Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Genius Maker #64

Please read the below blogs (60 and 61) referencing the 4th inning and the state of our team after almost reaching the half way mark.

As for yesterday's game, I will only say the same thing I wrote in post 60 and that is I don't like the rules the Yanks are putting into action for our young pitchers and it seems all it does is screw them up and hurt the team. I am good with controlling the pitch counts and putting limits on our young pitchers, but as I stated prior, the Yanks have an odd feel/plan for this. The Yanks seem to place odd restrictions and timing and as many of you know I speak my mind before the outcomes. Hughes was awful and out of sync with the 9 or so day off rest. Maybe he would have stunk anyway, but I would rather guys limit his INNINGS and keep him on a rhythm. BTW, Cliff Lee has now pitched 3 straight complete games

Monday, June 28, 2010

The Genius Maker #63

Man, what a game! I will fast forward through the poor defense by Pettitte and the important 2 run homer by ARod to close the lead to 5-2 to get to the 8th inning. I was really annoyed in the 8th inning when Joba had a guy on 2nd base with 2 outs and an 0-2 count on the batter. The runner kept getting huge jumps to steal and the batter kept fouling off pitches. I could not believe that Joba refused to alter his timing to home and instead of just holding the ball which would have led to an easy step off pick off, they Yankees called a pitchout that would not have thrown the guy out even with a perfect throw! The jump the runner had was far too big. This seemed to be a fundamental stupid call to me. It was as if the Yanks said, he is stealing so let’s pitch out and throw him out rather than understanding the guy was timing Joba every time? Very disappointing. Of course the next guy knocked him in for what appeared to be the insurance run to nail the game shut.

Now, what is very interesting is that Torre went with Broxton, their closer, with a 4 run lead as he was prepared to come in with a 3 run lead. I don’t really think that is a big deal, but after the Yanks started to get a few hits and Posada had a fantastic 10 pitch AB culminating in a single, the Yanks were in business against a very tired pitcher (who had thrown 1.1 innings the night before). After a good walk by Granderson, rookie Chad Huffman came up and delivered a huge 1 out single to close the game to 1 run with 1st and 3rd and one out. The other rookie, Colin Curtis was now up and he had a good AB, although he ended up grounding out to 1st base. Fortunately for us, Loney didn’t throw home immediately as Granderson would have been out; instead he got a little greedy and got the out first and then threw home late and allowed the tying run to score. Girardi then went to the Genius Maker who had very good movement on his pitches and he shut down LA to send the game to the 10th. After a 2 run homer by Cano the Yanks were in business for Rivera to pitch his 2nd inning and he didn’t fail us. Going back to my comment on being very interesting; Mariano Rivera earned his nick name the Genius Maker basically because he made Torre look like a genius all the time regardless of the odd things Torre did. Nobody questions the manager when the team wins. But, now that the Yanks came back and beat Broxton and the Dodgers, the questions about leaving Broxton in there to throw the most pitches in one game as well as back to back games will come up, especially in a non save situation. Meanwhile Girardi brought in Rivera who pitches 2 shut out innings and Joe looks like a genius…THE GENIUS MAKER!

BTW, after the game Torre said Loney could have done two things with the grounder that scored the tying run.
"He could have gone straight to the plate or he could have gone for the double play," he said. "Unfortunately, once he stepped back, he lost his momentum to the plate. It was just one of those things."

Really Joe? What about the fact that if he stepped on 1st base he has now setup a tag play at the 2nd (the force is off) and Granderson would get to home before Huffman got to 2nd because Granderson is faster? The ONLY play was to throw home immediately if you wanted to stop the run from scoring.

Other Notes:
I don’t have the exact numbers, something like an ERA of 11, but Burnett now has the worst ERA of a starter that threw at least 5 games in a month for any Yankee pitcher…ever! Think about how bad that is? He has put up the worst month of any consistent starter for the Yanks in their history…wow that is bad.

Boston is really getting banged up now. Buckholz hurt his knee, Pedroia broke his foot and now Martinez broke his thumb. Meanwhile TB has been arguing with each other as BJ Upton jogged after a ball and Longoria and he exchanged a lot of words.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Genius Maker #62

Please see the updates in below blogs (60 and 61) in regards to where we are at the end of the 4th inning of the season and my updates on pitchers and hitters.

I did not see the Friday Dodger game, but it is obvious that CC was pitching really well. Followed by the Genius Maker living up to his name by closing out the 9th striking out the side. This when one could say that Girardi should have left CC out there...and he surely would have been criticized if Rivera didn't do the job after Mo threw 40 pitches on Wednesday. I watched online as Mo hit the corners repeatedly.

Boston came back in the 9th, scored a run and loaded the bases but fell one run short. TB was no hit (but walked 8 times) and the Yanks now have a 3 game lead!

The Genius Maker #61 (4th inning complete - hitters)

With the Yankees about to start a series with their old manager (taking 2 of 3 would be a success), I wanted to review the hitting after the 4th inning of the year.

First, I will look at where we stand as a team in both pitching and offense compared to the league:

The Yankees offense is 2nd in baseball in OPS (.802) and not coincidentally 2nd in baseball in runs scored (Boston is 1st in both categories)

SB’s – SB’s should be added to the OPS number to get a better feeling of all offensive production and while the Yanks are just a little ahead at +13 total bases or an equivalent of adding 5 points of OPS, the Mets are #1 in SB production gaining 41 bases or 17 points of OPS. The Red Sox gained 9 bases and TB gained 32.

The defense/pitching:

In the AL only TB and Minnesota have allowed less runs than the Yanks (278-291-293).
Boston is 22nd overall allowing 346 runs.

BTW, based on the Pythagorean theory the Yanks are right where they should be based on runs scored and runs allowed. Interestingly, across baseball the wins and losses are correlating very well to the same theory which is for every 10 runs more you score you should have a win over .500. So if you have scored 40 runs more than you have allowed you should have 29 wins if you played 50 games (25+4). Take a look at the standings; it works surprisingly well.

Onto the individual guys:

Cano is leading the team in OPS with a 1.004. He has obviously been great all year and there is no reason to expect a much worse performance…he could easily keep it up if he can keep away form chasing bad pitches.

Some people may be surprised that Posada is 2nd on the team in OPS with a .910 OPS. Even with that bad slump, he still has walked a lot and hit for good power. He and Cervelli have about the same amount of AB’s and while Cervelli has been applauded for his big RBI’s, Posada has only 3 less RBI’s than Cervelli.

Swisher is 3rd in at an OPS of .892. Swisher has hit better than expected thus far and it appears the stance switch of having him rest the bat on his shoulders to limit the movement has worked out very well. If he can hit at .275 or above his walks and power should make him very solid.

ARod is 4th at only an .830 OPS. He has been banged up and obviously has lost some of his leg strength. Power and average are down, but he has still be productive, just not ARod productive.

Gardner is 5th, but has really been more productive than ARod so far as his SB’s have given him about an .890 OPS. His normal OPS is .823.

Granderson at .776 has been disappointing, but as I pointed out the lower OPS is caused partially because he is facing a lot more lefties than he should. His OPS against righties is .888 and while it should be closer to .940 (his previous 3 year total) at least .888 is solid. I still believe what I said preseason and that is Gardner should be in CF playing every day and Granderson should be in LF being platooned. Gardner is not great against lefties, but he is better than Granderson.

