Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Genius Maker - End of year

The ride is over! I do think though, it ended prematurely due to a lack of preventative maintenance and some poor short term decisions.

That being said, Texas deservedly moves forward while we go home. I thought Texas’ offense was very good all series. They fouled off pitchers pitches and waited for mistakes and took advantage of them. Somebody asked me about what I thought would happen before last game and I said Texas is getting great AB’s from almost everyone; they contributed GREATLY to our pitching looking bad. That being said, Hughes AND Colby Lewis were both pitching awful through 4 innings; so bad in fact, I sent out a text after 4 innings stating, “It is shocking the score is 1-0 with such horrible pitching…so many hittable pitches.” At that point, we had 3 hard hit balls and unfortunately we hit them right at people, but it was crazy we didn’t knock Colby out of the game…our bats were simply worse. It was one of the worst hitting performances we have had. Many people will say good pitching beats good hitting and throw that out without any context…the same people will incorrectly talk about the "gem" Colby Lewis threw against us as his line 6 IP, 3 hits, 1 ER, 3 Walks and 7 k’s, looks great…they would be so off base it is comical though. The guy was throwing meatballs all night and we just stunk the joint up. He couldn’t even get his soft stuff over for strikes, so he resorted to throwing his straight 89 MPH fastball over the plate and I mean over the plate. The only time all game he threw some off speed stuff for consistent strikes was against ARod as he threw a not-great-moving slider that ARod eventually doubled off. BTW, ARod hit the ball on the screws all night.

I think the story of the game was how bad the Yankee bats were…

It is a shame Hughes came up so short too. No command at all and he didn’t even cover 1st twice. The 1st time, Berkman got back, but the 2nd one was the one Cano ranged to his left and threw wildly to 1st. I am not sure whether Hughes would have caught it if he were on the base like he should have been, but he might have and he was clearly late (the angle was not good).

As for the rest of this game, I didn’t think Girardi did much wrong, I think he pulled Hughes at the right time, although I would have had more faith in Joba than Robertson after Robertson was lit up so bad in the series. We caught a terrible break when the 1st pitch to Vlad was called a ball after we correctly intentionally walked Hamilton (yes I agreed with his intentional walks because he averages more than a base every time up against a righty). That put Hughes in a 1-0 hole in a tie game (1-1), with 1st and 3rd and instead of throwing a fastball for a strike, Posada and Hughes decided to go with a breaking ball strike (not really a wrong choice). Unfortunately, Hughes hung it and Texas took advantage of a bad pitch for a double that opened up the game. One call can make a huge swing in a game, but the main difference was that Texas took advantage of that mistake and the incredibly horrible pitch Robertson threw to Cruz in the next AB (why not put it on a tee for him Robertson?) while the Yankees bats missed similar pitches all night long from Lewis. I will say that Feliz made some great pitches in the 9th against us though.

First, let’s step back and say that making the final 4 is not too bad. I have said many times that advancing in the playoffs is a crap shoot; many times the hot team can ride you to victory…Texas batters really hit well all series and the Lee outing was special as he did not leave hittable pitches over the plate almost at all.

We will be making a lot of changes because I expect (and hope) Montero will be up at the major league level splitting time with Jorge. I think we will probably drop Berkman, Nick Johnson, Kearns and make some moves with guys like Cervelli and Mitre/Moseley and possibly even Robertson or Joba.

I think I would hold onto Joba unless I got some good value for him. I think he will be a solid arm.

I would keep Thames as he does what we need and that is a good bat against lefties. While he did a good job against righties this year too, that was just a good groove and in general he is too susceptible against the slow stuff from righties.


If we step back and look at his track record, he has won a WS in 3 years and not made the playoffs in the one of the years and then this year. That is not bad. I don’t think Girardi is a terrible manager, however, I think he was terrible the final 1/3 of the year and in the playoffs…simply awful. He was inconsistent in every one of his approaches and he had no clear direction. I also don’t like his disingenuous way of acting and he rubs me the wrong way and honestly I don’t want to root for the guy very much. You have recently read some of my views and there are many examples I have, but one that stands out was the time where ARod was coming back from his injury and he was babying ARod to the point where he might have cost us some important games and then when ARod got on base where it was clear he should have been pinch run for, he left him out there to risk injury (if he was as bad as Girardi had been saying). He then answered the questions as to why he left ARod in to run, only to take him out the next inning for Nunez or Pena (I forget) to play the field, when they could have just pinch run and stayed in the game, by saying, “I thought if we batted around ARod could have gotten up again.” What? Talk about being FOS! That was the start of Girardi losing his mind the final part of the season.

One other point is that if you look back on the moves made down the stretch and in the postseason with 20/20 knowledge, Girardi pushed every wrong button and was behind Washington at almost every turn in this last series. The moves he made never worked and the non moves didn’t work either, therefore he could have only hurt us.

So my answer is that while I think many times the grass is not greener and a change just to change is actually a bad thing usually with managers, I would be OK with replacing Girardi because he rubs me the wrong way and he was awful down the stretch. That being said, while Joe may still always rub me the wrong way, he has some good qualities and could improve as he is still relatively young in his coaching career. I do not know of any good options out there (although I am sure there are) and more important I would be extremely surprised if Cashman would replace him just because of the way he talks about him.

