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!