Teixeira comes in next at an OPS of .749. Obviously, he has been the most disappointing guy offensively. Tex has been better for May and June keeping an OPS of about .830 over that period, but coming from a guy with a career .912 OPS that is not good enough. As has been pointed out before, His main issue is batting from the left side because his OPS is .703 compared to .858 batting right handed. Usually Tex is equal from both sides of the plate.

Jeter comes in with a pedestrian .751 OPS. He needs to step up the 2nd half of the year as the first half was about 90 points below his career numbers. I am fine with Jeter putting up an OPS of .800 from here on out.

Cervelli – I included him just for perspective and he has an OPS of .735

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Genius Maker #60 (4th inning complete - Pitchers)

Post #59 has a quick note on last nights game.

As we just about close the 4th inning of the year, here is where we are (ALL NUMBERS PRIOR TO WEDNESDAY NIGHT’S GAME)
The entire bullpen outside of the Genius Maker has been pretty weak.

Rivera has a .384 OPS against…WOW! This represents the lowest OPS against for Rivera’s career (I know the year is not over yet). Those are video game numbers. What is even crazier, if we pull out one week/stretch of games (May 16th- May 21st) his numbers are the following: 22 IP, 4 hits, 0 runs, 4 walks and 20 k’s.

Usually one would expect more inconsistent times as a player ages, but Rivera has limited is stretch to one bad one. While there have been times he has been less dominant, he has done the job and overall been fantastic. Coming up with the tailing fastball against righties has been a big difference as Rivera has simply been dominant against righties with a .305 OPS against. That is really absurd. For perspective, that is allowing 2 doubles, 2 singles, 1 walk and 2 HBP while getting 37 outs! One final way to look at it…it is like pitching 4 complete games allowing only 1 hit and 1 walk in each of them with no triples or homers. He is the GENIUS MAKER!

Mitre has been very good, but Joba and Marte both have high hits and walks per IP (WHIP) and have not been dominant in any way. Surprisngly, Mitre has been very solid posting very good numbers even with 2 starts and has a .582 OPS against.
Other OPS against:
Joba - .687 (.643 against righties)
Marte - .617 (doing well against lefties .484 OPS against)
Robertson - .859 (really was lit up early on)
Park – (.924 OPS against, but has been better against righties at .712). The main issue with Park has been that he has allowed 6 homers in 21 innings. Last year he only allowed 5 in 83 innings.
Gaudin - has an OPS against of .987

OPS against:
CC - .682 OPS against and doing well. He has allowed 12 homers in 100 innings, but outside of that has good numbers
Burnett - .821. The most disappointing starter thus far. He is still a little better against lefties, but he is struggling.
Pettitte - .637 OPS against and has exceeded all expectations from me. He really looks as good as ever throwing more pitches to more areas of the plate with the same or better movement as 10 years ago. He also has been incredible against lefties this year with an OPS against of .399 (righty .728). While the year is obviously not over, there has only been one year in his career where Pettitte has had a lower OPS against than this and that was in 2005 where it was .613…but it was in the NL with Houston.
Vazquez – OPS against of .765, but obviously has been two different pitchers. He is better against righties with a .704 OPS against. He started to pitch pretty well in May and in June he has started 4 games going 7 innings each time with less than 3 runs (2.25 ERA). His main issue has been the long ball as well, allowing 13 homers in only 70 innings. I kind of expect an ERA more in between the two streaks the rest of the year.
Hughes - .610 OPS against is the best of all our starters (2nd best overall). The kid has really pitched well and I can only hope the Yankees don’t screw around with him too much and throw off his rythym. They are skipping him this time through the rotation. If they throw in the bullpen and simulate a short game, maybe that is ok, but too much could get him out of a routine and that is concerning. People can say the Yanks know what they are doing, but obviously they didn’t with the crazy out of sync things they did with Joba over the past year. The cutter has been a huge weapon for Hughes.

The Genius Maker #59

When you get 12 walks and 8 hits in 9 innings one would hope you would string enough together to get more than 5 runs, but a few DP's and some poor RISP hitting kept the scoring down. Extra innings saw a big it by Granderson giving us the lead on a HR which was then followed by a single by Gardner, a SB and then a walk...still with nobody out. Jeter then hit into his 2nd DP which I was concerned about because Rivera had already thrown an inning and I knew he would be pitching the 10th. It looked to be really bad when Rivera allowed a single, double and an intentional walk to load the bases with nobody out. But, the Genius Maker pulled a Houdini act by getting 2 straight pop ups and a strike out to hold onto the one run lead!

Rivera's genius is even more rewarding when you see that Papelbon allowed 2 homers in the 9th inning as Boston lost their lead and game. TB also lost so the Yanks are 2.5 games up!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Genius Maker #58

Arizona is not a very good team so I was glad to see the Yanks pull away late. Most important was the win coincided with a loss by TB and Boston and I hope we can put some distance between us. I was also very happy to see ARod come through as he is very important and it is obvious he has not been 100%.

Colin Curtis was brought up while Chad Moeller was sent down. This helps our depth as Moeller had no value.

I will be sending out pitcher updates followed by hitting as we close out the 4th inning of this year.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Genius Maker #57

Burnett didn't have it from the start and his own words were correct when he said he took his team out of the game early. Burnett is a frustrating guy because he has two really good pitches in his fastball and curve, but his command/location is not very good. I said this awhile ago and it is interesting , but Burnett would make a good end of the bullpen guy based on having 2 excellent pitches but not having a 3rd that a starter usually needs. We know he has worked on his change, but he doesn't have confidence in it. He may be a roller coaster ride as a closer because consistency may be an issue, but if he were to come in and fire some strikes at 97 (which he could probably get to only going an inning) and have that sharp curve, it could be a possibility. Just something to think about as his pitching repertoire that lends itself as a closer. I am sure we will hate whoever is our next closer anyway compared to the Genius Maker. One last note that may have relevance is that Burnett started pitching worse when Eiland left the team. It is reasonable to say that Eiland made good adjustments on the fly with AJ.

Brett Gardner continues to have a really good year and has an OPS of .832 and when you take SB's into account it adjusts to around .900! That is really fantastic. I said at the beginning of the year I would play him in CF and Granderson in left (I was not adamant about it) and my main reason was that he is faster than Granderson (understanding speed isn't everything for defense) and that he would be less likely to have to come out because of a lefty matchup. Gardner has been better against righties(.883-721), but Granderson is hitting only .574 against lefties. While I didn't expect Gardner to have an OPS before SB's of over .800, I expected him to be a mid .750's guy with upside based on the adjustments he has made at every level...the upside has come in early!

Boston and TB are each half a game behind us...Boston has been playing well.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Genius Maker #56

I would like to thank Bruce for keeping the pace with a few blogs. At first the Yanks kept losing so I thought I may have to fire him, but just like there being no such thing as clutch ability, there is no such thing as the guest blogger impacting the fact, he had some dreadful games to comment on. That being said, there was some very good analysis and also some great writing about Rivera with some poetry (you won't get that from me). Thanks Bruce! Last comment that I had to make, I agree with you that Paul O was wrong about the infielder taking a step back rather than charging and getting on the short hop, but I think Paul meant to say rather than getting an in between hop. Paul did say it wrong, but there are times where retreating to get a good hop is better than either staying or charging and getting an in between hop. Usually this is the best option when you know you have more time (ie slow runner). However, the general rule of thumb is to charge the ball and don;t allow another hop if you can.

