Pre game thoughts:
I made the statement that because the Yankees screwed up down the stretch and allowed Molina to start with Burnett, I would continue to start Molina over Posada (even though I would not have let it get to that point). While I still agree with my concept, I would start Posada this game 2 because the Yankee offense is simply struggling and having Molina in the lineup won’t help (also he is a righty and Pedro is better against righties).
While the above point can be debated, I believe that the move to start Hairston is simply bad. Hairston may very well get a hit or if we roll the dice and extremely lucky maybe even a double or more, but that does jot excuse starting him. Think about this, a righty pitcher who is better against righties, pitching against a right batter (a weaker one at that) who hits lefties better. Yes he has had some success off of Pedro and yes it is a decent sample (30+ AB’s can give you some basis of knowledge), but I would like to see whether the .370 BA has any extra base hits or walks so without OPS I still say this is stupid. I would play Gardner, but I could understand wanting to get more offense because Molina will start.
Onto the game:
I will first address my pre game comments: Hairston really didn’t play too much into the game as he had no challenging plays in the field and he went 1-3 with a cheap hit and finished doing as well as I could hope. 1-3 is .333, but with no walks or extra base hits that is an OPS of .666 which is in line with what you would expect. I still say bad move, but it didn’t seem to matter…this time.
As for the Molina Posada debate, I would have to say that Molina earned his keep today. He didn’t get a hit, but he did get a walk and Burnett was very sharp all day (Huge game AJ!). Not sure Molina can take credit for that, but he can take credit for the GREAT pick off throw on a ball in the dirt. He threw right over the batter helmet so Werth didn’t even know what happened. The play sparked the Yanks and we outscored Philly 3-0 the rest of the way.
Texiera’s homer was important as he has done very little.
ARod had a bad game failing to at least knock down the hard hit ball by Stairs that put us down 1-0 after the cheap hit by Ibanez and then struggling at the plate. I did pop out of my seat after the Texiera homer as I thought ARod had hit back to back shots, but he got it off the end of the bat.
Matsui gave us the 2-1 lead (he had a very productive game at the plate)
Up 3-1 with 1st and 2nd (after Jeter messed up bunting) the umpires reared the ugly head again. That was simply a bad call and instead of bases loaded and one out the inning was over. Howard knew he didn’t catch it and the ump behind the play should not have made that call. I am glad the Yankees won, because that call could have cost us the game.
The ump behind home plate was not consistent and by the end of the game the strike zone had expanded about 6 inches on each side of plate.
So here we are up 3-1 and we enter the 8th inning and Rivera comes in for another 6 out save. There is a part of me that understands this, but I worry about what impact this has on him the rest of the series. Yes, you must win this game, but perhaps a 6 out save does not give us the best chance? I would have let Joba face Ruiz to lead off the 8th and first guy on I would have made the move. Depending on how Joba looked after getting the first out, if he looked sharp I would let him face Rollins, if he got the out but was not sharp I would have gone to Robertson until he let a runner one and then gone to Rivera. But, like I said, I understand wanting to hear Enter Sandman and of more importance, I knew we would be hearing it.
Rivera was not sharp with his control, but was able to work his way out of trouble with a DP ball that was amazingly close at 1st base. Live I thought he was out and I made the comment that I am glad he was out because Jeter was slow on his exchange. Other guys are quicker to get rid of the ball than Jeter; but it didn’t cost them. When we came back form commercial they showed a bad angle but it looked like he was safe (that was close enough though where I wouldn’t be too ticked off either way). It should make you understand the importance of the quickness around 2nd base because if he were called safe, who knows what could have happened. Either way, the genius maker came through again! Simply amazing! Unfortunately, he threw 39 pitches! That is a lot of pitches for 2 innings and 2 innings is a lot for Rivera. Think about it, if you threw 20 pitches an inning you would be at 100 after 5 innings.
If you are going to use Rivera like this then why keep Bruney? I would much rather have Guzman on the team as you won't need all those pitchers as much as you would use Guzman.
I worry about our hitting, but they better get going on Halloween because Hamels has not pitched well in his two postseason starts. The Yankee offense needs to play better. Hamels had an OPS against lefties of .708 and .765 against righties, so he is a little better against lefties. So who would you start in RF? In weighing all the options, I would turn back to Swisher and if he looks bad again and a big spot is up, I let Matsui, Hinske or Hairston pinch hit and then bring in Gardner for defense (and hopefully the pinch runner). One of the serious options I would think about also is Matsui. However, because he has not played RF and he isn’t at top speed and his arm is a left fielders arm, I think those are too many strikes against him.
Boy is Girardi lucky he has the Genius Maker!
3 more wins to the big prize!
The Genius Maker tm is a tribute to Mariano Rivera who makes coaches look a like a genius...