Bad luck, bad bullpen, bad breaking pitches doom Yanks

Starting pitching is the name of the game
More on Bruney's injury

Man, Phil was dealing in the early innings tonight, eh? After 23 pitches in two innings, Hughes looked like he was on a roll. According to Gameday — the only reliable gun in town these days — he was hitting 94 in the first inning, and that fastball looked bee-yoo-tee-full.

But then the rains came, and they came for just long enough to ruin the flow. Joe Girardi had to take out the young gun; there’s no way to second-guess this move. After a lengthy rain delay, Phil Hughes just had to come out. And that, folks, was bad luck. Phil seem calm and poised on the mound. It’s a sign of things to come.

When the bullpen took over, things went a bit south. Staked to a 3-0 lead, Ross Ohlendorf threw one good inning and one heinously bad inning. When the dust settled, Ohlendorf had probably punched his temporary ticket to Scranton by giving up 5 runs in short order. With Brian Bruney out and the bullpen overworked, Ohlendorf may get sent down for a little while just so the Yanks can call up some arms. Tough break for the kid right now.

But the going got worse next inning. LaTroy Hawkins served up a meatball to Jim Thome, and Thome, as he had done 512 times prior, deposited the ball over the fence. If Hawkins — Wednesday night’s sacrificial lamb — does his job, the Yanks take a 6-5 lead into the ninth.

The game though ended with Joba Chamberlain‘s recording his first career regular season loss. Chamberlain just didn’t have his best breaking pitches tonight, and in the 9th, he was hit hard by A.J. Pierzynski and Carlos Quentin. One of those balls went for an out while the other went for a double. A liner into centerfield off the bat of Joe Crede sent the Yankees off to Cleveland, losers tonight but winners of three of four.

For Joba, tonight’s game simply shows that, yes, he’s fallible. He won’t be perfect forever coming out of the pen. While I’m sure the pro-bullpen contingent will claim that Joba’s faltering in his second inning of work tonight means that he is not suited for the rotation, that is laughably far from the truth. As a pitcher is wont to do now and then, Joba just didn’t have his best stuff. It happens. Just like Jason Giambi‘s fouling out with the two outs and the bases loaded. Just like Jorge Posada hitting into a pinch-hit double play.

Bad luck, bad bullpen, bad breaking balls. We’ll get ’em in Cleveland tonight.

Starting pitching is the name of the game
More on Bruney's injury
  • Ivan

    Yeah tough loss but hey Phil looked good despite for only two innings. His curveball was a little bit off but his fastball had the velocity that was reminiscent of the old Phil. Hopefully he has better command of his curve next start to go along with that fastball because that will important especially when his next start is against the Tigers who are hitting right now.

  • Brian24

    I’m not sure I even agree that Joba didn’t have his best breaking stuff. I’m watching the pitch to Crede in slow-mo, and it was a nice slider, on the outside corner, with a nasty late drop that takes it down to Crede’s knees. That’s a tough pitch, and it’s to Crede’s credit that he stayed with it.

    I think this was more a case of sometimes even good pitches get hit. The one Pierzynski took to the warning track was the only bad pitch I saw.

    • Ben K.

      The one Quentin hit wasn’t a great pitch either really.

  • Manimal

    hahaha, that “we’ll get Cleveland tonight” was a perfect ending.

  • Travis G.

    a bad one. this game was winnable. according to gameday, Hughes ranged from 92-95 tonight, so can we please stop talking about his (decreased) velocity now.

    i had a bad feeling when giambi popped out with the bases juiced and was cursing posada after the GDP.

    really sucks that Hughes went just 2 bc if he goes say even 5 ip, 3 er, it’s better shape than what ohlendorf put them in. and in fairness to him, he pitched a great 1st inning, but to get through those great hitters it helps to have a 3rd pitch and he doesn’t (or doesn’t have confidence in it now).

    i’ll try to be an optimist: better to lose this game in the 9th than to keep it tied well into extra innings, burning out the ENTIRE pen for the upcoming series. at least Mo is rested.

    with any luck, Farnsy and Bruney go on the DL (nothing against bruney but he’s in a cast), Ohlie and Moeller go down. that allows shelly, along with 3 of Patterson, Edwar, Britton, Alby, Veras to come up.

    and for the record, that 1-2 fastball to quentin in the 9th should’ve been strike 3.