How does being in 1st place sound? I like it considering we have gone through an assortment of injuries and we still have ARod slowed a lot, Jeter is limping down the line and we still have NJ out.

I was fortunate enough to spend my fathers day with my daughter camping and then we caught most of the Yankee game, we left after the 8th inning rain delay, which was the first game she has ever gone to. She said, "this is really cool" about 5 times.

Of course it was even cooler with CC wheeling and dealing all day, Tex hitting a slam and TB losing! We needed all that cool with as hot as the real temperatures were.

I am concerned about the offense struggling so bad. One hit to knock in our runs and that was it? Kevin Long will need to get back on track with a lot of guys as we have not been good at the plate of late.

Meanwhile, as "bad" as CC has been, his ERA is now at 3.68 and he is 8-3.

The Genius Maker worked another perfect 9th and as Bruce mentioned, has really been piling up a lot of good innings. His control is not as consistent as it once was and I would expect a few bad ones here and there, but his movement has been as good as always and now that he can tail a fastball in on righties he has more to work with. In his last 11 innings, he has allowed only ONE hit while walking 2 batters and striking out 10 (no runs). That is the very Genius Maker like!

As a reminder that the world's order has been restored; the Yanks are in 1st place!

BTW, if anyone would like to be a guest blogger, please email me at or add a comment to a blog stating your interest.

Happy Father's Day!

The Genius Maker #55 (Guest Blogger)

From Bruce Wigdor:

The original agreement between me and Steve was for me to do two games, but when Steve promised to pay me 10 times what he was giving me to write another one, I hastily agreed before realizing that, well, he wasn't paying me anything.

So I've got two Mets games to talk about. Friday night was dreary again, as the Yankee bats were almost invisible again. Another game where we wasted a great performance by our starting pitcher, with Vasquez pitching 7 innings of one run ball. Once again, we made a little noise in the 9th inning that amounted to nothing. All told, 0-9 with runners in scoring position.

A few things about Cervelli in Friday night's game. First of all, he went 2-4 with a double on a day where the offense was sleepng--nice job! He also threw out a basestealer from his knees--that's something I don't think we've seen in a Yankee catcher before. However, in the first inning, on the one run that Vasquez allowed, Cervelli should have been able to make the play at the plate. The throw had David Wright beat by a mile, but Cervelli went up the first baseline to receive the ball and then couldn't get back for the tag. If he stands on the plate and waits for the ball, it's an easy out.

Nick Swisher made a really bad baserunning blunder that fortunately went unpunished when he tagged from 1st base with the score 3-0, and would have been out if the throw were anywhere around the base. Maybe it was a case of trying to do too much to make something happen with the offense struggling, but killing potential rallies is the way sleeping offenses stay sleeping.

With the score 1-0 Mets going into the 8th, I expected to see Joba on the mound, but Girardi elected to go with Chan Ho Park and then Boone Logan, who were both ineffective. I would have done it differently, but it's not a no-brainer by any means.

On to Saturday's game:

The Yankees finally score some runs, and I miss it! I started watching this one in the 5th inning, so I missed all the runs. Texiera and Granderson each hit two run dingers to turn a 3-1 deficit into a 5-3 lead. Once I tuned in, it seemed like the same old weak offense I've been watching for the past 3 days, but it was enough thanks to Hughes settling down, not to mention strong outings from Joba and The Genius Maker.

Paul O'Neill said something that was flat out wrong in the 5th inning. Cora had just made a difficult play on a Swisher ground ball even harder by backing up on the ball, and Paul O starts talking about how sometimes you need to back up on the ball to get a better hop, instead of charging the ball into a short hop. Any of you out there who have played the infield already know that this is the opposite of what is true. Bad things happen when you back up on ground balls--you should only do it when there is no other way to get to the ball. I could go on and on about this, but like I said, anyone who has played the infield knows that this is true regardless of level of play. Bad announcing, Paul O--I hope little league parents were smart and quick enough to cover up their kids' ears!

Joba came in for the 8th, and threw nothing but 94-96 MPH fastballs to the first 3 batters. Finally Pagan pulled a two out double on a good fastball right on the inside corner--did Joba go to the well too often? I don't know--pitch selection is the kind of analysis you get from Steve that I can't give you. Anyway, with 2 outs and a man on 2nd, it was a total about face against Wright, as Joba threw him 4 straight breaking pitches: a terrible at bat for Wright, as the pitch he struck out on started out low and away and ended up in the dirt.

In the bottom of the 8th, with 2nd and 3rd and 1 out, I was surprised to see Manual pitch to Granderson with the righty, as opposed to walking him and going after Pena and Russo. Michael Kay said "that's because Manual knows that Pena is 6 for 9 lifetime with the bases loaded." Sorry, 9 ABs don't mean anything--Pena is a weak hitter who is hitting poorly even by his standards. Not only that, but later as Pena stepped to the plate, they flash up a graphic showing us that he is a miserable .214 this year with 2 outs and runners in scoring position.

I say it was a bad move; I think you need to set up the DP and force at home, not to mention pitching to the weaker hitter. Of course, the move worked, as Granderson struck out and Pena grounded out, so what do I know?

Enter Sandman...

3 up 3 down. The Genius Maker's control was not perfect, but the cutter was moving great, and he had a strikeout and let up two weak grounders.

It's just unbelievable. No one can hit him. There's never been a pitcher more capable of shutting a team down in a given inning like Rivera. Yes, the control is not where it's been in the past; Steve has talked about it here and I see exactly what he's saying. Perhaps it's the beginning of the end. But that's what I thought it was 3 years ago, after he had just had his only season with an ERA over 2.00 since 2002. Since then he has put up 2 Hall of Fame years, and is on pace for another one.

No one can hit him!

This year, with that lessened control, the OPS against Rivera is .398! .398!!! That's like a normal pitcher pitching to a lineup full of hitters all much worse than Joe Girardi! A lot worse!

No one can hit him!

With each 3 up and 3 down inning Mariano pitches this year, he gets closer and closer to having a career WHIP of 1.00. Right now, it's 1.01, as he has allowed 1118 baserunners in 1113 inning pitched in his career so far. What's more, throw out his first season in 1995 when he was an unsuccessful starter, and the numbers as a relief pitcher are 1017 baserunners in 1046 innings.

No one can hit him!

And of course, because they're even better, here the post season numbers for The Genius Maker: 8-1, 0.74 ERA, 39 saves, 0.77 WHIP.

No one can hit him!

This is so great. I hope you are all watching Rivera and savoring every moment the way I am; it's not often you can root for the undisputed greatest at what he does.

Enter Mo
End the show
Mow them down
All the way to Cooperstown

Friday, June 18, 2010

The Genius Maker #54 (Guest Blogger)

From Bruce Wigdor:

"How are we supposed to go out there and give it our best when we know that Steve isn't watching?"--Alex Rodriguez, after the game.

