Thursday, May 31, 2012


 Felt a lot better than most wins!  Maybe it was losing the first two or maybe it was just getting a win against a good team?  Not sure but I really wanted this game. 
Jumping ahead to the 9th inning, I said to my son, it is about time Soriano earns his money because he is making much more than his value to the team, but with Robertson and Rivera out, he must do his job.  Soriano’s stuff doesn’t seem more impressive than most, but he does have a good demeanor about him and he will throw any pitch at any time which is helpful.  The issue of late is that he is missing his spots a lot.  He got squeezed on a few (so did Wade earlier) but it was because he missed his spot by a lot.  I didn’t like the breaking ball to Callaspo on 3-2 as he is a guy who is tough to strike out; I think they should have thrown a strike with Pujols coming up, but Soriano called off the fastball to throw it.  I thought Soriano pitched Pujols very well, especially the first pitch fastball painted on the inside corner, but he muscled a single Jeter could only knock down.  Soriano got the job done with a good mixture of pitches with the hot Trumbo.  Soriano is fun to watch from a catcher’s standpoint because it is a chess game.  He started Trumbo with a slider for a called ball and then threw a fastball for another called ball.  I will get into the ump later…anyway, 2-0 with 1st and 2nd this was a huge pitch.  Soriano threw a good slider that Trumbo swung and missed on.  Now Soriano came back with another fastball for ball 3.  Then came another good slider for strike 2.  The count is full and now the runner will be going which makes a single easily tie the game (Pujols was on 2nd and this was a big deal) and a ball in the gap could score 2.  So far Soriano has worked backward, throwing a slider when one would expect a fastball and a fastball when one expects a curve.  I wanted a fastball though in this spot;  Martin agreed, but Trumbo fouled it off.  The main reason was now I felt was a good time to come back with the slider.  Either pitch could have been the call so I would throw the pitch that sets up the next pitch best.  Soriano and martin agreed and came back with the slider and it was clearly the correct pitch because Soriano threw a slider right over the middle of the plate but Trumbo was out in front of it (assuming fastball) and got it off the end of the bat…which broke…for the final out of the game…whew!
Other points:
·        I didn’t like the home plate umpire Diaz at all.  He was very inconsistent and let the catchers positioning change his calls.  He also blew a lot of big pitches in my view.  Finally, he called ARod out on a check swing that Alex did not swing on.  This ticked me off and ARod as the home plate ump should not call that unless it is clear, he should allow that to be the first (or 3rd) base umps call.  He thought he saw something that he didn’t.
·        Scoscia again argued a call that was correct by the ump…and Aybar is lucky he didn’t get tossed
·        Swisher made two bad plays throwing the ball.  One was where he was pretty shallow and he tried to throw out the blazing Trout at home with bases loaded allowing both other runner to move up…even the slow Pujols from 1st to 2nd.   In the first inning Swisher threw a ball to 2nd base missing all cutoff guys on a play where we would have either been able to throw the runner out at home or he would have stopped and instead the runner came around to score.  Bad plays Swisher!
·        I was calling pitches with my son later in the game and Martin seemed to have a good feel, but I thought Nova threw far too many fastballs early on and two pitches really bothered me.  I didn’t go back and see if they were shaken off but live I didn’t notice them.  One was after a Morales walk, Trumbo was up.  Trumbo like most people had seen all fastballs before this AB.  Nova threw 3 more and had a 1-2 count on Trumbo.  Then Nova threw a pitch that was 90 that appeared to be his slider, but didn’t have a lot of movement.  Nova was actually throwing hard and hit 97 a couple of time so the slider at 89-90 was not surprising.  Whatever the pitch was I wanted another slider or curve ball because Trumbo was looking fastball (remember final AB of the game – even if I didn’t know it at the time).  Nova threw a fastball on the outer half of the plate and Trumbo went with and hit a HR over the RF wall.  I was ticked as it was the wrong call.
·        Nova allowed 4 runs in the 4th which tied the score at 5-5.  His fastball was not being controlled particularly well and I think more off speed stuff was in order.  To his credit he settled down and mixed up his pitches more and got through the 5 and 6th with no more damage.  The Yanks got one across in the 6th to take a lead and then Nova got Collaspo and Pujols out easily and was getting into a groove, but bringing in Logan was the right move to switch Morales around to the right side.  Thinking about this now, I hated the curve ball to Morales as well and told my son fastball away.  I didn’t understand this pitch at all as they tried to come inside on it…if anything, I would have liked to see the curve away of they were going to insist on the wrong pitch thrown.  Girardi kept Logan in to face Trumbo which might have seemed wrong with Wade in the pen but because Trumbo has been better against righties and the HR last night he let Logan allow a single to Trumbo. 
·        Wade came on to face Howie Kendrick…started out with a curve that looked like a strike, a fastball for a ball and another curve that looked like a strike.  These are huge calls with 1st and 3rd 2 outs in the 8th inning.  Wade coming off of the HR he allowed the previous night is in a bind.  He throws a changeup for a taken strike.  Then throws a fastball for another taken strike.  I loved both calls and Wade came through to get the count to full which would release the runner from 1st.  Wade came back with 2 curve balls that Kendrick was out in front of and got a piece foul.  Now what do you throw?  Mixing it up, Wade through a fastball and Kendrick was late on it but fouled it to the right side.  Now you can throw anything at this point, but I was thinking change or curve ball and with only one fastball thrown and he was having good control of the curve it was the better call.  My son agreed and so did Martin as Wade threw the curve and got Kendrick out in front and swing at a pitch that was borderline strike on the outside corner…GREAT job by Wade!   Wade then came through and pitched a 1,2,3 8th striking out 2 more.
·        The Yankees came out of the month of May with the worst hitting with runners in scoring position in the history of the franchise with an appalling .176 batting average.  The previous record of ineptitude was the month of August in 1986 and the average was .183…I hope this team breaks better records than that the rest of the way.
·        We are 4th in OPS and 8th in baseball in runs so that shows you the hitting with RISP has an impact…that just based on luck should get better
·        Don’t look now but Chavez has his OPS back down to .719.  I like the guy a lot and he has a nice swing, but he just is not centering enough hittable pitches.  Over the past 4 years he hasn’t be better at the plate either.  If he is hitting like he is and while we can hope he does better the stats show he is what he is, we should replace the bench position…mostly because we have too many bench guys who can’t hit.  Nix has hit as well as we could hope, but he isn’t a stick…Dewayne Wise can’t hit either so our bench is just awful.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Genius Maker 5-29

