Wednesday, December 18, 2013



Since Cano left the Yankees appear to be trying to “save face.”  Unfortunately, they have continued to react and not set out the plan of attack that they wanted. 

Beltran has been good the last few years (and his career).  He played the OF the last two years and played a lot of games (over 600 plate appearances each year with a combined OPS of .837).  Beltran will be 37 in April so the Yanks have gone old again, but he can play some DH to keep him fresh.  I would not have been in favor of spending this money on Beltran, but once Cano was gone it is not a bad move; I just think we are spending the money that could have gone to Cano (remember, my issue is not that I would have wanted to pay Cano what Seattle did…in fact I heard Cano would have taken 5 mil or so less to stay here and I would not have done that either – my issue was that we should have locked Cano up before he became a free agent and I am 100% sure we could have gotten him for MUCH less.  Remember that there were some slumps a year or so ago when I said they should speak to him now and sign him when he was struggling).  Beltran is the type of hitter who can hit good pitching (not a phrase I use often) and I only bring that up because mistake hitters feed off poor pitching and come playoff time they usually see less poor pitches to hit.  Please keep in mind this is not saying he is clutch (I have discussed this numerous times), I am just saying he is a hitter that is not overpowered by fastballs or has to cheat too much for plate coverage.  Of course, as he ages his skills are eroding.  But 45 mil for 3 years is more than Pedroia is getting (I won’t keep harping on this) and we are getting him at 37, 38 and 39 years of age.  He will help us but at 15 mil a year for 3 years, I would want more help.  It also highlights what I said last year; the wasted money on Ichiro (6.5 mil) and Wells (2.4 mil).  Ichiro is an OK backup OF’r, but at 6.5 mil I would want more…or at least a specialist at something.  His defense is still above average, but clearly not great. 

So my message has been about spending the money wisely.  So again, let me give some comparisons.  The O’s signed Grant Balfour to a 2 year 15 mil dollar deal.   Because of the bad deals we made last year we have 8.9 mil a year for Wells and Ichiro…would you rather have wells and Ichiro or a solid closer who has had around a 2.45 ERA the last 4 years and the last 2 years as a closer has saved 92% of his games?  I am not such a huge fan of Balfour (I believe we actually hit him), but my point is who would you rather have?  The answer is pretty clear.

The Yanks just signed Matt Thornton (2 years at 3.5 per year) and Brian Roberts (1 year at 2 mil).  These are pretty low level signings (which can add up), but these will help us.  Thornton used to be very good, but he still is effective and is kind of like Logan, although not as good overall (Boone had his best year last year), but a little better against lefties.  Boone is 5 or so year’s younger but for 2 years the signing is fine.  Boone got a 3 year deal that averages 5.5 a year as a comp.   All the money is a bit crazy so the comps keep it in perspective (for at least me).   Roberts is a good one year deal because he can hit lefties pretty well (.800 OPS) and he may platoon with lefty Dean Anna (27) who is a guy the Yanks picked up as part of a trade with SD who couldn’t keep him on their 40 man roster.  This is a deal that could be an excellent one.  He had very good stats in the minors last year (.929 OPS against righties but in the hitting friendly Pacific Coast League), but has been a career minor leaguer.  I have no idea about his defense, but this deal is one that appears to be a good one.

While on 2nd base, I was not in favor of the Gardner for Brandon Phillips trade straight up.  Phillips is a stellar defender which I like, but his offense is suspect (OPS of .706 last year but a career .749).  He is 32 and is signed for a reasonable 12.5 mil a year for the next 4).  It would not have been a bad deal considering what has already been done (I think the Yankee would have been better off not signing Ellsbury to such a long deal and try to lock up Gardner before he is a free agent), but I was fine holding Gardner as insurance for Ellsbury getting injured.  Basically, we decided to get Beltran and not get Phillips because we didn’t have to give up a player to get Beltran.

The Yanks are going for the Japanese pitcher Tanaka…it makes sense if he is as good as people say he is.   Hopefully Pineda is back (critical for us), but Tanaka would help a lot as CC performed like a 5th starter last year.  Hopefully it was an aberration year, but the loss of velocity is a huge concern.  If his velocity were the same and he just got hammered for a bad year I would feel much better.  But, honestly, last year, he simply had mediocre stuff. 

One final note as an ex catcher I must speak to…and that is the new rules they want to implement regarding collisions.  I have written a few times over the years wondering why catchers are allowed to get run over.  I am glad they are looking at it (it takes a star to get hurt before they wake up), but I think the rules should just be the same for all bases.  That is, no defender can block the path of a runner going into any base.  They must be allowed to slide into a base safely, you can only block the path with the ball either in the hand or in the glove.  This solves the issue.  Catchers must leave the back part of the plate for a runner as an example.  The next logical discussion will be runners breaking up DP’s and how they can’t interfere with fielders unless a slide into the base and slightly over base.  With instant replay becoming a larger part of baseball, the “area” play where the SS or 2nd baseman leave the base a little early should be enforced.

Tanaka next

Friday, December 6, 2013

The new signings!

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!  I know it has been awhile, but …let’s get at it!
I hate the Ellsbury signing!  The Yankees have blown it!  They simply don’t understand what value means and they waste so much money and then still want to get under 189?   I do understand the "want" to get under $189 BTW.

The Ellsbury contract is basically a 7 year deal at 153 mil (21.86/year because of 5 mil buyout) or 8 years at $169 mil ($21.13/yr).  This allows us to get Ellsbury for 16 mil the last year if the Yanks want to.
I think they were smart to hold the dollar amount on Cano to 25 mil a year for 7 years.  I would have held at 6 years because I am not so sure who is giving out that type of coin, but I am ok 7 because he is your main guy and making him a Yankee for life has some value.  He has a chance to go down as the greatest 2nd baseman of all time…and will be up there.  BUT, how do you tell a proven elite player, that is yours, that you don’t want to go more than 25 and then you go give 22 mil a year for Jacoby Ellsbury?  WHAT?   JE is a very good player; in fact he is a slightly rich man’s version of Gardner who I think is very valuable, but 22 mil and at 7 years?  NO WAY!  Who was going to give him even close to that amount?  Who were the Yanks bidding against?  This is the same stupidity they did with ARod when they gave the 3 final years when they didn’t need to; 7 years would have gotten it done.  In this case 5 at 100 seemed more than enough to get it done; the Yanks just needed to be patient. 

Now how do you go back to Cano and say you are only worth 3 mil more than a guy who has had some injuries and his game is predicated on speed?  HORRIBLE decision and a much bigger risk than Cano.  Now the Yanks will sign Kelly Johnson for 3-4 mil so they chose Ellsbury and Johnson instead of Cano?  Johnson is an OK guy but not a difference maker.  Again, Ellsbury is a very good player, but his speed will be diminished 5 years from now and you have an albatross contract once again at the end.   I hope we can sign Cano, but I think this contract makes it highly unlikely and if nothing else hurts your bargaining situation.

Let me put into perspective why Boston just won the WS and we are acting like a desperate franchise.   Boston signed Pedrioa to a 6 year extension that starts in 2016 for a whopping $14.2 mil a year.  Yeah, 14.2 mil a year.   Ellsbury is a pretty similar worth to Pedroia when Jacoby is healthy.   Cano is a little better than Pedroia.  The Yanks should have kept Cano (and they would have), I mean would he really go to Seattle for a few more mil a year…no way, he wants to win and I would be surprised Seattle would give him some 8 year deal worth much more than the yanks anyway. 

