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.