Monday, October 8, 2012

Game 1 at Baltimore

Before I get to the game, I had written the first two paragraphs below and wanted to send along.

My prediction is the Yanks will win the series against Baltimore.  I do think we probably won't advance beyond this round as I expect Detroit to win and unless our hitters get really hot, I don't think we will beat Detroit...but in a short series anything can happen.People are making a big deal of this playoff format.  The 2-3 format is still an advantage for the team with 3 home games!  If you lost both games on the road then you have to win all 3 at home; it is simple.  Either way that will be the formula and if you win on the road then you can afford to lose one at home?  I think people are making a much bigger deal than it is, although my feeling is that the WC teams should be penalized more and I would go 2-2-1 and if the extra day is something baseball doesn’t want to waste then have the WC team fly immediately to the division winners home and play the day after the wild card game and then do a 2-2-1.  Further, nothing says you need more than one day of travel for the 2-2-1 format?  Just go ahead and give one day in between the 2nd and 3rd game and then if a 5th game is needed there is no travel day.

The Yankee 25 man roster was the same one I would have used.  To me, the only question was Nova or Lowe and I can see taking Lowe.  Nix had to be on the roster just so we had someone who could play defense at 2nd base and SS if we happen to get an injury and Nunez will be in the DH spot with Jones off the roster.

CC Sabathia
Andy Pettitte
Hiroki Kuroda
Phil Hughes

Rafael Soriano
Dave Robertson
Boone Logan
Joba Chamberlain
Clay Rapada
David Phelps
Derek Lowe

Russell Martin
Chris Stewart

Mark Teixeira
Robinson Cano
Derek Jeter
Alex Rodriguez
Eric Chavez
Eduardo Nunez
Jayson Nix

Curtis Granderson
Nick Swisher
Ichiro Suzuki
Raul Ibanez
Brett Gardner

This game was ours from the first inning.  We were hitting the ball hard and CC was hitting spots while they were throwing far more hittable pitches.  The game was only close because of some HORRIBLE base running and some bad luck.

In the first inning after a single and a double the Yanks had an early one nothing lead and Ichiro on 2nd and nobody out.  Ichiro was guilty of stealing 3rd at some non meaningful times during the stretch run and actually was thrown out once but didn’t get called out.  However, you do not try and steal 3rd with nobody out with your best hitters coming up IN THE FIRST INNING.  The first inning is the one where pitchers are trying to find their rhythm, trying to find their feel of their pitches and their location.  You don’t do them extra favors, especially when you are already in scoring position with your speed.  Of course, if they give you the base, you can take it, but this was not the case and this terrible decision ran us out of an inning and it had little upside.  It seemed like it was a planned play because ARod faked a bunt?  I am not sure whether it was planned/called or not, but when Girardi was asked about this and when Tex got thrown out trying to stretch an almost homer into a double after not running hard out of the box, Girardi gave one of his idiotic, useless comments that drive me crazy.  I understand you don’t want to call out Tex for not hustling out of the box and then making it worse by trying to get to 2nd, but instead of discussing the bad timing of the Ichiro play, Girardi just chalked it up to “good aggressive play that we encourage.”  Really, Joe, well if you encouraged and perhaps called for the Ichiro play, then you really are a dunce.

Also, how is it possible Girardi didn't pinch run for Ibanez in the 9th inning?  I was going nuts.  Then, after he does a hit and run with Ibanez, and he is on 3rd base he brings in Nunez?  Are you kidding me?  Girardi was asleep.  What would have happened if Jeter missed the pitch?  Luckily Buck was asleep because he had the 2nd baseman cover instead of the SS with Jeter up (a bad move).

These two plays were the reason why the game was close.  The Tex play also had some bad luck involved as that ball was hit hard enough to go out in most parks and hit right at the top of the wall. 

The Orioles found the holes with their ground balls and we were hitting some line drives at the first baseman and we found ourselves 2-2 after Ichiro hit a grounder right at the 2nd baseman and they threw out Martin at the plate (who got on after a very good AB where he worked a walk.)

Buck made some odd decisions that didn’t hurt him (the 2nd baseman covering did hurt them) and ironically the one decision that made sense to me (bringing in their closer Johnson) backfired in a huge way.  I was surprised Buck allowed Matusz, who is similar to Rapada to face Swisher and Tex in a tie game in the 8th inning.  Swisher took 2 pitches right down the middle (I don’t know what he was thinking) before watching strike 3 (questionable call) and Tex walked.  Grandy struck out taking two good pitches himself before swinging at ball 4 (very bad AB by Granderson).

Martin’s homer in the 9th was great and we got lucky Johnson fell behind and really gave martin another hittable pitch (we had a lot last night) and he came through!  Getting all those extra runs was big because in this park you get a guy or two on and one gapper can be a HR as the power alleys are as short as anywhere.  Martin also made the excellent play in the 5th inning on the dribbler down the first base line.  Martin got rid of the ball quickly and accurately but he bounced the throw and Tex not only made a good play to not let it by him, but he caught it and got a huge out.  This one play could have turned the game around as it could have been 2nd and 3rd with nobody out.

CC did a good job with his location, but his stuff was not very good.  CC was throwing about 91 -92 MPH with his fastball and his change didn’t have great movement along with an average slider that wasn’t too sharp.  He did have good movement on his fastball, sometimes sinking it and along with the good location of his fastball he got by as Baltimore did not swing the bats well.  The location of his change was not too good, but it was effective.

CC was a wily veteran out there and based on how many hard throwers are out there, CC is almost a craft lefty as he only hit 93 a few times.

Every Yankee got on at least once.

Jeter’s error almost cost us big time, but we got out of it.  We were a little too sloppy with 3 “errors” as they were all mental errors (Jeter should have charged his ball and compounded it with a physical error)

Overall, the announcers did a pretty good job…they called pitches and got into the strategy; it is rare that I can say that. 

Getting at least one in Baltimore puts us in the drivers seat in this format!  Great win and an exciting one where their closer gets beat and maybe their late inning confidence is a little shaken. 

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