Ellsbury had a career year in 2011 where he was truly elite.  He had a .928 OPS to go along with his speed.  He hit 32 HR’s that year but never hit more than 9 before or after (kind of strange).  He had injured years in 2010 and 2012 that were bad, but overall his career numbers show an OPS of .789 with adjusting for his SB’s he gets another 50 points for SB’s which puts him at an OPS of .840.   (this is pretty similar to what he did last year so that is a good expectation.  He is fast but not an elite defender, perhaps similar to Gardner in CF but probably slightly worse. (Gardner played elite in LF and was starting to play really well in CF)

The Yanks also signed McCann who is another huge risk.  Nothing is guaranteed, but the Yanks just shot their money on two risks.   Ellsbury is a low to mid .800 OPS guy and a good defender who has to stay healthy and McCann is a guy who is showing signs of slowing down from catching a lot.  I love offensive catchers and if he can come back to be a good hitter the risk will pay off, but again it is a risk because in 2012 he had the least amount of AB’s he has had since his rookie year to only have even less in 2013.  His career OPS is .823 (which is really good for a catcher), but his last 2 years were .698 and .796 respectively.  Now, we could look at all of this and say that the .698 was an aberration because it was only one bad year.  However, one thing really concerns me, and it is not that he was 0-13 in the playoffs last year.  It is that the 2nd half of last year his OPS was .680 and this is showing a little bit of breakdown over the past 2 years.  He also had an OPS of .858 at home and .740 on the road.  He is a big pull hitter so the short porch can help, but we better make sure we can offset the lefties out of the pen because most teams have 2-3 lefties in the pen (only we don’t) and in key AB’s lefties will be used.  His career OPS is just over 100 points higher against righties (.857-.744).

All in all, I think the Yanks messed up and far overpaid for Ellsbury.  The McCann contract was a lot as well, but our catching situation was terrible and now while risky should be at least average and could be very good.  17 mil was on the higher side, but I do think that was around where they needed to be to sign him.   I don’t love the signing but at least it makes some sense.  Ellsbury was just as risky but committed more money and overpaid for the risk…bad decision.

Now, let’s hope we get lucky with these…of course it could work out for a few years but I bet the last 2 years will probably going to be ugly.

Moving forward, I want to discuss some of the thoughts I had regarding the moves we made last year.  My main issues with the Wells and Ichiro signings had to do with the payments for the years but just as important; the road block for young guys to come up and contribute.  It is pathetic that in a year like last year we once again didn’t develop anyone!  This is a critical point as you never get a chance to see if the young talent can contribute and thus contribute cheaply.  It is fine if the older and costlier players are producing, but we didn’t get much, nor should have we expected much.  The big picture showed:

Ichiro – .660 ops and good defense for 6.5 mil for 2 years

Wells - .631 OPS for 11.5 mil (Yanks cost)  and 2.4 this year.  We are giving Wells 2.4 mil and my issue is that if you take both their salaries this year, for 9 mil. you could get a good player that can help.  Shoot, Pedroia was only 14 mil so if we don’t spend 5 mil on mediocre players a few more times you get a star.  Like I have said over and over on this blog, the yanks should go spend the money on the truly elite players and then fill in with young rookies/inexpensive people and then when making a run you see what is needed and you get a “Soriano” as needed.  BTW, Soriano costs us 5 mil this year as the Cubs pay 13 mil of his 18 mil this year.  Even if Soriano was not as hot as he was for us and he gave us his career numbers (.825 OPS) that makes more sense to fill in as needed.  I am not in love with his type of offense (not working walks and swinging at everything, but at least he can be productive.

Just going back to Ichiro…and the signing for 6.5 million a year for 2 years.  Last year I used the example of Chris Dickerson as someone we could have had for league minimum (400k) and he would do what Ichiro did.  Ichiro ended up with an adjusted OPS of .660 when you take SB’s into account.  Dickerson who didn’t get many AB’s finished with an OPS of .666 so they were pretty darn similar.  Of course, part of my argument was that a younger player (even younger than Dickerson) who is given a shot to play all the time could get better (in truth, they could get worse as well as they could get exposed as well).  The other part is what you could do with the 6 mil in savings as noted above?

Needless to say I am disappointed because I don’t think we get Cano now because of the Ellsbury signing.  If he can stay healthy he will help us, but I think we will at best get our monies worth if all goes perfectly and the odds are we will have yet again overspent needlessly.

Friday, September 13, 2013


We won and that is all that matters but this win didn’t gain too much for us as everyone who played won except of course Baltimore.  Texas and KC were idle.  It was huge to come back and win the last 3 games against Baltimore but Gardner being hurt is an issue as he is probably our 3rd most important position player (Behind Cano and ARod).  He had a twinge in his oblique and that can be an issue in baseball (has sidelined Joba and Nunez for over a month).  Hopefully they can shoot him up and keep him in the game…even if just a defensive replacement and pinch runner.

Some notes:

  • I was extremely pleased that Girardi recognized the righty lefty advantage that was discussed here and had the short leash on Hughes and I thought he took him out at the perfect time.  I also thought he did a good job with Huff as well.  Good job to change your “way” Girardi!
  • Both Huff and Hughes did their jobs allowing 2 runs in 6 innings of work (no walks).  Hughes was missing his spots like crazy, but he did have a little pop in his fastball.  Huff had a good changeup, which he used well
  • Unfortunately, Robertson was awful.  He was grooving fastballs with little movement and for some reason Stewart was not calling for breaking balls?  If you remember I mentioned Valencia being a first pitch swinger and a good fastball hitter.  Of course, Stewart called for a fastball and Robertson grooved it for a 3 run tying HR.  It was a brutal blow and it could have possibly been avoided if Stewart and Roberston used his good curve ball.  Later on they used the curve and got out of the inning. 
  • It was good to see our new SS (Ryan) contribute with the leadoff hit in the 9th.  After Baltimore messed up the sac attempt, Granderson bunted and they threw a wild pitch Baltimore walked Arod setting up 1st and 3rd with one out and Soriano grounded into what could have been a huge DP with a 2-0 count on him.  I thought he would beat it out but he didn't get down the line well.  Speaking of running, ARod is playing with a bad leg as you saw him literally jog to 3rd on a double. 
  • Stewart throws great but he had a bad game calling pitches and receiving/blocking last night.
  • The Genius Maker spotted his pitches pretty well and retired 3 straight batters (in his 3rd straight game of work) and picked up the win!  I was actually disappointed he picked up the win as I wanted him to get the save but the official scorer felt Robertson didn’t deserve the win pitching so poorly.  C’mon, throw Rivera another save please???  After the DP by Soriano I was concerned but Mo came through.
  • Now 3 in Boston before we get a day off and go to Toronto

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Somehow, only one out

Wow, one out!  The last 2 games against Baltimore were huge and tonight is no different.  Many of the teams are playing each other and control their own destiny down the stretch so any good wining streak can put any team in great shape.  Tonight’s game is very big and of course the Tampa games are as well…that being said, every game is big as the standings flip flop quickly as bunched up as they are.  Tampa has won only 4 of their last 20 or so and Texas is 2-8 in their last 10 so they are opening the door for us...and others.

