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!