Sunday, April 25, 2010

Game 18 Recap

1. Scott Kazmir started off the second inning by throwing a fastball high and inside to Robinson Cano. It looked like it might have gotten away from him but Kazmir then plunked Cano square in the backside with an 89mph "heater" and walked right towards home plate after the pitch and it didn't look like he was delivering an apology. Jorge Posada made him pay for his aggression as he took the first pitch from Kazmir - a belt-high fastball right down the pike - into the forest of arborvitaes in centerfield to put the Yankees up 2-0.

Marcus Thames followed that with a double to left center. With Curtis Granderson at the plate, Francisco Cervelli on deck and still no one out, Joe Girardi called for a sacrifice bunt. Curtis laid down a very nice one up the first base line that Kazmir scooped to first and beat him out by a split second. Fransisco Cervelli drew a walk and brought up Derek Jeter who grounded into what was very nearly a double play but ended up as an RBI force out to extend the Yanks lead to 3-0.

2. Javier Vazquez struck out the side in the third inning but in between the second and third K's, he allowed bomb to his noted foe Bobby Abreu. Javy has now allowed 10 home runs to Abreu, four more than he's allowed to any other player.

3. The bottom of the fourth brought more offense for the Angels. Vazquez allowed a single to Kendry Morales and caught a piece of Juan Rivera's elbow guard to put runners on first and second with one out. Howie Kendrick poked a single through the left side, scoring Morales and cutting the Yanks lead to 3-2.

Next up, Brandon Wood hit a sharp line drive to left field that Marcus Thames got a terrible read on and allowed to drop. Two runs scored in the process and Wood was awarded a highly questionable double (it should been at worst a single given where it was hit). Macier Izturus then grounded out to second, driving in another run and giving the Angels a 5-3 lead. With Bobby Abreu due up, Girardi called for Boone Logan and Vazquez was done for the day. Abreu lined out sharply to Jeter to end the inning.

4. Robinson Cano got his own revenge for Kazmir's HBP by smashing a 1-1 slider for a home run deep to right field, bringing the score to 5-4.

5. Alfredo Aceves replaced Boone Logan with two outs in the fifth inning and came out to begin the 7th. After getting Izturus to line out to second, Girardi went to the bullpen for Damaso Marte to face Babe Ruth Bobby Abreu. Marte promptly walked Abreu and hit Torii Hunter with a pitch, bringing up Kendry Morales. For whatever reason, Marte and Cervelli begun the process of intentionally walking Morales despite the fact that right hander Juan Rivera was on deck. After some confusion and a mound visit by Cervelli, they resumed the at bat with Frankie squatting behind the plate, having given Morales a free ball for no good reason.

Also for no good reason, when the count was 1-0, Torii Hunter took off for third with two outs and would have ended with inning if Cervelli had made a better throw. Instead, he slid in under the tag and the at bat continued. That pitch was a ball and Marte threw another fastball low and outside to make the count 3-0. The YES cameras showed the Yankee dugout and Tony Pena and Girardi were signaling to Cervelli that Morales is prone to swing on 3-0, instructing him to convey the message to the pitcher. Despite the warning, Marte spotted a fastball down and away but Morales yanked it over the left field wall for a three run homer.

IFs, ANDs, & BUTs
  • The decision to bunt in the second inning worked out fine, but you've gotta wonder what Girardi was thinking there. Granted, Granderson is not a great hitter against lefties, but having him bunt to get to Cervelli? I know he's a "hot" hitter, but is passing the buck to him to drive in that run really worth giving up an out for?

  • Abreu has owned Vazquez throughout their careers but it's been even worse this year as Bobby is 4-5 off of Javy this year with a homer and a double.

  • This is the second time Thames has screwed over Vazquez with his shitty defense. In his first start against the Rays, he let a double by Jason Bartlett fall in for what was probably the biggest hit of the game. Again, the "double" by Wood was a huge swing in momentum as it took the Angels from one down to one ahead.

  • To be fair, Vazquez was his own worst enemy today and couldn't seem to get it right no matter what he did. When he got ahead in the count, he struggled to put hitters away and part of his undoing in the 4th inning was the fact that he was pitching from behind. He walked three, and aside from the third inning, didn't strike out anyone.

  • The 8th inning was a complete clusterfuck. The decision to yank Aceves was questionable at best considering the right handed Hunter was behind Abreu and there was only one out so Marte was going to have face him anyway. The choice was between a right hander facing a batter from each side or a lefty doing the same and considering that Aceves had already got 5 outs without giving up a baserunner, it probably made more sense to stick with him.

  • Maybe the false start on the intentional walk was the result of miscommunication but it's still absolutely inexcusable. Give a batter a free ball in a dangerous situation when the game is slipping away and you deserve what comes of the at bat.

  • Probably because Marte made Girardi's decision look bad, he left him in to face Juan Rivera after the home run to Morales. David Robertson had already warmed up in the bullpen and was ready to go, but all of a sudden Girardi doesn't want to make a mid-inning pitching change?
This loss was pretty tough to stomach and there will be no shortage of negative pieces about Vazquez and the 8th inning tomorrow, especially because the Yankees aren't playing until Tuesday night in Baltimore. Hang in there. The Yanks still went 3-3 on this swing and the Red Sox lost in the 10th inning at home.


  1. While Vazquez wasn't especially sharp, all of my vitriolic hate is leveled towards Thames on this one. I'm lucky I had to get in the car and drive my family from CT to PA with Sesame Street during the 8th or I probably would have swerved into oncoming traffic.

    At least we get to face the AA O's now. Although they probably should have taken their series with Boston...

  2. Can someone tell me why Marcus Thames is on this team? He can't hit and he can't field.

  3. I harbor an irrational contempt towards the presence on Thames on the roster because of his painful defense and the fact that two of his failings have come at spectacularly inopportune times for the Yanks and Vazquez. But in all fairness, he certainly has produced in his limited opportunities at the plate. He's 7-16 with a homer, two doubles and two walks, which is a pretty fantastic start. It's not going to last long, but we've gotta wait before we start complaining about that aspect of his game.

  4. I don't think people should complain about Marcus' defense. EVERYONE in their right mind, knew what they were getting when he was signed. He has ALWAYS had abysmal defensively and been limited in his offensive contributions. As it stands, he has lived up to his end of the bargain.

    If anything, blame Joe for putting him in for Gardiner (especially when the guy is hitting decently). I agree with Jay though that it is unfortunate that his poor defensive play has aligned perfectly with Javy's starts. That being said, I don't have confidence in Javy producing dramatically better results regardless of who his outfielders are. They can bail him out to a degree, but right now he has his own struggles to sort out.