Well, OK, maybe A-Rod didn't say that. But until he issues a formal statement denying he said it, that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

So my two days hosting here are both losses to the Phillies...just great! Note to Steve: next time, I'm blogging Baltimore.

Girardi tried batting Granderson 2nd and Swisher 6th today, but it didn't wake up the offense at all.

Pettitte was simply brilliant today in his losing performance. You just won't find a better pitched 3 run game than Andy pitched today. He had command of all of his pitches and was really wheeling and dealing.

After retiring the first 9 batters, Andy let up his first run in the 4th when Victorino muscled a good pitch to right field. He pops up Utley with a pitch in on the hands, and gets Polanco to hit a routine ground ball to 3rd which Pena let go under his glove. Ryan Howard followed the error with a groundball that found its way between Cano and Texiera, and the Phillies scored a run without getting a good pitch to hit. Andy bounces right back and strikes out Ibanez in an at bat where Ibanez looked completely overmatched. At that point, I'm thinking that, so long as the Yankee bats wake up, we'll be OK, because that's all they're going to get on Pettitte.

Well, I was wrong, because in the 5th, despite pitching well, Andy got beat again. First he got away with one of what I thought were two mistakes tonight, as Francisco crushed a line drive right at Pena at 3rd for an out. Andy walked Ruiz, and then Phillies manager Charlie Manuel made a really good call by sending Ruiz on a groundball that would have been a double play had he not been moving, That allowed Victorino to step up again and Victorino again delivered the hit on a great pitch as he takes a pitch boring in on his hands over the left field wall. A great job by Victorino of keeping that ball fair. Andy must have been wondering what he needed to do there! I'm still thinking, that's all you're getting off of Andy today! Kind of like the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Andy could have let up 12 runs with the command he had; I'd still be refusing to believe we were beat. "I'll bite your kneecaps off!"

In the 6th inning, Andy had baserunners again after Polanco got a check swing single, and then Werth reached out and pulled a decent but not great pitch for a single. Andy recovered by striking out Ibanez on 3 pitches and then catching Francisco looking on a 1-2 pitch.

The Yankees scored their only run with a two out rally when Texiera walked, A-Rod singled, and Cano drilled a single to right to score Texiera. Who says being a major league hitter is hard? It's simple! All you have to do is watch Robinson Cano and do what he does! He's making it look easy, and even in the Yankees' offensive drought of the last two days, Cano has managed to go 4 for 8 with a HR and 2 RBIs. Unfortunately, Swisher missed two very hittable pitches on the next at bat to end the Yankees' only threat.

Andy pitched out of trouble again in the 7th--I know it sounds crazy to say that Pettitte was brilliant with all of these jams, but he has always been the type of pitcher who gets in trouble and pitches out of it, and he was never better at it than today. Anyway, in the 7th he made what I thought was his second mistake of the game, and Ruiz, who chose today to come out of a terrible slump, crushed a double. The Yankees then tried the wheel play on the sacrifice, but Valdez's bunt was good enough that they had to go to first. They then walk Victorino to set up the double play and pitch to Utley. Pettitte tries to get him out by busting him inside, but Utley wasn't biting and Andy walked him on some very close pitches. By the way, I thought the plate umpire Tom Hallion, was great tonight--I didn't disagree with a single call! Anyway, Andy got ahead of Polanco, and then got him to ground to Texiera, who got the force at the plate. He then got ahead of Howard and struck him out with the power curve away. What a great performance--at 3-1, I was hoping the Yankees would mount a comeback to reward Andy for it, but it was not to be.

Gardner and Cervelli both had great at bats in the bottom of the 7th before hitting the ball hard but right at people. Before lining out to 3rd, Cervelli just missed his first home run by hitting a ball hard down the left field line but just barely foul.

Robertson pitched a pretty good 8th inning; I thought he made some good pitches, but also grooved a few fastballs. His fastball is too straight, I think. Anyway, it was good to see him with another successful outing.

The ninth inning was of course a disaster that put the game out of reach. Joba came in to pitch, and Ruiz continued his coming-out-of-slump party by leading off with a double, and then the Yankees tried the wheel play again on the anticipated sacrifice...but this time the Phillies burned them on it by having Valdez swing away and bounce an RBI single up the middle. Joba walked another batter, and then Marte came in and walked another, and then let up back to back sacrifice flies to put the game out of reach.

Oh well, a rare lost series for the Yankees. Disappointing, especially since we won the game against Halliday. A new series begins against the Mets tomorrow, with a new guest blogger--thanks for reading while I kept Steve's seat warm for the past two days!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Genius Maker #53 (Guest Blogger)

From Bruce Wigdor:

Well, that wasn't a great game for me to be the guest host here. Coming off a very impressive showing against Halladay, the Yankee bats were mostly silent and the game took on a very lifeless feel. The Yankees didn't even bat with men on base until the walk in the 7th inning, the solo shots by Cano and Posada being the only hits off Moyer before that.

Burnett was horrible today. I must confess, I'm not a big AJ fan. His results and stats have been good as a Yankee, and he has great stuff, but I find it hard to root for a pitcher whose control is so bad. I never have faith when he is in there.

Today, that control was worse than usual. He started out unable to control his curve ball, as seems to be the norm with him, but he got out of the first inning OK. That left hope that he'd settle down and find that control as he sometimes does, but it didn't happen.

The Phillies batters did a good job noting AJ's inability to throw the curve for strikes. and were sitting on the fast ball. Unfortunately, AJ didn't have good command of fast ball either, so they were able to work the counts, wait for the mistakes, and put 6 runs on the board by the end of the 3rd. AJ had already thrown 74 pitches by that time, and the Yankees fans were getting restless, giving sarcastic applause when an out was recorded.

The fans' retlessness turned to anger in the 4th. After walking the leadoff batter Victorino (who stole 2nd on a dropped pitchout) and retiring Polonco on a flyout to right (Victorino should have tagged and gone to 3rd), Texiera made a nice play on Utley's shot that should have robbed him of a hit...except that Burnett didn't cover first base! The fans really let AJ have it at that point, and Girardi decided he had seen enough. Burnett exited the game to a loud chorus of boos, and when I normally don't like when our fans boo our players, in this case Burnett deserved to hear it.

That makes twice in two days that one of our pitchers failed to cover first: CC did it in the series opener.

While I'm piling it on AJ, I'll add that his inability to hold baserunners on is starting to be a real problem. Everybody knows about it now and they're running on him at will. Jorge didn't help matters by dropping a pitchout, but on the other hand it was good to see him make a nice throw on Ibanez's stolen base earlier even though it was just a split second late (the replay showed that Ibanez was actually out due to oversliding the bag).

Meanwhile, when the Yankees were up, it couldn't have been more different with Moyer. His control was impeccable, as it must be when everything's under 85 MPH. He was hitting the mitt on almost every pitch. Jorge and Cano put two of his mistakes into the seats, but there were very few other chances and he kept the Yankees off balance all day. I can't really find fault in the approach of the Yankees--Moyer just pitched a really good game. That's not entirely unexpected: Moyer's ERA is inflated by a one inning 8 run performance against the Mets, but besides that, he's been consistent and has a winning record this year.

