I have said before how I think Flaherty (Flash) is a good announcer, but I have found myself disagreeing with him a lot of late. In the game Saturday afternoon, He said in the first inning how much sharper Tanaka looked and I was watching the games on tape delay (as usual) with my daughter (who was more just in the room watching occasionally and when I replayed with commentary) and said out loud, “I have no idea what he is seeing?” From the start, I saw a pitcher who was not painting corners and was behind almost all hitters with decent/mediocre stuff. His slider and curve were inconsistent each time thrown as was his splitter. His fastball was 90 most of the time and topping out at 93 a few times but I don’t think any of those were for strikes. Somewhere in the 4th or so Flash said that his stuff looked good, but he seemed out of sorts. I didn’t think his stuff looked good and his command was very poor as well. Now, I am not saying I have no faith in Tanaka, but I am saying he has not thrown well his last two outings and Girardi stuck with him too long in both outings. He will get it back, I am confident in that, but as a manager you need to see what a guy has... so while Girardi was drinking the same Kool-Aid Flaherty was, Girardi almost cost us the game. Fortunately, McCann bailed out Tex in the first inning, after Tex popped into an infield fly rule with nobody out and bases loaded , by hitting a no doubt grand slam. The Yanks added 2 more on a 2 run homer by Chris Young as the Houston pitcher was throwing up hanging changeups after topping out his fastball at 89.
The Yanks had a 6-0 lead until Tanaka gave it back over 5 innings.
Tex, who hurt us early in this game at the plate, came through with a very nice 2 run double to LC and the Yankees almost added another run when McCann also went the other way on a very slow change from Neshak, but Tex got a bad jump/read and held at 3rd. The Yanks did add their 9th run when Headley crushed a ball to LC (from the right side). I didn’t hear how far that ball was but I can guarantee it was 50 feet further than the listed 411 feet on ESPN)
The bullpen pitched 4 scoreless innings with all of them looking pretty good. Mitchell has a 96/97 MPH fastball and a good curve and clearly has strike out stuff. Shreve got out of a jam and Wilson held the 8th turning it over to Betances who didn’t paint corners but his stuff was good enough to get the final 3 outs only allowing 1 hit.
· The ump was pretty bad in this game as he was very inconsistent. If anything he gave us the benefit of the doubt and we also got a large break when the ump at 2nd ruled their 2nd baseman was off the bag on a possible DP. He was off but he then kicked the bag with his right foot. Houston correctly challenged it but we caught a break when the replay ruled inconclusive (I guess?). I am pretty sure he touched the base, but I can see why the umpire live ruled him off as he was on it then got off to catch the ball, but he missed the drag/kick of the right foot into the bag. This was a huge call as The Yanks ended up scoring 3 runs in that inning and could have had more if Beltran didn’t hit into a DP with 1st and 3rd and 1 out.
· Beltran also misplayed a line drive that should have been caught into a double by coming in on the ball and then VERY slowly turning to go back after his mistake.
· Early in the game Chris Young bunted Gardner over to 2nd on his own and the announcers questioned a hot guy doing that, but I think he was trying for a hit so I have no issue. That being said, in the 8th inning with Gardner on first, I wanted either Gardner to steal early or a bunt and run or just a bunt and instead Young hit into the fielders’ choice where we caught the break on the reviewed play. Gardner has to run earlier in the count to avoid the possible DP and in that spot they needed to get something going.
· Finally, I have said this a few times over the years, but why do we want the Yankees in the All Star game? I want my guys to rest during the break so we don’t have to rest them during games that matter. Please, let other teams take all their players so we can rest up and give us the best chance to win games that matter…and we even save some money on All Star appearances that maybe we can spend on some 2nd baseman. Seriously, do you want to see Betances or Miller pitch during the All Star game? I don’t!