would have been a painful loss. Yanks had 10 hits and 4 walks to Texas’ 4 hits and 2 walks. In the 9th inning, the game should have been over as Chavez fielded a grounder and weakly threw one to first that Swisher scooped and kept his foot on the bag but the 1st base ump thought he saw him come off and ruled the game ending play safe. Soriano was able to get the final out though and we held on 3-2. We left a lot of opportunities on the table offensively (even though Chavez came through with a big 2 out hit) and Texas did nothing but two well struck homers by Hamilton.
Sometimes I am not sure how Soriano gets the job done, but he does. He has good movement and usually good control, but he seems to get a little lucky as well. He hung a curve to Hamilton that we were very lucky wasn’t a game tying pitch. He is getting the job done, but his stuff is not electric that is for sure. Not trying to be too critical, because movement and location is a huge part of pitching, but he has been a little too inconsistent with those two items for the success he has had in my opinion.
Hamilton’s bat speed is really impressive and the best way to get him out is to throw balls in the dirt and inside of the strike zone, but if you miss you are in trouble as he hits the ball really well if it is a strike.
Chavez’ arm is really weak at 3rd but his glove is excellent. We saw earlier Chavez make a bad play staying back on a ball and then trying to get the force out at 2nd and being late and instead of getting the out at 1st Texas had two men on. His defense is fine though, but his arm is very weak.
Garcia did a nice job hitting spots and mixing up his pitches just enough. His slider had very good movement and he did really well sans the Hamilton pitches which were both poor (even if one didn’t miss by much and was the wrong pitch selection).
On a Nix bunt that he beat out the Rangers 1st baseman (not sure if the 2nd baseman was covering) did the play I don’t understand where both his feet are on the imaginary line to 2nd base instead of stretching toward the catcher who was fielding the bunt. If he did stretch Nix would have been out. I have talked about this dozens of times and in this case the bang bang play was in our favor because of this odd fielding way that most guys perform. It was a huge opportunity for us as we had 1st and 2nd nobody out. Unfortunately, Jeter did a terrible job bunting by dropping the head of the bat below handle and he pooped the ball up into a DP. It could have been a triple play but Ichiro was all over knowing what to do while Jeter was thrown out and Nix was in a run down. He just stayed put with a foot off the bag giving Nix a chance if Texas messed up. They didn’t but Ichiro was still in scoring position. Ironically, because he was in scoring position the line drive Swisher hit up the middle was caught by the SS trying to keep him close, but what can you do?
Also, the Yanks had Ichiro on 1st with 1 out and Nix up. I said to my son the Yanks need to either steal, hit and run or even bunt here (this was my last option). Of course, Girardi had another option and that was allowing Nix to hit into a DP. I didn’t like that option.
Just to show I am not 2nd guessing after the fact (redundant), I would have started Logan in the 7th inning as Garcia had thrown about 90 pitches and he could easily make a mistake and allow a HR. He actually was very sloppy but got his two guys out before Girardi correctly went to Logan (Rapada was not a good choice there as a pinch hitter was likely)
People are making a big deal about Jeter being the it leader now that Melky is suspended for PED’s, but leading off on the Yankees will get you a lot of AB’s especially when you don’t walk so he is doing a little like my issue with Ichiro when he leads off and plays every game and doesn’t walk; you will get a lot of hits if your average is decent. Now a .320 BA is nothing to sneeze at, but it is more a tribute to being healthy, leading off and getting hits, not really a very important stat outside of being healthy. Just another reason why OPS tells you a lot more…even if OBP is more important out of the lead off position than it is in the middle of the lineup. At .361, that is a solid OBP for Jeter and I surely could not ask for anything more from him (although I would like him to get a bunt down J)
Chavez now has an OPS of .909
With King Felix pitching a perfect game against TB, the Yanks now have a 6 game lead over Baltimore and 7 over TB. Baltimore is hanging in there, but their run differential says they should not be in this race.