It's tough to be an ump when a pitcher like Moyer is testing your strike zone on almost every pitch, but I thought plate umpire Ed Rapuano could have done a lot better of a job today. He was upsetting both teams. Jorge should have been rung up once and maybe twice on his home run at bat. Rapuano called a few Yankees out on low pitches. In general, everyone was shaking their head at calls, both right and wrong.

Finally, we get to the good stuff: Boone Logan and Chad Gaudin! It's too bad the Yankee bats didn't awaken, because these guys came in and kept the game within reach. Both pitchers got ahead early in the counts, and then finished off their batters. All told, it was 5 2/3 innings of no-hit relief, with 1 walk and 6 strikeouts (3 apiece)!

So between yesterday's and today's game, we got great relief performances from David Robertson, Chan Ho Park, Boone Logan and Chad Gaudin. That's huge, I think. The Yankees are going to need at least one or two of those guys to step up and be reliable, and so far none of them has been.

We almost rewarded our mop-up guys in the 9th against Lidge, and got the tying run to the plate in the form of Jorge, but Lidge was able to get Jorge to chase the slider down and in for the strikeout and final out.

So the series is tied, 1-1. Tomorrow, Pettitte (8-1, 2.46 ERA) will be matched up against Kendrick (3-2, 4.80 ERA). Hopefully Andy will be on and we will take the series! See you tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Genius Maker #52

Anytime you beat Halladay it is a great day. I was not able to see the game, but I was told that Halladay was not sharp and we took advantage of it. CC gave us a quality start and we won a home game...Gardner had a big triple.

OK, not a lot of interesting insight there, but I wanted to post to let you know that over the next 2 weeks I am going to have some guest bloggers. What this means is if you would like to get your own blog on here, email me at and I will give you a day to send me your blog and I will post it. Let me know, slots are limited to at most 10.

Tomorrow my brother Bruce will post about the Philly game.


Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Genius Maker #51

1st Place! OK, it is a tie, but at least we are 4 games ahead of the nearest wild card team. The 3 best records in the AL are in our division and the top 3 in wins in baseball are in our division.

Hip Hip Jorge! Two Grand Slams in a row! I found it funny that right before the one today O'Neill made a comment stating on a 2-0 count you have to decide whether you will take a pitch or let loose. I turned to my son who was watching, I mean in the same room as I was and I am sure not paying any attention to what I was saying, and said, of course you let him loose...and the BOOM!

The Slam was very important, as is having Posada catching, when you are starting Pena at 3rd base a rookie in RF and Tex who is still struggling-even if he has been better. Huffman (not the Hoffman guy we got for Bruney and had to give back), reminds me of Hoffman. He looks like a guy who can field his position, run reasonably well, but his bat didn't look very impressive to me (in the 5 AB's). It looked like his swing is a little long. Either way, hopefully he can give us some help and maybe we get lucky.

I was very happy to see Gardner continue to gut it out and help us with a heavily taped thumb and today contributed a lot getting on base 4 out of 5 times and making an excellent catch. I still think he should be our every day CF'r and Granderson should be in LF because I think Gardner can cover a little more ground and isn't as much of a liability against lefties as Granderson. Gardner has an OPS of .762 against lefties which is respectable; Granderson is doing what I expected against lefties (an OPS around the same .570 as the last 3 years), however, while he has been good against righties at about an .850 OPS, he usually is over .900; he can get better.

Jeter has looked a step slower of late. He has not been able to beat out a few plays I thought he could make and he also got thrown out on a play he had a great jump on. Today he tried to steal on a 2-2 pitch that was in the dirt and still got thrown out. First, I would have liked to see him beat out a breaking ball in the dirt and second, what was he doing doing going on a 2-2 pitch? That is usually not the place to steal unless you are a big stolen base threat as the next pitch could be an automatic 3-2, which it would have been.

Tex got way out of sorts in this game after he was barely hit on the toe and the ump ruled he did not get hit (I was surprised the Yanks didn't ask for help from other umps?). He then swung at ball 4, made an error in the field and popped up weakly on 2 very inside cutters he should not have been swinging at. He finally did reach base when he was hit again.

No complaints about the ump (even though the strike zone for the ump behind home plate was not good) because Jeter failed to charge a ground ball and threw to 2nd late on a force, but the ump ruled in our favor for the out.

We finished the easy stretch 12-4 so that was good. Now we need to keep it rolling. We have a tough trip in that after we play 6 home games against Philly and the Mets, we go to west coast playing Arizona and the Dodgers. We then come back for 6 games against Seattle and Toronto and then fly right back to the west coast and play Oakland and Seattle to finish up the before the break. I guess we need at least 15 of those 25 games and can hope for more.

ARod has hip stiffness as well as his tight groin; he is questionable for Tuesday. Thames should be back from his hammy after 2 weeks.

The Genius Maker #50 1/2

I just wanted to note I corrected my last post to state that Girardi was the player who had only 1 RBI in the postseason.

Those are some of the negatives because I don't proof read what I write...

The Genius Maker #50

Quick note on the game last night…Jeter had a tremendous offensive game hitting 2 homers and Vazquez pitched another solid game (I think he could have gone 8). It is surprising that he is not consistently breaking 90 MPH, but all of his stuff including different angles on the same pitch make him a craft righty. The key is spotting his fastball well and being able to work off of that. As he adjusts to throwing 2-3 MPH slower than he is used to, he will need to slow up his changeup a little bit. When you are throwing 88-89, a changeup at 83 is not enough of a difference (I think 7 MPH is the minimum and 10 is a good number)

One other quick note as Posada hit a grand slam and may be showing some signs of getting back in a groove. Old timers of my blog who started out as a bunch of friends where I would rant and rave about items remember that I was perplexed why the Yanks kept Posada on the bench only to have a weak hitting catcher who threw runners out worse than Posada play over the far better hitting Posada. People would talk about how clutch Girardi was because of his triple, but not realize that triple was the ONLY RBI Girardi ever had in the postseason… over 130 plate appearances this so called clutch guy had an OPS of a horrible .463 with ONE RBI). My point is I have been a huge supporter and believer in how much getting such great hitting production out of the catcher position has been a big plus for the Yanks. However, his comments lately about DH’ing and how he can’t get used to it and on and on kind of tick me off. I can understand stating that he has been having trouble adjusting to the role (it is not as easy as people think); but that he will do whatever is bets for the team. I think it is also fair for him to say that he wants to catch, but he should again talk about doing what is best for the team. So far he has only complained (a little) and used the DH as an excuse. I just wanted to let people know my opinion and while I do think Posada should still catch at least half the game when healthy, he needs to just shut up and do what he is asked.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

The Genius Maker #49

Houston came into this game surprisingly winning 8 of their last 10 games.

