The below paragraph was my original one, but I am adding this after finding out Rivera has a torn ACL. This is such a sad event. The guy is 100% class, the best ever and still was on top of his game and to get injured like this is just a tough one to swallow. Shagging fly balls is and has been Rivera’s pre game warm-up forever so it is just a fluky thing. I am a little stunned right now…
I want to jump to the 9th inning last night as there were some critical pitches thrown and every pitch was important. Broxton was pitching for KC and Jeter led of with the Yanks down by one. Jeter fell behind 0-2 and Broxton throws 95-99. After 3 straight fastballs for strikes (last one fouled off) he went to his breaking pitch and he hung it to Jeter who sliced it the opposite way for his 4th hit (he has been great!). Now Granderson is up. Because of the struggles of Tex, I don’t consider bunting Granderson as Grandy can hit a 2 run HR anyway, especially against a righty. Broxton throws a fastball for a ball and then comes back with a breaking ball for a ball. This next pitch is a huge one as I would expect a fastball and this is the one you are looking for. Broxton shows a ton of respect to Granderson (and Cone correctly pointed this out – I like the way Cone thinks) by throwing a breaking ball but Granderson does not swing for ball 3. Now I am thinking let’s give him the green light to swing because I respect Broxton and also I have more faith in Granderson in our lineup than anyone else right now who isn’t on 1st base. Girardi gives him the green light but he fouls off a pitch (didn’t really get a good swing on it). 3-1 is still a huge pitch right here and Granderson takes a strike on the outside corner. Grandy must not have seen it well even though it was an OK pitch. Now at 3-2 Jeter should be running so this is another huge pitch. Jeter is running and Granderson takes ball 4. A little anticlimactic but really every pitch was crucial. Now we are n the driver’s seat with or 3-5 hitters up and 1st and 2nd with nobody out. Tex is up though. Normally you wouldn’t think of bunting but the way Tex has been, especially from the left side I say to myself I hope they are working on him bunting more to take advantage of the shift because right now a bunt and only a sac bunt is the right call. Either Tex just can’t do what ARod did the other night or he refuses. After taking the first pitch for a ball, he swing at an inside breaking pitch (he should have taken). The next pitch he hits a fairly solid ground ball toward the 2nd baseman who made a nice back hand stop and flip to start a DP to take the wind out of our sails. But, we still have ARod up with the tying run on 3rd. ARod was ready on the first pitch and fouled off a high 90’s fastball – good swing on it. The next pitch was just a terrible call by the ump. The pitch was very inside and the ump had not called closer pitches inside to a righty all night (he was calling the outside strike all night). ARod got close to the ump and raised both his arms outstretching them to the side and twice said “how is that a strike?” The ump must have known he screwed up because he allowed ARod to say that twice and didn’t get back in ARod’s face. ARod was frustrated but didn’t go nuts on the ump, just asked the question. Now the entire AB changes and ARod needs to get his head back in the game. He fouls off 3 pitches and then has some good takes and 3 straight balls to make the count full. Great battle. ARod then tops the next pitch for a slow roller down to 3rd, I thought he would beat it out but the 3rd baseman who moves well, charges, barehands it and throws ARod out. Tough loss, but I enjoyed the chess game in the 9th.
Other points on the game:
- ARod messed up a pop-up in the 7th as he seemed to misjudge that he had a longer way to go for it; it wasn’t an easy play, but he didn’t read it right
- While on ARod I have always said he is a very heads-up player with excellent instincts but one place he is very unsure of is on tags at 3rd base. His positioning just is awkward and he doesn’t snap his tags. Martin made a fantastic throw catching Francouer trying to steal 3rd and ARod barley caught the ball and made the tag, but barely is the right word.
- Francouer was on 2nd because he stretched a single into a double when Granderson didn’t go 100% after a ball and then didn’t rush his throw and then didn’t throw a strike too 2nd. A good throw would have had him.
- Phelps threw a lot of pitches, but I actually was impressed for a guy who had a mediocre pitching line. He doesn’t have overpowering stuff, but he reminds me a little of Kuroda in that he can get guys out if his control is good. His breaking ball was not that sharp, at least consistently sharp, but he spotted a decent fastball and threw some changeups as well. He definitely earned another start in my books.
- Our other guy Mitchell is more of a sinker guy. Good sinker but not much else
- Logan was used correctly with 2 lefties and one righty and he did the job
- I mentioned the terrible call at a critical time against ARod above, but the umps on the bases did a great job, especially first base. Nunez had 2 close plays and he got them right and the 2nd base and 3rd base umps made all their calls correctly as well.
- Jayson Nix started for us in LF and showed why defense is important as he made a nice running catch that would have been a double with Ibanez/Jones out there. It should be noted Jones made a nice running catch in RF. When Jones gets there he is rock solid, but he just doesn’t seem to get there anymore. Nix also was robbed in a key spot by an excellent running catch by the KC speedster in CF. He also had another running catch later in the game. People overlook the defense, but if the guy doesn’t make one of those plays we probably win the game.
- Man, I am so bummed about Rivera