Monday, May 30, 2011

The Genius Maker #34

Two tough and 1 run losses to Seattle were followed by an easy victory. This is not good enough with Boston playing great baseball (as was expected).

On Friday night, we gave up a 3-0 lead with AJ struggling with control followed Logan and Ayala not getting the job done. The offense really failed though once again as the Yanks should have been able to tack on runs and they failed to do so.

Saturday we had King Felix to deal with and while he brought his C game. Once again we jumped out to an early 1-0 and 3-1 lead, but Nova could not throw enough strikes (especially with his curve ball that was great, but he couldn’t control it). Felix allowed 4 runs in 7 innings but the Yanks failed to score against 5 innings of relief. Unfortunately the loss fell on Rivera’s shoulders, but one really has to look at how cheap the 3 hits against him were to understand the picture. It was just one of those things that happen.

The sad part was Seattle gave us some chances with some poor defense by Smoak and a very weak effort by Ichiro who tried to turn an easy catch into a hard one and he missed it. If he goes back to the wall he is standing there to make a catch on Granderson.

Sunday’s game saw all parts of the team do well and CC did his job as the ace. One has to love CC!

A few comments:

Jeter is still really not getting it done; he has been doing a little better, but the cheap hits are really what is keeping him from be horrific. Even with all the dinks and doinks and swinging bunts, his OPS is .644…just barely ahead of Posada (.640) and Swisher (.639). I honestly believe that if all 3 of the above played every game the rest of the way and stayed healthy, Jeter would be the lowest in OPS at the end of the year. Part of that is how much Swisher and Posada are underperforming, but also just looking at their AB’s. Swisher is starting to show some life (thankfully). He worked a good walk, hit a homer and hit a solid line drive twice to left this weekend…maybe a good sign?

Tex has been really swinging well and doing a great job of avoiding swinging at balls.

Cano is still not right, but he will get it straightened out. ARod is in the same category. In looking at ARod’s swing, he has been lifting the bat off his shoulders sooner than he did earlier in the year. That may or may not make a difference, but it is something I noticed. ARod has not been hitting the outside pitch with authority and that is a bad thing for him because that is what makes him so tough. He needs to get the power stroke back

Thankfully, Granderson has been doing great, but overall, we are really under performing offensively.

Not sure if you folks have been watching Robertson, but he has been fantastic! He made two great 95 MPH fastballs on the outside corner and then dropped a knee buckling curve in the same spot for a 3 pitch strikeout and K’d the side in the extra inning game. He now has 35 K’s in 21.1 innings. His 15 walks are far too many, but at 26 this is not just some ordinary arm out there; he has star potential if he can harness the strike zone.

I hope everyone is enjoying the Memorial Day weekend!

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Genius Maker #33

Just a quote from Girardi about Rivera...

Rivera's reliance on the cutter, Girardi said, "tells you how great he is at his craft because he's really never fooled people. It wasn't like you're looking for a fastball and you get a changeup, or you're looking for a fastball and you get a curveball.

"Mo just said, 'Here it is. It's going to cut, it's going to sink, and I'm going to throw it where I want and you try to do something with it.' I can't think of any pitcher that's really ever done that."

Joe is right with his quote with one exception, it should state, "I can't think of any pitcher that has ever done that and been so good and at such a high level for so long." Many pitchers have either done a poor job at it or a mediocre job, but nobody has ever thrown one speed and been so great and for so long! Even the Goose Gossages and Rob Dibble's threw sliders. You get the same speed every time and as a major leaguer you still can't get him.

The red hot Red Sox are now tied with us, although we have a better winning %

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Genius Maker #32 (1000th Game)

I was at the game yesterday and when at the game you don't get the pitch by pitch feel as well as on TV, but one thing that stood out being at the game was the booming wood sound of Andrew Jones' two homers. They had that great ball on wood sound that was unmistakable.

Other comments:

First and foremost, the 1000th game for The Genius Maker and the first to do it with the same team. I failed to get a good picture of the Yankee scoreboard when they put up Mo's picture with a 1000 next to it (I cut the 1000 to 100 and thus ended my career as a photographer)

The Genius Maker has the most postseason saves in baseball history and has more World Series saves than any other reliever. He is the 15th pitcher in major league history to appear in 1,000 games.