The Yanks have shown very good comeback ability of late and it has been fueled mostly by the HR.  Last night was no different as Granderson closed a 3-1 gap to 3-2, then ARod tied up with a nice opposite field HR in the 6th and then in the top of the 9th Cano gave the Yankees the lead.  While the HR’s were key the Yanks did play some small ball.  Gardner got the Yanks started by walking, stealing 2nd, and then he moved to 3rd on an ARod ground ball and scored on a Cano GB.  Then the huge insurance run in the 9th occurred after Granderson tripled on a ball that was somewhat misplayed by Adam Jones.  Reynolds struck out and against the lefty, Girardi had to leave Overbay in their because you wanted to have your best defensive player in the field with a lead  and Lyle delivered with a ground ball infield single with 2 outs.  Obviously with Overbay running the ball had to be placed well and he definitely beat the throw but it was a long play…and a crucial one, especially in such a small park.

Rivera let up another run with 2 outs (seems to be struggling closing some of these out), but some credit needed to go to the Baltimore hitters, specifically Roberts, but also McClouth (who drove an outside pitch to deep center that would have been caught but Gardner was correctly positioned very shallow to give maximum chance for an out).  The Roberts AB was interesting as Rivera worked both sides of the plate but Roberts seemed to protect both sides well.  Rivera could get strikes on Roberts buy coming inside and having him pull them foul, but finishing him off was the hard part.  After a discussion, Stewart and Mo decided to come up and in on Roberts and Rivera nailed the glove perfectly, but Roberts got on top of the pitch and hit a single to RF to cut the lead to one.  Rivera did close it out by striking out Machado on a high inside cutter.  The Genius Maker also got a possible break on a call to Machado but it was close…might have been low but it crossed the plate.

Some other notes:

  • I said this last year and again this year (not sure if I said it in the blog this year), but I like ARod in the 2 hole.  He can hit to all fields, can take pitches to allow Gardner to steal and ARod gets on base (.383 OBP tied for team lead with Cano).  In fact ARod’s OPS is .896 and Cano’s is .899 to easily lead the team (Soriano 3rd with an .827…low because of his bad .298 OBP).
  • Gardner does not seem to be running as well as usual.  In his SB in the 1st, he got a decent jump and the pitch was a breaking ball in the dirt and while the throw was very quick, strong and accurate, usually on a breaking ball Gardner is easily safe and he was barely safe.  He used to get weak jumps and beat throws.
  • Stewart has not been calling great games lately IMO (the pitchers sometimes shake him off and have something to do with it as well) and we know he is not a good hitter, but he can throw with the best of them.  His last 3-4 throws have been excellent.  Great release, good strength on the throws as well and pretty good accuracy.  Yesterday he made another great throw.  That is clearly his strength.
  • I think shutting Jeter down will help the team.  His defense has been below average before the injury and with the injury he was as much a liability defensively as Nunez.  Further, Jeter was swinging awful and Girardi kept putting him up in the 2 hole and it was killing us.  His .190 BA and .542 OPS speak volumes.  I said this before and I still think it is true, Jeter should be playing 3rd base next year as he simply is not good enough to play SS and the Yanks are going to need to have that conversation with him. ARod could DH and play some 3rd base and or 1st.  Jeter is 39 and in June next year he will be 40…no shame in getting off of SS.
  • I like the pickup up of Brendan Ryan.  The Yanks needed a good fielding SS and you can see the range and the quicker hands and crisp arm he has.  He did miss a play he could have gotten in the hole, but the ball was hit very hard and you can see a guy who can play some very good SS and the Yanks need that desperately.  He can’t hit well, but I think you will see him start and get pinch hit for if needed, or we play Nunez and bring him in with a lead.  I
  • It is a shame, but the same things written here about Nunez still hold true, he simply is not good defensively and while he has been swinging better of late, his overall stick does not come close to making up for his defensive shortcomings.  For the year Nunez has an OPS of .666…but for the month of September (27 AB’s he is has an OPS of .935.  He should be used as a pinch runner and a pinch hitter.
  • Switching to the Girardi/Showalter spat…Girardi was foolish…stealing signs is not something to get mad at unless the batter is trying to look into the catchers signs when he is up.  Girardi should have shut up and not made an issue of it and instead change his signs.  Barking at the 3rd base coach was not his place IMO.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

9-5 and 9-6 game

Thursday night.  

It was a great comeback and heartbreaking to see Mo blow the save with 2 outs and 2 strikes on the batter, but a few things went wrong.  1) After the single, Boston pinch runs with their blazing guy.  We do nothing but throw our pitch???  No throw over, no pitch out, we just let him run and while I think Romine gives us the best chance to win IMO, he does not throw as well as Stewart (who made an outstanding throw the other day that Cano whiffed on).   Romine threw the ball into the dirt and Jeter couldn’t handle it and the runner went to 3rd.  Then Rivera allowed the tying single.  It really let the win out of our sails, but the game was still tied. 

We still had a chance in the bottom of the 9th as Soriano walked, but got picked off however he beat the throw to 2nd when the first baseman dropped the ball.  After that break Soriano got picked off trying to steal 3rd to erase himself.  At the time, Michael Kay said that it was inexcusable to get picked off there because he was already in scoring position.  He was not fully correct as stealing 3rd with one out is a good idea if you can catch the other team napping.  However, we were running all game (very aggressively) and after just getting picked off of first, they were not sleeping at this point, in fact they were more aware than normal.  THIS is why it was the wrong time to go. 

In the 10th we had a chance to throw the runner out at home, but Ichiro did his extra hop and then didn’t reach home.  It was not a good throw, especially after taking an extra hop to get it home.  Even after the hop if he made the throw home he would have been out, but he didn’t.  That throw should have been made and it cost us.  He didn’t take as long as he does sometimes, but he still took the extra hop which made it a tough play for Romine who might have been able to come up and catch it on the fly and then dive to the play or taken the chance on the in between hop and stayed back…it was tough play on a catcher.   

Friday Night

8-3 lead going to the top of the 6th on some good hitting.  However, I am so tired of us making outs on the base paths.  Wells easily scored on a single to RF as the OF’r backed up to field the ball and Nunez who was on first gets easily thrown out at 3rd (to the point Nunez stopped and said I give up) when the ball was cut off.  We do this all the time (I know e have done this at least 10 times this year) and it is not necessary.  Believe me; if the other team thinks they can throw the guy out at home, they won’t cut the ball off.  You think, it is ok because we are up (I think it was 6-3 at the time), but instead of 2 guys on and 2 outs the inning is over.  You can’t give up opportunities like that

Moving to the possible season ending 7th/8th inning where we allowed 9 runs (lucky Tampa has been awful).  I am not a fan of Hughes (as you all know) but he was a little unlucky (even though he had nothing on his pitches).  The first batter hit a mildly hard line drive to Nunez that he allowed the ball to eat him up.  If he charges that, he gets it on a nice short hop fro an easy play.  Nunez simply is bad at SS and while he has improved, he has improved to bad…from atrocious.  The Hughes allowed a single up the middle.  With one out and carp coming in as a pinch hitter here is where Girardi screwed up the game.  I have no idea why he would let Hughes stay in the game here?  The guy who has been bad all year or the lefty (Logan) who has been pretty good all year?  Joe leaves Hughes in and Hughes who has no put away pitch walks the lefty Carp.  That being said, Hughes should have struck out Carp as he got a strike call earlier in the AB against Carp that was farther outside than the one he called for a ball.  Hughes did catch a break on that call, but the ump can’t keep going back and forth on calls.  Of course, Joe West was also the same guy who blew the Joba check swing call the previous night that was a huge killer for us.  Either way, this was a terrible decision by Joe to leave Hughes in there against the lefty.  Hughes than allowed an infield hit to Pedroia that should have been an out…Arod threw low to Reynolds and Reynolds, who has played very well couldn’t scoop a fairly easy scoop…even if it was ARod’s low throw to be blamed.  Now with bases loaded and 1 out Logan is summoned against big Papi.  In a great AB, Logan froze Ortiz on a curve ball on 3-2.  Now Napoli was up.  On 3-2 Napoli hit a fly ball to RF that Ichiro cruised after instead of running to the fence and tried to time his leap for a ball that was over the fence and Ichiro never really reached the fence.  He really misplayed this.  Interestingly, Girardi put Ichiro in for his defense over Wells (honestly not such a big difference there and I was surprised when I saw it) and perhaps the 2 inch taller Wells might have caught the ball?  Ironically, I heard many people say that the ball Granderson could not catch the other day would have been caught by Ichiro.  The grandy play was a lot harder than this one as the ball was hit much harder and required a lot of speed to get to the spot.    Either way, we made neither play and we are on life support.

