For 6 and half innings, this was a great, great game for Yankee fans. Bartolo Colon who had struggled in his past two starts was masterful, pitching 6.1 innings with 9 strikeouts, 2 walks and one earned run. Robinson Cano hit a bomb to deep left center field. An awful, sloppy bottom of the 7th changed all that and the Yankees went down as tough luck losers a night after stealing one from the Rays.
For the first 6 innings, the main story was the pitching duel. Bartolo Colon and the Rays Jeremy Hellickson were dominating early on. In the 3rd, Hellickson gave up a double to Mark Teixeira and then a bomb to Robinson Cano to make it 2-0 Yankees. It was the last real mistake Hellickson would make. In the bottom of the 5th, Sam Fuld tripled and then was driven in a batter later by a Reid Brignac base hit to make it 2-1 Yankees.
Things got interesting in the 7th. In the top half of the inning the Yankees looked like they were piecing together an insurance run with 2 outs when Gardner singled, stole second and then Eduardo Nunez walked. After the double steal, the Yankees had runners on second and third with two outs and the captain up. Jeter couldn’t capture the moment however and hit a weak grounder to 1st to retire the side. The missed opportunity proved to be costly.
In the bottom of the inning, Colon got Upton to strike out before singles by Chirinos and Rodriguez knocked him from the game with only one out. Boone Logan was summonsed, ostensibly to face lefty Sam Fuld. Tampa elected to pinch hit for Fuld and sent Ruggiano, a right handed hitter to the plate. Then it got wild. Granderson lost a seemingly harmless fly ball against the roof, allowing it to drop and load the bases. The next batter, Elliot Johnson chopped a tailor made double play ball up the middle. Instead of letting it go through to start the DP, Logan tried to make a play on the ball, deflected it and suddenly Chirinos scores and the game is tied with the bases still loaded on still only one out. Damon batted next and hit a shallow fly ball to center. Granderson had to slide to make the catch, and with Sean Rodriguez on 3rd, he aggressively tagged up after seeing Granderson on the ground. He scored, the throw missed everybody and reached the backstop, allowing the runners to move up. The Rays took a 3-2 lead. The nightmare ended with Boone Logan striking out Matt Joyce to stop the bleeding. That’s all the Rays would need though, as Jake McGee and Joel Peralta came on in the 8th and 9th to shut down the Yankees and deliver a tough loss to Bartolo Colon.
You can take a few things away from this game. First, Bartolo Colon looked fantastic again. His last two outings were something less than expected from Colon who has been so good for the Yankees this year. Questions were fairly raised about what you could expect going forward from him who has been a real life winning lotto ticket for the Yankees so far. Seeing him pitch like that again was definitely a relief.
And then there’s the bottom of the 7th. Look, Boone Logan did not lose that game for the Yankees. An unfortunate stadium quirk and an error were all that was needed to sink the Yankees tonight. It happens. That doesn’t mean however that going with Logan in that spot was the right decision. The process can still be awful even if the results were not. This process was awful.
Logan is a LOOGY- Lefty One Out Guy. His career numbers back that up. While he HAS struggled against lefties at times this year, he really is pretty good at getting them out. That’s his job and he does it well. What he cannot do, is get right handed hitters out. At all. That’s not his job. Just like I cannot design a house or paint a portrait, Boone Logan cannot get right handed hitters out. Observe.
For comparison, Sergio Mitre has a 4.22 career FIP against RH batters in his career. Think about that. Hell, against LH batters, the RHP Mitre has a career FIP of 5.27. Boone Logan is worse at getting right handed hitters out than Mitre is at getting lefties out. That’s way below replacement level, below anything that should be acceptable to any big league team. So why is he facing more than one RH batter in a 2-1 ball game, in the highest leverage situation against the Rays? That’s inexplicably bad and Joe Girardi simply cannot allow that to happen. Logan is good at what he does. That is it. He cannot shut off a nuclear reactor, compose a symphony or get right handed hitters out. End of story.
As for the offense, I think it’s just a case of seeing some really good pitching from the Rays. Hellickson has been good all year and the same goes for Jake McGee and Joel Peralta. The Yankees had some chances but it just didn’t work out. What can you do? Frustrating but it happens.