Mariano's quote, "It's a blessing to be able to be on the same team and do that. It's not too often you see that. But the most important thing is that we won. It is because you've got to have the right combination. The organization you're with (has to be) willing to keep you and you've got to do the job and take care of yourself. All of that has to be in place."

ESPN wrote this and I thought it was worth posting,

"Rivera has won five World Series with the Yankees and has appeared in the postseason 15 times. He has a record 42 career saves in the playoffs -- 11 of which came in the World Series. He owns a 0.71 ERA in 94 postseason games, the lowest playoff ERA of all time for pitchers with at least 30 innings. He also has 14 career two-inning playoff saves."

Girardi recalled on Wednesday the first time he caught Rivera in 1996.

"I had to catch him in the bullpen and I'm like, 'Who's this kid?'" Girardi said. "His stuff was electric. He was throwing 97 (mph), throwing it wherever he wanted to. He could cut, he could elevate. I'd never even heard of him."

Final game comments:

I would have left Robertson out to pitch the 8th inning. I don't get why Girardi would want to take Robertson out of the game when he looked sharp and threw a grand total of 4 pitches to get 2 outs and get us out of a jam. We had a 4 run lead, but what if Joba was off? Then what? Girardi never asks that critical question. Many people would say, well they won, what are you worried about? But, the job of the manager is to limit the chance it does hurt you. Why not let Robertson continue and if nothing else you get a few more outs and maybe you save Joba for extra innings (if that happens). Maybe Robertson just hands it off to Rivera for the 9th as I believe Girardi wanted to get him some work. The original point is the main one though, why take Robertson out??? Silly.

Garcia pitched the exact type of game I would want (and maybe expect) out of him. he went 6.1 innings with 3 runs allowed (4.26 ERA) while allowing more hits than innings, but he didn't hurt himself with any walks. A pitcher who can do this for the Yanks will win many of his games as the offense (which is under performing) should outscore the competition.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Genius Maker #31

Exciting game! CC was off early on as he had little control from a placement standpoint early on. A Cano error hurt the Yanks as they fell down 4-1 early. BTW, Cano had another go off his glove earlier and has been average defensively this year; a far cry from a clear gold glove winner. Cano did make up for it delivering 2 laser doubles later in the game.

The Yanks had opportunities but a DP by ARod and another by Jeter (who failed in 2 big spots) took the Yanks out of the rally late in the game. The DP by Jeter was one that annoyed me as Gardner was on 2nd and Nunez was on 1st with a 3-2 count on Jeter and Girardi did not have the runners going.

Granderson got picked off trying to steal (goes as a CS as he took off to 2nd base) with a 2-2 count on Tex with 2 outs with Tex having a good AB. This was a bad play by Granderson, but I wasn’t sure why they wouldn’t wait until 3-2 anyway?

In the 8th, Cano came through with a 2 out double (the laser) to close the game to 4-2 and then Martin followed with a huge single to make it 4-3! 2 out hits!

In the 9th Girardi decided to pinch hit Posada for Nunez (after Gardner grounded out) and Jorge came through with what I assume was scored a single and an error by Bautista getting him to 2nd. Big hit by Posada! Then after Jeter grounded out, Granderson came through with his 4th hit to tie the game with 2 outs! After Granderson stole 2nd Tex who had a very good game at the plate hit a hard shot off the 1st baseman’s (Rivera) glove and Granderson came home with the winning run!

CC went the distance and got the win!

One last note that goes unnoticed because the Yanks won anyway, but the Toronto catcher made 3 stops of balls in the dirt that could have tied or won the game also. The game was looking like one of those where you say we could have or should have won. Taking the other side, it was one of the games that I have been talking about where you keep the game within striking distance (and why you don't intentionally walk so many guys midway or early in a game) and our offense should bail us out.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Genius Maker #30

