Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Genius Maker #131

If Girardi really wants to win the division then maybe he should take his head out of his rear end and realize that Javy didn't have squat yesterday and get him out after he allowed 4 runs in the early innings. Instead with 2 guys on and 2 outs instead of taking him out, he stuck with him and waited for him to allow a 3 run homer and put the game out of reach before removing him. Girardi has been awful of late; it is simply the truth.

The positives in the game were that Royce Ring came in to get a lefty and got him out. I think he should be on the postseason roster and he should be used every game for one or a string of lefties.

Congratulations to ARod, I was very excited that he earned his 30th HR as I did not think he would get there earlier in the year. He has hit 12 HR's in his last 92 AB's! That is a crazy pace of about 80 in a year. he has now hit 30 HR's and 100 RBI's in a record 14 times (he has done it 13 in a row). Tip of the hat to you ARod!

Cervelli had 3 singles and a walk and after his hot start and a very poor period has found a hot stroke again. He is hitting .382 over the past month (34 AB's) with an OPS over .900 almost all because of 10 walks in that period. His OBP is about .500 with a slug of about .400 (these are appx numbers). The key is that he is a good hitter against lefties (.848 OPS) and a bad hitter against righties (.598 OPS). Posada should start against all righties, but Cervelli could start against most lefties and you couldn't argue too much. Wow, I can't believe I just wrote that.

Still half a game out...thank to Joe and Vazquez (who pitched himself off the postseason roster) Not to get too negative but Cashman paid a lot of money for Vazquez and Burnett this year and neither should be on the postseason roster (again, I would work Burnett out of the pen the next 3 games to see if he can do it)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Genius Maker #130

Welcome to the playoffs!

I don't understand why the Yanks didn't pitch CC on Friday as he said he would rather go into the playoffs on normal rest; I think Girardi panicked...again. I also don;t get why he would pitch CC in the 9th? I can only hope that not listening to your most important pitcher doesn't screw up CC. I would imagine he will throw in between, but why not give him his rest now and pitch him Friday. Keep in mind he pitched great last night and my comments are only about the postseason. In situations like this I ask my pitcher what he would rather do and I go that route as it makes zero difference to anything else.

I want the Yankees to win the division, but certain guys better get time off. Cano could use a few games as an example.

BTW, who was that team playing last night? Sacrificing to move runners over and actually delivering on 3 sac flies.

Some notes:

Burnett is 4-13 with a 6.67 ERA since the end of May. He really has been awful and I would not start him in the 1st round of the playoffs (ALDS). Does anyone really have faith in him over the other options we have? Could he pitch well? Sure, but look how bad he has been for almost 4 months...the worst pitcher in the AL with enough starts to qualify...yes the worst. You have a better chance of getting lucky with Nova or even Vazquez/Mitre/Moseley. As I have said a few times, his stuff would play well out of the pen, but his head might not have it. I would move him to the pen for the last week and see how he responds, otherwise he is off my ALDS roster.

Other Notes:

The Yanks have now lost their last 8 games against lefty starters. How many times have I stated I wanted a righty who hits lefties, instead of Kearns?

The ALDS isn’t hard to figure out based on the game schedule I see:

Game One – Sabathia
Game Two – Pettitte

Game Three – Hughes
Game Four – Sabathia

Game Five – Pettitte

CC pitches on 3 games rest but Pettitte gets 4 based on off days.

I will break down the playoff opponents in the next week, just like last year.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Genius Maker #129

This was one of the Burnett games where you need to recognize he doesn't have it and have a quick hook. He allowed a run in the 1st inning, but this was only because Gardner was not in LF, kearns was. It was a slicing fly ball down the line that Kearns couldn't get to, but Gardner would have and instead of an out, it was a double. This is also why Gardner has more value than just his offense and SB's. Anyway, after 2 groundouts we were down 1-0. In the 2nd inning, Burnett allowed a solo HR. No need for the hook there yet. In the 3rd, Burnett walked the leadoff hitter. Now, my eyes were wide open to see what Burnett was going to do. With such a deep pen now, I would have a very quick hook. The first pitch plunked Escobar and if I were managing to win the game, Burnett would have been out right there...I said it at the time. It isn't like you would be burning the bullpen out as we have 3 long guys in the pen. Anyway, Girardi sticks with Burnett (it is understandable...even if wrong) and Burnett gets Bautista to just miss a HR and hit a long fly out. That didn't scare Girardi and he allowed Burnett to hand a first pitch curve ball to Wells, who made the score 5-0. OK, have you had enough Joe? Nope, let's leave Burnett out there long enough to ensure the game is out of reach. After a double to Overbay, I was convinced Joe would pull Burnett. Nope. After Buck almost took Burnett's head off on a line drive up the middle to make the score 6-0, Girardi had to take out Burnett, right? Wrong! Finally, mercifully, after allowing a single to Lind, Girardi goes to the mound to take the ball from Burnett??? Sarcasm alert: I guess Girardi has never seen Burnett blow up like that before? I guess Joe was surprised that when things go bad for Burnett they get really bad?

Albadejo came in and allowed a sac fly but then got out of the inning, but the Yanks were down 7-0 and the game was pretty much over. The Yanks did get a 2 run HR by Granderson and a 3 run bomb by Tex, but they weren't able to get the job done.

One note, i would like the Yankees coaching staff to put a take sign on once in awhile. Jeter was up to leadoff the 9th and had a 2-0 count on him and I would like to take a strike in that spot. Instead Jeter grounds out to lead off the 9th on a 2-1 count. Especially for a guy who is not swinging don't swing on a 2-0 count when you need a baserunner. Posada was up with a 3-0 count in the 8th also down by 2 runs and even though there were 2 outs, you have to get the tying run at the plate. he had a check swing on a 3-0 count for an out...that is mind boggling. First, why swing at all? Second, if you are going to be dumb enough to swing, you better have a zone and pitch in mind and get a good hack.

5 games to go...the magic number is 1 for the playoffs and we are .5 games behind TB for the division (which I would like to win) and Minnesota is a half a game behind the Yanks for the best record (which I would also like to win). Minnesota has lost 4 in a row as everyone in the AL limps across the finish line.

