I know I have not written in a while but I have been watching, but just haven’t been able to find the time to write it down (I started a new job). Rather than go through all the games, I wanted to highlight when the Yankees started into a bad funk a few weeks back. I thought it was 100% because of Girardi’s terrible decision to not pitch Betances in the 8th inning of a game we had just taken a 2 run lead on and instead allowed Lindgren to pitch and allow a 2 run HR to tie the game which sent it into extra innings that we ended up losing. A terrible decision (a head scratching one) not only cost us that one game, but we had to use pitchers we would not have had to and we went into a bad spell just because of the bad decision.
Last night’s Houston game was a nice win and it came from a source that had been ice cold…until the last week…Chris Young. After his hot start where his OPS was over 1.000 mid-May, he was horrible compiling a .125 average and a .420 OPS over a month of a play. However, over the last 8 games he has been 16 -34 and was the entire offense with a 3 run HR last night (and it was a good AB). I had a feeling we may lose the game when we stranded 5 runner in the 7th and 8th innings but Shreve, who has really been outstanding this year, holding opposing batters to a batting average of .172 and an OPS of .516, struck out the side, Wilson got 2 outs with a walk and Betances went the final 4 outs for his 5th save to win 3-2. Betances still has not been able to spot his fastball well, but his breaking ball was sharp (after the other night where he was throwing spinners) and he threw enough fastballs to keep the batters off balance. BTW, Tex made a heads up play on an easy grounder down the line by making sure he charged it and got it in fair territory. Tex also made a good catch going back on a popup. It was not that hard, but he did get a great jump on it which enabled the play to be easier.
A couple of other comments:
- · Girardi has still yet to try a suicide squeeze (or safety) in his time as manager. At some point he needs to add that to his repertoire…if nothing other than to get the thought in opposing teams’ minds. There have been dozens of times where it would have made sense.
- · It was great to see Nova pitch well. I have always been a fan and with him, Tanaka, Warren, Pineda and Eovaldi, that is an excellent starting staff. Note, I do not have CC in the mix if I had my way. I would use CC out of the pen as a lefty specialist. CC has been very tough on lefties (.458 OPS in 82 Ab’s), but righties torch him with an OPS against of .954 (274 AB’s). These numbers are similar for last year as well where lefties had an OPS of .570 and righties .921. This is enough for me to pull the plug and make him a lefty specialist. CC could also fill the role as a long reliever as well (you could drop Capuano), but his value would be as a LOOGY.
- · It is a shame Mason Williams hurt his shoulder as he is clearly an outstanding defender and his offense looks at least acceptable and possibly good. In his very limited numbers, he was successful (.890 OPS). Heathcott looked like he could belong as well. Florez defense was solid, but he was light at the stick, but he could develop. Either way, I was glad to see some minor league guys come up who weren’t pitchers.
- · We still need help at 2nd base. I am OK sticking with Didi as he has been a little better of late and he clearly has upside. Pirela is a platoon guy and should start against lefties. Drew has hit with some power and has played good defense but his overall offense is not good enough and it is hard to think he will turn it around.
- · ARod is leading our team in OPS .923, with Tex behind him at .902, then Gardner at an impressive .850 (.885 if you count his SB’s) and then McCann at .810. Those are all very good numbers! Getting .810 out of a catcher is very helpful…I always felt that Posada was a big differentiator for us and while he was giving us a consistent .880 OPS in his prime years. McCann is not nearly that high, but when you take the 30 starting catchers in the big leagues his OPS puts him at about 6th best. That is good!
- · Beltran is up to a .742 OPS after his terrible start. He had an OPS of .816 in May and it is .893 in June.
- · Headley has been a head scratcher this year. He has 3 more errors so far this year than he has ever had in an entire season! He also has been 50 OPS points below offensively where we would hope he would be. We may have to use Brendan Ryan at 3rd base sometimes for defense if this continues as he has killed us this year. I think it is a fluke, but he just has been bad defensively.
- · 4 teams within a game of 1st place…only Boston is “out of it.” I have said since the beginning, I still think Toronto is our biggest threat, but it seems Baltimore and Tampa don’t agree with me.