Saturday, June 29, 2013

Bad Pitches, Bad Players, Bad Judgment Makes Bad Games

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It's a Netflix (Saturday) night in the household- a wise decision to avoid a night of Yankees baseball. Since the game is being broadcast on FOX, it made the decision somewhat easy.

After the once proud pinstripes looked like laughing stocks in Baltimore last night, it was time to for a baseball breather. The game pretty much summarized what the Yankees season has been all about. Poorly timed pitching, guys playing out of position, crucial errors, and a complete lack of hitting. That last one is not so shocking considering the lineup the Yankees are trotting out on a daily basis.

CC Sabathia got the start last night and was handed a 3-0 lead early. He made the most of it through five innings without a hit allowed to the Orioles. Then came the 6th inning and there went the ball game. After Nate McLouth broke up the no-no with a single, the decision to play David Adams out of position badly backfired on Joe Girardi.

Alexi Casilla hit a weak tapper to the first base side of Sabathia. It was his ball all the way, but Adams, a natural second baseman that has been learning third base, charged the ball from his position at first base. It was Adams second career appearance at first and the inexperienced showed.

With Robinson Cano unable to get over to cover the bag, Casilla easily reached with an infield single. Then things went from bad to worse. Manny Machado laced a one-out double to the gap and right-center and scored an out later from third on an Adam Jones single to tie the game at 3-3.

The Yankees picked up a quick run in the 1st inning on a Robinson Cano RBI single off of rookie T.J. McFarland, who was made his first career start. Two innings later Vernon Wells and Chris Stewart produced RBI singles for a 3-0 Yankees lead. It appeared for once the Yankees might have a fairly easy night.

Yes, I know, laughing material. The team had 11 hits, but only four after the 3rd inning. They struck out 11 times, including a hat trick by Alberto Gonzalez, just another in a long line of hit-less wonders that filled out the 25-man roster this season.

As for Sabathia, his velocity was pretty good for a change- 93 mph most of the night and 95 at one point - but he made some bad pitches, one in particular, just as he did against the Rays in his last start. The Yankees got Sabathia off the hook after he allowed Wil Myers' grand slam in the Rays game, but there was no rescue job after Sabathia surrendered a game winning home run to the left-handed hitting McLouth in the 7th.

Sabathia expressed the frustration felt by himself, the team, the front office, and all of the fans when he threw his glove and hat in a fit of rage in the dugout. I felt like throwing the remote (Which I hadn't done since Game 5 of the 1994 NHL playoff series between the Rangers and Devils, but that's a story for another time.)

Girardi and GM Brian Cashman get mixed reviews from the Yankees fan base and from me as well. I think they have their strong points and some glaring weaknesses. I'm not happy with Girardi's in-game decisions (The binder reliance) and his need to mix and match/counter the opponents every late inning move.

I'm sure Lyle Overbay needed a rest, but was there not a better option at first base than Adams? The answer is actually not really, which gets thrown back to Cashman for not mixing and matching his players. Girardi could have gone with Gonzalez, who has only seven games of experience at first base, but has 419 games of Major League experience and probably would have handled it better. Adams would have then just been back at third base.

The bottom line is the decision time is nearing.  With the trade deadline looming on the horizon, the Yankees entered Saturday's night play 5 1/2 games behind Boston. Eduardo Nunez should be back next week, meaning Adams or Gonzalez will be gone. Francisco Cervelli should be back shortly thereafter, with Austin Romine ticketed for a return to Scranton. But then what?

Derek Jeter and Alex Rodriguez aren't close to returning. Curtis Granderson? Who knows. Cashman needs to bring in reinforcements (People please stop bring up Justin Morneau, have you bothered to look at his numbers this year and his injury track record?) or this season will be done when the calendar turns to August.

Buy or sell Yankees, either way make a decision.

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