Down and away wasn’t working for Marte


The seventh inning wasn’t supposed to happen like that. As Mike noted earlier, it was a trial by fire of sorts for Chan Ho Park. He failed in his initial assignment, though it’s likely he gets another chance in the near future. Maybe not in the next two games, but we’ll certainly see Chop in the seventh, and perhaps the eighth, again soon. His command just wasn’t there last night. It happens to the best of them.

With David Ortiz coming to the plate, Joe Girardi made the predictable move and called for his lefty, Damaso Marte. Just a few days removed from a “cranky” shoulder, Marte was pronounced in full health for Opening Day. Clearly, he would enter the game to face Ortiz if an appropriate situation arose. This seemed like it. Runner on second, two outs, tie game. As we saw, though, the sequence didn’t go well. Let’s take this pitch by pitch.

Pitch 1

As you can see, Jorge sets up low and away for the slider. Marte missed big time, overthrowing the pitch and sending it well to Jorge’s left and in the dirt. Still, it’s just one pitch. The runner on third rather than second doesn’t much matter, unless Marte has another wild pitch in him.

Pitch 2

It looks like Posada wanted the same pitch, same spot. He set up, and Marte missed again, though not nearly as badly. It wasn’t encouraging, though, that Marte missed with two straight sliders. That’s supposed to be his money pitch against lefties. The idea is to get Ortiz to misread it as a fastball and then give one of those long, loping swings and miss.

Pitch 3

Finally, Jorge calls for a fastball. He sets up low and away, even though Ortiz has had problems on the inside pitch over the past year or so. Marte unleashed one, missing his spot by a decent amount. This is where the pitch ended up.

Ortiz circa 2006 puts that pitch onto the Mass Turnpike. It was right around his waist and at a spot he could get his arms extended. Marte reached back and slung it at 93, which was probably his only saving grace. If that cranky shoulder caused him to hold back on his velocity, Ortiz might have been able to do more with it. Then again, maybe it was Ortiz’s slow bat rather than the pitch speed that caused the swing and miss.

Pitch 4

Again, setting up low and away. Posada and Marte had a plan here, though again I’m not sure I get it, considering Ortiz’s trouble with inside pitches. ESPN didn’t show Jorge giving the sign. Marte threw fastball, though maybe Jorge called for a slider. In any case, Marte threw one upstairs and Jorge couldn’t compensate.

I honestly hope that was a cross-up, because if not it reflects even more poorly on Jorge. Yes, the pitch was nowhere near the setup, but he still has to catch that. It’s more understandable, of course, if Jorge was expecting slider low and away and got fastball upstairs.

Pitch 5

Just for good measure, another low-away setup:

Apparently Jorge did call for fastball this time, because the pitch was even higher than the previous one. This time he caught it. Not that it mattered. It was ball four, and Ortiz isn’t the type to sprint around and take the extra base.

For reference, here’s where each pitch ended up:

That brought on Joba, who recorded the final out in the seventh before pitching his own sloppy eighth inning. Hopefully these were just some early season jitters. The bullpen looked like crap last night, and we all know that they’re better than that.

Categories : Death by Bullpen
  • CanoFTW

    I think LoHud had something earlier about this – Jorge did say something about that pitch not being a cross-up. Makes me wonder whether we’re going to be seeing this all year. I know Jorge was never the greatest defensive catcher but it seems like he’s been dropping pitches a lot ever since the back end of last season into the playoffs.

  • Andy in Sunny Daytona

    Marte pitched 3 ineffective, injury-filled innings in ST and they felt he was ready to pitch on opening day? Ok.

    • A.D.

      Yeah, not the most surprising that his location was off.

  • http://www.fackyouk.blogpsot.com Matt @ Fack Youk

    Posada told Chad Jennings it wasn’t a cross up, though it looked like a classic example of one.

    Maybe Jorge is covering for Marte. If not, as you rightly say Joe, it reflects poorly upon Jorge. Even though the location was way, way off, if he called for a FB and got the FB, he has to catch it.

    That said, if this wasn’t Opening Night, and it didn’t allow the eventual winning run to score, I don’t think we’d be making quite as big a deal out of this.

    • W.W.J.M.D.

      Your URI is wrong Matt.

      • http://www.fackyouk.blogspot.com Matt @ Fack Youk

        Thanks. Fixed now.

        • W.W.J.M.D.

          No problem.

        • Andy in Sunny Daytona

          You must feel pretty good that this website piggy-backed your URL. You’re big time, Matt!

          • http://www.fackyouk.blogspot.com Matt @ Fack Youk

            I doubt it.

            I can’t even see what it is, as it’s blocked out by admin at work due to falling under the “cult/occult” category. I can only imagine.

            All because I juxtaposed my “s” and “p”. Stupid dyslexia.