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Genius Maker #128

So after managing 100 different ways of resting guys and not going to extend anyone, Girardi hits the panic button and decides to throw Hughes instead of Moselely. Of course, Hughes is the one guy in the rotation you don't want to screw around with (more than they already have), but, surprisingly, I agreed with the decision. When you can close it out, you let your guys get you the comfort as long as you don't stretch them too much; Hughes was fine to pitch as he had a full 4 days rest.

However, I disagreed with some of the decisions Girardi made later in the game.

The ump called a strike zone where strikes were called 6 inches toward the righty batters box, but pitches on the corner of the lefty box were left as balls. That was pretty odd and later in the game, I had no idea what he was calling. I don't think the players really knew either.

That being said, Jeter took 2 strikes for strikeouts on pitches that were no doubt strikes. The Yanks missed a ton of very hittable pitches by Dice K. I thought Dice threw some very good off speed pitches but he made a lot of mistakes with his fastball that the Yanks just didn't put good swings on the ball.

But, all of that was window dressing until the 8th inning. ARod had given us a 2-1 lead on his 29th HR (I remember thinking that ARod would not get to 30 this year for the 1st time in 13 years) as 30 HR's is now a strong possibility. Wood was pitching the 8th and got 2 outs but had 1st and 2nd when Girardi came in to bring in Rivera. Now, I hated this move from the beginning. I know Girardi is going for the win and if this were a playoff game, perhaps it was the right move...perhaps. But, the weather is nasty and Wood is the guy who should have the 2nd most confidence in along with the fact, I don’t want Rivera going more than 1 inning and I would have left Wood out there. Rivera did get the job done, but he still had to sit down and rest in the weather and then pitch the 9th...where he and the Yanks forgot how to slow down a running game. That was embarrassing. Stealing 2nd is one thing, but not paying attention to 3rd was absurd...and it happened twice. ARod did fail to make a play that Beltre did in extra innings, but you can't allow 4 SB's in one inning? Wake up guys.

So after Rivera threw 29 pitches (too much) the Yanks had to try and bail out the Genius Maker (who has looked his age of late)

Jeter leads off the 9th trying to get on, but goes to the plate with the mindset that he is looking for a fastball to put a good swing on the ball...he gets the fastball but hits a routine fly to RF. Swisher comes through with a single and Girardi correctly pinch runs for him. But, for some reason he uses Nunez instead of Golson??? Now, can someone shed some light on this for me? Golson is going to play RF anyway and he is blazing so why wouldn't he pinch run and stay in? Why waste the runner? From the looks of it, one would guess it was because Girardi wasn't planning on stealing so he didn't want to put Golson in that spot. I understand trying to give Tex the hole, but the only situation where you could use Golson in a stealing spot would be if Tex hits into a force out? Very stupid logic on his part because all the other situations are far more likely and nothing says you might not want him to steal or run a 3-2 pitch. Just silly. Interestingly, Nunez stoles 3rd and Girardi pinch ran for Tex with Pena on a 3-2 count? Again, why not use Golson in this spot? Why waste Pena when you might want him for pinch running for Posada next inning or something? Again, if anyone can shed some light, please do so? Interestingly, Cano singled and Robby, I get everyone thrown out at home with less than 2 outs, Thompson held Pena up on a play I thought he would send him. Posada and Berkman failed to get him home. it might have been the right call, I honestly did not see where Pena was and what kind of jump he got, but with 1 out he held him up.

In extra innings, Golson went into right so my last hope that Girardi was not a total moron was based on thinking Golson was sick or something...Oh well.

Joba gets 2 outs and then Girardi over manages to bring in Logan to face big poppy and what would have been big poppy only. In an extra inning game and nobody on and 2 outs, I am OK with Job pitching to Ortiz. Logan did his job and the Yanks pushed a run across in the 10th to win the game...Girardi managed the 10th well… asking Gardner to bunt was the right move and we caught a break on a bad throw by their catcher Martinez. 1st and 3rd with nobody they walked Jeter to pitch to Golson. Girardi decided to pinch hit with Thames (he could have let Golson hit as well and let Thames pinch hit for Miranda and I would been OK with that as well), but having the strike out person up with nobody out was fine by me as well. After Beltre made his great stop I was worried with Miranda up, but Okijima screwed up and walked us into a guarantee tie for the WC.

We are not playing well, but we still have a little time to get straightened out.

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Genius Maker #126 (pitchers)

My 11 postseason pitchers right now:
CC, Andy, Hughes, AJ, Mo, Joba, Wood, Logan, Robertson, Nova and Ring

I would take Nova over Mitre/Gaudin/Moseley and I want a 2nd lefty badly...even if he is there as a deterrent

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Genius Maker #126

I will only make one comment about last nights game...

This is why why you don't give away a game that you can win! Girardi could have used better pitchers in yesterday's game and he didn't have to abuse anyone. They might have won and maybe even took the wind out of TB instead of giving them some momentum (which I honestly do believe can be a little overblown).

The Genius Maker #125

I only have 3 comments:

The offense really didn't swing the bats well today and it was not because the pitching against them was all that good. The Yanks just missed a lot of very hittable pitches.

I was glad to see Ring get into the game and I think while he was taken out with lefties coming out it seems like he was a short reliever so this made sense. It was obvious how well lefties can do against TB because Ring didn't throw a single breaking ball fro a strike and he still got them out with his 85 MPH fastball (which was spotted well). He must get his breaking ball over to be effective long term though. I think he could be used against lefties and I would be fine with him on the postseason roster.

I have NO idea what in the world Girardi was thinking using the relievers he did (Ring excluded because of the lefties). It was as if he really didn't care if we won the game yet he played all our regular hitters??? I mean in the biggest games left of the regular season, after Ring, he brings in Moseley who hadn't pitched in 10 days, Gaudin (if he is lucky the last guy to make our postseason roster) and Albaladejo??? If we were losing 5-0 maybe that is OK, but it was 1-0 for crying out loud. And then twice we came back after out weaker pitchers allowed runs to close to 2-1 and 3-2 into the 7th??? We could have been ahead if Girardi didn;t have his head up his rear. I don't want to keep criticizing Girardi, but that is asinine (no pun intended)...I really can't fathom what is going through his mind? We have plenty of pitching on the staff right now and the idea you use Moseley so you can get some length is idiotic. There are so many pitchers on the roster, length is not even a remote concern. Mitre was still in the pen and if anything as a sinker baller he would have been a better choice as they need work to stay sharp. I mean why do we want to get work for Albaladejo? For some reason he just hasn't been able to get it done at the major league level and right now we can't worry about it as he has almost no chance of making the PS roster. We may need to start calling Girardi clueless Joe (two managers in a row)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Genius Maker #124

I was at the game last night and was treated to our A lineup for the 1st time in, well, I don't remember the last time we had our A lineup in? Not coincidentally, we scored 8 runs in 8 innings (7 of them with 2 outs). Although, it would have been nice if we tacked on some runs after scoring 5 in the 1st a little earlier, it was a good display of offense.

