Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Genius Maker #80

These Boston games in Fenway are really really grueling. The Red Sox are a very tough team. We had our best on the mound and they had their #4 and it was a battle every step of the way. I don’t get much involved with the conversations of the announcers while I fast forward through a game, but I did catch one comment that was made by Kay who said every pitch is contested. He is correct! Every pitch is important and fought for and it really makes it interested, exciting and grueling.

There was some excitement after Cervelli got plunked. In many ways he deserved it as what he was doing was bush, but I was surprised Lackey would do that to lead off the inning when trailing in a close game…especially in Fenway. I was glad we scored a run out of it. Another note on Cervelli…I have made my opinion of him be known, but I have to say he has been swinging a competitive bat of late. He is 15 for his last 36 AB’s including his HR last night, but I have also been impressed with his working the strike zone well. In his bases loaded AB that he grounded out to 2nd he worked the count well and then hit a decently hard ball right at the SS. It would be a huge plus if he could be a reasonable hitter. I am not confident he will keep it up, but one must give him some credit!

In this 5-2 victory, CC showed why he is a horse. He battled all game as the Red Sox hitters kept fighting, but he went 6 innings allowing 2 runs throwing a season high 128 pitches. He had a good changeup early along with a good fastball and breaking ball, but the Sox did a good job working the count. After the 2nd inning he lost the feel for his change-up and had to rely on only two pitches (he still did throw the change though which is important). I really like CC and love having him on our team.

Swisher had a terrific game. Battling every AB and working the count. Swish saw 22 pitches in only 4 AB’s and went 3-3 with a walk. Swish, Cano and Chavez were the offensive stars that carried us…This was also why I didn’t like pinch hitting Nunez for Chavez at all in the 7th inning. First, we are up 5-2 and Chavez is a GG defender while Nunez has been erratic (to be kind). Second, Chavez was swinging well so why take him out? Nunez, continued the Girardi poor gut feeling decisions by popping up on the 1st pitch with 1st and 3rd and 1 out…Girardi made a bad mistake there.

Posada was awful today. He looked like he was trying to hit everything off the monster and instead he didn’t swing the bat at all. His days are numbered with performances like that.

Tex was also ahead of the off speed stuff and behind the fastball on many occasions.

The announcers got on Gardner for “fake” bunting early in the game and they made comments like when you are in a slump you need to not just fake bunt but you need to actually bunt. While conceptually I agree with them, I think they read the situation wrong and I think he would have bunted but he pulled back both bunts because the pitches were breaking balls and they through off his timing…not that he was going to pull it back anyway. He did sac later on a 3-0 count and he beat it out. I am not sure I would do that, but what was interesting was the perfect bunt kind of caught the 3rd baseman off guard as he expected him to not offer at the pitch.

Rivera threw outside to lefties more than you will ever see him do. He got the job done after a terrible call by the umps when the batter swung at a pitch that hit him. This was especially annoying after they made the wrong call on a legit HBP on Granderson in the 1st inning when they ruled it hit the bat and not him.

Boy the umps draw my venom a lot.

I have to make the point that Gardner is a super stud in LF. The catch he made in the LC gap on a line drive was fantastic. He got a great jump and stole a double from Scutaro on making a play that I am not sure anyone else would have made (Crawford maybe).

I hope Hughes and Burnett can locate some spots or these next two games could get very ugly

Last comment…and after a hard fought win against Boston, I shouldn’t be this negative, but ARod is needed on this team and every day he is out with nagging injuries it makes me think that the roids he took are breaking down his body faster (as they say it does) and the Yanks may be able to void some of those final years that shouldn’t have been on there anyway. Wow that was a long sentence…well my thoughts are that they could argue that they signed him without the prior knowledge he took them…maybe for another day. At the conclusion of this season he will have six years and $143 million left on his contract; Hank Steinbrenner should be embarrassed.

I would love a split over the next 2.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Genius Maker #79

So, let me get this straight, we want to have a 6 man rotation so that we can keep Burnett in the rotation AND to allow Hughes to stay there as well? OK, at least I understand the logic…

Of course, we could have tried to trade Burnett for any prospect and paid most of his salary like I would have wanted (I think some team would have taken him for “free”). I also didn’t want to send Nova down as I think he is a better pitcher than Hughes. Hughes is without question behind Nova. His command of his pitches was simply awful. He would consistently miss his target. You simply can’t pitch in the majors without better control than that. This is the exact reason why Burnett can’t pitch. Too many fat pitches will get you beat in this league. Burnett’s stuff is still solid, but he doesn’t throw 96+ anymore like he did when he was with Toronto. His breaking ball is good, but unless he works in his change and develop that into a pitch that is thrown 15% of the time effectively, he will not be successful. At this stage, I stick with what I said last year and that was that I had no confidence in him and I surely would not pitch him in the postseason (same for this year). Hughes’ stuff isn’t that good and he needs to be more of a pitcher (using at least 4 pitches) and hone his control. While walks are bad, it is also about throwing quality strikes and not just strikes.

BTW, Noesi would be a better option in our rotation, but I would not have him and Nova back to back because they are similar.

Logan has been pitching very solid for us

The offense: If I am correct, the Yankees had 17 plate appearances with the bases loaded on Friday. That is absurd…and we set a record with 3 grand slams for our trouble.

Congrats to Martin who had a phenomenal game!

Other comments:

We still have not attempted a squeeze of any time this year; that is bad for a lot of reasons as the defense doesn’t even think about defending it. Do you think that maybe with Gardner struggling and facing a lefty, we might try it? BTW, many of you are surprised that I don’t care that much about whether a batter strikes out or not. I care more about their production and if they get out by strike outs I don’t care. While a strike out is non productive, it guarantees at least 3 pitches form the pitcher, and it also guarantees we don’t hit into a DP. Also, as we have seen with Gardner, a pop up is the same as a strikeout.

Cano’s defense has been back to his top notch area after being sub par for the first half of the year (sub par for him and average for others).

ARod looks old in the field; hopefully it is just rust.

Jeter had 2 errors yesterday on the types of hits at him balls he must make with all his other short comings in the field.

Nunez took a throw on a SB attempt and showed just how great Cano is on tags. It is not a coincidence that Martin throws more guys out when Cano takes the throw compared to Jeter and Nunez…Cano’s hands are so quick.

While Jeter has been getting more cheap hits than any hitter I can remember, what is more important is that he is driving the ball better than he has in 2 years. The triple was a fantastic sign and his singles up the middle/right have been solid hits as well. This is huge for us because we need him to stay solid and get ARod on track. With Ellsbury putting up such a good year, Ortiz hitting well again and Gonzalez added to the others, the Red Sox have the offense and 2 very good starters (3 if Bucholz gets back) to make life tough for us.

