Yankees Lose Yet Another to Boston, 6-5: Wang, RISP Hitting Atrocious

The Yanks lost yet again to Boston 6-5, with a wretched start from Wang putting the Yanks down early, and poor hitting in the clutch dooming the offense. I’d also contend that they did themselves no favors by failing to stay patient with Wakefield, especially after working his pitch count up a bit. They’re not snake-bitten against Boston, clearly a good team.  They’re just not playing good team baseball and not clicking as they were beforehand, when the hitters and pitchers had picked up each other.  In the last couple games, their shortcomings cost them the AL East lead.

Emblematic of the Yanks’ problems against Boston was Jeter’s at-bat against Wakefield in the top of the fourth.  Immediately after a sixth-pitch third inning for him, and following blown chances in the first and second (with Swish doubled off first on Melky’s liner with no outs), Wakefield walked both Matsui and Swisher, and Melky singled in Matsui to cut the lead to 4-2, Jeter swung at the first pitch, flying out shallow and failing to advance the runner from his impatience.  Now to a (small) degree, I understand Jeter swinging at the first pitch because Wakefield’s knuckle ball is deceptive and troublesome, so it’s understandable to swing at something that looks good.  However, the more important issue is Jeter’s impatience at the very point when Wakefield was clearly struggling to throw a strike.  Even if he did throw one on the first pitch, fine–make him throw another or just lay off it if it’s off the plate.  It was a big out, for it broke up the Yanks’ momentum and quickly added an out and probably some confidence for a struggling pitcher.  Coupled with the Yanks’ seven-pitch fifth, which included a run but three quick outs, and their stranding six runners through four innings and hitting only 2-11 with RISP through five innings, the Yanks so often hurt themselves tonight.

Such issues mattered all the more when Drew tripled and, down 2-0 to Youkilis, Hughes grooved one about belt-high and Youkilis creamed it out to the bullpen in center, making it 6-2.  Overall, however, Hughes was very good–3 2/3, 2 hits, 2 runs earned on the homer, 2 walks, and 5 K’s on 67 pitches/39 strikes.  Truthfully, Hughes deserves another shot in the rotation over Wang, but I suspect that won’t happen until Wang gets another shot at screwing up.

JD and Teixeira creamed back-to-back homers to right in the top of the seventh to cut the lead to one, 6-5.  Yet the Yanks got nothing more off reliever Ramirez.  Swish helped to keep things close by making a great diving catch off Lowell leading off the bottom of the seventh, Hughes’s last batter.  In the process, he prevented an extra-base hit and eased the pressure on Coke who entered immediately afterward.  Swish was fully extended running and diving to his right, laying out for a great catch.  Coke was good in relief of Hughes, getting the lefties Ortiz and Kotsay in succession.  After Swish’s lead-off walk in the top of the eighth, and Melky’s bunting him over to second, the Yanks got nothing after Jeter and JD K’d against Okajima.  Aceves allowed a one-out double to Kotteras off the wall in the bottom half, but stranded him to keep the game a one-run affair.

Teixeira grounded to first for the first out of the ninth, A-Rod worked a good walk off Papelbon and Pena came in to pinch-run and subsequently stole second but, deespite Kotteras’s poor throw, Pedroia wisely backed up the throw to hold Pena at second.  Cano fanned chasing a high fastball for the second out, and Posada flew out on a 3-2 pitch to deep left to end yet another Yankees loss to Boston–all seven this year, 6-5 Boston.

The two main factors in the loss were Wang’s abysmal start–2 2/3 IP, 6 hits, 4 runs earned, 3 walks, and 3 K’s on 69 pitches/39 strikes.  He was horrible and, although it will probably come to pass that he will start again in order to try to solve his obvious issues and hopefully resuscitate his flagging confidence, he really shouldn’t.  That the Yanks called him up to overstuff the team with 13 pitchers was the real sin, as well as doing so before Wang had fully solved his problems.  The other main factor in the Yanks’ seventh straight loss to Boston was their utter inability to hit with RISP–2-15, stranding 10.  Another poor start, another botched collective effort in the clutch spelled defeat for the Yanks who, with that loss, drop into second place behind Boston.  I wasn’t very optimistic about Wang’s chances, but felt the Yanks would hit Wakefield.  They did early on, let him off the hook in the middle innings, then failed to come from behind from yet another hole in Fenway.

Teixeira was 4-5 with his 19th homer, 52nd RBI, and a double, batting .296.  Posada was 2-5 with his 9th homer, batting .297, Matsui 2-3, batting .253, JD hit his 13th homer, and Swish went 1-2 with 2 walks.  Yet Jeter was 0-5 to lower his average to .295, and is 2 for his last 24.  A-Rod was 0-3 with 2 walks, and is 0 for his last 11.  Neither has a hit in this series thus far.  Cano was 0-5 and is 2 for his last 15, batting .293 now.  Team offensive swoon lately, exacerbated by the fact that the Yanks are again creatively finding ways to lose games.

Sabathia (5-3, 3.56 ERA) now has loads of pressure on him to salvage a win against Boston and Brad Penny (5-2, 5.85 ERA), who should be hittable.  The questions are; will they?  Also, will Sabathia be the stopper he needs to be against a team, a division and heated rival no less, whom the Yanks have failed to beat in seven tries thus far this season?  We’ll see tomorrow night.

On Wang, my take is this–the Yanks screwed things up by not leaving him in SWB for a good while to iron out his problems, and by not relying on someone else instead for long relief.  Subsequently, Wang has worked out of the pen, at times effectively, but in the process did not build up sufficient strength to start or straighten out his form/head to effectively start.  At this point, the Yanks must stick with him either starting or in the pen because he has no options remaining.  Given how bad he’s been, I’d prefer that he stay in the pen right now because he’s not reliable enough to give them a quality start.  Yet long term, this creates the problem of what to do with him.  Keeping him in the pen won’t stretch him out to start, but does anyone even want to see that right now?  He’s basically occupying a roster spot in limbo as the team, in a mess of their own making as well, ponders what he can actually do effectively on the roster.  He and the Yanks have created a real quandry, one that will not be easily solved.

Published in: on June 10, 2009 at 9:58 pm  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. The impatience did bother me tonight also. 1st pitch swings at the knuckler.

    I do raise major questions that the Yanks need to answer.

    One thing I forgot to post at my place: any suggestions for bullpen help the Yanks should pursue at the deadline? Send suggestions. Post here or on my blog. Love to hear who you think the Yanks should target at the trade deadline to help the bullpen. You ALSO have to suggest who the Yanks give up in the deal, and have to be realistic. (I’d love to dump Veras, but who would take him and for what???).

  2. […] By prematurely calling up Wang, the Yankees have put themselves into a quagmire…and Jason agrees. […]



    I think you guys have my number?

  4. I’m really getting tired of having to sing this song, but what the hell is girardi doing by having melky bunt right after putting gardner into run? you dont go for a tie on the road you go for a win–either way though why NOT give your best shot for a stolen base a chance to get to 2nd before you WASTE an out with a bunt.

    i’m not sure how well wang would fare against the Nats as they have become a more patient team but they are also the worst team in baseball, so if they aren’t confident about him being able to beat them, then i really don’t see why he is on the roster. they have to come up with a fake injury, thats all there is to it.

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