The Yankees just can’t get a sustained run of winning going these days. After breaking out of a three game losing skid on Wednesday, the Yankees have now followed both of their two wins since then with losses, though this one was entirely their fault. With one out and the tying run on third base after a ninth inning rally, Mark Teixeira hit a ground ball to second base and, despite still nursing an injured calf, Tex was able to beat the throw to first and avoid the double play, tying the game for New York. The problem? First base umpire Jerry Meals didn’t see it that way, and called Teixeira out, ending the game in a 5-4 Orioles victory. There’s no two ways about it, it was an absolutely horrible call by Meals that could turn out to have outsized implications in a close race for the division title. That’s the future, however, for now let’s stick to the game at hand:
- The Yankees’ offense entered the ninth inning having only scored three runs, but unlike some of their previous outings this one wasn’t exactly the result of total ineptitude at the plate. In fact, they nearly rallied off of Pedro Strop for the second time in three games in the eighth. Alex Rodriguez hit a two out home run to cut the Orioles’ lead to 5-3, and a Robinson Cano walk and Russell Martin single brought the go ahead run to the plate in the form of Curtis Granderson. Unlike Thursday night, however, Buck Showalter wasn’t going to leave a struggling Strop in to clean up his own mess, and Brian Matusz popped up Curtis Granderson to end the threat.
- The Yankees could have folded up shop after that aborted eighth inning rally, especially with Orioles’ closer Jim Johnson coming in for the ninth, but instead they began the inning with three straight singles to get the tying run on base, the last coming on a beautiful bunt by Derek Jeter. Nick Swisher hit a slow roller to short and beat out the back end of the double play to get the tying run to third, but then Jerry Meals happened. There’s a lot you could say in the “should have done” genre tonight, but the bottom line is that Teixeira was safe at first base, and the call wasn’t even close. The game should have been tied up with A-Rod, who was making good contact all night, at the plate.
- Teixeira was solid in his return to the lineup. He doubled in his first at bat, and finished the night 1-4 with the double, a walk, and the RBI fielder’s choice that wasn’t.
- Cody Eppley bounced back from giving up a home run to Robert Andino on Friday night to hold the Orioles scoreless over 1.2 innings. He struck out one and walked one, the only baserunner he allowed.
- A-Rod had another good night at the plate with a lot of well hit balls. In addition to the home run, he drove a tough 2-2 pitch down and away into deep left for a sacrifice fly in the first inning, and hit another deep fly ball in the third.
- Ichiro Suzuki went 2-4 with an RBI double and the single that started the ninth inning rally.
- C.C. Sabathia was not sharp at all. Over 6.1 innings he allowed five runs one eight hits, three of which were home runs. No way to sugarcoat it, the big guy really let the team down tonight in a game in which they needed him to come up big.
- Granderson wasn’t in the starting lineup, but he pinch hit for Andruw Jones in the sixth…and promptly struck out. He went 0-2 and ended two potential rallies for the Yankees.
- Swisher also had another 0-for, and is now hitless in his last 24 at bats.
- Jerry Meals.
A terribly frustrating loss for the Yankees, because it feels like it was a game that they should have won on multiple levels. Obviously the badly blown call to end the game plays a huge part in that, but this game had “must win” written on it from the second the starting pitchers were set. The Yankeees were running out their ace in C.C. Sabathia to face the Orioles’ Joe Saunders, an innings eating lefty the O’s just got in a waiver trade. Given the standings at the moment, the Yankees really needed to get a win under their belts behind their ace, but instead the Orioles steal the win to tie the standings again and clear Sabathia. Now the Yankees will have to rely on Freddy Garcia to defend first place tomorrow. All things considered, that’s a pretty huge short term swing in Baltimore’s favor.
I hate blaming umpires for a Yankee loss, but tonight’s firstbase umpire cost the Yankees one of the most important games of the year. The play above is the last play of the game. With a man on first and third, one out, 5-4, bottom of the ninth, Mark Teixeira hit a groundball. The runner [...]
