Notes, Reactions, and Observations from Game 19

Last night’s loss to the Orioles was definitely frustrating for a number of reasons. Let’s start from the end and work our way back a bit.

–The top of the ninth was incredibly bitter sweet, as are all comebacks that fall just short. Seriously, where the hell was Julio Lugo playing on that ball Alex Rodriguez hit to end the game? If he’s playing a normal second base, the game is tied. Alex definitely needs to go sacrifice a whole chicken or give the BABIP god some rum after tonight; he hit the ball hard three times and had nothing to show for it.

–Alfredo Aceves was the sharpest of the Yankee pitchers tonight, but that’s not really saying much is it?

–Mark Teixeira also had a few hard hit balls tonight, one of which went for an RBI single in the ninth, so that’s nice to see.

–Seriously, who wasn’t expecting the walk from Nick Johnson in the ninth? That was Nick’s 19th walk of the season, moving his OBP up to .3836.

–Wally Bell’s strikezone tonight was absolutely ridiculous. There was no consistency from half inning to half inning and not once did he correct the strike zone. O’s starter Kevin Millwood was getting calls Phil Hughes wasn’t getting and vice versa. Bell’s definitely going to need to look at this game and make some improvements.

–Jorge Posada base running blunder was frustrating and inexcusable. Something tells me it’ll be a while before he takes a big turn around second again.

–Robinson Cano needs to stop trying to steal. He’s not fast and he’s not a great base runner. Just stay at firs, Robbie. Please.

– David Robertson hitting Ty Wiggington with a pitch in an 0-2 count could’ve been the most frustrating thing from last night. Is there anything in baseball more disheartening than this? That opened the door for Baltimore to add three runs in the 6th to take the lead for good. D-Rob looked really rusty tonight, as everything was either going back over the middle (fastballs) or just not breaking enough (curveballs). But, I guess it’s hard to be sharp when you’ve only thrown six pitches in the last twelve days. This brings me to another point: I’m not mad at Joe Girardi taking Hughes out when he did (more on Phil in a bit). It’s not Girardi’s fault that Boone Logan failed to retire a lefty and that Robertson just didn’t have it tonight. At the time, the moves were good. The results? Not so much. But, that’s baseball, right?

–Phil Hughes was not good last night. I know he only gave up one run on two hits, but I did not think for one second that this start was a good one for Hughes. He walked four while striking out only two and was, frankly, lucky that he was facing the Orioles. Many of his pitches were hit hard and he only induced five grounders. While Bell’s strikezone was pitiful, Hughes’ command was pretty crappy, too. He had absolutely no idea where the ball was going last night and, most troublesomely, he did an absolutely terrible job of mixing his pitches. For the second straight start, he didn’t use his changeup once. That’s just ridiculous, considering that was the pitch that supposedly won him the fifth starter’s spot over Joba Chamberlain. If he’s going to develop this pitch, he needs to throw it. The Orioles are a generally weak hitting team, so it’d be a lot easier to practice a pitch against them than it would be against the Red Sox or Rays. Also, by my count, only 13 of his 106 pitches were curveballs, rather than four seam fastballs or cutters. This is the biggest reason why Hughes was lucky he was facing Baltimore. Many other teams would have blasted the non-mixing Hughes of Tuesday night, but he was somehow able to skate by. If he doesn’t do a better job of mixing his pitches in the future, the results will be much worse than they were last night.

Truth be told though, as frustrating as the loss was, it’s a game that’s likely to repeat itself at least a few times over the course of the season. Sometimes, the team just won’t have it and they’ll come up short. On a positive note, the top of the ninth inning should remind us that the Yankees are never out of a game. CC goes tonight, looking to stop the mini-slide and that’s a comforting feeling.

