The Yankees’ starting pitcher sunk the team in a seemingly insurmountable hole early for the second straight game, only this time the Bombers were unable to rally back, falling to the Rangers 7-2 to knot the ALCS at one game apiece.
Phil Hughes just flat-out didn’t have it, getting blasted for seven runs on 10 hits and three walks in four-plus innings, the second straight start four-inning outing recorded by a Yankee starter. At one point the TBS crew mentioned that seven of the 10 hits Hughes gave up came with two strikes, which is just inexcusable. Hughes’ bugaboo all season was finishing hitters off, and his inability to do so came back with a vengeance in this contest. Additionally, I don’t know what’s going on with the Yankees’ starters, but a day after CC Sabathia turned in his worst outing of the season Hughes followed suit, turning in his worst outing of the season. So much for the Rangers being disadvantaged by scarcely having seen these guys this season.
Colby Lewis, much like C.J. Wilson, was great, turning in a 5 2/3 inning, two-run performance in which he changed speeds and lived on the fringe of the strike zone the entire outing. It was a sterling start, and quite frankly, the kind of outing I’d expected young Hughes to deliver.
The Yankee offense couldn’t get much of anything going in this one outside of Robinson Cano, who doubled and homered. Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Jorge Posada and Lance Berkman each picked up a hit, but the Yankees never strung two hits together and also struck out 10 times. The team left a rather insane 22 men on base, which is apparently something they greatly enjoy doing when playing in Arlington, Texas.
Mark Teixeira and Nick Swisher, both of whom came up big against the Twins have been a bit disappointing thus far in the series, though Swish has a hit and two walks in nine plate appearances. Tex has two walks in 10 plate appearances and seems to have reverted to 2009-Postseason Tex, in that it feels like he’s going to make an out every time he steps up to the plate, which is obviously not good news. A-Rod also looked pretty stiff in this one, uncharacteristically hacking at the first pitch in almost every at-bat and failing to make solid contact once.
Between a horrendous outing from Hughes and a punchless offense, battling back from a five-run deficit for a second straight day was very much not in the cards, and the Yankees now get to come home and face Cliff Lee in Game 3 with the series tied at one. While everyone and their mother is expecting Lee to win, there’s no reason the Yankees can’t get to him, and as nice as it would’ve been to head home with a 2-0 lead, I don’t think a 1-1 series tie is the worst thing ever. It’s not as if Wilson and Lewis are bad pitchers; unfortunately the Yankees starters collectively haven’t delivered, but that’s bound to change. I foresee big things happening as the team returns to the Stadium.