The hardest part in sitting in my chair is I don’t how much Cashman gets involved with Girardi’s decisions and how much is made by Cashman. In other words, who made the decision to leave a 2nd lefty off the post season roster? I get the feeling it was Girardi because Cashman said that Ring pitched extremely well all year in the minors to get lefties out. As for his other moves, I have agreed with most of them so I can’t criticize them in hindsight. Vazquez didn’t work out, but I thought it was worth the move as we didn’t give up much…we also got Logan in the deal and while he failed to get Hamilton out twice he did pitch 1.2 innings allowing a hit and a walk in his other postseason work and was extremely valuable all year. Obviously, I didn’t like the Kearns trade right away and was vocal about it and that was not a smart deal, but I liked getting Wood and Berkman and they both were valuable. I would expect Wood to be retained, but I doubt Berkman unless he is willing to take a little less to be part of the team.

I liked the Granderson deal, but I still don’t think the team recognized his weakness against lefties and I am still not sure whether they do. He was better against lefties down the stretch, but he still wasn’t good; overall his OPS was .240 points lower against lefties…a huge difference.

Overall, Cashman knows what he is doing and I like his work with our minor leagues as well; he is a keeper, even if he failed to get a lefty killer or a lefty pitching specialist.


It is early so a lot can happen, but I hope Andy wants to come back and I hope lee is open to pitching here…I would go get him.

Mariano should be given whatever he wants; he is the Genius Maker and once again did his job brilliantly.

Jeter; the toughest answer. I tend to think he is better than he played this year (which was not good). Even when I was hoping to see something new out of Jeter ion the postseason he didn’t deliver again posting a weak OPS of .709. I think you go to Jeter’s agent and some arbitrator and get a number that they feel is what Jeter would get on the open market if he were a free agent. I would then say we will give you a 50% premium on that and sign him for that deal. So if he could get 3 years at 20 mil then you give him 3 years at $30 mil and be done with it.

Swisher – I am only bringing him up because he struggled mightily in the Texas series with an OPS of .473 (ouch). He was putrid. He did well in the Minnesota series, but overall his postseason numbers are .162/.302/.314 OPS=.616. That is not good and while it is not anything about clutch, he is a guy who hits mistakes (and fastballs) and in the postseason you will have less mistakes and more breaking ball pitches. In fact, when I did my review about how well Nick did in the regular season I made a comment, “I hope he keeps this up.”

A lot of guys struggled in the postseason and while Lee pitched, I think the Yankees offense was just bad. No, I don’t want to fire Kevin Long, sometimes these things just happen.

Tip your hat to the Texas hitters and Lee and they deserve to be going to the WS.

I will get out an update on some of my thoughts throughout the year to see how I did...

One last thought though…what would have happened if Seattle didn’t screw us out of Lee at the last second?

I hope you have enjoyed my rantings and I will update the site and via email as I get some thoughts.



Friday, October 22, 2010

The Genius Maker Pre ALCS #6

I want to go through something about game 4 before we go onto game 5.

I think it is abundantly clear that Girardi stuck with AJ entirely too long. It was one of the most illogical decisions in post season history (I am sure top 10, with Mussina being pushed back in game 4 against the Red Sox atop the list). But, the part I want to discuss was the decision to bring in Thames for Teixeira. I didn’t thoroughly expand on my reasons but I did list a few, however, the main point was this was another decision that was made by Girardi that just showed a lack of understanding of the moment.

I don’t usually post other people’s articles and I honestly don’t read too many…maybe Joel Sherman read my blog before he wrote his, but this is what he wrote after I wrote my blog (I pulled out some superfluous stuff):

“I wrote in this column about Joe Girardi’s faulty decision making in sticking with A.J. Burnett at the critical moment of Game 4. Buck Showalter always used to tell me that one of the key elements of managing is having your head comfortably hit the pillow at night. Translation: How do you sleep if you let someone you don't trust get into a situation in which trust is everything? If a player you trust fails, so be it. It is a game of human beings and failure is inevitable. But at least under that scenario you can sleep.

How does Girardi sleep? Burnett has established himself as the least trustworthy Yankee. You cannot let him decide your season. CANNOT. This was as close to an elimination game as the Yankees could play short of an elimination game. I had asked Girardi before the game about this and he said he would manage aggressively, with the sense that the game could not get away. Thus, if Burnett were in trouble in the first inning then he needed to be lifted. This had to be Girardi’s thought process. Yet, with the tying and go-ahead runs on base in the sixth inning, Girardi stuck with Burnett. Would Joba Chamberlain have retired Bengie Molina? Who knows?"

Steve comment: One could argue sticking with Burnett in the 5th was a bad move, but just because it worked does not excuse it...what it actually shows is that Girardi gambled and stuck with Burnett more than once

But the worst decision, the absolute you can’t do it decision, was leaving Burnett in. Girardi said he liked how Burnett was throwing. (Steve’s comment, he almost threw a wild pitch during the intentional walk for crying out loud) But what does that matter. Burnett does not think well under duress. So how he is pitching at this second has nothing to do with the next second…
He tried to throw a fastball away off the plate and missed inside off the plate. That is essentially a two-foot mistake at the pivotal moment of this game. Molina hit a three-run homer. Burnett, though, was just being Burnett, embracing his loser gene.
This falls on Girardi for letting him be out there to have that gene infect a whole team. It seems to me that under pressure that Girardi does not think clearly. “


“Consider the situation that occurred the previous inning: Mark Teixeira went down with a hamstring injury. Girardi had to get a pinch-runner in and have a new first baseman in the next half inning. At that moment, the Yanks led 3-2, first and second, one out. Girardi picked Marcus Thames to run at first in place of Teixeira, which I think was the wrong move on three levels: 1) Greg Golson is faster than Thames and gives the Yanks a greater chance to score a valuable run. 2) He is a far better right fielder than Thames, who went into the game in right with Nick Swisher moving to first in place of Teixeira. Remember the Yanks led at that moment, so having the better defender in place was of great value. 3) By installing Thames in that spot, Girardi lost the ability to use his best righty bat off the bench when he wanted against a team that has four lefty relievers. So, for example, when Berkman came up as the tying run in the bottom of the eighth and had to bat from his far weaker right side because the Thames option was gone.”

