That could have gone better

  • Not that the Yankees didn’t have their chances, of course. They did plenty to hurt their own cause. Joe Girardi was up to his usual tricks again, bringing C.C. out to start the 6th even though the big man just clearly didn’t have his best stuff tonight. Sabathia wouldn’t make it out of the inning, as Girardi finally went to Rafael Soriano, a bit too late however as another run would score in the inning to push the Tigers lead to 4-2. But hey, at least that run didn’t make a difference in the end, right?
  • Not that Soriano gets away unscathed. After the Yankees tied the game at 4, Soriano came right back out and threw a first pitch fastball in the strikezone to Delmon Young, of all people, a pitch that quickly ended up in the stands. I’m not going to judge this one in hindsight, because I didn’t have a problem leaving Soriano in for that inning. It was just a terrible pitch. Bad pitch to throw, and poorly executed. No excuse for that one.
  • Got to give credit to the offense though. They came out swinging against Verlander, putting up two runs in the first inning. Then they came back in a big way after Verlander seemed to be settling in and then some, with Brett Gardner coming up with the big hit to tie the game. It’s a shame that the Yankees couldn’t win a game in which they scored 4 runs off of Verlander, but who knows what would have happened if Gerry Davis hadn’t spotted Verlander two outs in the 8th inning, with Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano at the plate.
  • The Yankees are down in the series 2 games to 1 now, meaning that tomorrow is an elimination game, and that the Yankees are going to have to take this series the distance if they’re going to win. The fate of their season now rests on the right arms of A.J. Burnett and Ivan Nova. What time can I start drinking tomorrow?

Born in Southwestern Ohio and currently residing on the Chesapeake Bay, Brien is a former editor-in-chief of IIATMS who now spends most of his time sitting on his deck watching his tomatoes ripen and consuming far more MLB Network programming than is safe for one's health or sanity.

32 thoughts on “That could have gone better

  1. Mike

    Am I supposed to somehow feel good that the fate of the season rests on Burnett [instead of Colon]? I don't understand. Or is this one so obvious that you shouldn't need to waste a post on it? Even given the chance to reconsider after the rainout?

  2. williamjtasker

    According to PitchF/X, Verlander got seven strike called from out of the zone and was squeezed on three pitches. One strike was six inches outside. Meanwhile, Sabathia was squeezed on four pitches and two others that were borderline. He got no calls out of the strike zone. The key batter that set the tone for the evening was Austin Jackson's in the first. Sabathia threw him several strikes and borderline strikes that weren't called. Sabathia seemed to start pressing after that and never again looked comfortable. Ring Jackson out on that first appearance and the night might have gone differently.

    And can someone please tell me why Jesus Montero can't pinch hit for Martin late in the game?

    • BrienJackson

      The timing hurt as much as anything. Granderson took 4 balls to lead off the 8th, but two of them were called strikes, then he had to swing at a pitch up and out of the zone because it was just called a strike. Then Cano gets called out on a pitch that was never below his shoulders, and just like that there are two outs. A-Rod walks, Tex hits a pop up, inning over, middle of the order out of the way. All but handed the Tigers the game with a bow wrapped around it.

      • Sabrina

        That strike zone not only was gift wrapped but given so obviously that joe even realized the strike zone was off. It wasn't a fairly called game at all

  3. Eli

    I have watched several hundred hours of baseball in my life and I must say I have never seen a worst umpire during a game. A great example was when Austin Jackson's count was 2-2 on the fifth, the pitch was clearly a strike which was called a ball. That alone could have changed the dynamics of the game because Jackson would have not scored and the Tigers would've had 3 runs at that point not 4. Next Girardi should've never brought CC for the 6th. BTW Brien you can start drinking as soon as you wake up tomorrow might be a long day for all of us.

    • Doug

      Uhhh, Jackson never got to a 2-2 count in the fifth, he sacrificed Inge to second? There were no 2-2 count balls thrown that were called a ball.

  4. Frustrated

    How about Captain Clutch, guys?! Really tearing it up with RISP!

  5. Tom I

    All well said.

    Martin looks like he is ready for Winter break. I would honestly let Montero hit at some point.

    Tex is 16 for 99 as a Yankee in the postseason. Sick.

    Swisher hits about 14 for 92.

    Soriano got it done. For the other team. Again.

    Gardner had a solid game and Jorge can't stop getting on base.

    The ump is spraying Verlander down with champagne right now.

    CC was so-so, but he was still the best option.

    For some strange, mind-boggling reason, I have faith in A.J. Back to NY for Game 5.

    • rick

      You mean game 4, and even when AJ has been horrendous for much of the season, I am calm for game 4. AJ starting gives me a sense of serenity that I cannot describe.

      • It's completely illogicall an dI couldn't agree more.

