Friday, May 31, 2013

May 31

This was put together before the Red Sox game.  I will update the Red Sox game in the morning

Everyone relax, we just got swept by a crappy team, but these are the least important games of the year…bragging rights are for losers!  Let the Mets fans get their only enjoyment of the year…outside of watching their phenom pitcher; he really was worth the price of admission.  4 pitches and they are all good and he seems able to locate all of them well and throw at anytime.  I was very impressed, especially coming throwing back to back breaking balls in on Cano’s hands and the 2nd one Cano bit on.

Outside of that, big picture, I would have signed up and been thrilled to be 30-23 with the injuries we have had.  Seriously, this team was banged up as bad as or worse than the Red Sox last year and the Sox folded; we have hung tough.

I do have some issues with the team in general.  First, with a team that is struggling and playing against a team that has a very weak offense, when you have 1st and 2nd with nobody out with no score how about bunting???  Twice we had that situation and twice we didn’t bunt and twice we didn’t score.

This team did not walk for 3 straight games; not coincidentally, we barely scored any runs.  That is pathetic and why I have trouble with guys like Ichiro in the lineup.  It is bad enough when Wells doesn’t walk much and swings at the first pitch a lot (as does Ichiro) and when you add all the poor players (Nix, Stewart/Romine, and whoever is at SS) the offense is anemic.  I like a team that works the count and gets into the middle relief early in a game.  This team let’s starters go deep because of so many first pitch strikes and no walking.

Joba – Very impressed with him.  I know his numbers are not good right now, but he is coming into form very well.  The Yanks should sign him now so he is cheaper as I get the feeling he may be our closer if not our top setup guy.

Phelps – got crushed after taking one off his arm.  I think it was just one of those things and I feel he will be a solid back of the rotation guy

CC – He may not be the dominant force he was but he has plenty to be a solid top of the rotation guy.  If he can get his fastball just up a few clicks to 93 and be able to dial up to 94 once in a while he will be fine.  His curve and change are good.  When he is only throwing 90-91, though, everything is easier on the batter.  Hoping the warmer weather opens him up some.  Oh and I really wish he would cover first base on balls hit to the right side; it ticks me off that THREE times this year he just gave up outs because he was either lazy or not heads up.

Kuroda – has been great; I am more comfortable with him on the mound than anyone else

Pettitte – I would be fine if he continues at a 3.83 ERA.  It is not great, but it is hard to expect more…that being said, I would not be surprised if he gives us more…or if the age breaks him down. 

Hughes – Just not a huge fan, I hope I am wrong, but he just serves far too many fat pitches for my liking.  He doesn’t walk guys which I love, but he throws too many in the middle of the plate. 

Nova – His stuff his excellent, however, he simply can’t repeat his delivery frequently enough and he ends up throwing too many “Hughes” type pitches.  I think he has more upside than Hughes…I am in the minority in my opinion, but his stuff is simply better.  He is probably a starter, but with Joba back they may just put him in middle relief as he clearly won’t be an important option in the pen.

Joba, Robertson and Rivera closes games very well utilizing Logan as needed for a lefty situation.  UI still want a LOOGY to match up but I guess Joe doesn’t feel it is important (he is wrong).  Nuno has pitched pretty well but I get the impression he will be the first one sent down

Rivera blew the save against the Mets and while he didn’t get an out, it was a weak hit served out to LF and a broken bat to RF and a grounder up the middle.  He will be fine…and has been fine.  Will he go 18 of his next 19…I doubt it but this was just a one run save and this time he couldn’t get it…he has had a bunch and saved all of them before it.  He is not a worry at this point and I am thrilled to be able to say that.

Hitting – Hopefully Tex and Youk can step in and look good right away; this may be hard as they didn’t play too much, but I feel it helps us a lot against lefties and clearly deepens the lineup.

David Adams has looked pretty good at the plate, but c’mon, man, can you work a walk please?  No walks in 52 AB’s?  3 doubles and 2 HR’s is decent pop, but with no walks his OPS is only a weak .687.  That being said, it is better than Chris Stewart (.658) Ichiro and his .626 OPS, and Nix who is at .618.  Stewart is important as Romine (.279 OPS…yes OPS)  has not contributed at all at the plate with only 4 hits in 39 AB and amazingly not a single walk either (see a trend here?).  The Yanks minor league coaches should be embarrassed to see that.  The bench is further useless by having ben Francisco on it and his .402 OPS as well as Reid Brignac who is 1-17 since joining (he is at least our best defensive SS and that has some value).

