Games » New York YankeesMay5
A lot happened
The Kansas City Star
A lot happened, so let’s get to it: Felipe Paulino pitched great. I asked Ned Yost how Paulino got Derek Jeter out three straight times. The answer was excellent location with quality pitches. (Someone should’ve thought of that sooner.) It looked like the plan to get in on Jeter’s hands worked this time. Jeter grounded out 4-3, 6-3, 6-3, all on 2-seam fastballs between 94 and 97 miles an hour. It looked like Jeter never got his arms extended and was unable to hit the ball with authority. Paulino got the ball where he wanted with something on it.
Paulino didn’t give up his first hit until the 5th and I wondered what working out of the stretch would do to him. If a pitcher is dominating for several innings, he’s building up a rhythm out of the windup. Teams will try to find any way to get a runner on and force the pitcher into the stretch in hopes of breaking that rhythm.
Paulino threw one pitch out of the stretch in the 4th—after a walk—but immediately got a groundout. The only inning in which he had much trouble at all was the 5th and he was working out of the stretch from the second batter on. I don’t know if pitching from the stretch is any problem for Felipe, but it’s something for fans to watch for any time they see a pitcher go several innings from the windup and then have to make the switch.
Eric Hosmer lined out two more times in this game. There’s a difference between being in a slump and not getting hits. Hosmer is not getting hits. Hosmer’s smoking the ball nightly, with little to show for it.
Bottom of the 5th and Billy Butler hits his second double of the game, scoring Alex Gordon from first. Gordon might not have scored if he hadn’t been in motion on the pitch. Before the game Ned Yost talked about when he likes to put the main in motion. With Butler at the plate it can keep the team out of a double play, but Ned’s got to pick the right count to start the runner. Yost guessed right twice in this game: He kept the Royals out of a double play when he sent Gordon on 2-1 count in the third and helped Gordon score from first when Ned sent him on a 2-2 count in the 5th.
Ned doesn’t want to hit and run all the time to avoid the double play with Billy, he wants Butler to be able to pick his pitch and drive it. But if he’s convinced Billy is going to get a good pitch to hit or might have to swing at a pitch with two strikes, Yost might start the runner to stay out of the DP.
Later in the 5th inning the dangers of playing station-to-station baseball showed up: Billy’s on second and Francoeur singles, but Butler only gets to third. Then Mike Moustakas hits a shallow fly to right, but it’s too shallow for Billy to tag. It looked like both decision were correct, but it shows how much pressure only being able to advance one base at a time puts on the offense. Aggressive base running or station-to-station—both have their risks.
It didn’t come up in this game—or if it did I missed it—but Ned told me he likes to use the 3-0 green light with a power hitter at the plate and a tough pitcher on the mound. The 3-0 fastball will probably be the best pitch a power hitter will see. Turn on the green light and give the hitter a chance to do some damage.
Top of the 6th and it’s the Jeff Francoeur defensive highlight show. Frenchy saves a run when he throws out Curtis Granderson attempting to advance to third and then ends the inning with another outstanding catch.
Bottom of the 6th: Chris Getz walks, Alcides Escobar singles to right. It appears to be too shallow for Getz to go first to third, but he does anyway and makes it without a throw. Afterwards Chris said if the Royals are down by two that’s a dumb play; Escobar’s the tying run. Down by one, tied or up by one or more and trying to tack on a run, being aggressive makes more sense.
Because Chris makes it to third and the Yankees are down 3-0 at that point, they have to bring in the infield. When Escobar takes off for second, the Yanks are afraid to throw down with Getz standing on third. Jarrod Dyson hits a sac fly, Getz scores and when Gordon hits a double, Escobar scores easily.
The Yankees play a shallow outfield, so anything that gets to the wall means they have to chase it a while. Gordon burned that shallow outfield when he hit the ball over Curtis Granderson’s head. But the Yankees will trade that double for all the balls Granderson catches as he comes in.
Bottom of the 7th, Chris Getz on first with two outs. Freddy Garcia is on the mound and generally takes 1.4 seconds to deliver the ball to home plate. Getz can beat a 1.3, so I expect him to go. Getz starts to, but the Yankees pitch out, Getz hits the brakes and goes back to first. After the game, Chris tells me something about Garcia’s delivery was different on the pitchout, so he shut down the steal. When Chris had time to sort out what his subconscious had noticed, it was Garcia speeding up his delivery. Chris says a lot of pitchers do that and you can pick it up if you pay attention.
Chris eventually stole the base off Garcia, but Alcides Escobar hit a groundball to end the inning. Even though it was the last out of the inning, Getz hit third, made the turn and kept coming home. He was almost rewarded for this heads-up base running when the throw nearly pulled Mark Teixeira off the bag. If the call goes the other way, the Royals would’ve picked up another run. All because Getz didn’t mail in his effort and slow down when it looked like the inning was over.
The other day Doug Sisson said you can’t play smart baseball without your smartest players on the field—and he likes Chris Getz on the field.
Kelvin Herrera was outstanding and one of his best pitches was his changeup. Before the game Dave Eiland and I talked about pitchers using the crowd to their advantage: people going nuts, the place rocking, adrenaline flowing—back off on the velocity and let the hitter come out of his shoes swinging at a slower pitch.
Mike Moustakas saved a run in the 8th inning. Granderson led off with a double and Alex Rodriguez hit a ground ball to Moose. Mike delayed his throw to first base in order to look Granderson back to second base. If he hadn’t done that, I think Granderson advances—at least his body language indicated that—and that meant a run would’ve scored on Robinson Cano’s grounder to second that immediately followed.
The last play of the game was a grounder hit to Getz, who was playing almost directly behind second base. We’ll all remember when a shift doesn’t work—give the Royals credit when one does.