Bullpen Falters, Yanks Lose 6-4

The bullpen blew a fine start from Joba with two outs in the eighth, losing a 4-3 lead and eventually the game 6-4 to KC in a sweep attempt.  Too bad, for Joba was quite good on a day when Gil Meche handcuffed the Yanks’ offense.  Although Girardi referred to it as “a blip,” blown leads late in the game are ones you rue–especially in what will be a tight AL East.

The Yanks scored in the top of the first, doing so in a way indicative of the diffficulties they encountered all day. Brett the Jet singled, stole second as Jeter struck out, went to third on Swisher’s 4-3, and scored on a wild pitch.  Joba cruised through the first two innings six up and six down on just 23 pitches. Good thing, for after Gardner’s hit, the next Yankee base runner was Cano after a lead-off single in the fifth.  Joba surrendered a solo shot to Buck in the third, but stranded Crisp after his two-out triple.  Joba nearly pitched out of trouble of his own making in the fourth when he walked DeJesus and hit Teahan, retiring Jacobs and Pena.  But Swisher’s error on Callaspo’s grounder scored DeJesus, and Buck’s single scored Teahan, 3-1 KC on two unearned runs.

Melky’s first of two DP balls promptly erased Cano in the fifth, but Joba again worked around trouble with a two-out plugging of DeJesus and Teahan’s subsequent double by getting Jacobs on a tapper.  Gardner’s second GIDP in two games erased Molina’s lead-off single, but Joba buzzed through KC 1-2-3 on just nine pitches.  The Yanks took the lead in the seventh when Swisher led off with a single to left, Matsui singled to right, and Nady’s double made it 3-2 and second and third, no outs.  Jacobs botched Cano’s grounder to tie the game and put runners on the corners, still no outs, but Melky’s second GIDP scored the fourth run and wiped the bases clean.  Although Ransom walked, Molina’s pop out ended a good inning that perhaps could have been better.  Still, they rewarded Joba for his strong start by putting him in the position to win it. Joba was pretty strong–6 IP, 4 hits, 3 runs 1 earned, 1 BB, 5 K’s, 2 HBP on 88 pitches/56 strikes.  That’s four good starts in a row; unfortunately, only three got wins.

Bruney went 1-2-3 through KC in the seventh, and Marte did his job by getting DeJesus and Teahan to start the eighth–four outs away.  that’s when the wheels came off.  Veras entered and walked Butler on five pitches, really poor.  Girardi then replaced Veras with Coke to turn Pena around, but he doubled to tie the game at 4.  Callaspo’s single to center made it 5-4 and he took second on the throw, then scored on Buck’s double, 6-4.  The one guy the Yanks didn’t want to face all series and until today didn’t have to, Joakim Soria, one of the best closers in the game, struck out the side in the ninth to seal a tough loss for the Yanks.

Lots of blame to go around today.  Veras and Coke bear the primary responsibility for blowing the game with four outs left.  Maybe Girardi over-thought the situation by replacing Marte, then bringing Coke in early instead of leaving in the experienced Veras.  Personally, I felt comfortable with Coke.  Yet he threw ball one to the first three batters he faced–all of whom hit and drove in a run.  I put the blame on the poor performance of Veras and Coke more than Girardi.  Nor do I think that, on a cold and drizzly day, Mariano should have come in.  If he weren’t coming off surgery this off-season, maybe.  Not today on a crappy day, not to me.

I also blame the Yanks’ offense.  Yes, Meche was very good.  But three GIDP were killers, two of which erased lead-off runners and another took the steam out of a big seventh-inning rally.  Melky may well be back to the bench for some time.  I agree with Mike S.’s point on the previous thread, that Pena might well have played were it not for Molina’s giving Jorge a break after catching a night game in his recovery, this already presenting a weak bottom third.  Now, after Ransom’s 0-2 with two K’s and a walk, hitting all of .050 (1-20), it’s time for him to sit at least a game in favor of Pena.  His first start would be a tough one against the lefty Kazmir, but so be it.  Watching Ransom has been rough.  Additionally, while he’s been terrific at the plate and crucial this first week, Swisher’s error was his second costly miscue in three games, this one extending an inning that should have ended.

