Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Yanks-Braves "Sweepin' In The South" Live Blog

It's been a while since I've done a live running blog for a game.  In fact, for the last one I did in March the game didn't even count, so this is an even more monumental occasion and the timing couldn't be better.  The Yankees are playing good baseball right now, they're on top of the AL East, and they're going for their 2nd consecutive sweep.  The only thing that could potentially ruin this situation is if ESPN has a crummy announce team (which they will).  But it's not like this will be the first time I've bagged on ESPN.

Tonight's Lineup:

1) Derek Jeter- SS
2) Curtis Granderson- CF
3) Alex Rodriguez- 3B
4) Robinson Cano- 2B
5) Mark Teixeira- 1B
6) Raul Ibanez- LF
7) Nick Swisher- RF
8) Russell Martin- C
9) Hiroki Kuroda- P

First pitch is scheduled for just after 7PM Eastern/6PM Central, so check back around then and we'll kick this thing off.  It's going to cut into my usual writing time for the posts that I have to put up tomorrow, but fuck it.  WE'LL DO IT LIVE!!!

** Live blog starts after the jump **

What's The Deal With CC's Fastball?

(If "this" is the 4-seamer, then yes, people can definitely touch "this.")

There are 4 things that have defined CC Sabathia's 2012 season so far: eating innings, limiting damage, rough starts to games, and consistently poor fastball command.  The first 2 things are nice, and something that anybody would want in a starting pitcher, but the last 2 are the bigger issues.  They are undeniably linked together and the easiest things to point to when explaining CC's less-than-ace-like 3.80/3.41/.3.29 slash line.  The high HR rate is also a contributing factor, but even that can probably be tied back to the lack of fastball command and the resulting poor location in the strike zone.  This has been a hot topic of discussion over on the AB4AR Facebook Page (hint, hint- "Like" that shit), and everybody has reasonable theories for what the cause is.  So what's the deal here?

Game 61 Wrap-Up: NYY 6 ATL 4

("I believe I can flyyyy... " Courtesy of The AP)

Well that sucked for 7 innings and then kicked ass for 2.  It was a little frustrating to see all those zeros up on the boxscore for the majority of the game, but I'll take 7 bad innings, 2 good, and a win over the opposite any day of the week.  CC still isn't nearly as sharp as he needs to be with his fastball, the offense still isn't fully clicking, but a little bit of the late-game magic is starting to trickle back into the Yankees' play right now, and that's not a bad thing.

Game Notes:

- I'm not sure what it is with CC that's affecting his fastball command and making him get off to these slow starts, but last night's 1st inning was not good.  3 hits, 1 walk, and a bases-clearing double is never a good way to start a game, and there were fastballs catching too much of the plate and too much hard contact.

- The offense certainly looked baffled by Atlanta starter Mike Minor early on, which is strange considering he's Mike Minor, owner of a 6.01/5.20/4.53 tripleslash.  The few opportunities the Yankee bats were able to generate were snuffed out by more RISP Fail.

- The biggest problem with CC last night was that, unlike a lot of his other rough outings, he didn't really get much better as this game went on.  He made it through 7 innings, but he was still giving up hard contact.

- I understand what Joe was trying to do in the 7th, and he got the groundball he wanted, but I questioned the decision to walk more runs on base late in a game where your team is already down 3 runs.  The weak chopped that Jason Heyward hit actually turned out to work to the Braves' advantage in driving in another run.

- Apparently Mike Minor leaving the game was all the Yankees needed to wake up, because they quickly loaded the bases against Jonny Venters and then unloaded them on Alex Rodriguez's 8th-inning grand slam.  It wasn't high, it didn't go that far, but it was still gone and the game was tied.

- Venters gave up another hit to Cano and then gave way to Cory Gerrin, who promptly gave up the game-winning HR to Nick Swisher in what was easily the most dramatic offensive inning the Yankees have had this year.

- Give a call to Clay Rapada for working a scoreless 8th in his 4th straight appearance, and also to Rafael Soriano for his lockdown 1-2-3 9th to save the win.