Tuesday night’s game:
·        Pettitte threw ok, but he made a few bad pitches that the Angels didn’t let him get away with.  The curve to Trumbo that was crushed didn’t bother me, but the 2 run HR he allowed to Pujols did.  The Yanks just got a break getting Trout out at the plate and then Martin called for a fastball/cutter inside and Andy left it out over the plate a little and Pujols turned on it.  I didn’t like the pitch selection at all because Andy jammed Pujols last time up and Pujols was not going to let that happen on the next AB…and he didn’t
·        I don’t mean this to be knock on Jeter as it is tough to play SS at the age of 38 in the majors and Jeter isn’t bad out there, but the people who speak about how he has “enough range” and he is fine out there only need to watch Aybar and the range he covers in comparison to Jeter.  Aybar ranged to his left and got to a ball that stayed low (very hard) and then quickly threw to make an out.  Later he ranged to his right and got to a ball that went under the glove of Iztarus yet Aybar backed him up and made the throw to first, even if the Martin was clearly safe.
·        The defense continued for the Angels as Trout made a Gardner like play (on Swisher) that might have saved a ball from hitting the top of the fence and later Bourgeous made an outstanding catch on another Swisher hit that showed off his blazing speed and he basically beat the line drive to the wall…in the gap.  He also caught it right before the wall…it was a huge play and after the next two Yankees got singles it could have been a game saver.  Later on Trout made a nice play on a sinking line drive that our LF’s not named Gardner would not have caught.  While it wasn’t as nice as these other two plays, it underscored our defensive difference when earlier Ibanez turned a double into a triple by taking forever to field a ball out of the corner.
·        In a game where we had 13 guys reach base those plays were huge as we had three 1, 2, 3 innings and the key plays were made where we left  2 or 3 guys on base (we left 12 on base overall).
·        Haren throws a straight 90 MPH fastball and we didn’t do a good enough job hitting the fastball when given the chance.  ARod and Jeter had some good chances that they didn’t take advantage of but each of them were not the issues as they got on base 4 and 2 times respectively.  It was Granderson and Cano who were the goats in this game.  We continually swung at balls and let the strikes go.  Part was the outstanding splitter that Haren had as he mixed in his slider and spotted his fastball, but we also allowed him to dictate too much and we were a step behind too often.  Haren did a good job of throwing good strikes when needed and we simply couldn’t hit the splitter whether it was a strike or not.  Getting back to the swinging at balls and taking strikes…Cano had one of those days where you just want him to have a new brain because his talent is elite.  He had that I am going to swing at the first pitch no matter what in his first AB and swung at a fastball out of the zone for a popup to the OF.  His approach the next AB was I must take a pitch now so Haren figured this and threw a very hittable fastball to get him on strike one.  This AB had the bases loaded.  Cano then swung at a ball in the dirt, then took a ball and fouled a few off before being frozen on a fastball on the outside corner (close pitch).  Earlier in this bases loaded situation Granderson K’d (he k’d 3 times and grounded out weekly the other 2 times up).  Cano lined out his next time up (nothing wrong with that).  In the 8th Cano grounded out after ARod had singled.  In the 9th Cano came up with the bases loaded and took strike one, then swung at 2 balls to end the game.  Frustrating!
·        In the 8th Girardi correctly went to tie the game with Jones at the plate, but Downs who is basically throws a sinking fastball in the 90 range and a curve tried to keep the ball away form Jones.  Jones did not see a strike in the first 4 pitches and the count was 2-2.  I said to my son, the pitcher should just throw another pitch low and away for a ball and he will swing and miss…on queue…ball away and Jones was heading back to the dugout.  5 straight balls!
·        Scoscia needs to shut up and stop complaining about pitches.  Overall the umps have not made a difference…we got a few and so did they…it was equal.  On the bases they have made calls against us at 2nd twice so he is actually ahead of the game.  But the umps were fine…in fact, I haven’t complained about the umpiring in awhile so it has evened out where we get some and some go against us.
·        Pettitte didn’t get the job done, but he showed he can help us.  He will need to cut down on the long ball, but he will adjust.  He just needs to remember to cover first as he has failed to do that twice now.
·        Pujols was a great addition to a team that has some weaker hitters who can play D, but adding Trout really makes a difference as does Pujols.  Their starting pitching is solid and deep…they have a very good team if they can stay healthy…remember we are without our two best relievers and a guy who was supposed to be a #2-3 starter and Gardner.  Gardner and Robertson will be back and possibly we can still get Joba for depth.  I think everyone is realizing why I have been pimping Gardner for so long as his absence is showing how important he is to a team; his speed and defense alone are worthy and his offense has been decent.
·        Both ARod and Cano are hitting .287 but Cano has an OPS of .830 and ARod’s is .803…Tex’s OPS is .814

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

The Genius Maker 5-28

I could write 4 pages on last nights game as there were a lot of pieces to the game…but I will be as brief as I can.

The Angels played very poor defense and outside of one really good running catch by their 20 year old LF Trout on Chavez (that is some kid at this age – we like to talk about our prospects, but outside of Bryce Harper this could be the best young kid in the game) that saved a run.  The Angels committed 3 errors and I thought it should have been 4 when Trumbo misplayed Ibanez’ “double.”  The Yanks capitalized on the first few errors by scoring 3 in the first inning and also Weaver had to leave the game with what they say was a back injury.  So we had breaks all over the place and then…

Hughes showed us all the ugly parts of his game.  His straight fastball was evident, his lack of command was evident and he was pummeled for 5+ innings.  He missed target after target and gave the lead back and more in the 1st inning and allowed a total of 7 runs in 5.1 innings on 11 hits.  The only plus was that he didn’t walk anyone, but when you are being throwing meatballs why walk? 

The announcers were saying he should have thrown more changeups, but he did throw one earlier and he hung it; in general, he didn’t have enough movement on his change and that made it ineffective.  His curve was good and until he starts getting hit with must use it more.  He threw what were either cutters or sliders on some 3 ball counts and they were all hit hard.  They came in around 86-87 so they could have been either one and they had similar movement – they were probably cutters.  In general, he had no movement on his fastball and changeup and little command.

With Weaver out I was hoping we would do more in the 2 – 5/6 innings but we could only get 2 runs across

Russell Martin got a huge double with 2nd and 3rd and 2 outs tying the score at 8, but Jeter could not drive him home.  Jeter had a chance to redeem himself in the 9th with the bases loaded, but he grounded out to 1st.    