        • jay_robertson

          Its perfectly logical. KNOWING that AJ is starting the elimination game – I can stop worrying about it. The game is lost.

          SHOULD we somehow pull it out – it will be like looking out the door on Christmas morning, and finding a Lexus with a bow on it – that the cute girl down the road bought for me.

          Nah Gwan Happen – so no need to worry, and nothing but grins on the off chance it does.

        • Corporate Scum

          I've heard that when you drown, a strange sense of serenity and warmth envelopes you at the end. No idea if it's true, but that would certainly explain it.

          • Tom I

            I was saying I have faith in him and then we'll go back to NY for Game 5.

            And, yes, I am likely losing it or completely lying to myself. Either way, you all want me to be able to say I told you so. We'll find out!

  6. Sabrina

    Brien I'm gonna start drinking from five so I'm so out of it..that aj looks like cy young lol

  7. Hank

    The problem with the zone is that it was fairly consistent for lefthanded and righthanded hitters so you will hear the popular narrative "at least he was consistent". The issue is what Brien said it was 2 completely different zones

    The problem of course is with opposing handed pitchers the lineup were stacked differently and Detroit had 8 righthanded hitters (hitting with a shoe box size strikezone) while the Yankees had 3 – at one point I thought it might be better for Teix and Swish to turnaround hit righthanded. The lefty zone for the 2nd night in a row was obviously atrocious…. I think it was actually worse in Game 2, but had a far bigger impact tonight.

    Here are the 2 strikezones from Brooks:
    Righty hitters: http://www.brooksbaseball.net/pfxVB/cache/zoneplo

    Lefty hitters: http://www.brooksbaseball.net/pfxVB/cache/zoneplo

    What made matters worse was the only 2 marginal pitches he called off the plate against right handers all night was the punchout of ARod in the eight and the 0-1 pitch (which put Jeter in the 0-2 hole) in the 9TH INNING WITH 2 OUT. Normally these are marginally pitches that could go either way but when he hasn't called a single pitch even ON the corner, to expand in the 8th and 9th innings is about as bad as it gets.

    All that said 4 runs off Verlander with CC going needs to be enough…. given how he looked Friday night if the Yankees don't pull this series out, I wonder how differently this series plays out if that game had been played Friday. You'd also have Garcia in Detroit (and not giving up a cheap HR to Cabrera?) and Girardi not saving his pen down 3 in the 9th because of his fear of using people 3 days in a row.

    • Putting those two graphs in their own posting. Thankxs, Hank!

  8. chad

    i had no problem with bringing CC out for the 6th. 2 of the first 3 batters were lefties. i could see going to Soriano after Kelly's bunt, but I don't think Soriano facing Righty/Lefty was much better than CC facing that same combo.

    to me, trying to avoid using Soriano and/or Robertson for more than one inning was the critical part, especially when you'll probably want to use both again tonight.

  9. Gregg

    Wow. Where to start.

    Agree with everything said about the ump, his strike zone and squeezing CC. But more about that later — or in response to other comments posted.

    With h/t to Brien, let’s just start using this abbreviation: WWJMLIIORTJ

    Meaning: Why won’t Joe Manage Like It Is October

    WWJMLIIORTJ Moments:

    #1 – Why no mention of the failure to have Jeter bunt in 3rd after Gardner got on base? It’s an inexplicable move to me. With CC struggling in 1st and Verlander 13-0 when his team scores 3 runs or more, it’s a no-brainer to try and scratch across another run early while Verlaner is seemingly hittable. Sure, Jeter got a hit first time up, but it is October, not June.

    #2 – In same sequence, why not have Gardner running on the pitch where Jeter hits into DP? Gardner had run the previous pitch in an apparent hit-and-run — the first time in that AB he left first. Why not run him again? It could have avoided the DP, leaving Gardner safe at 2nd with only one out.

    #3 – Bringing CC out for the 6th. ’nuff said.

    • Gregg

      Sorry, that didn’t come through complete. Should have read:

      WWJMLIIORTJ = Why Won’t Joe Manage Like It Is October Rather Than June

    • Gregg,

      You've hit on one of my biggest pet peeves. Why on earth would you ever have ANYONE (even the pitcher, if you were playing in an NL park) bunt Brett Gardner to second base? He is one of the fastest men *on the planet*.

      What pissed me off was that Jeter swung at ball three and fouled it off during a Gardner steal attempt one pitch before he hit into that double play. Gardner would have been on second and the count would have been 3-1. Heck, even if it was a strike….Gardner would have been on second and the count would have been 2-2. That's a mistake on Jeter's part, through and through.

      But every time someone bunts Gardner to second, my TV comes perilously close to being lit on fire.

      • Gregg

        Fair enough, Will. But then, you have to let Gardner…. STEAL SECOND BASE.