The game was still tied after the grand slam, but the Yanks were done.  Claiborne didn’t pitch well and Joba continued that poor pitching to lose 12-8.

BTW, the Boston players all look horrendous with those beards…I actually am glad we can’t grow beards because that is embarrassing (even if they are a better team than us). 

Thursday, September 5, 2013


Tuesday’s Game

Wells made a series of good base running plays That allowed him to score a run on a great double steal.  The first was by running hard out of the box on a bloop hit he allowed himself to be in a position to get to 2nd on the bobbled ball.  He ran hard around first, then paused momentarily before he saw the kicked ball and then took off toward 2nd and made it safely.  If he jogs out of the box he can’t do that or would try and be thrown out (the way Soriano did a few weeks ago).  Then on a ball his to 3rd, he slightly shielded the fielder from getting a clean play on the ball resulting in an error.  He finally scored a run by timing his leave on the double steal perfectly! 

This game was a classic example of how important it is to work the count all game long and why I am always bringing up the guys who swing so early in the count consistently and help the pitcher as well swinging at balls.  ARod has been a classic example since he came back into the lineup as someone seeing a lot of pitches and making the pitcher work.  On Tuesday ARod saw 22 pitches by himself and as a comp Jeter and Cano each saw 11.  mark Reynolds who had a bad day at the plate at least saw 20 pitches.  This was critical because we were able to get Sale out of the game just in time to do damage on the bullpen.  I don’t think people realize the importance of this as getting to the weaker middle relief or just getting a really good starter out is a huge part of the game.  It is not a coincidence we put up 4 hits against only 2 outs when Sale was taken out of the 8th inning (and scored 5 runs).  Rivera had good movement and control in closing the game out for his league record tying 9th 40th save season (tied with Hoffman who is the only player even in a discussion about the top closer ever).

Wednesday’s Game

I thought CC looked bad all game.  After 7 innings, we were up 6-1, I said to my brother CC is lucky he is facing a team not swinging the bats well because he couldn’t hit any spots, had very little command and his stuff was weak.  He was very lucky to only have allowed one run in 7 innings and Girardi made the mistake of even letting him start the 8th.  Two righties were leading off the inning and he should have either let a righty out of the pen start against them or turned it right to Robertson at that point.  A manager needs to see what is really going on and CC’s over results were good, but he was anything but sharp as he had walked 4 batters, he was throwing 91 almost all night, his curve was loopy and none of his pitches were controlled well.  If Chicago didn’t swing at a ton of balls, CC would have been knocked out.  CC was at 100 pitches and should have been out of the game!  As it turned out, it was almost disastrous, because Robertson was bad allowing 4 straight batters to get on…but all was saved because of the Genius Maker…who not only saved the game but saved Girardi from a lot of 2nd guessing…and thus earned his name The Genius Maker tonight with his first 4 out save since 2011.   This was a very tough save as well.  The batter he struck out to end the 8th inning was one of the best pitches you will ever see.  3-2 count after throwing mostly inside and he paints the outer lower corner for a perfect strike.  It was so good that his cutter caught the back corner of the plate just barely skimming it from the OHD view.  Usually slightly off the plate they give that call so this was without question a strike as it was at the knee caps.  Vintage Mo!

BTW, I don’t give much hope Mo will return next year.  I think he wants to go out pitching well and the season was already a success for him so I think he goes out the best ever and doesn’t tarnish anything.

Tampa won and Oakland won so we didn’t pick up any ground, although because Oakland won, Texas is now tied with them and they are only a half game up on Tampa so it is possible one of them could be caught as well.  Boston scored 20 runs last night so hopefully they used up their runs…although it usually doesn’t work that way.

I have the wild card standing on the right side of this sheet.  I view our schedule like this:
Take 4 of 7 from Boston
Take 3 of 4 from Baltimore
Take 7 of 9 from Toronto (3- Batista is out), Houston (3) and SF (3)
Take 2 of 3 from Tampa (critical)
This gives us 16 wins and 7 losses in the remaining games and gives us 91 wins.  I think this gets us in.  of course it depends on what the others do, but if we do the above the only way we won't win is if Tampa plays really well outside of our games and both Texas and Oakland both need to play pretty well.  Again, if we do the above we have an excellent chance.  Then again, doing the above is clearly less likely than likely, but at least we have something to root for.  Based on how our pitching is going lately I am not confident we can do the above, however, other teams are not that strong either...

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


Chicago’s defense is awful. Yes, you read this blog for such type of great analysis...

Cano’s play on the popup over his shoulder was sick, but the immediate turn and throw made it Willie Mays like.  With his lack of hustle running out balls can be frustrating, he is such a good player.

Romine continues to show that he should be the starter and Stewart should be the backup.  His calling of the game has been very good of late.  Even when catching Mo, he moved back and forth at the right times.  I am curious to keep watching if that continues.  Obviously he has been swinging a pretty hot bat since the All Star Break.  In 47 AB’s his OPS is .929!  (.340/.418/.511)    Romine needs to play a lot more while he is hot and Girardi has only started him 2 of the last 6 games.  Romine had the game breaking hit yesterday and in the month of August (33 AB’s) he is hitting .400.  His defense is not as good as Stewart, but Romine is fine defensively and Stewart has not been playing his best (he may be tiring out as well because he is not used to playing this much (92 games is almost 40% more than any full year he has had).

Last year in the playoffs I mentioned a strategy that I am surprised is not used more against heavy platoon teams; it is to start a pitcher and let him go until the first sign of any trouble (that could be one guy on or maybe 2) and then switch to a pitcher of the other hand and either make the other team switch over and lose a lot of depth the rest of the game or enjoy good matchups.  In last night’s game this happened.  Girardi probably didn’t plan it but the rain delay allowed it to happen and it worked great.  Huff has been good, but his stuff is pedestrian.  The one thing he has done is throw strikes and he did a pretty good job of spotting his pitches.  He would still scare me in a big spot though.  Either way, great job today.

BTW, the other idea I floated a few years ago was to get your specialists (LOOGY and righty specialist) to learn to play the OF (they do shag flies a lot).   Then get your specialists to rotate RF and the pitching mound in key spots late in the game.  If the opposing manager made a move just swap the guys and your matchups outweigh the negative in the field.  I think it could work better if the guys are athletes as well.  Meaning you can’t CC play the OF, but you could have a guy in shape like Robertson and some lefty specialist who is in shape do it.  I am surprised this has not happened or isn’t used more?