Hughes, struggled the entire game, except for the 6th inning, but he held TB to only 2 runs in 6 innings and his night should have been done at that point. Decisions like starting Hughes in the 7th inning are the ones that are so inconsistent with Girardi and really drive me nuts. One minute we are talking about conserving his innings and the next minute you are throwing him out there after 100+ pitches in a game where he pretty much struggled the entire time and was pitching in stressful situations for 5 of 6 innings. It just does not make sense.

The other (non)move I didn't get was in the bottom of the 7th inning when Swisher got on base, 1 out and we had a 5-3 lead; I would have brought in Golson for pinch running (to steal a base) and also for defensive purposes...Tex forced Swisher at 2nd rather than letting Golson steal a base or at the worst force the pitcher to be worried about it. I screamed to Girardi to make the move but I don't think he heard me :) The Yanks did score 2 runs in the inning and possibly could have scored more if Golson were in, but even after a 4 run lead Swisher remained in RF. As it turned out Swisher didn't have any tough plays and Swisher did get up again as the last batter of the 8th and grounded out...Golson then went in for defensive purposes in the 9th. While it didn't matter, it surely could have and the only reason why Swisher did get up again was because we scored 3 runs after he got makes for even more reason to get the better defensive player out there. Bad job by Girardi.

Vazquez allowed 3 hits in one inning but really did a decent job because 2 were cheapies. Conversely, Joba, pitched 1.1 innings with only 1 hit and got the job done, but was fortunate as he was hit hard, but the balls went right at people.

Tex didn't get a hit but hit the ball well and just missed a HR to CF. Hopefully his thumb is starting to feel better, although you could also look at it and say because of the thumb he didn't have the power to drive the ball out of the park? Berkman even got the ball in the air on his line drive over Upton's head in CF; first time in awhile, even though he has been hitting line drives.

So I hear the Yanks finally brought up another lefty!!! This is great news and shocking it didn't happen earlier, especially with September callups. Maybe someone realized that TB has 6+ lefties in their lineup and having an extra lefty may be a good thing? Royce Ring has not established himself at all in the major leagues and is almost 30, was signed by the yanks as a free agent (league minimum) and had good numbers in AAA this year. I honestly know little about him, but I could see him getting an opportunity against some of the lefties TB has. I hope he can be decent and I look forward to seeing him. Just think of games where Logan is not available how much we are hamstrung and a guy like Brad Hawpe who hits righties well and can't hit lefties can be used without fear. Not only that, is everyone sold on Logan? I mean he has done extremely well this year since coming back from the minors, but it wouldn't be shocking if he reverted to the guy he was prior.

Overall, it was a nice win and a great night to see the game. I want to thank Atlantic Beverage and Domino for bringing me to the game!

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Genius Maker #123

Another grind type of game. Granderson got us on the board with a 2 run dinger and then the Yanks tacked on another 2 runs, but blew a big chance to blow the game open. The AB I was really annoyed with was Berkman's. You have an umpire with a very tight strike zone (who was also missing real strikes for us - The Kerry Wood breaking ball was a joke that he missed that strike out) and he had a 3-1 count and Berk swung at a high inside pitch (probably a ball) and did nothing with it. You have to be real selective in that spot and only swing at a specific zone. Bad job by Berkman, but we still led 4-0 with Nova cruising.

Nova had really been creamed in the 5th inning in his outings, so you have to keep an eye on him especially after a long inning. After falling behind 3-0 to the 1st batter and allowing him to get on and then walking the next guy, I would have had Logan in the game to face 4 lefties in 5 batters. As it turned out it wasn't bad to leave Nova in even though the lefty got on, he did get the next guy to hit into a DP. Then Girardi went to Logan...who stunk. This is VERY important. TB has a huge hole on their team with a lot of lefties who can be exploited, unfortunately, we only have 1 lefty(which is just mind boggling to me that the Yankees can't get 2 lefties in the pen - Cashman deserves a lot of criticism for this) and if he is bad, we are SOL. At he end of the inning the score was tied in an ugly inning showcasing the tight strike zone by McLelland (the ump). I just want to say he was tight for both sides and was fairly consistent, however, of the 5 noticeable missed pitches in the game, 4 of them were against us.

The Yanks offense kept coming back as Granderson showed why I was excited to have him hit against righties as he hit a monster 3 run home toward the top of the right field fair pole.

The Yanks led 8-5 going into the 9th, but Mo was uncomfortable to watch as he struggled with his control...we better hope he can give us enough in the postseason as he didn't look good tonight (and it was not the umps fault). Even so, he did break 3 bats, which is pretty hilarious, and he did save the 3 run lead with an 8-6 victory and a 1.5 game lead.

Gardner needs to work on his bunting...a guy that fast better bunt with more consistently. He came up with 1st and 2nd and nobody out, a clear bunting spot and he pushed the bat into a pop up DP.

Cano, ARod and Tex did nothing. Jeter, Granderson,Cervelli and of course Granderson had good offensive games to carry us.

Last point on Logan, he was trowing 91 and I hope that was just a off day...being our only lefty (still don't get it), he better be ON!

It was a grind...but a win

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Genius Maker #122

The game was looking like one of those games where we would have been lamenting our 0-9 with runners in scoring position, the failed bases loaded opportunity early in the game, another worthless performance by Kearns (especially with RISP), and Jeter watching 2 called strikeouts against himself. I received a text from a friend that said, "we r pathetic."