The Yankees claimed Carlos Pena and my belief is that I would not pick him up unless we get him cheap. I would not give up a lot as he hasn’t been all that much better than Posada against righties. .865 - .830 (that is better though) and it only makes sense if you will release Posada (which I don’t think they will do). I know the rosters will expand but I only care about the postseason. Posada has been swinging better of late so dropping him now seems odd. Maybe if they can get him cheap we let him play and see how Pena does and then make the correct decision for the postseason…I guess I am a little indifferent because Posada has been swinging better and the way ARod has looked in the field, we may want him to do some DH’ing.

ARod hitting a homer to RC was a great sign. When he is going well that is where he picks up a lot of homers. His stroke has been more of a line drive one of late, but we need him to be the .900+ OPS guy for us to advance.

Earlier in the year I talked about how the starters were playing over their heads and the offense was doing worse. Now the starters have been struggling and the hitting has been better.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Genius Maker #78

This will be the question blog:

Why don’t the Yanks learn how to scout the lesser players on opposing ball clubs as these guys keep having career games off us?

Why haven’t the Yankees attempted a suicide or even safety squeeze all year long?

Why didn’t Girardi have Gardner bunt with a good LOOGY (lefty one out guy) Fuentes on the mound with 1st and 3rd and nobody out up by one 1 in the bottom of the 7th?

Why couldn’t Gardner or Jeter get that run in?

In the 8th why didn’t Girardi go to Robertson or Soriano to face Sizemore, who already was 3-3 against CC with a fantastic .948 OPS against lefties and only a .611 OPS against righties?

Why didn’t it surprise me that after CC allowed a game tying double to Sizemore, Girardi then decided to “close the barn door?”

With Soriano already warming up in the bottom of the 8th inning to pitch the 9th, why would Girardi get Rivera up after Tex homered to tie the game?

Why would Girardi then bring in Rivera in the tie game when Soriano was already warmed up?

When Soriano came in after sitting back down, why was Soriano throwing so many breaking balls?

Why was Cervelli calling for so many breaking balls from Soriano (who hit his glove on the 3 run homer)?

Switching to Red Sox questions…

What is up with the Red Sox going to Texas and pummeling them?

Coming into this year, in Ellsbury’s previous 4 years he hit a grand total of 20 homers…so I ask, what kind of roids is Jacoby Ellsbury taking that he has hit 23 homers this year alone?

Inquiring minds want to know

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Genius Maker #77

Let me first say in what turned into an amazingly exciting and close finish that is about as close as you can be, I didn’t enjoy this game. The umpire was so inconsistent it sucked the life from me…and I think if you took the 40 questionable calls, I think the benefit was in our favor for the game. The ump was so bad though, after a 2-1 strike was called a ball on Colon to make it 3-1 he was forced to groove one that ended up in the upper deck…we still ended up on the plus side of a terrible ump for the game.

Colon pitched OK. I would like to see them work the change in more and I thought he was a little heavy on his slider and didn’t use the 2 seamer (probably because he allowed some homers on that last outing. Colon is OK, don’t get too excited yet.

Oh before I get back to the game, I mentioned in the blog the other day that ARod looked to jam his thumb on the “error” he made…well it was confirmed as he was out of the lineup. This is getting frustrating with him. Hank’s idiotic decision which I harped on for weeks will really stink for those extra 3 years.

So Swisher had a chance to be a hero. 3 run homer in the 8th and could have had the game winning hit in the 9th. After being down 6-0 in the 8th, Posada led off the 9th with a HR (he also doubled and is showing some pop) and after 2 guys reached base, Girardi had a tough decision. Jeter was up with nobody out and 1st and 2nd. Normally I would bunt here, especially with a righty on the mound. But Jeter is seeing the ball extremely well and Granderson looked bad earlier this game and Tex also had terrible AB’s. That being said when Girardi called the bunt; it is not fair to criticize the decision. Granderson was lucky to work a walk, but Tex (who really had an awful game and probably cost us the game offensively) popped up with the bases loaded. Cano barely worked a walk and up came Swisher needing a single to win the game and with Gardner on 3rd a pitch in the dirt could tie the game. After 2 balls we were in the driver’s seat. Do you take a pitch or do you hack away? I am fine swinging at it and he hot it very solidly to deep RC, but it fell just short of the wall (about 390 feet) and instead of a GW grand slam; it was just a frustrating loss.

The offense stunk for most of the game. They missed a lot of hittable pitches. Their pitcher did have some movement, but throwing 90-91 and catching a lot of the plate, it was poor hitting a lot of the time.

Gardner also had a bad game going 0-5 and with Jeter’s hot streak Gardner’s OPS is barely better than Jeter’s at .742 compared to .737. Of course, the adjusted OPS to take SB’s into account puts 7 more points on Jeter and 34 on Gardner’s.

BTW, as bad as Posada has been his OPS is .724, (but a solid .828 against righties), of course he is as big a negative on the bases as a player can be. Interestingly, Posada has been awful against lefties (.304 OPS) and as a pinch hitter (.607 OPS in 13 AB’s). Posada also in about 40 plate appearances at first base has an OPS of 1.012. I think as a catcher he obviously has struggled with going from being so involved with the game to sitting on the bench. Therefore, Posada’s .828 OPS though shows he should DH against righties and be pinch run for as needed late in the game. That is pretty limiting, but at least he has been moderately productive in those spots.

Last comment, I know Jeter has been an icon, but it is embarrassing when everyone keeps talking about his batting average and will he hit .300? I could care less, I just want his OPS to be over .800 the rest of the year (.848 OPS after the All Star Game) and if he does it the way Teixeira does (.248 BA and an OPS of .858), I could care less. Tex and Jeter are a classic example of why batting average means so little. .295 batting average compared to a .248 and Teixeira’s OPS is 121 points higher.

BTW, I don’t want to excuse Teixeira as he has become a different hitter the last 2 years than he was his previous 6. He has become much more pull happy than ever and while he may break 40 homers for the 2nd time his career his overall OBP is lower than it should be. His OPS should be .900 so he is underperforming.

OPS for the Yanks with thoughts as of this moment:
Granderson .965 far over performing
Cano .873 slightly under performing
Teixeira .858 under performing
ARod .838 far under performing
Andrew Jones .836 doing what he did last year so on par
Swisher .808 slightly under performing
Gardner .742 on par (tiny bit under performing)
Jeter .737 (I had Jeter in the mid to high .700’s this year so under performing right now)
Posada .725 (under performing) (he was in the same boat as Jeter high .700’s)
Martin .722 (hard to say, but on par)
Lesser AB guys but
Nunez .708 19 SB’s and 5 CS (not enough for his defense)
Chavez .697 (this may surprise people how low he is, but he has been struggling of late and has little power)
Cervelli .654 (pretty much on his career)

Overall, our offense is not doing as well as it should be doing. In many ways this is a good thing looking forward. Of course, the starting pitching is coming back to earth as well. The bullpen is the best in the bigs! Should be a fun finish.

