Well that's not the way you want to end a road series. After taking the first 2 games in Texas handily, the Yankees fell again last night, coughing up a late-inning lead and dropping their second straight to the Rangers. CC Sabathia did not pitch well (as usual), but it was the bullpen failing to hold the lead that really did the Yanks in.
As they typically do, the Yankee offense got going in a hurry. Jacoby Ellsbury led off the game with a bloop shot to left that turned into a double and a fielding error to put him on third, and Brett Gardner sac flew him home to make it 1-0. Mark Teixeira doubled it up with a 2-out solo home run and a single-walk-single rally culminated in a Chase Headley RBI base hit and a 3-0 Yankee lead after 1.
It would be a very short-lived lead. The Rangers' first 2 hitters got on with infield singles, and with 2 outs CC hung a slider to Josh Hamilton that Hamilton hit for a 3-run home run. That's why CC sucks these days. Creates too much trouble for himself and he isn't even close to good enough to work out of it anymore. To make matters worse, Shin-Soo Choo clubbed a solo shot off a 2-0 meatball to lead off the bottom of the 2nd and the Rangers took the lead...
... That was also very short-lived. The Yankees came right back in the top of the 3rd on a Brian McCann 2-run shot off of Yovani Gallardo. He was matching CC bad pitch for bad pitch and wasn't fooling anybody with his stuff. Unfortunately, the Yanks could never tack on more. They wasted a leadoff single in the 4th and a leadoff single/followup walk in the 5th when McCann and Carlos Beltran lined out and Chase Headley flew out to center. That inning really hurt them.
The final run charged to CC came on an inside-the-park home run in the bottom of the 4th, and this one wasn't his fault. Ellsbury tried to make a sliding catch on a line drive to center and didn't come close. The ball got by him and went all the way to the wall, and of course Beltran isn't tracking down anything in any kind of a timely fashion. That's on Ellsbury all the way. You have to read that better and know you don't have a play on it. Just keep the ball in front of you and keep the guy at first base.
Sabathia still sucked though, and while it was wise of Joe to not give him much of a leash after 5 innings, it was pretty dumb to have that leash be 1 pitch. He removed Sabathia after a leadoff single in the 6th, which made the situation tougher for the incoming Justin Wilson. He got out of it, but the point remains.
The Yanks re-took the lead in the top half of the 7th on another Teix message, this one against reliever Keone Kela, but once again lost it just as quickly. A leadoff walk and a wild pitch set the Rangers up in the bottom half, and Dellin Betances couldn't shut the door after taking over for Wilson. Elvis Andrus singled to put runners on the corners, and the tying run scored on a fielder's choice groundout by Prince Fielder. The Yanks probably didn't have a shot at turning 2, but Stephen Drew didn't help the chances by throwing a crap ball to Didi for the turn.
Betances wasn't especially sharp, and he had to come out for Nick Goody in the 8th. Goody handled his business, but Joe made the short leash mistake again in the 9th. He let Goody go back out, then yanked him for Andrew Miller after a leadoff walk. Just start the inning with Miller!! Regardless, Miller got hit hard, walked a batter with 2 outs, and surrendered the walk-off hit to Hamilton in the next at-bat. Ballgame.
A tough loss for sure, but there's really no cause for the level of panic and anger I was seeing on Twitter last night. The Yankees are still 6 games up in the division, and despite playing bad baseball last night they still had a lead in the 7th inning with their stacked bullpen ready. That's what you want and they got it. Sometimes the bullpen doesn't come through. Everybody just needs to relax.
- 3-night for Teix, 2-HR night for Teix, and 3 runs scored by Teix. MVP, MVP.
- Rough night for Gardner at the plate. He went 0-4 with 3 strikeouts and left 4 on base. Oof.
- 5 innings, 9 hits, 5 runs, multiple dingers. CC Sabathia, everybody! Get ready to see him again in 5 days.
- Apparently he had to be treated for dehydration after the game. I'm not even going to make a joke about that, I'll just come out and say I want the Yankees to put him on the DL for that. Whatever it takes to get him out of the rotation.
- Congrats to Goody for becoming the 9th Yankee pitcher to make his MLB debut this season.
- Not sure if it's due to lack of work - he's pitched 3 times in 9 days and last night was his first appearance since Saturday - but Miller has looked a little shaky lately. Stuff and command aren't nearly as sharp as they were earlier in the year.
- I try to give Joe the benefit of the doubt as much as possible, but last night was a good night to get on him. To make the same bad decision twice in a matter of innings is unforgivable and he's go to be smarter than that. It's not even that difficult a concept to grasp. If you're going to give a pitcher 1 batter to start an inning before pulling him, he shouldn't be starting the inning. Why make life harder on your relievers?