But, a fantastic AB by Posada started it all off in the 9th inning. This was one of the better "battle" AB's you will ever see. Many times when a guy fouls off a lot of pitches and works a walk or get a hit, you will see many hittable pitches that they just missed. Posada is one of guess hitters in the league. It is why he is way out in front of some pitches and also takes called fastball strikes right down the middle. The Baltimore closer, Uehara, had one blown save all year and that was the Swisher HR against him. Uehara has excellent control so walks are rare against him, he has a 90 MPH fastball he spots well and he has a very good change up that he throws with a splitter grip (80 MPH). Posada took a fastball down the middle for strike one. Then took a change for a ball followed by a change up he was way out in front of for strike 2. Posada then barely fouled off 2 change ups as he was out in front of them. Posada is definitely fighting this here but was probably fortunate when the next fastball was a ball high. Euhara then came back with another fastball that Jorge fouled off and was a little behind on an upper strike. The next pitch was a change that Posada just caught a piece of with the end of his bat to stay alive. The 9th pitch was a fastball that was a very close pitch that was just a little low and now the count was 3-2. The next fastball was on the corner but Jorge fouled it off. On the 11th pitch of the AB Jorge took the change up and dropped it into LC for a huge single to start things off. That AB got me really excited as the closer used a lot of energy and now we had the leadoff hitter on with the top of the lineup coming up. Unfortunately, Jeter had a terrible AB where he swung at ball 2 up high and probably ball 3 as well before taking strike 3 on a very hittable pitch. 4 straight mediocre fastballs 2 or 3 were not even strikes and Jeter takes the best one for a called strike 3...very disappointing. While that did take the wind out of me a little bit, we had 3 really good hitters coming up (Granderson is a really good hitter against righties and even having an off year he has a .828 OPS against righties). After taking 2 fastballs for balls Granderson got a fastball over the plate and drilled it to right where a deep playing Markakis let the sinking liner drop in front of him (I was actually worried Posada may get thrown out at 2nd base). The ball had a lot of top spin but if read really well off the bat I think a catch might have been made. Anyway, we are now in business with Tex up and ARod on deck as long as Tex didn't hit into a DP (I think we have seen too many of them of late). After taking ball one, the ump called the next outside pitch a strike (definitely was a ball) and the count was 1-1. Obviously a big difference, but Tex had an incredibly hittable pitch next and times it right but just got under it and hit a mile high pop up. While ARod was coming up, that pitch was the one they gave us and we didn't take advantage of it...story of the last 10 games. Now up comes ARod. The first pitch to ARod was a little in, but the ump called it a strike (on the border). The next pitch was definitely in and called a ball. The next pitch ARod got a pretty good pitch to hit but fouled it off (he had a mean cut on it). It should be noted that Uehara has thrown 3 straight fastballs inside and you have to wonder when he uses his changeup? the next pitch is another fastball that was just inside. This pitch was more inside than the first called strike on ARod and was correctly called a ball. At this point ARod had a little smile on his face and I didn't see any post game reports as to why, but I think he was feeling the moment and enjoying the competitive nature of a close call. The next pitch was similar to the 3rd pitch that ARod had a great cut on, but this one was centered and ARod crushed a 3 run homer to give the Yanks a 4-3 lead, a Mariano save and coupled with Boston and TB losing, 1st place and a great victory! ARod accounted for all our runs with the 2 HR's tonight!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Genius Maker #121

was really hoping I would be able to say that the last 2 wins were about as frustrating big wins as I could remember. Unfortunately the frustration from horrific men on base hitting, some poor pitch selection and a consistent bad job by the umpire makes me, well, frustrated.

A couple of points…First, why is Kearns starting? The guy has stunk of late and is only average anyway and isn’t a good defender. If you want to rest Gardner and Swisher to get them better, I could understand that, but play Golson, at least he will play good defense and probably could hit better than Kearns. I don’t know the numbers with the Yankees, but If Kearns has gotten more than 1 guy in from 3rd base in his last 10 tries, I would be surprised. He struck out 6 times in 2 games yet Girardi sticks with him in a big spot…and even though I was screaming to my family that Kearns should be sitting on NOTHING but a changeup, he swung at the changeups in the dirt for strike 3…I still don’t know why they can’t hear me? Colin Curtis…ditto! Dude they won’t purposely throw you a strike over the plate in a big spot and they don’t have to if they can throw balls in the dirt and you will swing at them.

So the Yanks have 7 hits to none and they are only up 1-0 because they left 2 guys on in every inning and would have left 3 if the bases loaded one out DP didn’t happen. I said to my friend that you know one swing of the bat will tie this game…well I was almost right; one swing of the bat gave them the lead. And why pitch Dan Johnson with an inside fastball? The guy looks for nothing but a fastball…Coming into the game the guy was hitting .200 with moderate power…3 HR’s in 65 AB’s. He is a mediocre player at best and we give him pitches he loves…

On Dan Johnson 2nd homer of the game, he stepped to the plate after we should have thrown the curve, but we didn’t and they got a single. When they started Johnson with a curve I said out loud at least we made the adjustment and of course he just took the curve...then a fastball missed and I said, OK they are just trying to show him the fastball. Then they throw another fastball away but it was a strike to everyone, except the ump. I went on GameDay and it confirmed it was a strike (the TB camera is awful and I wasn’t 100% sure, even though Al Leiter thought just like me). Now instead of 1-2 it is 2-1. That is OK, I said, he didn’t swing, just throw a curve ball here. No chance I am throwing this clown another fastball because you know that is what he is looking for and wants…but not only do they call a fastball they come inside with it??? Uh, he is looking for it…and boom 2 run shot and 1 run lead is lost and the game…and 1st place.

Some other notes:

I believe Jeter was hit with the ball and it redirected ever so slightly off his elbow pad into the knob of the bat. I watched this in my own super slow mo and the ball changed directions before it hit the knob. Jeter’s eyes on the replay made me think he was faking it though; I am curious what is said tomorrow. (UPDATE: Jeter's comments stated he was faking it - this surprises me. Is it possible he didn't feel it hit his elbow pad a split second before the knob of the bat? I know what I saw and I thought I was going to be watching it only hit the knob of the bat, but it did switch directions??? Who knows, but why would Jeter say that and make the umps looks bad anyway?)