Monday, August 22, 2011

The Genius Maker #76

The return of ARod gave Girardi the chance to shuffle the lineup and I was interested to see what he did. He decided to put ARod back in the 4th spot, even though he hasn’t hit like a 4th guy all year (which is actually fine because those designations are overrated in the middle of the lineup…at the beginning you do want your OBP guys in front of your boppers). I thought they may put ARod behind Cano, but was more interesting, yet not surprising, was Jeter in the leadoff spot against a righty and Gardner at the bottom of the lineup. I am sure Jeter’s surge had a lot to with it and I am sure that putting Jeter 9th was not going to happen so instead of dropping Cano to the 6th hole, this was his only option. Interestingly, Jeter and ARod were both up with the bases loaded and 2 outs and neither got the job done. In fact, ARod was 0-5 and looked bad at the plate not hitting anything real well.

Yanks had two very good opportunities in the first 2 innings but failed to cash them in. The key AB was Nunez up with the bases loaded and one out with a 3-0 count on him, the pitcher threw 3 straight fastballs and struck Nunez out swinging; poor job in that spot.

The next big situation was when Granderson and Swisher did not communicate well and then at the end both players backed off and the ball fell for a double. First, that is an error and I don’t want to hear anything about they didn’t touch it, that is an error and the CF should get it because he should be in charge. If he calls for it and the other fielder runs into him and he drops it then the other fielder gets the error. In this case both called for it but the CF’r needs to take charge and Granderson is too nice a guy (I actually said that last year) to be the take charge guy he should be. This gave Nova a 2nd and 3rd situation with nobody out, but he worked out of it showing an excellent curve, a fastball that he dialed up to 95 when he needed to. For the game he mixed in some sliders but didn’t throw nearly as many as last game and he only threw 3 or so change-ups. That change is a pitch I would like to see him control more as it would work really well with what he has. Overall, Nova pitched an excellent game (still a weak lineup) walking only one batter and allowing 5 hits in 7 shutout innings.

The Yanks got their first run on a beautifully stroked double by Cano down the LF line and then he moved to 3rd and a deep drive by Swisher and scored on a sac line drive fly by Martin.

The 2nd run came on some excellent hustle by Granderson who hit a towering fly ball high up on the right center wall that had both outfielders play the ball like it wasn’t their own home park as the ball caromed far toward the infield. By the time they chased it down and then executed the relay poorly, Granderson had a head first sliding inside the park HR. I have been a little critical (haven’t mentioned it) by the lack of hustle by the Yankees down the first base line, but Granderson was not guilty here and it paid off.

Tex followed with a “normal” HR

Robertson struggled in the 8th, loading the bases, but worked his way out of it keeping his streak of no runs allowed on the road this year in tact.

The Yanks almost scored a run in the 8th and I wondered whether Girardi would have used Rivera if it was not a save situation. With the day off he most assuredly should have, but you know Girardi manages differently if the situation is not a save…Anyway, the Genius Maker worked about as smoothly as possible in picking up the easiest save in the book. Mo threw 10 pitches (8 strikes) and stuck out two guys.

A couple other points:

ARod made an excellent play on a bunt charging on throwing a strike on an extremely well executed bunt that was shown very late. He later in the game back handed a ball that he could have easily got in front of jammed his glove hand into the ground and made an error…even though they called it a hit…it was clearly an error. BTW, when he jammed his left hand into the ground he reached for his thumb, hopefully he is ok.

Gardner gave up on a pop up that I think he might have been able to catch…first time I have said that about him.

Also, of note, Nunez worked an error free game at SS and Tex committed an error. When you think about it, it was a pretty poor defensive performance by the Yanks.

Boston won.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Genius Maker #75

I have a little write up for the last 3 games, but yesterday morning I wrote the following (before Laffey pitched last night) and I wanted to start the blog with this.

“Yankees picked up the lefty Laffey on waivers…I don’t get picking up guys like this and then having to put them on the 40 man roster. I said this before and it bears repeating, just having a lefty is not what is needed as the final 3 innings of the game are probably locked up with righty pitchers who will get lefties out. Therefore, the need for a lefty specialist (LOOGY or Lefty One Out Guy) is not as important the way the Yankees are structured right now. I am not going back on my feel for getting a 2nd lefty, but if you get one, the guy needs to be a lefty who is simply great against lefties and may be horrible against righties. Otherwise it is a wasted roster spot. Just like I predicted that Randy Winn was a waste of a signing, and others were wasted, I feel Laffey will be the same waste. (at least Laffey is young and maybe they see something that they can correct so that part I will defer to, but on the surface this is a bad move). Then again this could mean that Feliciano and/or Marte will not make it back this year (I have not heard anything new).”

After watching Saturday’s game, the announcers were praising Laffey as what they needed (for the reasons I have been saying) but it was as if they never did any research on the guy. There is very little chance he makes it to the end of the season. BTW, while this (I predict) will be a bad signing, one has to say Cashman did a great job this offseason picking up Colon, Garcia, Corey Wade and even Ayala has been ok. He also got Chavez and Martin. Jones has been decent against lefties as well and these were all cheap signings except for Martin.

Back to Thursday’s game

CC didn’t have spot control with his pitches and had little consistency other than very good velocity all night. I don’t know why but the simply did not throw his changeup and with that velocity it cost him as he was hit well in the first 2 innings and only barely avoided a 2 run homer that kept us in the game. Fortunately, the Yankee offense was up to the task putting runs up all game. I don’t think CC was much better in the middle innings, but the Twins (who are not a good hitting team) didn’t hit him well. His velocity was good as I mentioned and he needed it in the 7th. After 3 straight singles (and again I felt CC just didn’t have it< I would have taken CC out right there. He was missing his spots and just not getting it done. The score was 6-2 with nobody at the bases juiced and we had a rested pen. CC got the batter to hit one, although down the line, but Nunez continued his butchery in the field with an error. Now the score was 6-3 with the bases loaded and nobody out. 3 lefties were coming up. I would have brought in Logan here, but again Girardi stuck with CC. CC did get a line out sac fly to make it 6-5. He then got line out to RF and then a hard hit grounder where Cano made a terrific play throwing out Thome. First, I need to say that Cano’s defense has been back at its usual GG form of late. He did have that one pop-up he dropped, but he has been great of late. Second, I need to note that I would have taken out CC, but the results that occurred after would have been acceptable for any reliever so Joe sticking with CC worked out. The Yanks added 2 runs and Robertson and Wade looked good shutting the Twins down. I had commented when they got Wade that this was a good chance based on his numbers, but he has looked good and performed extremely well! Oh, also, Cervelli had a great AB in the 8th inning that got us some runs with good hustle (and hit) by Nunez. That Cervelli AB was as good as I have ever seen from him.

