Thursday, April 30, 2015

Game 22

 Very tough loss last night.  Another very long game that we couldn’t win in extra innings.  I think we need to mandate SB’s from Gardner and Ellsbury in late innings.  Obviously, you can’t run just to get caught, but you need to at least do a hit and run.  They each were on and neither one ran with a ton of opportunities (sometimes the situation ends up being only a few pitches – but not last night).  Also, in the bottom of the 12th Beltran singled (about time as he has been killing us) and Gardner correctly pinch ran for him.  Tampa had the shift on for Headley and for the life of me I don’t know why we didn’t either bunt and run or just have Headley bunt down the 3rd base line as the 3rd baseman was playing SS?  It was the perfect time.  Further, if done correctly Gardner may be able to get around to 3rd base.

For the losing play if Drew comes up clean and throws home I think we get the runner.  He didn’t come up clean, double clutched and then “faked” the throw and then eventually threw very late. 

Didi looked good defensively yesterday flashing a serious play in the hole where he slid and backhanded the ball and then got rid of it lightning fast with a very strong arm.  He got the runner by more than a step.  That was very good to see as I can put up with him struggling at the plate if his defense is what it was reported to be.

I was right when I said Petit would be the first to get sent down to the minors and it would happen pretty quickly…of course he was recalled when Tanaka went on the DL.  This is not good, but as long as he comes back healthy in a month we can get through it.

A few other comments:
·      ARod killed us yesterday.  He was up 6 times and made 7 outs!  Even though I mentioned about him guessing less than the announcers were stating he looked like he was guessing yesterday, taking strike 3 down the middle
·      Girardi has done a good job so far this year and I have agreed with his decisions.  One I slightly questioned yesterday (and I have brought this up before) was going into the 8th of a tie score Carpenter pitched only 7 very effective pitches the inning before and he took him out for Betances.  Veterans of this blog know I think managers should anticipate extra innings more often when the situation dictates it (such as letting a pitcher who looks effective and only threw 7 pitches get a few more outs).  Betances was then awesome for only 11 pitches and then he was taken out.  We then had to use Miller for 2 innings (which was the correct move), but we probably could have gotten at the minimum one more inning and probably two out of Carpenter and Betances (with a day off today). 
·      While on the situation of trying to get the most out pitchers in a tight game if the situation dictates.  Girardi took out Pineda with only 94 or so pitches and then pitches Justin Wilson for 2 pitches to get out of the inning.  Wilson has shown that he is pretty equal against both lefties and righties so why not get a little more out of him than 2 pitches as well?
·      Martin continues to do well; I am very impressed with his control of his fastball.  He really spots it extremely well.
·      I can’t get too annoyed with Shreve, but you can’t walk 3 guys in 2 innings.
·      I can’t remember another time where we had so many hard throwers out of the pen?  Like I said, our pitching should make us very competitive; hopefully Tanaka is healthy after this stint.
·      I think we will need to trade for a 2nd baseman if nobody in the minors can step up.

The umpires behind home plate have been very good this year in my opinion.  While I have not agreed with every call, I think they have been good, although it is hard to tell with the ESPN strike zone as I don't like that because they don't change the up and down for players and it is annoying.  I would rather it to the right instead of my viewing area of the strike zone.

BTW, I changed the font to make it a little larger by request.  I will do so whenever I can, but sometimes I write from different places.

Monday, April 27, 2015

After Mets Series

Ahhh, what a winning streak will do to the bridge jumpers!  Amazing what an 8-2 run will do.  of course it "looks" much better early in the year.

We are in first place tied with Tampa who is coming in tonight!

As I stated our pitching is too good to be as bad as everyone thought.

