The offense wakes up in an 11-7 win that was really a blow out until a late rally that I was not too worried about.
A few comments:
Nova pitched very well. His control of his very good curve still needs some work, but he threw hard and with movement and decent control. His change was effective as well. He threw exactly 100 pitches in getting through 7 innings. He only allowed 4 hits and 3 walks...if he can keep those walks down he will be very solid. His ERA is a respectable 4.30!
The Yankees called up AAA closer Kevin Whelan who had only 6 walks in 27 innings as the closer and he walked 4 in his first outing. He has a very odd delivery...It was hard to make a judgment on him as he couldn't throw strikes. I don't have too much faith in the other guys we have in the middle relief roles, so hopefully it was just his first game nerves. He is 27 so it is not like he is that young.
The way the game shaped up, I thought Girardi should have used Logan to get a lefty out somewhere instead of guys like Sanit and Pendleton. I don't see much of a future for either of them.
Girardi went to Rivera really early, but I was OK with that as he hadn't worked in a little bit. Just close out the game and get the win.
There was some action in the game as the Yanks were all over Carmona early on and after a long HR by Granderson, Carmona threw high and inside to Tex and hit him in the back. Tex barked "throw the ball over the plate" twice and both benches and bullpens ran onto the field. Girardi and Acta went face to face yelling at each other. It looked like the last words came form Acta and while my lip reading skills may be marginal, it appeared he said, F U.
Jorge has been swinging the bat well of late and that is very big for us. He actually has a .787 OPS against righties this year and should play against all of them. I just realized he has an OPS of .807 at home and only .556 on the road. My first reaction was these splits just seem to be anomalies, but the home and away one is and has been large for him over the previous 2 years. In 2009 and 2010 the OPS differential is about .240 points...just about the same as this year. That is really surprising, but maybe the comfort of being home while DH'ing more makes a difference? The lefty/righty split was never an issue before, so I think this IS just a fluke. Either way, you ride the wave you are given. BTW, Jorge had a big 2 out hit early on, but did make another base running mistake. I think Posada has been a difference maker for this team in having such good offense from the catchers position, however, when you combine his glacier like speed with some of the worst base running instincts, he is one of the worst liabilities on the base paths you can have.
Someone who has excellent base running instincts is ARod...who hit a bomb during the game...a little left of CF...it made the bleachers out there; it was crushed!
Last comment and this won't come off so well after he ended up hitting 3 bullet hits in the game...but hey I make my comments as I see them. Cano got up after Carmona walked the bases loaded and decided he was going to take the first pitch. That is fine and is a good strategy. the problem with Cano is that he can't recognize the pitches too well so when he takes a pitch it is almost always because he says I won;t swing no matter what and not, "that pitch is a ball...hold up." Then, Cano almost always swings at the next pitch as long as he can reach it. His, "I am swinging no matter what" is what drive me crazy and he almost always does it after he takes a pitch. This is why he has only 10 walks this year (of course he had one last night as well to make me look stupid). I think sometimes his incredibly quick hands and the fact he can put a bat on almost anything plays against him sometimes. The only thing holding him back is his plate discipline/approach. In that early AB with the bases loaded he swung at 4 of the 1st 6 pitches and only 1 was a strike. of course, he hit a missile (single) later in the AB so all is forgotten by many, but the issue is still there. Just to drive this point home, Cano was up with bases loaded an 2 outs against Boston in the 3rd inning of teh final game. Beckett was down 2-0 and had just walked Granderson on 4 pitches and hen he hit ARod to load the bases for Cano. Robbie swung at the first pitch, which by itself is not necessarily bad, but he swung at a cutter that bore in on his hands that ended the inning. There is a site called Fangraphs that tracks pitches and trends...Simply put, even though he is seeing less pitches in teh strike zone than in his previous years, he is swinging more. He is swinging at 57% of all the pitches he has seen even though only 43% of them are strikes. I am not trying to beat up Robbie, but his talent should translate into a .900+ OPS every year.
Boy the Yanks could use Feliciano back with Joba out. It does appear that Soriano, Felciano and Hughes will be back this year.
Last comment...the Red Sox are going to be incredibly tough with Big Poppy hitting so well. Ortiz now has an OPS of .992 that leads their team.