Saturday, April 12, 2008

Some Yankees-Red Sox Notes

I just watched David Ortiz strike out after watching Mussina go right after him with 2 fastballs at 85 mph tops on the inside part of the plate. Papi has always been a smart hitter; he thinks along with pitchers and forces them to make his pitch. But he definitely looks like he's overthinking at the plate, guessing at pitches instead of identifying them and reacting. He also overswung at the breaking ball Mussina followed up with, another sign he's trying too hard. Luckily for him, Mussina stupidly threw a hittable fastball to Ramirez right after (plating two and giving the Sox a 3-2 lead).

I know this doesn't jive with the commentary after last night's game, but Wang wasn't nearly as good as his line. He got lucky several times with hard hit balls, including the final out. Going nine innings is great and he stayed ahead of hitters well. However, striking out 3 and giving up several hard hit outs will not translate into similar success in the future. I'm a bit concerned about the Yankees rotation because they aren't strikeout pitchers and they play in front of a mediocre defense. They're going to be highly dependent on luck (as non-strikeout pitchers are wont to be) and their defense isn't going to help them out at all, especially if Giambi plays first regularly.

Beckett looks pretty good. He's gotten a few borderline calls, including a low strike on Giambi right now in the top of the 7th, but he's been getting plenty of swings and misses. He should be fine as he builds up his endurance. The rest of the Red Sox team has looked sloppy at times, though. I already mentioned Ortiz's struggles but Varitek's baserunning blunder early in the game was simply unacceptable. Much is said about Varitek's baseball intelligence but it was MIA then.

Oh, and Giambi hits into a double play. The entire left side of the defense is open and he can't poke it down the third base line. His bat, homer last night or not, looks really, really slow. He can't catch up to decent fastballs and he's started cheating on balls inside. Plus, anything he hits that's on the outside part of the plate turns into weak grounders to second, tailor made double play balls. There can only be so much patience for the guy, especially when he doesn't look like he's going to be able to contribute much at all this year other than the occasional home run that gets completely offset by his inability to play defense or do anything else at the plate.

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