Andy pitched another good ball game. I thought the pitch selection was very good and I was going to compliment Cervelli (and I still will), but Andy was calling a lot of the pitches and surprisingly doing so by mouthing what he wanted. He did this while the batter was not looking, but that is not something you see very often. Good movement and command for Andy and he allowed 2 ER or less for the 10th time in 12 starts (now 8-1). 3 runs did come in, but 1 in the 8th was on a bad error by Jeter that could have been very costly, but Joba did the job holding the 8th inning down. Girardi had a tough call with Andy in the 8th and throwing 98 pitches; Keppinger (righty) and Berkman (switch) coming up. Michael Kay said (paraphrasing) that Keppinger is hitting .283 against righties and .313 against lefties and .290 overall, so not much difference. To that, I said, how can you tell from that stat? How about giving us OPS Mike? So, I went and looked... coming into the game Keppinger had an OPS of .907 against lefties and .683 against righties...a HUGE difference. That is just lazy announcing...honestly it is embarrassing. Joba got keppinger to hit a sac fly and then struck out Berkman, who incorrectly barked at the 3rd base ump when he punched him out on a (non) check swing.

The Yanks got a huge 2 out 2 RBI hit from Cervelli who has been slumping, but still is getting some big hits.

In came Mo for the 9th and his cutter was dancing. He had great movement and used it to strike out 2 batters in the 9th, although admittedly he got a big break on Pence who seemed locked in on Rivera, but called out on a pitch far outside...The Genius Maker looked good though in this 4-3 win.

TB lost so the Yanks are only 1 game out.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Genius Maker #48 quick morning update

Both TB and Boston lost so we didn't lose any ground.

When the Yanks started this 16 game stretch I said I wanted to go 11-5 (at the minimum). Well, if the Yanks win 2 of 3 they will finish 11-5; if we sweep then we will have done a better job and one that I feel we should do, even with the injuries.

Some people have asked about what Ken Rosenthal wrote saying the Yanks were the leaders to get Cliff Lee. Is it possible, sure, but the logic doesn't add up to me. I think this is a writer making statements without really thinking through the situation. Now, I know I am putting myself out there and if the Yanks do trade for Lee I will look bad, but here is my reasoning. While any team could use Cliff Lee right now, the Yanks have 5 starters that are solid. Obviously, Vazquez is the weak link, but over the last 30 days he has pitched 33 innings allowing 10 runs (2.72 ERA). Also, the Yanks correctly have been avoiding making trades such as this one because of the reluctance to give up rising stars (prospects) at the level you have to. Look at the Santana almost trade. The Yanks only seem to make trades when they have soured on a guy (see Melky) or if the trade just makes a ton of sense. Now, if the Yanks had an injury to a starter, all bets would change, but unless the Yanks trade a starter back to Seattle in the deal, I don't see the Yanks just dropping prospects for Lee when they could make a run at him next year for "free." Next year, I would say the Yanks should open up the bank for Lee as they will most likely not have Vazquez (unless he pitches very well the rest of the year) and Pettitte may be gone as well. Lee is also an odd case because he was in the minors just a few years ago struggling very badly and even before he was pretty good, but not dominant. Something clicked and he obviously has been great over the past 2 years so he is worth going after hard, but I would not drop prospects right now for him.

One other note, a preemptive strike may also be part of the thought process because Lee going to a rival could sway the race...either way I think Rosenthal is wrong...we shall see.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Genius Maker #47

Just as we were getting healthy and seeing a good lineup we put out a lineup that has Thames starting against a lefty, Moeller catching and after ARod went out with I assume a sore groin, Pena at 3rd base (batting 4th no less). After a game where you get 7 walks, you should be able to score more, but the Yanks only mustered up 4 hits. Posada had a bad game offensively (and has had an OPS of a horrible .464 since coming back -30 plate appearances) and the rest were too easily matched up against. Granderson faced a lefty for a big AB and then Thames faced a righty for a big AB and then Pena faced a lefty for a big AB and forced us to pinch hit Cervelli…we just couldn’t string the hits together enough. Unfortunately, Burnett had the worst fastball I have seen from him, maybe ever, throwing only about 92 with not too much movement. I am not sure why they didn’t throw more curves or even changes as I believe every hit came off the fastball except one. His curve was actually outstanding and I would have been throwing it a lot. In one key spot he threw 5 straight to get a K.

Not sure what game Michael Kay was watching, or even the score keeper, but giving Luke Scott a triple on the obvious misplay/error by Swisher was absurd. Swisher cruised back to the ball and then leaped for no reason and just let the ball hit off his glove. If he runs to the fence he stands there and catches the ball with no leap just a reach up…horrible play by Swisher that gave Baltimore the go ahead run.

Marte and Park did their job to keep us close, but our lineup was very poor and we went into the 9th with Thames and Russo leading off against a righty…as I said before, we don’t need so many pitchers, we need some specialists off the bench to hit. Russo got lucky when the pitcher walked him…I would have pinch run Gardner and worried about my defense later…Let him steal a base and see what happens.

I am not happy losing a game like this to Baltimore.

The Genius Maker #46

Nice job by CC to gut through a very rough beginning and then be a horse finishing off a 7 inning 2 run game. When he needed to he was able to reach back and make quality pitches to turn the game over to Joba and Rivera, who got the job done. Joba was helped by an excellent catch by Russo in LF where he left his feet to snag a double.

* Jeter seemed slow yesterday, he should have beat a throw that barely made it to 1st base on the 1st AB of the game and then he got thrown out on a low pitch that he got a good jump on. Finally, he made a slow tag at 3rd base on a relay throw back from Cervelli (when Russo made a bad high throw home).

*Cano is now hitting .376 with an OPS of 1.033. He and Swisher have carried us (Posada has also done very well in less AB's).

*Good job by Girardi to pinch run Gardner for Posada as he scored the 4th and very important insurance run, by stealing 2nd base and then scoring on a single by Cervelli (good job by Cervelli)

TB won and Boston got crushed

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Genius Maker #45

First, I want to thank people for starting to leave comments as I hope we can get some dialog between all of us in a format that you can get involved with if you choose to. We have had some good questions and good points made so far. One question was about moving Cano up to the 3rd spot and dropping Tex down. My feeling is that in general you put your better hitters up earlier in the order so that they may get the extra AB compared to some less productive hitter. I would never put some blazing fast guy up at the top of the order who couldn't hit well such as Juan Pierre or Rajah Davis type. What is the point of giving an extra AB to a guy like that instead of "ARod?" That being said, I would just let Cano continue where he is at as long as he is producing. I want him to take his approach that he has improved on and make sure it is part of his DNA and he doesn't revert back. Baltimore can help someone get back on track and because Tex is a proven commodity, confidence may be a big part of the issue. BTW, Tex had a May OPS of .841 so he was doing OK. June started out awful until yesterday...but lets give him another week before dropping him.

Another question surrounded the Yanks drafting a SS. I can't say I know anything about the kid as I have never seen him play. I have only read the same things many of you have and that is he has a rocket arm and is built tall and lean (kind of like Jeter was). This could be the heir to the throne, but that also may be a little premature and he could simply be the best player available. He is 17 years old and already committed to the University of Maryland. I would assume the Yanks felt that money will sway him away from school or they would not have drafted him. He hit .561 with 10 doubles, 5 triples and 9 homers in 22 regular season games (also 20 walks). I won't talk about things I don't know so I will only say we shall see.

