There is a lot to write about in last night’s game...buckle up...
The ump behind home plate did not have a good game; probably a little more against us than for us, but just not consistent. The Seattle coach (Lloyd McClendon who went to Valpo and was there as a catcher before me) got thrown out after two check swing calls. The first was when Gardner tried to check his swing but went a little too far, but the 3rd base umpire didn’t think so. What made it look bad was Gardner took a step toward the bench thinking he would get called out. It was a dumb move by Gardner and I have no idea why he would have “given up” when it was not without question. Anyway, the Seattle bench was pissed and later when ARod clearly held up on a check swing and walked McClendon flipped out and he and the catcher got tossed.
Gardner later in the game thought there were three outs on a fly to CF and runners on 1st and 2nd. It didn’t hurt us as the runner would have tagged anyway and the runner from first did not advance to 2nd, but get your head in the game Gardner. I don’t know Brett, but he doesn’t have great baseball smarts…probably why he can’t read pitchers well when stealing. A guy with his speed should steal 40 bases in his sleep and probably 50+.
CC still needs more than 6 MPH drop on his changeup. I can’t believe this adjustment has not been made yet? The opposing rookie had 10 MPH and their closer has closer to 12. I think that is a little too much but it is an outstanding change Rodney has. 8-10 is ideal for me in most cases. A good example of not enough off the change occurred when CC spotted his change well on the outside corner to a righty and he was a little out in front but hit it solid enough to get through the hole. The way the batter turned over on an outside pitch it should have been a slow grounder and an easy play. A few MPH less and that is off the end of the bat.
The Yanks left 2nd and 3rd two outs as Headley got out and then in the bottom of the inning Seattle did the same thing. In the Seattle inning, I have no idea why the Yanks would throw Cano back to back fastballs on the inner half of the plate when he was waving at breaking balls? More on this later…but this led to a run as Cruz singled in a run.
CC got ticked off when Seager tried to bunt against him with 1st and 3rd and 2 outs. CC made the easy play but was all fired up. I have no idea why he is pissed off. CC is a horrible and lazy fielder so they should try and take advantage of it. The only surprise was he bunted down 3rd and CC falls that way so he did CC a favor.
In a huge spot Headley committed another error on what could have been a DP, he stepped back and caught an in between hop and he should have charged it. He is known as a good fielder, but he has struggled a lot for us this year.
Tex was called out on what should have been ball 4…the pitch was low and probably inside too…bad call.
CC was pulled for Carpenter in the bottom of the 6th inning with 2 outs and 1st and 3rd. I don’t have any faith in CC so I was Ok with the move. Carpenter isn’t trust worthy either though and allowed a single to break the tie and give Seattle a 2-1 lead. He got the next guy out to end the inning though. Carpenter throws hard but he needs his breaking pitches to be better. He threw 4-5 sliders and none were close enough to even be offered at and when he came back with the fastball he allowed the single.
The top of the 7th saw a huge opportunity literally slip away as Gregorius lined a single leading off and then we got a break when JR Murphy blooped a single to RC, however coming around 2nd base, Didi lost his footing and got tagged out. Instead of 1st and 3rd nobody out in a key spot in the game we had man on 1st with 1 out and we didn’t score. It looked to me as Didi spent too much time looking at the fielder and got too close to 2nd base and then took the turn very wide (instead of cutting the base) and then tried to cut it sharp on the dirt and lost his footing. Next time he should pick up the 3rd base coach. Didi has been better of late with a .727 OPS over his last 14 days which is much better than his .560 OPS prior.
Shreve did a good job in the bottom of the 7th feeding Cano breaking balls and striking him out. He did get away with a fastball that Cruz just missed as he left it out over the plate but then followed up with a changeup that worked perfectly to strike him out. Just so you don’t think I am second guessing all the time, I hated the fastball call as I felt that the change could get Cruz, but it worked out.
