Disgraceful loss, just positively disgraceful. The Yankees really screwed up this one, leaving nine on base, four in scoring position, grounded into two double plays including one with first and third in the top of the ninth, squandered an actual decent start from Kennedy, wasted multiple scoring opportunities and lost despite out-hitting the Indians 12-5 entering the bottom of the ninth inning. The 1-4 hitters went 10-19, but the 5-7 spots went 0-14. Hawkins and Nuke weren’t great but were good enough to hold it at 3 after Kennedy, who struggled mightily in the second when he allowed three, hung tough and gave the Yankees five quality innings. JD is up to .276 after his four-hit game. Jeter broke out and up to .282 after having three hits, but grounded into the DP in the ninth.
Jeter and A-Rod led off the fourth with singles, but the 5-6-7 spots let down, scoring none. Melky grounded into a DP in the fifth when they had first and second, one out. The Yankees had first and second with one out in the seventh–including a lead-off double by the surging Damon, but couldn’t plate them. Then of course, the Yankees had the ninth-inning wretch. Yet again, the team had plenty of chances but routinely failed to plate runners. Mike Sommer was steamed not only about Jeter’s ninth-inning DP but also that the team failed to avoid the DP and play aggressively, not laying down a squeeze. It’s a good point, and not just because of the result, but the lack of aggressiveness.
Kennedy’s inability to locate the strike zone hurt, but he settled down after the tough second, retiring ten of the last eleven he faced. He walked four and allowed four hits, three runs earned and fanned two on 105 pitches/60 strikes. His inefficiency meant using the bullpen early yet again. Hawkins got bailed out in the sixth when, with second and third and one out, Blake lined to Gonzo at third, and he swiftly dove to tag third and double off Peralta; in all, a hit and two walks in two decent innings for Hawkins. Nuke walked two but fanned Gutierrez on three pitches to end the eighth, looking fairly good. But Ohlendorf is a mess, looking like he’s aiming the ball and just not trustworthy. Joba’s unavailability and the thin bullpen (Bruney’s injury, Albaladejo used yesterday, Joba with a slight leg injury), worked early because of Kennedy’s high pitch count, resulted in that ninth-inning wretch. But it should never have come to that. The team scoring just one of those stranded runners would have meant Mariano shutting things down in the ninth instead of Ohlendorf puking it up. For me, considering the lopsided hit total through 8 1/2, the numerous stranded runners, the continued horrible hitting with RISP, this was the worst loss of the year by a mile.
Since I won’t be around for an HDLR tomorrow afternoon, I figured if anyone drops by, we can chin-wag.
Kevin Long is doing the FAUX lineup, and Shelley Duncan cheered loudly in the background as Long announced his name. Hilarious.
1st Inning: Top–Sowers down 3-0 to JD, with the third ball a veeeery tight call from ump Eric Cooper. Now 3-2, JD should have ripped at the 3-1, easy F8 shallow, one down. Melky the Clutch up, working it to 2-2 but punched out with a low strike. Two down for The Captain, who is 6 for his last 32, and he raps a 1-0 single cleanly to right, nice. A-Rod up to hopefully continue last night’s two-out success. He rips a liner to left but for the third out.
2nd Inning: Top–Giambi ahead 3-0, now 3-2, easy 3-1 and Sowers took his eye off the ball, E1! Shelley the Invincible Marauder up, 2-2 F7 one down. Ensberg ahead 2-0 and skies a pop foul to 2, two down, horrible. With Molina batting Giambi was caught stealing–I sure hope that was a missed hit-and-run call; three down. Bottom–Kennedy behind 3-1 to Peralta, 3-2, infield single to Jeter in the hole. The Captain was about ten feet onto the outfield grass. Cabrera singles past Gonzo into right on a hanging change. Gutierrez bunts the runners over, nice play by Kennedy off the mound. Blake was behind 1-2 but walked, terrible. Kennedy is at 40 pitches with one out in the second to Sizemore, who walks with the bases loaded, 1-0 Indians. More nibbling and/or inaccuracy. Dellucci sac fly scores Cabrera, 2-0, Melky with a horrible throw. Project Donkey with a flair over Ensberg in shallow left, 3-0 Indians. Martinez ahead 2-0 as Kennedy is up to 55 pitches–can you say overwork?–F7 finally ends the inning. 3-0.
3rd Inning: Top–Molina F8, one down. Disgraced former AG Gonzo up, F7 two down, another inning in which the Yankees don’t get runners on early. JD also ahead 3-1, but now 3-2, single up the middle–great hustle stretches it into a double, outstanding hustle; full marks in my book, JD. Melky out on a 4-3. when will this team get and score base runners before two outs, before one bad play ends the innings? 3-0 Indians. Bottom–Garko 6-3. Peralta F-Shelley, two down. Cabrera’s foul tips and Kennedy’s pitches are beating up Molina, BB after having Cabrera down 1-2. Gutierrez 5-3 ends the third, 3-0 Indians.
