Before I get into last night's game and then a more thorough view of the team to date, I was looking through this site and down the right side of the page. I was looking at my archive of posts and noticed that if I were a ball player the trend would be that peaked in 2010. My posts started low in 08 and then increased to 29 in 09 until my peak of 2010 where I had 156 and then down hill to 111, 91 and only 40 last year. The way this year started and I am in the process of moving (only around the corner), I may need to work to get to 40...hopefully I can have a bounce back year!
Last night's game (Sunday): Nuno did a nice job stepping in and mixing things up and seemed more comfortable starting than in relief where he might not "pitch" as much as throw strikes. His stuff is not great, but yesterday he did the job for us. In a 1-0 game I was surprised Girardi took Phelps out after only 1.1 innings and he had just struck out Myers to lead off the inning? He wanted Thornton to face a lefty (Loney), but when your starter is out after 5 you need to get some length out of someone who is looking decent. Unless it is a key situation you should not be matching up so much in a tight game with 8 more outs to go; because it could be a lot more outs and in this case it was as it went into extra innings.
Speaking the obvious, our defense in the infield is pretty bad. The one guy you expected to be your best, Tex, has been bad with 3 errors in limited time. Even Dean Anna, who has been very good defensively blew one yesterday. Roberts, who has been awful at the plate and weak defensively, had a poor call error against him as he clearly caught the ball on the attempted DP and then moved the ball toward his throwing hand and lost the ball in the exchange. I am not sure why Girardi didn't review it as I thought it was clear? It ended up costing us as we would have been out of the inning with no damage, but instead they tied the score.
Staying on defense; Jeter's lack of range has been extremely evident all year as many times I was very surprised he didn't get to a ball. In this same 7th inning a rocket was hit to his right (in the hole) and Jeter was only able to dive similar to what a 3rd baseman would do on a rocket shot, but if Jeter could have taken a half or a full step he would have made the play. I looked at the play in slow mo and other player did take a step; the reaction is just not there for Jeter.
I am glad to see Girardi not be afraid of taking Jeter out and in this game he took Jeter out after a leadoff single in the 11th to use Ichiro as a pinch runner. It didn't work as Ichiro got thrown out and then Anna ended up batting in a key spot (not the way you would draw it up), but Anna did come through with the key AB in the game working a walk in a good 8 pitch AB where Anna was down 1-2 before working the count back and fouling off pitches before he held up on a breaking ball away. This forced in the go ahead run after Maddon intentionally walked Ellsbury to load up the bases. Maddon is not afraid to go the unorthodox way and I think he is an excellent manager. I think he turned the game around in this series when the Yanks were up 4-0 and had a threat going when Jeter stepped to the plate in the 4th inning. He decided to make a move early because this was the one opportunity to try and stop the bleeding and keep the game in check. He yanked his pitcher early and brought in a righty to face Jeter...he got Jeter out and then Tampa came back and ended up blowing us out. That was a key point in the game and Maddon knew it.
Two quick things and I will go through the players later tonight. I hope Nova will be fine. His stuff is good, but he just needs to get it under control as he hung far too many pitches, but give Tampa credit as they took advantage when he made a mistake. I am very interested to see Pineda pitch again. His first game I commented on him throwing a consistent 93 and getting up to 95. This last outing he started about the same and then the rest of the game he was at 90. I am not sure if anyone else said anything as he was very effective, but it was clear his velocity dropped a lot. he was getting a lot of movement and that is probably better, but still showing the 93+ MPH makes the other pitches that much better. He has done a great job of throwing strikes, walking only 3 batters in 18 innings. I am interested to see how his velocity is though...it is possible the cold weather does impact this, but when he started at one speed and then it changed a lot I have concerns. Like I said though, he can still be effective changing speeds, having good movement and hitting spots without walking many guys; and he has done that so far.
Hey, we are in 1st place!