Worst Loss of the Early Season

By a mile.  BY A MILE. This was grotesque, an atrocious display of gagging with runners on by both teams but especially the Yankees.  New York went 4-19 with RISP, should have scored more than two in the seventh, stranded the bases loaded with no outs and a two-run lead in the eighth (for the second time in two games they left the bases loaded with no outs), and saw Mariano blow a save by allowing a game-tying two-run, two-out homer to Bay in the bottom of the ninth before Marte coughed up the game-winning walk-off to Youkilis in the bottom of the eleventh.  An abject disgrace.

It would be a stretch to say that either Joba or Lester pitched well.  Both got off lucky; neither was sharp or efficient.  Joba’s line was a mixed bag of inefficient fortune–5 1/3, 9 H, 2R 1 ER, 4 BB, 2 K on 91 pitches/49 strikes.  That he got 4 DP balls was fine, I suppose, allowing him to avert disaster in four of the first five innings.  But he was all over the place with his fastball, leaving it up and paying the price when he did.  All’s well that ended well for Joba, but it sure started poorly in most innings.  He’s still learning how to pitch, and is experiencing some of the growing pains of inefficiency that Hughes and Kennedy, with worse results, endured last year.  Lester was little better, getting worked deep into counts and getting chased after six, though his problem was more that he was inefficient than being erratic, as was Joba.

Joba inauspiciously allowed a run in the first when Ellsbury singled, moved to second on a balk, stole third and scored on a passed ball, 1-0 Boston.  Melky was stranded at second in the second, and JD at second in the third when Lowell robbed Swish and the Yanks of a run with a terrific diving play to end the threat.  Joba showed some grit in the third when Green singled and Pedroia doubled to make it second and third, one out.  But he fanned Ortiz, walked Youkilis, and got Drew on an F7 deep.  In the fourth, the Yanks took the lead on Melky’s single, Molina’s walk, Ransom’s double, and Jeter’s productive out.  Joba again avoided trouble in the fourth, very much of his own making.  Bay led off with a double, Joba hit Varitek with one out, and got a tailor-made 1-6-3 DP ball but made a poor throw to second to load the bases.  But Ellsbury’s 4-6-3 DP allowed Joba to escape.

Swish’s two-out double in the fifth yielded nothing, and Joba got his fourth DP ball to end the fifth.  Coke saved Joba and the Yanks from another jam in the sixth, when Lowell doubled and Varitek singled to put runners at the corners with one out.  Green’s single to right tied the game.  But Coke entered and got Ellsbury on an F8 and Pedroia on an F9 to keep the game tied.

The Yanks took the lead in the seventh but should have blown it wide open.  Okajima was awful but the Yankees did not take full advantage.  Jeter led off with a double, JD’s bunt produced a single instead of a sac, Teixeira singled to center, 3-2 Yanks, Posada’s single to right should have scored JD but he got a bad read on the ball, probably unsure if it would be caught, loading the bases.  The real sin was Swish’s at-bat, for he popped out to shallow left for the first out.  Bay robbed Cano of a double and the Yanks of two with a diving catch, 4-2 Yanks but two outs, and Melky’s 4-3 ended what should have been more than a two-run inning.  Again in the eighth, the Yanks blew a chance to add on when Ransom walked, stole second but appeared to hurt himself on the steal, took third on Jeter’s 4-3 only to be replaced by Pena, who was stranded when JD whiffed.  Alby came on with two outs in the seventh, sailed into the eighth until he hit Green, Mariano came on for a four-out save, oddly to face Ellsbury with an 0-1 count, and Jeter dropped a play he usually makes on a soft pop-up, but Mariano caught Pedroia looking to end the eighth on a cutter over the inside corner, a pitch I honestly envisioned in my head before it happened.

The ninth was the killer all around.  Teixeira was hit by a pitch and took second on Lopez’s wild pitch.  Jorge and Swish walked to load the bases, but Cano grounded into a 4-2-3 DP, second and third with two outs, and Melky popped out to Varitek in foul territory.  They had Boston and Lopez in particular totally on the ropes, then faded meekly with a DP to get the lead runner at home, then Melky wasted his at-bat.  Horrible. Mariano fanned Ortiz, allowed a single up the middle to Youkilis, Drew’s soft 4-3 moved Youkilis to second, and Mariano left a cutter up that Bay hammered out to center to tie the game.  For obvious reasons, I thought the Yanks would be fine with Mariano, for he looked good and, for the most part to me, the game had the feel that Mariano would bail out the Yanks of their repeated messes tonight.  Not so, for it also had that feel that all those wasted opportunities would come back to haunt them, and they did. I felt a degree of nervousness with Mariano in the eighth, not so much because of him but the crazy game and the blown chances, but I felt better in the ninth, though not as thoroughly confident as usual.  The night was too strange for that, and that lingered a little in me, surely in Mike with whom I texted during the game.  Mariano blew the save with two outs in the ninth, but it should never, ever have come down to that.  The Yanks should have been up at least 6-2 after their chances in the seventh and ninth.  Yet they left an always dangerous Boston team in the game, in Fenway no less where anything can and often does happen.