            • W.W.J.M.D.

              It’s a christian blog. Stupids fackers ripping off your name.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

              It’s “Bible.bz”.

              5,000 words about how the unfolding of world history has “proven” the Bible to be 100% true. The proof: Some things happened (like, say, Israel gaining nationhood and Russia, um… existing.)

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

        Luckily, though, the incorrect URL link is helping me answer my concerns about my future on earth and eternity.

        Reading that page was critical. In five simple steps, they proved to me that the Bible is true. Proved it.

        • Andy in Sunny Daytona

          I’m a little concerned about the “Doom’s Day Clock”…..concerned about their spelling of it.

          • http://cid-e3a022289d65b5c0.skydrive.live.com/self.aspx/Assorted/foul.jpg Andy in NYC aka the Other Oofys

            The Apostrophe Monster™ stikes again!

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

            Maybe it’s the daytime suit pocketwatch for Judge Doom.

            http://www.filmdope.com/Galler.....-21221.gif (safe)

            I assume he also has a separate nighttime bedside clock. That one is called Doom’s Night Clock.

            • Andy in Sunny Daytona

              Ok, that makes sense. I just needed a little clarification.

            • http://cid-e3a022289d65b5c0.skydrive.live.com/self.aspx/Assorted/foul.jpg Andy in NYC aka the Other Oofys

              Don’t forget Victor Von Doom: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dr._Doom (safe)

              Those giant gold thingies holding his cape might be pocketwatches!

            • Andy in Sunny Daytona

              Btw, according to his watch, it’s almost lunchtime.

  • larryf

    We don’t realize how slow Jorge’s reaction-time is until we see younger, quicker catchers. We have one in the dugout. Late inning defensive replacement would be the best solution but Jorge will pout and disrupt team chemistry. Maybe we can sell it to him that it will keep him fresher for the dog days and playoffs. We certainly should do it in the blowout games…

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

    Marte’s location/control last night was as horrible as the Philadelphia Eagles’ decisionmaking process. He looked like he wasn’t 100% healthy and was constantly overthrowing to compensate for pain/discomfort.

    15 backdated days of R&R could have helped, methinks. I miss Boone Logan.

    • http://cid-e3a022289d65b5c0.skydrive.live.com/self.aspx/Assorted/foul.jpg Andy in NYC aka the Other Oofys

      I miss Boone Logan

      Hmmm. While I agree with the sentiment in general, it might have been ugly to see Logan come in, in Fenway, last night.

      Not saying it would have been the wrong LTTSUTBFTS move…just that it might have been really ugly.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Large Sample Size

        Meh, it’s not like what we actually saw last night was a staggering act of breathtaking beauty.

        Six of one, half dozen of another.

        • http://cid-e3a022289d65b5c0.skydrive.live.com/self.aspx/Assorted/foul.jpg Andy in NYC aka the Other Oofys


          I shudder to think of what last night might have been with last year’s April bullpen!

          Then again…we actually did see that, last year.

    • Salty Buggah

      I miss Boone Logan.

      I miss Mark Melancon more. Yea, he isn’t a LOOGY but he can get lefties out.

      • poster

        This is a serious, not saracastic question, but why is Park here and not Melancon?

        • poster

          Ugh…take out that extra a in sarcastic…

        • Salty Buggah

          More depth I guess. The Yanks can get Park now and also Melancon for insurance instead of only Melancon. The Yanks probably believe that Park can perform as well as Melancon (at this point because Melancon is still somewhat inexperienced) so you might as well have both.

          • poster

            Ah, all right. That makes sense.

    • Bo

      Logan had to be more ready to start the yr than Marte. I dont see the downside in letting a pitcher get healthy.

  • larryf

    That follow-through on pics 4 and 6 is pretty darn awful. Almost makes me want to forgive Jorge :-)

    • http://twitter.com/tafkasic the artist formerly known as (sic)

      I’ve never actually noticed that. He’s doing tons of stuff wrong, isn’t he.

  • Johan Iz My Brohan

    Wow, Marte’s pitches were way off. I knew I would be afraid to see what those pitches looked like on game day after seeing them on TV.

    Anyway, it was disappointing, but I expect a win tomorrow night. GO YANKEES!

  • Hey ZZ

    It was Jorge’s fault that Marte had no clue where the ball was going last night. Cervelli would have instinctively known where Marte was going to throw the ball before he even got through his wind up.

    Oh and just for good measure. It was also Jorge’s fault the Yankees lost. His cERA is terrible already. Time for Cervelli to take over because the Yankees are on pace right now to go 0-162 with Jorge behind the dish.

    Figured I would get all the stupid Jorge bashing out of the way.