As for last night's game against the Mets,  The Mets played terribly.  I believe they had 4 errors and they also had a base running blunder not knowing how many outs there were.  The announcers were driving me crazy harping on Eovaldi and how he can't hit any spots...over and over again.  It then began a justification of that position. When Eovaldi did nail his spots it was never mentioned...That being said, he was missing a lot but I think the real issue is that he is not throwing inside effectively or accurately.  One pitch he got in there produced a weak pop up.  He has to throw inside and I didn't like the pitch selection.  They waited until the 4th or 5th inning to use what looked like a splitter or changeup and it helped him.  So for clarity, I think his main issue is that he is not throwing inside enough and nobody is uncomfortable.  It is also possible he is tipping his pitches at times because I will say that I agree that the swings are too good against the stuff he has.  I am not concerned, I like his stuff and he is young.

While on the announcers, they kept saying how ARod is nothing but a guess hitter now and then after they announced that ARod could not get around on two fastballs he obviously guessed right when he hit the curve ball for a right center HR???  So if he is such a guess hitter now and he was late on two fastballs; why would he be guessing curve ball?   He wasn't.  What happened was he was out in front of the pitching (probably looking more fastball) but kept his hands back and off a bent front leg still had enough power to hit a curve ball (on the outer edge of the plate) for a HR the opposite way.  It was a good pitch and an excellent job of hitting.  now I am not saying he doesn't guess, but every hitter does at times.  He probably guesses more than he used to as well, but he has shown a very good eye at the plate walking 14 times already this season (leading the team).  I don't think he will keep up a .989 OPS, but if he can give us .800 plus and right now that seems reasonable, that would be very good.

Tex is another that is off to a hot start.  1.044 OPS is fantastic, but he will drop as well because most of his OPS is from his 8 HR's and that will cool down some.  Chris Young is doing great as well (made a nice running catch as well) with an OPS of 1.042.  In limited play JR Murphy has a .900 OPS and has looked good and may get more playing time if McCann doesn't get his OPS up from .643 (his OBP of .286 is putrid)

Of course, if ARod and some of the others will cool down, we need some guys to pick it up.  The key guy is Beltran.  Like I stated before, it is very odd for a player to drop off so precipitously without an injury, but when we talk about Gregorius hitting so poorly (OPS .513) and Beltran is below him (.494) that is crazy.  Beltran has a career .845 OPS.  In his last 2 years before coming here he was .840 and .830 playing every day.  A reasonable expectation would have been .800 and maybe .780 this year.  Instead, his .703 from last year would be very helpful right now.  his bat speed does not look lost to me, I just think he is  in a funk and will straighten it out to be at least usable and I hope more.  I mentioned Gregorius and outside of his transition, it is hard to think he would get worse than his .653 OPS last year.  My concern, and I had stated this before, is I think he needs to be platooned.  Maybe he learns to hit against lefties, but before this year his career OPS against lefties was .490 (.743 against righties), this year it is .453 (righties is .531).  Headley at .661 is below where he needs to be and Ellsbury has to do better than .722.  I hated his contract, but he is a good player; he needs to show that at least as he will never make his contract a good one.  When they signed him, I said that he is a slightly better version of Gardner and I wanted Gardner for the price.  Gardner was very close to Ellsbury last year (Jacoby was better though) and this year Gardner is outplaying him.  Jacoby need to give us an OPS before SB's of at least .750 and his SB's should give him at least 35 points of value.  just for some of the newer readers, I take the successful SB's and subtract twice the amount of caught stealing and then divide buy AB's.  So for Jacoby, if he steals 40 and gets caught 9 times he gets and additional 22 bases (turning singles into doubles) and in a season of 600 AB's, that equated to 37 points.  That is how I value the speed of runners stealing bases, although I don't value the speed of taking extra bases (and it does have value), but I don't put it into my OPS number.

We swept Tampa in Tampa; I would be fine with 2 of 3 at home.  With Whitley going game 2, that is good by me.

One other item, the other day I really liked the fire I saw out of Tanaka.  He missed badly on an 0-2 pitch and he was really ticked at himself.  Now look at how poor CC did as he does not have a put away pitch when he gets 2 strikes on a guy and he got creamed in that spot in his last outing.  Eovaldi by the stats is very bad with 2 strikes as well so as a team we may want to look at our pitch selection in that spot.


