A painful game, lost by everyone

SWB wins see-saw extra innings affair
An A-Rodian 'What If?'

It’s hard to wrap up a 16-11 game that unfolded as Saturday’s Yankee game did. David Pinto wondered if it was the worst game ever, and I don’t think he’s too far off the mark. No team pitched too well; the umpires didn’t really call a good game; and despite scoring 11 runs, the Yanks didn’t come through when it mattered.

Of course, that outcome — a sloppy, heart attack-inducing game — seemed far from reality when the Yanks and A.J. Burnett arrived in the bottom of the 4th with a seemingly comfortable 6-0 lead. For the first four innings, the Yanks had Josh Beckett’s number, but in the fourth, it all fell apart.

A.J. Burnett didn’t get strike calls on two very close pitches to J.D. Drew, and a few batters later, Jason Varitek cheated fastball. The outcome? A grand slam. A pitch f/x review revealed that the home plate blew the calls on Drew, but what’s done was done.

Burnett would last long enough to give up the lead, and the Yankees and Red Sox engaged in a battle of the ineffective bullpens. The Sox jumped ahead 8-6, the Yanks tied it. Then, the Sox went ahead 9-8, and the Yanks took a 10-9 lead on a Dustin Pedroia error. The Sox went ahead 12-10; the Yanks clawed back to within one.

Then, in the bottom of the eighth, umpiring disaster struck again. On a 1-0 pitch-out, Jorge Posada threw out Jacoby Ellsbury, but the umpire blew the call. Replays showed Ellsbury out by about a foot, but the inning continued. The Sox scored four runs, and the Yanks couldn’t muster a five-spot off of Jonathan Papelbon in the ninth. If anything has laid bare the arbitrary nature of MLB’s use of instant replay, it was that play.

The truth though is that it’s impossible to blame the umpires. If the two umps make the right calls, the Yanks probably win, but if the Yankee bullpen doesn’t give up eight runs in three innings, the Yanks win. If the team goes better than 3 for 17 with runners in scoring position, the Yanks win. If A.J. Burnett doesn’t allow eight earned runs in five innings, the Yanks win.

On the season, the Yankees are 9-8, and it’s hard to believe the team is over .500 right now. They have a vacant offensive hole in center field, no third baseman and a Jekyll-and-Hyde bullpen that can’t get outs. Their erstwhile ace is in Tampa with a hip injury after throwing six innings of historically bad pitching, and outside of Robinson Cano, nothing has clicked. With just one-tenth of the season down, no one should be jumping off of any ledges quite yet.

The Yankees and the Red Sox will do it again tonight at 8 p.m. Andy Pettitte and Justin Masterson will square off on the ESPN special. It should be a crisper game than yesterday’s, but that’s not setting the bar too high.

SWB wins see-saw extra innings affair
An A-Rodian 'What If?'
  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

    Ben, my friend, please step off the ledge :)

    I would actually argue that the offense has been doing quite fine-they have failed to score four runs only once on the young season.

    Yes, the RISP numbers need to improve, but when A-Rod returns to the line up, and you don’t have quite the black hole at the bottom of it, I think the numbers will end up just fine.

    • mustang

      Agree.

    • http://deleted RollingWave

      A-rod to improve RISP batting? :P

      The offense havn’t been that bad. they’re scoring quiet a bit, and the RISP thing seems more of a result of them having a ton of baserunners (and that epic black hole that tend to come up after a ton of people get on)

      The pitching have been ehhh. but there are enough reasons to believe that it’ll improve.

      • http://www.nowlive.com/desktop/default.aspx?id=100330797 Joey H

        Oh absolutely. It was all in that hip….. … … yeah..

        • RollingWave

          “insert” Maddana jokes here.

  • A.D.

    So far a shitty series for the Yankees. Hopefully Pettitte can salvage tomorrow, and move forward until pitching click & A-Rod returns.

  • mustang

    “On the season, the Yankees are 9-8, and it’s hard to believe the team is over .500 right now.”