On a positive note, Hafner has been doing what we expected and that was a mid .800 OPS (.844) and Brennen Boesch, who is really a DH has an .831 OPS.  I guess we need to start him some and bring in Ichiro for defense and maybe bench Wells against some tough righties.  Wells has cooled as expected, but still has been decent with an OPS of .755.  Overbay has also been decent with an OPS of .750, but has done a good job in key spots so far.  That may be just lucky, but he has helped in that role.  His OBP of .289 is poor though, but 21 extra base hits have given him some good unexpected pop.

Cervelli was playing at a level that was very unexpected, but man what a drop off offensively.  We are fortunate that Stewart is giving us a little more offense than we expected (anything above .620 OPS is good for him and he is at .658)  His receiving has not been as good as in the past nor his usually excellent throwing ability, but they may be just an anomaly.

Let’s see if we can get back in the win column and turn this around right away!

Sunday, May 19, 2013


Friday was all about Kuroda having a great slider and great command.  He has been great this year with a 1.99 ERA so far he is wheeling and dealing with good stuff and good command.  I had not watched him much when he was in LA but I have liked him from the first day he was here and he has been a great pickup and a great resigning.

Saturday saw Phelps give us more quality innings.  Phelps had a very good slider all day.  He used it as a change of pace, but it is a good pitch because it appears the batters don’t pick up the slider rotation quickly on it and he throws with a similar motion as his fastball.  It is not sharp, but it breaks late which makes it very effective (compared to a pitch that can be recognized quicker.  Phelps is not a dominant guy, but he is a solid rotation guy (even if back of the rotation).  He is a heck of a lot more consistent than Hughes and while Hughes has got his velocity back, a few years ago I was talking about how Phelps could give us everything Hughes can…

Some crazy stuff in the game helped us out as Phelps was in some trouble early on.  Phelps had walked 2 guys and had 2 outs but a 3-1 count on the batter when Bautista got picked off at 2nd base!  That is simply inexcusable and an enormous blunder.  Honestly that could have been the game.  I know I was just speaking highly of Phelps (and I do think he is not a weak starter), but he was having first inning troubles with control and after 2 walks and a 3-1 count what was Bautista thinking?  HUGE play.

In the 2nd inning, Toronto bunted and their batter stepped fully out of the batters box (his foot was behind the plate) but nobody caught it and nobody said anything.  Could have gotten an easy out there.

Toronto messed by not turning 2 on a comebacker and instead of being out of the inning we rallied for 3 runs with 2 outs.  Their defense has been bad against us.

Overbay made a great scoop on a tough in between hop after Nix made a very good play to get the ball over to him.  I let out a cheer when I saw that play as it saved a run.

David Adams, who appears to now be our 3rd baseman until the MASH unit comes back, is an important person for us.  Mostly because he represents what I have been writing about for the past few years; bring up our minor leaguers instead of signing the Ichiro’s and Ben Francisco’s of the world.  Let our minor league guys play as well if not better than the veterans but more important develop them.  I didn’t like signing Gonzalez to play short, but it is possible we didn’t have anyone, but no we get rid of him and bring in Reid Brignac.  At least he is a lefty and known as a solid defender.  He won’t give you much stick, but he should give us more than we have now.  I like this move better than Gonzalez, but it is still not a long term solution, it is a band aid…but at this point it was fine.

Adams has played pretty well so far and showed some good awareness on a tag play where he caught the ball as he was moving his glove toward the runner (who was correctly called safe on a very close play).  Those are the subtle differences that can make the difference, even if it didn’t this time. 
I like Granderson in RF and benching Ichiro.  I wasn’t sure who would play RF and who would play LF (not sure I care that much), but I wanted Gardner in CF.

Melky made one of his patented throws that I used get annoyed with as he took five steps before uncorking a very good throw that was late.  I am a believer that getting rid of the ball quickly is as important as the throw itself and I think the overall time it touches the glove to getting to the tagging fielder is longer when you take so many steps.

We are doing better than I expected with so many guys out…enjoy it!

Friday, May 17, 2013

5-16 game

When Brett Gardner is up with 1st and 2nd nobody out in a very close game, you should be bunting 95% of the time.  In this case Girardi should not have invoked the 5% rule as it was idiocy.  The fact Gardner struck out is not proof it was a bad move; it was simply an awful decision.

Pettitte and Stewart went out with injuries, hopefully they are not too long term…at least for Pettitte.