Thursday, April 16, 2015

Games 7-9

Game 6 was the best game of the year.  Partially because the Yankees won, but mostly because there were so many “this pitch is critical” situations.  Obviously, Drew hitting the Grand Slam was the key offensive moment and it was thrilling.  However, all the Betances AB’s and him finding the right pitches in a game he clearly struggled, to get out of the jam(s) was very exciting.  Then a great job by Miller going 1 2/3 inning to get the hard earned save (can’t ask for a much tougher save than that).  Every pitch was tense.  Miller has stepped in and done great so far.  I could go on about the great batter/pitcher confrontations but this writeup is a little late for that.  I will say that I did not like a lot of the pitch selection calls by Murphy (Even if they worked at times and I may not have been correct), but the one that stood out was throwing a fastball to Adam Jones when he hit is HR off Pineda in the 6th to give Baltimore a 4-2 lead.  I think the best way to pitch Jones is to throw off speed pitches low and away and the timing (and the location were bad)  That being said, Murphy has it well and he made two terrific throws.   Honestly, Murphy has outplayed McCann so far.  McCann hasn’t even blocked balls well so far and needs to get going (he didn’t turn his body toward home plate on an attempted block and the ball skipped away toward first.  I was looking back on some of my posts (I forgot how much I was against the Ellsbury signing because of the cost) and I was not a fan of the McCann signing, but I did say I expected a slight uptick in his numbers this year.  Time will tell.  BTW, will someone tell McCann to hide his throwing hand when pitches are coming?  I think it should be hidden even when guys are on base and if a pitch is in the dirt or a guy is stealing you expose it, but with nobody on, there is no excuse leaving it in the open.  I said the same thing about Cervelli before he was lost to for an extended period of time on a foul tip.

A couple of other points on the last few games:

Leiter and Singleton had an interesting exchange when on a 2-0 pitch that was on the outer half of the plate was watched for strike one.  Leiter (paraphrased) said,  “I don’t get why a batter would let that go on 2-0, let her fly.”  Singleton correctly responded, “I think he was looking for a specific zone to let her fly and that pitch was more of a pitchers pitch on the outside corner.  However, then Singleton on the next pitch said,” like that pitch” referring to a breaking ball that was hittable and then Leiter correctly said, but that was a different speed pitch and that may not be what he was looking for.  I found it interesting because they were each right and wrong at different times.  (yeah, I know, I am odd, but this is also why I don’t listen to the announcers very much as a fast forward through games).

From what I heard, Gardner asked out of the AB where Drew came up and hot the Grand Slam, supposedly saying that after getting hit twice in the same spot (probably should wear a wrist guard) he was not the guy to be up in that spot.  Glad he did the unselfish thing!
CC is mediocre now and especially with his own defensive shortcomings, I can only hope he gives us 6 innings of 3 run baseball.

The Yankees challenged Gardner’s bunt where he was thrown out at first base.  I don’t think it should have been overturned, but if you ask me whether I thought he was safe I would say yes…but it was incredibly close.  That being said, veterans of this blog know that I have always had an issue with the way 1st basemen prepare to receive a ball form either a catcher or pitcher on a ball in front of the plate.  They all do what Davis did and that is have their feet on the base path between 1st and 2nd and their left foot on the bag so that they are facing the batter.  I have written this many times and even explained it to people, but the fielders don’t stretch toward the throw when it is close and this was a great example.  They lose 2 to 3 feet by not stretching and it can be the difference between out and safe.  If you stand up with your feet in line with each other parallel and then reach out as far as you can you can only stretch your arm length (this is what Davis did and Tex does and most do).  But now keep one foot on the bag and then stretch forward with one foot and you gain probably 2-3 feet.  I know the throw is shorter from home, but Tex does the same thing and it has cost us an out before.  One of the things I can’t explain.