I also want to quote something from Girardi that is really crazy. This is why I think the guy is out of his mind of late…This was before the CC game…
Facing elimination, Joe Girardi said he’s prepared to manage today’s game much differently than any game we’ve seen this season. He might have a quick hook if he sees CC Sabathia heading toward a repeat of Game 1, and he’s willing to go with Mariano Rivera and Kerry Wood in earlier innings — and for more innings — than usual.
“I don’t think you can hesitate to make a move,” Girardi said. “If you have to use Woody and Mo somewhat unconventionally today, you got to do it.”
Girardi went so far as to say Phil Hughes is available out of the bullpen today. “

Ok, so you stick with the guy who has been atrocious all year long and give him leeway one day earlier, yet with our best pitcher on the mound you are willing to pull him quickly to ensure we win the game???…OK Joe…yeah, that makes sense…you think you might have wanted to use the "I don't think you can hesitate to make a move" during the Burnett game???Seriously, am I the only person who is having trouble rooting for the guy?

Girardi should have managed the way he says he will for the CC game in the Burnett game.

As for our chances of winning the series, probably only about 20%, but all we need to do is win 2 games in a row and this can happen. Our offense needs to be better and be able to hit with RISP. Even for the CC game, we were I believe 2-11 and we scored mostly from the HR and a couple of bad fielding plays by Texas. Unfortunately for us Texas is swinging the bats well, they are fouling off a lot of good pitches and seem fairly locked in. A very important pitch for us will be the changeup. I was asking for more from Burnett, but when he threw it, it was extremely effective (he threw it to Hamilton on the key fly out in the 5th). Hughes will need to use it against this team.

One other note, while it is not a good thing, losing Tex might not be horrible in that he was really struggling at the plate and against a righty Berkman at 1st with Thames DH’ng might actually get us more offense. Obviously, we lose Tex’s glove, but hopefully we can dodge that bullet. Against Lee it is more of a problem because Swisher will most likely move to 1st base.

We have the players, it is time to execute…(and hopefully not our manager.)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The Genius Maker post game 4 ALCS

I will apologize in advance for any expletives on this blog, but I have not been this upset with a manager since Torre decided not to start Mussina in game 4 against Boston up 3-0 in 04’.

I also want to point out the series is not over, but the odds are clearly against the Yanks winning.

I think I threw out about as many expletives, at my friends house no less, as I have in, well, I am not sure if I have ever thrown out more. Every time they showed Girardi I said one…

Let me go through the progression here because Girardi went from being a manager I thought did a good job with the pen, a decent job overall but someone who I just didn’t like his smugness, to a guy I would like off the team as skipper right now. In all my years of not liking the X and O style of Torre, I never made a statement like this. I did think it was time for Torre to leave at the end and “let someone else drive the Lamborghini,” and I also thought Girardi was the better choice between he and Mattingly (only because Mattingly didn’t have experience). But I am done with Girardi and have trouble rooting for him, which will be my own issue.

Going back, the way the team handled Joba was almost criminal, moving him all over the place. They changed their mind continuously and did a horrible job with Joba. This year, down the stretch, Girardi did an even worse job never sticking to any plan and constantly changing his mind time and time again and accomplished nothing. AWFUL job by Girardi down the stretch.

Cashman deserves some blame here as well because we needed a lefty killer and we needed another lefty (how many times did I say this?). When he got Kearns, I hated the move and stated as such…he didn’t do what we needed and he never got us another lefty, until Ring. But, while every team in baseball understands how significant it is to match up and allow flexibility in doing so (Texas added 2 lefties to make FOUR out of their pen), we decided we needed Moseley and Mitre on the team instead of a 2nd lefty that could give us flexibility and also make it harder for the opposing manager.

ON TO THE GAME…As you know, I have stated I wanted to pitch all of our guys on 3 days rest and I was very much against starting Burnett in game 4. I also wanted CC to pitch in game 4 no matter what so that he was available for game 7. When I heard they were starting Cervelli, the expletives started pre game in numerous texts. Against a righty Cervelli is a bad hitter. Not only that, how good of a “personal” catcher is Cervelli when he “managed” AJ to the worst ERA in the league? How much did his awful throwing to 2nd help the situation? How about his poor pitch calling ability? Why in the world would you want Cervelli in the game when we are struggling to get the offense going? This decision exacerbates an already horrible decision by Girardi and was pure idiocy.

Pre game, we had a discussion about the tough decision Girardi had to make going into game 4… I don’t disagree that this wasn’t an easy decision, but that is your fn’ job. IF, and again I don’t agree, you felt you had to start someone game 4, it would have been Moseley and not AJ…but again, it would have been CC if it were me. AJ could have been really good, but the odds of this were slim…but with his stuff you could never know. Either way, I made it clear in my blog that AJ needed to have a short leash and my brother put it well when he said “if AJ has a chance to allow 5 runs in the game Girardi is a jack hammer” (I might have cleaned that up).

So with that in mind, the thought was don’t allow him to get us too far behind and have an incredibly quick hook. Burnett did OK actually, and in the top of the 5th inning, my brother sticking to his guns (and I agreed) I would have taken out AJ when the score was 3-2 Yankees and there were 2 outs, 1st and 2nd and Hamilton up. Of course I would have brought in Ring here, but he was not on the roster. Girardi stayed with Burnett and he did get Hamilton out…whew! Big out. Now the Yanks get a nice rally going in the bottom of the 5th but in the long inning Tex goes out with a hammy and ARod hits into a DP and we get no runs in a long ½ inning.

