Let’s start with the familiar refrain: Johnny Damon and Alex Rodriguez paced the Yankees with three hits apiece, including one loooong home run for A-Rod. Darrell Rasner did what a fourth starter should do and gritted it out for five innings en route to his fourth win of the year and the Yanks’ sixth straight victory.
Now, the bad stuff: The Yankees scored eight runs against the Padres tonight and led the game for eight innings, but they could never put it away because the bullpen continued to allow San Diego back in the game. In both cases, I blame the pitchers.
We begin in the sixth inning. Darrell Rasner had labored through five innings, allowing eight base runners but only two runs. Just 55 of his 96 pitches were strikes. Against a better team, Rasner would have ended up a with a much worse pitching line.
In the sixth, Joe Girardi opted to call upon Edwar Ramirez, and the righty responded by dispatching the Padres on nine pitches. Ramirez earned himself a second inning of work, and after two outs, he surrendered back-to-back home runs on bad pitches to the Padres. After getting the third out, the Yanks would emerge from the top of the 7th up by just a run.
In the bottom of the inning, the Yanks plated two more, and Girardi went to Kyle Farnsworth. The enigmatic and infuriating reliever promptly allowed a home run, and two batters later, Khalil Greene doubled. I guess Kyle just wanted to pitch with the tying run up at the plate for as long as possible.
Eventually, he worked out of trouble; the Yanks scored another run in the 8th; and Rivera would exert himself through all of 11 pitches to nail down his 19th save of the season. Little harm, no foul, I guess.
But the problem is that for Farnsworth — and, recently, Edwar Ramirez — these struggles are a common occurrence. Ramirez has now given up a terrible nine HR in 43 big league innings, and until he gets that long ball rate down, the Yanks will never be able to rely on him in tight games.
Meanwhile, Farnsworth has been nothing short of bad over the last month. Since May 17, Farnsworth has appeared in 13 games, throwing 13.1 innings. He’s given up 17 hits and nine earned runs (6.08 ERA). While he’s struck out 10, he’s also walked six and has surrendered five home runs. For those of you keeping score at home, that’s 23 baserunners in 13.1 innings, and prior to Padres’ 2-for-5 evening , opponents were hitting .333/.423/.667 off Kyle since mid-May.
Joe Girardi, meanwhile, just doesn’t get it. While no manager would throw his own players under the bus, Joe has been a little too gracious: “You let them pass. They’ve been throwing the ball so well. Even Eddie tonight, he threw the ball so well. You hate for that to happen. I was happy with the way he threw the ball. Farnsy, he gave up a leadoff home run and then he bucked down. I’m not concerned.”
He’s not concerned, but the rest of us are. Right now, Farnsworth has done nothing to earn Girardi’s trust while Jose Veras, over the same time period, has put up numbers much better than Farnsworth’s. One of Girardi’s supposed strengths as manager was his approach to bullpen management, but so far, all we’ve seen is the same old “trust the same guys” approach that Joe Torre displayed to a fault. Tonight, it didn’t hurt the Yankees, but will they be so lucky next time?