For the second time in three days, the Yankees entered a game tied with the Orioles for first place in the American League East, and just like the first time they responded with a sorely needed victory. Phil Hughes walked a tightrope for most of the game but ultimately walked away with a quality start (technically), while Russell Martin and Alex Rodriguez led the offense to another strong performance in this 8-5 win. Here’s the rundown:
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This had the makings of another annoyingly frustrating game for the Yankees even though it seemed like it could possibly be a cakewalk at first – something the Yankees haven’t had in a while. After three full innings of scoreless baseball by both starters Wei-Yin Chin and Phil Hughes, the Yankees struck first in the [...]
The Yankees are used to being the ones accused of relying too much on home runs to score runs, but tonight they found themselves on the wrong end of a case of “too many homers” in the worst way. The Orioles went deep on Yankees’ pitching six times and a five run rally to tie the game in the eighth inning by the Bombers proved absolutely worthless as Baltimore pounded their way to a 10-6 victory to put the Yankees back in the loss column and move the two teams into a tie atop the A.L. East standings once more.
- David Phelps struggled with putting too many runners on base early when he faced the Orioles last Saturday at Yankee Stadium, but he was able to limit the damage thanks to some timely double plays getting him out of some jams. He would have no such luck tonight, as Matt Wieters broke things open in the very first inning with a three run homer. The O’s had already gotten one run when Curtis Granderson couldn’t catch a sinking liner off the bat of Adam Jones, so Wieters’ blast gave them a 4-0 lead after the very first inning.
- Phelps final line was ugly: 4 IP, 6 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 3 K, 2 HR.
- The Yankees’ offense, on the other hand, had no real answer for Baltimore’s returning ace Jason Hammel. After finally busting out to score some runs last night, the Yankees got just one run through the game’s first seven innings, and Hammel struck out six through the five innings he pitched. Randy Wolf kept the team off the scoreboard over the two innings following that as well, and it looked like the Yankees had no chance.
- The Yankees’ bullpen had a pretty good series in Tampa, and immediately following Phelps’ exit they were pretty good tonight as well. Through the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings, Clay Rapada, Joba Chamberlain, and Justin Thomas combined to allow just one baserunner, a solo home run by Mark Reynolds off of Joba. That’s annoying, but it was Joba’s second inning of work, and Reynolds is quite possibly the hottest power hitter in the world right now, so it’s not worth getting too worked up about. The middle relief has been pretty brutal during the team’s slide, but it looks like they might be turning the corner now. If only the rest of the team was still playing well!
- Down 6-1 entering the eighth inning against a team that entered the night with a record of 60-0 when leading after seven innings, things looked pretty bleak for the Yankees. But a two out RBI double by Alex Rodriguez sparked the mother of all rallies, as the Yankees finally broke out in a big way to score five runs and tie the game. Even Baltimore setup man Pedro Strop couldn’t stop the bleeding, and arguably would have been the goat for the O’s after issuing a four pitch bases loaded walk to Chris Dickerson to make the score 6-4, then allowing a two RBI single through the second base whole by Ichiro Suzuki to tie the game. For a fleeting moment it looked like maybe the Yankees were finally waking up, and you could already feeling the narrative groundwork being laid about the inning that changed everything.
- Ah, but not so fast! Baltimore still had six outs remaining, but they wouldn’t need any of them to retake the lead. With David Robertson on the mound, Jones launched a rocket to put Baltimore back on top, which was followed by a Matt Wieters single and Reynolds’ second homer of the night, a two run shot to make the score 9-6. Joe Girardi called on Boone Logan at that point, but Chris Davis took him deep as well and just like that his night was over, and the Orioles had blown the game open once again with four runs on three home runs before the Yankees managed to get a single out under their belts in the inning.
- The Yankees got a single by Robinson Cano in the top of the ninth, but that would be the extent of that rally.