A couple questionable moves, but in game 8 why would Petit lead off the 9th inning?  I would have put ARod in the leadoff spot rather than the 2 out spot because of the OBP advantage.  Again in the 9th Petit batted in game 9.  When you are losing and Petit is batting in the 9th; you have some real issues; almost anyone else is a better option.
Finally, I don’t agree with the way Girardi rests players.  Sure if you can rest a few innings here and there in blow outs that is fine, but do some of our guys really need a blow this early in the year?  Not only that, if you are going to rest them… then rest them 100%.  What I mean by that is if you are giving ARod a day off, give him a day off where he doesn’t get loose, and will not throw, swing or play.  All he does his rest and get any ultrasound, ice or whatever it is; but he gets a full day off.  If they have to prepare that they may be in the game by stretching throwing running etc… then you are defeating the purpose.  Obviously, PT players will always have to be ready but your FT players should get full rest and that is a ton better than even getting one AB which still takes a toll on your body because of the prep (not the actual AB).  In a pitchers example, it would be the equivalent of a reliever getting up every game to come into the game but never coming in.  He could actually need a day off from 2 or 3 consecutive sessions where he was almost used.  Bottom line, play the guys and giving them a full days rest would be healthier in my opinion.  BTW, I heard the argument that tired guys are more injury prone…and while that is probably true, the Yankees have been pretty darn injured the past years so whatever we are doing is not working.  Give a guy a complete day off and that is MUCH better than 2 or even 3 half days off…and you get more actual playing time out of your player.

3-6 is not a good start, but not too many players are playing at or above where one would expect them to be as well.  No need to panic yet.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Game 6

As I stated in my last blog, winning this game was as important as the 6th game of the year could be.  2 games back seems a heck of a lot better than 4 games back.  Plus, we had Tanaka going and seeing him pitch well would be nice.  Unfortunately, I didn't see him pitch well.  Forget the hours of blathering regarding whether he had the arm strength velocity and where he was pitching from the announcers.  The only part I agreed with them was you need to work all sides (including the top and the bottom) of the strike zone and showing some high heat is needed to make everything else look better.  My issue with Tanaka was more that he walked 3 guys in 5 innings.  he was trying to be too fine and I think needs to throw some more 4 seam fastballs just for another look and also to make everything else look better.  His slider was controlled well and splitter had downward movement but he wasn't able to get a lot of swing and misses because it was thrown too low (and didn't fool them enough.  It is still early in the year so he can be OK, but the walks were not good especially where and to whom they were given to.  BTW, Schilling made a comment about where his elbow was on "off speed pitches compared to his fastball," and I didn't agree at all with what Schilling was saying because I slowed it up and looked for it.  A batter can see a setup very easily and the release point well but anything behind the windup can't be seen and if there was something it was not blatant.  If anyone has any video where they showed this I would like to see it.

The offense woke up and Boston had some of the fielding issues we have had all year, but it was great to see ARod rip a base clearing double as well as show an excellent eye at the plate.  I know he is striking out but he is making pitchers work and I like his approach.  I don't expect his present .967 OPS but if he can give us anything above .800 that would be good.

I still can't believe how poor our defense has been.  Drew threw one wide of 2nd and Gregorius backed up on a grounder and then couldn't get the handle of the ball until it was too late.  It was listed as a FC and thus no error, but that is a terrible scoring decision, that was an error because he bobbled it and was incorrectly scored.

Last blog I meant to say that Gregorio (Petit) would be the guy that I expect to not be with the team too long and I wrote Gregorius incorrectly.  I have corrected it.  The yanks should have never brought Petit to the team...he isn't very good and his name is confusing...

Let's see if we can get in a groove and go on and win 13 of 20 games or something like that.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Game 5

I missed the 19 inning epic as I didn't have my DVR set for a non Yes network game.

1-4 is not a good start especially when they are against Toronto and Boston so Sundays game is a little important or as important as the 6th game of the season can be.  I would rather not be 4 games back with another loss; Tanaka needs to out dual Buchholz.

The part of the year that has surprised me the most so far is how poor our defense has been.  JR Murphy has two passed balls and throws one into CF on a horrible throw allowing a run to score.  ARod drops a throw at first base and I could care less if he hasn't played there...catch the ball.  Later on ARod barely came off the base on a throw that I could see happening if you are not comfortable at where to be on the base to ensure you stay in contact if you can (probably could have if he stepped up on the base).  but even Tex didn't know what he was doing the other day.  Headley, who has a good reputation for defense has been bad so far this year and Garrett Jones allowed 3 runs to score on what was a bad play in RF and one where he looked really slow.