I have obviously been on Girardi a lot and this started before the playoffs last year and has continued on. I think he has really done a poor job. I will try and curtail my objection to the way he handled the 6th inning yesterday because it was not horrible, it was just against the way I like to manage. The score was 1-1 and Toronto did get their run via a HR from Bautista (who has been great this year). There was a batter on 2nd base with nobody out. I understand walking him has some logic, but my opinion is that at worst you would be down is 3-1 and I don’t want to create a big inning by giving free passes with 44% of the game still to go. I would go at Bautista (and I will describe how I will do that in a moment) and make good pitches. Girardi decided to walk him and setup a double play. The part I do not think Girardi thought through was what happens next (Girardi is playing checkers when he needs to be playing chess). The batter behind Bautista is the SS and a bunt was the obvious play. So now it is 2nd and 3rd with 1 out, so what do you do? Rivera is an average hitter for his career (about a .780 OPS), but has been poor this year (.650 OPS). Girardi decides to walk him as well. My issue is that you are giving the chance for a huge inning rather than just pitching to Bautista with an open base. Now you have taken a leadoff double and turned it into bases loaded and 1 out situation by YOUR choice…which would you rather have? As it turned out, Girardi’s decision was clearly the wrong one…

Getting back to Bautista, I am not sure why the Yankees are not throwing inside on him and jamming him and not allowing him to extend his arms? They are not even trying to establish anything inside? Why not throw the 2 seamer tailing into him? Anything to at least make the outside pitch harder on him. Poor plan in my opinion.

For example, Toronto setup ARod so well that when they threw the right, pitch but still missed their spot, ARod was still out in front of it. They kept coming inside hard on ARod and even a little in for a ball. Then they threw a changeup for a strike (it actually leaked back over the plate) ARod was ready to turn on the inside pitch and was too quick on the changeup. THIS is exactly why I get into the detail of every pitch because it is such an important part of the game and to lunatics like me a lot of fun.

Two other points: Gardner got a stand up double that some guys might have been thrown out on. Jeter turned on a hanging change and just missed a HR. I was kind of surprised he didn’t hit it out as it was setup perfectly, but he must have just gotten it off the end of the bat even though he did strike it solidly…either that or he has no power at all (possible)

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Genius Maker #29

Before I get into the game(s), I have to give my obligatory comment that I am not a fan of the interleague rivalry games. I understand playing some of the other league if you must, but the Mets/Yankees and some of the other forced rivalries mean very little to me. In my opinion they are technically the least meaningful games of the year. I also don’t like the forced rivalries where the Mets have to play the Yanks 6 times while other teams get cake walks. If anything it is unfair for the Mets.

Saturday night was well played and managed game by the Yanks. Burnett struggled early on, but settled down to avoid letting the game get out of hand and Girardi pulled him at the right time to bring in Boone Logan. Unfortunately Logan has continued to be mediocre and in a good spot for him to come in, he failed and allowed a hit. Can’t blame Girardi for that…although it is sad that we still don’t have a 2nd lefty option as it really hinders our managing ability. Robertson, Joba and the Ayala who was used instead of Rivera because it was not a save situation closed the game out well. I was good with using Ayala, but I was hoping it was not just because it wasn’t a save situation; I always hate when managers manage the game differently because of the rule.

While we had 4 homers, The Martin homer with 2 outs was a real big one in my mind. He has really been an awesome pickup for us. My original take was that if we were going to pay him 10 mil a year I thought we would be overpaying; I am not so sure right now. Good defense and offense that has been far better than expected is one of the reasons we are in first place. As for our starters, Granderson has an OPS of .942 and then Tex, ARod and Martin are all within 2 points at .879, .878 and .877 respectively. Cano is at .906 and Gardner at .752, followed by Posada at .666, Jeter at .652 and Swisher at .633. BTW, some people made some comments to me about Posada not hitting better than Jeter. All I can say is that this is the exact reason why OPS is so much more valid than batting average. While Jeter is hitting .268 to Jorge’s .182, Jorge has 6 homers to Jeter’s 2 and 20 walks to Jeter’s pathetic 13 and Jorge is doing that in 62 less AB’s. Jorge has the same amount of doubles and one less triple. The good news is that both players have been doing better of late.

Sunday’s game – The Mets jumped out to a 3-1 with some cheap hits, but one where Granderson again took a step back and was not able to catch a ball that fell just in front of him. His offense has been great, but defensively he is an average CF’r.

