matsui with Gardner ? Gardner ? Why not Guzman? I didn’t get that. Also, if you remember last time Gardner never stole so Scoscia knows the Yanks will try to get moving. He calls for the pitchout at the obvious time and Gardner is thrown out. Out managed there; it was too obvious. Posada follows and gets a good pitch to drive and he hits a clutch solo homer. The Yanks are back in business with a tie game even though they still have yet to get a hit with RISP in 2 games.
Bottom of the 8th: Coke comes in to face Abreu. What? You have Marte in the game, who looked good again and just pitched to ONE batter and threw ONE pitch and he is better against lefties than Coke and he takes him out??? Doesn’t Joe know that the score is tied in the 8th inning; we may need another lefty at a key spot later in the game? How about letting a guy who looks good continue against a good match up? Coke allows Abreu to drive the ball to RC and Melky fails to cut it off so it looks like Abreu will get a triple, but then Abreu stops and Jeter who had to leap for the Melky throw stops and fires to Texiera and gets Abreu before he gets back to 2nd. First, horrible job by Abreu and that is pretty inexcusable. Second, good job by Texiera being where he is supposed to in trailing the play and making the tag. Third, good job by Jeter, who probably had more time to look because he had to leap for the ball, but noticing Abreu stopping and getting the ball to Texiera. Huge break for the good guys. Girardi then takes Coke out for Hughes which is the right move, but it should have been Marte he was replacing as Joe just wasted a reliever.
Hughes goes 1.2 innings and looks OK, but is not pitching great as he got away with some bad pitches but they didn’t hit them. When Hughes threw the curve he was most effective.
Bottom 10, Girardi all of a sudden decides to let Hughes pitch again in his 3rd inning of work (not sure when the last time that was) and he throws a pitch down the middle for a leadoff double. Wrong pitch, (fastball) and wrong location (down the middle) and we are in deep trouble. When in doubt, go to the Genius Maker. For some reason Scoscia does not pinch run Willits at 2nd base for their catcher? I am surprised as he should pinch run; kind of dumb. Anaheim tries to bunt and Rivera was like a cat off the mound and with a slower runner he has him dead to rights…but he wheeled and fired wildly to 3rd base. Damon saves the game with a great backup. Of course that is his job, but he did it at a crucial time. Correct decision by Rivera, just bad execution. Now we are in deep trouble with 1st and 3rd nobody out and the Yanks bring the infield in. Once again Scoscia does something different than I would have as I would have stolen 2nd base which would have gone uncontested. Then I would try the squeeze play because if it didn’t work, I would have still had a man on 3rd and 1 out. But he swings away and hits a grounder down first base to Texiera who makes a little dive and looks to throw home but there is no throw because the slower runner stands there. Now if the runner is on 2nd the guy on 3rd has to go home and if that runner is Willits the game would have been over. We were lucky again. Then after 2 groundouts the Genius Maker works his way out of the jam. Words can not do justice; simply amazing.
During this inning Girardi decides to give up the DH to put Hairston in LF to get a better arm. This is kind of questionable because while Damon has no arm, if Gardner were in CF Melky could be in LF with the better arm. It is harder to throw a guy out form CF usually as balls are usually hit farther to CF, but it isn’t a bad decision and I understand it.
However, next inning Cervelli bats instead of Hairston and he does what Hairston did and looked bad at the plate.
Next inning Girardi takes out Rivera and brings in Robertson. I am sure if this were game 6 or 7 he would have left Rivera in, but again I understand it as you have Robertson, Aceves and Gaudin left. Of course you should have another lefty as well. Anyway, Robertson has his work cut out for him with Rivera, Morales (who is very good against righties) and then Kendrick. Robertson is sharp and throws good fastballs and then the curveballs to get Rivera out. Robertson again is making good pitches against Morales and then gets him to fly out. Then, Girardi makes a terrible decision and over manages again. Roberston is throwing really well and he takes him out to bring in Aceves? I have now blown my gasket; what the %$#@ is he thinking? This is an extra inning game; you want to get as much out of the guys throwing well as you can. Now, after I clamed down (to the point where I was rational) I tried to think what possible reason could Girardi be thinking. The only thing I could come up with (and I haven’t listened to any interviews so I don’t know) is that Aceves throws a lot of off speed pitches and maybe they realized this is the best way to get Kendrick out? Either way, this is absurdly stupid. So what happens, Aceves throws a fastball and Kendrick hits for a single. Yes, I am blowing my stack. Then another fastball later and a ball is hit deep to LC and Hairston can’t get to it and the game is over. First, Hairston kind of over ran the ball and could have had it. Second, I wonder if Damon would have caught it and #rd I wonder if Melky would have caught it (or Maybe even Gardner if he were in CF – but I doubt that). Third, what is with all the fastballs?
I am Ticked off because they played badly Abreu and coaching (they did get the pitchout right) and we played ok, but the pitch selection was horrendous and the quick hook decisions were absurdly stupid. Marte coming out and Robertson coming out were just asinine.
It was another exciting and close game that had a lot of flaws…we won one and lost one. Time for our ace to get the job done tomorrow.
Still 2 to go and 6 for the big prize