I will now switch to my texting messages that were sent in the game and prior to anything happening…I wanted Moseley to start the 6th and 2 of my friends agreed, when Burnett came back out Girardi was REALLY pushing the limit. Remember last inning, he allowed 2 singles and a walk. 2 runs in 5 innings with AJ and I am thrilled. In fact, one would have to say that given what happened starting AJ was the right move…but take him out and say good job, let’s not push it.

BUT NO, Girardi decided to leave Burnett in. My comment was that if one guy gets on he is out of the game.

Oh, I need to go back and state that when Tex went out, I wanted Golson to go into the game because Golson could pinch run for Tex at 1st base and stay in for good defense. With a lead and he wouldn’t get up for 2-3 more innings it made sense and hopefully we had extended the lead by then (we had 2 men on and Golson could help get a run that inning. Girardi put in Thames instead. My feeling was if we gave back the lead and had a really big spot Thames could pinch hit with all the lefties they had.

So Burnett allows a lead off soft liner to RF that Thames didn’t move on and while he didn’t come close to the ball, Golson would have been playing a little more shallow and it was possible he would have caught the ball…maybe not, but possible. BTW, maybe Golson’s speed would have forced ARod’s DP to be mishandled too??? I may be grasping here, but clearly the moves Girardi made or didn’t make have long term impact. So while I want Burnett out of the game, he does get the next guy out on a fielder’s choice and then Kinsler flies out to CF and Cruz makes an excellent play to tag up and get to 2nd. I would have liked to see Granderson get behind that ball and make it tougher, but this was the play that turned Girardi into an absolute #%@$!!!! Murphy is up and he is a lefty platoon guy. I would bring in Ring if he were on the team to face Murphy, but we know this can’t happen. So I would bring in Logan (and said/texted as such) Logan was the move here and the only thing I can think of is that Girardi didn’t want to waste his one bullet of Logan in this spot…again, previous decisions rearing their UGLY head. So instead of pitching to Murphy, he decides to walk him??? I was livid over this and let everyone know. There are a few times putting the tying run on base makes sense…there is not a chance in heck this was one of them. For one, Burnett walks a lot of guys and hits them…that is one of his downfalls, but his stuff is good so why intentionally walk the guy? I know Molina is a not a good hitter, but he got a hit off of AJ already and has been swinging well. Burnett should never intentionally walk a guy IMO. So after the dumb move to walk him, every one knew Joba was coming in…right? For some asinine reason he sits Joba back down (I think he had been up twice already) and leaves Burnett in. We were all saying NO WAY, THIS IS STUPID. First pitch is a fastball away, but Burnett who has now thrown about 95 pitches misses and the fastball comes inside and Molina perhaps ends the Yankees season with a 3 run homer. That was it folks…Girardi for some reason stuck with AJ??? The guy with the highest ERA!!! I have no idea why and I am sure his comment will be “we” thought the matchup was blah blah blah…you know what Joe, you are an idiot! You took a top team and screwed it all up. You should lose your job because your job is to put your players in the best position so that they can be successful and you have failed miserably at it!

The offense deserves some blame here as well as they scored about the least possible runs you can score when you have 7 hits and 4 walks with a HR, a triple and a double mixed in…3 runs.

…the 8th inning said it all when the Yanks had bases loaded one out and Swisher got hit by the pitch, but they didn’t call it…this was huge non call as Swisher popped out only to have Berkman come up against the lefty. Here is the perfect time to bring in our lefty killer, but instead we have Kearns…Berkman who is simply awful against lefties stayed in the game because Kearns wasn’t even worthy of pinch hitting for a guy with an OPS of .517 against lefties (batting .171). Great pickup that Kearns (again decisions made previously)…Berkman did a nice job and hit the ball hard but a nice play by Young (give Texas credit, they have played very well in the field) ended any hopes.

We have our best 3 going and all we need to do is have each of them win, not out of the realm of possibilities, but the odds are slim folks and Girardi sucked the life out of me. It is inexcusable to for Girardi to allow Burnett to allow 5 runs in this game…absolutely inexcusable! Of course, he shouldn’t have been starting anyway.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Ugh! I have been saying that the offense needs to do a good job and they were awful. I was at the game and therefore have a much worse perspective on how Lee pitched than if I watched on TV, but is looked like the Yankees simply took too many fastball strikes. I will go back and look, but swing the bats boys. They were not called out on too many off speed pitches, although I thought I saw a called 3rd strike on a cutter or 2. Obviously, he was keeping them off balance and had movement on his pitches because they only squared up a few all night. That being said, if you are swinging the bat well, you don't take called 3rd strike fastballs from Cliff Lee, in fact, you shouldn't be watching too many called strikes on fastballs. You also don't swing at balls out of the strike zone (I am talking to you Jeter)...the no out and Gardner on 2nd AB was a critical one in the game in my opinion and Jeter took the wind out of us.

I also want to point that Texas has fielded very well this series. They have made all the plays. the catch on ARod was a good example, but they have flashed some leather as well on 2 other infield plays.

We have been outplayed this entire series and unfortunately, our hopes to not have to win 3 straight are riding on the worst pitcher in the AL this year. I would have thrown all my guys on 3 days rest as none threw a lot of pitches (Andy was the highest). But that is not going to happen...all I can say is that if Burnett allows more than 3 runs in the first 4 innings, Girardi did an awful job. You have an incredibly short leash on him. 3 guys in a row get on and I am probably taking him out, but 4 is a guarantee.