I was making comments that I thought Pelfrey had very little all game; he was giving the Yankees VERY hittable pitches and they just did a poor job with them. ARod had a lot of good pitches to hit and he just was off. It took the Yankees until the 7th to finally break through, but even though the announcers were talking up Pelfrey, I didn’t see it all. Pelfrey even was supported by some questionable calls that had the Yankees VERY angry. Posada and Gardner had legitimate gripes on poor calls.

The Yanks were aided by some cheap hits in their 8 run 7th inning to even out the luck factor. Nova looked pretty good to me, but I thought the Mets did a nice job of going the other way. They hit Nova really well (11 hits in just under 7 innings) but the Yanks bullpen of Ayala and Pendleton closed out the final 7 outs. Ayala has an impressive 1.50 ERA, but I am not that impressed with him. He may be a reasonable arm, but he is not going to be someone getting critical outs in my opinion. He is no youngster at 33 and I don’t see him being much more than help in the bullpen until we get some of our guys back. Either way, he helped tonight and overall has helped.

Pendleton doesn’t light up the stuff chart either, but he may be the rare crafty righty. He seems to have pretty good control and good movement. Again, I am not sure how many critical spots he will be in, but at least he is 27 and has some upside. I need to watch more of him to get a better feel, but I don’t go on the outcome of their performance as much as what I see to predict future performance.

Game Notes:

Gardner missed a dinger by only a few feet; he has been swinging very well and made another really nice catch.

Jeter’s defense was a little off today as he could have turned 2 but instead of coming across the bag he (for some reason) stopped on the bag and then threw wildly to Nova covering. Jeter also just missed a throw from Cervelli that dropped a little at the end, but it was an accurate throw (he did get an error on the play). I also thought the ump made a bad call on Jeter for the last out of the 7th inning; I thought he beat the throw.

Dickerson should keep playing against righties as his defense is better than Swisher’s and his offense has been better. I am not sure Dickerson isn’t much more than a 4th OF’r, but he can still play better than Swisher right now and with Granderson and Gardner that makes up a very fast OF. BTW, when I talked about what to expect from Swisher at the start of the year, I felt he would drop, but then I looked at how he had the same OPS for 2 years with the Yanks and I tempered my large drop to just doing worse. I should have stuck with my original thought as I would hope he could end up just doing worse than last year and not have a terrible year (which he is doing). I did say he would be the guy I would trade as his value was highest, but people gave me grief because of his personality. That is good and he is a cool guy, but winning makes team chemistry in my opinion, not the other way around.

We end the day tied for 1st with TB, the only question is whether Boston is ½ game back or 1.5 games back. Go Cubbies

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Genius Maker #28

After a great offensive performance Thursday night, the Yanks followed it up with an offensive performance Friday night. The Yanks made it a habit of taking strikes and swinging at balls all night. The ump behind home plate didn't help giving every single close pitch to the Mets pitchers except one (that was to Swisher who followed the gift by swinging at a pitch that wasn't even close). Overall there were about 4 really bad calls against the yanks and non against the Mets from behind home plate. The key one was with bases loaded in the 2nd inning and Gardner got a bad call against him that would have changed the AB. The Yankees did get a gift at 1st base when the ump ruled the Mets 1st baseman came off the bag on a throw when he didn’t though.

Back to Swisher… how many bad pitches is he going to swing at? I would have thought against Dickey he would have batted righty as Bernie used to do, but instead he just waved the bat all night.

In a key spot in the game, Reyes mad ea diving play up the middle on a ball from ARod and then threw ARod out. Outside of the nice play, I was shocked at how slow ARod got down the line; I could be wrong, but I am pretty sure he didn't run hard out of the box or possible he slipped, but I didn't even think Reyes would make a throw as he went a long way to dive on get to the ball.

Garcia pitched pretty well, but lost 2-1.

Knuckleballers can throw you off your game; hopefully the Yanks get right back at it and score some runs because the Mets lineup is very weak.

The Red Sox are now in 2nd place with their 7th straight win.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Genius Maker #27

Wow, 15 innings! These are the games where the DVR wasn't set long enough.

