Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Genius Maker #6

4-2 after two road series' against power house teams in the AL; that is a very encouraging start!

On Saturday CC was very good. He threw a lot of pitches, but I think his pitch count was high because TB did a good job of not swinging at some close pitches. CC was nibbling a little as well. Either way, a very good game all around as the offense came to play also.

In the series deciding game on Sunday, there was a lot to talk about (at least in my view).

Jeter has been first pitch swinging almost every time. He will need to mix it up and make an adjustment because he has been making fast outs and this is against the philosophy of what the Yankees do well.

While I am on Jeter a little bit, the first inning was a classing example of one of the weaknesses Jeter has in the field and that is tagging runners out. the Yanks correctly pitched out on BJ Upton and the throw from Posada was release quickly, but a little on the SS side of the bag where Jeter took a long time to swing the tag around and tagged BJ on the shin rather than the foot. Replays showed it was a bang bang play, but a quicker and better tag would have given us the out call without question. This cost us an extra run and obviously more work for Burnett. AJ did settle down and pitch very well the rest of the way.

I am tired of every ball hit to the OF being "driven" according to Michael Kay. Mike, a little tip, when the ball is off the end of the bat or off the handle it is most certainly not "driven."

4th inning with the Yanks trailing 2-1, ARod led off with a double. Cano came up and he has shown better plan on how to handle early swings in the count. However, he did a poor job of trying to pull the ball as he flew out to LF on a pitch he should have been turning on. Just for clarity, I don't want many of the Yankees hitters giving themselves up just to move runners along, but it is OK to look for a pitch to pull and Cano missed an opportunity. After that Posada had a great AB to work a walk. He was really locked in laying off close pitches and working the walk. Unfortunately, Granderson and Swisher didn't get it done.

Nick Johnson has lined out about 4 times; his hits will come.

Shields was pitching well for TB, but most of the Yankees were working the pitch count very well on Shields and he entered the 6th inning at almost 100 pitches. After he got ARod out I was surprised that Choate didn't come in to face Cano. After Cano doubled though, I would not have brought in Choate (a true lefty specialist) to face the switch hitting Posada. Fortunately for us Posada took advantage of the mismatch and homered. Not sure what their coach (Maddon) was thinking? Either way, the Yanks plan of wearing down the starting pitcher and then creaming the bullpen worked great today.

Granderson made a bunch of nice plays in the field. the best was coming in on a line drive and doubling off Burrell at first base. BTW, him going in a little hard after Texiera was not that big a deal. Not nearly as big a deal as the stupid comments made by Joe West. I wonder what fine Girardi would have if he said that West's crew was embarrassing and pathetic?

BTW, Granderson also made a good baserunning play by getting to 3rd which allowed him to score on a wild pitch with 2 outs.

Man, what a silly dome where an out turns into a hit. This is a professional game for crying out loud. Can you imagine if that was a playoff game?

After that crazy play it was 1st and 2nd with 2 outs and Burnett fell behind Pena 3-0. Burnett then walked Pena not giving in, BUT moving the tying run to 2nd base and the go ahead run to 1st base. This was the most interesting strategic part of the game to me for a variety of reasons. First, do you go after Pena or do you really put at risk a big inning? At the time, I was saying to pitch carefully with a weaker hitter in Upton on deck, but man it is risky. Then, after the walk I think many people would have said that Burnett should have come out of the game as it looked like he was frazzled after the pop up. This I did not believe and fortunately neither did Girardi as Burnett got Upton out and the end of the key threat in the game. I really believe there were a lot of people who would have Monday morning QB'd that one and said "it was obvious Burnett was flustered and he should have come out." Good job by Girardi and Burnett to get the job done.

Cano stroked a ball down the LF line very well in the 7th inning, but Crawford made an excellent running catch. Gardner, Ellsbury and Crawford are probably the only LF'rs who could have made that catch as it took some raw speed.

Job's velocity was back down to 93 as he seemed to be throwing a little more with his arm than his body to me. Posada worked in his curve twice and it was outstanding at both times.

The only little concern I have is that Rivera looked very weak again to me. Very little movement and his velocity was 89-91. It is expected to see a slow down from him, but after last years amazing year, I want to hope he can give us another really good year. So far, he has not looked to me.

Overall, 4-2 is a very good start!

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