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Pregame notes: Yankees expecting more of the same from Rays infield

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Notes on Apr 08, 2012 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Jeremy Hellickson isn’t all that different from James Shields. Both are right-handed pitchers who lean heavily on offspeed pitches — especially changeups — so the Yankees are expecting the Rays defensive approach in today’s series finale to be similar to their approach in the season opener: A lot of infield shifting to the pull side, where soft, inside pitches are likely to rolled over.

“It’s really hard to change who you are and revamp your approach because of the way a team plays you,” manager Joe Girardi said. “You try to take what they give you, you try to hit the ball hard, and you take your chances. Sometimes part of the reason they do it is they want you to get away from what you’ve been doing so well for a long time. I just tell our guys to keep hitting the ball hard, and it’ll work.”

The Rays typically shift more than any other team in the game, but in these first two games of the season, the Yankees have seen the shift far more than they expected. They’ve seen it against almost everyone, and it’s been easy to notice those times when it’s worked. Would-be base hits by Curtis Granderson, Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira jump to mind immediately.

“I don’t really care about that stuff,” Rodriguez said. “I like getting a good pitch to hit and smoking it. It doesn’t really matter where they play, but (the shift is) pretty interesting.”

The Yankees fully expect to see more of it this afternoon, and they expect Hellickson to pitch accordingly.

“If teams are pounding you in it’s not easy to hit the ball the other way,” Girardi said. “And when you get out front and you’re rolling over on offspeed, (it works) because they try to speed you up and then slow you down. You have to be able to shift people, but you also have to be able to make your pitches.”

• Girardi said yesterday that he might rest Rodriguez today, but after checking with him last night and this morning, Girardi decided to keep him in the lineup at third base. Girardi said Rodriguez will likely DH tomorrow against the lefty Brian Matusz.

• Nick Swisher is getting a DH day because of his late-spring groin issues. “He feels good,” Girardi said. “And I just want to make sure those groins don’t act up a little bit.”

• Although it’s early, Girardi said his goal is to keep Rodriguez, Derek Jeter and whoever else from ever truly needing a day off. He wants to keep them rested and fresh with regular DH days, even in these first few games. “That’s why I’ll check with them on a regular basis to make sure I know how they’re feeling,” Girardi said. “I’ll even send other people to check on them sometimes to see if we get the same answer.”

• Chris Stewart’s only other big league start with the Yankees came with Phil Hughes on the mound, and Hughes struggled that day. But Stewart has also caught Hughes quite a bit in the minors and feels like he has a pretty good feel for what Hughes is trying to do.

• Although he said extended spring training a couple of days ago, Girardi said today that Andy Pettitte’s Monday start will come with the Tampa Yankees. He’s not currently on their roster.

• It hasn’t been as extreme or as noticeable as the Rays, but Girardi said he’s been shifting his infielders a little more than usual. On established players, the Yankees have spray charts of well over 100 ground balls — not 100 at-bats, 100 grounders — and they use that to figure out tendencies. They might not have a great idea what to expect from a guy like Jose Lobaton, but they have a pretty good set of data on Evan Longorida and Carlos Pena.

RAYS
Desmond Jennings CF
Carlos Pena 1B
Evan Longoria 3B
Matt Joyce LF
Ben Zobrist RF
Luke Scott DH
Jeff Keppinger 2B
Jose Molina C
Sean Rodriguez SS

Associated Press photos

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58 Responses to “Pregame notes: Yankees expecting more of the same from Rays infield”

  1. blake April 8th, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    “Umm, this horrible excuse for a manager won 97 games recently with an underperforming team and patchwork starting pitching.”

    He did a nice job durung the regular season last year……and I think he’s in general a good manager for the reguakr season……but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s had a bad weekend.

    Joe struggles with balancing rest vs managing with urgency…..one of his strengths is his big picture thinking because a team like the Yanks can make the playoffs just off of talent alone…..however there are times when it bites you like yesterday when he declared the game over in the 7th inning…….

    Torre was about winning every single game no.matter what it took….Girardi is the exact opposite…..he’s about keeping the team healthy and rested for the long haul……their needs to be a happy medium there between the two

  2. Irreverent Discourse April 8th, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    Although it’s early, Girardi said his goal is to keep Rodriguez, Derek Jeter and whoever else from ever truly needing a day off. He wants to keep them rested and fresh with regular DH days, even in these first few games

    *cough* wow that sounds familiar…

  3. luis April 8th, 2012 at 1:04 pm

    Blake,

    Yes, very good points

  4. Crawdaddy April 8th, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    Torre had much younger core players too.

  5. luis April 8th, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    Hi ID,

    Long time no see…Good to have you around, even when we disagree ;)

  6. Irreverent Discourse April 8th, 2012 at 1:05 pm

    blake – I would argue that Girardi has achieved and implemented that happy medium you seem to be seeking better than any manager in baseball over his career. No other managers team has won more games, and he is 1/3 winning a world series when he makes the playoffs.

