Yanks fall to first-place Rays in extras

How can anyone take Hank seriously?

Now, that’s a weird headline to write. The concept of the Tampa Bay Rays being in first place on May 14 is causing some cognitive dissonance around here.

Anyway, the Yanks lost a heart-breaker tonight. The Chien-Ming Wang ground-ball machine that we know and love showed up in place of Chien-Ming Wang, the strike out artist. Wang went seven strong, allowing 7 hits and 1 run on 3 walks and 2 strike outs. He lowered his ERA to 2.90, and for the second straight outing, he walked away without a win. Over his last 14 innings, Wang has allowed 4 ER on 12 hits, and the Yanks have scored a grand total of zero runs with their ace on the hill.

Meanwhile, tonight’s loss belonged to Mariano Rivera in the record books, but he doesn’t carry the blame. The run he allowed tonight raised his ERA to 0.56, and it was bound to happen with some dinky hit as it did last night sooner or later. So instead of blaming Rivera, let’s play the Blame Game, Yankees Edition.

Alberto Gonzalez: The Former Attorney General comes up with runners on the corners and one out in the top of the second. He hacks at the very first pitch against a pitcher known for his control problems and hits into an inning-ending rally-killing double play. This set the tone for tonight, and if you don’t think the Yanks miss A-Rod, keep on enjoying those Morgan Ensberg/Alberto Gonzalez outs at the bottom of the lineup.

Bobby Abreu: Abreu put up perhaps the most pathetic 0 for 4 I’ve ever seen (and, yeah, in a week, I’ll look back on this fine piece of hyperbole and smile). The defining at-bat came in the 6th inning after Derek Jeter hit a one-out, Eric Hinske-assisted triple. Abreu came up and did exactly what the Yanks didn’t want by tapping out to short. When Jeter hit the triple, I just knew the Yanks wouldn’t score, and my prophecy sadly came true.

Jason Giambi: After watching a fieldable grounder roll by Giambi in the bottom of the 11th, I yearned for the days of yelling at Joe Torre for taking Giambi out in the late innings of a close game. Defensive replacments, where have ye gone?

Jose Molina: Great throw there in the 11th, buddy. Way to nail a runner.

But of course, the point of this blame game is moot. The Yankees are not going to win by scoring one run a night off of pitchers like Edwin Jackson. While it’s true he had good stuff, it seems like the Yankees have run up against a good number of pitchers who just happened to have good stuff against the Yanks. The American League just isn’t that deep in pitching.

Whenever the offense wants to wake up, I’ll be ecstatic. But this team is just putting too much pressure on their pitchers. Allowing two runs over 11 innings is fantastic, but with the way the Yanks’ bats are going, it’s not enough. No wonder the team is losing.

How can anyone take Hank seriously?
  • Tom

    In all fairness to Molina, I think there was plenty of time for Jeter to apply the tag to Gomes. He missed the tag.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      He bounced the throw and Jeter had to make sure it wasn’t going to bound off into center field first.

      • ceciguante

        molina shoulda had him. it was johnny friggin gomes.

  • Rich

    What passes for an offense is becoming unwatchable.

  • http://www.myspace.com/j_panama Jamal G.

    Hey, if you would’ve told me that at this point that the Yankees would have allowed less run than the Red Sox, Mariners and Angels without any contributions from Phil Hughes and Ian Kennedy, I would’ve hit you. But that is the case and the fact that the Yankees pitching has been pretty much league average with a Top 3 bullpen (in terms of ERA, I know, not the best stat but it serves my point well :P ) is the big key here. We need not worry because right now we have three solid to good starters (well Pettitte not of late but in general) and from top to bottom an overall damn good bullpen.

    The pitching has been better than expected with the events that have occurred thus far this season. The offense will not be this stale over the course of a full season, the probability is just way too low that this group of talent will suffer like this over 162 games. Seeing as how they scored a good amount of runs in the rain-shortened Detroit series just a couple days ago I do not see the reason for worying at this point. It’s May, it’s still so early in the season.

    To tell you the truth (and I know I am in the absolute minority, probably the only one) I do not worry about a team’s play game-to-game or even series-to-series until August. I still play baseball and like all of you who have played know, things happen on a day-to-day basis, on a week-to-week basis so you can’t harp on what happens in such a short time. Let the season play out, let trends fully develop.

    No need to worry, this is still the same collection of talent that was the best team in the second half of the 2007 season, everything is still Ok.

    • ceciguante

      the yanks have allowed less runs than the red sox b/c they’ve played fewer games. yanks team era is probably .3 higher than boston’s. it’s also 10th out of 14 in the AL, last i checked, sitting at about 4.4. not so good.