Monday, September 2, 2013

Add on to yesterday's post...

One more note on the 7th inning that may sum up what I was trying to say better...Going into the 7th, at the time, I said to myself I would bring in Kelley to face the two righties and then go to Robertson/Rivera.  In 20/20 hindsight I think the correct move would have been just to go to Robertson right there, but I am letting you know what my thoughts were at the time.  The one other option that could have been in the mix was letting Pettitte go out there until ONE guy got on, but then the move is directly to Robertson.  Unfortunately for us, Girardi did none of these options and the results were a huge swing in the standings.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

9-1-13 OUCH

Tough loss.  I am sure Girardi will get crucified and while he deserves some criticism, he had the right idea, he just wasn’t smart enough to do the right thing.  Pettitte started to struggle in the 6th as he seemed to have lost the feel for his cutter that was really moving great all game.  It was the most he has thrown inside in some time.  3-0 going into the 7th, I was thinking he should probably come out, but with a 3-0 lead, I understand leaving him in to start the inning as his pitch count was fine.  In fact, taking him out would have probably been a surprise to most?  However, if after 2 batters you would take him out, then you already realize he was showing signs of losing it…and that is your job as a manager; to put your team in the best position to win.  With two righties (Morse and Valencia) who platoon and hit righties poorly but lefties well, this was the time to make a move.   My inning would have been Kelley to face the two righties (keep in mind Kelley has been struggling a little of late as his slider has not been as sharp but he is good against righties and if nothing else you force the Orioles to go to their bench and then you still have 3 lefties (with the rookie lefty called up).  That is what I would have done so at least my pitchers were matched up well.  Girardi hooked Pettitte 2 batters too late, but even one batter earlier could have changed the complexion.  As it turned out Girardi made the curious move of bringing in Kelley to face the switch hitting Weiters (who does hit lefties better).    My main concern was with a 3 run lead and two guys on; I would have felt better with a righty up.  That being said, it turned out to be the righty hardy who barely got the ball out bouncing off of I believe the heal of the glove from Granderson who almost made a great play. 

I can’t kill Girardi for that, but I would have made the move earlier and at the start of the inning.  Because the bullpen did so poorly it might not have mattered.  But, at this point when playing Baltimore or TB you have to find a way to win these games and if Rivera and Robertson have to go 1.2 and 1.1 innings then you do it.  I thought at the time bring in Kelley for the two righties and see what is going on and if needed Robertson pitches to Weiters, hopefully with at least one out...but if there are two outs I let Kelley go if he is looking good. 

The bottom line to me is that with 9 outs to go and you know Mo can go 1.1, 1.2 if needed (shoot he may only have 27 games left in his career) and Robertson surely can go 1.1 and 1.2, you simply can't lose a 3-0 lead and have neither in the game!


BTW, Vernon Wells is hitting lefties well this year, but he infuriates me…I can’t believe we took on his 13 mil for 2 years.  I said I didn’t like it (and took heat when he was doing well) and when I found out it didn’t hit the cap for 2014 I felt it was a little better as we were desperate, but man, another veteran we are WAY overpaying.  At least Girardi only plays him against lefties now.

Also, Jeter looks awful at the plate.  They have to seriously look to lower him in the lineup as he is killing us.  He is hitting .167 with an OBP of .234 and a slug of .262…you can’t keep him at the top of the order!  He looks really bad.  We don’t have time for him to work through it…lower him now as his OPS is .576!

The offense should have scored a lot more against a pitcher who no control…very poor job!

Cano played poorly as well and he jogged down to first again on a ball that was bobbled…I doubt he would have been safe but who knows?  0-5 for Cano and he took strike 3 twice.

ARod had a lot of life today.  I loved the play where he turned two and Reynolds made an excellent backhanded scoop.  Reynolds made a nice play yesterday as well and has played well in the field.

Need to keep playing at least win 2 of 3 ball.  This one hurt, but you must bounce back!


Ok, things will get really interesting with a sweep today.

Both pitchers really threw the ball well yesterday.  They each had good movement and good location all day.  Feldman was able to hit the outside corner to righties much better than Nova (it was a generous corner IMO), but Nova’s stuff is better and his curve was outstanding and Nova ran his fastball in to righties and away from lefties very well all day.  Feldman mixed speeds a lot and location as well and did a good job.  It was one of the better pitched games I have seen this year from both sides.

Offensively, Gardner and Cano supplied the offense, but the Yanks could have had more if Jeter didn’t kill the rallies with 2 DP’s in big spots.

Girardi had a choice as to pitch Nova in the 9th with the score 1-0 going into the bottom of the 8th, but after Cano hit a solo bullet for an additional run, it made the decision easier to bring Nova out.  As much as I want Rivera getting saves, I would have let Nova pitch the 9th even if it were a 1-0 lead.  He was in command and I felt it was his game…and he didn’t disappoint with a gem of a game, pitching a shutout and allowing only 3 singles and a walk (he threw 104 pitches).  There were two key AB’s for Nova in this game.  The first was in the 8th inning (1-0 at the time) when Nova walked his first batter on a 9 pitch AB on 3-2.  It was interesting to see how he responded as the pitch just missed low.  After throwing a ball, he threw his two seam fastball going away from Betemit (lefty) and he grounded a hard shot to Jeter’s right and he slightly overran it but made a good play to Cano who flipped the DP.  Then in the 9th after a single/error that went off Nova’s glove and he couldn’t find it right away and then threw wide, Nova faced Chris Davis with one out.  Nova started the leading HR hitter with a fastball away for a strike, then spun a curve ball that stayed outside (thankfully), before throwing a good curve that Davis swung in the dirt (as he had done a few times previously).  After showing the fastball again for a ball, everyone knew the curve was coming and Nova threw a good one that was slightly higher than he wanted, yet still down and David hit a towering shot that you knew he didn’t get all of it yet Ichiro played it almost showboating the crowd into thinking it was deeper as he looked for the fence and then turned sideways before he made the catch.  I may be looking into that a little more but Ichiro could have just stood there and taken a few steps back and I would have felt better…sometimes a ball could have more under spin than you think off the bat and with such a high fly ball it could carry.  Anyway, that was a relief.  Then Jones hit a solid liner to Jeter to end the game and get us the big win.

One note: Grandy hit a popup to the triangle between SS, LF and CF that McLouth the LF’r should have had and it dropped and Grandy hustled pretty well out of the box to get the double.  This should be a no brainer, but it was good to see as I would bet Cano or Soriano would have been either out going to 2nd or on 1st

The good thing is we now are 3.5 games out of the WC, but there are no teams ahead of us and we could catch Tampa or Oakland.  Of course one loss can put us back behind teams.  Big game today, let’s see if Pettitte can come through.

Saturday, August 31, 2013


Playoff atmosphere in the Bronx because every game is important!

Neither starting pitcher was particularly good even though both got off to a decent start.  It was more about poor hitting than good pitching.  CC did spot his pitches a little better at the beginning…and he will need to because his stuff is average.  I thought Girardi played the entire bullpen correct, including pulling CC early.  He is a not an ace and needs to be treated like any average pitcher.  Flaherty mentioned the AB where the #7 hitter, Valencia, hit a 2 run HR as a microcosm of Sabbathia’s year because he allowed a lead changing HR to the #7 hitter.  But I look at that differently.  Valencia this year has swung the bat well (in 60 AB’s against lefties he has an OPS of .998) and seems to be a guy who jumps on the 1st pitch a lot.  CC shook off Romine a few times and then served up a flat high flat changeup that was crushed.  That same pitch would work well if he were throwing 95 and the batter needed to be ready for the heater but it was like a batting practice pitch at 87 MPH.  CC need to be a crafty lefty who can heat it up once in awhile, but right now he is mediocre.