  7. blake April 8th, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    Alex would beat the shift if everyone used it….he can use the whole field and is balanced enough to do it…so it doesn’t make sense for him to change his approach for one series when that could screw him up for the rest of the games to follow…..he just needs to focus on hitting the ball hard.

    Its a much bigger issue for Tex….

  8. Tar April 8th, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    ID

    So because Rapada sucked, Joe was correct in leaving him in to face Longoria? I am not discussing whether Rapada did his job or not (its obvious he did not) it’s Joe who I am more concerned with. Joe exasperating the issue, bad message and move.

  9. blake April 8th, 2012 at 1:08 pm

    ID,

    I don’t know….he didn’t yesterday….and numerous times the last couple of years he’s failed to.manage with much urgency. JMO. I really really don’t like throwing in the towel in the 7th inning of a 4 run game…..

  10. Jeff in Canada April 8th, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    You have to love the comments this time of year. Two losses and Girardi is the worst manager in the game. My only observations to share:

    1) there seems to be a huge weight lifted from Jeter. He looks happy, confident, at peace but still bent on winning. Barring an injury, I see a big year for him.

    2) this team looks old. I know they’re old, but they look old. Not saying they can’t bring it all down in ’12, but they look old.

    3) I hate the Trop. Can’t wait till the opener in NY.

    4) tex doesn’t look right batting fifth. I get it, but doesn’t look right.

    Go Yankees!

  11. luis April 8th, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    That’s very true as well Crawdaddy, up to a point. He never liked to try youngsters and always preferred the vet over the rook. That lead him to overuse certain players (mostly pitchers). The only reason we nevr saw that in the begining is because the team was loaded and very balanced.

  12. Irreverent Discourse April 8th, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    luis – Been on vaca down in florida… caught a bunch of ST games over the last week and a half and game1 in tampa. Been too busy with the sun and *gasp* watching baseball to play around on here :)

    I figured after 2 losses I better check in before the line at the bridge gets too long. ;)

  13. Irreverent Discourse April 8th, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    Tar – No what I’m confused about is you seem to think Longoria beat the Yankees… but it was the 2 lefties that rapada didn’t get out that did ALL of the damage…

  14. blake April 8th, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    “You have to love the comments this time of year. Two losses and Girardi is the worst manager in the game.”

    I don’t think that…..I do think hes had a bad weekend.

  15. Tar April 8th, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    ID

    Rapada didn’t do his Job, Joe made the situation worse. The manager is supposed to put out fires not add fuel.

  16. luis April 8th, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    Irreverent Discourse April 8th, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    luis – Been on vaca down in florida… caught a bunch of ST games over the last week and a half and game1 in tampa. Been too busy with the sun and *gasp* watching baseball to play around on here :)

    I figured after 2 losses I better check in before the line at the bridge gets too long. ;)

    ===============================

    Nice man!….I was in Curacao myself, but no baseball :( You lucky puts. I wouldn’t go as far as people jumping over the bridge, but some certainly look like they are ready.

  17. Irreverent Discourse April 8th, 2012 at 1:16 pm

    Tar – I don’t know… Girardi brought in his lefty to face lefty righty lefty switch… and the only guy Rapada didn’t completely fail to contain was actually Longoria.

  18. tomingeorgia April 8th, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    In response to all the paranoia, there’s not much to say. On the other hand:

    Absolutely perfect day here, 75 and cloudless, for the Masters final round, and the first Yankee win.

    BBQ tonight for our guests, started the ribs already (180 smoky degrees), the mac and cheese, pulled pork and Brunswick stew ready to go, and the cornbread ingredients are mixed, less the eggs and milk.

    Beans are in the pot, simmering, beer’s in the cooler, and the slaw all made. Made two barbecue sauces (Mountain style with brown sugar and ketchup base, and Eastern style, with mustard an vinegar). No doom and gloom down my way!

  19. blake April 8th, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    AJax leadoff double vs buttholtz…..he’s not betterthangranderson……by the he’s had a nice series against Boston.

