We have now lost 10 of our last 11 games. I will discuss the first inning of last night’s game first.
1. The first play of the game saw a grounder to 2nd base where Pirela had to move to his left to make the play and didn’t rush but didn’t hesitate either and then threw to first base and the ump incorrectly called the runner safe. The review correctly overturned the play. However, the announcers and nobody else said anything about what a terrible job Tex did on that play at 1B. Tex didn’t even slightly stretch for the throw. In fact, his left foot was pointing toward the pitcher (if you drew a straight line from his right foot on the bag to his left foot). This is similar to the issue I have when there is no stretch from a ball thrown form in between the catcher and pitcher. Now, the play was overturned so people may say it didn’t matter, but as I have said before, you have to play the game in a way that while it may not matter this time, but at some point it will matter. I would also argue that the fact the runner was originally called safe, played into the mental psyche of Pirela as the next ball that went to him he probably felt the need to rush a little and he booted a simple grounder. It is impossible for me to know whether one played into the other, but he booted it regardless and the lack of a stretch on the previous play was poor.
2. The Pirela show continued later in the 1st when Fielder crushed a line bullet into the gap and the runner who was on 1st (Choo) was sent home. Pirela got the ball a little low and hesitated slightly and then made a horrible throw home. An average throw would have had him and a good throw gets Choo easily. I hate seeing poorly executed relays like that.
3. In the bottom of the 1st Gardner was on 1st with nobody out and Headley hit a line drive to CF and Gardner tried to stretch it to 3rd and was thrown out on a close play and a good throw. When guys get thrown out on plays like that it is easy to criticize, but I was surprised when I saw him running and was pissed when he was thrown out. As you know, I also like to take advantage of pitchers in the 1st inning and the poor play was exacerbated when the Yankees ended up scoring 2 runs in the first and possibly could have broken the game open.
4. The 1st inning set the stage for us to go asleep at the bats the rest of the game and lose 5-2.
5. One other note, Texas tried a squeeze play and two things of note happened. It reminded me that Girardi has yet to attempt a squeeze play since he has taken over as Manager; not even a safety squeeze. The 2nd item was that the squeeze failed and the Yankees executed the run down perfectly with Headley moving toward McCann as soon as McCann threw the ball making it impossible for the runner to change directions fast enough. I bring this up also because I have been teaching that style of rundown to my LL teams…
· Our defense should be much better than it has been. We can’t keep giving teams 4+ outs an inning.
· I was asked about whether I felt Didi would improve and I say yes. You can see he has the talent (quickness and arm are excellent), but he needs to be steadier with the glove. That being said, this is not a Nunez situation with the glove and Didi will be a plus defender. His offense and his offensive approach need work though. He may end up needing to be platooned, but at least he has shown signs of breaking out with a couple of HR’s.
· CC was awful on Saturday; the only thing good was his curve ball. This game also underscores what I was saying about getting to a team’s middle relief can open up games.
· While on the subject, our middle relief has been awful of late. They were not as good as early on, but not as bad as recently.
· I am pretty much done with Drew. We need to start looking at who is available. Sure he could turn it back around and if I thought he would be better than he has been, even if not great, but it is now all of last year and we are a ¼ of the way through this season and his OPS is below .600. Statistically, I would have expected last year to be a low point and he would rebounded to a wide range of .650 -.750 but he is not showing it, in fact over the last month he has an OPS of .441…that is not a misprint. .225 OBP and a .216 Slug. Give me a word that is worse than horrible.
· As I stated about Pirela, I think he has a weak spot on the breaking ball away and he will need to adjust to be able to play in the bigs (his defense needs to be sharpened as well)
· I am not a fan of Capuano…he is mediocre at best and I hope we can get Nova and Tanaka back soon.