I hate our 2nd base situation as I mentioned in my first blog.  Petit looks decent on the turn, but he can't hit and doesn't seem like a gem at 2nd base.  The fact he is 30 doesn't show much upside either, but maybe he is a late bloomer?  Doubtful.  I also don;t like that our two middle infielders are Gregorius and Gregorio; too confusing.  My guess is Gregorio won't be on the squad too long.

Last year Beltran was one of the huge disappointments so the hope was he would get back to closer to teh back of his baseball card; but he is off to a bad start.  headley needs to get going as well especially when his defense is so poor.

All the above said, it is REALLY early and a 1-4 run will not be the worst run we have all year (most likely)

I will feel better if we win Sunday; not only because it is Boston and not only to save us from being down 4 games, but I hope Tanaka pitches well; I think he will.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Game 3

Overall, I was not that impressed with CC.  I know the results say the same thing, but I was more concerned that the velocity was 88 most of the day on his fastball.  I know it was cold (so let's not get too crazy yet) so he may be 2 or maybe even 3 off, but for him it is huge because his change was consistently at 83 and 5 MPH is not enough of a difference especially when he did not have his downward fade at the end of the pitch.  If he threw 91 then 83 is right in line (still needs more sink though).  CC's slider was his best pitch last night if you ask me.  He also was a little unlucky, but at the end of the day he didn't get the job done.  If CC can't get his velocity up he is going to need to adjust his grip on his change and slow the pitch up a few MPH.

ARod hit a HR as he jumped all over a high 88 MPH fastball and then later in the game couldn't catch up to a 95 MPH (was way behind).  I think the good fastballs will be hard for Alex unless he is sitting only on it and he sells out to catch up to it.  I was impressed that he went from 1st to 3rd on a "double" into LF by Beltran that was not right down the line.  ARod is not slow now, even if he is not fast either.  It was good to see and also allowed Beltran to get his double.

After this 2nd and 3rd nobody out situation, the Yanks ran into the key point in the game.  Down 4-0, tex ripped a line drive right at the 3rd baseman.  If you had a youngster next to you this was a classic teaching moment because Beltran "froze on a line drive" and this allowed him to get back to 2nd without being doubled off.  If he took one step toward 3rd and immediately tried to get back he would have been out.  It was a very good running play, but one that should happen more often.

The next hitter was Headley and he was ahead 3-0 in the count but ended up taking the 3-0 for a strike and then swinging through a hittable pitch (on the outer 1/3 of the plate) and then watching a good changeup for strike 3.  After Chris Young popped out we blew a huge chance in the game.

A couple of other points.

Toronto got a run after an infield hit then a seeing eye ground ball some how avoided Petit's glove at 2nd base and Beltran threw a one hopper that deflected off the runner and CC (who is the laziest pitcher and never covers first) wasn't backing up 3rd base.  First, CC needs to get his head out of his lazy rear and second, Headley blew the throw because I have no idea why he was on the left field side of 3rd base waiting for the throw. You have to make sure you're in front of the runner (infield side) when the throw is coming from RF and thus it won't/can't hit the runner.  Throws from CF are much trickier for a 3rd baseman but from RF he was in the wrong spot (this was not mentioned on the broadcast?)

Losing 2 of 3 at home to Toronto isn't good, but the weather and the first few games of the season is hard to get too anxious over.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Game 2!

Man, very rough weather to play in.  The worst baseball weather; windy, cool and wet.  But, it made for a very enjoyable game to watch.

Because of the weather, I don't want to take too much out of the game; but here goes.