Tommy Hunter is pitching against us and it is time for our offense to do their job!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Monday morning

We are down to a best of 5 series where we play the 1st 3 games at home. This is a pretty good setup when you think of it that way. Of course we are starting our#3 pitcher and they get to start their #1, but let's see what Andy has in store for us. A perfect scenario is we beat Lee 2-1 so that he (and we) know Lee can pitch in Yankee stadium well (for our signing) yet we still win.

I also wanted to point out the Freddy "Sez" passed away this weekend. I have a picture to the right if you are not sure who he is. Freddy is the guy who walked around with a pan and a spoon and let all the kids take turns hitting it...kind of cool to watch. Not sure Freddie ranks up there with George or even Bob S, but he was an icon at the stadium for a very long time.

I assume if we win it all it will be for George and the rest, but if we lose, it will be forgotten.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Genius Maker Pre game 3 ALCS

We have played like a team that had a long lay off...CC looked like he hadn't pitched in 9 days as an example...Big picture, we did the minimum positive result and split on the road, we now need to win 2 of 3 at home and split on the road again. I do think we will win 2 of 3 on the road, but we need to hit better and of course our starters need to pitch better.

So far we have had one really good inning, but outside of that Texas has outplayed us.

That being said, we look like we can hit any reliever they have and this is with ARod and Tex really struggling, especially Tex. Posada is another who can play better.

This team has been very hard to predict, but I think we are an overall better team than Texas. One thing we need to do is get ahead of their leadoff hitter Adrus and keep him off the bases, so far we have not done that well. Texas also has not hit the off speed pitches well and we need to learn that. Finally, our bullpen has looked good and that is a big positive. Joba really threw well and would have gotten out of the man on 3rd with nobody out situation if the batter didn't get a fortunate stroke (even though he went with it) through the hole.

I don't think they pitched that well, I think we hit below expectations. I also think Texas batters hit above expectations which added to the poor command CC and Hughes had. I heard many people talk about the cutter messing up Hughes. I do know that when his cutter is good, it is very effective for Hughes. the problems was his command. that being said, the bigger problem was he should have thrown more change ups; I think he threw only 2 or 3 in the game.

I still don't get handcuffing us with only 1 lefty, but I guess I will have to deal with the stupidity.

BTW, I start both CC and Hughes on 3 days rest. No need to start Burnett when he has been the worst starting pitcher in the AL (true). Now, could he pitch well, sure, but that is a gamble not worth taking. I would rather gamble out of the pen with ONE batter at a time IF needed. CC threw 93 and Hughes threw 88 pitches. I think they will be fine.

If they need a starter that isn't CC, Hughes or Pettitte, I would also go with Moseley or Mitre before Burnett for the same reasons as above.

I still think the offense needs to be the offense that is the best in the league for us to win!

Looking forward to Monday night!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Genius Maker Pre ALCS #2

So we caught a little break with the TB/Texas series going 5 and then having Texas win. The advantage is that Texas just threw Lee Tuesday night and he threw 120 pitches. He probably won't be available for Saturday's game, which means that his first game would be game 3 in Yankee stadium on Monday. He would then pitch game 7 (if needed). Lee could pitch on short rest game 2, but he still would only pitch one other time so I would expect them to give him normal rest after the 120 pitch gem he put up Tuesday night. Contrast that to CC, who could pitch game 1 Friday and then pitch game 4 on 3 days rest and then again game 7 on 3 days rest. Of course this still leaves an issue unless everyone pitches on 3 days rest (which is what I would do as there are 3 days before the WS starts. Again so many days off between series...

I also like that Texas has lost 2 of their last 3 games and they have yet to win at home in the playoffs. My hope is that we take at least 1 in Texas and then never go back to Texas (with a victory in the series of course)

I still want Ring on the roster against Texas and could do without the 3rd long man in the pen. The real question is if you don't start Pettitte and Hughes on 3 days rest then who starts game 4? In this case, if we were fortunate enough to be up 3-0 then I might throw a non big 3 pitcher out there as we would have each of our 3 best available on normal rest for 5,6,7. It depends on how the series goes, but I would look to put everyone on 3 days rest at the start.

I will post a Texas team breakdown before Friday!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Genius Maker Pre ALCS

Great job boys!!! Nice to take Minnesota down again…they must really hate us…9 in a row against the Twins!

Hughes was fantastic, but I have to say Minnesota did not swing the bats very well. They had some hittable pitches’ and did nothing with them. Posada called a great game, he didn’t get cute when there were times I know Cervelli would have. A couple of pitches Posada did not frame well, but outside of that he called a great game.

The only point of debate between myself and the other 11 people watching with me had to do with the 8th inning and who should start. I was in favor of taking Hughes out while some of the people (it was probably 3 for taking him out, 4-5 for leaving him in and the others just enjoying the game or enjoying our spirited debate 

My take was a simple one. I have Rivera waiting if needed, we have a 6 run lead and Hughes has not pitched into the 8th inning all year and the last thing I want to do is extend him even more than we are already (remember he is over his innings limit). I don’t want this to be construed as taking the “foot off the throat” or anything even remotely like what Torre did against Boston in game 4 in 2004. In fact, if the score was close I might have pushed Hughes a little more until he let a batter on, but Pitching Wood (who has been excellent) for the 8th and Rivera in the 9th is going with your best and I have no issue with it. Of course after Wood had no command the 2nd guessers didn’t like it. The part I didn’t get (and I have no clue what Girardi was thinking) was why he didn’t go to Logan to face Mauer and then Kubel? He waited for Wood to walk Mauer before letting Logan face 1 lefty? This is simply stupid. But fortunately Logan did his job and then Robertson did his job as well to get us out of any further trouble. Nice job guys… and then it was only time to crank Enter Sandman and watch the Genius Maker take us take us to the “final four.” Rivera has now pitched in 91 postseason games throwing 136.2 innings (about 2 seasons worth) and has only lost ONE game. He has blown a few saves but only once did he lose the game for us and not give us a chance. Of course that was game 7 against Arizona and it took his own error and a broken bat hit with a drawn in infield to make that happen. He is The Genius Maker!!!! Enjoy every pitch he throws as you are watching the best ever!!!