Girardi made a questionable move that is even more pronounced because Wade allowed a game winning HR to Trumbo in the 9th.  I don’t like using a pitcher for one batter in a tie game late as we may need more outs later on as extra innings are likely.  Unless your guy is a Rapada type in a key spot you let your better relievers pitch.  You could argue that Phelps should have stayed in against Morales, but he did double against him (even if it was first pitch breaking ball) but Morales is a lot better from the left side and I understood it, but with I would have left Logan in the game as Trumbo has an OPS this year that is .822 against lefties and 1.067 against righties.  Wade has done really well but I didn’t understand the need to make a move there with nobody on?

One last note on our manager, if Girardi was so hell bent on making Morales bat against a lefty (which is a very smart idea), why didn't he use him to face Morales in the 6th inning instead of Phelps...when it was really important and the bases were loaded? Girardi pushed all the wrong buttons.

The Angels knocked out their own pitcher in the 1st inning and made 4 bade defensive plays and we still lost; that was disappointing…of course so was the Hughes performance.

Two comments: on a play to deep RC Curtis and Swisher ran into each other; lucky nobody was hurt, but replays showed Curtis calling for it over and over and Swisher not saying anything yet Swisher didn’t get out of the way.  Swisher would have caught it if they didn’t run into each other but I think Grandy would have as well.  Those situations are tough as both guys are going for it, but Swisher has to give way to the CF there.  Earlier in the game they had a similar play that Grandy caught and Swisher slid out of the way at the last second.  Not sure why he didn’t do it again…it could have been a disaster.

Tex was 2-2 with 3 walks so he has been a huge plus to the struggling offense.

Monday, May 28, 2012

The Genius Maker 5-27

5 wins in a row!

While the A’s offense is pretty offensive, right away you could see Kuroda had a lot more run/movement on his fastball/sinker than in the past.  I watched the game last night with my son and I was trying to show him the movement he had and I said his recent outings the movement was not as good (I was also trying to get him to understand that everyone has some good days and bad days and it is hard to always be good as he had a tough day at his own practice today).  Anyway, I said against what is a weak lineup if he doesn’t walk guys he will do well.  My son was getting tired by the 7th inning (even though we got there in 1 hour on DVR) and said “you were right about Kuroda, he is great tonight.”  Putting up zero’s and allowing only 1 runner to get to 2nd base (or 3rd), was a great performance.  The interesting part for him was in the 7th inning as he was possibly tiring a little and he looked like he was trying to push through the 1st and 3rd situation with only 1 out and a 3-2 count on the batter.  Kuroda was paying a lot of attention to the base runners and Stewart kept trying to slow him down.  Stewart was spot on because Kuroda was overthrowing which was causing his pitches to straighten out.  Sometimes backing off is the answer.  Stewart called for the slider and Kuroda shook in agreement and then did the fake to 3rd and back to 1st move that I believe will be outlawed next year.  Then when he got the signal form Stewart he switched it to the changeup and Kuroda agreed and did the same fake to 3rd play.  The next sign was again for the changeup and this time he threw the changeup that fell out of the strike zone for a swinging strike and getting a huge out.  The sequence was an obvious critical one because if the batter took ball 4 there they have bases loaded and 1 out in 2-0 game and Kuroda probably would have been out of the game.  The pitch was the correct one, but we also caught a break.

Outside of the above sequence, the biggest point in the game was the 1st inning.  With 1st and 2nd one out ARod got a hit with RISP and it was a line drive through the right side where Jeter had to freeze to ensure the line drive went through.  Jeter might have been able to score only because the throw was poor, but Thompson held him up probably correctly.  Cano then popped up on the first pitch he saw.  Cano was pounding line drives, but is now in that I will swing and hit anything mode that is frustrating.  I like when he takes pitches without stepping out of the box before the pitcher releases the pitch.  It is almost like he knows whether he is going to swing no matter what or don’t swing no matter what…that is not effective, even for a guy with the sweetest swing in the game.  Swisher saw a fastball early in the count and then all they had to do was throw changeups and he popped up.

After Jones hit a monster solo shot on a first pitch fastball (he crushed it), Milone threw a lot more changeups and curves in key spots and we didn’t have an answer.  Tex did get our other run in with his 2nd double of the game with 2 outs and that extra run was huge.  It gave Soriano the 9th inning with a little more breathing room.  Soriano has gotten the job done, but his stuff has not been as tight as I remember.  He may need to get in a groove because his game is location and throwing his breaking or fastball on any count.

Grandy tried to bunt twice into the shift, but both pitches were ones where he pulled the bat back.  It is good to see he will do that…

Stewart made another great throw on a backhand ball in the dirt to throw out weeks by a lot.  The catch, release, throw speed and accuracy were perfect.  He can’t hit at all, but he surely can throw (sounds like Martin)

Congrats to Jeter for passing George Brett on the all time hits chart…next up is Cal Ripken

Let’s go get 2-3 from Anaheim.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The Genius Maker 5-26

Don’t look now, but we have gone from last to 3rd with this 4 game winning streak and gone through the rotation with “quality starts.”  That is usually the way we get into some of those 20 game stretches where you can win 15 games.

Not to be contradictory, but I thought CC looked less sharp than he has in a while.  The 2.57 ERA had in the game last night allowing 2 runs in 7 innings and walking only 2 while allowing 7 hits didn’t tell the story to me though.  His fastball was 91-93 all night with a few at 90 and only a few at 94; he never hit 95.  His changeup was thrown from 85-87 and when you are only throwing 91 that is not enough of a discrepancy as you should have at least 7 MPH difference unless that day you have huge movement on it.  CC’s change is a big pitch for him and they didn’t use it too much (probably around 10% of the time) and I think it was because of the lack of fastball.  His control was a big spotty and his slider was not consistent either.  He threw 2/3 of his pitches for a strike which isn’t awful, but he just seemed to struggle all game and the Oakland lineup was too weak to take advantage of it.  They have Reddick as their only plus hitter.  CC is a horse, battles and did get better results in his last few innings, but his stuff was not sharp.

Our old friend Colon didn’t have his great movement on his fastball except for a few times and the Yanks pummeled him.  The offense played some small ball in moving the runners over with bunts and deep flies and the Yanks knocked them in from 3rd with less than 2 outs.  The best sequence was Stewart leading off with a single and Jeter bunted and was able to get a hit as he beat the 2nd baseman to the bag (bunt went down 1st and Weeks did not run full speed from the start).  With 1st and 2nd nobody out, Girardi didn’t ask Granderson to bunt but he made a productive out flying to reasonably deep LF and Stewart went to 3rd.  Then ARod hit a line drive to normal RF and we got a run.  It was nice to see.  Another thing that was nice to see was Tex getting involved in the offense.  He had 5 RBI’s (yes I put the ‘s at the end because saying 5 RBI just sounds wrong to me regardless of what the acronym is for) and 2 dingers.  Many people want to talk about all I care is about their production,” meaning are they driving in runs and while I don’t agree with that (my feeling is that if they are productive the runs and RBI’s will come from somewhere), Tex has 28 RBI’s while Cano and ARod have 20 and 19 respectively.

