Saturday, April 27, 2013


First things first…those veterans to the blog know I used to talk about how some catchers and Posada was one of them, would expose their throwing hands to foul tips when they didn’t need to with nobody on base.  This happened all the time and I would point out how this was bad and while it doesn’t happen often why risk it?  The Catcher should have his throwing hand behind his back with nobody on and only with 2 strikes should the hand come out on a ball on the dirt – you have plenty of time to do that; in fact, you really have enough time if the runner steals to bring your hand out if you want to hide it for those situations as well, but many times you think he is stealing and you just have to take the chance and expose it.  However, why expose it for no reason other than just being lazy?  Well there was Cervelli’s hand exposing itself for no reason at all and he got a foul tip and instead of a good hitter (or at the least a hot hitter) we get a huge downgrade.  It amazes me that nobody says anything until after the injury.  I wish people would have read the blog because Cervelli would not be hurt. 

I am concerned about CC.  He was throwing 89-91 most of the game and when he tried to dial it up he got up to…92.  After he got a big strike out he looked back at the scoreboard (I assume to check the radar gun) and shook his head.  Hard to explain the sudden loss in velocity, but all I can say is it seems that is a common occurrence on our team.  CC also had poor command of his pitches, making a lot of poor 0-2 or 1-2 pitches and missing spots.  Toronto should have hit him more,  CC had very little but gutted out an 8 inning performance where he got some help from Gardner and some obstacles from Stewart behind the dish.  In the same inning, Stewart let a passed ball by him moving a runner to 3rd with one out.  The next flied a shallow/medium fly ball to Ichiro in RF who took his jump 2 extra steps (too long in my opinion), but he did throw a one hop bullet strike to Stewart who tagged the runner but the ball popped out and the runner barely, and I mean barely if he actually touched slid his one or 2 fingers across the black side of the plate.  The slo mo was not conclusive, but it appeared the angle would have barely touched the side of the plate…and Stewart would have tagged him out if the ump had ruled he didn’t touch the plate.

What a game by Hafner who got the start against lefty because Girardi finally realized that Francisco (Ben) isn’t that good against lefties…and boy did he respond,  After 2 straight walks, the pitcher fell behind Hafner 2-0 and hit a fastball on the outside corner.  On the 21- pitch Hafner sat fastball and ripped a 3 run homer into RC.  Later in the game, against Cecil (their lefty out of the pen), Hafner tripled to deep CF/RC and finished with 4 of our 5 RBI’s; Wells had the other. 

Joba came on for an eventful 1 run save.  He allowed 2 hits but was able to right the ship and end the game. 

One other note, CC has become a little bit of a liability in the field.  He slipped today and almost cost us a run on a play he should have been covering.  Later on he had a ball that was a pretty easy fielding play and he just didn’t (or couldn’t) bend down for the play.  He better regain some of his stuff because added to the poor fielding, he may not be dominant anymore.  That being said, he just won 4 games in the month of April for the 1st time in his career.

Friday, April 26, 2013


I enjoyed this game for 2 main reasons and 2 minor ones.  The minor ones were that we came back after being down 3-0 and that Joba and Robertson created a strong bridge to Mo.  The major reasons were that we won and The Genius Maker, Rivera, looked dominant in this outing.  He had good movement and velocity on his cutter but more impressive was his pinpoint control in this game.  It was vintage Mo!  His first two pitches were both called balls and they both could have been strikes, but he stayed in the same spot and made the 1 inch adjustment and threw 3 more in the same spot with the same movement and struck out Arencibia.  The he bored his cutter in on Rasmus and broke his bat (always a good sign).  Finally, strike one away, strike 2 away fouled off and then he froze Lawrie coming inside striking him out looking!  That was awesome to watch.

The game was frustrating at the beginning because Kuroda did not have good stuff; his fork ball was flat and his breaking pitches were not crisp.  He was not able to do work his normal magic and unfortunately could not get out of the 1st inning unscathed allowing a walk and a HR with 2 outs.  He allowed 2 more hits before getting out of the inning but still struggled in the 2nd allowing another HR.  He realized that he needed to work in his slower stuff more so that his fastball could have more of a differential and he was able to get gut out 4 scoreless innings getting us to the 7th inning only allowing those 3 runs. 