Friday’s game.

The ump had a very big strike zone and Hughes took advantage of it once he allowed a HR. He didn’t throw that special, but between the ump and the Twins not swinging well, Hughes was dominant. Hard to argue with the results, but I have to say I am not sold on Hughes right now as he is still missing spots at a far too high rate and his stuff has not been at the level you want. He is still a work in progress and I say that after he just had his best starting game…maybe ever (I don’t remember, but 2 hits and 1 run in 7.2 innings (with 3 walks) is a great outing. The results are still better than the performance in my opinion.

Other points on Friday. Jeter did the slide I like straight home on a sac fly and was safe, Swisher with a man on 2nd and nobody out took 3 straight fastballs for a strikeout. I know it was a pitchers ump and he didn’t like the calls, but they looked good enough to me. Russell Martin had 2 dingers.

Saturday’s game. I have not read any of the papers, but with AJ stinking up the joint (should have put him in the pen as I said) and then having the gonads to tell Girardi that it was “F’n Bull$%#&” to take him out, maybe this is what we need to get him out of the rotation? Now, one part I agree with AJ on in his comment was not that he shouldn’t have been taken out of the game, as we were trying to win it, but it was if we are trying to win it, why would you bring in Ayala, who is more of a one inning guy? Ayala’s ERA is good, but I don’t think anyone would say he is better than Noesi who is supposed top be our long guy. At the time, I assumed Noesi was not available because this just seemed odd. But after Ayala let the game out of hand and allowed all of AJ’s runs (and none of his own and also why his ERA is 1.32 and why relievers ERA’s can be a little off). Anyway, later in the game Noesi came into the game and I said to myself, “Girardi is a fool.”

Last note to follow-up on my last comment. A bunch of nights ago when we lost the one run game and they hit the fake HR, I said Girardi should have protested right there because it was a wrong interpretation of the rules. The next day or 2 he said, “I should have protested the game, but I got caught up in the (commotion)” What? Your job is supposed to be able to think through items like this? This is exactly what separates managers and you were asleep at the wheel. Really disappointing as it was pretty clear if nothing else because Rivera was upset. The Genius Maker was making the largest scene I have ever watched and Girardi still didn’t get the clue.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Genius Maker #74

I have so much to write and so little time, but I will do my best. This game is better done going through the game so here goes with what I felt at the time.

The first inning was an enormous opportunity for us. Jeter led off with a single (continuing to swing well) and on a 3-2 pitch Chen threw over to 1st base. Chen is a bad pitcher that we should score at least 1 run an inning on and I said to myself Jeter needs to make sure this is a hit and run and not a run and hit…but Jeter screwed up “Royally” and was picked off. Simply a horrible job. Granderson then homered. The Yankees then loaded up the bases but didn’t score.

We had 2 singles, 2 walks and a HR and we only scored 1 run. The game could have been lost right here.

The Yanks added another run before a pitch selection sequence ticked me off. Colon had 2nd and 3rd with nobody out. Alex Gordon (their best hitter) was up at the plate and Colon had struck him out by throwing fastball in and away and then a slider down and in that he was fooled on. After taking a strike away, Colon threw 4 straight fastballs 2 balls and 2 foul balls on the outside corner. This had Gordon setup for a fastball inside or he could have stayed outside as Gordon had not looked strong on any swing and a fly to left (weak) was possible. Therefore I wanted either the fastball away or the fastball in. They tried to throw the slider that K’d him n the first inning and he easily took the pitch for ball 3. This is where people look at me like I am crazy, because after that pitch, I yelled out “what a horrible pitch!” My wife just shook her head at me (I don’t even bother explaining it because I am sure all she hears is white noise). The next pitch was a 3 run HR! @#$%! I just said, “this is why that last pitch was useless and horrible.” I could write too much on this, but it was a pitch that accomplished nothing and was simply, a let’s try this because it worked last time pitch rather than looking at the situation, the sequence and the batters swings. It was useless and setup the next pitch for the hitter. Bad job by Martin

3-2 Royals

The Royals made it 4-2 on a double that they ruled a HR. Girardi got them to review the play and they still ruled a HR. If I were Girardi I would have protested the game right there as it was a ground rule interpreted incorrectly because it was obvious the ball never came close to leaving the ballpark (it landed on top of the fence and then probably ricocheted off a little fence attached to the back of the padded fence). The umpires screwed this up and gave the Royals a run.

The 5th run scored with 1st and 3rd and nobody out where a ground ball to Tex should have resulted in Melky getting thrown out at home, but for some reason Tex decided to try and get 2 which they failed to do. It is the bottom of the 6th and you are down 4-2. I could see the middle infielder trying to turn to but Tex fielded the ball and Melky broke off of 3rd and would have been dead as he even hesitated once Tex caught the ball. Poor play by Tex who already was 0-3 getting out twice in the middle of what could have been big rally’s.

Martin Homered to cut the lead to 5-3.

Noesi came in and shut the Royals down in the 6th

7th inning, Jeter singled and Granderson walked and we are in business. Tex and Cano coming up. Tex K’s and continued to swing at bad pitches ahead in the count…and is now 0-4 killing us. Cano now steps to the plate and the first pitch to him was clearly a ball called a strike. Cano was not happy but still had a chance, but ended up swing at a high pitch to strike out. Swisher than also struck out on a pitch that looked outside, but was closer than Cano’s. Swisher did come through for our 2nd run with a big 2 out hit earlier.

Noesi shut down the Royals in the 7th

8th inning Posada pinch hit for Jones (Posada’s I think 40th birthday) and swung at a bad first pitch and grounded weakly to the pitcher. Martin and Nunez got out

Noesi mows down the Royals in the 8th (nice job by him)

Gardner leads off the 9th and flies out to RF. Jeter then hit a ball that Melky should have caught but misplayed it into a hit (I still think that should have been an error, but doesn’t matter, we got a break). Granderson continues his great day with a single and we are back in business. Up steps Tex. This is his chance at redemption I say to myself…this could wipe the slate clean. Anti climactically, but very good, Tex walks on 4 pitches setting up Cano with the bases loaded, 1 out down by 2. Cano took ball one and then swung late, took a ball and then swung late again. His approach was to take the ball to LF, but Soria gave him some pitches to hit and they should have been pulled. Unfortunately, he flew out to LF on a pitch down the middle for a useless sac fly. But up steps Swisher with a chance. After a passed ball gets the winning run to 2nd Swisher gets walked. Now the stage is set for Jorge on his 40th birthday win the game. The first pitch with the bases loaded is always huge and Soria, who had thrown about 36 pitches, missed the first one for ball one. Now this 2nd pitch was even more critical and it came high and away. Yes! But wait the ump called a strike! This was an absolutely horrible call. The ump should be called out for this as it was high and away and 2-0 in this situation was enormous. It is easy to say you still have to bat and you do need to overcome, but this was a horse manure call. It was Posada’s birthday and the flare for the dramatic was still setup to overcome a bad call, with the bases juiced and a tired pitcher on the mound. Instead Jorge took 2 strikes to end the game and a very tough loss in many ways.