We now have to wait all the way until next Friday to play the winner of the TB/Texas series, but at least it went 5 as both Price and Lee will go. I have no idea why we go from Tuesday until Friday between the two series…again just makes no sense at all and we have to wait 6 days to play the most important game of the year when the most days off you have all year are half that amount??? Common sense is just lost. The games should start on Thursday at the latest and of course game 5 should be played tomorrow (Monday) instead of Tuesday and then I would be starting the new series on Wednesday.

I will wait until the winner to analyze the opponent…but after we won I was asked who I wanted to play and my answer was I wanted the series to go 5 and then probably Texas. My main reason was that Texas would have lost 2 of their last 3 and I would rather that than TB winning 3 in a row going into our series…as for the teams themselves, they each represent a formidable opponent and I honestly don’t have a preference.

Series Date Network Game Time (ET)
Game 1 - NYY @ TB/TEX Friday, October 15 TBS TBA
Game 2 - NYY @ TB/TEX Saturday, October 16 TBS TBA
Game 3 - TB/TEX @ NYY Monday, October 18 TBS TBA
Game 4 - TB/TEX @ NYY Tuesday, October 19 TBS TBA
Game 5* - TB/TEX @ NYY Wednesday, October 20 TBS TBA
Game 6* - NYY @ TB/TEX Friday, October 22 TBS TBA
Game 7* - NYY @ TB/TEX Saturday, October 23 TBS TBA

3 down 8 to go!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Genius Maker Post Game 2

It is very odd the Yankees last 8 victories against Minnesota have all been come from behind wins. I remember some announcers stating a few years ago how critical it was to get the lead in a game so that you can dictate the game...well I guess that is not correct. It also goes to show how wrong the announcers can be and watching this year on TBS, I can't imagine a worse group of announcers. Wow, they are boring, cliché and clueless about the teams (at least the Yankees). They need to go back to having a front man (maybe a Joe Buck or someone like that) and then get a local commentator from each team as someone who knows what has been going on all year.

OK, on to the important item...the game. Pettitte being sharp is the most exciting item to take from the game. Without 2 quality pitchers it is very hard to win in the postseason. I was also very happy with Rivera having excellent movement on his pitches again and the power strokes delivered by Berkman! Many people have asked about Berkman and whether he would be worth anything and even when he struggled I had said I think he will help us in the postseason...and he delivered. I also read that he worked with Kevin Long and they made a slight adjustment to the point where Berkman told Andy (they are good friends) he was launching balls in BP...Granderson has been hot at a good time and everyone else is at least contributing. This is a good sign, although Minnesota is the weakest team in the AL playoffs.

I predicted a 4 game victory for the Yanks, but I would like to sweep tonight as every game in a 5 game series is the most important one. I expect Hughes to be effective and think we will close it out tonight. If we have the opportunity to close it out, you go ahead and do it...this includes Rivera for 1.1 if needed.

A few other notes from the game:

I would like to see Granderson come up with that ball in CF. He just misses a few of them a year and it keeps him from being a great defensive CF'r. I also feel that Gardner would get that one...somewhat ironic after Gardner came up short on a dive in LF in game 1. In general, both guys can get to the ball very well, both guys have average receiving ability though and Gardner has that little extra speed/gear. Gardner has thrown very well this year, but I would think their arms are pretty close.

A lot was made about the non call against Berkman, but what is not discussed was the ball that was about 8" outside called a strike against him earlier in the count. With the ump calling a fairly consistent strike zone that didn't call strikes on the inside (to lefties) corner, but routinely called pitches 4-6" outside a strike, it was the right call. When I say consistent, I mean the strike zone he was trying to call was consistent (even if odd), but he also missed a lot of calls even with the strike zone the way it was. Berkman had a very good read on the ump and said, "all game the ump was giving a generous outside strike, but was not giving the inside pitch which is why I took the pitch." It is a huge play because of what happened afterward, but this is why all pitches are critical. In fact, take a look at the pitch Andy threw to Hudson before his HR; it was a curve that was a clear strike that was just missed. You can also look at plenty of wide strike calls that were made that hurt the Yanks. Overall, I think the ump behind home plate was awful, but according to the stats who track every pitch, he helped Pavano more than Andy and that makes sense when you think of all the outside strikes (that should have been balls).

The Yanks are facing Brian Duensing tonight he is a 27 year old lefty that has been extremely tough on lefties (.162/.217/.239 =.457 OPS ). He sports a fantastic 2.62 ERA in 130 IP. The concern I had during the season was we needed a lefty killer for pitchers like this and instead we got the extremely mediocre Kearns, who I stated at the time was the wrong pickup. Now we have to play Granderson and Gardner because at least you are sure that you get good defense. I also should note that I stated Granderson was a platoon player and the sooner the Yankees understand that the better we will be. Right now, while I still think Granderson will always be a lot better against righties, the adjustments he and Long made during the season, coupled with being hot, makes Granderson (and Gardner) the correct option(s) to play even against a tough lefty the way the roster is situated.

