Bullpen falters, Yankees lose, 10-6

The Yankees took the opportunity after winning the first three games of this series to rest Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano against the lefty Holland. Russell Martin was the designated hitter to give the game a real Spring Training feel. Cano is dealing with a stiff neck and sat out his second straight game. The makeshift lineup seemed no match for Derek Holland during the first five innings. Meanwhile, Ivan Nova looked like Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  At times, Nova seemed dominant and at others like he had no idea where the strike zone was or how to command his pitches.

Nova gave up two quick runs in the first inning. After Elvis Andrus grounded out, Michael Young singled, Josh Hamilton doubled to the wall in left and then Adrian Beltre singled to score both Young and Hamilton. Beltre gave Nova a break by trying for second and was thrown out easily.

Nova then pitched four scoreless innings and three of them were in order. The third inning was like a metaphor of Nova’s season. Nova gave up a double to start the inning. He then walked the next two batters and brought Josh Hamilton to the plate with the bases loaded and nobody out. Nova looked totally lost at that point. A visit by his pitching coach seemed to help as a strikeout, a force out at home and a strikeout later, Nova escaped unscathed.

And then Nova lost his command again in the top of the sixth after pitching so well in the fourth and fifth. The start of his problems that inning was not his fault. Josh Hamilton drove the ball deep to left, but it stayed in the ballpark. The only problem was that Andruw Jones lost the ball in the sun and it bounced off the warning track and into the stands for a double.  Nova did not recover. He hit Adrian Beltre with a pitch. Then David Murphy hit a single to score Hamilton. A sacrifice bunt and an intentional walk followed to load the bases. Craig Gentry hit a slow roller to Derek Jeter and Jeter could only get one out at third as the fourth run scored. Nova then walked Mike Olt and his day was done.

The Yankees would score five runs in the bottom half of that same inning to briefly take the lead. Ichiro Suzuki hit a slow dribbler to third for an infield single. Chris Stewart hit another slow roller to third and was thrown out at first. Ichiro took second. Derek Jeter hit a single to right-center to score Ichiro. Jeter took second on the throw to the plate. Nick Swisher hit the first pitch he saw up the middle for a single and Jeter scored. Mark Teixeira struck out but Andruw Jones then hit a big two-run homer to left to tie the game. The homer was reviewed as the Rangers thought it was a foul ball. A look at the replay confirmed the homer.

Derek Holland then ran into a little bit of bad luck as Mike Olt ralphed on a fly ball from Casey McGehee and McGehee took second after the ball clanked off of Olt’s glove. That was it for Holland, keeping his streak intact of never beating the Yankees in the regular season. Tanner Scheppers was called in and gave up an RBI single to Russell Martin for the go-ahead run.

The lead did not last long. Cody Eppley gave up a lead-off single and was replaced by Boone Logan to Hamilton and struck him out on a 3-2 slider. Logan was left in there to face Beltre and that did not work out so well as Beltre singled.  Logan then had the left-handed hitting David Murphy but could not get Murphy out. The latter’s double scored a run. Joba Chamberlain replaced Logan and promptly struck out Geovany Soto. After an intentional walk, Gentry hit a two-run single to give the Rangers a 7-5 lead.

The Yankees would get a run back in the bottom of the seventh on bases-loaded fielders choice by Mark Teixeira. Andruw Jones could not further the damage as he struck out to end the Yankees’ threat.

Joba came out to start the eighth and simply was not able to get it done. He allowed two more runs in the frame before Clay Rapada could clean up the mess. Rapada would give up a run of his own in the ninth to complete the scoring.

Boone Logan was given the loss and Schleppers was awarded the win.

Derek Jeter had two more hits. Ichiro went three for three with a sacrifice. They were the only two Yankee batters with multiple hits.

The Yankees next host the Boston Red Sox and begin a weekend series on Friday night. It will be Phil Hughes against Franklin Morales as the Yankees try to take advantage of a struggling Boston club.

About William Tasker

William Tasker grew up in Bergenfield, New Jersey but has lived in New England since 1975 and in the far reaches of northern Maine since 1990. Tasker is the author of nine (non-baseball related) books and, besides writing here for three years, has written for his own site at www.passion4baseball.blogspot.com since 2003.

14 thoughts on “Bullpen falters, Yankees lose, 10-6

  1. I'm not convinced that Nova is a keeper. He's very, very inconsistent, I'm beginning to think more and more that Nova has the most value to the Yankees as the centerpiece of a trade package. I know some will say he's young give him a chance, etc…But that's also what makes him a valuable trade piece to other clubs. He doesn't become a FA until the 2017 that's very appealing to a cost conscience low or mid market team. Also from where I sit it's his starting spot that is in the most jeopardy when/if Andy returns. Just my opinion.