Boston lost too.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Genius Maker #73

This game gave me some anxiety. I was very upset with the pitch selection for Nova. I have no idea why Martin kept calling for sliders when Nova kept hanging it time and time again with 2 strikes on the batter. You would have thought he would have learned after allowing the 5th hit on it that he would have tried the curve? Nope he threw it again and again. The announcers were so psyched about his slider, but you still have to see how the game is going and the Yankees didn’t adjust.

I also want to comment how Girardi has been very late (too late) in pulling his starters. He always (recently) takes them out after the damage is done. With Burnett he was late (the other night) and again last night after Nova settled down he allowed a runner on in the 6th and then after walking the next guy he had to come out of the game, but Girardi waited until he allowed a base clearing double. Joe, a monkey could do better!

Nova did not pitch well, but the umps incredibly small strike zone forced both pitchers to throw some hittable pitches. This was the smallest strike zone I have seen all year so it is not surprising the score was high.

Fortunately the Yanks offense was up to the challenge and one AB was simply fantastic…by Cano. The Yanks were losing 5-3 entering the top of the 4th and had rallied to make it 5-5. Cano was up with 1st and 2nd and had a 3-1 count and then fouled a pitch off to make it 3-2. He then fouled off 6 consecutive pitches before crushing a curve to deep RC for a 3 run homer. It was a tremendous 12 pitch AB!

Moving to the 6th when Girardi was sleeping, he did bring in Logan (after the game had closed to 8-7) and Boone did a great job again leaving the runner on 2nd by getting a k and a groundout. Logan then led off the 7th by getting Gordon out, followed by 2 straight outs by Soriano, 3 straight outs by Robertson and then 3 straight outs by the Genius Maker! It was great to see the bullpen pitch 3.2 perfect innings with 5 k’s.

Boston split so the world is back in order!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Genius Maker #72

My random ramblings for the Monday night game

Chavez really struggled at the plate in this game. His OPS is down to .730 now; at least he gives us good defense, which is more than we can say about Nunez. They should be platooning right now.

Posada earned another start and went 1-2 with a walk so that is positive. Girardi pinch hit for Posada against a lefty later in the game and it brings up that Posada was never better against righties or lefties; he was always very even in his splits; in fact, last year he was better against lefties (but normally pretty even). My point is that I think Girardi pulled the plug on Posada too early against lefties. I know he has been horrific against them this year, but I think if he were allowed to face them more he would have worked through it. I will say that Jones has come on of late and has an OPS of .881 against lefties (.515 against righties)

Granderson has been struggling against lefties of late; I can’t find numbers that show specifically against lefties how he has done, but I know it has not been very good. His OPS for the year is now 40 below righties, but overall is still great at .923 against lefties. As long as he is above .800 against lefties that is fantastic for him.

Jeter and Gardner had the big hits in the game

The Genius Maker closed it out and looked normal to me. Then again, I don’t think he looked that bad in his slump either; he just got hit. I don’t expect him to be overpowering guys and he will get hit some, but I expect him to be solid for at least this year.

Swisher made a nice play to cut a ball off in the 5th inning and kept the runner on 1st this was critical because the next guy hit into a DP started brilliantly by Cano

KC made 4 outs on the bases to really help us. Martin made two excellent throws, and on another accurate but bounced throw Cano made a great tag and finally Logan came on and picked a guy off. They ran themselves out of possibly the game as they had 10 hits on the night.

AJ had a good change working, but he is not reach 95 on the radar gun anymore and his movement has been that great. His ERA of 4.76 for this game is pretty much about where he is. I am OK with them taking it easy with Colon and Garcia for a month and then letting them get into a groove for September on, but then AJ doesn’t sniff the postseason roster, unless as a reliever which I would attempt.

Gardner made a play on a ball slicing away form him that looked routine, but most LF’rs would not have made the play. His defense is worth so much more than people understand.

Melky is playing CF for KC and as you know I was not a huge fan of Melky other than as a decent 4th OF. I also don’t think he has the speed to play CF and we saw a few balls he should have tracked down. My concern was that he didn’t hit well enough to play the corner spots; however, he has been hot of late and has an OPS of .824. That is better than I saw him getting so it will be interesting to see where he ends up. He is still only 27 so he could have learned a lot, but I didn’t see him being an .800+ OPS guy. Time will tell.

The Yanks are now tied for 1st place!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Genius Maker #71

Friday’s game marked a crazy situation that had CC allow more homers in any game in his career. Honestly, I didn’t think CC looked all that bad and you have to give credit to TB; they seemed to know what was coming as they were hitting 95+ MPH fastballs and adjusting to the off speed stuff. I don’t think his change has had the sink it normally does, but that has been the case previously as well. Just move on.

The only other comment about this game was a play at the plate with Swisher. He decided to go around the tag with hand going across home plate and I am positive if he would have gone in straight and hard he would have reached the plate. As many of the veteran readers here have seen me write I usually do not like the slide that Swisher did and most of the Yankees do. I think it loses them 3-4 feet in getting to home plate first and also doesn’t jostle that catcher or give him any fear to block (they know the Yankees are wussing out). I will say though that one time Jeter did do what I like and he got stuffed by the catcher, but that was because the catcher was in better position than normal. There are more effective slides for different situations, but I think the Yankees have lost a lot of plays at the plate with poor choices of slides…Swisher’s was one of them.

Saturday saw two positive events in that Hughes pitched well. He still didn’t look real strong to me, but he was effective and only walked one batter. I think what was positive is that he was able to make the change a very important part of his repertoire and that is huge because the cutter is just OK and the fastball is about the same along with curve so having the change gives him 4 average pitches and if he can change it up and spot them without walking guys he could be OK. Obviously, a few more MPH makes all the pitches better…either way he did well.

