Tonight’s embarrassing 12-5 loss at the hands of the Pittsburgh Pirates took a turn for the worse approximately eight pitches into the game. Tom Gorzelanny had started the game off with a strike but then issued four straight balls to Melky Cabrera. Derek Jeter saw two more balls go by, and then, as any good hitter would do, he took a pitch until he saw a strike and then unleashed a bullet into right field on the next pitch.
Rather, Jeter swung at a 2-0 pitch and hit into an inning-changing double play. This would come to represent, for the Yankees at least, the drive of the game, but Jeter wouldn’t be taking home a prize from Chevy for it.
Nearly three hours later, when the game mercifully ended, the Yankees found themselves at the wrong end of a 12-5 drubbing by a team that hadn’t seen its offense explode as it did for weeks. This was truly one of the lower points in the season, and as Joe Girardi said during the post-game interviews, “The whole game bothered me. We stunk is the bottom line. We stunk.”
While the pitching was terrible — and we’ll get to that in a second — the more infuriating part of this game was the Yankee offense. The Yanks’ bottom third — Robinson Cano, Justin Christian and the pitcher’s spot — went a combined 5 for 10 with two walks. Had the top of the lineup not gone 0 for 16 prior to a 9th-inning outburst by Jeter and Bobby Abreu, the Yanks could have slugged it out with the Pirates. But it was not to be.
On the mound, the story of the night was Darrell Rasner. The righty lasted just 5 innings, giving up 7 earned runs on 10 hits. He didn’t issue a walk, but does it really matter? For the month of June, Rasner finds himself 1-4 with a 7.00 ERA. He’s allowed 39 hits in 27 hits and isn’t confusing anyone anymore. After a stellar May — 3-1, 1.80 ERA — Rasner is crashing back to reality rather quickly.
Right now, the Yankees don’t have options behind Rasner. Either Sidney Ponson or Jeff Karstens will get the ball on Friday, and if either of them pitch well enough, they may get a chance to make a few spot starts in Rasner’s place. Alan Horne and Al Aceves aren’t quite yet ready to jump from AAA to the Bronx; Ian Kennedy is still a few weeks away; Phil Hughes and Carl Pavano — don’t laugh — could be ready at around the same time but not until August.
So what’s a team to do? (Other than dump LaTroy Hawkins, that is.)
For now, the Yankees will have to ride it out. It would help if the top of the lineup would produce against the Pirates though. But, hey, in a 12-5 game, there’s enough blame for everyone.