The Yanks had yet another chance in the tenth off Papelbon when Molina singled, moved to second on Pena’s bunt, took third on Jeter’s getting robbed of an RBI single by Pedroia, and though JD walked, Teixeira chased a 3-2 fastball out of the strike zone to fan and end the tenth for the Yanks.  Again the Yanks had multiple runners on in the eleventh when Jorge walked off Ramon Ramirez, Gardner’s subpar bunt and sharp play by Youkilis nailed Jorge at second, Cano singled, but Melky grounded into a DP.  Youkilis homered off Marte, who was otherwise good but couldn’t be for very long, to end the game.  Atrocious loss, just pathetic and atrocious.

Thirteen hits and eight walks, but the Yanks stranded an appalling 15 runners on 4-19 with RISP.  Jeter was 2-6 with a double and his 11th RBI, batting .290.  JD was 2-5, batting .315.  Teixeira continues his ascent, going 2-5 with his 10th RBI, batting .240.  Jorge fanned all three times he faced Lester, but was 1-4 with 2 walks, batting .286.  Swish was 1-4 with a double and a walk, batting .302.  Cano was 1-5 with his 10th RBI, batting .354.  Melky was 1-5 with a walk and a run, batting .286.  Molina was 2-3 with 2 walks, batting a respectable .273.  Ransom was 1-3 with his 6th RBI, batting .180, but has landed on the DL with a strained quad.  Too bad, for while he wasn’t playing great, he was at least starting to contribute.  All of the starters except for Molina (0) left at least three runners aboard in their respective at-bats, with Melky (6) and Swish (5) the most egregious offenders.  Coke and Albaladejo were excellent again, combining to allow just a walk (Coke) in 2 1/3 innings.  Mariano looked great before allowing the homer to Bay, a real doozy.  Marte looked great before the bomb that Youkilis hit, though his was more expected that Mariano’s allowing one.

According to Pete Abraham, always and impressively on top of things, Bruney has some elbow injury and has been sent back to New York for an MRI, which on the one hand explains why he hasn’t pitched, and on the other hand is not good news.  Bruney had been excellent and very reliable.  Now the Yanks need an eighth inning guy.  Wang was placed on the DL, resulting in Robertson getting called up.  With Bruney in all likelihood out for the Boston series and, if the news is bad, on the DL, does this mean that Melancon gets a crack?  It would be the wrong kind of opportunity, for Bruney and the Yanks since they need Bruney, but it would mean that someone else needs to pick up the slack and take charge.  Albaladejo and Coke, with Veras too, have shown a lot lately.  They deserve more work and, if Bruney is out, will get it anyway.  Robertson was good in his brief stint this year, for the most part last year and, as I discussed yesterday, has been dominant in SWB, as has Melancon. No one’s going to pity the Yanks.  The injuries hurt, but suck it up and play on.

Regardless, this was an atrocious loss, the worst by a country mile thus far and, against Boston and a division opponent on the road, with a lead, the chances to add on, and Mariano on the hill, all the worse.  Win as a team, lose as a team.  Today, the entire team let down in a poor, costly loss.  They tried their best but failed to give away the game on Wednesday.  Tonight, they succeeded in ignominious fashion.


Published in: on April 24, 2009 at 11:28 pm  Comments (10)  

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10 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. i can’t believe you managed to crank out this ( entertaining ) post mortem so quickly- i’m still in shock.

  2. Me too guys its 2pm here and I still can’t get it out of my head. I’ve only been watching for a couple of years but that is the worse loss of bring a Yankee fan for me. 4-2 bottom of the 9th just about to win the Sux get a 2 run HR of Mo. Then Youk my most hated player hits a walk off HR it could not get any worse then that.

  3. I think the Bruney injury is a big blow. He was pitching very well and we needed him last night and the outcome is perhaps very different. But he was an effective bridge to Mo.
    Brian fought back last year so let’s hope the same happens again. We really need him given some of the other inconsistencies in the pen. They are either lights out or not!

    I also think Girardi should have signaled Marte to pitch around Youklis who is red-hot and take the lefty JD Drew. Oh well. Easy to second guess but I think it would have mattered.

    a very tough loss. Not quite sure why Mo has that save issue with Boston. But everyone has a bad day and you are right in that we needed to get those RISP in especially in the 7th and 9th. Let’s hope for a nice bounce back and better National performance on FOX than last week.

