Yes. Yes he is.
Okay, so that may be unfair. Heading into Sunday afternoon, Vidal Nuno had started 10 games for the Yankees, pitching to a 4.19 ERA (a tick below-average) and mostly keeping the team close, allowing fewer than three runs in seven of those starts. He did fail to pitch beyond the fifth inning in five of those starts, to be sure, but he was mostly serviceable as what amounted to the team’s seventh or eighth starter.
Of course, none of that felt relevant yesterday, as Nuno allowed 8 hits (including 2 home runs) and 8 runs over three innings in the rubber match against the A’s. Despite the Yankees recent offensive outburst (which, for them, meant 13 runs between Thursday and Friday), the game felt over when Nuno allowed a 400-foot three-run blast to Derek Norris in the first inning. And then it was essentially over when Coco Crisp knocked out a three-run homer of his own in the second.
The bullpen was left to cobble together five innings after Nuno allowed the first two batters to reach base in the bottom of the fourth, and Jose Ramirez was first in line, but not up to the task. He allowed both inherited runners to score, as well as two of his own. On the bright side, Shawn Kelley, Adam Warren, and Matt Thornton did combine to strike out 6 over the last four innings, allowing only one baserunner along the way.
Insofar as silver linings are concerned, the Yankees did scrape together five runs, and a 10-5 loss sounds much more palatable than a 10-0 drubbing. Carlos Beltran (solo) and Brett Gardner (a 2-run shot) both homered, and Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter drove in the other two runs. Gardner’s home run came against former Orioles closer Jim Johnson, with two outs in the top of the ninth – a warm, familiar feeling in an otherwise awful game.
The Yankees are off today, as they return to the Bronx after going 5-4 on their should-have-been 10 game road trip. They begin a three game set against the Blue Jays on Tuesday.