The Yankee offense responded by taking advantage of some straight pitches from Gonzalez as Soriano and Suzuki gave us 4 runs on 2 HR’s to take the lead that we never relinquished. 

Suzuki’s was a first pitch fastball right down the middle and was a good example of the bad pitching that was going on.  It is also the reason Girardi was correct to pull CC when he did because bad pitching will get hit.  I also was very happy that Girardi did not bring in Joba for one righty in the 7th inning with 2 outs and nobody on.  You never know how the game will go and you can’t waste a guy for one batter.  Let Robertson pitch to that guy and let him pitch the 8th.  The main reasons are that Robertson was up already as well as the forward thinking of what happens if Joba let the first guy on??? Girardi would have pulled him anyway, so you don’t bring him in, you let Robertson get the job done.  I also thought it was a good move to remove Kelley even though he got the first batter and that was because he was not hitting his spots. 

I enjoyed the piece on Reynolds going to our hitting coach and saying he wanted to get rid of his toe tap and the discussion about getting his foot down.  That makes a ton of sense with a guy who has very good bat speed and coverage of the plate.  He will swing and miss a lot but this will give him more time and the possible loss of weight transfer is worth it for a guy with so much swing power.  The results have been great so far and this would be a huge plus for us.

On the negative side of Reynolds, I had some issues with his base running.  He was on 1st with one out and ion a single you do try to get to 3rd, but he hesitated slightly making sure the ball was not caught on a line and then got thrown out at 3rd (ball was hit to RC closer to C).  While the announcers said the ball was in front of him to make the decision, it would have been nice if the 3rd base coach would have recognized the situation and put up his hands stopping the runner!  Call me crazy but I think that is a 3rd base coaches job…to use the judgment that you should be seeing every day and not allow a player who doesn’t have to make that call that often.  I could go on all day, but the 3rd base coach is also more away of exactly the arm strength and positioning of the fielder as well as a better feel for where the ball is because he is not in the process of running full speed.

The other poor base running play was after Reynolds collected his 3rd hit, he was on 2nd with nobody out.  Ichiro moved him to 3rd with 1 out and Romine was up with the infield in.  Romine hit a medium one hopper to the SS and Reynolds took off to home and was out by a mile standing up.  The “contact play” should be reserved for guys with great speed who get a good jump at 3rd.  Reynolds should have stayed at 3rd base and hoped to score with 2 outs.

Granderson tried to bunt twice with the heavy shift on.  The first one he didn’t bunt hard enough and the pitcher made a good play.  The 2nd one seemed to be almost a safety squeeze play that Soriano missed the call on, but with 2 outs that was obviously not what was going on…Granderson was just bunting for a hit. Granderson, once again didn’t bunt hit hard enough, but it was good enough where there was no play on him.  Unfortunately, Soriano was not ready for it and when he noticed ARod was ready for it and went to 3rd, Soriano tried unsuccessfully to score and was easily out.  The announcers blamed Soriano, but I disagree with them as I think it was ARod’s fault for forcing Soriano with 2 outs ARod could have stayed at 2nd and we would have had bases loaded.  Could have Soriano read it and raced home?  Perhaps but I think he kind of sensed that if he tried he would have been out anyway and probably would have given the O’s their only chance for an out at home.  If Granderson had pushed the bunt beyond the pitcher I think Soriano would have gone home.  Soriano has been lazy on the bases, but I believe he did the right ting by holding up and ARod should have stayed at 2nd.

That being said, I am thrilled to see Granderson trying to take advantage of the shift…he just needs to bunt harder.

Romine was slow to pop up after some failed blocking attempts and one in particular caught him.  Catchers need to block the ball correctly but if they don’t, they should be busting to get to the ball and assume the runner is going…Romine hesitated and it cost him one time and maybe twice.  The good thing was he made the adjustment blocking balls and turned his shoulder toward home plate later in the game.  Romine is also swinging the bat well in July and August (57 AB’s) with an OPS of about .865.  He should be catching most games and Girardi knows it.

One odd thing was Jeter was up with 1st and 3rd and nobody out with Gardner on first.  It was a 3-2 count and Gardner did not go on the pitch (and the pitcher was a righty with an ordinary move).  Something is wrong with Gardner running this year.  Here is a guy who in less AB’s stole 47 bases and was caught 9 times followed 49 bases getting caught 13 times and this year he has only 22 SB’s and has been caught 8 times.  He should steal 20 straight bases to be about where he was before.  BTW, he is hitting pretty close to his career numbers so it is not as if he is not getting on base.

The Genius Maker looked pretty good, but not the pin point control, but he had movement on his pitches and that was key.

Need to take the other 2 games against Baltimore and we could be back in business.  A split isn’t terrible but we need to make up ground.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

August 29, 2013

I only want to say two things:

1)      Our chances of making the playoffs are extremely slim for the reasons I stated last time – Kuroda not being sharp for a stretch makes it even more unlikely.  29 games left, we probably need to win 20 of them to have a shot, 22 should do it, but I don't see us winning that many games; we are just not good enough.
2)      I don’t know what pictures Robbie Thompson has of Girardi, but he is an awful 3rd base coach and he has been that way since day 1.  I have documented his failures more times than any 3rd base coach should be mentioned.  The guy simply awful, doesn’t get it and he costs us games!  I am sure his response will be the same as it has been in the past when he makes alarmingly horrible decisions, “I play aggressive and I will keep playing that way.”  I don’t even have an issue with that, but, and it is a big but, YOU MUST UNDERSTAND THE GAME SITUATION!   When you are down 7-2 and there are less than 2 outs, in fact the outs may not even matter, but it is even worse with less than 2 outs, you simply CANNOT get thrown out on the base paths.  For those who didn’t see it, ARod got thrown out at home plate with the Yanks down 7-2 in the 4th inning with one out and what would have been 2nd and 3rd.  It took the wind out of our sails as we were down 7-0 and had put 2 up and probably would have had at least two more, but Robby Thompson’s decision ended any hopes.  When you are down by a lot of runs there shouldn’t even be a play at the plate or as Kenny Singleton said, “you need to be able to score standing up.”  In this case ARod was easily out which goes to show how incompetent Roby Thompson is (although this is probably the 10th time I have written this)

Sunday, August 25, 2013


A lot to write about in a 4-2 loss.  First, I think the Yankees are showing life but I think we have a very large hill to climb.  A loss Sunday and the odds are less than 10%.  Not because we can’t get a hot and not because there are a bunch of teams to worry about and not because we aren’t a decent team…it is because of all of those factors combined and the last one specifically, we are not a very good team, we are just decent…probably a wild card team if this was our roster all year.  The issue is we need to play like an excellent team the rest of the way and we have too many warts.