I also had some comments about the excitement behind the 1st start by Strasburg (Last year's #1 pick by Washington). Yeah, he was playing against Pittsburgh, but it was one of the few times where the hype might have been less than the performance. OK, a 2.57 ERA (2 runs in 7 innings) isn't incredible, but striking out 14 and walking nobody in his debut is extremely impressive. He had at least 3 k's each off of his consistent 98 MPH fastball, his change up and his curve ball. Washington should be excited between Strasburg and the newly drafted clear cut #1 pick they just got in Bryce Harper. This kid is 17 and had played a year at a junior college. He used a wooden bat and hit 31 homers in about 60 games. People call this kid the natural.

Last nights game...

I think Gaudin will be released or dropped to the minors after yesterday.

Hughes struggled with his command, especially with fastballs and change ups. He was wild within the strike zone with his fastball and missed with change up. I thought his curve was outstanding and should have been used more; they didn't touch it. No walks helped nurse him through allowing 9 hits in 6 innings.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

The Genius Maker #44

This blog is being written as I watch the game on my DVR.

Boy was Jeter over matched by Morrow. Morrow has very good stuff 95-97 MPH fastball and a variety of other pitches that keep you off balance. I was surprised his ERA was so high, but then I saw how many walks he was issuing and that has most likely been his problem.

Vazquez looks to have good stuff today, the question will remain whether he can throw it for strikes when needed. His change up for a strike along with working his breaking balls in fastball counts is critical to his success.

2nd inning - ARod is usually heads up, but what in the world was he thinking when he tried to go to 2nd base after the infielders couldn't keep his grounder in the infield? First, he ran through first base by a long way and then hesitated before finally having the brain cramp to go and have the throw beat him by a long margin. Shaking my head...

It figures, I talk about Vazquez' stuff and he walks the leadoff guy. I understand not throwing the fastball to Bautista, but Vazquez needs to be able to throw all his pitches for strikes when you only throw 89...wild pitch moved him over, but He bounced back to get out of the inning. 2 walks in 2 innings, but at least his stuff has good movement. Continuing to walk guys will catch up to him soon though.

Man, this offense has been offensive. Gardner triples and Jeter K's looking awful again. Although this ump really has a huge plate (both sides). Both Jeter and Swisher had gripes as they K'd leaving Gardner on 3rd.

Molina leads off and Vazquez walks him to start the inning??? C'mon Javy! OK, Javy came back to strike out 2 guys and get out of the inning. Substituting walks for hits is fine so far, but he better cut them out or he will get this offense out of the game...walking Molina to lead off is terrible.

Man, Tex looks bad...didn't even run it out. We have now gone 4 innings this game and 14 last game with only one hit that produced runs.

The next 12 guys all got out as both pitchers are dominating, thanks to their stuff and a wide strike zone which I believe has been helping Toronto more than us (I try to keep my bias out of it, but admittedly it is hard sometimes). meanwhile Javy has a no hitter and has mowed down Toronto when not allowing a walk.

After 2 more outs Javy finally walked Lind. CRAP. 0-2 count and Cervelli walks out to the mound to discuss their next pitch. Not sure what was said, but IT WAS THE WRONG MOVE, as Javy hung a slider and Wells gave Toronto a 2 run lead. Normally, 2 runs should be nothing, but this team has not shown much of a pulse in this series.

OK, we showed a pulse in the top of the 7th, but Granderson struck out looking on a wide strike.

Javy recouped and mowed them down in the 7th...He has thrown 106 pitches and I hope they keep him in the game to start the 8th.

hey some life, thanks to Toronto hitting Cervelli and Gardner to lead off the inning. Do you bunt Jeter? Normally this is a good spot, but with Tex coming up I would let Jeter hit against Downs the lefty. Jeter just got a hosed by the ump and is now in the hole. This ump has a strike zone that is 6 inches too wide on each side for us and 2 inches too wide for them...we are getting the short end...Great job by Jeter as he came through with a very big double to get us some life. Funny as you read Downs their pitcher say, "wow" as if he were saying "wow, I can't believe he hit a ball that hard down the line for a double...because it was in the same spot as the previous pitch Jeter argued about and was a ball." Now Swisher just got hosed by the ump! The plate umpire has no right calling that check swing unless it is absolutely clear. Not only wasn't it clear, Swisher didn't swing. HORRIBLE call in a huge spot...I am glad Girardi came out and got tossed, those are horse manure calls.

What the heck is Cito doing walking Tex? I don't really care that ARod has made teams pay by going 5-5 in these situations (that doesn't mean squat to me), but Tex hasn't hit anything and I wouldn't walk him (and put the go ahead runner on base) to face ARod who might not be the same ARod, but is still an .850+ OPS guy??? I go after the guy with the under .700 OPS! Let's make Cito pay... Nice wild pitch to get the tying run in! Remember last year, I had an issue with Molina blocking balls. He wasn't lazy on this one, just a little slow. ARGHH! I have no idea what ARod was looking at as he took strike 3 right down the middle. he needs to swing the bat there. I assume Cano gets walked and Jorge will have to come through with the bases juiced. NO! Man, Cito is managing odd to me...He did get ARod, but let's hope these decisions I disagree with catch up to him...

Yeah, Cano comes through again! Greta job and what the heck was Cito thinking? Terrible job by him. Intentionally walking Posada in this spot is the right move to bring in the lefty to face Granderson...well, he walked Curtis so now Cervelli gets to face a lefty so we can break this open...Cervelli hit a hard line drive, but right at the right fielder.

Joba is in now for the 8th. I might have let Javy stay in, but I understand after the long 7th inning to take him out. I said I would leave him in, but I understand this move.

Granderson just missed the double by Molina...I wonder if Gardner would have gotten that one as speed was a huge factor. Granderson is good out there so I don't want to do this every time, but you have to wonder. Joba just allowed another hit to close the score to 4-3. Huge DP to get 2 outs in that spot. We were lucky it was hit right at Cano. Joba is being taken out for Marte as Lind is up...this is a good move and I like that they are not sticking to Joba in the 8th no matter what. He got the DP, but wasn't very sharp. Good job Marte as he K'd a guy who isn't good against lefties...Marte did his job! I still am not mad that Joba started the 8th just to go on record.

Man, Swish K'd again on a inside pitch...Ques Tec would have had fun today. I would have loved to give Rivera more than a 1 run lead.

C'mon Genius Maker! Pena in at 3rd for ARod...I hope ARod is OK? Anyway, Pena got tested and made a really good play on a tough hop to get the first out. Rivera is pounding the righties inside with his 2 seamer (tailing in) and his cutter. Rivera does it again!

I hope you enjoyed the blog in a little different format (to mis it up) and give you my thought process during the game a little bit. Normally I watch every pitch and call every pitch, but I can't get it all down on paper without spending too much time...

Boston lost and TB won

The Genius Maker #43

That was a disappointing game because this offense should not be shut down to only score 2 runs in 14 innings, especially when they came from a 2 run HR.

The 3-5 hitters were simply awful, with ARod getting the only hit between them (1-18). Tex was 0-6 with 5 k’s and what was most disappointing was that he didn’t make any adjustments. I lost count but I believe he swung and missed at 9 changeups that were all balls.