      • steve (different one)

        their team ERA is 4.31, Boston is 4.19.

        they are 10th, but within spitting distance of Boston, who are 7th.

        a team ERA of 4.31 with the offense they were SUPPOSED to have would be more than adequate.

        here are their team ERA’s in the last 4 seasons when they averaged close to 97 wins:

        2007 – 4.49, 94 wins
        2006 – 4.41, 97 wins
        2005 – 4.52, 95 wins
        2004 – 4.69, 101 wins

        so they are pitching better than they have since 2003, and still playing poorly.

        it’s really the offense right now.

        • ceciguante

          right now they’re about 8th in the AL in runs surrendered per game, 10th in ERA. not awful, but below average in keeping runs off the board. while it’s nice to see the team ERA falling from recent seasons, i wouldn’t use those teams as the litmus test b/c they obviously didn’t have enough pitching when push came to shove. (also, i don’t know if this is true, but it seems like scoring is down so far this year.) if your point is that these yanks could pitch like this and win 95+ games as long as they hit, that’s understood. my response would be: without good pitching, it won’t matter anyway in october.

          i agree that right now, offense is the bigger problem, ranking 10th in runs per game, and looking awful with RISP and generally lifeless — but the pitching isn’t what i would call good so far. they really need improvement on both sides. at least the offense has serious reinforcements coming.

    • pete c.

      Who’s worried, I disgusted. The offence is atrocious. They act like they’re going through the motions so they can collect a paycheck. Losing is one thing, but when this vaunted offence only scores one run in 11, somebody needs to grabbed by the back of the neck and given a good shake.

  • Jake

    I hope these last two outings don’t cost Wang his shot at 20 wins again.

  • http://riveraveblues.com JimT

    Don’t underestimate Edwin Jackson, he is haveing a very fine season and seems to have figured things out. The Jays are a good baseball team. They have excellent starting pitching, they catch the ball reasonably well and can hit. They may or may not be ready for prime time, but they shouldn’t be taken for granted.

    It wouldn’t be a great shock if they finish ahead of the Yankees this season. The Jays are a young team on the rise, the Yankees look old and tired.

  • http://MemoToSteinbrenner.blogspot.com Mr.MemoToSteinbrenner.blogspot.com

    They need a spark plug on top of the lineup I’m all for moving Melky to #1 hole and Damon to #3 even when Arod comes back, just dont think Johnny is a numb3r #1 anymore? I also would think about moving Jeter to #5 or #6 whom you place @2 …..? right now I’d say Abreu nd ask him to take more walks!!!! What this team doesn’;t do enough but the Great “90’s” teams did!!!!!

    I know Abreu isn’t the ideal numb3r #2 …but this lineup needs a shake up and even “Jeter” isn’t untouchable @ this point!

    And I would start taking offers for Cano, I dont care how great he will be he?
    His mental lapnesses and ineptitude sometimes makes him a player no matter his potential I dont care to have!

    We’ve WON before with the likes of Mariano Duncan and stop gaps @ 2nd before!

    Melky CF-S
    Abreu RF-L
    Damon LF-L
    Matsui DH-L
    Jeter SS-R
    Ensberg 3B-R
    Molina C -R
    Gonzales 2B-R

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      Please don’t submit the exact same comments to multiple posts.

      • steve (different one)

        especially when they are as bad as this one.

  • kingshaffy

    Seriously, i know that was a bad at bat but when Alberto Gonzalez is number 1 on your list of guys at fault – this team obviously sucks

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Ben K.

      I went chronologically through the game there. Gonzalez’s at-bat happened first.

      • TurnTwo

        and there is no reason why this offense should have to lean on Alberto Gonzalez for offense in the middle of May.

        Coming into the season, they were depending on too much offense from ARod and Jorge to sustain injuries to both players at once… but that is the chance you take.

        Now, they are getting virtually no offense from their 1B, 2B, 3B, and Catcher, and minimal to average production from LF, RF, and SS.

        I guess one could argue that the only true preformers a month and a half into the season are Melky in CF and Matsui at DH… and you arent going to win a lot of games, no matter how good your pitching is, when you are only getting above average production from 2 spots in your lineup.

        and there is no end in sight, and no help to be summoned, really… noone is going to trade away productive bats this early in the season, and they dont really have a big time offensive prospect to make a Robby Cano-impact call up.

        just gotta keep the faith, and hope that they somehow pull it together consistently for a week and get themselves on a roll.

  • David

    Giambi is a pylon at first, but that was not just a ‘grounder’ he missed. It was a bullet and only a gold glove caliber 1st baseman could have snared it. Given the offensive woes you can’t take Giambi out of the lineup in a 1-1 game.

    • TurnTwo

      beg to differ. Giambi is no offensive juggernaut to ‘have to’ keep him in the lineup; he’s just as likely, if not more likely, to make an out just the same as anyone else left on the bench… and anyone has to be better defensively at 1B than him.

      • http://2009 Haggs

        Sadly, Duncan is just as bad defensively, and wasn’t available because Girardi burned him for no reason earlier in the game. If memory serves the only bench player he had left was Moeller.