Cano tagged out Upton on a throw from Posada and this is a perfect example of what I have been saying about the quick tags of Cano compared to Jeter. The previous day a guy was just safe on a Jeter tag and today the runner was out on a Cano quick tag…this is not a coincidence.

Why was Kearns batting in the 8th inning? I mean Miranda would have been a much better choice or let Swish hit.

Meanwhile, Balfour threw Thames a fastball out of the strike zone and then threw 4 straight curves to get him out…Maybe we should learn something there?

Yes, I am upset, more because we have played stupid and our manager is making some decisions I don’t agree with. I am really OK with resting our guys now…getting them healthy is more important than winning these games. I do want home field advantage but again getting us healthy is more important and I do think we will be ok if our guys are healthy. We already know Tex has a broken toe, but he seems to be able to play through it.

Boston is only 6 behind us now. I really feel we are fine in terms of making the playoffs, but we better start winning some games.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Genius Maker #120

Let's celebrate a very good offensive performance and an exciting finish on a tremendous throw by Golson and a very good catch and tag by ARod. Just as Gardner's play was a bad one getting thrown out stealing 3rd base with 2 outs last night, this was also a bad play by Crawford for the same reason. Golson should have gotten himself in a little better position so he didn't have to throw flat footed, but he made a very strong and extremely accurate throw to nail Crawford and win the game!

Now, onto what is really bothering me.

Girardi has officially become a manager I am extremely unhappy with. He is just so inconsistent it drives me crazy. This game was important and after Jeter K'd with the bases loaded and the Yanks up 6-0, I was happy, but felt we should have been able to really blow open this game...

Nova starts getting in trouble (EVERY hit was a on a fastball) in the bottom of the 5th as he allowed a leadoff HR and then a double but then got a K. After a single making it 6-2 (on another fastball) he gets a ground out and the score is 6-2 with a man on 1st and 2 outs. Nova then walks the next guy. Obviously, he has lost his stuff, but Girardi decides to let him go one batter and try and get out Longoria. This is risky, but for some reason Girardi sat down Robertson so then it didn't make sense to bring in Logan to face Longoria. TB has 3 lefties in a row so it makes sense to bring in Logan to get in some pinch hitters and force TB's hand-after Longoria. Nova starts out Longoria with a great curve and I am telling the friend I am talking with that he needs to throw all curves. Cervelli, not listening, calls for a fastball and Longoria rips a single up the middle and now the score is 6-3 and they have 1st and 2nd and 2 outs (all with 2 outs and on fastballs). Logan must now get the lefties...but wait... Girardi inexplicably lets Nova face the lefty Joyce??? I am sorry, Girardi has been a moron of late; but this takes the cake and makes NO sense. Girardi has shown that he will take a guy out before getting a win (pitching 5) if it will cost the game and Nova has now allowed 3 runs in the 5th inning and has 2 runners on...the tying run is coming to the plate for crying out loud. To make it worse, Joyce is almost a 100% platoon guy so at the worst you are forcing a move and at the best you get a guy who is 1-20 against lefties for the year. Later in the game their lefties in the lineup would be gone and we would have our
all” righties pen get them out...but no, Girardi lets Nova go after Joyce (BTW, Nova had an OPS against lefties of .819 compared to .651 against righties coming into the game), who hits a fastball for a single and now the score is 6-4 with 2 guys on and we bring in Logan to face the lefty who gets pinch hit for Aybar. Aybar hits a 3 run HR and now we are down by one. Yes, you can say Logan didn't do the job, but you don't know what would have happened in the AB prior and while they probably would have pinch hit for Joyce, that uses a big move for them and makes them more vulnerable later. People say the manager doesn't make much of a difference...well they are wrong at times like this because it was a huge difference and this was an AWFUL job by Girardi. Let him go to Chicago if he is going to manage this poorly.

Fortunately the Yankees rallied to tie and Posada hit an absolute bomb as a pinch hitter to give us a 1 run lead in the 10th and Rivera was able to get out of the 10th with a little help by Golson.

Big win, but that bottom of the 5th was disgusting.

BTW, Granderson had a couple of doubles and made a fantastic catch in CF fully diving for a ball. Cano had a big day as well with a few hits and an HR. On the negative side Kearns has been awful (he is really mediocre and this is why I was not in favor of the signing...even if he does add some value as the team is constructed now...I would have signed/traded for someone else though. Also Colin Curtis can't get a hit for us and Miranda hasn't been much better. It would be nice if someone from our minors could hit.

Finally, I have to say great job by Joba, Wood and Robertson each pitching a shut out inning. Joba was really impressive sporting a great curve. The fun AB was watching Joba to pitch to Longoria. They started him off with a sharp curve that was a little low. But then came back with the slider and Longoria was a little out in front for a swinging strike. Now, the batter has no idea what is coming and Joba nails a 97 MPH fastball on the outer upper part of the strike zone (looking). With the count 1-2, what would you throw? This is why starting him off this way gives you so many options. What I loved was he came back with the pitch I had talked about earlier in the season; the fastball over the plate but a little up just above the strike zone. This is harder to lay off than the one inside or outside at the same height. What made it even more impressive was that it was clocked at 98!!! That was great!

The expanded rosters are pretty silly right now if you ask me. The key pennant games and you can slice and dice any way you want, doesn't make sense. The only thing that makes less sense is that we don't have a 2nd lefty in the pen right now.

Back in first despite our manager.

The Genius Maker #119

Man, are we in a bad slump. Great pitching game by CC! I was not listening to the announcers so maybe I missed something but Girardi who has had a really bad 10 day stretch from misusing Rivera, to bunting Cervelli on a 3-0 count just to move a runner from 2nd to 3rd and many other examples, but why in this game would you use the last pitchers on your team in extra innings when Joba, Rivera and Robertson should have been available. AND, if they weren't why not extend Wood or Boone Logan? We were lucky to get out of the bases loaded and 2 out situation with Gaudin on the mound as he faced a lefty (Hawpe)because we inexplicably only have one lefty our pen? But, then he goes to Mitre? Now, I am not saying they couldn't have gotten the job done, but your managers job is to put the team in the best position to win the game...and Girardi has failed this numerous times of late. For example, I was watching the game with 5 people and when Granderson was up in the (I think 11th inning) and a runner on 1st base with nobody out, he was asked to bunt. I didn't love the call with Curtis on deck, but OK, I could live with it. But when the count is 2-0 I stood up and said to everyone "take off the bunt, I want him swinging away." Granderson bunted and the runner was left there. I don't like that play, especially on the road where one run may not be enough, but when you have the count in your favor, I want the guy swinging away with fielders charging on the pitcher laying one in there...Girardi is really been bad of late and if he keeps this up the Yankees will let Chicago have him.

