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.
- 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!