Matsui was 1-3 with a walk and a run, maybe his best game at the plate since homering in the opener.   Nady was 1-4 with the RBI double and a run, hitting .286–not bad.  Cano got his 4th RBI and is still hitting over .400 at .409.  But he, Nady, and Ransom all fanned twice.  The bottom of the order was a measly 1-8 and hasn’t had a really good game through the first six.  Jeter’s 0-4 puts him at .231.  Plus, the Yanks had runners in scoring position in all of two innings, the first and the seventh, hitting only 1-4 with RISP.  Today was more a matter of failing to get base runners than failing to plate them, largely a product of Meche and the two GIDPs.  Hopefully Teixeira will be back tomorrow night.  The offense sorely needs him and Jorge.

3-3 is not bad after going 0-2, especially with some soft spots in the lineup.  It’s a good sign that Joba made it four strong starts in a row, with Wang (0-1, 17.18 ERA) facing Kazmir (1-0, 1.50 ERA) in a top-flight match-up tomorrow night to try to make it five.  But losing it in the eighth after coming back was a punch in the gut, not a good way to leave KC when a sweep was possible.  But hopefully, just as CC bounced back strong after a poor first start, Wang will do the same.  Against Tampa, the Yanks will need him to do so.

[Edit: I see now that according to Bryan Hoch, Teixeira is not likely to start tomorrow night against Kazmir, since his left wrist is sore when hitting right-handed.  Yeeesh.]

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Published in: on April 12, 2009 at 10:15 pm  Comments (7)  

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  1. good recap– i generally agreed with you on most of the points you make, but i do blame girardi for failing to put the best team he had available to him on the field. i won’t repeat my rant here, but it was quite discouraging to say the least to watch the game disintegrate. why melky is wasting a roster spot is beyond my comprehension. why damon needs to rest after playing only 5 games and you have no tex or jorge in the line up. why indeed not at least try Peña. he cannot be any worse than ransom. I’m not quite as content with the 3-3 record, but it’s better than a losing one. nevertheless, we are about to face Kaz, and garza without tex probably. today was one that should have been won. no doubt about it.

  2. PS I see we published our reports within 13 minutes of each other 🙂

  3. On the lineup Mike, I agree. I think the pitchers AND the lineup failed. With his lineup choices, Molina I can see. Who knows, maybe JD’s age shows more than we know and Girardi wanted to give him a blow so, with no Teixeira, Melky the Malignant appeared. I’m not keen on Melky as you know, but who knows. But Ransom needs to sit and fast. Plus, it’s the aggregate of Melky, Ransom, and Molina that hurts. And it figures that Molina was the one to get a hit. Maybe Girardi wanted to give JD a day now instead of against the tougher TB, despite the turf in Tampa. Regardless, the lineup concerned me.

    I’m not keen on 3-3, just that even in its mediocrity it mitigates the 0-2 start. But the Yanks should be 4-2. Losses such as the one today stink out loud. Like the abysmal West Coast swing of 2007, this one will appear in later discussions of blown games–unless the Yanks start one hellacious tear in TB.

  4. oh man–remember how we moaned over that 2007 trip. otherwise known as hotrods to hell

    these are the games you just shouldn’t lose. they DO come back to haunt you- just like a lead off walk.

  5. I’m worried about Tex’s wrist. This tendinitis came on awfully suddenly after his great spring training. We really need his bat in the lineup, not to mention his glove at first.

  6. yeah, first they say it’s nothing, then he is a late scratch the next day…

    but girardi never lies, so I won’t worry

  7. Same here, Jane and Mike. Maybe they’re just being cautious about it. I sure hope so, given Girardi’s poor track record regarding straightforward injury discussions. It could have happened on myriad plays, and tendinitis isn’t necessarily major. But this leads to questioning when he trots out the “we’re going to hold him out a day” line, then he won’t play until at least Tuesday, and who knows what.


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