    • Travis G.

      PS: Melky has been great this year (outside of some uncharacteristic not-great throws).

      • Travis G.

        PPS: if Abreu’s double is a foot higher, the Yanks score 7 runs instead of 6…

  • BigBlueAL

    i wrote this in the game blog, and i will write it again here. Joba should definitely be a starter, BUT NOT THIS SEASON!!! u r gonna have to send Joba down to the minors to get him extended to be ready to start, and im sorry, he is gonna need 5 to 6 starts at the minimum, and that will mean basically over a month with no Joba period. plus, if hopefully Moose, Phil and Ian pitch decent from here on, who do u drop from the rotation???? and lets be serious about the talk of Ohlendorf or even Bruney takin over the 8th inning role from Joba when he becomes a starter. the fact the rest of the bullpen has pitched basically horrible besides Bruney, is another reason not to switch Joba this season. PLUS, Joel Sherman has written about this, when u read all the comments of the players about Joba, they all say he should be in the bullpen this season, so switching him to the rotation for no reason (unless u have long injuries to a current starter or one of the back 3 starters continue to struggle) u could alienate/piss off alot of players on the team. BY ALL MEANS, he should be a starter in 2009 and beyond, but for this season, there is NO WAY he should leave the bullpen.

    • Travis G.

      dont forget, but if Joba’s a reliever throughout this season, his innings wont top 100. you cant expect him to be a full season starter in 2009 then, bc jumping up to 200 up is very risky healthwise. it has to be done gradually which is why he needs to get 140 this year, so that he CAN go 170 in 09 and then 200 in ’10.

      if he does manage 100 this year (a helluva lot for a reliever), he’ll still be at least a year behind schedule and we’re having this same discussion next year.

    • Mike P

      It’s pretty simple: this year determines whether he’s a reliever or a starter. You keep him in the bullpen this year you keep him in it forever because then you have the same old conversation every spring… “if we want him to start we have to send him down”. And then you still have the issue of building arm strength.
      If you think you can have both Joba relief ace 08 and staff ace 09-beyond, you’re sadly mistaken.

  • Rich M.

    farnsworth hurt his elbow, most likely going on the dl according to Pete Abe. bruney possibly to the berevement list, something about his uncle.

    • Guiseppe Franco

      That’s not what Pete said:

      “Meanwhile Kyle Farnsworth injured his elbow on the last pitch he threw in the seventh inning when he slipped on the mound. He didn’t seem to think it was too serious but they’ll know more tomorrow. Had he not felt something, he was going to go back out there for the next inning.”

      He didn’t say anything about a DL stint but I hope Farnsworth does go on the DL.

      I don’t want him pitching for this team anyways.

  • zack

    But Joba is the 8th inning guy!!!!11!!!! Only he can come in a pitch perfectly and make sure this team wins? Wait, what? He got the loss? But surely that’s not possible????

  • ikl

    Ohlendorf seems like a misfit as long man. He might be able to the job, but if the whole reason that he moved to the bullpen was because he has more velocity when only pitching for short stretches, using him as a long reliever defeats the purpose of putting him in the bullpen in the first place. I hope that he gets a shot to be a one to two inning (up to 25-30 pitches) guy at some point this season.

    • swo

      Absolutely right. I don’t know what Girardi is thinking making him the long man. He’s so much better suited to short relief, and I hope he becomes a trusted reliever as opposed to the guy who only pitches when a starter falters.

      I’m not worried about him. Hopefully this is a wakeup call to Girardi, and hopefully Ohlendorf shrugs this off. And most of all, I hope the Yanks actually call up a long man now.

    • GoYankees

      The lack of a long man killed the Yanks chances. That was a risk Girardi took, and this time it cost a game.

  • Jamal G.