  4. On Joba. He still is not as we were hoping but he did get some big double-play balls and seemed to be more focused. He did look a little out of it in the first inning and was slow to come home to cover the plate on his wild pitch and could have gotten hurt big-time with his butt squat to cover the dish. But let’s look on to the ‘A’ boys (AJ and Andy) to pitch well and silence the Sox.

  5. I had to get it out of my system last night, Mike. I worried that the post read as a sort of rant.

    Terrible loss, Nick–right there with July 24, 2004 (A-Rod-Varitek fight) when the Yanks were up five and blew it, and April 20, 2007, when the Yanks were up four and wasted Pettite’s gem in the eighth. In part, it’s because of those losses, and the fact that the Yankees have a long history going back to the 1940s of losing such games in Fenway, that I accept how much it sucks and am moving on–for the most part.

    It really makes today’s game a must-win. The series is still winnable and, if they take the next two, last night’s loss will be a lot easier to take.

  6. Oh, JEEZ yeah about performing better on FAUX than last week, Tom. That was horrible, too. Just horrible.

    I missed the first inning, so I’ll have to take your word on Joba’s slow cover. You may be right about Marte pitching around Youkilis, who is killing the ball.

    Totally agreed about Bruney, and hopefully it’s not serious and he can be back soon. He’s vital to the bullpen, which I and others see as having some turnover soon enough. Robertson is already up for Wang, and just might stay if he performs well and others don’t. Marte being signed through 2011 is already bothersome to me. The guy has been a bust thus far.

  7. good point tom about pitching round marte ( i will parrot jason), but i still can’t get over girardi panicking and pulling alby on an 0-1 count. if marte isn’t even able to get out ellsbury, then WHY is he on the team? this was a far less important moment to bring in mariano that when girardi should have brought him in for a 4 out save ( KC–yes, i’ll be talking about that all year) .

    Cano’s approach at the plate is just shameful. he just looks like he needs to be the hero and comes up hacking away. this is when a pitcher has walked the bases loaded and the first ball anywhere near the strike zone he bangs into a DP. Melky once again showed how useless he really is and brett gardner can’t even get a sac bunt down. I don’t now why matsui was never once called upon to pinch hit. the hitters were awful, but i think the game management was worse.

  8. Jason:
    Pleasure reading as always; good to be back!
    A few observations on the game last night, from a baseball perspective.
    Joba fields his position horribly. The “play” he made at the plate was one of the worst I have ever seen. Not only was he late, not only did he not block the plate, he left himself in no position to make a tag.
    Interestingly, Zach Greinke lost his scoreless innings streak last night on a play at the plate that should have been made.
    Both teams did an outstanding jobs on scouting the other teams DH, Ortiz, and to a lesser extent, Posada, looked woefully out of sorts against Chamberlain and Lester respectively.
    Varitek and Molina called brilliant games, which in my mind is the reason for all the rally killing DPs on both sides. As fans, we’re quick to hang the blame on the batter, but I think we must give credit to the catchers for calling a DP inducing pitch and the pitcher for delivering. The middle infielders do what they do, hogging the limelight.
    Today will be a treat for baseball fans, featuring two of the best 12-to-6 breaking balls in the league. Bandwagon fans on both sides might find it a tad boring.
    As always, thanks for publishing, allowing us lowly types the pleasure of reading!


  9. Saif! I was perusing Geoff’s BPS last week, and was wondering where and how you’ve been. Has everything been good? Thanks for dropping by.

    Interesting that you happened to post the 10,000th comment here at The Heartland. Congratulations! You win a free washer and dryer, and an all expenses paid tour around the blog.

    Agreed about how Joba fields (or doesn’t field) his position. Twice he made bad plays, in the first and also on the potential 1-6-3 DP. Good point about the catching. I’m a huge fan of Molina’s and he did a tremendous job on Burnett’s near no-hitter last week. He does a fine job of keeping hitters off-balance with pitch selection, and doesn’t get shaken off much–rightly.

    Burnett and Beckett, two ex-Marlins, will indeed provide the second excellent pitching match-up of the series. Very good breaking stuff, and lots of heavy gas.

    Be sure to come back soon, Saif.

  10. I agree about Cano’s mess last night, Mike. It was costly. The Red Sox made some good defensive plays to cost the Yanks, but there were various other opportunities for them to add on, and they failed. Cano’s DP ball was woeful. There are times when the team will get snake-bitten by good defense, as happened last night. But other times, they simply seem to lack the focus and patience to deliver in the clutch.

    So many chances, so little to show for it.

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