    And that’s the best thing anyone can say if they ever get their ducks in a row look out. The big questions is IF.

  • Joey H

    Said it right Benny. Again, people need to realize that this may be the worst the team is all year.

  • JobaWockeeZ

    Meh as long as we avoid the sweep and hope the Red Sox lose their next series while we win ours versus the Tigers I’ll be ok.
    But A-Rod really needs to come back. He’ll definitely be back before May 15th.

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

    I really want to have a Robinson Cano appreciate thread. Maybe we’ll do that tomorrow. Seeing him put up his numbers and utterly mash the ball right now is far and away my favorite part of this young season.

    • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

      2nded

    • mustang

      And how many people wanted to trade him this past winter?

      I know he is going to slow down somewhere this season, but I never thought he could take his game to this level.

      • mustang

        not you but many others

      • MJ

        You don’t remember last July after the all-star break when he went hot and the Yankees followed by winning 7 in a row?

        Cano has the potential to be the best second baseball in baseball. Lets just hope you’re not a scout.

        • MJ

          The correct word being *basemen* :D

        • mustang

          I also remember when he had the plate discipline of a little leaguer.
          I’m sorry, but it’s like he is another player even at his best he didn’t look this good.

      • Joey H

        Not me. There aren’t too many players out there that can replace him and his potential growth.

      • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

        So I kinda feel like the question of mine that was asked on the Joe Girardi show last week, about the bullpen, which was a stupid question at the time, is no longer such a stupid question.

        If I don’t ask that question the bullpen coasts, right?

        • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

          Grah. That is not supposed to be there. I fail at life.

    • Joey H

      What impresses me and goes under rated is that he is hitting the ball to all fields. That’s a sign of not slowing down.

      • A.D.

        Key is smarter about pitch selection thus far, waiting for the pitch to hit.

        • mustang

          Dead on!

          The old Cano even when he was hot looked like he was swing at everything, but this guy goes up with a plan.
          Did you see how long he waited to hit that curve ball?
          I Guess the best way to put it is that he looks like he is thinking now not just using raw talent.

          • Joey H

            He took a standing bat on the shoulder first pitch strike today. I was impressed. True signs of maturity.

          • http://ranger2709.blogspot.com/ Old Ranger

            Cano is different…he likes the curve, not the FB.

            • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

              Old Ranger! Where you been, man? We missed you.

  • Thomas A. Anderson

    A Yankee Red Sox game on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball? This thing isn’t gonna end until midnight at the earliest.

    • A.D.

      thought of listening through joe morgan is already hurting my ears

      • http://www.nowlive.com/desktop/default.aspx?id=100330797 Joey H

        It’s going to be one of those days where Sterling and Waldman get my attention.

      • jim p

        They should call it “The Joe Morgan Has Strong Opinions, Repeated Often, Show”

  • http://www.yankees.com matt merc

    they should try robbie in the 3 spot and bat tex cleanup until arod comes back

    • Joey H

      Now, I agree with you. Before, I wouldn’t of. His power numbers are clearly there and he isn’t hacking at anything. Not a bad idea.

      • Brooklyn Ed

        probably Girardi will move him up after today’s performance tomorrow.

        • http://www.nowlive.com/desktop/default.aspx?id=100330797 Joey H

          Wouldn’t be such a bad idea.

  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

    Repost, in the proper place (we so need a delete button)

    So I kinda feel like the question of mine that was asked on the Joe Girardi show last week, about the bullpen, which was a stupid question at the time, is no longer such a stupid question.

    If I don’t ask that question the bullpen coasts, right?

  • Rich

    Ben’s post got me thinking…the George of the ’70s and ’80s would have fired Eiland tonight.

    • Drew

      Eiland? Why

      • Tony

        Girardi*

  • JobaWockeeZ

    You know I wonder if Molina caught Burnett’s game, would the outcome be different? JoPo has been calling for a lot of curveballs in the inning Varitek got a GS.

