I have to admit, I was about ready to throw in the towel on last night’s game once it was tied up at 3. It’s pretty hard to win one of those games on the road once you get to so late an inning, but the Yankees found a way to get it done.
Justin Verlander might have started out slow, but he hung in there and gave his team 6 IP or 3 run ball, which is a decent outing – maybe not when you consider it took him over 120 pitches to do it, but impressive, nevertheless, especially considering his hardest thrown fastballs came in his last inning of work – those pitches he K’d Derek Jeter on were in the high 90s. I know a lot of people have been noting that Jeter’s bat has been a little slow this season, but few can catch up to the kind of heat Verlander was bringing. Too bad for him he was so wild last night – despite hitting 100 with his fastball.
While poking around the Yankee Blogosphere, I’ve seen some rumbling concerns that Bartolo Colon is throwing two many fastballs. While it is true that both his four seam and two seam fastballs make up about 85% of the pitches he’s thrown this year, the results clearly indicate that it’s not a problem. Sure, I’d love it if he mixed in a few extra change ups and sliders, but whatever – his four seam fastball has been topping out in the mid 90s (huh – that’s when pop music stopped being relevant, too, but probably just a coincidence) and his two seamer is devastating - it’s like Charlie Sheen’s four seam fastball from Major League – The Terminator or the Eliminator or something… well, except it’s the two seam version. And two seam it does! It can be difficult to explain to pitch movement to non baseball people, but when you say, “Watch this next pitch move,” and Colon uncorks one of his two seam fastballs, whipping across the strike zone and finishing in on a righty’s hand, even the most novice of observers will be heard to comment, “Holy Shiite! What the hell was that?” It’s that amazing.
The Tigers have a realized on their team named Alburquerque? “You just can’t predict baseball.”
There wasn’t a ton of good things to say about the Yankees offensive performance last night (felt like there was a solid hour or longer where they didn’t get a hit), but they got some runs early and some more late, and that’s enough. Even a struggling Verlander is a tough match up, so no big deal. What is a big deal was that stupid bunt.
After the aforementioned Alburquerque walked Russell Martin, Brett Gardiner bunted on the first pitch. Given that Gardner went to bunt immediately, I can only assume that Joe Girardi called this from the bench. Why? Gardner is red hot and knows how to work a walk – why bunt when Alburquerque is wild? With Eduardo Nunez and Derek Jeter coming up? These guys look like they’re both poised to hit an RBI single to send Martin in from second? I think not. Let Gardner swing there. I don’t have any problem with small ball or bunting or whatever you want to call it, but that bunt was a pain in my ass!
Tonight, he that is called The Other Big One takes the mound. (He’s not called that, nor is Colon called The Big One, but I think we might want to start considering calling them The Twin Boulders or something.) As always, I like Sabathia’s chances to be effective and go late in the game, but with these crazy 6:05 start times (that’s local in Chicago, 7:05 here in greater NYC), who knows what will happen? Also, I’d like to see a pizza eating contest between Sabathia, Colon and Ramiro Pena. Pena is gritty!