CC Mediocre and Bullpen Poor Again as Yanks Lose 8-4

In a poorly played game from both teams, the Yanks blew a 1-0 lead in a tight game as the Angels scored 8 in the last four innings to beat the Yankees 8-4. The bats cooled precipitously, hit poorly in the clutch, and accomplished precious little against journeyman Matt Palmer, who plainly pitched the game of his life to confound the Yanks.  As is their wont, the Yanks too often fail to hit new or unfamiliar pitchers.

Sabathia escaped a one-out bases-loaded jam in the second with a K and a liner to Cano.  He got more defensive help in the third when Melky laid out and dove to nab a diving liner right near the right-field line off Kendrick’s bat.  As I told Frank the Sage last night on the horn, I’m still not convinced that Melky is anything more than a good fourth outfielder.  After recommitting himself to the team and working hard, he’s had a good month.  On the flipside, he’s had a good month.  I’d like him to have a good season. Still, I’m impressed with his play and, since Gardner has been positively woeful at the plate, Melky deserves to play.

Ramiro Pena does as well.  He too made a tremendous play at third, diving to his left and stealing a single away Morales, then throwing from his knees to force Napoli at second base.  What a great play from the kid, whose glove is nothing short of outstanding.

But the Yanks again let a starter they jumped on early to settle into a groove.  New York scored one in the first though they could have had more, then again went into hibernation.  Jeter was hit by a pitch, then stole second on a play in which Erick Aybar got hurt.  The throw caromed off Jeter’s helmet and hit Aybar flush on the side of his face, knocking him down and from the game for a trip to the Yanks’ team dentist.  Hopefully he’s OK.  Teixeira walked, and Matsui again delivered, belting a fastball on the inner half at the knees to score Jeter for the first run of the game.  But Cano grounded out on the first pitch to second in one of his few poor at-bats this year, m0ving Matsui to second and failing to plate Teixeira.  Melky’s ground out to short ended a nice first, but one that could have been better.  It proved all the more costly, for the Yankees didn’t get another base runner until Jeter’s led-off ground-rule double in the sixth.

By then, the Yanks were in a tight 1-1 tie, with the Angels capitalizing on a Jeter error in the sixth.  Kendrick led off with a single, was forced to second on Hunter’s ground ball, and Jeter’s throw to first on Napoli’s grounder was high.  Thankfully, Teixeira kept it from clearing the dugout.  Hunter and Napoli executed a double steal, and Morales’s grounder scored Hunter to tie the game.  Although JD moved Jeter to third with a grounder to first, the struggling Teixeira popped out to shallow center, again failing to plate the runner.  Matsui’s K stranded Jeter and escalated our frustration in the Digital Living Room.

The seventh was a train wreck for CC and the Yanks.  Wood and Izturis singled, Figgins bunted them to second and third, Matthews K’d but Kendrick hit an infield single to deep second that Cano temporarily prevented from scoring two, but it was 2-1 Angels.  Hunter then doubled off the left field wall, belting a slider that was actually a decent pitch, over the plate but low, 4-1 Angels. Napoli then singled off Albaladejo’s first pitch, in for CC, 5-1 Angels.  Sabathia’s final line was not awful, and was made worse with the struggles in the seventh–6 2/3 IP, 8 H, 5 runs 4 earned, 1 BB (an improvement) and 5 K’s on 119 pitches/78 strikes.  I feel for Sabathia, and in some ways he pitched pretty well for most of the game.  But he rarely looked free and easy, rarely dominated, and struggled in the seventh.  He’s just not yet pitched like the ace that he is.

Though the Yanks loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh, they failed yet again to score.  Veras entered like just so much kerosene on a fire, allowing a lead-off homer to Morales, 6-1.  He then allowed two walks before escaping.  He’s just abysmal, and watching him struggle and flail is just painful.  He threw 26 pitches–10 for strikes.  At one point, Kay made the salient observation that Veras looked as though he didn’t know where the ball was going.  I agree.  It doesn’t help that his mechanics are slovenly.  I’d say that he’s moving toward a DFA at this rate.  What use is an arm that can muster up 96 when he risks hitting the figurative bull half the time?  I’m out of patience with the guy.

Robertson also struggled, walking two before allowing an RBI single to Rivera that Melky’s misplay allowed two runs to score, 8-1 Angels.  As Nick asked in the HDLR, can’t Robertson see some time other than in mop-up duty?  What’s with calling up guys like Jackson and Robertson only to let them collect dust next to Chris Britton’s corpse?  Jorge cranked a deep homer to right center to cut it to 8-3, but the Yanks went down 8-4 to a guy in Palmer whose work and story, at least for a day were vaguely reminiscent of Aaron Small.

Sabathia needs to be more dominant, though he wasn’t awful today.  The guy is a gamer, and his frustrations bubbled over after he was taken out today, but 1-3, 4.85 ERA is not the stuff of aces.  Veras is teetering on a DFA in my book.  2-11 with RISP doesn’t come close to cutting it, though they’re 13-32 with RISP this series.  Cano’s 18-game hit streak came to and end, but Matsui’s is now at 12, as he collected his 11th RBI, batting .288.  Jorge is batting .293, and his 5th homer also yielded his team-high 20th RBI, a very good start for the guts of the team.

Hughes (1-0, 0.00 ERA) faces Joe Saunders (3-1, 3.41 ERA) tomorrow at 1:05 as the Yankees try to take 3 of 4, about which I’d certainly be happy.  This is crucial, for the Yankees twice travel out to Anaheim this year, and would gather some momentum before the big but brief series against Boston.  Get the series win, guys.

Published in: on May 2, 2009 at 8:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

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