Let's not jump off the bridge yet though, we will make the playoffs and we still have the ability to do some damage. That being said, I would feel better if our offense could get into a rhythm a little before the playoffs and our manager would not be so inconsistent.

Edited to add that Girardi said they were resting Joba and Robertson was not available because he pitched back to back games 2 days ago. What? Joba hadn't pitched since Friday!!! Robertson had a day off. I am all for looking at the big picture and sometimes not pushing guys in just one game, but There is NO consistent and thought out plan by Girardi. It is one thing to "rather" rest a guy today so that he will be stronger for the playoffs and if your plan goes well you won't need him in the "CC" game, but you will in the "Nova" game, but when you are in extra innings with home field advantage on the line you need to pitch Joba or Robertson before you go to Gaudin or is that simple!!! Mitre hadn't pitched in 2 weeks and you bring a sinker baller into THIS game??? I really think Girardi has been awful of late and I hate the inconsistency and BS excuses. With all the dumb decisions he has made he has yet to ever take responsibility for his wrong moves...and that ticks me off.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Genius Maker #118

I hate when Rivera doesn't get it done. I am not going to go into all the missed opportunities or the big hit by ARod in the 8th, but I do want to discuss Girardi's use of Mariano and the bullpen. I think we can all say that Girardi is MUCH better with the pen than Torre. However, I have no idea why he would throw Rivera out there after throwing 2 innings the night before. Yes, you want to win, but 1) the less Texas sees him the better for the playoffs and 2) he is old enough where you don't burn him out unnecessarily. Rivera had pitch more than 1 inning 3 times this year and every time he had at least the next day off. The Yanks bullpen was rested enough even though they had a long game the night before. You still had Joba, but even if you didn't use Joba, Wood threw only 9 pitches and Albadejo only threw to one batter. You could have easily gotten through the 9th with Wood.

Pre game I heard two things from Girardi that made me shake my head. One was the BS, once again, Girardi spewed about giving Jeter a day off only because it was a long game the night before and not because of his slump. Joe, what is wrong with saying, yesterday was a real long game and I want to give Jeter a rest and this will also allow him to clear his head and be the player we all know he is??? Is it that hard to not lie to us Joe? The 2nd thing that I thought was silly was the way Joe was posturing about how Rivera only threw 23 pitches and might be available because that was a small amount. Joe, Rivera only throws that many pitches about 1 in every 10 outings and not once did he come back and pitch the next day...STUPID...this was the case where the Genius maker couldn't bail out him manager and hopefully, he didn't get hurt in the process.

I also want to point out that I would really like to win the division because I don't want to play Texas in a 5 game series where we will get Wilson and Lee for 80% of the games (updated to point out that Texas is 5 games behind Minnesota who has been red hot so teh WC will play Minnesota). The Yanks have been much better at home and the splits matter. Could we still beat them...of course, but Texas knows they can play with us (and beat us) without their best player in their lineup...Hopefully our future starting pitcher will continue to struggle in Texas.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Genius Maker #117

I only caught bits and pieces of the game so I probably will miss some of the finer points (the things I usually like to bring forth), but I was disappointed the Yankees lost because what I am about to say will sound like sour grape...and of course just losing will disappoint as well. I thought the umpiring was awful! Early in the game there was the strike out on a check swing form Swish (close but I thought no) and then the horrible safe call on the steal of 2nd base. I freeze framed it and one of the frames had Jeter touching the runner briefly, but there is NO way the ump should have called him safe without trying to see something that wasn't there. That ump made a very bad call. There were numerous ball/strike calls that were bad, but 2 really stood out to me (that I saw). 7th inning ARod up with the bases loaded and he has a 1-1 count on him. The pitch was a little high but definitely outside and the call was a strike. It was a ball and instead of 2-1 it was 1-2 and the pitcher could use his curve and after ARod fouled one off the next one got him. Huge moment in the game there. Then in the top of the 12th inning (where the Yanks had the bases loaded and didn't score when Moeller batted with 2 outs) Teixeira led off the inning on what should have been ball 4 on 3 pitches and the 3-0 pitch was clearly outside but called a strike. Tex never reached base in that inning and made the 1st out. The first pitch in the bottom of the 12th ended the game as Cruz hit his 2nd 1st pitch homer in the game. BTW, I really anted a curve to lead off as that is Gaudin's best pitch (he may call it a slider, but it is more of a slurve). After Joba allowed the homer on a first pitch slider (really not a terrible 0-0 pitch) I thought Cruz would be looking for a fastball and that is what he got. Frustrating loss...and the umps really should be embarrassed.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Genius Maker #116

That was an exciting finish! I know many of you were saying that we were about to get swept at home against a last place team. But then Swish went yard for a 2 run walk off home run and a victory that seem to be needed. Always fun to watch those walk offs. Not enough pies this year!

Nova did a nice job and the bullpen closed it out. The 2 runs Nova allowed were a ground out where their runner was called safe at 1st (he was out)that was followed by a terrible passed ball (I know it was called a wild pitch but when the catcher makes an effort like that he should get charged with a passed ball for being lazy), and then on a 3 ball and 0 strike count they hit a 2 run homer. BTW, Gardner was thrown out at 3rd and after reviewing many times I thought he was safe, but I surely could not argue with calling him was as close as humanly possible and I am not 100% sure I am right.

EDITED TO ADD THIS...yesterday Girardi made a comment about why he chose to let ARod run for himself but then took him out of the game to protect him. Girardi, when questioned, answered that he let ARod run for himself in case we batter around??? Now, this is exactly the type of comment that confirms my previous comments about how Girardi is simply not genuine in the things he says and that rubs me the wrong way. Does he think we are that stupid? I would like to see him take the blame when he screws up instead of some lame excuse that he always comes up..."we liked that matchup" blah blah blah. Notice when Girardi makes a bad move he describes the moves as "we" but if he made a move that worked he says "I"felt good about so and so...Man up Joe!