My take:

Colon was dominant. In fact, he struck out the side on the 8th inning and instead of letting Colon finish the game, Girardi (in his lack of wisdom) took Colon out in a ONE run game and having thrown a grand total of 87 pitches...yes 87 pitches. If this wasn't the perfect time to let a guy complete a game I am not sure what it is. First, the Yanks only had a 1 run lead, second, Joba and Robertson were supposedly unavailable (and of course Soriano), so why take a chance that Rivera can't convert a tough save? One might say that if the game was 3-0 you might give Colon a chance to go out there and close out the game; I view this differently, Colon is cruising, Baltimore is not touching him; why give them life when Rivera may not have it? Further, with no cushion, why take the risk; go with what you know and that was Colon was ON! It was a terrible managing decision that still should work, 75%-80% of the time (or so - just an estimate on a 1 run lead). My feeling is that Colon had a better chance of getting through the inning and the fact that you have nobody you have confidence in after Rivera, made the move even more questionable.

Girardi didn't give a reason (that I read) why he made the move, but I am sure it would have been something like, how can you not have faith in Rivera or something like that...but that is not the point...once again Girardi failed to put the team in the best position to win (probably both short and long term).

I did read one quote, "Any time a closer blows a save, you usually don't win that game," Girardi said. That is probably a generic comment, but one of the things about Rivera that is great is that when he blows saves, he doesn't always lose the lead. In fact, over the 3 and 5 blown saves this year and last, the Yanks have won 4 of the 8 games where Rivera has blown saves. So Girardi is just saying things that are not even too accurate.

Yeah, I am down on Girardi

After both teams blew great scoring opportunities time and time again, Cano got the huge hit knocking in Tex and ARod (who had 4 singles) and then Cano scored on a solid line drive sac fly by Gardner (who is leading the team in hitting with RISP).

Hector Noesi pitched 4 scoreless (but far from perfect) innings and showed some good stuff.

Girardi brought in Logan at the right time (bases loaded and 1 out and Scott coming up) and he got 2 huge outs to keep the Yanks in the game but Girardi didn't try and let him go further which was also questionable (I would have let him go at least until he let a runner on as he looked good.) He basically had Noesi and that was it left and considering it was his first major league game; it was risky. The kid did well, but worked out of a lot of jams.

At least we got a your typical 15 innings and almost 5 hour game.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Genius Maker #26

Monday night’s game was just another disaster as the Yanks gave up a 5-1 lead in route to a 6-5 loss. After Burnett gave back 3 runs and the score was 5-4 it seemed taking out Burnett was a decent idea. A runner was on 1st base and Burnett had just thrown his 2nd wild pitch (to the screen)of the inning, I would have yanked him in the middle of the AB. Of course, Girardi did not and a 2 run homer later the game was lost. This is not CC, this is Burnett and at 33 years old this is the exact type of behavior you should be looking for. The managers job is to put the team in the best position to win...Girardi did not do that.

Tuesday night was the opposite…ARod hit 2 homers and the Yanks took down TB 6-2. The Yanks also had Dickerson play RF (the 29 year old who is a 4th OF'r type) and he had a hit…at least some production from RF.

Here is an interesting stat…most people think Posada should retire…but do you know after his 2 hit day, his OPS is .656 compared to Swisher's .640 and Jeter's .619!

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Genius Maker #25

Well, that was a disaster!

I think the key part of the game was when the Yanks were up 4-1 and Boston had a man on 2nd and one out with Gonzalez coming up. I recognize he has been swinging the bat well, but we have also seen that when good pitches are made and sometimes when balls are in the dirt, he swings and makes outs. The Yanks basically intentionally walked him to face Youklis. Up 4-1 early in the game I am not intentionally putting anyone on base unless the guy behind him (and probably the guy on double deck (in the hole)) are both weak hitters. It is a long game and why give extra base runners? Then Garcia had Youklis out in front of sliders. The pitch should have been another one as everything Youklis was swinging at he pulled...even if they didn't want the slider, the change or something off speed should have been the pitch. One fastball and a 3 run homer later the game was tied.

After that, the Yanks started swinging at everything rather than taking a lot of pitches off of Lester (like they had been doing the first 2 innings). In fact, ARod and Cano were out after 4 pitches to start the next inning.

