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.

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