    • Duly noted. But if the Atlanta Braves had operated that way in the early 1990s, that pitching staff of Glavine, Smoltz, Avery (either home developed or brought in at a very young age) never would have materialized. Granted, they only won one World Series, but they were there every year for over a decade. You let them develop. Nova's a 3 with the stuff of a 2. All he needs is consistency. This is only his second full year.

      • Fans keep telling themselves Nova's a 3 with 2 stuff. I'll believe both when I see one or the other.

      • I have to agree, Bill. I've always felt this is where this "we have to win the WS every year or we stink" mentality hurts the Yankees, in the development of young players. A kid like Nova struggles, and immediately the chorus starts to get rid of him. Actually, this is Nova's first full year as a starter, not his second. If you recall, he spent time in the minors last year. Hell, they've given Hughes 6 years to prove he's a legitimate starter, and we're still waiting for it to happen. If they can do that for him, Nova deserves nothing less.

        • Norm don't fool yourself this is Nova's 2nd full season. He started 27 games in 2011 that's by most standards pretty much a full season and this season makes 2. And please let's not point to his 16-4 record in 2011 as a shining example of his success. In 2011 he averaged about 5.3 K's per 9 innings that's not very good. And if you look at the 6 wins he got once he came back from his stint in the minor leagues in 2011 they were against some of the weakest teams in baseball in 2011: Baltimore 2X, Kansas City, The White Sox and the Twins all with losing records.

    • Ok fine, say we trade Nova. Then what would the rotation look in the future, let's say 2014? Most likely no Pettitte and Kuroda. Hughes becomes a free agent. Pineda's arm is questionable. That leaves the team with CC, Phelps, ….uh… Banuelos? (likely not due to current injury) Even signing a free agent will be an issue if they want to be below the $189 million payroll.
      Thus, Nova is NOT tradeable both for short-term and long-term reasons.

      • Jacques, I don't even know how to begin to reply to your comment other then to say. Most fans don't know what's going to happen next season (2013). Yet somehow you've managed to foresee to the 2014 season Yankees rotation only consisting of CC, Phelps and then ??????????

        • I picked 2014 because that is the year Steinbrenner and Cashman are aiming to be below the $189 million payroll. Assuming Cano stays, it would be really hard to teach that goal. That said, you simply won't find a pitcher as good as Nova at such a low price.
          No matter how much you might want to trade him, the reality is that Ivan is staying in the organization

  2. Anyone else willing to let Cano move on? Loved the way he didn't even bother to run home to score in the 8th. Just because he was halfway home before the outfielder even threw the ball, just because the third base coach was waving him in – obviously, why strain yourself when you can instead turn around and saunter back to third?

    • IMO, the yanks screwed the pooch with the cano and granderson contracts, if they re-sign both. Especially Cano, they should have worked out an extension instead of picking up his option years, they might have been able to either get a cheaper overall price or front load the deal before the $189M payroll goes into effect.

      They're in a huge Catch-22 with both guys though – replacing their value internally is too far away and there are no cheaper alternatives in FA. Maybe the best bet would be to trade for Upton, hope Gardner comes back healthy and play him in CF with Random Veteran OF in left on a cheap deal until Mason Williams is ready.

      No way you can find a suitable replacement for Cano short-term however. Long-term, he and possibly Granderson are going to be vastly overpaid ala A-Rod and Tex.

    • Can't say I agree with that assessment. They showed the replay a couple times on TV, and even they commented they couldn't blame Cano for not trying to score. The third base coach was all the way down the line damned near home plate. The signal he was giving was, to say the least very weak. He was gesturing with his hand the way a traffic cop moves a line of cars, not swinging his arm and pointing towards home like most third base coaches do. I'm willing to give Cano the beenfit of the doubt and say he didn't pick up his signal until it was too late, and opted to return to third rather than get thrown out at home.

      • Well – it was the same signal given to trucks and cars to "move on," or "come along." No – the coach didn't reach out and pull him – but really – I'm old and slow – I could have scored from that position.

        No matter in the overall picture – which is the best Girardi could say – turtle would have made the next out either way. The way the bullpen was performing, one run wasn't enough. But what if one run WOULD have won the game? Lazy is as lazy does.

  3. Anybody notice Joba Chamberlain sucks? Can we please kill the hype this dudes been living off if the last 4 years and sit his ass?

  4. "Ivan Nova looked like Doctor Jekyll and Mr. Hyde"

    … or Super Nova and Ivan the Terrible