Despite Melky the Once-Again Clutch’s ninth-inning dramatics to tie the game, the Yankees fell to the Phillies in 11, 4-3. Tomko struggled to find the strike zone before walking Utley with two outs and surrendering a double to Ruiz for the lead. Sabathia pitched well over eight, allowing nine hits, no walks, three runs earned, and fanning four. Veras was actually good for the ninth, working around a walk and fanning two, and Mariano worked the 10th for what could have been a win but, after The Captain and JD led off with singles, Teixeira grounded into a DP on a 3-2 pitch, and after the Phillies naturally worked around the dangerous A-Rod (despite going 0-4 with 3 K’s), Pena flew out to center to end what was a tough threat to win the game.
To me, a couple plays made big differences–and I say this with the caveat that I took my twrrific daughter to the pool for some sun and fun during the top of the sixth. She asks and receives as often as possible. She’s a great kid, brilliant, funny, nice, sweet as a peach, and works her butt off in school. She should get such modest requests. That said, Werth pegging out JD at the plate, and especially Ruiz’s stellar block of the plate, kept the Yanks from tying the game at 2 after the Phillies scored 2 in the top of the 3rd, and JD drove in Cervelli with a double. I don’t disagree with the send, but it was a risk with a good arm in Werth in short-to-medium left. Still, I like Thomson and his aggressiveness–make the left fielder, any fielder, make that play against a guy with good speed. The key to me wasn’t the throw as much as Ruiz’s play, nabbing the throw on one hop, blocking the plate, and tagging out JD at once. One could make a strong case for Ruiz being the player of the series, which the Yanks lost by the way. Ruiz was excellent throughout.
Not scoring in the bottom of the 10th hurt a lot and was, to me, a bad omen.
There is still weakness at the bottom of the order, and I hate to name names, but Gardner is still too spotty for me. So is Swish of late, and the both of them failed to deliver Melky in the bottom of the 9th.
The top of the order (Jeter 3-5, JD 2-5 with an RBI, Teixeira 2-5 with a run and RBI on his solo shot in the sixth) was excellent today–7-15 combined, but the rest of the lineup was atrocious, going 6-28 (.214). That ways a lot, considering that Melky the Once-Again Clutch was 3-5 with the game-tying RBI, his 20th. That means that aside from the top 3 and Melky, the team was 3-23–horrible. It’s not the first time that I’ve said this, but I’m officially concerned about Matsui and his knees. He was 0-5, and is down to .241. He’s 6 for his last 42 going back to May 9 and, the last that I could tell, it’s been some time since he’s had his knees drained. I’d be shocked not to hear some similar news in the next week. The tough situation is, without Posada and Nady, there are precious few DH options. A-Rod can, but Pena’s heretofore weak bat then is inserted in a pretty weak bottom three. The Yanks, as constituted with lots of big-salary players and others filling in injured, are unusually top-heavy. They need some depth back.
One of three against the Phillies stinks, but it could have been worse especially since the Yankees came back and won yesterday. They need more offensive consistency, especially in the early innings, to avoid the need for the late-game dramatics. With Toronto’s loss and Boston’s eventual win (up 7 as I write this), the Yanks will be close to but behind the lead in the tough AL East. Still, one heck of a home stand, going 8-2 to regain some confidence and momentum before hitting the road in Texas and the Land of Cleve. Yet it also shows that there are only so many times that a team can get down to its last outs and pull wins out. Despite the value of hanging in and winning tight games, which the Yankees have shown admirably this year, that’s no way to live.
On to Texas, which is playing good ball, leading the West, and getting some decent pitching to complement their hitting. 2 of 3 in Arlington would be great.