1st inning - Ellsbury walked and then got picked off, but I thought it was a balk.  Clearly there was movement before the throw to first, but the umps missed it.  BTW, I thought the ump behind home plate did a great job; very consistent.  ARod K'd on a questionable pitch, but he might have been right and that was my only complaint...great job)

Pineda started out very well in full control even breaking out a beautiful 2 seamer that he turned over that moved into a righty.  It was such a strange pitch that Ken Singleton asked what it was.  It wasn't his change as it came in at 90 but it was a fastball he took a little off of.  But, that is something Pineda can do.  He has a good feel on how to pitch.  He cut a few into lefties, he threw a 4 seam fastball and then he threw his slider.  As the game went on his breaking stuff was just spinning (no break) and that caused him to use the changeup which he used masterfully getting two huge k's back to back keeping the Yankees in the game.  Because it was cold nobody was throwing high 90's, but Pineda was throwing mostly 91 and with guys on base sometimes less.

After a leadoff double by Tex (who batted righty against the righty knuckleballer) McCann did a poor job not moving the runner over.  Headley did what McCann needed to do (at the minimum), but now with 2 outs that didn't help much (although with a knuckleballer it does put more pressure on the catcher). Unfortunately, ARod K'd on the same pitch he took for ball 3.

In the 3rd, the Jays had a chance to break it open again with 1 run in and 1st and 2nd nobody out but they decided not to bunt Reyes.  I think this was the turning point of the game.  A fast guy at the plate and a sac that moves two bases is so logical, but instead Reyes made an unproductive out and Pineda used his changeups to K Martin and Bautista.  That was the key to the game if you ask me...poor managing by Gibbons.

There was an odd play where Tex jumped for a ball and it deflected off of his glove (not Tex's fault) that I would have liked to see Drew catch.  He got a lot of glove on it but couldn’t line it up and it cost us a run because it would have been an easy DP.  Good pitching kept us in it.

In the 6th Gardner's speed saved at least one run with a nice running catch.

Chris Martin (he is 28 and has 16 innings in the majors with Colorado) came in to pitch the 7th for us and he did a really nice job.  He was impressive in that he worked both sides of the plate showing a nice cutter going into a lefty but also being able to run the fastball into righties.  I don’t remember seeing a breaking ball, but his control and movement were very good.

Headley made a nice heads up play getting into scoring position on a fly to LF by ARod, but we stranded him.

Betances came in for the 8th but his control was off walking two guys.  McCann made a terrible play trying to throw behind the runner for a few reasons.  The pitch was a bad one and I give McCann credit for picking it clean, but he was lucky he did pick it clean (a run would have scored if it got by him.  I assume he felt the runner would take too much of a lead, but he threw low to Tex (for the 2nd time and Tex didn't block the ball.  I write it that way because the previous low throw by McCann had Tex lift up his glove to scoop it and I thought Tex got a little lucky as his entire goal is to block the ball from going into RF and left the "5 hole" open but the ball came up so he was a little lucky.  This time he did the same thing and lifted the glove and the ball went under into RF for a run.  Tex always lifts his glove high to make it look spectacular and I wish he would just make the play (which I think he only does about average compared to others).  To be fair, Tex made a good scoop to end the game and did get another one earlier as well.

Into the bottom of the 8th down 3-1.  After a bloop leadoff double from Chris Young (who pinch hit for Didi), we mount our comeback with a line bullet single by Ellsbury (on base every time tonight) and then a HBP, a walk, another HBP and then Headley hit a soft line one hopper off the pitcher that went toward SS and somehow Reyes couldn’t corral it either and it went by him scoring 2 runs and giving us our first lead of the game (and the year).

Miller came in for the first save opportunity post the genius maker and in terrible conditions looked excellent.  His fastball was spotted perfectly and his sharp slurve was very effective with nobody getting a solid look or piece of it. Miller threw 10 pitches, 8 for strikes, got 1 K and the rest was clean!

That was enjoyable!

Monday, April 6, 2015

Opening Day!