Wells got us on the board with a towering HR to center and then in the next inning with 2 outs and runners on 1st and 2nd Cano had a 3-1 count on him.  I would bet if it was 2nd and 3rd they would have walked him, but the catcher went out to the mound and decided to try to come inside on Robbie and Cano was ready pulling his hands in nicely and launching a 3 run shot!  His ability to get his hands in and keep the ball fair is really special.

A few other notes:

Overbay is known as a stellar defender and while he has picked his scoops very well at first he has made two poor plays on grounders.  I know he won’t be around once Texiera comes back (at least I doubt it) and I was in favor of his cheap signing because we need a competent defender, but so far he hasn’t delivered stellar defense…only adequate.  His offense has been barely acceptable.

Tex coming back will really help the team a lot, as will Granderson. 

Cervelli not only clubbed a HR, he drove one to deep RC early in the game; he has really swung the bat fantastic early on.  He has been the biggest surprise so far this year; hopefully it is legit!  Catchers do tend to fade just because all the nicks and bruises form getting foul tips, but even so he has given us needed offense from a spot I was not expecting too much.
People may not like when Cano bats 2nd…and I admit it is a little funky, but does Ben Francisco really need to get the extra bats by batting 2nd?  I would rather see Nix bat there. 

Finally, it is a shame Nunez isn’t giving us any offense because if he could give us a .700 OPS the loss of Jeter would not be much of an issue, but so far Nunez has been a doughnut offensively.

Thursday, April 25, 2013


Hello everyone!  I don’t think to continue to apologize for not being able to write often is very useful, so I will say that with my crazy schedule just watching the games (on video) is about all the extra time I have had.  I have had things to say, but just not the time to get them down.  Therefore, if you are NOT getting my email message that I have posted and you would like to get on the email list so you know when I do post, please send me an email at  I blind copy so you won’t get responses from people you don’t know.  This way you can wait for me to let you know to go to the site.

I have been watching the games and I will make a few comments:

  • The lineup is really toothless when Youklis is added to the MIA list.
  • I think Kuroda is our best pitcher right now.  The guy is a pitcher with good movement, location and also has enough power to keep you honest.  CC throwing only 91 is a concern.  He can still be effective, but unless his location gets stronger he will not be as dominant.  Pettitte has a similar repertoire now as CC which says Pettitte is pretty amazing for 40 and that CC has come back some.  They are both good though and while Pettitte’s last outing was not his best stuff, he was still good.   I am not sold on Hughes, even though his last outing was his best I have seen in some time (not talking about the results as much as the actual pitching) and the outing before had great results, but I felt he was very lucky.  He just makes far too many bad pitches for my liking.  Look at the game Cobb pitched against us yesterday, he hit spot after spot, I am not sure Phil is capable of that.  Nova has more upside that Hughes, but Nova has the same location issues (but better stuff than Hughes)
  • Our bullpen should be good but we need another lefty.  Joba has looked very good regardless of his overall numbers; he will get better.  While the results for Robertson have not been as good, I think with regular work, he will get his control back.  His curve was nasty the other day.
  • It is great to see Rivera look good and have movement.  His control won’t be as deadly accurate, but he will still be good and that is one thing I was really hoping for.  I surely didn’t want to see his last year to be one where we said, “we can’t have him close anymore.”  It appears he can still do the job and so far has (6-6).
  • I don’t understand how Ichiro doesn’t know how to slide after all there years?  He was clearly safe the other night but slid in a way that made it easy to allow him to be tagged easily and also like he was trying to slow down before he hit the base.
  • While on Ichiro…he had a huge hit the other night and is showing some signs of not being horrible of late, he still is not good and as the poster child of why I thought giving him 6 mil for 2 years was a blunder, I am frustrated.  I have given my reasons a few times why it was a bad move, but my hope was he wouldn’t be so awful (.566 OPS) and in fact, I would have loved to eat crow.  Bottom line is that the guy is not a productive player and if he doesn’t hit .320 will not be a very good player.  His defense is above average and solid, but he is no Gardner, his SB ability is not as good, and his offense for a corner OF is mediocre IF he improves a lot; right now it is awful.  For perspective, an awful hitter, Chris Stewart has a career OPS of .595.
  • Like that transition to Stewart?  He and Cervelli have probably been the most surprising events of the new season.  Stewart is a really good defender and thrower (even if the first few games of the year he was a little stuff) and he actually picked a guy off the other day but the ump blew the call.  But he is off to a good start offensively with an .809 OPS.  This will not continue; I can virtually guarantee that, but so far so good.
  • Cervelli is off to a good start as well with an OPS of .817.  While he probably won’t keep his OPS above .800 (I would be thrilled with a .750 OPS) he is 27 and has shown some more pop in his bat.  Further, I was shocked when I looked at Cervelli’s splits and noticed that he is actually a decent hitter against lefties over the last 3 years with an OPS of .826 (.648 against righties).  Stewart is a better thrower, but so far the two of them have done far better than I expected.  I still have not seen a lot of Cervelli’s defense this year (his throwing has not been tested), but I will be watching closely…so far so good!
  • In my posts for the offseason, I liked the Travis Hafner signing (always liked him), loved inking Kuroda again, was understanding of the Youklis signing as a need and only for one year, was indifferent with Brennen Boesch as a cheap fill in if needed (and at least he is young-27), was not fond of rolling the dice on Vernon Wells but it was OK from the cap hit standpoint, hated the signing of Ichiro and Ben Francisco and was annoyed we didn’t get a lefty specialist.  I also liked the cheap signing of Overbay to be our best defender at first (I like specialists on the yanks).  So far, Wells has been great so that role of the dice has worked…the others I have been pretty locked in on. 
  • While on Wells, I have been impressed that he has taken the ball to the right side, something he was not doing well the last few years.  That being said he is playing above his head right now, but still with all the injuries and the fact our RF is poor, he will help a lot and as I said prior, I expect Wells, Granderson and Gardner to be our starting OF when Granderson comes back.
  • Ben Francisco is not as bad as he is playing, but it was horrible signing from the beginning (getting a mediocre guy who is better against righties to be your guy to hit against lefties is simply dumb) and he has 2 hits in 25 AB’s.  Just admit the stupid signing and move on to some young guy in the minors who will do better and have upside.
  • Nunez…where to start?  His hitting has been awful so far; he is better than this, but how much?  I am not convinced he will ever be a reliable defender, but maybe he can become average with his athleticism.  So far he has been just OK defensively, but he made an outstanding play in last nights game that we have not see a SS make for us in a decade.  Jeter never had great range and the play Nunez made going up the middle was as good as any you will see…really great!
  • Overall, the team is doing just fine with all the key guys out and the issue with depth.  We have an incredibly weak bottom 4 or 5 guys in the lineup.  At 11-9, I am pleased; it is a pace for 89 wins.  I think if we can hold that until the help arrives we will be making a run. 