Fast forward to the 8th inning with the tying run in scoring position and Ichiro up with 1st base opened, they were so unconcerned about Ichiro, even with Romine on deck; they went after him and struck him out.  The issue then was Romine led off the 9th and after have a 3-0 count he took the “give me” 3-0 strike but it looked like a ball to me.  He should have taken another pitch at this point but instead swung at the 3-1 pitch that was low but possibly a strike and weakly (corrected to say soft liner) short hop to 2nd.  Gardner had a 3-1 count on him and he tried to bunt.  Kay, incorrectly, said that shows a sign of a guy with little confidence (Gardner did stink up to this point) trying to bunt.  I think it was a smart move as he figured he would get a good pitch and the 3rd baseman was deep and if he could get on he could run all day on Montero and if it was a ball, he could take the walk.  He ended up fouling it off but then lined a clean single through the left side to get on base.  Nix was now up.  Think about how truly sad it is that Romine and Nix were up in crucial 9th inning AB’s against a righty closer!  Anyway, Nix gets ahead of the count while Gardner steals 2nd and 3rd and swings at ball 4 on a 3-1 count!  That swing might have cost us the game because with Cano up and an open base, Cano didn’t see a single good pitch (credit the pitcher) and he grounded out to end the game.  It was a fun AB too watch, but with a guy throwing 97-98 and an open base, it was a tough AB for Cano as walking him intentionally wouldn't have been a crazy move.  Cano needed a little more discipline, but the pitcher made a lot of quality close strikes.

Tough loss as we had chances.  Seattle has some guys throwing hard but they all have some wrinkles too.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


It was interesting watching the Yankees AAA team play against Cleveland in the 2nd game last night two nights ago, but they came through.  It is also nice to see exactly what we do have in terms of minor league talent, something the Yankees have been avoiding for too long.  Of course, the Yankee brass didn’t have much choice with all the injuries yet they still have chosen top bring in two infielders (who are not very good) rather than give some of our other minor leaguers some action.  Either way, we are getting to see some of them because of the injuries.

Tuesday night:  King Felix and his sub 2 ERA against CC.  Both guys have dropped some velocity but CC is about 2-3 down from a few years ago and that is significant.  Seattle’s offense is not strong and he was able to keep the damage down.  Granderson looked really bad in his AB’s…very different swing. 

After being down 3-0 to King Felix Cano hung in there and took a curve ball out to close the gap to a one run game.  It really shows how good he is as he looked uncomfortable (just like many others against Felix) and then pulls us right back in the game.  Later on Overbay did his job getting the sac fly getting us the go ahead run and turning a one run lead over to Robertson and Rivera.  Robertson did a poor job of walking the first guy on 4 pitches (how does that happen?).  Then it got worse when Romine made a poor decision on a bunt that was just in front of the plate, but Romine should have seen the jump and known the speed of the runner and not tried to get him at 2nd.  Now we have 1st and 2nd nobody out.  Fortunately, the same runner who was going on first move to 2nd on the bunt also made the mistake of going on the line drive to Nix and that that one false step was enough for Nix to double him off on the line drive and that saved the inning.

The Genius Maker looked great breaking two bats and was aided by the final strike of the game…that was clearly a ball.  Either way, he looked good again and saved another 1 run game.

Wednesday night saw Hughes just pitch horribly and not get out of the first inning and the game was over (7-0) before the Yanks stepped to the plate.  Hughes just has far too many of those types of situations.  This is why I just have never been a fan. 

Ichiro, who has not been doing well and actually made one of his throws where he took 5 steps before releasing the ball, did hit the ball hard a bunch of times with nothing to show for it. 

It is amazing that our record is what it is…we have been lucky in all these one run games

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Game 35-36

Happy Mother's Day!

I still don’t understand why Stewart keeps his hand out in the open in the same way Cervelli got injured?  Can anyone explain why nobody has said anything?

Saturday’s game:

Pettitte raised his arm slot a little and he had better movement on his pitches.  It seemed he was getting lazy with his arm and throwing a little more side arm.  He pitched well and looked better not walking anyone (the umps walked a guy with only 3 balls (I find it impossible that the Yankees didn’t say anything).

Wells came through with a big 2 run HR with a 3-1 fastball that was grooved.

Robertson looked great striking out all 3 batters and having his cutter look a little like Rivera’s.  He also has the good hook.  If he can keep his control he can be dominant.

Rivera had good movement on his ball but KC had good AB’s dropping a double down the RF going with an outside pitch and just missing tying the game on line drive pulled down the RF line.  The same batter then hit one in the gap that Wells ran down nicely.

14-14 is amazing for the Genius Maker.  He is leading the league in saves (tied with 2 others).

Sunday’s Game:

Wells had another good at the plate and Cano hooked another curve ball for HR supplying the offense and Kuroda went 7.2 innings and probably would have finished off the 8th if not for a missed strike call that he uncharacteristically made it clear right after the pitch he was not happy and continued as he was pulled for Robertson.  The Genius Maker   allowed a groundball single and then immediately got a DP before a weak fly out ended the game.  15-15!

