Friday, July 15, 2011

The Genius Maker #56

I had stated that the first few games back for Colon after his injury would be really important to see how he does. I am concerned, but I am not as worried as I thought I would be. This may mean that my initial thought was wrong or it may be that I am being too optimistic? The results were horrible yesterday, but he was also very unlucky as Nunez misplayed another ball into an error (although it was a tough play and one of the few ones where the infielder should NOT have charged the ball) and he also allowed 2 swinging “bunts” for hits. Also, anyone who watched the game could see that the ump really hurt the Yanks in the first 2 innings. Not only did he miss 2 strikes on Bautista, I really had no idea where the ump was looking when pitches looked like strikes to me were called balls. On the pitch before Colon was knocked out, he had the batter struck out on a pitch that was right down the middle and on the low side, but it was clearly a strike. In fact, the announcers were talking about Angel Hernandez' tight strike zone. That would be fine, but then the very next inning, Granderson had a 2-0 count on him when a fastball was up and in (more up) was called a strike. Granderson's body language was like "wow that was a ball" and then he grounded out on the next pitch. The same exact scenario occurred when Swisher was up but Swisher let Hernandez know he was unhappy; I was thinking how different the strike zones were. The ump made a huge difference and was just another one of those things that worked against Colon.

All that being said, what is wrong with Colon? It looks to me that he is not trusting his hammy and is not lifting his leg as high as he did before which is throwing off everything. It is clear his control has not been as good and his velocity never got above 92 yesterday. Previously he was hitting 94 consistently. He was throwing his 4 seamer about 93-95 and his running fastball around 91-93 with his sinker around the 90-92 Yesterday he was a good 2 MPH less in all categories. He also had poor control of his breaking pitches. Anyone who has had a hamstring injury (all mine were after I played baseball - playing softball) it is an odd feeling because it is hard to put it out of your mind. It takes a lot of health to get over it and maybe this is why I feel he will be ok in a few starts. Obviously, we can't have more 8 run first innings being allowed though.

As for the offense, they came back well and actually closed the game to 9-7 on the strength of 2 homers by Andrew Jones. Then a very big play in the game happened...Noesi had allowed 2 singles and it was 1 out with 1st and 2nd with Adam Lind coming up. Having only one lefty in the pen is really embarrassing, but Girardi went to Logan who matches up well against Lind and he got Lind to pop up. Aaron Hill was next and while Hill is a righty he hits righties better so leaving Logan in made sense. Here is the play that changed the game in my opinion. Hill hit a weak grounder in the hole that Jeter took a terrible angle on. The announcers didn't mention this but Jeter kept backing up and backing up going into the hole and fielded the ball in the OF and then threw late to 2nd base which left the bases loaded. The announcers stated that because the ball was hit so slow he had no chance, but it was the way he played it that caused the issue. What Jeter needed to was aggressively cut the ball off by ranging straight toward 3rd and throw the ball to 3rd base rather than fading into the OF. Think about it, the ball was hit weakly, why give ground? He wasn't going full speed in the hole and even with his limited range if he cut straight across and threw to 3rd the runner would have been out. I think most SS's could have made that play and Jeter's lack of range and wrong approach kept the inning alive. Now with bases juiced Girardi stuck with Logan against an average hitter in Encarnacion who this year has struggled and normally hits lefties a lot better but this year is slightly better against righties. I would have brought in a righty, but I don’t have a huge issue with Girardi leaving Logan in with Travis Snider on deck and Logan was looking OK. Logan allowed a single scoring 2 runs and thus putting the game out of reach and taking the wind out of the Yanks. This really underscores how sad it is not to have 2 lefties on the squad. I think Joe should have managed that area of the game like the game was the 8th inning because it seemed to me that failure in that spot would ruin the game...and it did end up being the case. Again, it was not a terrible move, but one I would have done differently…then again a SS with any range gets us out of the inning.

The only other plus that happened was that maybe after Mitre stunk again that Cashman will overrule Girardi's man love with Mitre and we could get any lefty who can get some lefties out brought up. Mitre now has an ERA of 14.54...he is not needed.

16-7 loss puts us 1.5 behind the idle Red Sox.

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