I had a lot of game specific items to mention while watching but because they are old, they may have no bearing, but the one thing that stood out more than anything was when Girardi pulled Kuroda in his game.  It was a terrible decision and it proved costly with Robertson not getting the job done.  I was also critical of him bringing Logan against a lefty when Joba was throwing well, but Logan did do the job.  My consistent behavior is that when a guy is throwing well in extra innings, you let him throw as much as you can stretch him safely because you never know how long the game will go.  Unless the matchup is critical (there was nobody on in this one), you let the pitcher go.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Game 6

CC battled and ended up performing great.  Still didn’t break 91 that I saw, but he got through the lineup.  Detroit didn’t swing the bats too well though.  Robertson and Rivera looked pretty good in getting the last 6 outs.  Both had good movement and decent control for early on.  Rivera threw some of his running fastballs into righties which was good to see and hit 91.

As for the game Nix had a great game with a dinger, another deep fly that just went foul but still came back with a single and another one later on.  Cervelli also continued swing well (along with Youkilis).  Gardner was having a bad game at the plate, especially after failing to get down a bunt with a Nix on 1st and nobody out (amazing how the pros still drop the head of the bat on a bunt which leads to popups, but Gardner did make a nice running catch and got a hit later when we blew it open.  I didn’t understand not pinch running for Hafner in the 8th inning with the score 3-0 and the deciding to pinch run for hafner with Nunez after Wells doubled to make it 2nd and 3rd with one out?  First, the double might have scored Hafner if it wasn’t touched by a fan, but if Nunez was on 1st it definitely would have scored Nunez and the ump would have ruled as such.  But why wait until he was on 3rd.  I get the feeling Girardi didn’t think of it until he saw Hafner running slowly…C’mon Joe!

Santiago the SS for Detroit looks excellent defensively…very quick, good arm and release.