  20. blake April 8th, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    Tom,

    I can see why you don’t care about Girardi or Rapada :) who you pulling for today? Id like to see Phil win another green jacket.

  21. luis April 8th, 2012 at 1:20 pm

    Save some of that barbie for me Tom!!

  22. Bo knows April 8th, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    Torre was about winning every single game no.matter what it took….Girardi is the exact opposite…..he’s about keeping the team healthy and rested for the long haul……their needs to be a happy medium there between the two

    —————————
    Torre used to drive me crazy with his BP management burning top relievers with a four run lead or so. I prefer Girardi both for BP management, his strength, and the big picture thinking.

    Ibanez in RF is a total gamble that will probably bite him. I blame it on team construction ie second lefty – especially this early in the season. Bring back Maxwell.

    My point is that Girardi should have some cred for his decisions other than “Joe’s an idiot”. The other Joe thinks out of the box and he’s a genius. I like the thinking of – better Jeter or Alex miss a couple of games rather than 20.

    Girardi is what he is, an engineer that breaks down every thing that has a bearing on the situation. Railing on him two games into the season is a bit much.

    I’m more worried about team performance, a couple of runs early and then nada. Pena did a punch swing to the left side in the first game, our stars can’t manage that? I don’t like the same trend. Both games, zippo tack on runs – We’ve got the monster BP

  23. blake April 8th, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    Also….you need to get rid of that mustard and just go straight Carolina vinegar based ;)

  24. luis April 8th, 2012 at 1:23 pm

    I am a big Lefty fan….Go Michelson!!

  25. blake April 8th, 2012 at 1:24 pm

    Bo,

    Yes….in general I agree that Girardi’s style is better for the Yankees……but I would like to see more urgency in appropriate times….I think his bigger strength can be a flaw sometimes

  26. blake April 8th, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    Tiggers up 1-0 already…..that team is kinda scary.

  27. tomingeorgia April 8th, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    blake,

    I think Freddy will amaze with a 65 and be in a playoff with Phil, and I think Bubba can be in it, too. I’m really pulling for the other Phil, in Tampa. Go, Yankees!

  28. Irreverent Discourse April 8th, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    blake – I still sit here confused. What should Girardi have done differently last night? Not brought his lefty in to face 3 lefties?

  29. blake April 8th, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    “I think Freddy will amaze with a 65 and be in a playoff with Phil,”

    Man I wish…..I was hoping Couples coukd hang in there…..maybe something magic will happen.

  30. tomingeorgia April 8th, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    blake,
    The mustard part IS from Carolina, only it’ SOUTH Carolina!

  31. Irreverent Discourse April 8th, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    Are we in some twilight zone thread where Longoria actually hit a home run last night?

  32. trisha - true pinstriped blue April 8th, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    Seriously Clay? Seriously?

    :lol:

    I don’t know that the Tigers are scary as much as the Sux suuuuuuuck!

  33. luis April 8th, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    I am jst going to say one thing Bo Knows::

    No team is as bad as when they are losing nor is it as good as it looks when is winning. Girardi hasn’t have a particularly bright week, but he does handle the pitchers very well.

  34. trisha - true pinstriped blue April 8th, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    Yankees will be fine.

    Phil to the rescue.

  35. Jerkface April 8th, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    Id you said it yourself right there. Left rapada in to face 2 righties. He walked 1 lefty and gave up a jam shot bloop that gardner absolutely would have fielded if he were in the game. The problem is that allowing him to pitch to any righties, let alone good ones, is stupid. He needs a 3 to 1 ratio of lhb to rhb. Right now. he is 1 to 1. He is a true loogy.

  36. blake April 8th, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    “blake – I still sit here confused. What should Girardi have done differently last night? Not brought his lefty in to face 3 lefties?”

    He shouldn’t have let Rapada face Longoria……ever.

  37. austinmac April 8th, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    Tom,

    I will have some with the mountain sauce, please. You just made me hungry. The Masters on the tube, the Yankees on the computer and bar b q on the grill. Life is good.

  38. blake April 8th, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    “The mustard part IS from Carolina, only it’ SOUTH Carolina!”

    They don’t know what they’ve doin down there….. :)

  39. tomingeorgia April 8th, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    austin,
    You said it!

  40. Bo knows April 8th, 2012 at 1:30 pm

    Hey, in my couch potato mode, I yell as much as anyone.

    It’s when I cool down that I become more rational. As in, Joe always has a reason, that’s who he is.

    Maddon can do the herky-jerky all he wants, no fans there to care. The Rays are much stronger this year. Seems like Pena and Scott will make a big difference. We’ll see.