Stewart had another passed ball yesterday

Let’s get the final one in Oakland today and then we have 3 against the now streaking Angels with the great starting pitching and Pujols starting to get going after an inexplicably horrendous start.  He has an OPS of 1.215 over the past 7 days (28 AB’s), but his overall OPS is still a Martin like .671.

Thank you to all the people who allow people like me to write this blog and enjoy the freedoms we all do!   

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Genius Maker 5-25

Ahh, the west coast game…definitely a time for using the DVR.  Nova started out throwing a 93-95 fastball and 3 of the worst curves with no bite so I was concerned in the first inning.  However, the big bite of his curve came back in the 2nd inning and he maintained it throughout most of the game.  He did hang a curve later in the game when Oakland closed the lead to 6-3, but that was an odd sequence where Martin called for 3 straight curve balls to start the AB and after being 2-1 (strike was on the first pitch) he threw a fastball for a strike and then came back with a hanging curve that was deposited in the stands.  I bring this up because while watching I was thinking while it would make sense to come back with the curve on pitch 3 because you can’t get into a situation where you never throw 3 curves in a row, I felt the fastball was the call based on the “feel.”  It is one of those moments that I enjoy in a game…that is until the opposition hits a HR.

Nova was solid against a very weak lineup, but he didn’t hurt himself as he only walked one batter in 7 innings and he allowed 6 hits (2 HR’s - the other on a changeup) and struck out 4.  Logan pitched a dominant 8th inning throwing 8 pitches with Soriano pitching a 9th inning with mediocre stuff.  His OPS against him this year is .762, last year for us it was .645 (and he was better in Tampa)

Cano drilled a line drive homer as he was sharp again until his last AB where he got jammed twice in a row

Tex got his OPS up to .700 (yeah that is really sad)

Jeter looked bad last night; he is starting to do that lunging thing he did last year and hopefully he stays back like he did at the start of this year.  Right now it may surprise some people but Jeter has an OPS of .850 and ARods is not so far behind at .814.   Plus if you add in the 6 SB’s without being caught his OPS moves to, yes you guessed it .850.  Jeter’s adjusted OPS is .855 as he has 3 SB’s with 1 CS so that adds 1 base to his total.  Surprisingly close even if ARod has struggled with RISP more than Jeter this year, but Jeter has hit into 2 more DP’s.  Not really trying to say who the better hitter is as much as Jeter has a really high batting average, but it is a pretty light one…and also one I would be thrilled if he could maintain all year!

Ibanez made his first running catch (I mean one where you actually say I am not sure if he will get there) of the year.  It was routine for most outfielders, but at least he made the play.

Baltimore won again, only Don Mattingly’s Dodgers have a better record.  Man it would have been nice to have Donnie baseball be our guy in the dugout…

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Genius Maker 5-23

A couple of quick notes on last night’s game:

·        Pettitte did not have near the cutter he had in game 2 for him and this shows what I would expect and that is inconsistent stuff game to game.  However, he has been consistent in throwing strikes, throwing over 70% strikes.
·        I didn’t understand why Girardi had the 39 year old lefty come out for the 8th inning with an 8-2 lead? I know the pitch count was 93 but why push Pettitte at that point when it doesn’t matter?  Just another silly move that could only hurt the player and if nothing else wears him down.  A left was up, but what are you trying to accomplish?  He ended up walking him, but that was just the outcome.
·        While on Girardi, after I was complimenting him for dropping Tex to the 7th spot, Girardi moves him back up against a lefty to the 3rd spot???  This year His OPS against both sides is about the same and if anything he has been a tiny bit better against righties…why drop Cano down to the 5th spot when he has been ripping line drives?  Another head scratcher.  BTW, Tex walked 3 times in 5 AB’s so he was productive moving the line and Cano was 0-4, but that was one of the best 0-4’s you will ever see has Cano was smoking line drives every time up and was robbed on at least one of the plays with a full out dive right up the middle where they had him played perfectly.
·        I made fun of ARod’s slug % and he and Long worked on opening his stance a little wider and ARod said after the last game he felt he was ready to bust out.  He surely did with 2 HR’s (albeit off of a rookie lefty making his first start of his career in Yankee stadium) and it was good to see some production from him.
·        I have spoken about bunting a bunch of times and I want to clarify my statements (if anyone cares).  I am not a big fan of the sacrifice bunt unless there are two guys on base (you get double the value) or if the situation really dictates it such as score tied and your worst hitter is up with nobody out.  However, I am in favor of bunting for a hit when a sacrifice might be the outcome if it is not successful.  For example, Jeter was up with a guy on 1st base on nobody out and he bunted for a hit and he put down a perfect bunt; even if he were thrown out he would have still had a sac.  As it turned out the ball was thrown away and it ended up being 2nd and 3rd with nobody out.  But the error might happen just about the same amount of time as a failed bunt (meaning a popup or even a DP) would happen so it is a wash for these purposes.  Tex needs to learn this.  Tex did make a tremendous defensive play that had 3 really good plays in it (diving stop, accurate throw from his knees and getting back to first base in time)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Genius Maker 5-22

Good to see we can play a game down to the last out against the juggernaut like KC at home and come out ahead…

The big play in the game was we finally got a hit with RISP and it came on, wait for the drum roll, a bunt!  Girardi correctly asked Dwayne Wise to bunt with 1st and 2nd nobody out (we should be doing this most of the time) and he placed a perfect bunt down the 3rd base line to load the bases with nobody out.  While this situation has not led to runs recently, we caught a break as Jeter blooped one into the RF and Wise (going half way) barely beat the throw to 2nd base.  Interestingly if the SS was playing like a 1st baseman and stretch he might have been out OR if canon armed Franceour threw directly home I think he would have gotten Teixeira who for some reason was tagging up?  He should have gone “half” way because there was little chance he would beat the throw home if Franceour had seen him tagging up.