Hip Hip Jorge! Kudos to Girardi for finally hitting the right button (you would think he would hit them more often as he tries so many different things) and putting Jorge in the lineup. Posada delivered big time with 6 RBI’s! BTW, yes it is 6 RBI’s and not 6 RBI. Not sure why people wants to change that regardless of what the acronym stands for. Maybe this was just one final hurrah for Posada, but I was glad he came through for us. I was mentioning to someone that I was surprised he feel off so badly and thought he would be a little better, but if they wanted to move on they should let Posada know of their decision and ask him how he would like it handled…maybe even allow him to catch one final game at home? OR…maybe he gets hot for us and we ride him a little bit? Just being used against righties is not a lot of flexibility, but let’s see where it takes us. I don’t think people realize that Jorge has not been so awful; in fact his OPS is .701…the same as Jeter. But at DH we are looking for more…and of Jeter as well.

Some other notes: Jeter has had so nay lucky hits this year and that does not bode well for the future. I know he has been better of late, so I hope he continues, but he seems to get a lot of the same type of hits as guys do against Rivera.

Russell Martin has been swinging at the first pitch like crazy of late. I counted that over the past week he has been swinging at the first pitch about 75% of the time. This is unofficial, but I am positive it is more often that he should…especially when his OPS is .627 when he puts the ball in play on that swing; I haven’t looked at others but I would be that is really bad. (Update: I looked at Jeter and Gardner only and they were something like .840 and 1.016 respectively)

Yanks are half a game back on Boston as the Sox lost their series to Seattle

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Genius Maker #70

Yet another chink...while normally I get into the pitch selection and detail, we need to address what is happening with the name of the blog.

First, let's not say this is the end; it clearly isn't. A few years ago, I expected a very slow loss of control making performances like the recent run to become more prevalent. That didn't happen. In fact, he had some of his best OPS against years.

Each of these blips can be explained somewhat. I already gave my explanation on the 1st two in previous blogs. As for this one, first, i was surprised that Rivera was brought in just because it become a save situation. I have no idea why a manager would make moves based on some rule; makes little sense to me. You get the feeling that if the save rule changed, Girardi would change the way he uses his closer. I would have let Cory Wade face one more batter. Then again, I would have been fine with letting Rivera start the 9th, but once he didn't, Wade gets to allow 3 guys on if I let him start. Regardless, you saw Rivera come in with a first pitch strike that was on the inside part of the plate, but was low and allowed a guy with great power to drop the head of the bat on it. The big hits against him the last few nights have not been grooved pitches; they have been on the corners and they hit them. The Abreu one was the worst, but mostly because he was down 3-1 which was his own fault, and he had to come in with a strike. What was interesting was that Rivera went away on almost all of his pitches after the HR by Branyan.

Overall, his OPS against is .595 which is not his best or worst, but more toward his worst 5. For comparison, Papelbon has an OPS against this year of .581. The key is to see him get some consistency back and I also think Martin needs to look at the way he calls the game with Rivera.

Speaking of Martin, his throwing ability is great. he has a quick release and has phenomenal velocity on his throws to 2nd. They used to talk about Molina's ability to slow the running game; Martin's is far better.

To yesterday's game. Early on, the key pitch/play was Granderson up with 1st and 3rd and 1 out and he had a 3-1 count on him. This was looking great, until he bounced into a DP to end the threat.

Colon pitched a good game. His main issue was that he was not able to use his curve well and probably threw a ball with it most every time. Even so, he spotted the ball well.

Cano's grand slam was obviously a huge hit after the error they gave us. Cano has his OPS up to .878 and hopefully is on his way to breaking .900 (which is where it should be). Granderson is still leading the club with a .950. Jeter had 2 cheap infield hits, but also walked and got another hit. His OPS has now broken the .700 mark for only the 3rd game of the year. Jeter has been swinging well over the last 40 days with an OPS slightly above .800. This longer term trend is great to see.

We are now 1 game out and by beating the Angels we are now 8 games ahead of them. (TB is next at 8.5 back).

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Genius Maker #69

The Genius Maker showing some chinks in the armor! Once again, I really don’t like the way martin calls a game with Rivera. You can’t keep coming in on Abreu even when behind in the count. I felt that either strike one or strike 2 should have been away. When he fell behind 2-1 I felt going away was the key move, but at 3-1 I definitely did not want to come inside for a strike (and this ump was tight all game…except when he screwed up royally in the Tex AB that basically ended our game). Also, Rivera came inside on every pitch to Calaspo who led off with the single. Bad job in pitch selection and Rivera didn’t get it done.

The above horrible 1-1 call against Tex with 1st and 3rd and 2 outs made an enormous difference in the AB. Wen a guy throws 98 2-1 or 1-2 is an AB also gave the Yanks the decision to steal Granderson and he got CS on “the play that never works but once in awhile does.” (the fake to 3rd and back to 1st)

That being said, the biggest mistake and changing point in the game rests with Girardi and his inexplicable decisions in the 6th inning. Burnett has trouble avoiding the big inning usually so after a HR in the 6th inning you have to be on your toes for signs. After an out, Burnett walked his first batter of the game in Trumbo. Then after another out where the runner took 2nd base Girardi had a brain cramp. Burnett on the mound has allowed a HR and his first walk in the game. Girardi decides to intentionally walk Izturis in a 2-2 game in the 6th inning with 2 outs and a guy on 2nd base??? I was out of my chair with my hands in the air. I know it probably doesn’t matter most of the time; but when it does it is horrible. The thing that is mind boggling is if you let up a run, you are only talking about a one run deficit with 4 innings for the offense, but why risk a big inning? The other crazy thing is that Izturis is not a good hitter. Was it the .271 batting average or the .335 OBP or the incredibly powerful .384 slugging that scared Girardi? Bourjos, on deck is about the same hitter (a tiny bit better). Well after the intentional walk I thought Girardi may go to the pen, but no, he sticks with Burnett who then walks Bourjos. Now, I was sure Girardi would go to the pen. Nope, let’s stick with the guy we have the least faith in our rotation who is right around 100 pitches. Well that works out great as this horrible hitter (OPS of .496 – yes that is not a misprint) rips a double off Burnett that would have cleared the bases (bourjos can fly and was on first) but we gotlucky the ball bounced in the stands. Girardi screwed up royally here. He then felt he should leave Burnett in still and luckily the weak hitting Aybar got out. Girardi killed us before we came back to tie the game, before Rivera blew the game, the ump and Granderson getting picked off with Tex representing the winning run.


Monday, August 8, 2011

The Genius Maker #68

When you saw Hughes coming out to start the 10th was there anyone who didn’t say, “Well we lost this one?”

