Friday, September 18, 2015


Five quick points:

  1. Great to see Severino get back on track and pitch a nice game.  he seems to have a good makeup for a young kid.
  2. Once again Betances pitches over an inning.  Girardi is abusing him...even if he was a starter.  he needs to throw more strikes
  3. After I mentioned how the young kids were doing, it was great to see Heathcott hit the game winning homer.  What a great feeling that must be for him!
  4. After Wednesday's game (Ellsbury got 2 hits) poster child of poor hitting, Drew's OPS was .656.  Ellsbury's was 655.   Yep, Ellsbury has hit that poorly.  When you take SB's into account Jacoby pulls even with him.
  5. At least we know we will make the playoffs

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Stay Positive

I have had so many comments I wanted to make, but once again being after the fact I want to make a few points. 

1)       I was told from one of our long time readers that when the Yankees lose he doesn’t like to even read the papers so he doesn’t like when I am negative.  I said that I have to call them like I see them and I try to point out the positive too…It is what it is and when we are not playing well, so the comments are probably more negative.   

2)       Girardi’s poor job allowing the guys who were pitching well to not pitch more innings in tight games caused Betances to be the top guy in pitches thrown out of the bullpen.  There was no reason on numerous occasions that Betances needed to pitch more than 1 inning (something he has been asked to do far too often).

3)        Part of the above, Girardi has really done a disservice to Warren pulling him from the rotation when he was doing well and then not using him in leverage situations and then not leaving him when he was doing well.  I hope this has not stunted his growth as I think he can be a very solid pitcher for us, but they need to allow him to settle into ONE role

4)       Cashman has done a pretty good job.  While I really disliked the Ellsbury signing (giving elite money for a good player is a bad idea) and I stated we didn’t address 2nd base, there are a lot of very promising things going on.  The minor leagues are starting to produce major league talented players.  We are seeing it from the pitchers (Betances, Severino and Warren were not traded) and the position players.  Bird has done a very solid job filling in at 1st base (losing Tex is a huge blow though) even if I still haven’t seen him hit a fastball since I mentioned it.  Bird’s defense at scooping was good, but he has struggled on bunts and plays where he needs to flip to someone covering.  Slade Heathcott and Mason Williams both got hurt but both seem like legitimate major league OF’rs.  I really liked the move to get Gregorius and his play has been fairly solid of late playing good defense and giving us some offense as well.  In fact, since the All Star break, a period of 193 AB’s, he has an OPS of .786!  His 7 walks during this time is too low, but it is fair to say he has been very good all-around player since the All Star Break.

5)       Ellsbury – I am ticked at him; he needs to play better.  I can’t expect him to be elite (like he is paid), but I expect him to be good and he simply hasn’t been.  His OPS is .660!  That is what I would expect from a minor leaguer being called up to help us when “Ellsbury” gets injured.  He hasn’t even stolen bases well only gaining 2 extra bases (18 SB’s and caught 8 times…each CS takes away 1 SB).  Now you know why I was so against the signing.

6)       Beltran has cooled in September (.656 OPS) and needs some days off.  Overall at .806 that is about right for him.  He is huge for us with Tex out; he must be a factor.

7)       Our 3rd base coach is a huge upgrade from Thompson…nothing else needs to be said here

8)       I know ARod has been struggling, but as long as we give him a blow here and there, I think he is fine.  Outside of him swinging at pitches that were so far out of the strike zone (something he had not done all year), his swing is fine.  Once he gets the eye back again, he will swing pretty well for us (even if not the .897 OPS before the All Star break)

9)       Losing Eovaldi hurts as it causes more pressure on everyone else and the bullpen.  Further, he obviously was getting a lot of wins for us as well and that is hard to replace.  His stuff has gotten better as the year has gone on (he was consistently throwing 100 and his change/splitter was vastly improved).    BTW, another nice pickup by Cashman…(see I can be positive)

10)   Shreve has been struggling a lot of late.  He is really struggling with throwing his changeup for strikes and quality pitches.  Teams have been just waiting on his fastball and doing damage.  In 36 IP before the ASB he had allowed only 22 hits, 13 walks and 3 HRs.  In the 20 IP since he has allowed 18 hits, 17 walks and 5 HR’s.  He has not been good.  17 walks in 20 IP is awful.  I like his stuff, but he needs to find his release point again as he can’t be trusted.  Wilson has struggled of late as well, but I actually think he has been throwing better and has been a little unlucky…but still he hasn’t been good.

11)   Stephen Drew -  He has his batting average over .200, but more importantly he has had a reasonably, almost acceptable OPS of .710 since the All Star Break.  But, his defense has taken a step backward.  The other day when he just whiffed on a weak throw from Headley that would have taken us out of the inning and instead allowed Toronto to tie the game, was just as bad as the play earlier in the game when he whiffed on a routine DP ball and it went off his face (he was able to make the out at first at least).    Still not a good spot for us, but as we move into the playoffs (we should still make the playoffs) maybe he can find a few big plays/hits for us?

12)   The last comment I want to make was in the Toronto game where we were losing 6-0 and we came back to make it 6-4 and still had 2nd and 3rd with only 1 out.  Chris Young was at the plate against a lefty and popped up and then Ellsbury failed again.  This was a huge spot, but we still closed the game to 2 going into the 7th.  Then Girardi let Capuano stay in the game to pitch the 7th!  I had people over and exclaimed “WTF is Girardi doing?  How can Capuano be allowed to pitch any high leverage situations?  This is Toronto and we are coming back!”   Fast forward to later that inning and Capuano is being pulled with the score 8-4 with 2 outs and 1st and 3rd.  This was just idiotic and another one of the many blunders Girardi has made this year.  His game management is not where it needs to be.  He and Coughlin must discuss “strategy”

Monday, September 7, 2015

I have been watching all the games and will first discuss today’s (Labor Day game).

