Saturday, April 12, 2008

2 Steps Foward, 1 Step Back

Just when you think maybe the Yankees are turning a corner, they fall right back into the offensive funk that's plagued them all season. The 1-5 hitters were a combined 1-16. The bottom 4 were 5-14. That won't win you a lot of ball games. Absolutely horrible. This team needs to start hitting with runners in scoring position. How they're 6-6 is beyond me? Oh yeah, it's the pitching.

Mike Mussina had another decent outing. He was economical with his pitches. His pitches had good movement. He had pretty good control on everything he threw. The only mistakes he made were to Manny Ramirez. Not the hitter you want to make mistakes on. Manny will make you pay and he did just that. Maybe they should have walked him? Who knows? I would have pitched around him. That might have been the game plan. Whatever happened, it wasn't a good pitch.

Brian Bruney didn't do Moose, or the team, any favors by giving up a hit to Youklis on an 0-2 count. He had Youk and he let him go. I like Bruney. He's done a phenomenal job so far, but he has to finish that off.

LaTroy Hawkins pitched a 1-2-3 inning. Good times.

Beckett pitched pretty well. I don't think the Yankees had a good game plan for facing him. They really only got to him in his last 2 innings when they were taking pitches and working the count. They were swinging at early pitches and Beckett was getting through innings with an extremely low pitch count. Considering Beckett's back trouble, his shortened spring training, and the cold weather, I would have thought the Yankee hitters would have been a little more patient at the plate, working counts and getting his pitch count up. The Yankees really have gotten away from making pitchers work. They've been very aggressive, swinging early and often, and I'm starting to think it has a little to do with the sub-par performance of the offense.

I like the small ball approach but it's really the only way they're scoring runs. They're failing to hit the ball with runners in scoring position. Two of the Yankees runs today came after a sac bunt, a sac fly, and a wild pitch. They're relying way too much on the pitching. The Yankees are an American League team playing a National League style game. That's not going to work in the American League. An offense the caliber of the Yankees should be knocking the ball all over the park. The pitching has been outstanding. If the offense would do its part, the Yankees would be rolling.

I thought the Yankees missed a huge opportunity in the 7th. Beckett walks A-Rod on 4 straight pitches. Giambi, with his blazing speed and amazing bat, steps into the box. Why didn't they send A-Rod? As Alex was trotting to first I'm thinking to myself, "here comes their first SB of the season." With each passing pitch I'm wondering why hasn't he gone? Giambi works the count to 2-1. There's no chance of a pitchout. Send him already! He doesn't go and Giambi predictably hits into a double play. The Yankees very well could have tied the game if they tried a swipe of 2nd. And while I'm on the subject of Giambi, I know he hit a big HR yesterday, but could there be a more useless bat in the Yankees lineup? Who does he think he is? David Ortiz?

We waited 2 hours and 11 minutes just to watch Alex strike out on 3 pitches. Personally I thought he'd ground out on the 1st pitch. It was a big spot and Papelbon got the best of him. I originally thought the whole rain delay was BS. It seemed all to convenient for the game to be halted when Papelbon was being called upon to pitch without being fully warmed up. I changed my opinion after the delay lasted 2 plus hours.

I think it's safe to say Papelbon won't pitch tomorrow. 3 warmup sessions and 20 plus pitches. Cano made him work for that last out. I love how Papelbon pointed to first on Cano's grounder. Where else is he going to throw it dummy?

It's a good thing I'm not a betting man. I predicted a Red Sox win yesterday and a Yankees win today. Shows what I know. I'm predicting a Sox win tomorrow. Hopefully the trend of me being wrong continues. Hughes vs. Dice-K on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball. The last time a Yankees rookie faced the Sox on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball, the Red Sox hit back-to-back-to-back-to-back HRs. Phil Hughes is no Chase Wright so I don't think we'll see that feat again tomorrow. But if tomorrow's game is anything like the first 2 of the series it'll be all about the pitching. The Sox have never faced Hughes before so that might work to his advantage. Matsuzaka has pitched pretty well this year and the Yankee bats aren't hot. It's a coin flip but I like the Sox.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,