    • yankees=warriors

      I’m wondering the same thing.
      AJ worked so well with Molina the last 2 games, Posada should have caught Joba Friday…

  • BigBlueAL

    The Yankees have an MLB worst 6.41 Team ERA. With all the money spent on the pitching staff and how everybody was talking about w/o Arod how the pitching will carry the team through the first month or two of the season because this Yankees team was different than the ones in the past because of its pitching, this start so far couldnt be any more disappointing.

    At least the Yankees have their best pitcher pitching Sunday night to try to avoid a sweep at Fenway, none other than of course Andy Pettitte. Can you imagine if he hadnt been re-signed….

  • Tom Zig

    I just don’t understand how everything went so bad. It eerily reminds me of the first Boston series of 2007.

    Mo on the mound 9th inning, 2 outs with a two run lead, facing a batter who hasn’t really seen all that much of him…can you think of a better situation?

    6 run lead, Burnett cruising, Yanks tattooing Beckett. Can you think of a better situation?

    If there is anything positive we can take away from these games it’s that Cano is awesome and our hitters are either being very patient or Boston pitchers love to hand out walks. 16 walks in two games by Boston pitchers as opposed to “only” 12 by ours.

    Rebecca, you put it the best on your blog. Someone really must have burned a stack of 20 bibles in the Bronx.

    I mentioned this earlier, is our bullpen ineffectiveness and injuries due to overuse? Last night our bullpen put a lot of work in. What happens tonight? It blows up.

    Am I overreacting?

    • http://twitter.com/OldRanger Old Ranger

      Mo has a history of giving it up in the month of April…1 or 2 games, then he gets it going.
      No, you are not over-reacting. Those guys are programed to go one inning, maybe 1.1, not 2+. It takes a couple days to recover, if one doesn’t take the rest, it will show up within a game or two. We have a good bunch of arms out in the BP, things will work out just fine.

    • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

      “Last night our bullpen put a lot of work in. What happens tonight? It blows up.”

      But it didn’t. We had an off day on Thursday, and Joba got us to the 6th on Friday. We used 4 relievers in yesterday’s game, we have 9 guys out there. The only ones who were used back to back are Alby, Marte and Coke. The bullpen is NOT overworked, it was just ineffective yesterday.

      • El Generalissimo

        Got us to the 6th of an extra inning game. There are now only 3 pitchers who will be 100% fresh tomorow Jackson, Melancon, and Mo

  • Pete c.

    First of all, has everyone forgotten that in Fenway no lead is safe. 6-0, in the 4th had me chewing my nail from the get go. Sure enough, after seeing 52 years of baseball in that blackhole, my worst fears were realized. Friday night was the key to this series. After having them down with 2 out in the 9th, Boston comes back, I don’t care how many games the Yanks have in front of them this year, it had to be disappointing. Arod coming back will help, but this team, with the new additions has to play together for a few months before they gel. The rotation will come around, the pen hopefully will have a repeat of last year, and with any luck they find an everyday center fielder. Didn’t Sabathia start out crappy last year too?

    • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

      “First of all, has everyone forgotten that in Fenway no lead is safe. 6-0, in the 4th had me chewing my nail from the get go”

      Glad somebody wasn’t born yesterday.

      Also, give credit to the hitters. That 3 run bomb by Lowell was a pitch right in on his hands. He did a great job of squaring that pitch up and ESPECIALLY keeping it fair. I saw that replay 5 times and I’m still amazed at it. But Lowell is good at that, we’ve seen him do it before.

      My only complaint about Girardi was with Alby. He was up in the zone and he’s sinkerballer, so like Wang he will get crushed when he doesn’t get his pitches down. But at the time he had faced 3 batters, only 1 of which got a hit, so I can’t go crazy. I know what he was thinking, one good pitch and Alby gets me a double play. The mistake was walking Drew with Alby missing up in the zone.