Let's get a solid 6 or more from Hughes allowing 3 runs or less and wrap this thing up.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Post Game 1 ALDS

Down 3-0 after 5 innings I was getting a little concerned and started to think about why Girardi didn't allow CC to pitch Friday like he wanted. CC really struggled with his command walking 3 guys and hitting Thome in 6 innings pitched. he also allowed 4 run so that was not a good performance and while CC didn't get it done, you wonder why he didn't listen to CC?

It was up to the offense who left guys on early in the game to come through and the best in baseball didn't disappoint. Tex started things off with a double, ARod walked and Cano plated tex with a single. After Thames struck out, Posada had a big single to score ARod and then Granderson hit a towering fly ball off the upper wall scoring two and ending up at 3rd base with a huge hit. Gardner was not able to get Granderson home.

Unfortunately CC was not able to hold the lead as he allowed one hit and walked 3 guys...he was clearly off his game, but he dug down deep enough to strike out hardy with the bases loaded and only allow the tying run.

After Swish singled Tex was able to keep an inside hanging curve ball fair on another towering fly ball. I thought it was foul live, but was psyched it stayed fair. The 2 run lead was all we needed as Logan, Robertson and Wood all did OK and none of them did poorly and we worked our way out of jams, but did need the Genius Maker to do his thing in the 8th with 2 men on and then closing out the 9th!

Great to see Rivera break 3 bats in the what a pleasure he is.

Every starting Yankee got on base via a hit or walk so it was a consistent effort and we got 2 big hits from Tex and ball to Rivera and Tex though.

1 down 10 to go!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Genius Maker Pre Game 1 Playoffs

Sadly these series' have too many days off and you can pitch only 2 starters in 80% of the games. With all the issues people have about the game, this is the one I would fix asap and play all 5 games back to back. This way you judge a team just like you did over the regular season where you use your entire team. Having Rivera has been a huge difference for us, partially because he can pitch in every game and not be tired...kind of silly.

OK, so what do we know about Minnesota?

Their two closers are Capps and Fuentes they picked up from the Dodgers. Capps is a mediocre closer (42 saves for them with an OPS against of .688),…Fuentes is a lefty killer having an OPS of under .400 against them (.696 righties), although most was in the NL. He is the guy who was on the Angels squad

First, Morneau is out for the entire this is a blow to Minny's offense. That being said, Minnesota has played a lot better since he went down and they have been without him for awhile so the impact is really not that big. Of course, the reason why they have been playing better is not because of his absence as Morneau was having a great year with 18 homers and an OPS of 1.055 in 80 games. Cuddyer moved from RF to 1st base, but his OPS is about .750 so obviously others have stepped up.

One guy in particular is their DH…Jim Thome. He has a huge lefty righty split with a mediocre .769 against lefties, but a dominating 1.153 against righties. At his age the back has been giving him some problems, but he has been hitting great with a 1.158 OPS in the 2nd half...yeah, that is incredible. This is NOT a guy you want to be facing a rigthty in a key spot. Overall, his numbers in 131 AB's since the All Star game are .313/.448/710! And yes that is against both righties and lefties. Makes you wonder why Cashman didn't get Thome for 1.5 million...

The Twins rough lineup:

Denard Span CF – bats Lefty and usually leads off and I am not sure why? This is one of those let’s get our fast guy at the top of the order even though his OPS is .679 (OBP of .331). He only has 26 SB’s but has only been caught 4 times (that is very effective). He hits both lefties and righties the same. Span previous to this year has been a little better against lefties

Orlando Hudson 2B – Switch Hitter - Hudson is usually at the top of the order as well and he shouldn’t be as well. .710 OPS (.338 OBP) who hits both the same as well.

These two guys are weak at the top and must be kept off the bases.

Joe Mauer C – STUD – Mauer is a lefty who is better against righties. His OPS this year was .871 and he had a large discrepancy against lefties with an OPS of .711/.978. In past years the OPS differential was 100 points; either way getting a lefty on his makes sense.

Thome DH (see above for stats) Having a lefty to face him or keep him on the bench is smart.

Delmon Young – Bats righty - LF – Solid .826 OPS hitter who really hits lefties (.927) but has an acceptable .780 OPS against righties…

Kubel RF – Bats Lefty - .750 OPS who has a .792 against righties and .655 against lefties.

Cuddyer 1B Bats Righty - .753 OPS who hits lefties very well. .875/.700 shows a very large split.

Valencia 3B – bats Righty – this guy has played well for Minnesota since he grabbed the job. OPS of .799, he has crushed lefties in his 100 AB’s batting .374 with a .966 OPS (.713 righties)

Hardy SS – righty .714 OPS who hits righties better than lefties (.615 L) and (.759 R), but in previous years he was .140 OPS points better against lefties. I would not worry too much about the matchup game against him.

Outside of Hardy, and the top 2 guys, the matchup game works very well, this is why it is asinine to not have 2 lefties in the pen…even if just for Kubel, Thome and Mauer…I could see every time Thome gets up and our starter is out to have Ring face him and then later have Logan face him…I just don’t get why the Yanks want Burnett as a long man to leave Ring off the roster. Isn’t one long man enough with Mitre? I mean truthfully, if you are going to a 2nd long man you are probably in some trouble, let alone a 3rd. Mitre has pitched very well out of the pen and I would have kept him and dropped Moseley or AJ for Ring. I can promise you there will be many times where Ring would make sense, while AJ and Moseley collect splinters (even if I did say AJ would probably be a good reliever). BTW, Mitre as a reliever has an OPS against of an excellent .598 in 138 AB’s and has been a little better against lefties. Logan is really a one man pitcher or maybe 2 lefties out of 3 as he really struggles against righties but has been great against lefties. Still amazed with our payroll this has not been taken care of??? Let me repeat, why keep both AJ and Moseley on the postseason roster instead of Ring? My roster would drop Moseley and keep AJ and Ring.

