Monday, May 17, 2010

USC vs. Notre Dame

Yankees played like a Pete Carroll team tonight. I'm serious. They're playing against a vastly inferior team against whom they have previously had no problem winning. They just came off of a hard-fought series, and next weekend they're playing a higher-intensity series just because it's the Mets. It's only two Red Sox games, and it's in the middle of a week. Talk about a sandwich game. Girardi managed it like a sandwich game, as Pat texted me mid-afternoon about how he's forced to use Cervelli and Ramiro Pena in the same game.

The fact that he's using Chan Ho Park (the NoMaas "runs prevention" joke is gold) in the seventh inning of a one-run game is further evidence that the Yankees didn't prioritize winning tonight's game. They let the foot off the gas after they crushed a six spot off of Matsuzaka in the first two innings. Just like a USC/Notre Dame game, this is a game Girardi and the Yankees should have lost. The fact that they're vastly more talented than the Red Sox is why they won. This is also why Pete Carroll and USC always beat Notre Dame despite being hideously outcoached in sandwich games.

Of course, Billy Koch Papelbon had a lot to do with it, overthrowing the ball, relying on the predictable fastball, going right back to the same old predictable Dan Kolb Papelbon we saw last year.

This post was originally going to be a Matsuzaka indictment, but he did settle down. Kinda. He has to realize that this is America. You don't pitch once a week in between six days' rest. He must think he pitches on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball every week, because he doesn't start pitching until 8:05. Guy might be what I want to be, a guy who blew it out before the age of 30 and had nothing left by the time he entered his fourth decade.

Matsuzaka, like the rest of the team except for Heathcliff Slocumb Papelbon, should be commended for battling back. The Red Sox were the anti-Bruins tonight. They didn't lie down. Scutaro, Pedroia, and Nancy (twice) had good at-bats. Victor Martinez, Santa Claus, and Youkilis leveraged the little league ballpark pretty well, almost as well as the centaur and Marcus Thames did against Scott Williamson Papelbon in the ninth.

I wonder if Number Two can get earned runs on every run that scored after Hermida missed the ball in the first. Or the run that scored after Hermida missed the catchable Thames ball in the fifth. Or the Gardner run in the ninth when Darnell McDonald went Gabe Kapler on a weak liner. Number Two would have recorded outs on all three of those plays, and run prevention would have actually been a successful initiative. But as I wrote last week, Number Two has been milking this "injury" just about as much as Manny Ramirez and Pedro Martinez leveraged their sick grandmothers back in the early part of this century. Even after the CT scan revealed the NONDISPLACED hairline fractures, the timetable for his return was as soon as April 27th. It's been a few days away for a month now. Way to hurry back.

Good for Wakefield. He stood up and sat down three times before going in. And he stood to get the win before Keith Foulke Papelbon tried to blow the ball by Arod like he unsuccessfully did in 2008.

Some people at the Yankees game shouldn't have been there. Don't go to the game in a sport jacket. There was a woman sitting in the front row behind the batters' box sleeping in her $1250 seat. Probably had two glasses of white wine and decided to pass out. Go to a play. This is why FTB was complaining about NYS.

Byung-Hyun Kim Papelbon's blown save was the team's eighth of the year. And honestly, I no longer think it's a 100% physical kind of thing. Jeff Zimmerman Papelbon's been way too good all year, and that's because (as this now-ironic article explains) he's been switching his pitches up again. He can still be a good closer. Not Mariano Rivera. But good. However, if he keeps trying to blow away guys like Arod, he's going to get results like tonight. It's major league baseball. You can't just blow the ball by people. Daniel Bard can't even do it. You have to deceive, and you're not Mariano Rivera. So you have to locate better and you have to switch pitches better. The stuff we saw today was stubbornness. And now here I am, feeling like I just saw Brady Quinn force the ball into an athletic secondary to lose a game against an otherwise-comatose Pete Carroll USC team. Good.

Speaking of which, who else is looking forward to Josh Beckett tomorrow?!?

17 comments:

The GM said...

I'm so pissed off that I am going to ignore my hideous run-on sentence in the penultimate paragraph. Especially as it is succeeded by a one-word sentence fragment.

the gm at work said...

A rainout is the only way the Red Sox don't lose tonight.

Anonymous said...

GM,

The thing you have to realize is that Brian Cushing never took performance enhancing substances.

bandi

from the bronx said...

gm, no question, the new stadium is an embarrassment. to have the field level seats partitioned off for people that want to pay $1250 to drink some wine and take a nap may be a good financial decision for the owners, but it kills the atmosphere in the stadium and looks terrible on TV. and then there is the monument "cave" situation and the dim, dark wall with the championship years and retired numbers. it looks like the inside of a high school gym locker room...

the gm at work said...

Of course not. He was just trying to get pregnant with Manny.

the gm at work said...

FTB,

I'm actually going to NYS for the upcoming Yankees/Astros series in mid-June. We've talked about the stadium quite a bit on this website, and I'm looking forward to going there and evaluating it myself. I had not really noticed the fans there until last night. After I saw the woman sleeping in the front row during the ninth I saw so many crisp striped shirts and/or polo shirts with sport jackets on that I could have sworn there was a Colby College alumni event going on.

Wine should not be sold at baseball games. This is America. Even if it wasn't America, I feel like they don't serve merlot at hooligan soccer games in Europe.

from the bronx said...

don't forget your wallet on the way to the ball park.

Patrick said...

