Tagged: Umpires

Welcoming The Orioles Back To Reality

2010 Pretty In Pinstripes Challenge Tracker: Entry #25 – 5/3/10 – Orioles @ Yankees

The Orioles were feeling pretty good coming off of their sweep of the Red Sox, and rightfully so. Sweeping the Sox is not an easy feat, especially for the Orioles, so they deserved to celebrate such a victory.
The Yankees, however, welcomed them back to reality, and reminded them who poses the real threat in the American League East.

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Before the game, Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira received their 2009 Golden Glove awards. They more than deserved them for their defensive performances last year. It was their amazing defense that helped us win our 27th World Series title, so I’m glad to see that their fielding during last season was recognized. 
No one across baseball disagrees that Mark Teixeira earned his Golden Glove. The Jeter Haters, however, came out in full swing when the winners were announced last year. They had no valid argument against Jeter defensively, they were only hating on him because he’s Derek Jeter. That has never made a difference to Derek, and it has no effect on me whatsoever. Nobody hates a nobody, and our captain has more than proved that he is one of baseball’s modern icons. This was Jeter’s fourth Golden Glove award, and Teixeira’s third. Congratulations to our two infielders for receiving their defensive titles.
Now, on to the game.
With CC Sabathia on the mound, I’m always comfortable. The man is a beast. How many times have we said “CC pitched a gem”? More times than I can remember. This game was no different. Sabathia pitched eight complete innings beautifully. He only allowed one run on six hits, and walked two. 


There was a moment in the seventh inning when CC seemed to have lost his composure. He looked like he was about to storm off the mound, towards the home plate umpire. This is very uncharacteristic of Sabathia, as we’ve seen his nerves of steel for over a year in the Bronx. 
I don’t blame him for being angry. I was angry, too. I’ll admit that a part of me – the purely emotional part – wanted to see him get in the umpire’s face. 
The umpire’s strike zone was schizophrenic. He didn’t pick a strike zone and commit, but rather changed his box regularly, for the same batter at the plate.  During one at-bat, the same pitch was thrown to the same location twice; once it was called a strike, the next time it was called a ball. That kind of umpiring mistake is unacceptable. How is a pitcher meant to pitch when he doesn’t know where the umpire’s strike zone is? 
This is not only a problem for the Yankees, but for Major League Baseball in general. The umpires are hit or miss. It’s normal for the home plate umpire to make a couple of mistakes during the game, but some umpires are ridiculous. They mess up calls, allow batters to reach base when they should have been called out a few pitches earlier, and then you get the likes of Joe West complaining about games being too long. Maybe if the umpires didn’t have dynamic strike zones, a pitcher wouldn’t need so long to prepare for his next pitch.
I digress. 
Back to the game.
When it looked as though we would see a fiery outburst from him, Sabathia took a deep breath, and walked a lap around the mound to cool down. He came back to complete his eight innings of domination.
That w
as close. You don’t want to make the big man angry. Who knows what damage he could have done? He could have swallowed the umpire whole.
As always, our bats gave Sabathia the necessary backup to get him the win. The source of the win(n), however, was unusual.


Randy Winn connected with a Guthrie pitch in the fourth inning, and blasted a three-run home run out of the park. 
No, you didn’t misread what I wrote, I did say “Randy Winn” and “home run” in the same sentence. 
It had been over a year since his last home run, so he’s obviously not a power bat. It was nice to see him go yard, and it was the clutch hit of the night, as the Yankees scored no more runs after the lead that home run gave them. I’m not expecting many more home runs from Winn, but it’s very satisfying to see that he can bank on a pitching mistake every once in a while.
I’m not going to blow Winn’s home run out of proportion, like many people have. I appreciate it for what it is, no more, but no less. Randy Winn will have more at-bats now that Granderson is on the Disabled List, but he will be platooning with Marcus Thames, who is swinging a hot bat so far. 
I don’t think that Randy Winn should be our regular starter. He has a career batting average of .286, and a .344 OBP. Those look decent, and they are, but they’re not great when  his home runs are a year apart. What helps is that Randy doesn’t strike out too much when compared to other hitters who have similar numbers. His defense makes him great to have on the roster, but I would rather have Marcus Thames platooning with him while Granderson is out, and Gardner is in center field.
Overall, it was a good game. It was a pitching duel between CC Sabathia and Jeremy Guthrie, who has been a solid starting pitcher for the Orioles thus far. In this game, Guthrie made one mistake, the home run to Randy Winn, but otherwise pitched very well.
The Yankees begin a winning streak with two in a row, and it’s on to the next game.

You can find Beeeebzy’s blog entries and more at 161st-and-River.com.