The Genius Maker #115

This game was disturbing because losing 2 in a row at home to a weaker team during crunch time just doesn't sit well with me. I know Baltimore has been playing very well of late(since Buck Showalter took over and now has 4 wins in a row), but we were just one step behind the entire game. With 1st and 3rd and nobody out, even when we got a break on a dropped very high pop up, Posada got forced out as he couldn't assume it would be dropped. Then on the next play, ARod comes off the bench and crushes a line drive to 3rd base that they get a glove on it and it trickles to the SS and he forces out Granderson at 2nd base with no run scoring. Then Gardner is up and he gets a bad call by the ump for strike 2 and then chops a ball to 2nd base and gets thrown out for no runs. That was a microcosm of the game to me and we just didn't get it done.

Last note was that Granderson dropped a fly ball he went a decent distance for, but he has done that a little more than I would like. Overall, defensively he is a decent CF'r (I would classify him as a slightly above average CF'r so if you lined up the 14 AL teams, he is probably 7th), but I think Gardner is a little better.

Time for us to take this afternoon game!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The GeniusMaker #114

I am going to post this one as I watch them (but I am watching on tape)

1st inning - Glad to see ARod back and probably a good time to give Cano a rest as well. If needed we will see him later.

Horrible tag (or non tag) by Pena to allow the runner to be safe at 2nd base. You never reach for the leg (hand)you put the glove in front of the bag so if they are getting to the bag they will have to get near the glove. Great play by Gardner to get the throw there.

Hughes threw a great cutter to Bautista to strike him out. That is the pitch that has led to his success as I have said in the past - he needs to throw that more to the left side of the plate.

%$#@! 0-2 and instead of throwing the cutter or breaking ball he throws another fastball and grooves it for a 0-2 2 out 2 run homer! Horrible pitch and a terrible play by Pena and the Yanks are down 0-2. Cecil is a very good pitcher for them so we have our worked cut out for us now. Sometimes, the obvious thing to throw is the right thing to throw and on 0-2 it is OK to throw a breaking ball or slider.

Bottom of 1st

Gardner leads off with an infield hit. With Jeter being awful they need to either send Gardner right away or do a hit and run, but they need to move Gardner early. Jeter faked bunt (I actually would have been OK with a bunt as bad as Jeter is going). Gardner not moving and Jeter ruins the inning and hits into a DP. When the heck will he be dropped in the lineup? At least there is an argument to keep him there against lefties, but c'mon, this is ridiculous.

2nd inning

Nothing of interest except Toronto has made some nice plays in the field.

3rd inning.

Another 0-2 terrible pitch (going with the fastball instead of the breaking ball) and Hughes missed his spot by a mile and the Yanks are now down 4-0 against Cecil. It is early, but this is not looking good.

OK, we picked up a run. Golston ripped a double off the wall that was surprised he was safe at 2nd for a double. It lined hard off the wall directly to the LF'r who quickly got rid of it and while throw was not that strong it was very accurate and the tag was placed just late. Golston has a lot of speed. Jeter weakly popped out to the OF and I wanted to write this and I haven't, but he needs to stop that jerk in his pre swing as it is keeping him off balance. He needs to quite his swing similarly to what Swisher and Granderson did. Jeter has his bat almost pointing to the fielders a one point and he is behind the fastball and way out in front of the breaking stuff...way off balance.

4th inning

The announcers are saying how Hughes has excellent location and a good balls to strike ratio and only the two mistakes are costing him. I totally disagree. To say he only made 2 mistakes is silly; he only made two mistakes that cost him. He threw a 1-2 fastball right down the middle to John Buck, but Buck swung and missed it. The same thing happened earlier as well. So, you can make mistakes and they just sometimes don't cost you.

back many hours later...

I felt the odds of us coming back were pretty slim and had some family obligations so I just finished watching the rest of the game. Not much of note except it was good to see ARod get some good swings in and not get hurt. I also wanted to say that Albadejo seems like a guy who has trouble when at the majors after dominating the minors. Not sure what it is, but he has hit a few players and seems to miss by a lot at the major league level. Hopefully he can turn it around because his minor league numbers were stellar

Now we need to get Pettitte back and start to prepare for the playoffs. For me that means not being afraid to work on Jeter's swing and possibly dropping him in the order if his awful hitting continues, it means getting a 2nd lefty in the pen and it means keeping Golston on the roster as our 3rd best OF and pinch runner for the postseason. Think of the ground Granderson, Gardner (stay leadoff) and Golston would cover out there? We then figure on which 4 pitchers we go to battle with and it is possible Burnett could see some bullpen time if Nova can pitch well.

Edited to add that Berkman almost got thrown out at home with nobody out and if not for an awful throw from the infielder he could have been thrown out. he was clearly safe, but Robbie Thompson sucks as a 3rd base coach and he scares the heck out of me in a postseason game. Yeah, I know it probably won't matter, but as I always say, it might and I don't want to take that chance.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Genius Maker #113

We won and TB lost! Oh and Boston lost twice

Notes of the game:

1) Thames hit a 2 run homer that gave us the lead we held onto. He has really been great; let's hope he can keep this up into the playoffs

2) Girardi really screwed up in the 5th inning. Vazquez was struggling but getting by...barely. I was Ok with taking him out after 4.2 innings and 2 guys on, but why in the world would he go to Moselely? The guy to go to there was Boone Logan we 3 lefties do up in 4 AB's. Instead he goes to Moseley who allows a 2 run double to tie the game! That was a horrible decision by Joe and in fact I don't even know why Moseley was up in that spot. Might as well leave in Javy at that point. Really dumb move, but it also underscores how pathetic it is that we only have one lefty in the pen. I have harped on this for 2 years that we need two lefties and it is absurd we don;t have it. Is Marte coming back?

3) John Buck made 2 great throws from his knees for Toronto.

4) Cano got a few hits, but he has been expanding the strike zone a lot of late and that has been his problem. he needs to lay off the inside pitch...this is what has made him so much better this year.

