Last night’s game first. Hughes made too many mistake pitches and Texas took advantage of them. Then they also got two breaks on guys hitting the opposite way when they were beaten, but one went for a HR by Napoli and the other a double that dropped in down the line. I disagreed with Kay and a little bit Singleton about Hughes’ stuff. They were talking like 91-94 usually around 92-93 was plenty good. I am not saying that you can’t be effective at that speed, in fact, it is enough, but when you “only” throw that, you better have very good control of it unless your other pitches are excellent. I think Hughes’ stuff is actually major league average to slightly above average when you take the pitches and movement and speeds into account. However, his command of the pitches is poor and inconsistent (he hits a good spot and the misses by a lot).
I have not been happy with Martin’s pitch selection as well. Sometimes it is just style and while I obviously have confidence in my pitch selection abilities, I am sure martin does as well, but there were too many times where he threw fastballs that ended up getting hit when I thought he should have thrown a curve or a slider. This happened with Phelps as well. We saw Texas hit too many 0-2 or 2 strike pitches and I felt it was mostly because of the pitch selection even though the location was not where Martin wanted it (to his defense). Phelps had an 0-2 count in one spot after 2 fastballs and he called for another one outside and Phelps ball has a tail on it and it came back over the plate. Maybe Martin didn’t account for the tail, but in that spot, IF you were going to throw the fastball, he should have tried to jam the hitter. In general we haven’t been pitching inside enough in my opinion.
On a good note, I thought Girardi managed the pitchers perfectly last night. When the game could have gotten out of control (down 4-0 with the bases juiced), he used our LOOGY (lefty one out guy) Rapada, to come in and get a lefty out. This is EXACTLY why you have a guy like this on the team and Rapada did his job getting Murphy out and keeping us in the game. We obviously lost, but that was an excellent (although I think obvious) move.
The one area that I thought Girardi made a mistake was pitching to John Hamilton in the 8th inning with a man on 2nd and 1 out and the score 7-3. Two other times he correctly walked Hamilton and the last one didn’t work, but that didn’t mean it was the wrong move. In that 8th inning, what possible reason would you pitch to him there? Very dumb move, but it did work (just to let you know I am not a Monday morning QB); no way I pitch to him there as you should not be worried about a big inning, you have to stop a run from scoring. % wise it is also a good move as Hamilton is a great hitter. It is as if Girardi was burned before by it (and BTW, the next guy getting a single is not necessarily getting burned) so then he stopped doing the right thing. His inconsistency bothers me.
It is great to see Jeter hitting so well. It is a great surprise, but we need to get ARod, Cano, Tex and martin hitting more in line with the back of their baseball card.
Time to lick the wounds of this loss and the loss of the series as Verlander is next on the agenda. BTW, Texas is a very solid team.
Some quick points on the previous nights.
If you look back on the blogs in the off season I talked about getting Yu Darvish as the one piece I would go after. Now, truth be told, he got almost $19 mil a year for 6 years so it was a tremendous investment/risk, but I wonder if the Yanks would have gone after him whether they would have traded Montero for Pineda? That string of moves has hurt us this year as Pineda is now out for the year with a tear in his Labrum. This is a big blow as everyone was expecting big things out of him. I get the feeling he might have been damaged goods, but I also want to be honest, I thought it was a good move (I assume he was healthy). Overall, the very good starter is worth more than a very good hitter. The early returns from our side are very bad, but hopefully he will be fine in next year. The early returns from Seattle have not been that great either as Montero has an .685 OPS, but I expect him to hit better, but still not be a good defensively. I was really looking forward to watching Pineda…but will have to wait.
Finally, I will end with one of those comments Girardi makes that makes me say, “What did he just say?” Perhaps I should make that a section in this blog? Anyway, when Girardi DH’d Nunez the other night, he was correctly asked, would you consider playing Nunez in the OF? This was a polite way of saying why don’t you play Nunez in the OF…but Girardi’s response was a head scratcher. His answer was, “If I was going to do that I would put him in CF because I am comfortable with what we have in LF.” I could write for another 1000 words on this, but I would just ask you to re-read what Girardi wrote and then lower your expectations for Girardi.
What did he just say?
Yes he actually said that…I feel dummer just reading it…yes the spelling was intentional.