OK, maybe that is a little harsh and Hughes can become a good pitcher, but I felt that this was a problem from the get go and it was just an excuse to get him out of the rotation. However, it was the wrong move from a winning the game standpoint and an even more wrong move from his growth standpoint. Why screw around with him again? Let him go down to the minors and start and work on it (if you are still going to stay with Burnett) and then if we get an injury, bring him up. But don’t screw around with him in the bullpen again. I thought it was a terrible move and another “gut” decision move that has really worked out poorly for Girardi all year.

As for the game, Beckett was throwing very well and we were not able to hit the mistakes. He worked in 5 pitches, had movement, good location while changing speeds. This offense should still be able to do get more than 2 runs across the board and the blame of the game goes to them (and some the Genius Maker/Martin). 0-10 with RISP.

The last one is the discussion point. There were 2 pitches that cost us this game. Soriano and Robertson did their jobs getting the ball to Rivera, with the slimmest of margins. Scutaro fell behind 1-2 and the pitch to throw was the cutter away (a little farther than the called one for strike 2). Unfortunately Rivera tried it and bounced for a pitch that was a true waste. Because it was so bad, I would have tried to nail the outside corner again, but Martin called for the inside pitch (my call if the last pitch was executed correctly would have been the 4 seamer inside or running it in the way I like Cervelli calls for it). However, they threw the cutter inside and Scutaro hit a 320 foot popup that went off the green monster (not sure the exact distance). It was a cheap Fenway double, but one that set them up to scratch for the tying the run and a blown save for the Rivera.

The game was littered with many cheap hits by the Red Sox and one time Jeter just not charging a ball on his side of the bag that Cano ranged so much farther than Jeter did but still could not make the play. If you watched that play in slow motion, you can get a feel for the lack of range by Jeter and also why he fields balls so deep rather than cutting them off a few steps closer to first base. He did make a good play on a ripped shot to hit backhand, but he backed up so much that it took him into deep SS and they couldn’t turn two. That was still a good play, but could have been great if he cut it off more as he could have.

Other notes:
This was another playoff type game, but not nearly as well played as the first game. I think the Red Sox series showed why we need another lefty in the pen.

Cano left a lot of guys on base yesterday; the two teams left a total of 22 on base compared to a total of 10 in the first game

Martin thrown out taking an extra base hurt a lot. But, he made a fantastic throw to get Pedroia thrown out.

Swisher hit a 410 foot shot to RC for an out. LC is 380 to the wall. This park is such a stupid park. It can help sometimes, but it just doesn’t reward good play.

Posada not playing could be the end for him. Montero could be a call up very soon. the question is how do we handle Posada? What if you let him decide his fate? Do you want us to cut you or do you want to retire? If you want to retire, how about we let you catch one last game at home as your final game no matter what you do?

Bottom line was the Yankees were 0-10 with RISP today.

We didn’t get done our goal of this series, but we can do better and it was a fun series.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

The Genius Maker #67

I have to say I am a little disappointed in CC. He has been great, but 0-4 against Boston really is not getting it done. That being said, I am extremely disappointed in the offense who made Lackey look anything but a guy with an ERA over 6!

A few notes: CC really didn't pitch poorly, the credit goes to the Red Sox offense; they took advantage of every mistake.

I was upset with the opening lineup. Why in the world would Girardi start Cervelli against Boston? The BS about CC feeling good with him didn't work did it? CC can pitch to anyone, so why not play the guy who is far better?

Finally, what in the world were Joe Buck and McCarver looking at regarding the play at 2nd base where Cano so clearly tagged out Pedroia? They kept saying the call was right and Cano never tagged him. While I could see the ukp missing it, I would he wouldn't. The replay in slow mo was so clear my son (7) said he was out. If you slo mo'd their replay it was absolutely obvious and without question it was an a lot. He was tagged on two frames and 2 frames later Pedroia hadn't even touched the bag.

I want this last game.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Genius Maker #66

Great game last night that of course is so much sweeter because of the win! I felt that this was the swing game on paper and winning it the way we did was great. This was a playoff type of game.

First, I didn’t like the lineup as Girardi had not only been keeping Posada out of the lineup against lefties, but was pinch hitting for him when a lefty came in. So why start him against a lefty? I know that Lester is great against lefties, but it just seemed like yet another “gut” call by Girardi that didn’t work out. My feeling is that Gardner playing LF gives you a defense that is definitively worth a lot more than Jones and any possibility of Posada doing well. I would fine playing Posada if he had been getting AB’s against lefties, but the lineup was dumb if you ask me.

I did think Girardi made the correct move in pulling Colon though as this game was different for Colon. He hit 95 in the first inning and seemed to come out throwing hard form the beginning….I think this led to him wearing out early…on top of a lot of pitches. 94 pitches was a lot and he was struggling in the 5th. As a manager you can’t worry about the starter getting a win; you must manage to put your team in the best position to win that game without sacrificing the future too much (Example - you don’t want Colon to throw 130 pitches just because it helps you win that game because it would most likely hurt the future).

Colon walking Ellsbury worried me that he was struggling. While the infield single is what it is, Girardi showed a good handle on the situation when he went to Logan. Of course, the question was whether Logan could get the job done. But it was the right move because Gonzalez has been an animal against righties this year (1.088 OPS), but been average against lefties (.743) so this was clearly the correct move. BTW, this underscores the NEED for another lefty besides Logan because you want the lefty matchups many times against the Sox. Logan did a great job, in a key bases loaded spot, striking out Gonzalez; it was the turning point in the game.

The next inning Nunez did a great job working a walk after falling behind 0-2. Jeter and Granderson each singled bringing up Tex who got a walk making the score 2-1 Sox. Then came a great battle between Cano and Lester. After fouling off the first pitch, Cano took 3 balls. He then took a questionable strike on a pitch that seemed outside. He then fouled off 3 pitches before hitting into a routine DP that tied the score.

There were a few Yankee fanes happy at that point, but I was getting a little greedy looking for more, but it was an interesting discussion based on the game being a low scoring game…would you rather have Cano strike out or hit into a run scoring DP? Would you rather bases loaded and 1 out or would you rather man on 3rd with 2 outs and 1 run in? My gut tells me that the first scenario would net you more runs in the long run, but in a low scoring game, tying it up may be preferable? Overall, I still think it was a bad outcome for us when our best hitter was up.

Fortunately, Swisher came through with an enormous (game winning) double giving the good guys a 3-2 lead.

The 6th inning was interesting as well as Girardi took Logan out after getting 2 outs but allowing a double to Crawford. What I thought was interesting was that he showed confidence in Cory Wade. Cory didn’t disappoint getting Saltalamacchia (sp?) to ground out to end the inning. It was an interesting call because you needed 10 outs out of Soriano, Robertson and Rivera and Girardi didn’t want to extend those guys. Not sure it was the right move, but with Soriano just getting back it showed confidence in Wade and what was best for us was Wade did the job.

