Joba: After starting the second half solidly, Joba has not looked good as of late. Last night, he struggled with closing out innings and only last four on the night. He gave up nine hits, seven earned runs and three walks.
Gaudin: Chad Gaudin did little to help the Yankees stay in the game when he relieved Joba in the fifth. He went 3.2 innings and gave up seven hits (four for extra bases) for three earned runs.
Swisher: Nick Swisher essentially ended the Yankees rally in the ninth with an ugly popped up bunt. He went 0-5 at the plate on the night.
Posada: Posada went 2-4 at the plate, with three RBIs, a run and a homerun. I’m not going to lie, when he was able to get that RBI infield single in the ninth I thought for sure the Yankees were going to win.
Matsui: The DH also went 2-4 with two runs and three RBIs.
Cano: Robbie was 2-5 with a homerun and three RBIs.
Marte: While the Yankee pitching was horrendous for most of last night’s game, Damaso Marte had another solid performance, which has to make Yankee fans happy. He pitched 1.1 innings of scoreless and hitless ball, giving up one walk and striking out two.
Joba: I understand the reason for the Joba Rules” and appreciate the Yankees attempt to protect their young pitchers, however, it strikes me that while their intentions are good their execution is off. It is often said that pitchers are creatures of habit, so perhaps the sudden changes to his pitching schedule have contributed to his poor performance, or at least have kept him from rebounding as quickly as he may have otherwise done. Reports early on indicated that Joba was being left out of the loop on decisions about when he was going to pitch. I am not going to pretend like I know how best to pitch Joba and save his arm, but this does not seem to be working.
Bunts: Bunting in baseball is like foul shots in basketball. It is one of the most basic and necessary skills needed to compete, yet there are always some players who struggle to follow through. Often a missed foul shot or the failure to get a bunt down can be the difference between victory and defeat. I can’t say I know what Swisher’s track record is on bunting, perhaps, he is actually a fantastic bunter who just failed to execute last night. Somehow, given the fact that he broke the first rule of bunting by dropping the head of the bat, I doubt he is a master bunter. What irked me more than the popped up bunt itself, was the strategy at play. Obviously, with runners on first and second and no outs a bunt would move the runners and perhaps prevent a double play (though given the type of double play Melky hit into, that is not certain).
I think Girardi had two options. First, with a strong hitter like Swisher at the plate and the Yankees taking batting practice off of the Rangers’ closer, he could have trusted Swisher’s power and penchant for finding a way on base. It looked like Swisher dropped the head of the bat on his first bunt attempt, at which point perhaps Girardi should have known to take the bunt off. If Girardi was set on using a bunt it may have been a better idea to have Hairston bunt for Swisher instead of running for Posada. Afterall, if Hairston was successful, Posada moves to third and the need for extra speed is not as crucial.
In the On Deck Circle:
Tonight, Andy Pettitte (10-6, 4.25) will take on Derek Holland (7-7, 4.72). Pettitte did not have a particularly impressive outing at Fenway last Friday, though he did pick up the win. Andy gave up seven runs in the Yankees 20-11 rout of the Red Sox. He looked good early on but got rusty in the fifth and sixth, perhaps in part due to his lengthy wait while the Yankees piled on the runs. Holland is a rookie lefthander who is coming off three consecutive wins. He faced the Yankees on May 27, giving up ten hits and six runs in five innings. First pitch is at 7:05pm at Yankee Stadium.