4th Inning: Top–Jeter ahead 2-0 and needs to get himself and the team going, and singles again, nice. A-Rod, keep it going, 3-2 single past Peralta, two on for Big G, but F7 shallow. Duncan gets a crack at Sowers, down 1-2, F7 deep on a breaking ball away that Shelley tried to pull, two down. Ensberg
down on the low strike looking, borderline but called all game and therefore not a mystery. The Yankees were .249 with RISP, fourth-worst in the AL. That just went down. Bottom–An actual 1-2-3 from Kennedy.
5th Inning: Top–Molina 5-3, Gonzo seeing-eye single through the hole for JD, who singles to right. Melky grounds into a 5-4-3. This team can’t get anything right, continually screwing up scoring chances. Wretched. Bottom–Terrific snag by Ensberg on Hafner’s liner. Martinez F8, two down. Garko F8, three down. Kennedy hung tough and has kept the Yankees in it, if only they would take him up on the offer and score some runs.
6th Inning: Top–Jeter K’s, A-Rod singles with one out, Big G HBP to bring the tying run in Duncan up to the plate, whose walk loads the bases with one out. Ensberg is due up in the biggest moment of the game. Cano is hitting for Ensberg (with Gonzo probably going to 3rd) against the righty Lewis, who K’s Cano on the low strike. Canos pinch-hit at-bat useless, two out. Posada is pinch-hitting for Molina, and just when you think this team won’t deliver again, Posads lines one to left that a diving Dellucci misses, scoring all three to tie it!! It’s about time! Jorge’s triple ties it. Terrific gamble by Girardi, and big clutch payoff from Jorge. Gonzo out on a ground out, but the tie is a huge lift–for me anyway. 3-3. Bottom–Hawkins in because the bullpen is thin and he walks Peralta on four straight. Cabrera ahead 1-0, his bunt resulted in a safe play after Giambi’s poor footwork cost the out. Gutierrez bunted them over, but Blake’s liner to Gonzo was nabbed and he dove quickly to double Peralta off third, great play by the kid in the clutch. This inning was huge. 3-3.
7th Inning: Top–Damon with a double, Melky made a terrible out chasing a ball way outside the zone, Jeter reached on an infield single to short, first and second for A-Rod. But in an eleven-pitch at-bat, A-Rod swung at a ball, two outs for Big G, who pops out to short. No time to left up on the tough love on Big G. He, A-Rod, and Melky did the Yankees no favors that inning with the lead-off double. Giambi swung at the first pitch right after Lewis got worked over, terrible. Bottom–Sizemore walks, Dellucci F7 deep, Hafner F8, and Jorge threw out Sizemore trying to steal second, three down. Hawkins was not bad.
8th Inning: Top–Abreu pinch-hitting for Duncan K’s against Kobayashi. Cano sticks to form, grounding weakly to second on the first pitch, horrible. Posada K’s, helping to make Kobayashi look like this year’s Okajima. Bottom–True to form as well, Nuke walks Martinez, Garko forces Martinez at second and the Yankees got a real break. Jeter’s bad throw bounced to Cano and it went off his glove. when he caught it with his bare hand, he was way off the bag. But the ump’s view was blocked, giving the Yankees a big break. Carroll is pinch-running for Garko (having stolen twice last night) with Peralta up and K’s, but Carroll stole second. Cabrera got an IBB to face Gutierrez, and Nuke fanned him on three pitches. Tough Love Spring continues!
9th Inning: Top–Gonzo out on a 6-3, nice throw Peralta. JD blooped a broken-bat single to center. Melky ahead 3-0, on 3-1 Melky slapped a lined single off Carroll’s glove at third, a ball he could have had, first and third for Jeter, who grounded into yet another DP to second. Two double-plays in the clutch, nine left on. The Yankees have out-hit the Indians 12-5, yet are still tied a three. Horrible clutch hitting. Bottom–Ohlendorf in against Blake and ahead 1-2, K on a nasty slider. Sizemore singles up the middle, Dellucci singles to right and Sizemore seemed to turn his ankle when he took his eye off the bag to look at Abreu. Project Donkey up, and the Yankees need a DP ball of their own now if ever. But a wild pitch, right on cue, makes it second and third. Disgraceful. IBB now to Hafner to face the hot-hitting Martinez with the bases-loaded, 2-1, and a single to left wins it. Worst loss of the year thus far.