Orioles 13 Yankees 4: Mussina, Robertson Abused; Offense Languid

Yeesh, what a dud. Mussina was hammered and off with his control for the first time in a very long time, surrendering six runs on eight hits, a walk, while fanning four on 95 pitches/63 strikes. He missed Molina’s spot away to Millar, surrendering a three-run homer on a pitch that tailed back over the plate and low–right in Millar’s wheel house, 3-0 in the second. He then grooved a fastball right over the plate to Hernandez, who crushed it to right center, 4-0 with back-to-back homers. It was downhill from there with an offense that Guthrie shut down, and Robertson getting cuffed around for the first time, yielding five runs earned on four hits and two walks in 2/3 IP. It’s wrong to complain about either the pitching or the performances of Mussina and Robertson, both of whom have really been excellent.  As Mike Sommer has pointed out at The Sommer Frieze, in over 148 innings in the minors and majors, this was Robertson’s first homer allowed, his first.  I also liked that Girardi seemed to reassure him when Robertson was taken out, well handled by the skipper there.  But this was a stinker from the get-go, no denying it.

Jeter got robbed of a hit in the first by Roberts, who made a great diving stop to his right and threw out Jeter from his knees. Jeter also grounded into his 16th DP of the year, erasing JD’s fourth-inning lead-off single. He’s picked up the average of late but has just not been himself this year. In what little good news the team provided today, Xavier Nady got his first hit and homer as a Yankees, belting one to deep left center. It certainly seemed like Nady was pressing a bit at the plate, so maybe this will get him going. He could also stand to minimize his front leg stride, which is way too high. Hopefully some time with Kevin Long and Robinson Cano’s Dad will help matters. JD hammered his first homer since May 27th, pasting a three-run shot to deep right. Molina and Cano got doubles, and the Yanks ended up with 9 hits but needed at least 19 tonight. Sexson got a nice hit at the end of the night, but the Yankees need more from him. Perhaps it’s that he’s not playing much and needed the regular time in Seattle to hit lefties well–to do anything well at all. But he won’t get that in New York, so he’ll need to be sharp when he does play–it’s the nature of his role and surely he understands that. He just needs to do better in what limited time he’ll get.

Thankfully Boston and Tampa also lost, leaving the Yanks three games back. Given that Nuke also surrendered a two-run homer, the Orioles were just mashing the Yanks tonight, one of those nights it seems. The Yanks have now lost two in a row, and certainly the super-hot pitching could not continue forever. Yet the Yankees need to get back to winning and soon, especially against the cellar-dwelling Orioles. They’re 4-6 against Baltimore and cannot afford to struggle against teams like Baltimore whom they should beat and soundly. That the Yankees went 8-11 versus Tampa in 2005, in addition to the team’s poor start, surely made things tighter than necessary down the stretch that year. For some reason, Baltimore’s pitching seems to give the Yanks fits, and players like Millar and Huff seem to play like Ruth and Gehrig against New York. With Cabrera going tomorrow, who knows what will happen. He could be lights out or flat-out lousy. The Yanks need Rasner to be better tomorrow night than Mussina was tonight, and their similar stuff in back-to-back games worries me, that it could be a prep for Baltimore’s batters. It will make for another loooooooong night if so. Hopefully the Yankees offense will awaken again.

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Published in: on July 28, 2008 at 10:03 pm  Leave a Comment  

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