• August 21st @ The White Sox

    Posted by on August 21st, 2005 · Comments (10)

    OK, first the good news:

    A). The bullpen should now be well rested for the four game set against the Blue Jays.

    B). Oakland lost.

    Now, on to the bigger tickets from today………

    This was a bizarre game for Randy Johnson. He allows only 4 total hits in 7 of the 8 innings that he threw – and then in the one big inning, the 4th, he allows 6 hits, including 4 homers, for six runs. And, the dingers allowed were interesting – the first on a low pitch, the second on a high pitch, the third on a low pitch and the last one on a pitch high and wide and probably out of the strike zone.

    Even Johnson was confused – after the game he offered up quotes like “I have no idea” and “I don’t have an explanation” and “I can’t put a finger on it” when asked about that big fourth inning for Chicago.

    After losing seven in a row, maybe it was just the White Sox day this afternoon? Look at Contreras. Here’s a guy, when he was with the Yankees, despite being built like King Kong and having electric stuff, would choke and soil himself every time he pitched against the Boston Red Sox and things got tight in a game. Yet, today, against the Yankees, he was able to get tough every time he was in a jam – and there were a few spots in this game where he could have lost it, as he allowed 11 hits in 8 innings pitched. Go figure.

    Yes, this was a tough one because the Yankees now lose a game in the standings to the Red Sox (who won). But, I truly believe this was one of those games that was not meant to be a win.

    Think about it. Say Johnson only allowed two runs in the 4th – instead of six. That wouldn’t matter because the Yankees only scored two runs today. Or, say the Yankees picked up that run in the top of the 4th that they should have plated. And, give them another run here and another one there. Then, New York would have scored five runs today. But, then that would not matter because Johnson allowed six runs.

    When you don’t score much, and allow the other team to score a lot, it’s just not your day. Best thing the Yankees can do is just try and shake it off and get ready for the next game.

    Comments on August 21st @ The White Sox

    1. Paul in Boston
      August 21st, 2005 | 8:56 pm

      It was so exciting to see RJ mow down the Sox in the early innings, and then … it was unbelievable. You know how baseball keeps giving you things you’ve never seen before? How about a complete game by a pitcher which includes 8 shutout innings, plus an inning where he gives up 4 home runs, 6 hits, and 6 runs?


    2. August 21st, 2005 | 10:00 pm

      I have thought this game over a bunch of different ways tonight. What happened to Randy Johnson in the 4th inning?

      My answer is that John Flaherty is inadvertently responsible. In the first 3 innings Johnson was throwing in the low to high 90’s, almost every pitch. When Flaherty wanted a pitch down he would bang his glove on the dirt, sometimes once, sometimes twice. It’s a common practice lately among catchers, and it is used to call for location more than pitch. I believe Flaherty got into the habit of banging the ground for certain pitches, because Johnson was not matching his location as the innings went on.

      After the disastrous 4th Flaherty stopped using this signal, and Johnson was able to fool the hitters, although his velocity dropped considerably. Only occasionally did he hit the mid 90’s again, and it was with great effort. However, without this audible signal, Johnson was back in control.

      The Yankees need to review the films and caution Big John about the idea. I like him, but I think he inadvertently betrayed his pitcher today.

    3. Raf
      August 21st, 2005 | 10:37 pm

      Hey it happens. Pitchers give up big innings every so often

    4. August 21st, 2005 | 10:52 pm

      FWIW, in the post-game, Flash said that the Sox batters made an adjustment in the 4th – he seemed pretty sure of this. Too bad it took them 6 batters to come up with the counter to that adjustment.

    5. JeremyM
      August 22nd, 2005 | 1:44 am

      Threads like this are why I love blogs so much and hate stuff like Baseball Tonight. I can’t believe a catcher would do that. Another thing that has bugged me is the habit of catchers standing up when they want a high pitch. The batter has to be able to pick that up in his peripheral vision somehow.

    6. Don
      August 22nd, 2005 | 2:08 am

      This is a RJ pattern c.2005; 29 HR’s now. This wasn’t really an aberration but rather more of the same, just all in one inning.

    7. August 22nd, 2005 | 8:56 am

      I agree about the standing up business. I hate it. Catch the ball from the squat or the batter knows what’s going on. There has also been a lot of chatter lately on sports talk radio about hitters sneaking a peak. Sometimes it doesn’t need to be sneaky if they put it right there in front of you!

    8. DFLNJ
      August 22nd, 2005 | 2:12 pm

      I was thinking about the standing up thing while watching the game yesterday. I think the catchers know the batters see them do it, and that’s why they’re doing it. If the catcher stands up, the batter knows it’s going to be a high fastball, and is much more likely to swing at it. “Hey, I know what’s coming, I’m gonna knock this one out of the park”, that kind of thing. On the other hand, a high fastball, particularly 94+ mph, is exceedingly difficult to hit, even if you do know that it’s coming. I think the catchers are standing up to get batters to swing at pitches they have very little chance of hitting and would ordinarily take for a ball.

      Although Chris Widger probably showed what happens when you tell the batter it’s coming, and they do happen to make contact with it.

    9. JohnnyC
      August 22nd, 2005 | 2:21 pm

      I think your comments about Flaherty giving away location are incisive. But I think the difference-maker is that Johnson is not throwing it hard enough to get by with the batter knowing location. FYI, Varitek also does this a lot…sometimes to the point where he’s actually standing up to receive the pitch. Simply put, the difference between a strike-out or pop up and a dinger in the bleachers is about 3 miles an hour. If there’s more giddy-up on the ball, Rowand and Widger do not hit home runs and Konerko wouldn’t have gotten a flat slider to crush. Johnson doesn’t feature anything that is a real change of pace. His slider when it bites succeeds because of location not lack of velocity. Considering RJ is 41, he’d better start working on a change-up over the winter ‘cos he it ain’t likely he’ll see the other side of 95 anytime soon.

    10. Raf
      August 22nd, 2005 | 2:37 pm

      RJ uses a splitter as his changeup

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