8 thoughts on “Notes, Reactions, and Observations from Game 19

  1. Joe G

    Clearly I’m in the minority now, but I much rather Joba as a starter than Hughes. Now that Joba’s fastball is non-existent, he can at least use his 4 pitches to work hitters in their 2nd or 3rd at bats. Hughes to me is really a 1-2 pitch pitcher. His curveball has regressed from what I’ve seen and the chagne up is non-existent. I think teams will start to hit Hughes hard by mid season if he’s only offering fastballs and cutters. Idk I hope I’m wrong but we’ll see. For now though Hughes is fine as a back of the rotation starter. Plus he’s young so lets see how he develops over the season.

  2. oldpep

    I was hoping someone would mention two things in your post.

    1-what’s up with Cano the caught stealing guy? It’s ridiculous-even when he gets a great jump, he’s a pretty easy out. If he has the green light, he needs to have it taken away. If JoeG is calling those plays, he needs to stop it.

    2-I didn’t see Posada call any change-ups, and I didn’t hear anyone on the broadcast team mention it. So who decided to junk the change-up? After his first start it was brought up, and he said the team he was pitching against were ‘good change-up hitters’. While that doesn’t make any sense to me, the team he was facing last night was anything but. His hits to IP remains solid, but if he’s not going to use his change at all now, it’s going to be there when he needs it down the road. My question is: why isn’t JoeG doing anything about this?

  3. Arno

    That was one of the most frustrating games I’ve seen in a long time. I think we will see this play out in the season more. We have a very good starting staff and as a result the relief pitchers simply haven’t gotten any work. Everybody out the pen last night looked rusty and I can’t blame them. I feel as if it’s a double-edged sword. If you have a great starting staff you cannot have a great pen. You’ll take it of course, happily even, but I think this will come into play more often this year than last year. Am I the only one who feels that way?

    Anyway… frustrating to no end. Posada’s base running and then the error throwing to 2nd, Jeter’s error, the pens inability to get men out when it mattered. This team is going to lose a lot more games this year, and I’m fine with that. It’s the games that you *should have* won that frustrate me to no end, like last night.

    Also, oldpep, Hughes mentioned (as noted in the blog post below this one) that he didn’t want to throw the CB because none of his other pitches were working last night. He didn’t want to get beat with his 4th best pitch on a night when he almost getting beat with his best.

  4. Mryankee

    I wills ay it again because it bears repeating, Bucholz can throw 117 pitches and Hughes cannot throw 110? That was a terrible inexcuseable loss to an Orioles team that did not want to win until the game was handed to them.

    • Matt Imbrogno

      List of things that should have no effect on Phil Hughes’ starts:

      1. Clay Buccholz’s pitch count.
      2. A lot of other things.

  5. oldpep

    When your FB isn’t working, you see if your change is. Guys with a lot more of a track record have said this, and I’m sure it applies to Hughes. What he’s saying is essentially: ‘I didn’t use the change because the fastball was working’ in one start and ‘I didn’t use my change because my fastball wasn’t working’ in another.

    Joba instead of Hughes? he’s not even doing as well in relief as Phil is starting. I guess 1-hitters don’t impress some people.

    • Mryankee

      Joba instead of Jvay might happen soon enough-Also maybe Ajax instead of Granderson, Damon instead of Johnson. Alot of people suck right now and the team is still playing decent ball. However last night was a joke.

  6. Chip

    I disagree completely with your idea that Hughes needs to throw the change more. I agree mixing it in once in awhile wouldn’t be horrible but he clearly doesn’t have faith in that pitch as much as his others. He’s now thrown like 14 innings in his past two starts and only allowed 4? hits. On top of that, there was a ridiculous strike zone and he really didn’t have it working last night. Until teams can prove that they can hit his fastball-cutter combination, why bother throwing the change? I think the change will be taken out of his back pocket later in the season as teams start to adjust to his fastball-heavy approach but right now everything seems to be working for him. I’m more than satisfied with 5.2 innings and 1 run in a game where he just didn’t have it working. This would be a non-issue if the Yankees offense had shown up last night and he left with more than a one-run lead or if the bullpen would have been able to get a few outs.

Comments are closed.