Saturday, May 2, 2015

First two Boston games

Really Enjoying watching our bullpen and how much we have to work with.  Not only do we have some real fire power, we have matchup ability with numerous lefties.  Some of you may remember how ticked I was when we had only one lefty in the pen as it made the opposing managers job so easy.  Now having 3 is great.

Friday’s game:

CC, needs to throw his changeup slower.  I like 8 – 10 MPH difference I think less than 7 is not enough.  CC’s fastball was at 90 a lot of the day, but he also dropped to 87 and 88 a bunch of times.  When his change is at 83 that is not enough differential, especially when the fastball is under 90.  I think he needs to get his changeup at a speed of 80 or 81 all the time.

Beltran had 2 hard hit balls and I thought maybe he was breaking out and then he made outs with 2 men on and based loaded in his next AB’s.  Still hoping…

We had a huge opportunity to get to Masterson in the first inning as his control was terrible.  Every time he tried to come inside he would leave it over the middle of the plate. Headley had 2nd and 3rd with 2 outs and Masterson grooved one but Headley missed it.  That was a huge opportunity to take a commanding early lead.

The ump behind the plate was good, but McCann got a strike called on a check swing and then Ortiz swung more than McCann and it was called a no swing.  I thought the opposite should have happened

Didi, made another error, but he has been better.  My concern is that sometimes he seems to catch a ball and he looks shaky doing it.  That being said, he has some smooth transitions as well.

CC actually covered first on a nice diving play by Tex and beat the (slow) runner to first…but at least he got there.

While it was not funny, it was funny to watch both Tex and the Boston catcher each jumping around and waving their hands on the same HBP.   I have said it dozens of times, but I don’t get why catchers with nobody on have their hands exposed?  McCann is hiding it more often now, but he still leaves it out there a lot.  Even with a guy on base you can hide it behind your leg to start and if there is a ball in the dirt or a runner is going you expose it to make the play.  Now the Boston catcher may be out for the year…kind of like when we lost Cervelli.

I don’t like McCann batting 4th with 2 lefties at the top of the order as it makes it a lot easier for the opposing manager to bring in a lefty and we probably won’t make a move.  More the reason why Beltran really needs to get going…or make sure we have ARod and Tex starting if not.  That being said, when Boston matched up with the lefty to face 3 out of 4 hitters who were lefty, McCann came through with a big hit the other way to tie the game.

Congratulations to ARod on absolutely smoking a line drive HR to tie Willie Mays.   That ball was just leveling out when it hit the stands above the green monster…and it was the game winner!  The box score had it at 395 feet or so; I have no idea how they compile that number but there is no way that wasn't more than 400 feet.

I was on a different page than McCann on the pitch selection and that has happened a lot this year (not saying I am always right, but I would have approached it a lot differently), but in the bottom of the 8th inning Betances was pitching to Bogaerts with runners on 1st and 2nd in a one run game.  Betances was struggling throwing strikes with his breaking ball all inning, but in this AB the count was 2-2 after throwing 4 straight breaking balls.  Michael Kay basically asked do you throw another breaking or a fastball and I said loudly (I was alone in my house), “THROW THE FASTBALL!”   This time McCann agreed and high heat struck out Bogaerts and I had the same emotion as Betances did when he came off the mound… Hell Yeah!  I might have used a different word, but I was pumped up.  I don’t want to dismiss Miller as he did a great job again in a close game to finish off Boston!

Saturday’s game

First, I didn’t have any issues when Gardner was thrown out at 3rd.  I probably would have liked to see him run all out the entire way, but when Ramirez really dogged it Gardner took a chance with one out and the (short) throw was perfect to just get him.  The situation was OK to take the chance.  Then again, I just may be thrilled that we haven’t had a guy thrown out at home yet…So glad Robby Thompson is off of 3rd base.

The Boston rookie catcher (Swihart) had two great AB’s against Eovaldi fouling off a lot of pitches and in the first AB a great changeup got him after he fouled off a bunch of pitches in a 9 pitch AB.  In the second AB, he saw 6 pitches before collecting his first major league hit.  I bring this up because I didn’t like the way Girardi handled the pen in this game.  I was hoping I could say it didn’t matter, but Wilson was up throwing in the 6th inning so we had a lefty ready.  Eovaldi got through the 6th and was still throwing hard, but his pitch count had risen above 100 and it is still fairly early in the year.  I was OK letting him start the 7th and he actually threw two good fastballs that jammed the Red Sox to get the first 2 outs in the inning, but when the lefty Swihart came up, I would have pulled him for Wilson.  Swihart saw another 6 pitches and walked.  Then Girardi went to the pen and brought in Martin who didn’t do his job and allowed a double on a grooved 2-0 pitch (just missed a HR).  He then got Pedroia out.

This then had a domino effect on what Girardi did, Wilson started 8th against Ortiz.  I was fine with that and in fact I see what Girardi was thinking in that he was hoping to get some outs out of Wilson to not use both of our Twin Towers ™         

Wilson got Ortiz and I would have taken him out here as I hated the Ramirez (who crushes lefties) matchup against Wilson.  Ramirez is their best power source and here we are in a 1 run game with 5 outs to go and we leave our Twin Towers on the bench?  Ramirez ends up walking and then Wilson who was struggling with control was left in because Sandoval is weak against lefties.  I am big into matchups, but if your guy can’t find the strike zone it doesn’t matter.  After being in a 3-1 hole, Wilson got Sandoval to swing through a hittable pitch for strike 2 and then swing at ball 4 LUCKILY.  Now, Joe went to Betances to get the final 4 outs which he did by striking out all 4 guys!  It worked.

One item we may have to look at is matching up the final innings and using Betances and Miller as co closers depending on the situation.  For example, if batters like Sandoval and Ortiz are up in the 8th inning and guys like Ramirez would be up in the 9th why wouldn’t you pitch Miller in the 8th and close with Betances?  I would.

A few other notes:

·      Not sure why McCann started a day game after a night game with a lefty on the mound? 
·      Young has really been great since coming over to us at the end of last year.  I love our defense when he is in there with Gardner and Ellsbury and he has been a hitting machine!
·      Didi made a really smooth play on ball up the middle that he gloved and flipped with the glove to get a DP.  That is a play Jeter would have had to dive for and it was a smooth DP.  That is what Didi can do. 

Let’s get the brooms out tomorrow!

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