Sunday’s game was a slugfest that we could never get on top of. The offense did their job, but nobody from the pitching staff did their job. The most disappointing part was watching Hughes have no fastball. Guys don’t usually lose 3 MPH off their fastball for no reason so I am hopeful it is just an aberration as he builds his arm strength (there is a dead period and maybe this is it?). Hughes will not be successful throwing 88-91 MPH which is where he was most of the short night. He is now throwing a “slutter” as he changed the grip on the cutter and now it acts a little more like a slider. I am not sure whether the pitch is effective or not as it moves well, but I don’t think it makes the batter think it is a fastball at first. The bottom line is Hughes threw fastballs and got guys out and at 89MPH that won’t happen. I want to see him at 92 consistently with a dial up of at least 2 MPH.
I stated I was happy with the way Colon looked in ST, but he did not get the job done. His stuff is still pretty good out of the pen and I think he will be ok.
Monday’s game saw Posada and ARod get our big hits and Nova pitching well ( I was very happy he could get out of the 6th inning) I am comfortable with Nova; especially with a 6th and 7th inning that can be matched up and used with Joba followed by two closers. It is very comforting to see Joba, Soriano and Rivera close out the last 3 innings twice already. Joba came back after 20+ pitches the night before and did his job. Back to Nova, he threw a couple of strikeout fastballs up in the zone where the ball dropped into the top of the strike zone. That was new for him. If he could throw a fastball that didn’t sink at the top of the zone the batters would really be off balance. Most of the time pitching coaches won’t mess with a guy who gets natural sink but it would really be good to go along with a good change and curve.
The offense is doing really well even with Gardner and Jeter not getting on base. These were the two guys that have undergone the largest transition in changing their stances and in this very short sample the results have been bad. I am not sure why they changes Gardner as he was doing well before he hurt his wrist, but Long knows what he is doing so I will defer to him (although I felt they should have quieted Jeter’s bat)
1.Glad to see Posada get off to a good start; WFAN had some morons calling in saying how Posada was done; he couldn’t DH last year and after game 1 when he went 0-4 they knew “he should retire.” Players don’t just fall off the face of the earth, they usually gradually breakdown and get worse. Sure there are ups and downs, but in general gradual is a very reliable and factual statement.
2.This Minnesota team is primed for having some lefties face them. Morneau, Mauer, Kubel and Thome represent some matchups for lefties
3.I was very pleased to see Martin get off to a decent start hitting as well as his throw down to 2nd. He has a very good arm. His blocking to his right was a little slow as twice he needed to turn his glove over because he wasn’t able to shift fast enough, but that may also be getting used to the pitchers.
Baltimore is 4-0 and Buck has that team playing really well (continued from last year). TB is 0-3 and so is Boston so at 3-1 I like our position. I expect Boston to be the only competition once the season gets deeper, but the O’s, Toronto and TB are all above average teams; Tough division