The Yankees and Pineda should have been much smarter about using pine tar or whatever substance Pineda wanted to use. Even the coach of Boston said before the game I would hope he is more discreet about it. After what happened last time with the same team, it was just stupid to do what they did. The announcers (which I normally don't normally hear too much of the way I watch) were spot on in their comments. It makes sense to have a legal substance for all pitchers to have grip. They have a rosin bag for a reason when it is hot, so why not something that helps when it is cold? Most pitchers do something in the cold to help with grip, but Pineda and the Yankees were just thumbing their noses at the rules and doing so against the same team they just had an issue with...
As for the game, I was disappointed that Lackey looked very good. His slider was very good as usual, but he had great run on his fastball and was spotting pitches well. Pineda was not as bad as it looked but credit Boston hitters for good AB's. After Pineda started out throwing a consistent 93 in his early starts he has been consistently at 91 of late but getting it up there at 93 when he wanted a little more. He has good movement though and his off speed pitches move as well. I would like his changeup a little slower, but I like the way the Yankee pitchers are taking something off their fastballs at times and then bringing it harder when needed. Tanaka did a great job of that the other night having a range of 91-95 on his fastball and it looked to me that there was a great plan of when to mix it up. Of course, his breaking ball and fork ball were excellent and I was thrilled to see that. I thought he was the great the other night!
Nova probably getting Tommy John surgery is a big blow; it is amazing how a guy is throwing and then shakes his arm and the next thing you know he needs Tommy John surgery. I shake my arm like that after every throw when I play softball...
A few other comments:
Jeter's defense has really been ugly. He hurt Nova by messing up a fairly easy play up the middle on a ball that did have a lot of spin but he should have fielded the ball very close to the last hop to avoid the spin. In fact, on that play his first step was toward 3rd which made it even worse. Then later on a routine grounder he threw it in the dirt and Tex couldn't scoop it. Tex has played very poorly in the field this year as well. In fact the Yankee defense has been pretty poor. Even Gardner struggled yesterday in RF, but that does take some getting used to as the spin goes the opposite way and Gardner misjudged the ball down the line; even if he was afraid of the wall; he should have gone full speed and slid.
A bunch of nights ago, Ichiro was thrown out stealing on a play he beat the throw but ended up being tagged out because he has to have the worst slide of any very good base stealer in the history of the game. He literally digs his front foot into the ground and it slows him up a lot, let alone the possible injury risk if he digs in too hard. Next time you watch him steal, you will see a player that slows himself up sliding more than any player I have ever seen. It is amazing he has stolen 473 bases with a success rate of 82%; if he knew how to slide I bet it would be closer to 90%. That being said, he has played far better than we could have hoped so far and I hope he keeps it up (I doubt it though). The crazy thing is he is hitting lefties at a .915 OPS and righties at .722.
McCann has started to go the other way with some power and that is very good to see. I like that he is adjusting to the shift...take note Mark Teixeira! I hate that mark says that he would not consider laying down a bunt or going away from his strength; I think it is absurd. It doesn't mean he should change his entire approach, but what it means is if you get a fastball out over the plate or you wait on an outside breaking pitch you can serve it into LF and take a hit. or lay a bunt down once in awhile and take the easy base? The fact Tex has 1 extra base hit and has a pathetic .555 OPS makes you wonder why he is being so stubborn? He will hit better regardless if he listens to me, but why not maximize your chances?
Kelly Johnson has done a nice job at the plate for us getting some power and being able to hit both ways so far (a little better against righties).
I am not sure how much longer we will keep the Brian Roberts experiment going? He should not be playing against righties as I thought he was going to platoon with Johnson when we got him...that probably should still happen. Of course, that is assuming Solarte can keep it up. I can't get a good read on Solarte because he is such a free swinger. Usually, that will lead to lower OPS based on not walking and getting himself out too much, but he has shown a good ability to make contact. He appears to be much better from the left side of the plate than the right as his swing is quicker to the ball. I just looked up his numbers and Solarte has an OPS of 1.076 against righties and .577 against lefties; I didn't realize there was such a large discrepancy, but I do like his swing and approach from the left side a lot more.
Scott Sizemore will probably platoon against lefties as he looks good so far. I think he has had some tough AB's, meaning the pitchers have made good pitches against him and so far in only 8 AB's against lefties he has 4 hits (2 doubles).
Let's get this last game against Boston!