I want to zero in on two major points in the game. 
            1.  In the 5th inning the score is 0-0 and both pitchers are looking good.  CC actually was consistently 93-94 instead of 91-92 as he has been and Price is being himself.  ARod and Wells lead off with singles and Grandy comes up against the lefty Price.  This is a must sacrifice situation and maybe even with 2 strikes because it is so obvious.  Girardi does put the sac on and Grandy looked terrible on his first attempt.  Now I know he looked bad, but you still must leave it on for a ton of reasons, but just because he looked bad on the first attempt (it was more of a half attempt) Grandy also looked worse in his first AB against Price.  Girardi takes off the bunt and Grandy strikes out on the next two pitches.  Either Girardi is not doing enough in practice with fundamentals or he is a bad manager to take off the bunt there…no other choice is possible!

The inning continued with Reynolds getting a single to load the bases for Romine and this setup the best AB of the game and to me what makes baseball interesting.  Romine is a weak hitter overall, but has been swinging better of late.  He also hit a slider very hard in the 3rd inning where Longoria made a very smooth start of a DP.  Respecting Romine (with the bases loaded), Price starts him off with a slider and the AB didn’t change in terms of Price pitching to Romine like he was the best hitter on our team.  Price mixed spots, mixed pitches and surely didn’t come right after Romine.  Price did make a 2-2 pitch that looked like strike 3 to me on the inside corner but the ump was tight on that corner all day.  Either way, Romine fouled off 3 more pitches before taking a high slider for ball 4 and getting the first run in.  It was an excellent AB for Romine.  Romine then made a really good base running play when Ichiro chopped a ball to 2nd base, Romine stopped and retreated slightly so that the fielder had to throw to 1st to get Ichiro and then the throw back to 2nd was not in time to get Romine as he just made it in.  The play was good though because even if they would have thrown out Romine, the run would have scored because the force was removed.  Unfortunately with 2nd and 3rd and 2 outs Nunez popped out to end that threat

2.      The 2nd major point in the game was when CC simply lost control of his pitches in the bottom of the 6th for 3 batters.  Fuld led off the inning with a bloop single and then CC lost it.  He walked Jennings on 4 pitches then threw 2 straight balls to Zobrist, then aimed a strike and then throwing another ball.  At 3-1 CC was just hoping to throw a strike and grooved a pitch that ended up a double scoring 2 runs.  CC then grooved another to Longoria and the Yanks were down 3-2.  It was off, but CC just lost it after looking as good as he has in a long time.  Having his fastball at 94 (he hit 95 a few times) is really important so that is changeup at 87 has at least 7 MPH difference.  I like it 8-9 MPH preferably but some like it even more.  The Rays closer (Rodney) throws his about 10 MPH different and it is excellent.  Either way 7 is the minimum in my book but of course it needs movement and location.

Outside of those two exciting/frustrating moments some other comments

CC didn’t cover again and the announcers made the excuse about him falling off, but he simply doesn’t try.  Reynolds made a great play and got the call for an out diving for the player, but replays showed he did not tag him.  Live it surely looked like he got him and from the umps view I could see why he thought so also.

Soriano was crushing balls he is missing now, including one where he watched thinking he had a HR and the ball died in the OF.  I wonder if the Rays have some sort of air current that goes different directions when they are out in the field?

I say my last sentence because the Rays do a great job on positioning and any team that spends that much time looking at all the small details (I bet they know how to bunt or squeeze) probably looks at the AC flow during team AB’s.  They took about 4-5 hits away form us with good positioning and the shift probably only hurt them once.

Romine made a good throw down to 2nd that should have been an out but the normally excellent tagging Cano overran the coverage spot a little and then tried his quick tag but just whiffed on the ball as it went into CF for an error.  Bad play.

Nunez made a nice play on a ball up the middle where he used his speed to get to the play and actually made a good throw.  I don’t think he is smooth enough to play SS (same thing I said 1-2 years ago), but plays like that are the reason why you hold out hope.

MUST win today!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Congratulations to Ichiro, a class act even if I have issues with his game at this point!  I hope he gets 3000 hits in the states because that means he breaks Pete Rose’s record!

While on Ichiro, I have mentioned his long release time on throws; tonight was no different.  A bullet was hit to him and he waited a little to try and time coming in on the ball (he might have been able to charge a little more) and while he didn’t catch it clean, he did what he always does and that is hope twice before throwing.  He actually touched the ball when Gose (who is very fast) was 2 steps away from touching 3rd base, but by the time Ichiro released the ball it appeared that Gose was 3-4 steps beyond the base and the throw arrived in time but up the line and a tough hop.  Honestly a decent throw gets him there; you simply can’t take so long to get rid of the ball unless you throw a perfect strike.   Ichiro did make a nice running catch in foul later in the game.

I was hoping that warren would look great so we could pull Hughes, but Warren was not sharp allowing 6 base runner sin 3 innings.  Fortunately, Girardi brought in Huff at the perfect time with a lot of lefties in the lineup and Huff did a great job allowing only 1 hit but he did walk 4 in 5 innings.  See what having a 2nd lefty does for you (I actually forgot about huff).

With 2 outs Cano ripped a single and Soriano broke his hitless streak for a 2 run HR to get Rivera a save!  That is always good, although Mo was not sharp again.  The cutter was not sharp, although the last pitch to strike out Encarcion was his best pitch of the day.  After allowing a double to Raji Davis with one out Rivera picked him off of 2nd.  It was very close, but I watched it in very slow motion and Raji was tagged by Cano just barely before his fingers touched the base.  Cano missed the original tag, but Raji didn’t get directly to the bag and was on the side of the bag and when Cano did touch him he was just barely short of the bag.  That being said, what an awful play by Raji to get picked off down by 2 runs.  Down by 1 would be bad, but down by 2 is a firing offense as you mean nothing.

We only need 13 more saves for Rivera to get to 50!


Once again, I am watching the games, but haven’t been able to write these articles…but I will chime in.

Starting with yesterday’s games.  I thought knowing we had two games with Toronto I didn’t like Girardi taking Nova out with 88 pitches and a 2 run lead.  Bringing in Logan for one batter and then flipping him out for Kelley was over managing in a situation where you didn’t need to because once Kelley looked bad (no control of his slider) and walked Encarnacion, Girardi let Kelley face the lefty Lind (of course because we don’t have two lefties…which is absurd).  Lind is a good hitter against righties and an awful one against lefties.  Once the questionable move of going to Logan was made, he should have stayed in for 3 batters and force the move away from Lind and then gone to Kelley to face the righty if the inning was not over.  We got out of it, but we had a pitcher struggling who walked two guys and loaded the bases and we got lucky the long fly ball went to RC.  Because we won, nobody would say anything, but that was very poor managing.

ARod – I don’t want to get into the legal side of this, but I will say that ARod should have gotten 100 games not some arbitrary number.  I think Braun was even worse.  That being said, all these guys who were cheating now tick me off because they all know that there was a focus to get this out of the game and they still cheated.  The guys prior I really don’t have an issue with because everyone was getting an edge and the players union and baseball looked the other way.   But again, once baseball took the hard stance, players still looking for that edge don’t get my leniency.  Back to ARod, his AB’s are something we have been missing.  Seeing a lot of pitches and taking walks.  As hot as Soriano has been (he is streaky), he and a lot of the team are just not disciplined hitters and we lose out on wearing down pitchers.  Granderson yesterday had a 3-2 count with ARod on first and nobody out and ripped a fastball foul.  The next pitch (from a lefty) was a slow curve that was outside and in the dirt and he swung.  You have to take that walk there by having a plan or thought that he may be going off speed.  The pitch was not close and this is why I was mad.  Stewart came through later that inning with the 2 out 3 run HR.

