Great win last night! The Yankees basically turned the tables on TB and pulled one out. What was really encouraging was the fight we showed coming back on Garza and the vaunted TB bullpen. We have now gotten to Benoit twice and thanks to Cano we got to Soriano as well. Then it was time for the Genius Maker to come in and close out a 1 run game on the road with 1st place in the balance...and he didn't disappoint, only allowing a bloop broken bat hit.
I do not think ARod is pressing although he does seem to be trying to swing a little harder. I think the main issue with ARod is that his hip has turned him into much more of a arm swinger and he is not getting that leverage from the bottom part of his body. ARod used to hit homers that you would think would be a weak fly out because of that tremendous power. He is still a good hitter, but he is swinging too much arm and this is causing the issues in my opinion...he is not trusting his wrists. I do not think the 600 is making too much difference. BTW, Swish had the big HR on the hanging curve by Garza and this was a classic example of swinging with your arms and not your lower body. Because it was a slow pitch, Swish was out in front with his body, but he kept his hands back and struck the hanging curve very solidly but using just his arms the ball barely went out...you need your lower body!
Swisher made a terrible play on the hard hit ball down the line that Tex allowed to eat him up and just swatted at it. Swisher took SIX steps after he touched the ball as he was flat footed and not expecting the runner to take 2nd base. That was an awful play that could have cost us...Swisher also misplayed the first hit of the game...it was not an easy play, but he didn't play it well.
Cervelli did a poor job on a pitch out as he took his time to release the ball and made a little high of a throw and a little to the SS side of the bag. Jeter could have been a little quicker and the runner was JUST safe. Cervelli has not thrown well, although he did do a good job blocking balls tonight...his hitting is just awful.
Tex and Cano hit bombs!
Not sure why the Yanks are resting ARod and Gardner in today’s game with TB. We are playing for 1st place and this is a year I would really like to win the division as playing two very good lefties and facing them 4 out of 5 games in a 5 game series with Texas is concerning. This is also why I hate all the days off rest in the playoffs as it is absurd to have to face those 2 guys 80% of a playoff series; especially when we have a lot of guys who are better against righties. (Lee and Wilson are really good lefties)
Logan did another great job today getting his 2 batters and turning it over to Robertson who did his job as well. It always looks better when it works (thus the Genius Maker label), but I thought Girardi handled the pitching moves perfectly. He had Joba ready in case Vazquez got in more trouble in the 6th and then got another out in the 7th with Vazquez but then pulled him after the walk and it was setup perfectly for Logan.
I really thought the ump behind the plate was favoring TB. There were 7 close pitches and 6 of them went TB's way with some of the same pitches being called a strike for their guy and then balls for Vazquez. Our one call was Rivera's in the 9th.
As for the trades, as I said yesterday the Kearns move doesn't make sense to me as he is a guy who was awful the last 2 years (was a decent hitter prior though) and this year he is average at best (OPS .773) and worse against lefties (OPS .720)...the last 2 years though his OPS was a combined .530 against lefties. Thames is a much better option against lefties and if we are going to play someone in the OF then go get some fast righty who hits lefties better to play.
Berkman should be a big upgrade over Miranda against righties...Thames should stay as the lefty DH.
Kerry Wood is a bit of a wild card. It is really hard to have some sort of prediction or thought as I have not watched him pitch. His peripheral numbers are not good, but that could be deceiving. he is actually a little better against lefties so he seems more like a guy who would be brought in for an inning rather than matching up. He was a cheap flyer and maybe we can catch lightning in the bottle? I am fine with this move, but I do want to point out that while (as I said at the start of the year) I was not for the Chan Ho Park signing I think CHP was used wrong by Girardi. He should have been used as a righty specialist and instead he faced as many lefties as righties. Even pitching worse than anyone could have expected, his OPS against righties was still a respectable .699. I think he could be used by most teams (including ours) if he were used correctly (as a righty specialist)...he clearly was not used that way.
The final point I wanted to make was surrounding the lineup.
The truth is that one of the issues we have is that Jeter should not be at the top of the lineup, especially against righties. You want your better hitters up more often than the Cervelli's of the world. I would simply flip Gardner and Jeter. This actually accomplishes a lot as it would separate Gardner from Granderson more and puts a guy leading the league in pitches per AB at the top of the order. Further, if Jeter swings at the 1st pitch with Gardner on base one more time, my head my pop off.
I would also be OK with switching the lineup per the type of pitcher. Based on a normal lefty and righty (some lefties may be better against righties) here is what I would do:
Against a righty:
We will always have one spot where a lefty could come in to "hurt us" and in this case it is from Cano to Granderson where Posada is the guy who hits lefties better in the middle. However, you have to figure that you will be facing the righty starter for 2-3 AB's so it is OK to do it this way. You could swap Swisher and Berkman, but I like keeping Swisher in the 2 hole because he was doing well there and I want him getting on base more than focusing on HR's.
Against a lefty:
Kearns/Granderson/Berkman (LF) depending on the pitcher
Now, I know it is heresy to speak of demoting Jeter, but here are his OPS splits .913 (lefties) and .637 (righties). Last year Jeter was .200 OPS points better against lefties. I said at the beginning of the year that the sooner the Yanks realize that Granderson should not be starting against lefties the better the yanks will be and this is also why I wanted Gardner in CF and Granderson in LF. Gardner is just a little worse against lefties and you could keep him at the top of the lineup, but just dropping Jeter against righties is too much for most people to deal with.