Our lineup in brief with lefty righty OPS splits:

Jorge Posada C (.833/.799)
Mark Teixeira 1B (.941/805) Big split this year – usually even
Robinson Cano 2B (.857/.944)
Alex Rodriguez 3B (.747/.899) Alex is usually better against righties
Derek Jeter SS (.872/.633) Liability against righties this year
Brett Gardner LF (.726/.778) 47 SB’s – play him all the time (could pinch hit later)
Curtis Granderson CF - .646/.866 – Been better of late, bad matchup game 1
Nick Swisher RF – (.848/.877) please keep this up!
Lance Berkman DH (.517/.846) should not see a lefty
Marcus Thames DH (.812/.896) yes, this was surprising, but I would start Berkman against righties

Cervelli, Kearns, Golson and Pena are the bench guys. This is correct, although Nunez for Pena has been talked about. I am OK with this though.

Kearns doesn’t get up unless an injury or a possible pinch hit for Granderson against a tough lefty or if we need a homer and Gardner is up against a lefty killer in the last inning with 2 outs. Oh, also if Berkman is up against a lefty. That being said, if Cervelli is not in, I would pinch hit his .845 OPS against lefties.

The game 1 starters:

Liriano - .670 OPS against and an ERA of 3.62. He throws hard, but his best pitch is his slider, it is a top notch pitch. He is really tough on lefties as they have an OPS of .517 against him compared to the righties OPS of .713.

CC – pretty close against both sides of the plate (overall .656 OPS against).

What do I think?

We have won the last 3 series against the Twins dropping 2 games while winning 9. But, the Twins are 53-28 at home (41-40 on the road) so they are very tough there.

We have been playing so poorly and Girardi has been so off that it is hard to say, but I do think we are better than Minnesota and our offense is clearly better as is our defense. Our #1 starter is better so I predict us winning in 4. Obviously, the CC game is critical; if we lose game 1 we probably will not win the series.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Genius Maker #133

Game 1, outside of the Yankees leaving a lot of guys on base, the decision that stood out to me as bad was Girardi's decision to bunt before stealing Gardner in the 10th inning. The Boston catcher, has NO arm and I don't think it is possible for him to throw out Gardner, especially with Papelbon on the mound. The move is even worse when you consider that the Yanks are on the road and one run may not be enough (even though you have The Genius Maker). You steal Gardner and then bunt him over if you still want to. Of course, it worked out as Jeter had a check swing that luckily found its way past the pitcher and then was misplayed by Hall.
Then The Genius Maker looked really sharp with very good movement...this was great to see.

The 2nd game was about leaving too many guys on base and starting Kearns in RF instead of Swisher. Kearns has just been awful, simply awful. Replay: Kearns bases loaded 1st inning, 2 outs Matzuzaka on the ropes and he K's; 3rd inning, bases loaded and nobody out, Kearns strikes out, 5th inning, Cano on 1st with one out, Kearns strikes out swinging at ball 4, 7th inning, 1st and 2nd 1 out and kearns pops out. I would much rather Golson play than Kearns (if Swisher isn't playing). At least you know you are getting good defense. Can Kearns all of a sudden, get a big hit, sure, but so could Golson. With all the crazy stuff that happened, you could really say if Swisher were in the lineup the Yanks would have won...probably the same with Golson as he wouldn't have struck out with the bases loaded

Not sure why Cervelli simply can't throw anyone out anymore; his throws have been awful for 2 months...and dropping the pop up was embarrassing

Kearns has an OPS of .690 for the Yanks and has been dreadful of late.

Girardi should never use Ring against a righty unless you have a 5 run lead and 3 lefties follow. Ring came in and got Drew out to end the 7th inning; why let Ring start the 8th against a pinch hitter righty? You go to Nova right there. That being said, knowing the bullpen was shallow of stars, why not let Mitre face Drew with 2 outs and nobody on in the 7th and hold Ring for Kalish...if needed? Mitre looked good getting 2 outs so why take him out with a 2 run lead??? This was a huge mistake by Girardi!!! Girardi has really had his head up his ass (BTW, I wrote rear at first and the realized, that this is my blog and his head has been up his ass so that is what should be written).

Now we need to win and TB lose to get home field advantage...Man, you think Girardi would like to have some of the games he gave away?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Genius Maker #132

I thought this article/comment was interesting...

Epstein acknowledged that the Red Sox were close to acquiring reliever Kerry Wood at the deadline, but ultimately got outbid by the Yankees.

"That was an important decision," Epstein said. "We scouted [Wood] on rehab, we liked what we saw. He was available last minute at the deadline ... and we put in what I thought was a pretty aggressive financial bid for him and we were outbid by the Yankees when they were willing to take on just a little bit more of his salary. It ended up being a great move for them and cost us."

Wood has been excellent for us this year. Here are his numbers:

25 IP 14 Hits 1 run 15 walks and 29 k's.

Only allowing 14 hits in 25 innings is fantastic. Only 1 run is also fantastic and also a tribute to the relievers after him. The 29k's are really good also. The one thing that scares me are the 15 walks in 25 innings; that is a very bad number. I hope he can come through in the playoffs, because if he doesn't, we better hope that we had a large enough cushion to absorb it.