Game 77 TEX 8 NYY 5: So Close And Yet So Far

Joba vs TEX

First off, let me just offer my condolences to any of you out there who, like me, were subjected to Chris Berman calling the game on the ESPN broadcast.  Regardless of the outcome, we all lose when he's doing the play-by-play.

As for the game itself, it was another in the series of recent Andy Pettitte starts that leaves you not really happy or upset with his performance when all is said and done.  He worked around some 2 on/no out trouble in the top of the 1st without allowing any runs and then couldn't repeat the feat in the 3rd.  Some bad defense behind him and some poorly-located pitches led to a 4-run inning for the Rangers and an early deficit for the Yanks that they'd spend the rest of the game trying to come back from.  Andy did rebound to get through the next 3 innings without allowing any more runs, and he finished with 6 Ks, but he didn't make pitches when he really needed to in the 3rd and it cost him.

Offensively, the Yanks held their own.  Lyle Overbay got things started off with a solo HR into the bullpen in the 2nd to give them a brief lead.  They got 2 more runs in the 6th when Gardner and Ichiro set the table with a single and a double and then came around to score on back-to-back ribbie singles by Robbie Cano and Pronk off lefty Robbie Ross, and 2 more again in the bottom of the 7th when Ichiro smacked a 2-run homer into the second deck in right field.

In the end, it wasn't enough.  A rare Gardner error in the outfield and some shoddy bullpen work by Shawn Kelley put 2 more runs on Texas' ledger in the top of the 9th and the Yanks went down quietly 1-2-3 to end it.  Tough to win when you're playing catch-up all night with a split-squad lineup.

Game Notes:

- Absolutely brutal night for Joba Chamberlain, who relieved Pettitte in the top of the 7th and managed to render the lineup's work in getting the game back to a 1-run deficit meaningless in a matter of 5 pitches.  I know the binder says to only bring Joba into games in which the Yanks are trailing, but Joe should seriously consider ripping the Joba section out entirely right now.  He's given up 14 H, 9 ER, and 4 HR in his last 7 appearances.  The boos that chased him off the mound tonight were well-deserved.

- Equally terrible night for Jayson Nix, both in the field and at the plate.  He made more bad plays than good at third base and killed the rally in the 6th with an inning-ending, bases loaded GIDP.  The fact that Nix is paid to play Major League baseball is offensive to me as a blogger and a Yankee fan.

- Vernon Wells came through with another pinch hit in the bottom of the 8th.  Maybe he's found a new role that he can be useful in now that he's lost his starting job.

- Pettitte ended the night 1 strikeout behind Whitey Ford for the all-time Yankee franchise record.  That will be a cool milestone for him to reach in his next start.

- With the loss, the Yankees became the last team in MLB to lose a game in which they scored 5 or more runs this season.

(Photo courtesy of Getty Images)