    • larryf

      not bashing-just an opinion that he is an average defender who is now going into below average territory in his late 30′s. Varitek-does he still play? The Yanks need to think of the best way to get the most out of Jorge and hide/protect us from his defensive liabilities. He is probably also our slowest guy but his bat is still worth it…..

  • Hey ZZ

    This was the second time in the game last night that Joe centered his pitching strategy around the corpse that is David Ortiz. He left CC in too long because he wanted him to face Ortiz and brought Marte in here.

    An easy response to this is that I am just thinking in hindsight, but I think it is a mistake regardless if Joe does this in the future. I would much rather see Marte saved for JD Drew who is a much more dangerous hitting at this point of his career than Ortiz IMO. Park, Robertson, and Joba could all blow fastballs by Ortiz.

    • Rick B

      I think Robertson should have been brought in to face Ortiz in relief of CC. He was already warmed up and he is dominant against lefties. CC was clearly gassed. Going forward though as CC’s stamina builds back up I think you leave him in there. He’s your ace, and you live and die with him.

  • Rick B

    I don’t really like our bullpen right now (outside of Rivera). Marte pitched well for like one week last season, otherwise he’s been pretty mediocre since we signed him. I don’t like Joba in the bullpen that much either. He didn’t do a great job in the playoffs last season and I think people are too blinded by what he did in 2008 to see that he’s not an ace reliever anymore. I think he will be a downgrade from Hughes last year if the Yankees use him as their primary 8th inning guy. Jury is still out on Park, I havn’t really seen him pitch more than a handful of times. Its obvious he’s not an ace reliever either though. Hopefully he can be a solid middle reliever. I have a lot of hope for Robertson, I think he has great potential. Ace and Marte should be solid in long relief.

    Overall, I think our bullpen is pretty average. Thankfully, the bullpen in October is rarely the same as the bullpen in April. A little trial and error never hurt anyone. Its tough to predict relievers from year to year, but I dont think Joba (hope I’m wrong), Marte, and Park will be the shutdown relievers we all hoped they would be.

    • poster

      He had a belwo three era in the playoffs (Joba). You’re memory has just become distorted because of that one HR. He was actually pretty good in the playoffs. SSS, but still.

      • poster

        WOW, 2 really bad mistakes. belwo=below, You’re=Your

        • Rick B

          Haha no worries. Its less about the HR and more about me holding him up to the standard of 2008 Joba. Watching the games he definitely struggled during the playoffs. He gave up some hard hits and wasnt blowing the ball by people. Like you said small sample size, but his fastball is not what it used to be. I still think he can be a good pitcher. However, I don’t think he’s an ace reliever anymore.

      • poster

        Also, you’re forgetting pitchers like Aceves, Robrrtson, and Melancon (he’ll be here before long). Even if some of our relievers are worse than we originslly thought our bullpen will still probably be pretty good.

        • Rick B

          I specifically spoke about Ace and Robertson. I like them both. I also mentioned how our bullpen will probably be different in September. Melancon was exactly who I had in mind. Hopefully by the time the playoffs role around we will have a good bullpen but right now it is probably the weakest part of this team (still better than a lot of teams).

    • Andrew21

      Just to correct you i think you are reffering to 2007 as the year people were blinded by what he did

  • CS Yankee

    Don’t understand the Jorge bashing really.

    He was setup for a pitch (FB or slider) down-n-away whereas he is thinking if he misses the pitch, he has to slide wide and block the pitch, however the pitch thrown had him respond to a up-n-in heater.

    If Varitek, Mauer, or anyone else tip the pitch recieved of the glove the blame would have been correctly place on the pitcher.

    He also went 3-4 at the dish, so I think his hands can react properly, how can anyone say thats age related but ignore the stick at the same time.

    I’m glad the Yankees have Jorge, keep Jesus & Austin in the oven (baking) and let’s enjoy the final 1 1/2-2 years left with the future HOF catcher.

    • Dalelama

      As great as a hitter as Jorge is at his advanced age he is below average behind the plate and a disaster on the base paths. Time waits for no man.

  • Bo

    Marte just isnt that good. We got lucky with his performance in the WS. We should be thankful for that and not wonder why he doesnt do it all the time.

  • Tim

    Marte is good so long as he is healthy. Other than last October/November, he has not been healthy.

    I’m not done with Jorge-bashing, although I admit that he’s still a force with the stick. I think he costs Yankee pitchers strikes with his slow reactions and awkward framing of pitches. That is a subtle thing but also one of the most important parts of catching. It is clear that the staff ERA is considerably higher with Posada behind the plate than with Molina/Cervelli, etc. Burnett complains because he is prickly and not too diplomatic, but the pitchers must be grumbling about Posada’s diminishing defensive skills. Girardi the former catcher must be seeing this and not liking it at all. By the end of the year, I predict we will Montrero or Romine behind the plate and Jorge gobbling up DH at bats versus lefties.