Hughes was nailing the outside corner with his fastball but as usual let a few trail back over the plate and also hung a curve on an 0-2 pitch, but overall did a good job

The Good:

·        Hughes has pitched a few good games in a row now
·        The bullpen shut down KC for the final 3 innings allowing only 2 hits (no walks) with one being a failed cover play by Logan on a grounder to 1st base
·        I liked the way Girardi handled the bullpen.  He still had Phelps and Garcia (although he is a last resort) if the game went into extra innings.  I also liked that Girardi put Tex batting 7th the last few games; it makes sense for now.
·        Soriano was able to keep the tying run on 3rd base as ARod made a strong throw to 1st base (flat footed) after taking the ball deep and straight rather than back handing it.  The play was extremely close, especially because the throw was up the line and Tex had to stretch toward RC and not toward 3rd base.
·        Cano hit a bunch of balls on the screws yesterday, including a missile HR to RC

The Bad:
·        Swisher is swinging and missing breaking ball after breaking ball and now has an OBP below .300 as he keeps swinging at balls.
·        ARod had bases loaded and one out and struck out and Ibanez followed with a K and then later Ibanez was up again in a big spot and didn’t come through
·        Baltimore won again (although they did beat Boston).
·        The offense in general is lifeless and under performing; 3 runs off of a pitcher that had an ERA of over 7 coming into the game and we scored 7 runs off of him in 2+ innings 2 weeks ago shows we didn’t do our job and they made the adjustments.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The Genius Maker - Almost Unwatchable

I am usually very optimistic about the team when they are under performing, but this team is about as unwatchable as any Yankee team in a lot of years.  I am not saying we won’t get better because without more injuries, we will, but we are now in last place, losing to weak teams, hitting an almost impossible 6-73 in the last RISP situations, some of the aging stars are painful to watch and the leadership isn’t great.

It is led by Girardi and his BS condescending answers which insult my intelligence.  I am not saying Girardi is awful as he does have patience which is a good trait, he does have a decent feel for the bullpen as well, but he makes a lot of mistakes and clearly has made a mistake with Robby Thompson at 3rd base.  Hard to get a feel for Rothschild as the pitching coach compared to Eiland, but the performance of the starters has not been better and the lack of velocity is surprising sometimes.

The offense has ARod, who is now a line drive hitter (who could still be productive) and we have him for 5 more years after this one.  This contract, as I said at the time, had 3 extra years that will be an albatross and we were bidding against ourselves.  Right now, I wish it was only the last 3 years as he looks slow in the field as well.  I do think he can and will do better, but it is pretty alarming that his OPS is now .767 which is pretty ordinary.  The other night ARod saw 4 pitches in 6 AB’s and one of those was a first pitch swing  after 8 straight balls from the opposing pitcher and he swung at a pitch that was probably outside (it most definitely was not a good pitch).  Usually ARod is very heads up, but that was inexcusable after two straight walks on 4 pitches.

Tex has been steadily going down hill and perhaps his sickness has had a lot to do with it (this year), but his stubbornness not to lay down some bunts with the shift should be a strict order and not up to him.

Russell Martin is having his worst offensive year of his career so far, although he is not that far under his last two years in LA.  I would be happy with an overall .730 OPS out of him

Our defense is starting to catch up to us as Jeter has misplayed a few balls of late (called hits) and has thrown off target to first a lot, ARod has looked slow at 3rd and now the ball is finding Ibanez as he has misplayed two balls in the last 3 nights costing us runs 2 runs in the first inning last night and a double the other night.  At least Ibanez is hitting better than he has in his entire career (.918), but at 39 is that really something that is expected to continue?  If he has an OPS over .800 the rest of the way I would be thrilled.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Genius Maker 5-19

Friday’s game showed Pettitte having a huge difference in stuff compared to his first start.  I know Cinci is not a juggernaut, but Andy’s cutter was moving like crazy.  In fact, Stewart had another passed ball when it kept running on him.  While Stewart has had too many PB’s for his lack of offense, he made as good a throw you will see when he backhanded a short hop and got rid of the ball lightning quick and made a perfect throw that could be caught and tagged at the same time to get a guy that had a good jump…it was a thing of beauty.

Other notes from Thursday:

  • Granderson made an excellent running catch in CF
  • The RISP issue is everywhere and it is just one of those stat cycles that happen and it gets exacerbated when the y guys start to press.  I always wonder why teams throw Swisher fastball’s when he will swing at junk in the dirt all the time with RISP, but they do
  • Cano made a terrible base running play trying to get to 2nd base after a single with a runner on 1st.  Instead of 1st and 3rd with nobody out we had a man on 3rd with one out.  Bad decision!
  • We had a ball call against us when we didn’t score with bases loaded and nobody out where they threw home yet the catchers foot was not on the bag.  When you are going bad it seems the calls don’t go your way either

Friday’s game was one where playing Ibanez finally caught up top us in the field as he allowed a double on a play that should have been routinely caught as the ball just kept going away from him.  That double did allow a run to score, but at least he doubled later on to try and make up for it…this is a liability that will catch up to us soon.  It is pretty pathetic that we don’t have anything better than Wise to play the OF!  At least he can filed, but he can’t hit a lick; at least get a guy up who was hot in the minors and maybe we can ride a hot streak for a little.  Ion a game like last night one hit could have won the game for us.  We came back to lose 6-5 and Jeter had huge AB’s late and couldn’t come through.

Swisher was waving at two curves and then they threw him some fastballs and he got a hit.  Bad scouting.  ARod hit a ball that would have been gone if it was the old ARod, instead it fell to the warning track.

Finally, in the last inning with us trailing 6-3 and Ibanez on 2nd base, Swisher singled and Robby Thompson waived Ibanez home; the throw ended up being weak and off line.  Assuming the weakness is why Thompson sent him home, if the throw would have hit the cut off Ibanez would have been out as it was if online he would have been out…I have no idea what is wrong with Thompson but that is inexcusable…there is NO reason to send him there…none!

We need to get one more player on this team.  Gardner will help a lot (and I think people are seeing the value of him now), but it is not unreasonable that we get one guy out in an injury and we can’t be so hamstrung with liabilities on the bench.  I think the pitching will be OK even with the injuries as long as Robertson can come back, but I think we will need a bat as Ibanez is playing better than we could have hoped and while ARod could get a little better and Tex surely can, one could say that Jeter has been over performing.  I am ok playing it out some more as I think we are underperforming overall.

BTW, Chapman pitched and wow does he have an explosive fastball, he blew Cano away.

Friday, May 18, 2012

The Genius Maker 5-17

Wednesday’s game was just one you erase and move on.

The part that is driving me nuts is at a time where your stars are struggling and your bench is thin, why do you keep adding guys like Nix (who can’t hit) into the lineup and or Andrew Jones against a righty.  Wait until you get Gardner back and then rest everyone at once and go to battle very short handed in one game rather than going to battle every game a little short handed.  I mean one night Nix is at SS and when you add in a catcher position where we get no production and 1st base which has been embarrassing and ARod not as potent…there are too many holes!