- Definitely a disappointing night, and though you can’t expect Robertson will be that bad very often, what we’re watching now is Murphy’s Law in action. Get a good outing by your starter? Offense is terrible. Offense has a big night? Middle relief gets blown up. Offense rallies and middle relief is good? Your stud setup man lays an egg. There’s no way to fit any meaningful analysis to this, because there’s no real explaining it. The Yankees just can’t catch a break, and they seem to find a new way to lose with each passing day. If nothing else, I feel okay knowing that the offense is scoring again going in to starts by Phil Hughes and C.C. Sabathia over the next two days.
Welp, we’re back to a tie in the AL East. Tonight’s pitching was terrible. David Phelps gave up 5 runs, 4 in the first inning, through just 4.0 IP. He set a terrible tone for tonight’s game. Joba Chamberlain came in relief and allowed just one hit, though it was a homerun to designated stupid-face/poopy-head [...]
The Yankees entered play Wednesday night having lost three consecutive games and five of their last six, and had watched their ten game lead in the division melt down to absolutely nothing. Suffice it to say that, though there’s nearly a month’s worth of games left to play, tonight’s contest certainly felt like a must win for the team. Thankfully the Yankees reversed several recent trends, improved in just about every aspect of the game, and got out of Tampa with a huge 6-4 win over the Rays. Here’s the rundown:
- Much of the day’s talk centered around whether or not the Yankees would be employing a more small ball oriented focus on offense in an attempt to shake that up, a question that was answered with a resounding “NO!” early on. With the Rays leading 1-0 entering the fourth inning, Derek Jeter led off with a lucky “single” on a pop up that Dan Johnson couldn’t handle in shallow center field (thanks to a charging Sam Fuld, to be sure), and a one out walk and two doubles later, the Yankees had put a three spot on the board to take a 3-1 lead. The doubles came on a scorching line drive to left by Alex Rodriguez, and a ground rule double into the right field corner by Russell Martin.
- Speaking of Martin, he had himself quite the game. Batting fifth once again with a left-handed starter on the mound, Martin added a sixth inning home run to that double to finish the night 2-4 with three RBI in total. The sixth inning home run was a big one, coming an inning after Hiroki Kuroda allowed the Rays to tie the game and putting the Yankees on top again by a 4-3 margin.
- As for Kuroda, he certainly wasn’t particularly good tonight, especially in the middle innings. He pitched three scoreless innings after allowing a run in the first inning on two out single by Evan Longoria in the first inning, but really started running into trouble in the fifth inning. He started things off by retiring the first two Rays to come to the plate, but walked Sam Fuld with two outs, then gave up a single to Desmond Jennings to put runners on the corners. Ben Zobrist drilled a pitch into right-center after that, bringing both runners in to tie the game. In the next inning Kuroda gave up a solo home run to Luke Scott right after Martin’s go ahead shot gave him the lead back. A rough night for Hiroki to be sure, but he’s pitched enough great games without getting any run support this summer that I’m not going to give him any guff tonight. Though walking Sam Fuld with two outs is pretty darn close to unacceptable.
- Kuroda’s final line: 6 IP, 8 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 3 SO. Three of those hits went for extra bases.
- The Yankees did channel their inner N.L. team as the game moved into the late innings however, and even made it pay off handsomely in the end. After Andruw Jones and Steve Pearce opened the inning with singles, Jayson Nix laid down a sacrifice bunt to move the runners to second and third for Jeter. With Ichiro Suzuki on third after pinch running for Jones, Joe Maddon called his infield in against Jeter, and though The Captain would hit a groundball to the middle infield, Elliot Johnson had another miscue with an errant throw to the plate that resulted in not just Ichiro scoring, but also allowed Pearce to come all the way around from second to make the score 6-4. It was Johnson’s 14th error of the season and second defensive misplay of the night, and they both wound up leading to runs for the Yankees. Take ‘em any way you can get ‘em, right?
- In addition to Martin, Jeter really led the offensive attack for the Bombers tonight, going 3-5 with two singles and a double, plus the fielder’s choice that brought the go ahead runs in. He also stole third base with one out after that fielder’s choice, giving the Yankees a great chance to extend the lead even further.