        My reasoning for bunting Gardner over is simply this: Derek Jeter has a tendency to hit into DPs. I don’t have the stats at hand to prove this, but having watched the Yankees religiously — at least postseason — since the mid-70’s, I’ve seen a lot of Jeter games. He may statistically be no more prone than others, but he certainly is no less prone either. And I think he’s probably slightly more prone.

        You had to avoid the DP in that instance. I recall another instance within the past two years in the playoffs where Jeter was up with a man on first and no outs, and I was thinking: If he doesn’t get a hit, I hope he strikes out or pops out, b/c I was terrified of the DP.

        Again, I agree that Gardner should have been able to steal the base cleanly. But then they had the duty to let him try. I think they should have started him running earlier in the at bat, and I see no earthly reason why he shouldn’t have been running on the DP pitch itself.

        And, yes, it buggers belief that Jeter would swing on the pitch he fouled off with Gardner running.

  10. jay_robertson

    CC never looked good. – then again, he looked pretty much like CC looked throughout the month of September.

    Someone – Anyone – please explain why our hitters, our sluggers, our frkn MVP candidates, consistently disappear in October – while every bozo the opposing team runs to the plate looks like a younger, fitter Babe Ruth – or perhaps, Puhols.

    You know its a bad game when Gardner's TWO hits are more hits than Granderson, Cano, A-Rod, Tex, Swish, and Martin managed to scrape out as a group.

    Thank Heaven for Brett and Jorge for at least keeping it close.

    • Glad you mentioned this… VERY happy to see Jorge having a good series, one of the few. I'm not sure he's back next year but I love that he's going out strong, if indeed he's "going out"…

  11. Kurt

    Hey guys, cheer up. I believe that AJ will pitch a great game tonight and the Yanks will come home with Nova to start the deciding game.

    • jay_robertson

      Works for me. And could you please pass whatever you're smoking or drinking my way? ;)

    • Hank

      I also think AJ will turn in a good game and the Yankees win Game 4. Not sure how Game 5 plays out but for some reason I feel good about this game.

  12. dar34

    Couple comments:

    1. I haven't seen much of the other series', but if the Yanks/Tigers series is any indication, the teams would be better off without officials. They don't call games for rain until they are playing in a pond. Strikezones are awful, and TBS putting it up for every pitch just shows what we all already knew. The only saving grace for this crew is that they haven't missed any close plays in the field, as far as I can remember.

    2. If the Yankees lose this series, the blame can be placed squarely on Girardi's in game pitching decisions.

    and

    3. The 4-8 hitters (excluding Jorge) are nearly as bad as Joe's decision making skills. That might as well be 4 pitchers hitting. Now that I think about it, can we DH for Martin or Tex and let the pitcher hit? I definitely would've gone for that last night! And maybe tonight. Just imagine, AJ has pitched himself into the 6th inning, but it is obvious to everybody but Joe that he is done. He comes up to bat and takes a pitch off his pitching arm. Awesome situation-AJ gets on base, and then sits because of the bruise.

  13. jdp

    Am I the only one who finds that TBS strike zone box to be very inconsistent with what my eyes tell me about where pitches [for both teams] are actually going?

  14. I know Soriano is supposed to be a set up man who is good in these tough situations, but whenever he is placed in a close game, I get extremely nervous. Last night is a great example of why: he cost us the game.

    As for tonight, well I am already sick to my stomach. I hope the Yankees can manage to put runs on the board.

    • Hah, I used to work right around the corner from your office. Small world.

  15. Gene

    I want Girardi to play Posada at first tonight and DH Montero. and I would honestly consider playing Nunez for Arod at this point, not saying they should just that it should be talked about. Teixeira has no offensive value unless he runs into one and puts it in the seats (doesnt happen often in October) and Arod, while playing good defense and putting good swings on the ball, doesnt seem to be able to drive the ball.

    My lineup for tonight would be;

    1)Gardner LF
    2)Jeter SS
    3) Granderson CF
    4) Cano 2b
    5) Posada 1B
    6) Arod 3b
    7) Swisher RF
    8) Montero DH
    9) Martin C

  16. michael

    Not for nothing: Sabathia didn't "struggle." He was outright inept at: finding the strikezone, getting outs from players that are replacement-level to average out—probably because they're RHB, or scrappy bench / utility guys, and looking like anything other than bad Burnett in a disguise! It seems like everyone is overlooking because it was tied when he left and he was one of the (or the) best pitcher in the AL this year. Still . . .

    6BB, 3K, and 7 hits over 5.1 IP usually results in several more than 4 runs. Yay timely groundballs or 'knowing how to pitch'. This was a jarring performance to interpret from CC that seems so incongruous with anything he's ever done since 2009.

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