Cervelli showed some good emotion behind the plate but he hasn’t received all that well so far, I have not loved his pitch selection and I am waiting to see his arm, but I have to say his offense has been terrific so far…

Not sure about Rivera closing out a 7-0 game, but it was really nice to see Detroit honor Rivera at the final game at Detroit this year!  As Yankee fans, we should find those games at other stadiums!

Games 4 and 5

A quick update on our 4th and 5th games.  Our advance scouting department doesn’t do a very good job.  I am shocked at how certain players dominate against us yet other teams can get them out (even if they have weaker pitching than we do).  Somebody isn’t doing their job!  Of course, it could just be bad pitches, but game 4 was lost in one key spot.  The Yankees held on to a 3-2 lead going into the bottom of the 5th,  Nova had retired 6 in a row and was getting into a bit of a groove after really struggling early on with control.  He allowed a fairly weak single and then walked Austin Jackson before getting a DP.  Now we have Cabrera up (who we obviously don’t have a clue how to pitch) and Nova came inside and hit his hand.  I didn’t have any issues with this as he made sure it was inside as he should.  So with 1st and 3rd and the lefty fielder coming up, Girardi made the key decision in the game…go to the only lefty in the pen (who is not a specialist although better against lefties).  The advance scouting department, as everyone else knows, should say throw something off speed and out of the strike zone to Fielder on the 1st pitch because he hacks at the first pitch most of the time.  Instead we throw a fastball (a high one) that he gets on top of for a 3 run homer and the game is over at that point.  Nova was one out away form grabbing himself a possible win and while I don’t advocate managing by this type of formula, I do think that showing some confidence in your pitcher and giving him a chance for the win and building some confidence is a good idea early in the year and also when the other decision is not a no brainer.  I would have stuck with Nova understanding the risks.  Girardi made a choice that didn’t work out…not saying it was a terrible decision, but it proved to be a bad one.

5th game.   I have documented how bad our 3rd base coach is over the past two years!  We must get more guys thrown out at home with no or 1 out than any team in baseball and how Robby Thompson simply has bad judgment and his attitude of saying "I am going to stay aggressive no matter" just drives me crazy.  the situation has to matter what.  Anyway, Brennen Boesch tripled and then after a shallow fly by Cervelli, Boesch got thrown out at home with one out!  This drives me crazy and Girardi deserves a lot of criticism for keeping Thompson there after his first terrible year.

Another huge play in the game came in the top of the 6th.  We were down 5-1 and after a 3 walks and a single we had bases loaded nobody out and the score is 5-2.  Brennen Boesch is up and he rips a line drive down the first base line and Vernon Wells makes a rookie mistake by first starting to run toward second base, yet he still almost had time to get back to the bag before being doubled off, but he couldn’t beat Fielder to the bag.  The ump actually called him safe, but even Wells started to get up and go to the dugout as if he were out.  The umps got together and ruled him out.  First, terrible play by Wells and then, second, wait for the darn call and act as if you are safe so that the issue couldn’t be “reviewed.”  I mean how many times do you see an umps call, even a bad one get overturned, especially a judgment call?  This was a key point in the game and while Overbay did get a huge 2 out hit knocking in 2 guys, it killed a huge rally opportunity (and it was a tough break that the liner was right at Fielder).

In general, our pitching has been terrible and it needs to be much better for us to hang in there with the limitations on offense.  We have allowed 33 runs in 5 games…no other team in baseball has allowed as many runs as we have this year…nobody!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Game 3

Whew, that game saved a winless season!  It seems like some people really felt we would never win…One thing not to joke about was how awesome it was to The Genius Maker trot out to the mound with Enter Sandman blasting through Yankee Stadium!  Watching Rivera should be treasured as it is doubtful we will see another one like him and he added to his record to save is 609th save.  I only hope he is able to make this final year a good one and not one that tarnishes his career even a little.  I don’t expect the same greatness, but I do hope for it.  I also do expect him to be a good closer (with more hiccups) and seeing the movement on his pitches was very encouraging.  At his age being good is fantastic.

I know Overbay has only 2 hits in 9 AB’s without a walk or an extra base hit, but I think he was a very useful and cheap signing.  He gives us our best defensive 1st baseman and not an instant out at the plate.  He actually has hit the ball pretty well even if the numbers don’t show it.  Lyle also gives us insurance in case Tex can’t come back in a timely manner. 