Last night was crazy.  Rest ARod so our lineup has Jones against a righty and our defense (which we have been so lucky it has not been exploited) has Ibanez and Jones out there…so our lineup is weak and our defense is very poor in the OF.  The crazy part is we are down 2-1 with 1st and 2nd and nobody out and Girardi refuses to bunt two guys over with Chavez up and try and help the offense create some runs.  He is waiting for a HR when the team is struggling and one of your HR hitters (Tex) is clueless right now.  When there is 1st and 2nd and nobody out in a close game and your bottom of the lineup is up, BUNT!

1st and 2nd nobody out when Chavez was up and he bounced a ball to 2nd base.  Swisher should have run in front of the 2nd baseman or stopped but instead ran right into his tag and Chavez was easily doubled up.  The Yanks are not even heads up...Later in the game, Toronto tried a safety squeeze that was bunted right back to the pitcher (Wade), he looked to first and then threw home to get the runner, but we only got him out because their runner stopped for a second once he realized it was hit back to the pitcher.  If he keeps running we botch up that play.  We are not heads up, and the last heads up play was Tex throwing home after stepping on first base with the bases loaded...sad

We did hit some hard balls at guys or to the fence, but Girardi is not helping the team when they need help (neither is Robby Thompson)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Genius Maker 5-15

Sloppy game for the Yanks last night.  They hot into 3 DP's, Jeter and Cano teamed up to not get a force out with the bases loaded, two outs and it cost us one run (and could have been more).  Jeter was a little late and Cano didn’t throw it as crisp as possible and with the bases loaded it allowed a run and kept the inning going. 

The umps made some very bad calls including a safe call on a steal that led to a run after a bad play by Stewart to allow a passed ball (ironically scoring the guy who he had thrown out). 

The offense was held in check by a guy who really threw nothing but an average fastball and an outstanding change (his motion was just like his fastball, but 9 MPH less).

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

The Genius Maker through 5-14

Nova has been making far too many bad pitches and he was bailed today by the offense.  He has been allowing far too many base runners and far too many HR’s to pitch effectively.  His ERA is 5.44, but he has been fortunate as he has not done a good job pitching this year.  I am a fan of Nova and I think he has excellent stuff, but he has not been “pitching” well, meaning he has not been hitting spots consistently enough.  I would keep trotting him out there, but if he doesn’t turn it around in the next 4 starts, Phelps may steal his spot.  The OPS against on Nova is now at 1.005  (.326/.381/.624).  This would be the best hitter on our team right now for perspective and this is what the other team is doing against Nova.  I expect him to get it straightened out but don’t let the 4-1 record fool you, the guy has been bad this year so far.

We had a Teixeira sighting finally as he brought his OPS above .400!  He still has a bad .690 OPS, but maybe he can get going now.

I thought it was very interesting that Soriano closed out the game and not Robertson.  Not sure how Girardi will be handling the closer role, but I would imagine he is going to try and keep both guys fresh and if one is tired the other will take over, but something will shake out over the next month to give a more definitive role.  I don’t care about Soriano’s value if he decides to opt out, I would focus on what we have to do to win games and I would use the pitcher that maximizes those chances.  I surely have not lost any faith in Robertson and I believe he is the better closer, but Soriano has proven capable in that role and maybe he relishes it?

(UPDATE - one of our readers, Tom Parente, was nice enough to let me know that Robertson had sore ribs and this is why he didn't pitch).

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Genius Maker through 5-13

I forgot to mention the other day something Cone said.  I like Cone and enjoy that he believes in stats as well as his unusual perspective/sense of humor.  But, he said something the other day that I said to myself, what is he talking about; he is just wrong???  After Martin made a very close attempt of a pickoff on a guy at first he said that is one of the reasons why having a lefty first baseman is better for getting that throw and tagging the guy.  then he continued about how much easier it is etc...of course, that is just wrong as one of the 2 main advantages of having a righty first baseman is being able to naturally take the throw from the catcher on the forehand and tag/catch at the same time.  The other advantage is being able to protect the line on the forehand better.  however, catching the ball on a pickoff attempt from the pitcher is easier with the lefty thrower and turning two is much easier to field and throw.  The funny thing was that tex actually should have caught that throw closer to the runner as he would have been out but he caught it in front of the bag and then had to sweep tag (similar to my comments about how Jeter usually took throws at 2nd base (although he has been better of late)

Onto the Pettitte game.  2 out walk and a 2 run homer got us on the wrong start.  Then we finished with a another 2 run homer.  Overall, Pettitte pitched eh, you can't walk a guy every other inning.  He had good location on his fastball and good break on his curve, but his fastball didn't have much movement and the cutter didn't move well at all.  He was throwing 88 so that was OK for him, but he needs to be able to throw inside better with his cutter to righties and that was non existent.  Remember, Seattle is a weak hitting team.  I did like having him out there and I would expect to see a better cutter moving forward.

The Yankee offense was pretty bad as Kevin Millwood made us look bad and I am not sure how many years it has been since Millwood made anyone look bad, but we accomplished that.  He was 0-4 coming into the game with an ERA of almost 6.   Jeter hit into 2 DP's and ARod 1, but I think there were two main opportunities and they were after Millwood walked two to load the bases, Jeter swung at the first pitch and hit into a DP, then later tex was up with bases loaded, from the right side, and struck out on a ball in the dirt.  Millwood was not bad actually, but we still did a poor job.

While on Tex, with the bases loaded and one out, Pettitte got the batter to hit one right to Tex, who stepped and 1st and then correctly threw home top get the tag out at home.  This is a classic example of understanding what you are going to do if the ball is hit to you.  Most of the time in that situation he would step on first and throw to 2nd base, but because the force was off, the smart play was to come home because the run would have scored most likely even if he got the out at 2nd.

Rapada should not have been left in against the any important spot he should not be facing a righty...PERIOD

And of course, we had another guy get thrown out with nobody out down 6-2 late in the game...I don't care if it was Swisher's fault or the umps,but if it is that close it is the wrong play!

