Sunday, April 25, 2010

The Genius Maker #16

Sunday afternoon was one of those games that a lot of emotion came out of me. Second inning - Cano leads off and Kazmir buzzes a very inside pitch to Cano that he gets out of the way from. The next pitch he plunks him middle of butt. There is no question this was intentional especially as Kazmir walked toward home plate afterward (someone mentioned walking toward the plate is an indicator and this time it surely was). Just in case somebody feels that it is no big deal, remember that Cano hit two homers off of Kazmir earlier this year at Yankee stadium. I was ticked off, but glad there was nobody and out and then I was much happier after Posada hit the first pitch he saw for a 2 run shot. As Posada ran around the bases, I muttered “…. you Kazmir!” Thames hit a double and moved to 3rd on a Granderson bunt. Cervelli was up next and Thames mad ea heads-up base running play as the catcher allowed a ball to go right under his glove for a PB or WP but the fastball ricocheted back to home plate and Thames who was already on his way home quickly recognized the play and scurried quickly back to 3rd base, diving in. Cervelli (who BTW, has slowed a lot of his movement he used to have) worked a walk next. Then Jeter hit a double play ball to 3rd base, but Kendrick was not quick enough to turn the DP and Jeter just beat the throw for the 3rd run of the inning. It was one of those plays where the quick and strong armed turn by Cano would have turned the DP.

Unfortunately Vazquez has continued to struggle with his command and stunk again. The Angels took a 5-3 lead before Cano hit another homer off Kazmir to make it 5-4 into the 7th inning. After Boone Logan did a good job for an inning, Aceves took over and pitched 1.2 innings of perfect ball on only 15 pitches, but Girardi decided to take him out Abreu, Hunter, Matsui and Morales coming up. Now I would agree the lefty in this spot is a good choice, but Ace was cruising along and had only thrown 15 pitches, why would you take him out there? Honestly the only guy I would have been concerned about was Morales as he is much better against righties, but I would have let Ace continue on. Marte walked Abreu and then hit Hunter. He then got Matsui to check his swing and get a force out. Now is when my emotions got a little hot. It was 1st and 2nd with 2 outs (Ace got the first out of the inning) and Morales was coming up. At this point Marte was not sharp but keeping him in against Morales I was OK with. (even though Robertson was ready and is better against lefties). I am just telling you that I would have been OK with the change, but my decision at the time was to leave Marte in as well and this is what I said at that time. Then I see Cervelli stand up and give the intentional walk sign. I said out loud, “what the heck are they doing?” After ball one, Girardi or someone realized that they had 1st and 2nd and the matchup was an OK one. This is why I don’t listen to people when they say these guys no what is going on, obviously they didn’t and obviously they were lost at this juncture. It may not happen often, but how about waking up in the dugout. So now Marte has given a hot a hitter a 1 ball edge. After 2 more balls and a SB of 3rd base where a good throw by Cervelli would have ended the inning (important) I said, “now you just walk him or throw him a slider for a strike.” Marte threw fastball on 3-0 and Morales ripped a 3 run homer that ended the game. That was an awful job by the Yanks coaching staff right there!

Other Notes:

In the 4th inning, Thames missed a top spin line drive that led to at least 2 runs. He got a late jump on the ball and couldn’t hall it in. This was a big play that Gardner would have caught. Later in the game Gardner made a running catch that looked fairly routine; I am sure Thames would not have been able to get to it. Not knocking Thames as we know he is a hitter, but the defense gets overlooked to often.

Vazquez now has an ERA of 9 after 3 starts. This is very disturbing considering he was always mediocre in the AL and after being dominant in the NL last year there was hope he learned something new. So far, he has been worse than in the past and while I don’t expect that to continue, having the same ERA in the AL as he has had can be expected.

We have now finished the 1st inning of the year as we have played 18 out of 162 games. With 8 more innings to play, we are doing pretty well.

• We are 12-6 playing .667 ball which leads to a final record of 108 wins; I will sign up for that right now
• We are 1.5 games behind TB, but 4.5 games ahead of Boston. Minnesota is the only out of division team with a better record in all of baseball at 13-6.
• 4-5 of the rotation have been solid
• The Genius Maker has been extremely effective, with an ERA of 0.00 in 7 innings of work while only allowing 3 hits and a walk with 6 K’s. However, I have not felt that he has looked that good in 5 of his 8 outings. I hope it is just because it is early in the year
• Thames is leading the team (14AB’s) with an OPS of 1.420 followed by Cano at 1.092 and then Cervelli at 1.029 with 14 AB’s also.
• The rest are Jorge (.994), ARod (.915), Jeter (.824), Gardner (.809), Granderson (.785), Swisher (.779), Nick Johnson (.606) and Texiera at (.534)
• Cano is leading the team in RBI’s with 14 and surprisingly the leadoff guy Jeter has 12 in 2nd place. Posada and ARod have 11 apiece.
• Pena is 1-9 with 2 RBI’s and Winn is 0-10 with no walks
• Gardner has 9 SB’s and has been caught once (he was picked off going to 2nd)
• The Yanks as a team have 19 SB’s and have been caught 5 times. The competition has 15 SB’s and been caught 3 times…which is about the same in effectiveness. I usually consider 2 SB’s and one CS to cancel each other out for effectiveness.

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