Games » New York YankeesAug14
Alex Rodriguez reached 600 home runs this month. If he keeps this up, he’ll have 700 by September. Three home runs off three different pitchers, and every pitcher thought he made a pretty good pitch.
I think I’ve made it extremely clear that my baseball skills are negligible, if not actually non-existent. Once, working with a two-wheeled pitching machine, a buddy and I set it up to throw nasty, nasty curves. Hard, snapping breaking pitches that ended up at the knees or below.
We smoked those pitches.
It took awhile — about three days, as I recall — but eventually we adjusted. Get the same pitch in the same location and a half-blind cartoonist with bad knees will adjust, much less A-Rod. Paul Splittorff made that point last night: all those home run balls were pretty much down and in, good pitches, but the same pitches. The one time A-Rod looked bad was when Sean O’Sullivan pitched him up. Those pitches found a hole in A-Rod’s swing. Throw him down and he was golfing those balls like Tiger Woods before he got caught.
If you want to get a batter out away, you have to go in to clear that lane. And if you want to get a batter out down, you have to go up to clear THAT lane. Split’s old-school and I dig that. Last night he said Rodriguez seemed “a little too comfortable” and that’s pitcher talk for “he needs to get knocked down” or at least pitched up and in.
Watch today’s game and see what happens.
There are different ways to put pressure on a defense: speed, bunts, hit and runs, stolen bases and patience. Yesterday, Willie Bloomquist talked about “ambushing” a pitcher (going after the first hittable fastball). Last night the Yankees used patience. O’Sullivan used 97 pitches to get through 5 and 1\3 innings.
Someone explained the Red Sox offensive strategy to me and it sounds about the same as the Yankees: go through the order the first time simply to see pitches. Work the count, try to make the guy on the bump throw everything he’s got and don’t worry about the results.
Once you’ve got a good idea of what the pitcher’s got: attack. The Yankees did that in the fifth inning. Starting with Brett Gardner’s second at-bat, the previously passive Yankees went on the attack and swung at every first pitch that was a strike. Result: a double and two singles and if Derek Jeter hadn’t hit into a double play, they would’ve scored more than the one run they got.
Like, I said: watch today’s game and see what happens.
If it’s important to note hard-hit outs, it’s also important to note weak hits. Kila Ka’aihue has two in the box score this morning. You get robbed so much that no hitter is going to spit on a couple of knocks, but these hits didn’t mean he’s finding his swing.
Wilson Betemit continues to play third in a way that shows he has a bright future as a DH. OK, I couldn’t resist that joke and it’s way too harsh a judgment, way too early, but he hasn’t looked good there and the Royals are going to have to decide what to do about that.
Last night he made what I thought was a poor decision on a bunt: the ball was pushed toward third and Jason Kendall came out from behind the plate aggressively as he should. The ball kept moving down the line and about the time Jason thought it was beyond his range, Wilson decided he was satisfied to let Kendall make the play. Result? Nobody picked it up. Good defenders fight for the ball, those that lack confidence hope someone will take the play from them.
Those that play like me, instruct the people around them to take every ball they can (because I don’t plan on making ANY plays). I feel if a pitcher is so bad he lets a batter hit one to me, the pitcher should get what he deserves. I consider it tough love.
Betemit did get points for base running when he hit the brakes on his way to second instead of running into Robinson Cano’s tag. That forced Cano to go to Jeter instead and that slowed down the double play enough that Ka’aihue was safe at first.
The Yankees swiped some bases when O’Sullivan appeared to fall asleep on the mound, but that can also be Kendall’s fault. The catcher has a sign that tells the pitcher to go over to first. So if the base runners are stealing because they’re getting too big a lead, you might blame the catcher. If the runners are stealing because they’re getting an early jump, they’ve picked up something in his delivery and that’s probably the pitcher.
And anytime I attempt a stolen base, that’s temporary insanity.