5) Outside of Moseley, the bullpen did a good job again, holding down Toronto. Wood pitched really well especially.

6) Rivera had a pin point 9th inning; hitting his spots on almost every pitch. But I got goose bumps on the final pitch of the night. Leading up to the last pitch, Rivera threw 6 straight fastballs that tailed into the righty batter and the count was 2-2. At some point (I thought possibly the previous pitch) Rivera was either going to throw the cutter inside or outside. He finished the game throwing a perfect cutter that clearly crossed the inside part of the plate for a called strike 3 and victory. What made this such a great pitch is that every pitch he threw ran in to the righty batter so the ball was starting on the inner half of the plate and ending up either inside or right on the inside corner. Then he threw the cutter which started a good amount inside (which freezes the batter) and then cuts over for strike 3. THE GENIUS MAKER!

It is an honor watching greatness.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

The Genius Maker #112

Interesting game. It was one of the few games where AJ Burnett gave a quality start and was not great. I would like to see more of a consistent 3 runs in 6 inning performances from him for a 4.50 ERA rather than a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde type. I thought AJ was decent but not better than that. Oakland helped him by swinging at a lot of bad pitches, however the 2 run HR he allowed was not a bad pitch. AJ threw his change/splitter a few times and it was very effective. I still think one of the issues with AJ is his velocity is not what it used to be. he used to throw 95+ with great movement, but at 92-93 is isn't as effective. He can still get it up to 95-96 but he used to get it up to 97-98 when he was with Toronto. I have a recollection he hit 99 against us. The difference of a change at 89 to 95 is a lot more than 92. He never had pin point control, but when he missed his movement/velocity would bail him out in the old days.

The Yankee offense didn't do much but was fortunate to take advantage of an error early on and then AJ and the bullpen held onto the early 4 run lead.

Joba did a good job and was able to hit 96 again so that was good to see.

Boone Logan did his job getting his one lefty batter...again! I have not heard much about Marte, but it is pretty absurd to not have 2 lefties

When Wood came on they were talking about how great he has been, but I wouldn't use the word great. He has been effective no question, but he has been fortunate to work out of a lot of jams and has not let up the big hit. Last night was no different as he left 1st and 3rd with 2 outs before getting out of the jam. He walks too many guys.

Rivera did a very good job almost coaching Moeller along as there were times where Moeller setup his glove too far over the plate, but Rivera still put the ball where he wanted it. The only guy who got on was on a play where most SS's would have made the play to end the game but Jeter fielded the ball in a way that caused him to take 2 steps toward center before throwing just late to 1st. Most SS's would have cut toward 1st base and that would have been enough to make the play. Rivera pitched out of it, but that play should have been made by a SS. I guess the Genius Maker can make the defensive players look good as well!

It didn't matter, but I was surprised that Girardi didn't pinch run for Thames in the 7th inning (may be off by an inning) as I assumed a lefty would be out of the game and with Berkman available as well as 2 pinch runners in Pena and Golson, I thought it would have been a good move. Some people have asked me about how Berkman will do; I would expect him to be effective for us down the stretch; he can still hit righties.

BTW, Posada pinch hit for Cervelli and struck out on a called strike that was outside and was farther outside than a pitch that was called a ball previously in the AB. Bad job the ump, but an equally bad job by Posada not controlling himself and getting thrown out. Moeller was there so Jorge probably pushed the envelope and who knows maybe it helped because every close call for Rivera was called a strike.

TB and Boston won.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Genius Maker #111

Hughes was really bad last night. He was very fortunate to be playing against Oakland. He couldn’t spot his fastball well, it didn’t have a lot of velocity (92) and he rarely if ever threw his changeup. He did throw only a few cutters and they were effective, but he also threw one on a 3-2 count and walked a guy. I said this before and believe it, he is best when he is using his cutter more…that is not to say he should throw it more than his four seamer, but he needs to throw it more as it will limit his pitches and get some easier outs. I also think he has a good curve, but he may look to throw 2 different speeds to it. Sometimes it is so slow the batter can readjust and hit it even when off balance.

Even though Hughes had a lot of walks (again), I thought the home plate ump was excellent, one of the better games all year. I only know a few guys when I am annoyed at them, but I looked this guy up just so I would know who it was and his name is Doug Eddings…a familiar name, although I have to admit I don’t know the umps by name.

Some other notes:

I stated a long time ago that Jeter should not be in the leadoff spot against righties…most recently last Thursday I mentioned it again yet still no move. He is 1-20 since last Thursday and has been bad of late. He is in uncharted territory for him, but he has been very weak since early this year. In fact, look at these numbers the past 4 months. After a very good April, Jeter has an OPS in May of .702, June .718, July .622 and August .652. That is 4 bad months with the last two being unplayable unless you are Ozzie Smith at SS. In the offseason we talked about the toughest decision the Yanks will face will be what to do with Jeter because we know the money he gets will be more for what he has done than what he will do. Jeter is 36, but players don’t usually drop off so significantly so we must conclude he is having a drop off that is exacerbated by a really bad and long bad streak. Nothing would suggest Jeter hitting this poorly so there should be some better AB’s at some point. I would bench him for a few games and just leave Gardner at the top of the lineup. Move Swisher back up to the 2 spot and go to work.

As I am patting myself on the back with Jeter, I must point out that I said the Yanks should ensure that Tex is back before risking the repeated injury to his thumb. Well, the next day he said he felt great, the Yanks put him in and he has had 2 good games. Maybe I was being a bit conservative with him, or maybe the injury was not as bad as I thought, but they made the right decision and I would have sat him out at least one more game and who knows if we would have won that game?

This was a good example of why Thames is mostly a platoon guy. Girardi was correct in riding the hot hand, but he looked weak against the breaking balls away…not sure why any pitcher would pitch him inside against a righty unless off the plate to pull a few pitches fouls for strikes.

The announcers were talking about how the last 5 games Granderson was really struggling and this after doing so well after Long tried and in season change that was successful. I know his numbers did not show well, but I thought Granderson hit a lot of long fly balls and line drives during this very short period of time and was a little unlucky. He then homered…and then struck out. I think he is OK now.

An especially rewarding win when both TB and Boston lose. Boston was 4 out not too long ago and now they are 8 out