Jeter, who hit the 2 run homer, could have been the hero as he was up with 2nd and 3rd and one out (with the infield in) and hit a medium liner to 2nd base that doubled off Cervelli. I have no idea where Cervelli was going as he was at 3rd base and the secondary lead will take you off the bag, but once you see it is a line drive he would have plenty of time to get back. At a different point in the game a line drive was hit to Texiera who doubled off a guy at 1st base, but liners to the base you are on are the only excuse for getting doubled off as your secondary lead can make it hard to get back. Cervelli had no excuse. Cano also didn’t fully hustle out the start of a grounder he hit down the first base line and then when the pitcher crossed in front of him he slowed up only to be barely out at 1st base. If he runs hard the entire time, or even just at the end he would have been safe.

We wasted another outstanding performance by Pettitte. He had great movement on his pitches. The entire bullpen was a little shaky, but everyone until Gaudin worked their way out of trouble. My biggest complaint out of the bullpen were the walks. Marte, Robertson, Park and Gaudin walked 5 guys in 4.1 innings. When Gaudin walked the leadoff guy on 4 pitches that were not close, in the 14th inning, I knew we were done.

At least TB lost again…the division is getting tighter with 4 teams within 3.5 games.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

The Genius Maker #42

So far we are 6-2 in this stretch of games where I want to win 11 of 16 (at the least).

We are now just finished with the 3rd inning of the year (or a 1/3 through the year so I will give an update on that tomorrow.

It is a shame that Burnett didn’t have good command over his fastball as his curve was dynamite today. It was one of those many games with Burnett, who has a great fastball and a great curveball, where he makes too many mistakes and doesn’t pitch as well as you hope. For the year Burnett is about where you would like him to be (6-3 with an ERA of 3.72), but when you see the “stuff,” you want more. Last game I saw a lot of sink to his fastball, actually as much as I have ever seen, but last night he didn’t have the sink and centered far too many fastballs. Like I said, his curve was outstanding and almost all if not all damage was done on his fastball.

I thought Cecil pitched extremely well for Toronto. He had great movement on all his pitches and mixed them up well. They were not able to lay off the many balls that he threw and that was their undoing (as well as poor hitting with men on base). But, give him credit; this was better pitching and not poor hitting.

A couple of other notes:

Some people have asked me about the lineup and whether Swisher should bat 2nd or Granderson (against righties). Not to cop out, but I don’t think it makes a big difference. My main concern is splitting up the righty/lefties, especially when you are dealing with Granderson who can be neutralized with a specialist. I think in general the key move we want to make sure in our lineup is that when the opposing manager wants to bring in a lefty to face Granderson, he only faces one batter or we make him pay with righties. In other words, having Jeter in front with Tex and ARod behind is a good think for protection and I would have Cervelli bat 9th if I were going to do that because both Jeter and Cervelli hit lefties much better (which BTW, was the reason I would have played Cervelli last night and rested him against a righty because Cervelli has an OPS of .914 against a lefty and .649 against a righty)

On a positive note Mitre has done pretty well for us only allowing a base runner per 9 innings and an OPS of only .582 against (.186 batting average); this has gone unnoticed.

I know Miranda was sent down for Posada, I thought this was an interesting stats; Miranda has an OPS of .955 at Yankee stadium and a .204 OPS on the road.

As for the question about the Detroit “perfect game, “ I don’t think it should be overturned, but it could be added into the record books with an asterisk stating the it was not a perfect game, but it could have been. Of course, this leads us to the instant replay dilemma. My take is IR has been bad in football and without getting into a very long discussion on it, my feeling is based on football being such a game of momentum with a clock that IR disrupts the flow of the game and doesn’t address the most important calls of the game which are the subjective calls such as interference, holding, etc…In baseball, I think IR would work better because you don’t have a clock and a play could be reviewed very quickly if needed. Of course, the ump behind home plate has more impact on the game than all the other umpires combined on the bases 9as they are usually pretty good), but I do see IR having a place in baseball and it should be done with a 5th umpire sitting by a monitor and either correcting calls or using a challenge method. One day we may even go to the “questec” strike zone.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Genius Maker #41

I had mentioned I wanted 11 out of these 16 and so far we have 4 out of 5.

Nice game tonight from Vazquez. He mixed his pitches and location well and more important he was able to hit his spots most of the night. He did make a mistake to Patterson who hit a HR, but pitched out of a few jams. The ump had a very big strike zone that each pitcher got some good calls from. Vazquez' ERA is down to 6.06 so at least he has been better of late. he does seem to pitch better against the weaker teams. We basically won because Tejada made a bad error in the 7th inning allowing 2 runs to score. Tejada had all day to make the play, took his time and fired low to Wigginton who couldn't come up with the in between hop.

Granderson hit a homer against a lefty and had 2 hits the other night, but they were all on fastballs; I am surprised they throw him fastballs for strikes. later when Granderson was up with a man in scoring position I said to my daughter, if they throw him a breaking ball he won't get a hit...after explaining what a breaking ball was(and how to throw one) he struck out on a ...breaking ball (in this case a curve ball). Either way, it is good to see some production out of Granderson against a lefty, we need it.

Joba was excellent today with fantastic velocity. He threw 96 consistently and threw the hardest ball he has thrown in over a year when the gun registered 98! He sawed off Tejada on an inside pitch...that was a good sign!

The Genius Maker looked pretty good closing out a 3-1 lead. I would like to see him tail the fastball away to a lefty once in awhile. He hasn't done that yet and I think it would give him another option away. He looked pretty good though, but not as dominant as the other night.

Cano is batting .366 now.

Posada should be back tomorrow and after tex fouled one off his foot we may need back.

Yesterday Gardner was thrown out twice stealing, both on perfect throws and once on a pitch out. The 2nd one bothered me because the catcher had to come up after a low pitch and while the throw was great, the release was a little slow and Gardner usually will beat that out. I think playing every day has slowed him up (slightly as he is still fast).

Last night Cano made a terrible play trying to go to 2nd on a single when the throw went to 3rd in an attempt to get ARod with 2 outs. It was a stupid decision and of course he made the "home plate" slide into 2nd base.

In contrast in terms of sliding in a heads up fashion, Gruzelaniek (sp?) slid into first base on a high throw off the bag and was safe because of it; compared to all the times we get tagged out because we were not as heads up. I think we need a sliding coach. Oh and BTW, while everyone states that sliding into first base is always slower, I want to take the contrarian view on that. While it is usually the slower way, there are times where your stride is not correct and runners take anywhere from 1-3 short steps for themselves to touch the bag and times like that you are better off diving head first. If you are running to a finish line I would agree that you should run through the line because it is just crossing (although your arms do get you some extension), but running to 1st base is different because you have to touch/land on a specific spot. I am actually surprised that this has not been analyzed more??? Then again first basemen don't stretch toward throws from the catcher or pitcher either?

One other note that was brought up yesterday that I agree with. They talked about lefties not being able to throw change ups to lefties and the same for righties. I don;t agree with this at all. if it is an effective pitch it would still work against the same side, but the ball would not tail away form the guy it would tail in and you could get a free pulled foul strike. if a pitcher has a very good change, you might throw it a little less against the same side (righty to righty), but you need to still throw it. Later on a righty threw back to back ones against ARod and it worked.

As I write this I just noticed the Rays who were down 5-0 to Toronto; scored 3 in the 7th and put up a 4 spot in the 9th inning to take a 7-5 lead.