Hello Yankee fans!  I hope this email/blog reaches you all safely

I will review the entire more in depth as we move forward but I do want to say while this team is flawed we have a better team than last year...and that team won 84 games, even if they probably should have been closer to .500.   I see many people picking the Yankee for last place in the division and I don't see that at all; the pitching and defense is too good.  Of course our offense will really struggle unless we get good performances from every question mark...and there are a lot.  I do see Beltran playing much better offensively, I think ARod will be a much better DH than we put out there last year and I would think Ellsbury should be a little better.   I feel that Headley will give us solid 3rd base production (probably around .760 OPS) and McCann will at least do what he did last year (considering it was his worst year in the majors at a .692 OPS) and I could see an increase in his production as well.  These are all pluses so far.  I hate our 2nd base situation, but it is virtually impossible for Drew to be worse than last year...right?  We lose a lot oat 2nd though as Prado  did well when he came over.  Gregorius may not hit like Jeter, but honestly I would be disappointed if he didn't.  Last year Didi had an OPS of .653, Jeter had an OPS of .617.  Defensively he is a big upgrade over Jeter and that should be an overall plus.  That leaves us with Tex.  His "stubborness" gives me no reason to see a big uptick, but if you look at his career, at 34 he should not be done.  His OPS was .807 in 2012 and 2013 he barely played and was injured so I won't count that.  Last year he had an OPS of .711.  He shouldn't be much worse than that and could be better.  Gardner, should give us an OPS around .750 with some SB help.  I don't know what happened to the guy who averaged 48 SB's with only being caught 11 times on 2010 and 2011, but he still is a positive on the bases stealing 21 and being caught 5 times last year, so that adds to his OPS.

So the weak offense should be better this year IMO.

Our pitching could be very good.  We will miss the genius Maker coming out of the pen (and no I won't change the blog least for awhile), but we have a lot of arms and the best starting team we have had in some time.  of course, we need to stay healthy but that is very hard to predict.   I don't understand all this talk about Tanaka though and his velocity may be down?  Not sure what that is about, but his control was not great today and I didn't think his breaking pitches were sharp.

Let's use that to transition into the game...

Like I said before, I didn't see Tanaka being sharp with his command.  His pitches were inconsistent and then the game got out of hand when he walked the number 9 hitter with nobody out and a guy on first base (being held there by an excellent play by Gardner.  When Reyes came up with 1st and 2nd and nobody out it was an obvious bunt situation but the Yankees were not smooth on their defense as Headley (while playing in) didn't charge immediately or at full throttle and Tanaka almost got to it screening Headley and he threw a little wide of 1st for an error.  This opened up the flood gates , especially after Tanaka through the wrong pitch in a bad location to Encarcion.  Going back to the wild throw by Headley...I think Tex made a terrible play and should have at the minimum knocked the ball down and with a very good play could have scooped it for an out.  his problem was he missed teh base when he went to the bag and actually had his right foot on the bag instead of against it and then never strode/stretched toward the throw.  it was as if he stretched to soon and therefore could not move for the ball.  In actuality he just fell over and did a very poor job.

The only other comments on this bad start to the year were that ARod looked good at the plate and what the heck was Didi thinking in the 8th inning with 2 guys on and 2 outs getting caught stealing 3rd base?  I have no idea if Girardi had any comments in the post game, but if there was ever a don;t steal sign, this was it.  It was a horrible play and what made it worse was it was right after a pitching change so we had time to discuss any strategy.  FWIW, it was not a double steal (runner on 1st didn't go) so I would assume Didi went on his own.  Ugh.!

Considering Toronto is the team most people think will win the division, it would be good to start out the year taking them, but it is a long year as we know.

If we can stay in the race, we could add a 2nd baseman to help us later in the year...or maybe Drew can actually recreate his career .747 OPS.   For me, I am interested in a lot of the pitchers and also to see if Didi can develop into a .700+ OPS guy with excellent defense and I am intrigued to see how ARod does (I am not a hater like most).  Headley also seems like a good guy so I am glad he is on the team.  Oh, one last thing, it was good to see McCann try and bunt when the heavy shift was on.  The next time up they brought the shift back some and on the pitch they moved toward third so it is important to do that and he will get some easy hits that way (ARE YOU WATCHING TEX!)