Comeback ends in disaster as Yankees lose Game One 6-4

Unfortunately everything went right back to pot after that. The Yankees’ offense couldn’t do any damage to any pitcher other than Valverde, and Rafael Soriano and David Robertson both pitched just one inning a piece. David Phelps came on in the ninth and, “aided” by a horrendous play on which Nick Swisher just failed to catch a liner in right field, would give up two runs to push the Tigers back to the 6-4 lead they would finally nail down in the bottom of the inning. Oh, and Derek Jeter got hurt.

Some brief notes from the game:

  • Andy Pettitte kept the Yankees’ sreak of good postseason pitching going, giving up just two runs over 6.2 innings. He only really struggled int he sixth inning, and a fluky triple by Austin Jackson in which the ball got stuck in the nook where the ball boy sits down the right field line to lead off the frame certainly didn’t help. The Yankees did keep Jackson from scoring on  fly ball by Omar Infante and intentionally walked Miguel Cabrera to set up the double play, but Prince Fielder laced a single back up the middle, and then Delmon Young dropped in an RBI single on Swisher’s first defensive blunder of the game. Swish kind of got stuck on an in between hop and didn’t dive for the ball, even though Cabrera had taken off from first base with total disregard for being doubled up. At that point there’s no reason not to dive, really, as Miggy was scoring anyway on a single. Really bad night in the field for Swish.
  • After a great performance in the ALDS, 2011 Joe Girardi made an appearance tonight. Not only did he stick Alex Rodriguez right back in the starting lineup despite having a right-handed starter on the mound, but he went to Derek Lowe to relieve Pettitte in the seventh inning, and left him in long enough to give up a home run to Delmon Young. Boone Logan was then allowed to face a right-handed batter with a runner on and two outs, and he gave up an RBI single to push the lead out to 4-0. With the struggles the Tigers’ bullpen has had and the fact that Jim Leyland keeps going to Valverde anyway, you have to keep the game as close as you can in that situation, but Girardi went back to playing the win expectancy at the wrong time.
  • The Yankees really have a tale of two offense thing going on right now. Jeter, Ichiro, Teixeira, Ibanez, and Martin are all doing pretty darn well at the plate, while Swisher continues to scuffle and Cano, A-Rod, and Granderson are just terrible. Those last three combined to leave 16 runners on base tonight, and A-Rod was pinch hit for! Although, to be fair, Cano should have gotten an RBI when he beat out an infield single that ricocheted off of Doug Fister in the second inning, but was called out at first base on a blown call. Doesn’t excuse the rest of his postseason though.
  • The Yankees are in an 0-1 hole, obviously, and are certainly benefited by the quick turnaround, as it doesn’t feel like they could win another game right now. It’s really hard to believe they won the ALDS with all of this poor hitting, and now Jeter is hurt on top of things. I guess the silver lining is that things could turn around very quickly if Cano could come up with a few big hits, but that’s easier said than done.

Born in Southwestern Ohio and currently residing on the Chesapeake Bay, Brien is a former editor-in-chief of IIATMS who now spends most of his time sitting on his deck watching his tomatoes ripen and consuming far more MLB Network programming than is safe for one's health or sanity.

13 thoughts on “Comeback ends in disaster as Yankees lose Game One 6-4

  1. Scott

    Can anyone explain pulling both Soriano and Robertson after just one inning each? And especially with Cabrera and Fielder due up to start the inning?

  2. dmzimmerman

    It'd be great to see Cano (and Granderson, for that matter, who after Friday's respectable performance returned today to looking the way he looked in games 1-4 of the ALDS, and most of the second half of the season) step it up tomorrow to make up for Jeter's absence. "Win it for the Captain", if you will…

    I guess Ichiro will be leading off for the rest of the postseason. Who would have seen "Ichiro batting leadoff in the ALCS" as a potential headline back in April?

  3. JayJay

    Bringing Lowe in and letting Logan pitch to a righty were ridiculous.

    Not sure why you though Girardi was so good in the ALDS. I thought pinch-hitting for A-Rod was something he should've done sooner and not doing it in the 8th inning of Game 4 cost us the game.

    Joe may be good in the clubhouse but his in-game skills are awful

    • dmzimmerman

      Most of Girardi's decisions seemed to pay off in the ALDS, but you've definitely got a point about the 8th inning of Game 4. I was actually wondering why he _did_ pinch hit for A-Rod in the bottom of the 8th today. It seems like if you really thought he couldn't do anything with the ball, you'd have pinch hit for him in the 6th when you had Ibanez and Tex on 2nd and 3rd with no outs, rather than in the 8th with nobody on base and 1 out. I might actually have had A-Rod bunt one when he came up in the bottom of the 6th – would have caught everybody by surprise and maybe squeezed in a run.