While it would have been nice if the offense would have scored again, it was time for the best 7, 8, 9 combo in baseball to do their job.

Soriano looked very sharp showing the excellent control he is known for and breezed through the 7th inning. This was fantastic to see because it showed he looked “back” and also that he didn’t have any issue with his 7th inning role which is where he should be right now if Robertson is rested.

Robertson got his guys 1, 2, 3 also, but was helped a little by Pedroia swinging at a high strike. Either way, 6 up and 6 down from our 3 closers…only the Genius Maker had to hold the slimmest of margins.

Rivera tied up Ortiz the same way he has tied up guys forever…almost crazy that someone who has seen him so many times still gets tied up so much. Then came the play that scared me; Crawford hit a slow grounder to Jeter who stumbled off balance the entire time and threw very poorly to Tex who could get the bounced throw form Jeter and the speedy Crawford was now on first. First, this was a fairly routine charging SS grounder that should have been made. Jeter was off balance and just seemed old on the play, but after the poor throw, it was a play Tex probably should have made; it was not a real difficult play and he did his big sweeping glove move but didn’t come up with it. Of course if he did, people would have been saying what a great play it was, but it would have been nice to see that play made.

I was worried about Crawford getting into scoring position, but he barely tired to steal and I am not sure why, but maybe it underscores how well Martin throws? Rivera then kept firing the cutter in on Saltalamacchia until he went on the outside corner with a great pitch for strike 3. Saltalamacchia didn’t like the call, but it was a great pitch that he was naked on. 2 inside strikes and one on the outside (looking) and Rivera shut the door for a huge win.
A couple other points:

Colon has his 4 highest pitch counts over his last 4 games and while the Yankees continue to try and figure out what to do, I think it would make sense to skip Colon and Garcia once and give them another “All Star break” just to limit their totals a little. My main concern is that these guys have simply not thrown so many innings in the last 4+ years and come playoff time, they may be spent. By skipping each of them at certain times we can give Hughes and even Burnett a chance to maybe make the decision easier for us. Nova I have the most confidence in, but as a young pitcher he will have a tough moment before the end of the year.

The Yankees pitchers finally walked a batter, but only one. The Red Sox walked 6 of us even though they out hit us.

Matt Albers seems to have learned something in the Red Sox organization because his strike out totals are 1-1 on IP compared to him not being much of a strikeout pitcher in the past. His career OPS is .758, but this year it is .574…something has changed (unfortunately for us)

Seeing Aceves in the Red Sox uniform still bothers me as I think he is a very valuable member of a bullpen. He isn’t dominant, but he gives you pretty good quality.

I mentioned how I didn’t like Sutcliff’s announcing once before…more evidence as he said, “I think Boone Logan put himself on the postseason roster with that AB vs. Gonzalez.” What? Do you think the Yankees may keep their only lefty (who is also decent) off the postseason roster? Thanks for that insight Rick!

Time for us to keep Lackey’s ERA above 6. I will be disappointed if we don’t have at least 4 runs by the end of 6 innings. Let’s take the series today!

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Genius Maker #65

Sorry for the long lay off in writing folks…hang with me.

First, it is good to see the offense play over its potential compared to being so far below it for so long. I want to back to something I said earlier in the year which was that our bullpen is the best in baseball. While I would like another lefty specialist, Soriano, Robertson and Rivera could shut down the final 3rd of the game. They also have Cory Wade who has been really good and Logan who is a decent solid guy. Then you have a long guy in Noesi who has very good stuff.

A few people have asked me what I would do with the team at the trade deadline and now…I know I am late with the deadline and part of this may seem a little more obvious after AJ got creamed, but I will tell you what I thought anyway. I would have tried to trade Ayala and Burnett. Ayala has no good future in my eyes as he is pitching above expectations and I would have moved him while whatever value he has is higher than it will ever be. The Yankees also have no need for him. Burnett I would have picked up 60% of his salary and moved him for any prospect they could get…

As for what I would do now.

Burnett: I have said in the past, that AJ should be in the pen because his stuff could play really well out there. Usually guys pickup a few MPH when they are going out firing and if you told AJ he had 1-2 innings, that would could work well because his stuff is good. He is mentally inconsistent, but you know what you have with him and you take him out when 2 guys get on base. Now, I actually have more faith in Burnett than Hughes though at this point;

Hughes: I have said that he is the type of guys who really needs to throw 94-95. Last outing (out of nowhere), he hit 95 a few times and that was very encouraging. It is not a coincidence it was his best outing of the year. However, he is still not sharp with his command even though he threw strikes. He missed from one side of the plate to the other too frequently. One thing I noticed was when he threw harder he got lower and “drove” more form his lower body. If you remember I made the comment that he was throwing kind of upright a few starts ago. As the game went on his velocity went down when he was not driving down as well. If I could notice this on the TV, I am sure Rothschild noticed it. It could be that Hughes is not in the best shape (which is pretty sad) because as he tired his velocity dropped back to 92-92.

As I have said all along, I have more confidence in Nova than either Burnett or Hughes and I still don’t get this crap with him going down and now they were going to do it again, but now that he pitched so well they don’t know what they are going to do??? The guy is 10-4 with a 3.81 ERA. He has had as many quality starts as Colon.

Last year everyone was so excited about Hughes because “he won 18 games.” Well, I hope by now, people understand that wins for pitchers is as much about run support as it is about the way they pitch. Hughes had a respectable 4.19 ERA last year and an OPS about the same as Nova’s this year…why aren’t people as excited about Nova? He has more movement on his fastball has as good a curve and slider and throws harder? He hit 96 a few times yesterday.

So if we are going to continue with Hughes, I am ok with it for now, but not too long if he struggles…AJ gets sent to the bullpen. If the monies were reversed would there be any chance AJ would be on the team right now? So the money is sunk cost; go with what is smart. If you won’t do that Hughes gets knocked from the rotation IMO.

Posada is the next on my radar. He has not been terrible since his horrible start, but he clogs up a roster spot and right now is only playing mediocre against righties. I expected more form him this year, but with Chavez healthy, when ARod comes back I could see those two share time in the field and DH and when lefties are on the mound you could bring Andrew Jones to DH or Swisher. The Yanks still may want to look for a DH; my hope was that it was going to be Montero, but he hasn’t gotten it going this year. If he could get hot, he could be a Shane Spencer or Shelly Duncan type of boost for us.

Tied up going into Boston. This first game is big for a few reasons. One, we are playing well and I would like to keep that going. It is also a favored matchup for them and then we get CC against Lackey. Let’s get 2 of 3. Again tonight is the swing game (at least on paper) Enjoy!