Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Genius Maker #9

Friday’s game was all about the rain, CC’s dominance and the terrible defense by Texas. CC threw a ton of strikes and was in complete control.

Saturday’s game had a lot more interesting items to it.

First, it was a classic Yankee game where they wore down the pitcher. Feldman (who has nice movement and control) had already thrown 50 pitches and was still in the 2nd inning as nick Johnson had a great AB (although he did catch a break where his check swing fouled off a pitch that probably was a strike) to work a bases loaded walk. Now Texiera was up with the bases loaded and he broke his bat on a routine type of grounder to the right side hole…their 2nd baseman froze for the equivalent of about 3 steps and then could barely reach the grounder and the Yankees (and Tex) caught a break on another poor play by Texas. It appeared he froze because the bat went one way and the ball went another. Of course, then Michael Kay had to use the obligatory and randomly correct/incorrect comment that maybe “this is what will break Texiera out of his slump.” I looked at my daughter (who could care less what I was saying) and said, I would think a line drive for an out would make me feel better that Texiera was breaking out of a slump. Of course, Texiera did nothing the rest of the game.

Posada has been hitting great, but he has been very sloppy behind home plate. He makes a great block turning his shoulders in and drops the ball right toward home plate one time and then the next play he doesn’t move at all and lets a ball get past him by trying to catch the ball with his glove (instead of blocking it). I did notice two things that might be nothing, but are concerning. Posada took a foul ball off his forearm and those are spots that can get black and blue very easily and be sore for awhile. Second, after one of his hits, he seemed to have tweaked his back a little bit. Hopefully these are nothing, but as he gets older, it could be an issue. BTW, congrats to Jorge for collecting his 1500th hit!

Swisher has had an average start overall, but he has been missing a lot of very hittable pitches of late.

Gardner was using his speed to get 3 infield hits, however, one of them was because of one of the pet peeves I have where the first baseman did not stretch toward the pitcher and received the ball with his feet sort of in the line in between 1st and 2nd base. Those of you remember me making comments about this before with 1st baseman and I still don’t get it. When a first baseman needs to stretch on a close play form everywhere else, they keep one foot on the bag and almost do a split, but on throws from the pitcher and catcher (on close plays) they don’t stretch at all; if they did here Gardner would have been out as they lose at least 3 feet on the lack of stretching. If you are not sure what I am referring too, stand with your feet a little wider than should width and stretch out as far as you can with your glove hand. Then take one foot and pretend that was on the bag and stretch as far as you can extending the other foot in front of you in a stretch position and see how much farther your glove goes.

Jeter Crushed an inside fastball; I still don’t know how he swings like he does. On that pitch he pulled his hands far in, but still got the barrel around to hit a line drive homer.

ARod got his first of the year on a patented opposite field shot (always a good sign for ARod hitting a homer to the opposite field)

As many of you know, I almost always watch the game on video so I don’t hear the commentators very much, but I do catch some of their comments. Today I was building legos with my son while the game was on and Michael Kay was discussing changeups with Flaherty. It had to do with Burnett learning to throw his change more often and can he do it. Then they started talking about Phil Hughes getting the 5th spot because of his change, yet he threw only 2 in the game, so what was the big deal? First, they were wrong, he threw 5, but the main point was that having the ability to throw a pitch is important even if you don’t and 2nd just throwing it poorly can have some impact on the next pitch as it changed the speed to a batter. Now I am not saying you should throw a bad pitch just to throw it, but mixing up your pitches has benefits. The final straw for me to even bother writing this to you folks was when they started in with never get beat with your 2nd best pitch…That is one of the most incorrect cliché’s you will here. If you always throw your best pitch at every critical moment you encounter, I will promise you that you will not be a good pitcher (of course Rivera breaks the mold). You have to mix it up even if it means throwing your 2nd best pitch at critical times otherwise people will sit on your best pitch thus making it not nearly as effective. Again this is why what Rivera does is simply amazing, throwing the same speed every time.

8-3 and looking good! Boston may be 4 out after tonight and if they are 3 out, that means we are a game up on TB.

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