    A look ahead to the Cleveland series, Chad Jennings says that the Tribe will call up Aaron Laffey from AAA Buffalo to pitch the fourth and final game of the series in Cleveland.

    Aaron Laffey has pitched well so far this season at AAA with a 1.61 GO/AO and a K:BB slightly above 3:1. Also he has allowed 2 ER or less in four of his five starts (with three of them being shutout starts) up in Buffalo including a three inning shortened outing tonight against our very own Scranton Yankees. He is a southpaw 10 days removed from his 23rd birthday.

    He throws 87-89 MPH with excellent movement and heavy sink with a slurve/changeup combo for his of-speed offerings.

  • barry

    Eh I still like Ohlendorf, he’s better than what we could have.

  • Josh

    Girardi lost this game.

    Jeter leads off the 9th with a single. With the BP gassed, you have to play for one run there. Therefore, you bunt with Abreu and move Jeter to 2nd.

    Had Hideki then singled (like he did), the Yankees take a one run lead and you bring in Mo to close.

    Game over’er

    • BigBlueAL

      lets be serious, u dont hardly EVER bunt with Abreu, and all that wouldve happened was either Matsui gets walked, or Jenks comes in a batter early, therefore u cant assume Matsui singles again in that situation. it worked out perfectly, 1st and 2nd with only 1 out, and Posada pinch-hitting. couldnt have asked for a better situation in that spot. this game was screwed once the rain came and Hughes was done after 2 innings, Girardi was hamstrung from then on. best chance to break this game open was Giambi with the bases loaded in the 7th after we had tied the game. granted there were 2 outs, but Linebrink had given up a hit to Ensberg and walked Cano in 4 pitches out of all things. if Giambi couldnt come thru in that spot, honestly what is the point in continuing to put him in the lineup at 1b…..

      • Mike P

        Let me guess… if Giambi and Posada’s roles were reversed it’s still Giambi’s fault. It’s a bit predictable to blame everything on Giambi and forget Girardi/Abreu/Posada/Chamberlain/Ohlendorf/Hawkins.
        And if Giambi gets the hit, “Melky’s homer was the reason we won despite Giambi”?

        Even the greatest make more outs than hits so saying “if Giambi can’t come through in that spot what’s the point of him” is just dumb. Even Babe Ruthmakes more outs than hits in that spot.

        • Yankee1010

          I agree that Giambi isn’t the only reason the Yanks lost the game. However, let’s hold off on the “greatest” and “Ruth” proclamations about our .161/.333/.375 1B.

          • Mike P

            That’s not what I was saying. I was meerely pointing out the absurdity of saying Giambi is pointless based on his bases loaded out. Giambi was 2-4 with 2 runs scored so criticise him for the rest of his season so far, not yesterday.

            What I said was that holding up Giambi to a Ruthian standard is stupid. Re-read what I wrote before having a go because I used the words “Ruth” and “Giambi” in the same post.

          • Jamal G.

            Let’s hold off on the Giambi bashing after he’s shown signs of breaking out of the slump this series in Chicago. You guys are quick to bash him but won’t dare give him credit will you?

            • Yankee1010

              Do people want me to anoint him? Yeah, he got 2 hits last night. Yippee. He also almost threw away a ball to Hughes in the 1st and dropped a catchable foul pop in the 2nd. It would be great if the broken-down relic could mash, but don’t be fooled by one series.

              • Mike P

                Nobody wants you to anoint Giambi. Criticise him all you want. Just be coherent so people can understand what your point is.

                It would help if you didn’t sidestep any discussion.

  • Rich

    I think the week off took a toll on Joba’s stamina.

  • Clemson Rob

    Dear Brian Cashman,

    Please release LaTroy Hawkins. I would rather see an Edwar changeup then LaTroy giving up runs EVERY TIME HE PITCHES. Number 21, number 22, he could be number 99 and he would still be terrible.



  • Chip

    I’m pretty sure Joba was going to be going for 5 innings if need be. His fastball was 94-96 mph and his slider was mid 80’s. I was ecstatic to see him working on that. So he got hit around a bit, he still looked goo even with his “starter’s stuff” going. I can’t wait to watch him 6-7 innings at a time!