1. the easy thing to do will be to say that phil hughes didn't have it last night. compared to what he's been doing, that's true. but he had plenty of stuff to put together a strong outing. he was at 80 pitches with 2 outs in the 5th and scutaro up. scutaro, pedroia, and drew all put together long and good at bats, and those three coupled with drew's 10 pitch at bat in the first inning did hughes in. he was making good pitches for the most part, they were just fighting them off and putting good swings on them. you really have to give a lot of credit to jd drew. that said, hughes has to make that one last pitch. he got all three of scutaro, pedroia, and drew to two strikes. you have to find a way to get out. hughes also didn't have his cutter the way he has, and he, cervelli, and the bench have to recognize that. you can't let ortiz (although it was a great piece of hitting more than a bad pitch, but frustrating because it was also with 2 strikes) and drew (bad pitch) put 4 runs up on two swings on cutters in similar spots. he had a great fastball last night and i would have liked to see him go to that, especially in the drew at bat with two runners on, and keep it away in an effort to try and make him go to the big part of the field in left. it was bound to happen that he was going to have a sub-par start, but with a few minor adjustments that didn't need to be the case last night. all part of the learning process, and again a lot of credit to the red sox hitters.

Patrick said...

2. what was daisuke matsuzaka, victor martinez, and the red sox dugout doing with all of those fastballs in the first inning? especially to rodriguez? did he seriously think a hitter of that caliber wasn't going to eventually put one of those in play on a line? that was the most egregious example, but it was to other batters in that inning as well. good job by him settling down and turning in a good outing after that inning, but as dv said that seemed to be a lot about the yankees hitters as well, which is inexcusable by them. either way, that first inning was just bizarre. how many fastballs can you throw, and more importantly how many can get hit, before you go to something else?

Patrick said...

3. joe girardi appears to have lost complete control of the bullpen so far this season. you might tell me his guys aren't doing the job, and to a certain extent you'd be right. but if the guys aren't doing the job it's his job as the manager to do things differently to try to find a combination that works, and not just doing the same thing over and over. i know the bullpen was short last night, but park for two innings in his first game back from injury is absurd. i'm also on record that marte should not be pitching against righties. but if he can't come into that 8th inning with a 1 run lead, pitch to drew, pitch around youkilis, and pitch to papi, what is he doing on this team? that would have been a better option than park for a second inning. what's more, if you're going to use javier vazquez LOSING by two runs for one batter, how about using him UP by a run instead of letting youkilis go deep. atrocious. yankees' bats and papelbon bailed him out big.

Patrick said...

4. alex rodriguez continues to get huge hits. go ahead grand slam in the bottom of the 7th friday. game tying two-run homer in the bottom of the 9th last night. incredible. i also love the fact that he looks at the dugout every time he hits a big homer. i will not get tired of that. it's like a "don't worry, i got this" look, and while last night was a great one, the best dugout look yet is the game tying two-run homer in the bottom of the 9th of game 2 of the 2009 alds against the twins and joe nathan. just awesome.

5. very proud of marcus thames. when you are a righty who struggles hitting righties, you have to make sure you don't miss a fastball. if papelbon throws three straight splits/sliders and you swing over all three, so be it. you can't let him sneak a fastball by you. this is particularly true with papelbon, as i've said before, because he wants to throw his fastball. this is exactly the approach thames took and it worked perfectly. i also really like thames. has some pop, mashes lefties, and seems like a genuinely great guy who wants to be on this team and is thrilled to be here. when (if) the yankees get healthy, he's an ideal bench/part-time piece. his home run trot last night is easily in my top 10 all time.

Patrick said...

6. if you're jonathan papelbon, you have to close that game. have to. to have matsuzaka get lit up in the first inning, then come storming back against the yankees' best pitcher to date and have a 9-7 lead, you have to win that game. it was his to close and win. and he did not get the job done. it's going to happen, but he has to do a better job for his team. that would have been a huge win for boston for so many reasons as i mentioned above. the yankees seem to have his number, which is great for the yankees and yankees fans like myself, because there are few things better in baseball than beating that guy (and the yankees have been beating him a lot). but for papelbon and the red sox it is not good. bad spot by him last night.

Anonymous said...

Pat,

I admit I didn't read through all the chapters of your comment, but number 6 is right on. You have to come up big there and close out the game. You need to be able to focus in and not miss on pitches in a big spot like that.

bandi

the gm at work said...

Those six chapters were over 1,000 words. Most of those words were pretty accurate as well. Even the parts about Drew's good pieces of hitting last night.

Papelbon and Matsuzaka seem to be panicking with the fastball. In the year 1999 you could throw a fastball 105 MPH and blow people away. You have to be more clever about it now. Especially if you suck at locating it, which both of those guys did last night.

Getting back to the 1,000 word thing, last night was a pretty big game between both of the relevant teams here. Therefore, I wouldn't get mad if you threw up your own post. Although, this does pad my "I get a lot of comments" stats.

the gm at work said...

Actually, I'd prefer if you made that its own post. It's doubtful that comments would show up if we were to turn this blog into a 1,450-page book (I did the stats last week, the table of contents is 51 pages, don't worry about it).

Patrick said...

i like the cohesiveness of comments sections. two posts means two separate comments sections, and i'm not a big fan of that. one big discussion is the best way to go in my opinion.

Ross Kaplan said...

Are you guys really shocked that stadiums are catering to the very wealthy? This is a trend that's been going on for the past 30 years. For every guy wearing an Armani suit sitting in the club seats of NYS, that same guy is sitting in the same area of Fenway, TD Bank, Staples, Cowboys stadium, etc.