Cervelli seems like a new guy as his throws have him better and he hit a ball about as far as he can last night.  I said yesterday that he is fine against lefties, but what a bonus if he could give us a .700 OPS+ against righties IF his defense is solid.  Wouldn’t it great if a younger guy actually developed?  Cervelli would be a large bonus as I was not expecting much.

In the same game, the Red Sox got tagged out at home, Gardner and Nunez got thrown out stealing and Gardner got thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double!  Ross made good throws and the SS twice made good picks to get the bounced throw and keep the glove down to get the stolen bases (Gardner had a terrible jump), but Victorino made a lightning quick release to get Gardner at 2nd base.  I thought he would make it when he tried it and sometimes you tip your cap.

Give some credit to Pettitte…he did a heck of a job and has been really good since coming back to the team.  He and Rivera added to their own record of 69 wins and saves as a combo.   

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Game 2

Let’s not jump off any bridges, it has been only two games!   Our opponent won’t continue to get two out and RISP hits at an absurd rate.  Our pitching will not be so poor (baseball should not be played in windchill’s below freezing) either.  

Some positives are the quick bat of Vernon Wells (although it does seem he is “yanking” everything and I wonder what he will do with a steady diet of outside pitches, especially breaking balls.  If he drives the ball the other way, he might be get back to his old self.  Again, it is only two games so can’t make too many conclusions with any accuracy, but I do like the bat speed at least.  Other positives are Travis Hafner, in that if he is healthy he does give us a solid stick from the left side.  

On the downside, while Nunez kept his streak alive of making an error every other game, I was more disappointed in a play he made on a ripped line drive off the RF wall that Suzuki played well and fired into 2nd to try and nab the hitter before he got to 2nd.  Nunez took the good throw on the infield side of the bag and then reached toward CF to tag the runner as the runner went by.  I feel if he would have fielded the ball on the OF side of the baseline and “sweep tagged” the runner, the runner would have been out because the ball beat the runner, but Nunez let the ball travel beyond the runner and then had to reach toward center.  Things like that just show a poor feel of the situation.  It would be similar to a close play at home where a catcher stood where the umpire is to tag a player out at home…not a good idea.   Our catching situation against righties is awful…I do think if Cervelli’s defense is back to his normal defense prior to last year, he will be fine against lefties.  BTW, don’t get down on Stewart’s throw yesterday, he does throw very well normally; it was a breaking ball and the runner got a huge jump and Stewart rushed it (he had no chance).  BTW, disregard most of the announcers when they talk about the jumps of base stealers, it seems like they always say a guy got a good jump, regardless of what really happened.

The most important outcome of the game will be if Kuroda is OK after sticking his hand up to try and field the ball up the middle...I know it was just a reaction, but that was not smart, especially in frigid conditions.

Monday, April 1, 2013

April 1 - Game 1

Well, that didn’t go as planned!  It is opening day, but I don’t think CC broke 91 MPH all game and threw a lot of 90 MPH fastballs.  His change had good movement, but when the fastball isn’t fast, everything else is less effective.  He also walked too many guys.  The biggest one was the walk to Jackie Bradley Jr (who also made a nice catch saving at least one run).

I thought Vernon Wells’ line drive down the 3rd base line was fair; looked like it bounced over the bag.

Ben Francisco as a DH is just awful!

Nix took two called 3rd strikes down the middle as did Nunez once.

On the triple by Ellsbury to Ichiro, did anyone catch how smooth, effortless and fast Cano relayed the ball to Nix?  Basically flat footed he made an amazing throw that did in between hop Nix but if Nix could have fielded it, I think Ellsbury would have been out…either way it was a sick relay.

One thing I wanted to say in yesterday’s blog was that I would rather have Russell Martin on the team, than Vernon Wells.  I don’t understand the penny pinching at the catcher position yet throwing 6 mil around to our corner OF’s who just are not that good?  The drop to the catchers we have now is FAR greater than the drop to whatever replacement we would put out the field.  Cervelli and Wells had hits so I am saying this with them doing a good job in game 1.  Also, Cervelli, did make an excellent/quick tag on the play at home.

I am not sure how they didn’t score Cano’s play an error as he over ran it and then it ran up his arm…if you wanted to give the batter a hit, you could have, but there had to be an error to allow the run to score from 2nd base.

Joba get hit around, but I thought his stuff was good.  The ump cost him at least one out and Cano could have helped him…overall, while his performance was bad, I was encouraged by the way the ball was coming out of his hands…although the porn moustache wasn’t that good looking.