Yanks have a double header against Cleveland tomorrow so the fact Rivera only threw 9 pitches means he could be used.  Robertson only threw 2 pitches, so he is OK as well…even if 2 pitches aren’t much different than 9 pitches.

BTW, I don’t see the Joba and Rivera exchange of words to be anything important.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Game 34

A three-way tie for 1st place (ahead on %).  Based on our injuries, I am more than happy with that.  I am surprised we have won 62% of our games, but was hoping Baltimore and Boston wouldn’t have been playing so well.  I knew Toronto was improved, but also knew that they were not able to play with the others in this division.  I do expect them to play better as the season goes on though.  Tampa is a solid team as well.  We have been a little lucky as well so far as we have one a larger share of close games than normally happens.  Rivera at 43 has been amazing so far for us and I am constantly amazed by The Genius Maker.  It really is special watching him play at such a high level so far and he has been perfect in save situations…truly amazing.

I wrote about Cervelli and where he puts his hand and how critical I was of that.  I am shocked that Stewart still keeps his hand in harms way for no apparent reason?  I just don’t get it?  As I used to say about Posada, you are just asking for an injury that is easily preventable and Cervelli broke his hand because of it.  I don’t get why nobody is watching this? 

Stats are inflated a little after last night’s offensive explosion.  Overbay had a great day and Ichiro and Gardner had a lot of bases as well.  Chris nelson even got a few hits (I didn’t understand that signing either as I said I would have given a minor leaguer a chance.  Ichiro has his OPS over .700 at .719, so he is now officially not awful, just very weak.  Gardner is at .742 so he is avg for a CF’r, but his D is still very good.

Wells misplayed a ball yesterday as he crossed to his left (our right) rather than going back and then couldn’t catch up to the ball.  Overall he has played as well as we could hope, but I am not so sure it will continue.  Because of injuries and because the way his contract was structured, it might have been necessary, but I am still luke warm on it.  I hope he can keep it up, but I get the feeling he will drop back into the mid .700’s for OPS.  I hope I am wrong as we will need him because he has to be better than Ichiro or we will be in trouble.

I hated the signing at the beginning, but can we just end the Ben Francisco era?  It was a mistake and let’s just move on and give someone else a chance.  I would rather see Brennen Boesch play in every situation Girardi wanted to put BeFran into.

BTW, Cano has 21 RBI’s and Overbay has 20 (Hafner has 18).

Shawn Kelley looked dominant yesterday and while it was one game, he has made an adjustment that has put more life on his fastball (movement wise) and he has not walked anyone in his last 4.1 innings (allowing only 1 hit with 9 k’s!).  Hard to say whether he has turned a corner yet, but his numbers have been great in this stretch and he does show strikeout stuff.  Nothing is sharp though and I usually like that in a pitcher. 

Preston Claiborne has done the job so far as well, but while nothing stands out, these guys have been throwing 93-94 so they have a fastball that needs to be respected and they have some movement as well as a decent slider and change.  Those are traits you can work with. 

I have been missing the Vidal Nuno pitching opportunities but I would like to see what he has because, as you know, I feel it is a must to have at least two lefties in the pen.

Hughes continues to be inconsistent in his command.  His stuff is fine, but command is a big issue as he doesn’t seem to be able to be as consistent as one would like.  Overall, an ERA of 4.43 is not bad and he is showing signs of being able to consistently throw a little harder, but he will need to get a little better command to stop allowing so many big hits (7 HR’s in 40 innings is not getting it done).

The one area that the Yanks are doing a good job in is not giving away too many free passes as they have walked 86 batters in 305 innings.  Only 2 teams have a lower walk % in the AL.

Just a random note is how many strikeouts are happening in the AL.  The ratio of strikeouts per inning is .874 so far this year when in past years it has been .824, .771, .759 (notice the trend going up)

The injured are getting ready to come back…I am looking forward to seeing Youk, Grandy and Tex back in the short term along with Joba.  Then Cervelli, ARod and Jeter (who am I forgetting?)  Girardi got his 500th win and while I think he is far too condescending, he has done a good job this year and overall is not bad (except for keeping Robby Thompson).  BTW, sending Nix yesterday with one out was not a bad choice and not because he made it, it was because the other team executed perfectly and Nix still beat the throw.

Finally, I thought Girardi has made all the right pitching moves the last two days as he followed my exact thoughts.  Maybe he is maturing…or maybe I am losing it J