    I was absolutely screaming at Latroy today. I’m sorry but the man isn’t a sinkerball pitcher. He has to go back to his power reliever mentality and the ground balls will come.

    I’d imagine that with Bruney and Farns possibly going on the DL that we’ll probably get Patterson, Alby and one of Rasner/Igawa. Ohlendorf is getting burned out and you can see it. If you have him up, you can’t use him as a long man. He’s consistently great the first inning and gets knocked around once he starts to tire

    • Jamal G.

      What about those 3+ innings he gave us in Baltimore in IPK’s last start? He looked damn good their for a per longed outing.

  • Wolf Williams

    A lot of second guessing here today, but it seems wiser to just say that with the awful rain last night, let’s just chalk it up to a bad evening and move on. There is plenty of blame to go around, and a lot of guys could have done one little thing differently and that one-run game would have swung the other way.

    That, to me, was the definition of a ‘team loss.’ As in almost all one-run losses, practically everyone on the team had a chance at one time or another to make a tide-turning play. Hats off to the ChiSox. But that one’s over. Now, let’s go slap around some Clevelanders….

  • Tripp

    Well my biggest question is with all of the changes that need to be made because of bullpen injuries and what not….when are they going to send Moeller back down and call up Duncan.

    They could really use his power this weekend against the lefties.

  • mustang

    Phil looked good. His control still seemed a bit off, but if you match these two innings with the first 4 from his last start you could see things getting better.
    Ensberg is just money.
    Then there is 21,22,86 or whatever number he wants to wear this week. LaTroy should wear the number 375 to reminds us of 375 million dollars the Yankees pissed away.

    • mustang

      Sorry I meant 3.75 million. That’s a very expensive period. LOL

  • mustang

    Any idea of which guys they might bring up?
    They done so many moves I don’t know whom they have and whom they can and can’t bring up.

    • swo

      Patterson hasn’t been lighting it up and Veras pitched yesterday, so as far as fresh pitchers are concerned, it would probably be Albaladejo and Rasner, who will be added to the 40-man when Chad Moeller is DFA’d. Shelley will be called up, since we can use the extra bat.

  • Jorge Steinbrenner

    That’s a game you’re just going to lose. We had our best out there, and they beat our best.

    Knowing Girardi, Ohlendorf has NOT punched his ticket to Scranton. We’ve seen Girardi make sure guys get back out there after bad outings, and I don’t think this will be any different. Ohlendorf should be in the majors.

    • Chris

      He’s been used very heavily early in the season, and going down for a 10-day break could help keep him fresh for the full season.

  • JohnC

    Hawkins didn’t lose this game. Ohlendorf did. Also, blame the failure of Giambi and Posada to deliver in the clutch as the reason they lost this game.

    • Mike P

      How about I throw out the revolutionary idea that the team lost the game? Blame everyone. I know it’s not popular with Yankee fans but hey most of the time in a team game it’s not an individual’s fault when you lose.

  • Chris

    I sort of think that Joba giving up a run in the 9th was the best possible outcome at the time. The only pitchers left in the bullpen were Mo (who pitched more than an inning Wednesday) and Traber. If this had gone to extra innings, it could have been even worse in terms of using up our bullpen.

  • E-ROC

    Abreu could’ve prevented Ohlie’s big inning, if he wasn’t so afraid of the wall.

  • pete

    ensberg really makes you appreciate a-rod’s defense. That 5 run inning would have plated 1 or 2 max if a-rod had been in there.

  • LiveFromNewYork

    We can’t expect our battered bullpen to go 7 innings. The fact that the offense kept us in the game was great but once Ohlie was out there for 50 pitches was when the game was lost. We stayed in it though.

  • LiveFromNewYork

    And I agree that the team lost the game…not Ohlie. He was out there too long and there was no one to relieve him so there wasn’t a lot of choices. It was a managerial decision that isn’t clear cut wrong but it stacked the deck against us at that point.