        Duncan is not a surer bet to get a hit than Ensberg is, so I’m not sure why he pinch hit Duncan for AGon then put Ensberg in at 3rd. In a 1-0 game with a 13 pitcher roster you can’t burn players like that, unless he is clearly a superior hitter.

        Giambi was on base 4 times last night. He hit a rope the night before against Garza, and has begun to show signs that his bat may yet have some life in it. He has to play every day.

        • pete

          duncan is much better defensively than giambi – first off he’s about 2 inches taller so he has a better stretch, second he’s younger and more athletic with better reactions, and third he’s got a much much better arm. I’ve seen every mlb game duncan has played, and i don’t see where this perception of him being a bad defensive 1B comes from. I don’t think he’s on the mientkeiwicz or even phillips level, but he’s league average certainly. I’ve seen him make a lot of great plays and few if any (i certainly don’t remember any) errors.

          • http://2009 Haggs

            Nah, they’re both below average, and Giambi is fairly adept at digging throws out of the dirt. The Big G also made a shockingly accurate throw to second base last night.

            Whatever slight edge Duncan may have on defense is offset by Giambi’s bat, which has begun to acquire a pulse.

            Anyway, if its last night we’re talking about the point is moot. There were no defensive replacements available.

  • ceciguante

    this team is a joke right now. losing a tight game to the rays? losing with both pettitte and wang on the mound? portend of more bad to come, b/c the 3-4-5 in this rotation is nothing to get excited about.

    it’s not edwin jackson and dan wheeler, or whoever shut them down the last several times. they have bad at bats, swing at balls and take strikes. no sense of urgency, either. they look like they’re sleepwalking, just like the first 2 months last year. did they learn from that lesson, or adjust? no.

    chronic inconsistency is not on the list of attributes of a winning team. i can understand pettitte getting bombed last night, it happens, but when they pitch like last night, they have to find a way to win. good teams win those games.

  • JT

    The leagues is so deep this year, its very hard to see the yankees pulling off the comeback we had last year, even though we arent as far behind as we were this time last year.

    And note to Cashman, do not be fooled by the occasional good days by abreu. Do not resign him. He is such a liability in the outfield. Is it just me, or does so many more balls hit to the outfield fall against that Yankees, then the opponents we play. Where is the friggin range!!!

  • r.w.g.

    I like the Tampa pitching staff. Edwin Jackson was a straight up stud in the Dodger’s system.. he just walked a lot of guys. And you know what? He might always walk a lot of guys. But I believe he can cut down his walks enough to consistently be a winning pitcher. Look at Daniel Cabrera.. the Yanks have lit him up at times, and other times he has made us look overmatched. Edwin is what? 25? Randy Johnson was like 26 or 27 before he started having take-notice seasons.

    I agree with the sentiment that it’s not fair to count on Alberto to generate offense, but he deserves to get taken to task for that AB. Got a scoring chance, you can’t be up there hacking against a guy who is tough to hit but prone to getting himself into jams. It’s the same crap Cano has been doing (although he’s getting some knocks the last week or so).. just hacking. It’s a surefire recipe to hit into a lot of DPs.

    You’ve just got to be honest and kind of go position by position when comparing the teams and ask yourself which guy from each team at each position you’d rather have on your team. LF, CF, 1B, the 3-4 spots in the rotation.. I’d take Tampa without a doubt. And their 3B and 2B aren’t bums either. The two teams are a lot more even in talent now, they really are. And once that happens, it’s just about doing the little things to win games.

  • nick blasioli

    jeter is the best leadoff man in baseball….will someone please tell abreu to start swinging the fricken bat….he takes to many pitches…hits score runs ,,not walks and strikeouts…we keep bringing up pitchers..arent there any descent hitters in the minors that can be brought up;…i dont know how ensberg hit more than 30 homers in a season…his swing in awful…garadi has to start runners..hit and run,,sac. bunts..nothing like that happens…

    • steve (different one)

      Grady Sizemore is better than Jeter.

  • Troy142

    Was it me or did anyone else notice that Mariano’s cutter wasn’t cutting last night? Even in the 1oth i noticed it and the pitch that Gross hit should have sawed him off. Instead it stayed mostly over the plate and ended up with more pace on it. Seems to happen every now and then.

  • mike

    Everyone above has made valid points, but it really snds up with the offense not having enough pop without Arod. Unfortunately, there is no power in the lineup without him, and thus the offense is stuck having to string 4-5 great at-bats together to put up a crooked number.
    With anemic production from 3b, C and 2b, and not good production from 1b and CF, its hard to get those at-bats together.
    I think the “brain trust” realizes this, and is the biggest reason Giambi is playing in the hopes he could get hot for a month and bring some punch to the lineup.

  • nick blasioli

    sure grady sizemore is a better leadoff hitter than jeter..but he plays for cleveland….