Every game in this series was 6-2

The Genius Maker 5-12

Seattle has a pretty weak hitting team, but we took care of business and got a big 3 run dinger from Ibanez for half the scoring.  But the play that drove me crazy was once again Robby Thompson gets a runner thrown out at home with nobody out!!!  It shouldn't happen more than once a year, twice at the tops if he does everything else perfectly.  There is really no excuse.  The announcers also missed the point as they analyzed how ARod slowed up before touching 3rd and that little hesitation caused him from being safe.  While that was true, ARod who has excellent instincts slowed down (just for a split second) thinking he should not be sent but at that moment Robby Thompson who was well down the 3rd base lien had not started moving his arm waving him home yet.  So Thompson hadn't mind his mind up yet to send him until after (or it could have been simultaneous) and then waved him around.  When in doubt YOU DO NOT SEND THE RUNNER!!!  This was a 1-1 game at the time (4th inning) and we had bases loaded with nobody out against Felix Hernandez.  Instead we had 1st and 2nd with one out as the runners didn't even move up on the throw.  Then Swisher and Ibanez didn't get the job done, but ths swas yet another horrible (and late) decision by Robby Thompson.

The Yanks won the game as it turned out but Thompson just fails to get "it."

After letting up a leadoff HR, Kuroda did a nice job of working in his pitches and only allowed another solo HR.  Rapada, Cory Wade and Logan handed the ball with only 2 outs to go to Robertson who closed it out.

Rapada has allowed a .593 OPS against lefties so far so he has done his job.

Wade, of his part, has been outstanding so far this year limiting the almost 60 batters he has faced to an OPS of only .487!  Last year, Wade was better against righties (.540 OPS) than lefties (.730 OPS0 and still should be used that way as a match-up, but he has gotten lefties out this year too.

Saturday's game

Same team same result, a 6-2 win.  Hughes made a lot of mistakes missing spots, but the poor Seattle offense did not take advantage of some of those mistakes.  His stuff started out strong with a 94-95 MPH fastball but he dropped down to 92 after the 2nd inning and that concerned me.  I was hoping to see him throw hard at a key time later as maybe he was saving it but that never happened.  His curve was very effective and he mixed in his slider to mix up the speeds on his breaking pitches.  He threw some change-ups but he was missing his spots with them and in fact hung a few for taken strikes.

The key part of the game was with 2 outs and a man on 2nd, our sluggers row of Ibanez, Martin and Nix came through with a double, double and HR respectively.

Ibanez is now slugging great and I hope he can keep up 85% of what he has done as he now has an OPS of .921.  The short porch has been kind to him and he has had some big early hits.

Martin has made an adjustment in his swing similar to Jeter to keep him back and hopefully he can get going at least reasonably productive

Nix is now 29 and has never hit well in the majors (career .646 OPS) and had an anemic .554 last year with Toronto so it is hard to hope for anything more than mediocrity at the plate, but he supposedly plays good defense and can play everywhere, but doesn't play much at CF or SS (even though he played there for us last night).  Not sure he is a good solution, but maybe Kevin Long can do some magic with him as he runs well and was a former 1st round pick (44th overall in 2001).

Pettitte will pitch today and I am sure we are all excited to see him, but I would have let Phelps get another start and allow Andy to build up a little more.  I honestly think they wanted Andy to have some success and at home for his first game which is why they are starting him against a weak hitting Seattle the Bronx.  Phelps stuff kind of reminds me of a raw/young Kuroda.  In 2010, Andy pitched as well as ever, but if he can give us what he did on 2009, I would be happy, a low 4 ERA.  I am not expecting much so I hope I am pleasantly surprised.

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Genius Maker 5-10-12

I have mentioned this numerous times and discussed how bad he is, but now I want to make this clear; Nunez should never start any position in the field other than SS (when Jeter needs a blow) and should only be used at any other position other than SS if all other measures are exhausted.

His offense has still not been good, but when you factor SB’s into the equation he has an OPS of about .800 (that is including his 2-2, walk and 2 sb’s last night).  But his defense is a killer (he made two routine errors last night).

What would I do with him?

I would send him to the minors and play SS every single day and then build up his stock and trade him or if it is a year away or so he could be Jeter’s replacement if he can improve his defense enough where he is a league average defender at SS.

The guy has great speed, but outside of that he is an awful fielder and a mediocre hitter.  He is only 24 so he has some upside, but I would let him play every day and improve his defense and let him know he can’t play in the majors the way he is now. 

CC was a horse and great last night.  I know the TB lineup is not strong, but he came through big time. 

Cano is starting to hit the ball well which is a great sign. 

Price was getting hammered as our outs were line drives and even our DP’s were line drives.  Granderson hit one to the wall as well.  Entering the 5th I screamed out we are hammering you price (I was at the game) and we continued with Cano crushing a 2 run HR and then ARod his normal line drive (He is now a line drive hitter) and Jones doubled him in and the game was over.  I couldn’t tell location/movement very well compared to watching at home, but price was throwing hard.  The Yanks had 11 hits and 3 walks through 5 innings as well as 4 line drive outs and a deep fly.  We were all over him.  He did pitch the final 6 outs perfectly.

BTW, while on Price, he had an interesting pre game warm up, especially compared to CC who threw only off the mound.  Price played catch and then slowly backed up to play long toss and was firing the ball like an OF’r from about 200 feet.  He was really letting lose.  Then he would bring it back in and then threw breaking balls off of the flat grass from normal distance.  It has worked in the past, so I am sure that it is his way, but I thought it was a little odd.  BTW, I could see soft/medium tossing long distance, but it was a stark contrast to CC.

Jeter had his 10,000th AB at the game last night; he got out.

2.5 out is MUCH better than 4.5 out!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Genius Maker 5-9-12

I stated more than a few times whoever is the next closer after Rivera will not be liked.  I think Robertson will be fine, but tonight (after 25 pitches last night) did not work out well…and I like Robertson so maybe those were words were harsh?

I didn’t like starting Rodriguez off with a fastball and said so before the AB, but outside of that he only made one mistake and that was throwing a fastball to Joyce.  There is a reason why we were throwing 4 curve balls to him and he barely got a piece of one of them.  They should have thrown another one…nope fastball and 3 run homer and end of game.  It is the same when teams throw Swisher a fastball after he has shown he struggled against the off speed stuff.  Make him beat what he struggles with. 

Speaking of Swisher he should be fined for an idiotic throw that really screwed up the 9th inning.  On the 2nd single he threw a rainbow to 3rd base when he had no chance of getting the runner and he allowed the go ahead run to get to 2nd base and really put the pressure on Robertson.  There is really no excuse for that!

Girardi had a good game with pitchers as I thought he did a great job pulling Phelps with the bases loaded and brought in Logan to stop the threat and then he went to Wade at the right time and Wade pitched great.  I would have used Rapada for the last out against Pena, but with nobody on Girardi let Pena get an AB against a righty and wade got him out. 