Overall, the Yanks did nothing from that point on. Swisher needs to be benched, but nobody can play for him, especially against righties where Swish has an OPS of .563. Swisher is swinging better from the right side of the plate, but the only option is Jones, but he is also better against lefties. Tex is the same way hitting 200 OPS points higher from the right side and really struggling to get his hands on top of any pitch up. Tex is looking like he is adjusting his swing on the fly which is making his bat very slow. I think he is starting too early rather than waiting and being quick.

ARod has really struggled since his oblique injury. He went from a stud to a dud. He will figure it out as long as he is healthy.

Cano is in his "I will swing at anything" mode and has been expanding the strike zone like crazy.

Gardner needs to go back to stealing 101 and bunting 101.

Trying to find the sliver lining, but it is hard. I did think Swisher had a good AB against Bard in the 8th, but he still K'd (Bard has really good stuff). ARod did get a double in the 8th, Granderson is still hitting well, Martin walked 3 times and Gardner made one terrific catch and another really good one.

Joba threw well, but gave up a cheap HR and Garcia's HR to Ortiz was cheap as well - in fact it was a broken bat.

Frustration everywhere, but the offense can't play worse and neither can the defense. The pitching could be worse, but the overall team has much more room for improvement than downside in my opinion. Remember, when things are going bad people forget how good this team can be; it will get better.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Genius Maker #24

I don’t want write as much detail as I normally do about a game…mostly because it was pitiful…

Jorge messed up! If he was not physically able to play, then just go down that road and be honest. If he was insulted he was going to bat 9th then he has no gripe whatsoever. Jorge gets a pass based on years of service. But, let’s see how this unfolds. He should apologize for making this a circus while Boston is in town and move on and hopefully start to hit again.

Beckett made a lot of very bad pitches that the Yanks just didn’t hit. ARod had some really good pitches to hit and just missed them. Tex simply can’t get his hands above any pitch that is up right now and seemed out of synch. Cano was in his swing at anything mode and could have walked a few times. Swisher has just been awful at the plate all year.

CC pitched well but the 4 pitch walk to Varitek was inexcusable.

Turn the page and try to get the last one if they play today.

Friday, May 13, 2011

The Genius Maker #23

After one of the ugliest games you can see on Thursday night, the Yankees tried to turn the page toward the Red Sox.

I saw a game that was really frustrating (for me) because of very poor pitch selection from Martin and the pitchers. There were many times that Colon had an 0-2 count where the pitch thrown was not the one I would have thrown. I really felt Martin did a poor job and even with Pedroia up and Ellsbury on first (when Joba was incorrectly brought in by Girardi after yet another poor pitch selection on an 0-2 count) the fastball was a catchers selfish pitch rather than the one to get the batter out and Dustin just hit the ball where Cano wasn’t. Man, that was a long sentence…Anyway, I was very frustrated by that and I also did not like taking Colon out in that spot. I felt he was still throwing well and I would have given him at least one more batter.

BTW, the pitch that was hit for a HR by Youklis was another very bad pitch selection as the slider was the pitch to throw. Oh and while I pile on, the sac fly to Gonzalez with 2 strikes was also a very poor pitch selection as the slider was most definitely the pitch to throw as he just was not seeing it well (really dumb).

The Yanks tried to come back, but Tex had trouble getting on top of good fastballs on at least 2 occasions, Swisher couldn’t stop swinging at balls and Posada took too many pitches before grounding out.

Just another tough loss with a lot of “if only’s.” Some better pitch selection and we win this game without question in my mind. Martin did hit a 2 run homer, but I am looking at the mistakes. Time to move on and get the win tomorrow.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

The Genius Maker #22

I did not watch the game but I followed some of it on Gamecast. Some of you can straighten me out on this, but I saw three things that really made me wonder. Why was Girardi bunting Gardner when he was ahead in the count 2-0 (after 6 straight balls) and again on 3-1? Why play for the tie when you have nobody available in the bullpen? The second one was if he really did not want to use Joba last night and he knew Soriano was unavailable, why would you get only one out with Logan? I wrote about how well Carlyle has done, but as I said, I have no faith in Buddy Carlyle and would much rather Logan against a righty than Carlyle against anybody. Third, of course, Carlyle stunk and Girardi blew the decision even further by letting Buddy start the 11th and walking a guy before pulling him. Why send him out there if he looked like, well, Buddy Carlyle?