Pineda started out missing spots badly, especially with 2 outs.  The killer blow was the 0-2 pitch where he threw a 95 MPH fastball over the plate and it got turned around for a 3 run HR and made us play catch-up.  We feel further behind when Baltimore did something I was not sure was legal.  They had a runner on first base and they had their batter check their swing trying to hit a slow roller and move the runners over.  They actually did this twice in a row because the first time the batter reached first base as the Yankees seemed perplexed.    I looked it up in Girardi’s playbook and it wasn’t there, but when I looked up the rules, it was called a sacrifice bunt.  There was even something called a squeeze play, but Girardi has never called for one of them.          ;-)

I only bring up the bunt because Bird messed the play up as the bunt went by Pineda, who hustled off the mound, and when Bird fielded it he looked toward 2nd and never threw to Pineda who would have beaten the runner.  I don’t know what Bird said after the game, but he messed that up and we were down 4-1.  Pineda pitched pretty well after that, but the damage was done.  Fortunately, after getting to 4-2, Murphy hit a 2 run HR and ARod hit a solo one to put us up by a run before Wilson hung a slider to Machado who tied the game up.  Bird more than made up for his error when Matusz (the lefty from Baltimore) returned the favor Pineda offered Baltimore earlier on the 0-2 count, by hanging a slider on an 0-2 count that Bird hit deep into the bullpen for a 3 run HR!  This was after 2 fastballs that got Bird into an 0-2 hole.  I also bring this up because this followed suit with something I had been noticing over the past 5 or so games.  Bird has really struggled squaring up fastballs.  He keeps fouling them off and I am talking about very hittable pitches.  But, he has been hitting the off speed ball very well.    I know he has some hits on the fastballs this year, but I am 100% positive that over the past week he has not lined up a fastball but has hit the off speed pitches.  I was so aware of this that when he was down 0-2, I was hoping they would throw him a breaking ball…I don’t know if it is a just a fluke run, but it is something to watch as it has happened enough to be noticed.

Betances made it interesting by walking 3 and striking out 3 but held Baltimore scoreless.  His control needs to be better or he is going to have a few bad games.  I would like to see Girardi use the bullpen better to make sure he only pitches one inning until the playoffs.

Miller finished up allowing a run, but I thought he threw the ball well.  He made one mistake walking Pearce and Pearce scored on a single after we allowed him to steal 2nd base.

With Toronto losing, we are half a game back.  Should be interesting as we play Toronto 7 times in our last 26 games.  Winning the division is a big deal as the wild card teams have to play that one game playoff.

Some notes/thought on the previous week of games:

        First, I don’t get the September callups?  During the most important time of the year, you get to use so many more players in these key games?  Teams that didn’t have depth get a big jump and you can platoon, pinch run and matchup so much more than you normally could…it just doesn’t make sense to me?

       In the Boston series, McCann had a great block with 1st and 2nd and nobody out and then on the next pitch the guy dribbled one down the 3rd base line that McCann hopped on before it went foul (and it would have) and he threw to 3rd to get the force out that he kept in order from that excellent block.  Great sequence!

       Drew had a brain freeze when he tried to tag up at 2nd base with one out on a ball that ended up going off the wall, but it would have just cost a base if Gardner didn’t exacerbate it by stopping at 2nd when he noticed Drew wasn’t running but then running right up Drew anyway and then getting tagged out.  Very poor play by Drew, but I think Gardner’s was even worse.

      Didi has been playing some excellent defense and his arm has really helped get some outs.  In today’s game, Didi made a very good hustle play to back up a ball Headley slowed down and when he got there he slid and popped up and threw a strike to the plate to get the guy trying to get the extra base

       Speaking of plays at the plate, JR murphy was trying to score on a double from 1st base and as he was sliding home the ball hit Murphy in the helmet.  Nobody said anything about it, but the catcher was behind Murphy and the ball (he was in foul territory behind the 3rd base line).  If he is in front of the play, he could catch the ball and tag Murphy before it hits his helmet and he probably would have been out.

     I took some notes, so you don’t think I was making up the Bird hitting non fastballs.  My note said, he is not squaring up fastballs and his HR was a hanging splitter (In the Boston game)

      Severino is doing well, although I really hated to see 4 walks.  His change is working very well and he has movement on his pitches and they go in every direction to keep the batter off balance.  I would like his slider to be a little sharper and also something a little slower (curve?), but very hard to be anything but excited for a 21 year old who has pitched 6 games and has a 2.04 ERA!

      There was a play that Drew was given an error when the throw came in from CF (I think it was Gardner) and the ball hit the bag and ricocheted away allowing the runner to move up.  Michael Kay must have said 2 or 3 times he wasn’t sure how Drew can get that error and he was sure they would change it.  The runner was going to try to go to 2nd base and all I saw was a perfect throw that happen to hit the base because Drew inexplicably took the throw behind the bag when the runner didn’t go to 2nd allowing the ball to hit the bag.  If he just stays on the bag he catches it??? Drew deserved the error.

      I will go into stats of our players on my next blog!

Hope everyone had a great Labor Day weekend!