Posada and Swisher save the Yanks in the seventh

Forbes: Yanks now worth $1.6 billion
Chan Ho Park: A lesson in unpredictability

The Yanks didn’t get much off John Lackey last night. They managed just three hits and drew a couple of walks, and it seemed like the only chance they got to score was when he was tiring in the sixth. A-Rod took care of that, though, grounding into a double play with runners on first and second with one out. Thankfully, Andy Pettitte did his part, pitching six innings of one-run ball to keep the Yanks in it. This led to the decisive seventh inning.

Schoeneweis vs. Posada

After striking out Robinson Cano, Scott Schoeneweis had to face Jorge Posada, hitting righty. This would take a different approach, though Martinez and Schoeneweis seems to stick with a plan. He missed inside with a fastball for ball one, and then went back to the fastball but missed high. Jorge took a rip but could only foul it off.

Then Martinez set up low and in for the slider. Schoeneweis hit his spot, or at least came close enough that Martinez didn’t have to move the glove. Jorge was ready for it and got the barrel of the bat right on it, maybe a little under. It was good enough, though, and a faster runner might have been standing on third with one out.

The slider worked the previous at-bat against Cano. After missing with a fastball inside Schoeneweis threw another one and hit a nice spot low and inside. Cano could only foul it off. In a 1-1 count he turned to the slider and dropped it through the back door. He then went outside with the slider and Cano bit on a pitch he had only a small chance of even fouling off.

One batter later, Schoeneweis threw the same sequence to Jorge, fastball-fastball-slider. Perhaps he was going to switch the slider sequence if he got strike two, trying for the backdoor to end the at-bat. This one went right through the zone, though, and it looked like that was the plan. Jorge swung almost like he knew it was coming. Did the sequence to Swisher inform him?

Adding a bit to his predictability, Schoeneweis also went fastball-fastball-slider-slider to Granderson. The first slider he slung across the upper part of the zone for a called strike. The second was the same as the strikeout pitch to Cano, down and away in the dirt. After he missed with a fastball inside for ball two, he backdoored Granderson, dropping in yet another slider for a called — and probably swinging, too — strike three.

Bard vs. Swisher

With the two lefties retired, Francona went to his setup man Dan Bard to get Nick Swisher. He started off throwing inside gas, a good choice on the first pitch. Swisher reacted late and just barely fouled it away for strike one. Bard and Martinez did the same for the second pitch, though that one caught a bit more of the plate. Swish put another swing on it, this time making better contact but still only managing to foul it away into the left field seats.

An 0-2 count is not a pleasant place to be with Dan Bard on the mound. The next three pitches he can basically do whatever he wants. He can gas you with another fastball, he can drop a curve on you, buckling the knees, or, as he has done a few times this series, he can throw that changeup. It’s not a great pitch, and from what I’ve seen Bard misses with it frequently. He did, however, manage to drop it over the plate to Johnson the next inning.

Bard and Martinez decided to stick with ol’ No. 1 on 0-2, this time going outside. Martinez set up a bit off the plate, as you can see in the screen shot below, and Bard missed by a little. The ball ran back over the plate enough for Swisher to again foul it away. He swung conservatively at it, as he should with two strikes against a hard thrower like Bard. For his own part, Bard reached back for this one, hitting 99 on the gun after hitting 97 on the previous two fastballs.

With the count still 0-2, and with Swisher just having seen a 99 mph fastball, he might have been looking for something off-speed. In the booth, Al Leiter thought Bard could try something else. In an 0-2 count he’d have that luxury. This is what makes Bard tough to hit. At 0-2 it’s impossible to ignore the possibility of a breaking ball, but at the same time you can’t expect it or you’ll whiff terribly on the fastball. With a runner on second it was impossible to decipher what Martinez called for. Here’s where he set up.

It was a similar spot to the pitch before, and against the lefty a curveball away would have made enough sense. Yet it was neither straight fastball nor curveball. Pitch f/x registered the pitch at just 91 mph. It had the vertical break of Bard’s normal fastball, but it had an additional three inches of horizontal break. I’m not sure if Bard meant to throw this or not. The pitch tailed right over the plate, and instead of fighting it off, as Swisher had Bard’s previous three fastballs, he was able to get the barrel on the ball, grounding it through the hole between first and second for a base hit.

To miss an opportunity with Jorge standing on second with one out would have been a huge disappointment for the Yankees. The Sox, however, seemed set up. They had the lefty still on the mound to face Granderson, who has looked a bit frazzled against fellow lefties. It seems like he’s working on his batting eye in those situations at least, so we’ll see how he progresses in that regard. He’ll have David Price as his next test.

Bard against Swisher presents a favorable matchup for the Sox. Swisher has some power in his swing, but it comes at the cost of a little bat speed. Or at least it seemed to last year. Maybe that’s why Bard and Martinez went to the fastball in all four pitches. It took a mistake pitch, but Swish capitalized and tied the game. Unfortunately, Gardner stood little chance against Bard, but that didn’t much matter in the end. Swish did the most important thing, tying the game.

email
Forbes: Yanks now worth $1.6 billion
Chan Ho Park: A lesson in unpredictability
  • mko

    Edited by RAB: If anything annoys me more than off-topic comments, it’s having the first comment be off-topic.

