Phillies 4 Yanks 3: No Magic in Extras

Despite Melky the Once-Again Clutch’s ninth-inning dramatics to tie the game, the Yankees fell to the Phillies in 11, 4-3.  Tomko struggled to find the strike zone before walking Utley with two outs and surrendering a double to Ruiz for the lead.  Sabathia pitched well over eight, allowing nine hits, no walks, three runs earned, and fanning four.  Veras was actually good for the ninth, working around a walk and fanning two, and Mariano worked the 10th for what could have been a win but, after The Captain and JD led off with singles, Teixeira grounded into a DP on a 3-2 pitch, and after the Phillies naturally worked around the dangerous A-Rod (despite going 0-4 with 3 K’s), Pena flew out to center to end what was a tough threat to win the game.

To me, a couple plays made big differences–and I say this with the caveat that I took my twrrific daughter to the pool for some sun and fun during the top of the sixth.  She asks and receives as often as possible.  She’s a great kid, brilliant, funny, nice, sweet as a peach, and works her butt off in school.  She should get such modest requests.  That said, Werth pegging out JD at the plate, and especially Ruiz’s stellar block of the plate, kept the Yanks from tying the game at 2 after the Phillies scored 2 in the top of the 3rd, and JD drove in Cervelli with a double.  I don’t disagree with the send, but it was a risk with a good arm in Werth in short-to-medium left.  Still, I like Thomson and his aggressiveness–make the left fielder, any fielder, make that play against a guy with good speed.  The key to me wasn’t the throw as much as Ruiz’s play, nabbing the throw on one hop, blocking the plate, and tagging out JD at once.  One could make a strong case for Ruiz being the player of the series, which the Yanks lost by the way.  Ruiz was excellent throughout.

Not scoring in the bottom of the 10th hurt a lot and was, to me, a bad omen.

There is still weakness at the bottom of the order, and I hate to name names, but Gardner is still too spotty for me.  So is Swish of late, and the both of them failed to deliver Melky in the bottom of the 9th.

The top of the order (Jeter 3-5, JD 2-5 with an RBI, Teixeira 2-5 with a run and RBI on his solo shot in the sixth) was excellent today–7-15 combined, but the rest of the lineup was atrocious, going 6-28 (.214).  That ways a lot, considering that Melky the Once-Again Clutch was 3-5 with the game-tying RBI, his 20th.  That means that aside from the top 3 and Melky, the team was 3-23–horrible. It’s not the first time that I’ve said this, but I’m officially concerned about Matsui and his knees.  He was 0-5, and is down to .241.  He’s 6 for his last 42 going back to May 9 and, the last that I could tell, it’s been some time since he’s had his knees drained.  I’d be shocked not to hear some similar news in the next week.  The tough situation is, without Posada and Nady, there are precious few DH options. A-Rod can, but Pena’s heretofore weak bat then is inserted in a pretty weak bottom three.  The Yanks, as constituted with lots of big-salary players and others filling in injured, are unusually top-heavy.  They need some depth back.

One of three against the Phillies stinks, but it could have been worse especially since the Yankees came back and won yesterday.  They need more offensive consistency, especially in the early innings, to avoid the need for the late-game dramatics.  With Toronto’s loss and Boston’s eventual win (up 7 as I write this), the Yanks will be close to but behind the lead in the tough AL East.  Still, one heck of a home stand, going 8-2 to regain some confidence and momentum before hitting the road in Texas and the Land of Cleve.  Yet it also shows that there are only so many times that a team can get down to its last outs and pull wins out.  Despite the value of hanging in and winning tight games, which the Yankees have shown admirably this year, that’s no way to live.

On to Texas, which is playing good ball, leading the West, and getting some decent pitching to complement their hitting.  2 of 3 in Arlington would be great.

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Published in: on May 24, 2009 at 4:35 pm  Comments (5)  

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Ok
    I can agree with some of your post but not all, but that is for another post.
    I have to say this is the first team in 4 years that has a little personality and decent pitching. I am happy to watch them after the 7th because something could happen, the past few years haven’t been like that.
    We may not win but at least this is fun. This staff should be together for at least three years and it seems like every day the Yanks have a chance to win. WSe’ll see.

  2. Matsui and Swisher are having horrible at bats. Matsui’s knees and age are probably affecting him. Swisher could be reverting to White Sox form. But credit to Ruiz. Ibanez too. We made mistakes, but those two contributed mightily to our downfall.

  3. Good to see you Swedski. Actually, we’re pretty much in agreement on what you’ve said about their being fun, having personality, at least decent pitching, and their ability to come back. I like their temperament a lot, but feel they need a stronger bench. That should transpire when Posada, Molina, and Nady return.

    My point is just that there are only so many times, especially in quick succession, that the Yanks can reasonably expect to win come-from-behind games. It has happened a lot lately, and they need to do more earlier in games. To a good degree, there are times when they need to be more patient at the plate and to steer the ball the opposite way, and I think Saturday was a good example of those. I’m keen on this team, but feel that playing from ahead is better for lots of reasons. I’ll add this–there is a benefit to all these tight games, in addition to their cultivating the belief in them and us that they can come back. It’s also being attuned and not nervous in tight games. I think that’s part of what made the late 1990s Yankees great. They simply weren’t rattled in such situations, having been in them and on many occasions succeeded.

    I’d just rather see the opponents worry about coming back more often than they have had to of late.

  4. No question, Jane. Ruiz and Ibanez were great. I too am worried about Matsui. I’m inclined to think his knees are acting up and, the more this slump continues for whatever reason, it’s putting what should be the final nails in the coffin of a terrific Yankee’s career. I don’t expect him back regardless, especially with his struggles and knee problems. He could turn it around and play great the rest of the way, but my hunch is that he and the Yankees will be dealing with knee issues the rest of the time.

    On Swish, I’m convinced he’s swinging for the fences, and admitted after his first Stadium homer that he wanted to get it badly. He should just think about hitting the ball hard. It will travel out sooner or later. He should think hits, not homers.

  5. With the romp over Texas today, those two losses to the Phils are the Yanks’ only two losses in their last 13 games.

    Considering who is NOT there (DL), and the players who ARE there but not producing (like Matsui and Swisher; Swish had 1 hit and 3 RBI today, though), 11 of 13 is something to hang a hat on.


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