Friday, October 23, 2009

Yankees Fail To Close Out The Angels, Back To The Bronx For Game 6

Ok. I've slept on it and I don't feel as bad about last night's loss as I did right after the game ended. I had a gut feeling during the 7th inning meltdown that I was watching the Yankees season come to an end, meaning that I had the sinking feeling that this was the beginning of the end for the Yankees. Those feelings have subsided. The Yankees are up 3 game to 2 and are headed home to try and finish it out. While it would have been nice to wrap this up in Anaheim, I didn't think they dispatch of the Angels in 4 or 5, so before the series even started, I felt it would finish in the Bronx. Since that hasn't changed, I don't know what I was so worried about. It's hard to say with a gut feeling. I just felt off.

A.J. Burnett battled last night. He was absolutely horrible in the first inning, but settled down and somehow managed to hold the Angels scoreless for the next 5 innings. A.J. was on the verge of being one of the game's heroes. His performance, in innings 2-6, kept the Yankees in the game and allowed them to eventually take the lead in the 7th. Then all hell broke loose. Now before I get into that, I'll finish with my thoughts on Burnett. A.J. needs to be better than he was last night. He's terribly inconsistent. He's either really good or really bad. That usually works out to a guy being a ,500 pitcher, which for the most part, is what A.J. is, or was prior to the start of last season. He's got a find a way to harness his control. I am still a proponent of him pitching to Jose Molina. The two have worked well together but there seems to be a slight disconnect here in the postseason. They're a little off. If the Yanks reach the next round, I wouldn't mind if Girardi has him pitch to Posada, especially if he pitches in Philly. Girardi will prove to be a bigger moron than I already think he is if he has Molina catch him in Philly. Which brings me to my next topic.......

Joe Girardi is driving me crazy. I cannot understand why he does what he does. I understand the reasoning behind letting A.J. start the 8th, and in normal circumstances, I'd be all for it. But last night wasn't a normal circumstance. A.J. should have never started the 7th inning after sitting for as long as he did while the Yankees scored 6 in their half of the 7th. The smart move would have been to go to a fresh arm. That would have also allowed the RP to start the inning from the windup. There's a benefit to having a RP start with no runners on then with runners on. Girardi should have gone to Joba or to Phil Hughes to start the 7th. I'd have had no problem with that. I don't blame Joe for Phil's breakdown either. That's all on Phil for not executing.

I'm also puzzled why Girardi didn't go to the pen after A.J. allowed a leadoff single. Joe's management of the bullpen is totally puzzling. He over-manages one day and under-manages the next. Both have resulted in Yankee losses. I don't get why he brought in Damaso Marte over Phil Coke. Coke has been the go to lefty all season. Why in game 5 of the ALCS does he decide to abandon that and use the struggling Damaso Marte? I'm going to guess that he got the answer from his "book." To Marte's credit, he didn't implode like I thought he would, but that's not the point. Girardi totally abandoned his "bullpen formula" and started making up new rules on the fly. It should have either been Joba, Hughes and Mo for the last 9 outs, or Hughes and Mo. I really think his decision to let A.J. start the 7th was the big reason for the loss. I'm pinning both Yankee losses on Joe Girardi. They're not 100% his fault as there are certainly other contributing factors, but by and large, it's all on Joe.

One of those other contributing factors is the performance of Nick "The Rally Killer" Swisher. I had no confidence whatsoever in his 9th inning AB with the bases loaded. Swisher has been awful all year in big spots. Here's a look at his situational stats in case you haven't been watching:

Runners on: 50-203 (.246/.402/.453) 9 HR, 62 RBI, 52 K
RISP: 27-119 (.227/.380/.361) 3 HR 48 RBI, 27 K
RISP w/2 outs: 8-49 (.163/.379/.204) 0 HR, 14 RBI, 13 K
Bases Loaded: 3-19 (.158/.280/.211) 0 HR, 13 RBI, 4 K

Not too good, eh? Swish definitely kills a lot of rallies. I wonder what his deal is. I have a theory and it goes beyond that he's not very good. I think when Swisher sees all of these ducks on the pond, he gets excited at the thought of knocking in runs and he tries too hard. Normally in baseball when a guy tries too hard he ends up failing more than he normally might. Just a theory. Or possibly, like I said, maybe he just sucks. A little from column A and a little from column B, maybe? Either way, "The Rally Killer" needs to be removed from the lineup. That's another beef I had with Girardi last night. I get starting Nick in RF, but why leave him in the game after he made the last out of the 7th? Girardi typically inserts Brett Gardner in as a defensive replacement late in games. That was the perfect time if you ask me. When you're 9 outs away from the World Series and you have a 2-run lead, you shore up the defense. Swisher should have been lifted. My friend, and sometimes commenter, Danny Mac, has a good analogy when it comes to "The Rally Killer." Here it is:

Having Nick Swisher in your MLB lineup in the post season is the same as a bar league softball team fielding a 9 - man roster because someone couldn't make it; when his spot in the lineup comes up, it's an automatic out.

That sums up Swisher pretty nicely.

So it's back to the Bronx for game 6. Andy Pettitte versus Joe Saunders. Pettitte has been much better on the road but AP is a big-time pitcher when it comes to pitching in the postseason. Much like last weekend, the weather forecast isn't very encouraging for tomorrow's game. I think the worst thing that could happen is if that game gets postponed. What do you do then? The debate on the radio is do you start CC in game 6 if there's a rainout. Basically, do you start CC in game 6 on regualr rest and push Pettitte back to game 7? I see pluses and minuses to both. If CC starts and the Yankees win, they don't play an elimination game and the team gets 2 days off before the World Series starts and CC will likely start game 2 of the World Series on 3 days rest. If CC pitches and loses, you then need Pettitte to win , and if he does, CC pitches game 2 on 3 days rest. If Pettitte starts and they lose, then CC pitches Monday and you lose him for the 1st 2 games of the World Series. Best case scenario would be Pettitte pitching, the Yanks winning, and CC starting game 1 on plenty of rest. I'm signing up for Pettitte pitching. Pitching CC basically says to me that they don't trust Andy to win. You also have to do everything you can to get CC to start game 1 of the series. Pitching him in game 6 pretty much makes that impossible. Andy starts game 6 you hear me Girardi. Andy starts game 6. The other drawback of a rainout is it means that John Lackey likely is available if needed. I don't see him pitching at all if the game is tomorrow. Hopefully, like it did last weekend, the weather holds off and they get the game in as scheduled.

This has been a crazy series. With the exception of game 4, they've all been nailbiters. I fully expect the next 2 games to pretty much follow suit. It's going to be tough for the Angels to win 2 straight in the Bronx but it's not out of the question. Pettitte and CC have had great postseasons and I don't see them tanking now. The offense needs to score early. Get 'em on, get 'em over, get 'em in. No more of this getting the first 2 guys on and leaving them there. Start early and don't let up.

My big fear is WWJD. What will Joe do?

Peace, love and Pinstripes,



Anonymous said...

Thanks for the reference Jay! lol -Swisher is KILLING me. It's almost painful to watch.

Yes, he made a heads-up play to get Vlad last night, but I'll tell you what: Melky gets him by another 3 feet if he's playing RF, on arm-strength alone!


Danny Mac

theprophet said...
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