Once again, Girardi blunders.

BTW, I understand limiting your pitchers and I think this is a smarter move than most people think; mostly because this is a long season. However, Joba pitched 1 inning Saturday and Sunday and then had an off day on Monday. He then was razor sharp yesterday needing only 8 or 9 pitches to get through his inning. Is it really that much asking Joba to go 1 inning? Robertson failing really hurt the team because with the absence of Soriano as well we really needed Robertson to get the job done. Of course, the other Girardi decisions (all 3) really show a lack of cohesive thought

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Genius Maker #21

Nice solid win yesterday!

Garcia continues to do the job mixing up his pitches and keeping hitter off balance. It clearly has been better than expected, but let’s ride it out.

Robertson struggled spotting his fastball, but he had good movement on it and the sharp curve got him out of a jam.

Joba was dominant! He threw 96 and 97 and had a sharp curve ball. I don’t even think he threw his slider; but then again he only threw 9 pitches to get through the 8th. I am not sure if Soriano was given a day off, but Joba pitched the 8th and took control of it.

Jorge is back struggling again after hitting some hard shots. He has really been awful this year. It is rare that people fall off the cliff so precipitously, but being 39 and not being in the flow as a catcher might be something that impacts Jorge. If you remember he was always a bad pinch hitter too? I still am surprised to see this lack of production, but yesterday he swung threw a 3-2 fastball right down the middle and Swisher was easily thrown out stealing. I also am not sure if anyone is aware that Jorge is now hitless (0-24) against lefties this year! Bizarre. With Jones struggling against lefties, we could use Thames back.

Gardner continued to hit well and Jeter and ARod each got big 2 out singles up the middle to drive in our 3 runs.

Rivera came on for the save and was really shaky at first, but then got some movement on his pitches and got through the inning. His control was off, but he got through it.
TB and Boston lost

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Genius Maker #20

I apologize for the long stretch without posting, but thank you to those who were concerned something was wrong with me. While some may argue, there is nothing wrong with me… other than I missed a few games because I had to modify my Cablevision deal (missed some games) and between my work, kids and personal schedule, it has been a little insane.

Back to the important things...

TB has been better than many people thought. They remain deadlocked with us and Boston is closing in on .500 with their extra inning win last night.

The good:

Jeter hitting 2 dingers and grabbing 4 hits got his OPS up to .680. While maybe this should not be in the good category overall, it is good of late (and since my last post). His OPS in the last 30 AB’s is almost .900 and hopefully can get his OPS to 750 OPS the rest of the way.

Granderson has been great offensively. He leads the AL in homers and is tied with Soriano for the MLB lead with 11 (interestingly Lance Berkman has 10 homers with an OPS of 1.190!). Granderson has an OPS of 1.005

Tex off to a rare good start for him with an OPS of .954.

Russell Martin with an OPS of .884 (I do not expect this to continue, but anything over .800 would be fine by me) and solid D has been a real find

If I can put Jeter in this category I can do the same with Gardner as he has been swinging well of late and has his OPS up to .726 with an OPS of .900 in May so far (27 AB’s). His defense is worth a lot (the bobble the other night excluded) so once we get his SB’s back he will be a very valuable part of the team again.

Not sure anyone realizes this, especially because I don’t see any good “stuff” from Buddy Carlyle and I can’t say I have watched Pendleton that closely (I will his next outing), but these guys have thrown 10.2 innings combined allowing only 5 hits, 4 walks and 0 runs! Very pleasant surprise there

Mo has been good as have Robertson and Joba. The ERA of Robertson is much better than Joba, but Joba has an OPS against of .578 while Robertson has a still respectable .625! I have confidence in both.

So far all the starters outside of Hughes have been good. Like I said at the beginning of the year, I have a little more confidence in the stuff of Colon compared to Garcia (mostly because Colon will walk less guys) but with the Yankees offense (as it should be) our pitchers should get plenty of run support and are good enough, if they stay healthy. One would expect the pitching to get worse and the batters to get better.

The Bad:

Soriano and Logan have not done the job so far. Thankfully, no other pitchers are on the list and Soriano has put up blanks in his last 3.2 innings (looking for the silver lining). The Yankees are still looking for a 2nd lefty reliever. I wonder if we will bring up Banuelos and put him in the pen later in the year?