  41. trisha - true pinstriped blue April 8th, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    “You have to love the comments this time of year. Two losses and Girardi is the worst manager in the game”

    :)

    lohuddites are nothing if not impatient!

  42. Irreverent Discourse April 8th, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    jerkface – But he had already completely failed in his job and gave up the 2 runs.

    He was brought in to face Lefty righty lefty, and the only person he did his job with was the righty (keeping him in the park).

    You would use 3 arms instead of 1 in that part of their lineup?

  43. tomingeorgia April 8th, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    All our guests are from the UK, Welshmen, Scots an Northern Irish. Got to educate them on the variations!

  44. trisha - true pinstriped blue April 8th, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    Chucky loaded the bases.

    That’s because the Sux are dangerous (to themselves only).

  45. Irreverent Discourse April 8th, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    JF – You can’t count zobrist against him because no matter what RP you bring in zobrist has the advantage.

  46. blake April 8th, 2012 at 1:32 pm

    Im out….happy Easter!

    Go Phils!

  47. Irreverent Discourse April 8th, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    blake – Longoria only got a hit. He didn’t do anything. So that decision was MOOT and the only thing you are upset about is the fact that Rapada didn’t get out the 2 lefties he was supposed to.

  48. trisha - true pinstriped blue April 8th, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    Bases-clearing hit into the gap.

    4-0 Tigers.

    :)

  49. luis April 8th, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    TBS broadcast just started.

    Bo,

    I agree, the Rays are much stronger than last season.

  50. Irreverent Discourse April 8th, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    Tigers offense is no joke, the Boston pitching told them all already. :)

  51. tomingeorgia April 8th, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    Bo,
    Me, too. No urgency in BBQ, until the end.

  52. Jerkface April 8th, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    Hr or2nd and 3rd no outs, either are bad situations and the longo hit was predictable. Rapada is a loogy. Righties ops 1 against him, he isn’t getting many of them out.

  53. luis April 8th, 2012 at 1:36 pm

    The Suxtanic just hit another iceberg in Detroit!!!

  54. Bo knows April 8th, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    No team is as bad as when they are losing nor is it as good as it looks when is winning. Girardi hasn’t have a particularly bright week, but he does handle the pitchers very well.

    —————————
    Girardi is one blown save away from a split.

    It’s early, but the Rays are looking very good.

    The Yankees better pay attention or they’re sucking slough water with the also rans. If they continue to rinky dink they could be in trouble.

    This “I’ll continue to do the same stupid things, no fair they shifted, isn’t going to fly.

    Then that Swisher “We’re the greatest” torques me something fierce. “Shut your mouf” manic,
    do it on the field.

  55. Irreverent Discourse April 8th, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    jerkface – exactly, rapada is a loogy. if he does his job longoria is standing on second base waiting for someone to bring him his glove. the 1 run longoria should have been able to score when he came to the plate SHOULD have been irrelevant, which makes it safe to leave Rapada in to face him.

    Don’t walk Pena and don’t give up a hit to Joyce and the entire game is different (yes joyce was a sqibber but… Loogy’s are supposed to be striking out lefties).

    Right now Rapada is taking up a roster spot and is 0/2 in getting out the only batters he’s supposed to face. If he is 2/2 with a double given up to Longo… who cares today?

  56. Bo knows April 8th, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    On the contrary, Joe is very bright, a graduate engineer. They don’t hand out diplomas with the popcorn.

    That he sometimes out thinks himself, that is also true.

  57. MaineYankee April 8th, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    tomingeorgia April 8th, 2012 at 1:31 pm
    All our guests are from the UK, Welshmen, Scots an Northern Irish. Got to educate them on the variations!

    ——————————————————————————

    We get alot of the same people here for spring skiing.

    We are about 20 miles from the slope and this is where they come when they have accidents.

    I drive taxi part time and we take them back to the mountain when they are done at the ER.

    Some very nice people once you can understand them. I had the most trouble with the Scottish.

  58. Irreverent Discourse April 8th, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    The shift performs 2 things… puts players in a position where you hit the ball more often, and attempt to force you to “change your game” and play to your own weaknesses.

    You shouldn’t change anything you do unless you are totally 100% pull happy. Only Teixeira and seemingly Granderson qualifies.

    If Maddon wants to keep shifting on everyone, balls will find holes and he will stop or lose. He’s not discovering some unknown tenet of baseball here. He plays low percentage strategies, get’s lucky and gets called a genius. I would never, ever want him to coach a team I rooted for.

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