On Monday I wrote, “NJ had a back issue but that seems to be behind him as he has been hitting a lot of hard balls, but not finding any holes.” This was interesting for two reasons…First, I was discussing the Yankees who were starting to get banged up and second, the fact that Nick Johnson was starting to find a good stroke but was getting unlucky. The good part is that NJ kept it up as he drilled a very deep line drive homer to go along with a line drive double, single and 2 walks to have a terrific day at the plate. It was all needed because the bad part was that Pettitte had to leave the game after the 5th inning and 77 pitches because of elbow stiffness. It appears that he has some elbow inflammation which may not be a huge deal, but at his age it also could be a big deal. Andy leaving early caused some unrest as the Yankees did not have Joba or Rivera available and still needed 12 more outs to be recorded. Fortunately this was against the orioles and a 6-1 lead should be enough. Mitre came in and did a nice job for the first 7 outs, but in the 8th inning he allowed an infield single and then a 2 run homer to make the score 6-3 Marte relieved Mitre correctly and struck out the O’s best hitter Markakis and Girardi then went to Robertson. I thought Joe handled the bullpen well all night, but I had an issue with this move as Marte looked good and I would have let him face Tejada. The 9th inning was still wide open and the 2 pitchers I have the most faith in, that were left, are Marte and Aceves, so when Marte looks sharp I am going to try and get a few more outs from him. But, when Robertson got Tejada (although it was a deep fly ball to Swisher) the Yanks got out of the 8th.
The Yanks got a run back as Nick Johnson got his 3rd hit and scored on Baltimore’s poor defense as they committed 2 errors to make the score 7-3. The extra room was needed as Robertson continued his awful command. After getting the 1st out he allowed back to back homers and now the score was 7-5. Girardi went to Boone Logan, who again was throwing 95 consistently and reached 97 again on a pitch, but he walked his first batter. After getting the 2nd out of the inning he walked another guy on a 3-2 pitch and that was enough for Girardi. Ace came in and immediately threw a nice breaking ball on the outside corner for a strike and later got Wiggington to weakly fly to right to end the game and give the Yanks the sweep I asked for!
Unfortunately both Boston and TB won again too.
ARod has been getting some hits, but clearly has not found his power zone yet. His .345 OBP is not awful, but his .414 slug is very poor for ARod. For perspective, he is on a pace for 12 homers. Many other guys are picking up the slack for Texiera, ARod and NJ, but they need to get rolling.
Speaking of Texiera, he obviously has been horrible at the plate this year (our worst hitter), but something the announcers kept missing every time he got a hit and proclaimed “maybe that is the hit that breaks him out of his slump” is that Texiera has hit pretty well from the right side of the plate, but he has been atrocious from the left side of the plate. He has an OPS of .494 hitting lefty and .840 hitting righty. My brother and I noticed this about a week ago that he was much more comfortable swinging against a LH pitcher and I kept forgetting to look up the splits until now. This notion about just being April or now May is kind of off base and the key is he has a mechanical flaw in his swing from the left side. Normally I can see something a player is doing from discipline or dropping his shoulder etc…but Texiera has an odd swing and when he is going well he drops his shoulder so I am not sure what he is doing wrong, but they need to fix it because we have some other guys over performing and when they start to come back to reality our 2-4 guys better get it going.
Gardner now has 13 SB’s and is on an unsustainable, crazy pace of stealing 83 bases while being caught only 6 times. His OPS is .862 but has an adjusted for SB’s OPS of .999. Add this to his wide range in the OF and he has been a star thus far. When I was pushing for him to be the every day starter last year and even when I said his performance would have the same value as Damon when I said I had no issue with Damon leaving, I never expected this. He won’t continue at this pace, but he has been fantastic.
Finally, for those who care, in the middle of the 2nd inning of the year: Johnny Damon has a very respectable OPS of .854 with Detroit (remember his defense is weak), Hideki Matsui has an OPS of .722 (obviously he has been slumping) and Austin Jackson, who was traded away for Granderson, has an excellent OPS of .929 thus far.