The Ugly: Eduardo Nunez and his 5 errors. He has hit really well, but 5 errors is unacceptable. I think bouncing around between OF and other positions has messed him up, but it is what it is. I still like his future, but he needs to work on his defense.

Swisher, A. Jones, and Posada coming in at an OPS of .640, .628 and .610 respectively. Considering none of these guys help you defensively, this is ugly.

Monday, May 2, 2011

The Genius Maker #19

First to Saturday’s game…I thought Burnett pitched very well and I credit Toronto for swinging the bat well. I had a few takes while watching the game
1) The Yankees seemed to refuse to pitch Bautista inside and that made his life easier.
2) Joba pitched so well in the 7th that in a one run game I would like to see the Yankees extend a pitcher when he is looking good. This so and so has an inning is a little too cookie cutter for my liking. Soriano did his job, but his control is still not what it should be and Rivera did his job but has not been as sharp because he has not used his running fastball inside to righties yet this year (and his control has not been as pin point as normal). Either way, a 1 run lead entering the 7th and the bullpen held on.
3) Gardner is starting to hit the ball on a line more. He is key.
4) Swisher and Jeter still not doing well
5) ARod got another day off and has not looked good since he missed those few games.

Sunday’s game

Nova had control problems and was not throwing as hard as normal early on as he normally does. But his curve was excellent. Overall he did pretty well, but was in trouble because of his walks.

I thought Girardi handled the bullpen well in this game because Robertson came in at the right time and I wanted Logan exactly where he was brought in. He got lucky with his behind the back grab on the grounder through the middle but it was the right move. Soriano walked a guy so he is still not sharp, but got through the inning on yet another really good play by Gardner is LF. Brett also made an excellent play earlier in the game (might have been Saturday?) where he cut off a ball and threw a perfect strike to 2nd base holding their speedster Davis to a single.

Jeter made a nice play on the final out of the game, charging a ball hard and getting it on a short hop just before it became an in between one.

Other notes:

Rivera finally used the running fastball inside to righties and it worked great. This was Cervelli’s first game catching and I wonder if this was a coincidence? If so, that is pretty sad as this was a huge pitch for Rivera last year. I was very happy to see this because I was getting worried that either Rivera lost the feel for it or it put strain on his arm and he thought it was best to shelve it.

Gardner continues to look better at the plate. He will need to work on his SB’s though as he has stunk on them this year. I think the Yankees need him to go when he feels comfortable and leave it at that.

Earlier in this game, with Gardner on 2nd base and someone on first, Granderson singled and our 3rd base coach held up Gardner at 3rd base. I was kind of shocked as Gardner was a few steps beyond 3rd base before the ball would have been thrown home. I believe he would have made it even with Bautista’s arm. I think a perfect throw and this was still a bang bang play and with one out and our propensity to hit into DP’s, I wanted him sent. The flip side was Tex and ARod were waiting on deck but with ARod struggling that does matter as well; but at the time I said I didn’t like the move. Of course Tex then hit into a DP. I just don’t think Robby Thompson is any good at 3rd base.

Swisher and Jeter still look awful. I make the move right now with Gardner leading off against righties and swapping with Jeter between 1 and 9 based on a platoon. This is getting ridiculous with how weak Jeter is hitting the ball. This entire notion that you can’t do this because it is Jeter is absurd. Most of us think Jeter is the classiest guy around and has been a great player. I still think he is better than this, but why are we “bad people” because we want to do what makes sense for the team right now? If Soriano kept blowing the 8th inning, would we keep sending him out there every 8th inning or would we wee more of a bullpen by committee for the 8th? His OPS is .571! If we were hitting line drives once in awhile I would say OK, but he has an OPS of .571 and he actually has a bunch of cheap hits. At least Posada (.622 OPS) hit a few balls hard yesterday and got a double and was robbed on a great diving stop. Swisher has a .606 OPS which is still bad, but he has hit a few balls hard for outs (but he is really struggling too)

Gardner’s OPS is up to .700 and he deserves to leadoff against righties right now.

Cano left the game with sore left hand. He seems to be OK, but I will feel better if he plays tonight