Girardi did mess up with Martin up in the 2nd inning with 1st and 2nd and nobody out.  Martin is probably the worst hitter in our lineup and their starter had just walked Ibanez.  After falling behind 2-0 if he wasn’t going to bunt he should have demanded a take sign, but instead Martin swung at ball 3.  After grounding out into what should have been a DP (TB messed it up) we didn’t do anything.  A bunt was the play there and I have no idea why Girardi didn’t do it.

While on bunting, the Yanks need to do that more when TB gives us the free one.  Swisher was up with ARod on 3rd and 2 outs.  The 3rd baseman was playing SS and Swisher can bunt; he should have put it down and gotten a run in.

We need to throw away our scouting report on Zobrist because he was hitting under .200 against the league coming into these two games and he seems like he is hitting everything we give him now.

In the 8th inning Cano made a big error that could have hurt us bad as he pulled Jeter off the bag, but Soriano pitched his way out of it.  Tex made a great throw on a rocket short hop play he made and got the force out at 2nd base making it 1st and 3rd with 2 outs.  It ended up not making a difference, but it was a very heads up play because it kept the go ahead run off of 2nd.  The play itself wasn’t as good as the announcers said because it was almost a catch, but the ball was a rocket and he made a perfect throw to get the force out (it had risk to it).  Contrast the heads up play to the bonehead one by Swisher in the 9th.

In the 9th Martin blocked a ball in the dirt and got it with his arm but he still didn’t turn his chest protector in; he made the good block, but also got lucky.  He needs to adjust his form on those or we will have more trouble.

Disappointed in the outcome as I would have been thrilled if Robertson could have closed 2 one run games out against TB.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Genius Maker 5-8

Last night was a good win as Nova got back on the mound and pitched well without his best stuff, Soriano handled the 8th, and Robertson got the save in his new role.

  • TB continues to put the shift on the Yankees and it works well.  The one thing that is not talked about and I believe is a great add on to the shift strategy is to shift a guy and pitch him inside.  This is specifically beneficial when they did this to ARod.  In general ARod is not someone I would put the shift on, but if you pitch him inside he will pull the ball into the shift.  I think if used once in awhile this is an excellent strategy. 
  • When is Tex going to lay down a bunt?
  • After a rocket Cano double, Tex moved Cano over to 3rd base with a groundout (why is it that this groundout seemed like a good thing when your #5 hitter is up?), then Swisher had a terrible AB swinging at a lot of balls before grounding out to 2nd base and Cano got thrown out at home easily.  Not really sure why they sent Cano with the infield in, but I am not going to get critical of Thompson there.  Then a big hit by Ibanez on a hanging change gave the Yanks a 2-0 lead.  After what looked like they were going to strand the leadoff double the Ibanez HR was a big one. Ibanez later added a solo shot that just stayed fair as he was the offensive star!  Ibanez now has his OPS at .817 and as long as he is not in the field that is a positive.  I don’t expect it to stay there as I predicted it in the low .700’s, but with all the other guys struggling and the injuries if he only DH’s and pinch hits, he would be a plus with an OPS above .800.
  • Nova did not have his best fastball (usually around 91) but he had the best change he has had and mixed in his sliders and curves.  The wet ball probably had something to do with it, but he was not consistent on his breaking stuff.
  • Jeter booted one the other day and missed a backhand that was a makeable play for most SS’s last night and it put Nova in a jam.  The next hitter singled making it 1st and 3rd and 2 outs and then Nova fell behind 3-0.  With the score 2-0 in the 5th inning, this was a big moment.  Nova pumped up his fastball to 93 for a 3-0 strike, then 94 for a 3-2 strike, and then threw an 89 MPH slider that looked more like a cutter to me and he got a pop up but unfortunately it just got into the stands.  This was a big moment and Nova got himself back into the AB and now could he finish the job?  He came back with another slider and got the strikeout…it was a huge moment in the game.
  • After a Granderson HR, Nova had an 0-2 count on Molina by throwing 2 curve balls and then he hung a curve ball that Molina deposited in the seats.  It was a bad miss and Molina crushed the hanger.
  • I emphasize this because in the 7th Nova allowed a HR to Luke Scott on a change that hung.  He then allowed a walk and a double to make it 2nd and 3rd with 1 out and the score is 3-2.  This was another big moment and Nova was in trouble but had only thrown about 85 pitches and Girardi stuck with Nova.  Nova got their SS to fly out to medium shallow RF and they did not try to tag up.  Then Nova was facing Molina who homered after seeing 3 straight curves.  Nova threw 3 more curves all excellently located and Molina swung threw all 3 for a huge strike out!  It shows how poor the hanger was in the previous inning
  • Girardi had Logan up at the start of the 7th and it looked like he may go to him with 2 lefties coming up, but he let Nova pitch (and allow the HR).  Not sure why Logan would be up if he wasn’t going to be used, but I just think Girardi messed up and then stuck with Nova
  • Soriano came on to pitch the 8th with a 2 run lead (Ibanez 2nd HR), and allowed a leadoff triple on a fastball on the outside corner that Zobrist hit well.  Soriano came back with 2 big strikeouts and looked to be able to get out of the inning.  However, Martin called for a breaking ball in the dirt and he got it, but couldn’t block it…again.  Now Martin is not lazy with his feet, but as I mentioned the other day he is not turning his shoulders (and thus the protector) in toward the plate.  This was a curve ball so when the ball hits the dirt it will kick toward the right hand batters box and the catcher must turn toward the left handed box to knock it down.  Martin allowed it to get to his left and the ball got away to score the run.  Martin throws great, in fact, he is the best thrower the Yanks have had since Munson and it is possible he is better (hard for me to judge, Munson ha d a quicker release but Martin has more strength to throw), anyway, I am disappointed in the fundamental mistake on the wild pitches.  BTW, Molina has awful/lazy footwork and I used to be very critical of him.  While he did block balls right in front of him, he was embarrassed on a few balls that got by him as well.
  • While on defense, Tex may not be as good as people think on scoops and even with the glove, he is as good as anyone turning 2 as he makes excellent hard throws to 2nd base.  He has been excellent at those
  • Robertson had a very live fastball, so live in fact, martin stabbed at it a few times.  He allowed a grounder that found the hole and sandwiched it with 2 walks, but got his 2nd strike out of the inning to end the game.  The ump did a good job all game IMO. 
  • I know a lot of people think Soriano should close, but I would give the ball to Robertson as well.  I might look at Robertson to come in if the 8th had the better hitters coming up, but Girardi won’t do that so I will not waste my time.

Switching gears:
  • Josh Hamilton for the Rangers hit FOUR 2 run homers last night for the Rangers; now do you know why I wanted to walk him every time first base was open with a guy on 2nd and it may be best to walk him almost every time up.  His OPS is now an amazing 1.298!