Saturday, April 16, 2011

Freddy Garcia Exceptional As Yankees Beat Rangers 5-2

Take that Texas Rangers. Freddy Garcia just shut you down. Yankees win. Thuhhh Yankees win.

Freddy Garcia made his first start of the season and he was exceptional. He went 6 scoreless innings, giving up only 2 hits and 1 walk, on only 84 pitches. And he did all that against arguably the best performing offense in MLB. Not bad for your first start since March 29. Freddy wasn't overpowering by any means but he did what he needed to do to pitch well. I don't think he even hit 90 (could be wrong) and he only struck out one. But he hit his spots. He mixed his pitches and his pitches had movement. Phil Hughes needs to take note of this. You don't have to have a blazing fastball to pitch effectively. Just ask Mike Mussina. (Throwback call: Moooooooooooooooooooose!)

Garcia's outing goes to show that it's more important to do the 3 things I mentioned above more than anything else. There's a big difference between pitching and throwing. Garcia was definitely a pitcher today. I think it's safe to say that he's the Yankees "3rd starter" behind Sabathia and Burnett. At this point in time he has to be, right. It would be nice if Bartolo Colon could make a push for that. It'll just mean the rotation is stabalizing. I hope that Freddy keeps it up and that Bartolo matches him when he makes his first start.

Despite a semi-meltdown by Rafael Soriano I love the back-end of the Yankees bullpen. The formula of Joba in the 7th, Soriano in the 8th, and Mo in the 9th is working well. Soriano has definitely been a little hit and miss but I think he was a little better today than his final line. The Rangers didn't hit him terribly hard. Soriano, or as he's affectionately called, MFIKY, has definitely been the least stable to the trio, but for the most part his shakiness was confined to one outing, not counting today. Prior to today he's MFIKY has appeared in 5 games. Four of those went off without a hitch. I'd be lying if I didn't say I'm a little concerned about him, but I think he'll be fine long term.

Joba continues to impress me. When Girardi first unveiled Joba as the "7th inning guy" in his bullpen formula I was understandably worried. Those worries are decreasing with each outing. If the Yankees hit the 7th inning with a lead the game is pretty much over. Joba, Soriano and Rivera have been that good. Rivera of course the best of them all. Mo is not showing any signs of ineffectiveness. In fact it's the opposite. He's still vintage Mariano. God bless the man.

I didn't catch any of the postgame show so I'm not sure if this was mentioned but A-Rod got pulled early with lower back and oblique stiffness. Uh oh. The Yankees aren't planning tests so it doesn't strike me as serious and I really hope it's not. Fingers are crossed because Alex has been the team's biggest offensive threat. Coming into today's game Alex ranked 2nd in AVG, 1st in OBP, and 1st in SLG. He's off to one of the best starts of his career. If he misses any time it could be a big blow to the Yankees.

The Yankees continue with the power stroke. They've tied the record for most HRs by a Yankees team thru 13 games. Two more longballs today. Mark Teixeira went deep for his 5th and Robbie Cano hit his 3rd. Cano's HR was big as it put the lead back to 3 and gave Mariano cushion headed into the 9th, not that it was needed. Teixeira had a nice day at the plate with 2 hits. His April AVG is up to .234. Not great but considering how poorly he's historically been in April, I'll take it.

Nick Swisher is swinging a hot bat. He's gone 2-4 in back-to-back games and he's got his AVG up to .261. Prior to the start of the Texas series Nick was hitting .211. I guess it doesn't take much to raise your AVG 50 points, eh? Hopefully, this little hot streak comes along with some power. Swish is till homerless. That's surprising to me considering how many HRs the Yankees have hit as a team. You'd think he'd have run into one or two dingers by now. I just took a look at Swish's splits and situational stats and I don't really like what I see. He's hitting only .107 versus RHPs and he's hitting only .188 with RISP. There's a lot of room for improvement here. I hope 2011 is not the "Return of the Rally Killer."

The Yankees now get a pseudo day-off. Well, not really. They play tomorrow night at 8:05 on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball. It'll be nice to get a few hours of extra rest before a big game. OK, maybe it's not a big game but right now the Rangers are top dog in the AL and taking two out of three from them would be pretty big. CC Sabathia vs. Alexi Ogando. This game has pitcher's duel written all over it, which probably means it'll be a blowout. Hopefully it's not a repeat of last Sunday when Josh Beckett shut down the Yanks. They haven't seen a whole lot of Ogando and he's off to a hot start. Should be a good game.

Peace, love and Pinstripes,



Dave said...

Wish Girardi would be hesitant to go by the book when he's handling his bullpen and starting pitcher.. Garcia cruising but he can only go 6? Really? You didn't get 6 innings from your last two starters-why do you do this Joe? Let the starter extend a little if he's doing well, PLEASE!!!!!!!

J-Boogie said...

I agree with you to an extent. I would have pulled Freddy there. 84 pitches. 1 inning pitched since 3/29. Horrible weather. I would have made same call there but on most days, probably not.