Having all these “extra” players has really helped the lineup in a ton of ways.  For one, we just start a better team (obvious), but the real help comes when we can matchup later on and actually force moves.  If you remember I couldn’t believe how bad we were that Stewart had to bat against a tough righty in the 9th inning because he was our best option.  Fast forward to the early game yesterday and we bring in Reynolds with the very good lefty Cecil on the mound.  Gibbons takes out Cecil to bring in a mediocre righty (Wagner) who gets Reynolds out.  But then he walks Nix and allows the HR to Stewart.  Just having Reynolds “forced” Toronto to take out their better pitcher and we took advantage of it. 

Our lineup has been scoring a lot of runs, but we are not this good…we are just hot…but let’s ride it.  I want more guys who get on base and I don’t like Ichiro batting 2nd.  Why have a guy with an OPS of .670 bat 2nd?  Let alone his OBP is only .308…and for the month of August he has an OBP of a pathetic .254 (one walk) and an OPS of .513.  I would rather Granderson bat 2nd, at least getting him another AB makes sense.    I like Ichiro, but he simply is not a good offensive player.  I will say that in the one spot where all you need is a single, he would NOT be my last choice to step to the plate though…

We still have to keep a steady run of wins coming and I am concerned a little about Rivera as he has not been as sharp.  His arm angle looked a little different yesterday to me and I can’t say I have ever said that before.  He seemed to be coming around a few balls and that caused some inconsistency.  I also am concerned about CC as he simply not that great.  I was hoping we would already have Hughes out of the rotation, but Pineda had a setback and other injuries have kept anyone else form stepping up.  Hughes got the job done last night, but I have no confidence in him.

I am happy we are getting something to root for.  Not sure we have enough, but we are 5 out of the wild card and 6.5 out of first.  There are a lot of teams to jump but winning cures a lot.

Sunday, August 4, 2013


Confession – After Nix knocked in Granderson to make it 3-0 with 2 outs in the 9th, I didn’t want the Yankees to score again.  I know I am not usually like that, but I wanted Rivera to get a save.

Nova’s curve was outstanding and he continues to be our 2nd most reliable pitcher (behind Kuroda).  Nova is taking a little off the fastball (93) to get some sink and run on it and then can dial it up to 95-96 when he wants some more speed.  His ERA is now a very impressive 3.08.  Last year, I was upset when they sent him down because I always felt his stuff was better than Hughes and I think the Yanks treated Nova with less respect than Hughes.  Regardless, he is pitching very well right now

We got a few calls today, didn’t even out yesterday, but the umps have been bad. 

Having Granderson back was big because of the speed element and the HR power.  The other part I really like is how good our defense can be now in the OF.  Soriano is pretty good out there and Ichiro is another solid defender and Grandy and Gardner are both very good (Gardner may be elite).   Last year I wanted Gardner in CF over Grandy and the injury actually worked in our favor because it forced Girardi to see it that way.  I am not sure he would have made the switch prior.  Maybe the injury to Jeter will force the correct move with him as well.  Nunez is not good, but he did charge a ball last night that Jeter would not have been able to get.  Regardless, it is time to move Jeter to 3rd anyway.

A quick note on ARod and I have no idea what will really happen (seems like he is at least gone for this year).  ARod would help our team, anyone who says otherwise is foolish, however, getting rid of his 25 million dollar salary would help the team a lot more so anything that gets that freed up I am all for.

The Genius Maker has 35 saves and is on a pace for 52 saves.  His career most is 53 and he also got to 50 one other time before.  I am hopeful he could get the most saves of his career in his final year.  That is asking a lot, but of course, I could be asking him to be throwing the final pitch of the baseball year…either would be amazing!

Saturday, August 3, 2013


A few notes from the last few games.

A few nights ago Ichiro threw out a player at home and the announcers were gushing about the great throw from a 39 year old and also speaking highly about the tag.  The throw did make it on a fly, but Ichiro took forever to get rid of the ball and line up his throw and then threw a little up the line.  Ichiro literally hopped twice before releasing the ball.  Ichiro got to the ball before the runner crossed 3rd base, this is how long it took him to throw the ball.  Stewart did a nice job of reaching back to home plate but actually didn’t put the glove in front of the plate like you are supposed to and reached for the sliding runner and tagged him on the calf which could have allowed the runner to be safe.  Only Flaherty made the comment about reaching the other side of the plate and it was a very subtle way of saying he disagreed with Kay’s good tag comment.  It was not a bad tag as sometimes you don’t know how far you have to reach, but Flaherty knew it and the others didn’t.  The final point was Ichiro many times takes far too long to get rid of the ball and he has the anti Mickey Rivers throw (who didn’t have a good arm, but got rid of the ball like a 2nd baseman on a turn and his overall time of getting the ball to 2nd base was as good if not better than guys with much better arms.)  Think about it, if a 2nd baseman, came across the bag and then stepped toward first base just so that he could get more on the throw how many double plays would he turn?  Very few, yet some OF’rs take a very long time to get rid of the ball…it matters a lot!

Gardner threw out a runner at home last night and did a nice job of charging the ball and getting rid of the ball fast.  The throw was decent but gave Stewart enough time to make the play.

While on Stewart, he made a fantastic throw getting a runner at 3rd base last night; clearing the batter and throwing a ball that was an automatic tag as long as you caught the ball.

However, Stewart also failed to throw out Ethier two nights ago on a low pitch that he rushed too much and made a low throw Cano couldn’t handle.  A decent throw and he is out and the game is still going.

Last night had the worst umpiring the Yanks faced all year.  I think this one game evened out the favored calls we have gotten all year.  There were 4 close plays/calls that all went against us, yet, a play at 1st base Nunez was so clearly safe, I have no idea what the ump was thinking?  Then in the 1st inning, CC should have had strike 3, but instead got ball 3 called and then he walked a guy and allowed a few hits for 2 runs.  CC has been very poor lately and that surely didn’t help.  If CC were a rookie he would have been pulled from this rotation as he is not getting the job done and his stuff has been pedestrian.  Further, and I have written this before, he failed to cover 1st base again on ball in between 1st and 2nd.  This has to be the 4th time I know he has not covered and they stated a stat that he has not had a put out in 2 years…That is nuts…and lazy as hell.

We also got burned on a play at 2nd base where they said their player was taking the ball out of his glove on the turn when he never had control of it (Girardi didn’t even argue).  It seemed clear live and it was confirmed on replay.

I was disappointed a bad team kicked our butts the umpiring was really bad and we didn’t do our job.  That being said, we have added a lot of “new” players with Grandy, Jeter, Soriano and even Nunez back in the lineup.  It is at least a little more exciting that we may have a chance with these guys.  Of course, I really wish the Yanks would stick with what they wanted to do with Nunez and that is give him a legitimate shot at SS and not move him around.  Instead, they put a still banged up and obviously older Jeter, who never had great range at SS and then Nunez at 3rd???  It was the perfect excuse to keep Nunez at SS and put Jeter at 3rd until he can run better, because yesterday the left side of infield made 3 bad plays (2 ended up being errors – both Jeter) and we failed to turn 3 DP’s because we just weren’t crisp enough.  Jeter should move to 3rd and should have done that already; the Yanks are making a mistake.  Nunez is not good defensively, but SS is the spot where he has the best chance; if you don’t want him there then he should not be on the team IMO unless as a pinch runner.

Kuroda was outstanding the other night and The Genius Maker looked very good last night as well.

Hopefully Nova can keep pitching well!