Saturday, May 17, 2008

Yanks Drop 1st Game Of Subway Series, Shocking I Know

Beating Johan Santana is never an easy task. It's even more difficult when the reigning MVP and arguably the best offensive catcher in the game are sidelined with injuries. The cards were stacked against the Yanks today and despite a late run, they fell short, dropping the series opener to their crosstown rivals by a score of 7-4.

I don't get Andy Pettitte. In my opinion he's pitching alright but he runs into one inning every game, usually the 4th or 5th inning, where he totally melts down and the team can't recover from the damage. Today was no different, though he didn't get hit hard when he gave up 3 4th inning runs. He looked great out of the box. His 1st 5 outs came on strikeouts and the 6th on a classic Andy Pettitte pickoff. He was dealing and he had my hopes running high. Things looked good and then he hit a rough patch of road which has been a staple of his last few outings. Andy has now lost 4 straight and his ERA has risen almost 2 full points (2.45 to 4.42) in his last 5 outings. I'd like to say he's tiring and running out of gas but he was able to last a full 6 innings today despite a high pitch count, and he pitched rather effectively in his last 2 innings. Whatever his deal is I hope he works it out.

The bullpen has been great lately, keeping the team in ballgames and allowing them to keep the score close. Kyle Farnsworth has been part of that good run but today, not so much. He got shell-shocked today. In his 1 inning of work he gave up 3 hits, 1 BB and 2 dingers. That's the K-Farns we've all come to know and hate. I don't quite agree with booing him off the field as he's done quite well all year. I kind of like to think the fans were getting on him because of the whole "Subway Series" thing. There's no sugar coating it though, he sucked. The game was over as soon as the 2nd HR cleared the fence.

I'm kind of surprised the Yanks managed 4 runs of Santana with how they've been doing lately. Jeter hit an absolute bomb off him in the 1st. I didn't see that coming. The Captain had a great day at the dish, 3-4 w/2 RBI. I'm not sure what he was thinking trying to stretch that single into a double. It wasn't even close and you could tell he was done for as soon as they showed him rounding first. We really need Jorge and Alex back in the lineup. No doubt in my mind that they would have won today with those 2 in the lineup. I like Molina, Shelley, Moeller and Alberto, but come on, there's no comparison. You knew that there was no way that Shelley Duncan or Morgan Ensberg were going to come through in the 9th. Duncan tries too hard to hit dingers and Ensberg just isn't very good. Get well real soon guys. We need ya.

I think a lot of the Yankees offensive woes can be attributed to the aggressive approach they all seem to be taking at the plate. What happened to taking pitches, working walks, getting pitching counts up, and exploiting bad bullpens? There have been way too many 1st pitch outs this year. Take Jeter for example. He finished last year with a .322 avg and an on-base percentage of .388, a 66 point difference. Coming into today's game he was hitting .302 with an OBP of .335, a 33 point difference. Jeter is walking on average once every 6 games. Last year he walked once in every 2.79 games. He's striking out once every 2.11 games. Last year he struck out once in every 1.56 games. See where I'm going with this? He's being pretty aggressive at the plate, and while he's hitting for a decent average, he's not playing his typical ball game. None of them really appear to be. It was ridiculous watching Santana get out of the 4th and 5th innings on like 6 pitches each. I may not be exact in the pitch total but if you saw the game, you know what I'm talking about. Pettitte was on the hill for 20+ minutes in the 4th inning. Santana's 4th inning lasted about 2.5 minutes. They need to get back to what worked. I wonder if this is a Joe Girardi thing? I'm curious if he's pushing the aggressive approach. Kevin Long needs to get these guys back into that mindset because what they're doing now isn't working.

The Yankees are extremely lucky to be only 5 our right now. It's by no means an insurmountable lead. They're a very capable team. For some unknown reason they like to play like crap for almost 2 months and then kick it into overdrive. Why can't they just once play consistently good baseball? The Yanks need a huge outing tomorrow from Chien-Ming Wang. Wang has been great all year. The offense owes him. He should be 8-0 but thanks to a lack of run support he's an imperfect 6-1. They should be able to hit Oliver Perez, but they should be able to hit a lot of guys they don't. Every game is an adventure.