    • Andy in Sunny Daytona

      1st!!!

      • Thomas

        Well played.

    • andrew

      Just because the totals were different, it does not mean the strike zone is biased towards the Sox. There is the chance that the Yankees threw more borderline pitches than the Sox did. It’s really not “ridiculous.” I don’t think anyone was accusing the umps of being unfair to the Yankees. And most umpires give a little bit of extra space on the outside corner, so i doubt they are going to “try to get better.” Let’s just calm down.

      • mko

        That’s the feeling I had during the game and Pitch F/X confirmed it. Just look at it…

    • mko

      Then tell me where to post it! Nobody is gonna read it in yesterday’s game thread and there is no forum. And my comment was about the game, so it’s not really off-topic. The article is not really something to discuss much about anyway, more a stating of facts…

      • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ pete

        there’s an off-topic thread

        • http://twitter.com/JoeRo23 The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

          http://riveraveblues.com/off-topic-3/

          (Linked in the header at the top of the page, too.)

          • mko

            Wow, I must look like an idiot right now.
            I apologize, I never noticed that!

            • http://twitter.com/JoeRo23 The Honorable Congressman Mondesi

              No, just like someone who didn’t realize there’s an off-topic thread. Now you know, and knowing is half the battle.

        • mko

          Well, I’m sorry, but I don’t see one.

          • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ pete

            http://riveraveblues.com/off-topic-3/

            and i’m pretty sure most people would agree that the subject matter of this post makes for more interesting discussion than “zomg teh umps hate the yankeees!”

            • mko

              It was more of a “the umps suck because they can’t tell a ball from a strike”, but fine…no need to be mean ;-).

              • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ pete

                sorry – didn’t mean to come off that way. I just think these things do tend to even out over the course of a season, and QuesTech (sic?) will probably let them know

                • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

                  They ditched QuesTec once they fully implemented Pitch f/x.

  • http://stateofmlb.blogspot.com/ Hangoverologist

    I’d like to say that Bard’s 91 mph pitch was a high two seamer. Swish probably realized it wasn’t coming as hard and capitalized.

  • Andy in Sunny Daytona

    I found it laughable that Francona didn’t intentionally walk Swisher to get to Gardner. Could you imagine if Girardi did something like that? ESPN-NY would crash.

    • Zack

      How do you not have Mo walk Ichiro?!!?

      • Andy in Sunny Daytona

        Because he’s Mo. Gardner is by far the easiest out in the line-up.

        • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ pete

          im pretty sure that was a joke

          • Andy in Sunny Daytona

            THAT’S NOTHING TO JOKE ABOUT, pete!!!eleventy11!!

            (I may have misunderstood his comment………..but maybe I didn’t)

  • steve s

    On the ump’s safe call at home, did he call Posada safe on interference because Martinez tripped him up without the ball or did he just miss that Posada didn’t touch home (as his safe call came before Jorge went back to touch the plate). The YES announcers were getting on the ump for missing the call but if he called interference then it wasn’t a miss. Not a big deal but just curious.

    • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ pete

      i doubt he would have been out on interference – martinez was fielding the ball, and it was not a force play. There’s pretty much no way you can call anything interference in that scenario unless it’s reeeeeally grievous

    • Andy in Sunny Daytona

      When I was a kid we were taught to slide just like JoPo did. Charlie Brown’s team beat us.

      • Nigel Bangs

        AAAAAAAGGHHHH!

    • Chris

      On the radio they said that Gardner made Posada go back and touch home plate.

      • A.D.

        Better to be sure.

      • Rick in Boston

        NESN said the same thing.

      • larryf

        and Posada can be a future manager? not! I love watching Gardner run at top speed. A thing of beauty…

        • Rick in Boston

          I don’t see why missing the plate while trying to avoid running into a catcher has to do with being a future manager.

          • A.D.

            I don’t really understand what larryf’s post had to do with anything

  • mryankee

    Bard made a mistake great job by Swish. I still say Bard would have been teh smarter pick than IPK. However I like when he gets beat,

    • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

      Bard made a mistake great job by Swish. I still say Bard would have been teh smarter pick than IPK. However I like when he gets beat,

    • Fanta

      Is that even a discussion? Kennedy a fringe player vs an elite reliever?

      • http://mystiqueandaura.com Steve H

        Who is the elite releiever?

        • bexarama

          there’s a rumor that Bard throws 98-100 MPH that I may have heard once or twice. I guess that makes you an elite reliever.

  • Rick in Boston

    Listening to the NESN broadcast, I believe that Remy thought the 91 MPH pitch from Bard to Swisher was a changeup.

    • mryankee

      Yeah I heard the same thing I believe Eck also thought it was a change. The only reason I would watch a Sox telecast is when Eck does the games.

      • Rick in Boston

        I actually turn off the NESN telecasts whenever Eck is on.

        • mryankee

          I like Eck he is funny and he says crazy stuff.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

      That’s very possible. Bard threw a pitch that pitch f/x classified as a changeup in the next inning to Johnson. It was 89 and had similar movement. So there’s that.

      • rbizzler

        I just spent all of last weekend with my Boston posse and they said that Bard has been working on a change and busted it out a few times in the spring. That one to Swish may be the last we see of it though.