  4. JayJay

    I know this is a cliche' and that statistically, it makes sense to keep playing the way the Yankees have been playing all season, but it seems to me that the Yankees are playing some very uninspired offense. Would it kill Tex to tap one to third in the 9th inning when all you need is to get on (I know he walked)? How about having Gardner get to 3rd before there are 2 outs? He had time to do this during Martin's AB and then he scores the winning run on the fly to center? How about Jeter laying one down the line, forcing Miggy to charge and throw him out?

  5. Hugh

    I've never felt like putting my frustration with the team down on "paper" before. This was a terrible, terrible show by too many people including, and I really do hate to say it b/c I don't like to second guess managers, Girardi. I went to bed after the 7th thinking Joe had really dodged a bullet when Lowe got the one out to end that inning. I cannot believe he would send him back out there again for the 8th. He would be, what, your 2nd least effective arm (Eppley) and you send him out there twice with your entire bullpen available? And then waste it by giving MFIKY and DRob an inning each. It looks so like he was managing a regular season game, saving your best relievers for another day, putting your veteran hitters in there to work out the kinks etc..

    What I don't put on him, however, is the performance of some of the guys he backed. Bad enough that there was no score in the first two innings but to for not one of ARod, Grandy, Swisher and Martin (who, to be fair, had two outs) to be able to put a ball in play is surely the sort of thing that gets you fired in the real world! Am also a big fan of Swisher and love his tremendous spirit but his whole game today was just awful..

    Imagine that a four inning 9th inning doesn't win you the game! If this wasn't a great group of people, I could well imagine that there might be some ill will going about at the moment between the guys who are doing it and those who are not.

    Sorry. Vent over.

    • tommydee2000

      I think we learned that in the future, Gardner needs to take out Swisher for defense, and not Granderson. Curtis is fast enough to have stolen that base. In addition to not hitting, Swisher looks foolish out there right now.

      Wasn't happy with the bullpen management at all. Girardi managed last night like the first game of spring training. First, he utilized the "we're behind" bullpen, instead of using his best to keep the game close. You can't predict baseball, but I will always take my chances trying to keep it close late in the game. This is the playoffs.

      Then, if there is a triple face palm, using Phelps to face their best hitters in the 12th surely earned it. We needed to see DRob for 2 more batters. Yes, I know Kuroda is on short rest, but I would refer you back to 2003 WS Game 4 and Jeff Weaver. Mo never pitched again in that series.

      And why the hell not play Alex at short? Maybe it would help him. And is Nunez any better?

  6. Chris U.

    Ironically, the Yankees would be better off if Ibanez had NOT hit the HR last night, given what ensued.

  7. DJ JD

    I am certainly not going to pile on or begin preaching to the choir on what has already been said in regards to player performance or managerial decisions. What I would like to ask is, was Jeter's fracture just waiting to happen given all that foot/ankle has been through? Girardi, during post-game interview said no connection but, who wouldn't say that? Can you imagine the consequences if it became known that the ankle was just one misstep/slight turn away from breaking? I'll bet if x-rays from the previous ankle/foot injuries/concerns are STILL laying around, you would be hearing a doctor say to stay off it until it heals, especially if it were much earlier in the season. Now, I have the utmost respect and admiration for Jeter and his desire to continue to play, and play through injuries but, at what point do results become more important than risk? Reminds me of scenes from "North Dallas Forty" and "Any Given Sunday." Thank God it is not career ending. It might not even be post-season ending for the team. This might be the one thing that lights a fire under the team and turns them around in this post season. I guess we will just have to play the tape to the end to see what happens. God bless the Yankees and God bless Derek Jeter!

    • Meh, I guess it’s possible that the foot injury made him more susceptible to other leg injuries, but I don’t know if that matters. Not to be flippant about injuries, but an ankle isn’t like a head injury or something that might have severe life altering impact down the road, so even if Jeter was knowingly putting his career on the line, I think that, at a minimum, it’s okay to let him decide if he wants to take that risk or not, especially at his age.

      • DJ JD

        Good point. I guess I am just feeling really bad about this season-ending injury to Jeter and how it could adversely affect the team for the remainder of the post season. Good thing I am an optimist by nature so, I'm not going to let it get to me for too long.

  8. Nick Swisher

    I should be benched.

  9. Joef

    1. At the very least Robertson should have been in to start the 12th, whether it was is first or second inning of work is debatable.

    2. why was granderson pinch run for? My expectation was for garder to get to third with less than 2 outs at that point, if you're not going to steal third (and they we basically GIVING him the bag) you're not losing much speed keeping granderson in there.

    3. Gardner should have replaced swisher in the field. The best defensive alignment at that point is gardner, granderson, ichiro. Ichiro doesn't get crossed up on that ball in the 12th

    4. To reiterate the first point, soriano and robertson were in control, with the teeth of the tigers lineup in the 12th, one of those two must be in the game to take care of them, not phelps, he was rattled from the start.

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