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!

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