This was a poorly umpired game. We got hurt on about 5 pitches including one to ARod that was absurd. Oakland only had a real gripe on one of the calls against them. We also got a terrible call at first base where the guy couldn’t have been closer than 2 feet from the first base bag when Swisher caught the ball and they called him safe.
This game was lost by Kuroda (with help from the umps and Nunez) though. Kuroda was not sharp again and had little command of all of his pitches. Occasionally he made a good one, but the slider backed up many times, his forkball was not in the zone long enough to get swings at it and his fastball was not consistent (or as fast) as it has been.
With the score tied at 4 in the top of the 6th (Kuroda had just allowed a run in the 5th), Nunez struck again with his 2nd error of the game. Folks, he simply can’t play defense…maybe he can learn it, but as I said previously, I just don’t see the mechanics of even an average SS, which I would be thrilled with. He has the athleticism, but he is a mess and you can’t have him play defense unless it is an emergency. Anyway, Kuroda got the first two guys to ground out but they had a runner on 2nd and 1 out thanks to Nunez. After getting a fly out, Pennington lined a 2 out 2 strike single to LF and we couldn’t come back.
Jeter, who will have to play SS at some point because Nunez can’t, has had a few struggles in key spots the last week. He has left a runner in scoring position and 2 outs numerous times. The entire team is struggling, but even Jeter has an OPS of .730 and a batting average of only .273 in late and close situations. I use the batting average in that spot only because sometimes a single is almost as important as a double.
I looked up some of the “clutch” stats on players and one that was odd was ARod’s. With 2 outs and RISP he has been awful (.514 OPS only 42 AB’s), but his late and close numbers (defined as 7th inning or later AB’s with the batting team tied, ahead by one, or the tying run on deck) he has an OPS of .881 and a .321 batting average…he also is very good in high leverage situations (basically pivotal points in games).
Just repeating what I have said many times that many of my readers still disagree with me on…while there is little validity to clutch ability (meaning the ability to consistently raise your level of play at critical times), there are clutch performances (getting an important hit). ARod has been the poster child of “unclutch” hitting and Jeter is the definition of clutch for some people (on baseball-reference it says Jeter is also known as “Mr. November or Captain Clutch”)
Take a look at the below
Career OPS Numbers: 2 out RISP Late and Close High Leverage Post Season
ARod = .860 .899 .965 .884
Jeter = .834 .791 .824 .839
Note: ARod is a better hitter than Jeter so you could expect him to be better in all of the categories, as he is. However, most of the people on the ARod is a choker band wagon would always say they would rather Jeter up instead of ARod…and that is simply wrong.
Note 2: I want to also point out that while I may seem more critical than most on Jeter, I think Jeter is 100% class and is and should be the poster child for every young baseball player to emulate. I tend to take the counter point of the opinions of people, who because Jeter is a great guy, give a bias toward Jeter’s legend because they want it to grow. I also think (I am sure about this) when people like someone, they overlook when something goes wrong and when it goes well they inflate it. Of course, the counter to that is when they don’t like someone and something goes wrong, they get into the “there is so and so choking again mode.”
Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.
Baltimore lost and Texas won