- The bullpen was the one bright spot in Tuesday night’s game, and that carried over to the performance of the big guns tonight. Boone Logan took the ball to open the seventh inning, and struck out two batters while walking one. Joe Girardi then went to David Robertson to end the inning, which he did, albeit after allowing a single on the first pitch he threw. He then added a perfect eighth for good measure. Rafael Soriano came out to pitch the ninth inning against his former team, and worked a quick 1-2-3 inning, using just 12 pitches to end the game. Good stuff indeed.
- On the other hand, the offense did strike out 15 times in the game, 9 of which came against starter Matt Moore. Oh, who am I kidding? They scored six runs and got eight hits and two walks, I’m not going to complain about strikeouts tonight.
- In addition to this bigger-than-it-should-be victory, the Orioles lost the final game of their series in Toronto, so the Yankees leave Florida with sole possession of first place once again. They’re a game up on the Orioles, and 2.5 games ahead of Tampa Bay.
Tonight could have been devastating. The Yankees could have potentially lost their AL East lead, and further, been swept by the Rays. Alas, the Yankees won and the Orioles lost, a great night compared to what we’ve been accustomed to lately. Something had to go right to create a win tonight, and Hiroki Kuroda didn’t [...]
The New York Yankees will never win a game again. Okay, that’s not true. They’ll win another game at some point (maybe even this season!), but it sure doesn’t feel like this team can buy a win right now. Tonight started out well enough with a home run by Robinson Cano in the very first inning but, wouldn’t ya know it, that would be the extent of the Yankees’ offense, and two runs just ain’t going to cut it with Freddy Garcia on the mound. Tampa Bay knocked Garcia around in the middle of his outing for five runs, and wound up winning the game from the Yankees by a score of 5-2. Worse still, the Orioles demolished Toronto, so the night ends with the Yanks and O’s in a dead even tie for first place in the A.L. East. Let’s try to grind out a recap, shall we?
- I guess in some ways Freddy Garcia is the goat tonight, but I have a hard time getting too made at him. Garcia is what he is at this point, and his outing wasn’t too bad for a fifth starter. He gave up a go ahead home run to Evan Longoria in the third inning but, well, Evan Longoria is a really good hitter, and it was only the third inning. The back to back solo home runs by Desmond Jennings and B.J. Upton in the fifth inning, but you could make a case Garcia should have been yanked before they even occurred. He had been the beneficiary of a couple of line drive outs prior, struggled with his command at times, and was really having a hard time putting hitters away once he got ahead of them. With the magnitude of the game and the benefit of expanded rosters, turning the game over to the bullpen early might not have been a terrible idea.
- The offense, on the other hand, is just brutal right now. Cano’s big opposite field shot in the first inning, coming after Nick Swisher worked a two out walk, was a nice touch, but the Yankees would then proceed to make 25 outs without scoring a single run, and only collected five more hits in the game. Swisher’s walk was their only free pass of the night. Just brutal, brutal stuff, and at this rate it’s not going to matter what anyone else does, this team just can’t win if they aren’t scoring runs more often than they have been over the past two weeks. Worse yet, it’s not just a matter of key players being injured either, as no one is hitting well at the moment.
- If there’s a bright spot in the game, I guess it would be the efforts turned in by Cody Eppley and Joba Chamberlain. After Clay Rapada walked the only batter he faced in the sixth, Eppley entered to get five outs without allowing a baserunner, and then Joba worked a perfect eighth inning. Both pitchers recorded two strikeouts, and Joba looked as good as he has since being activated. Hey, you have to take anything you can get at this point.
- There’s nothing else to say about this game, really. The Yankees just can’t seem to put it all together right now, and tonight they didn’t do much of anything well. They pretty much have to get a win tomorrow night, both because Hiroki Kuroda is pitching and because I don’t think anyone wants to make the trip to Baltimore with the the Yankees behind the Orioles. And in case you hadn’t noticed, in addition to having the division lead evaporate completely, the Yankees are just two games up in the race for the second wild card spot at present. At least it’s September 4th, and not September 24th.