Lindgren pitched in 8th. His fastball has some sink too it but I was not impressed. He threw so many balls and he was fortunate they swing at a lot of balls. His command will need to get much better to effective. That being said, even after not fielding a throw he should have from Tex that only a tiny bit behind him, he didn’t allow a run against the weak bottom of the Seattle batting order.
We entered the 9th down by one and Headley was smart against Rodney taking a pitch and ended up not swinging at all and walking on 6 pitches. Now Beltran came up against Rodney (who has had control issues this year) and swung at a first pitch changeup and flew out. This ticked me off. I could see swinging at a first pitch fastball in a zone, but an outside changeup was very undisciplined and as you know I like to work the counts and occasionally jump on a first pitch. After Didi struck out on 3 changeups we were down to our final out. Girardi correctly went to McCann who kept us alive with a single the other way (McCann seems to be the only player who tries to beta the shift). Now we had Drew up with the game on the line. The only guy on the bench is the rookie Flores so I understood leaving in the terribly disappointing Drew. After getting an outside pitch that should have been called a strike and then taking another strike we were down to our final strike. They wanted a fastball outside (and for a ball), but Rodney missed terribly and came inside with a fastball that drew ripped down the line for a game tying double! Gardner could now give us the lead, but he grounded out to SS
Betances walked the leadoff hitter on a pitch that was better than the 3-0 strike and it was a strike. But he was able to K the pinch hitter and then after a bunch of breaking balls threw a 99 and 98 MPH fastball above the letters to Cano who swung through them for another K. He then got the dangerous Cruz to send us into extra innings.
Jones led off with a single and after ARod popped out to LF (he didn’t swing well last night) and a walk to Tex, Headley came up. Headley hit a bullet to the first baseman who was going to try and go to 2nd but couldn’t get a handle on the ball and when he turned back to first their pitcher had started to back up 3rd or home and Headley (who ran hard out of the box from the start) beat the 1st baseman to load the bases with one out. Beltran was up with a chance to redeem himself (to me) after swinging at the first pitch last time. This time the first two pitches were balls and then after taking a strike and fouling off a few he grounded into a DP to end the inning. Ugh.
Wilson came in to pitch the 10th with 2 lefties out of 3 coming up and he allowed a single to LF on a good pitch (good hitting). Weeks then popped up a bunt that Wilson did a full out dive for and then got up and threw to first on a hop to double off the runner. Huge play and also a good play by Drew who smoothly picked up the one hop throw that was also off line.
Didi led off the 11th with a single and McCann came up against a righty. They didn’t have the heavy shift on so the bunt was not an automatic play (it would be for me if they had the shift on), and McCann hit into a DP. Drew singled to keep the inning going and then Gardner hit a double to LC that gave us 2nd and 3rd with 2 outs. Man that DP loomed large as Garrett Jones stepped to the plate as Seattle went to the lefty Beimel. After two off speed balls, Jones was sitting on a fastball and he got one over the middle of the plate and at the knees and he deposited it over the RC fence for a 3 run dinger!!!
In came Miller who struck out Ruggiano before losing the touch on his slider and throwing a fastball to Castillo who singled to LF. Still struggling with his slider Miller hit Jackson on what would have been ball 4 anyway. Now with a lefty up Miller got his slider going for a 1st pitch strike and then stuck with it getting Miller to pop out for the 2nd out. Cano was now up and I said I would get back to this earlier. I know that the slider left Miller for one or 2 batters but he had it back in the last AB and Cano loves swinging at the first pitch. The slider was the call. Unfortunately they gave Cano a fastball and he singled scoring a run and cutting the lead to 2 and the 18 HR Cruz stepped to the plate as the winning run. Two sliders had him at 1-1 before throwing 97 on the inside corner and Cruz watched it. You could see the look was wow that was a tough pitch…especially after the sliders. After another ball, he struck out Cruz to end the game. WHEW
Great production from Drew and Jones giving us unlikely stars of the game!