  • Tripp

    I just can’t figure out why Coke isn’t allowed to stay in the game longer. He’s been on fire his last 5 or 6 appearances, yet Girardi pulls him after 1/3 and 2/3 of an inning. Run him back out there for another inning.

    • Steve B Ball

      It’s because Girardi is best at not knowing how to handle his relief guys and his pitchers in general

      • http://twitter.com/OldRanger Old Ranger

        Kidding, right?

    • http://www.theyankeeuniverse.com/ Artist formerly known as ‘The’ Steve

      That would be the same Coke who got destroyed when he did exactly what you suggest in Kansas City?

      Coke is a lefty specialist, who you can let for a batter or two here and there. He throws a fastball and a slider. The slider is very hittable from the right hands side of the plate, even if you back door it. Also, his velocity isn’t where it was late last year.

      • El Generalissimo

        While that’s true, you assume his velocity will get back up to 94 by midseason… but I disagree that Coke is a lefty specialist, when he is in the groove he can get all hitters out.

      • Tripp

        Everyone disagrees that Coke is a lefty specialist. I’ve read many articles stating that because he has the ability to bury the slider in on righties he can easily pitch to both.

  • Mike B.

    I was out fishing all day and then came home to watch the highlights and get the score….

    Unbelievable! Our pitching staff really let us down, and of course there were a few blown calls. But it’s out pitching that should be our concern right now.

    And now the injury bug has bitten us again. Could it be that the Yanks’ conditioning program is somehow causing our injuries? Just wundrin’….

    Let’s hope we salvage tonight’s game!

    Mike

  • JeffG

    I just listened to AJ’s post game comments on LoHud… he pretty much admitted that he has got to be smarter. Does that mean shaking off Jorge? He def wasn’t blaming Jorge but the pitch selection was really retarded at times. I still can’t get over the inside fastball that was called for Lowell (Alba-pitching?). How can our catcher allow that?

    I realize that these are April games and there is no need to feel doom and gloom but I do see the serious flaw that should be addressed – Jorge has got to handle the staff better.

  • Reggie C.

    The RS really aren’t at a loss for offense against us. We are. We can’t outslug them right now. Watching AJ implode was sad and disturbing. Was anybody too shocked that Beckett wasn’t competitive? But we all expected a better game from Burnett and got treated to a Wang-esque implosion in the 4th inning.

  • jonathan

    For what its worth this is Yankee Baseball in April, it is horrendous…it is the worst form of torture. Almost every year over the past 7 or 8 the yankees make roster moves that makes us think “we are going to be lights out!” Then the April rolls around and we play .500 baseball and its painful…”if” this team puts it together we are going to be a juggernaut. I just hope that these shitty weeks in april galvinize the team.
    Also this is Fenway, we are playing the Boston “we can only win at Fenway” Red Sox. Lets see them win 8,9,10 in a row with out a 9 game home stand.

    • Arod, all the time

      “the Boston “we can only win at Fenway” Red Sox”

      What kind of nonsense is that? Road splits since 2002: BOS .541 NY .542

      You put their pitching staff in just about any other park and they lead the league in awesomness. Not that they don’t already.

  • 2008 Hasn’t Ended

    Gotta laugh at all the eternal optimists…remember when you were all saying the same exact things last April? This year’s team may actually be worse then last years team! Worst ERA in all of baseball? Our staff was supposed to be our strength…but, hey, it’s only April and the losses now only count for -0.5 in the standings whereas September wins count as +5…..morons…

    …I hate to break it to you guys, but losses in April count just the same as losses in June or September. That’s how this game works. I figured I’d explain it because many of you people sound like you are new to baseball and new to this team. Post-98er’s suck….

    • kunaldo

      is this a joke?

  • Mr. Rodriguez

    Winfield said it on ESPN (regarding new yankee staium home field advantage)

    We have to establish that the new stadium is our house. Boston is very tough to beat in Fenway. All their players just play everything off the walls and position perfectly. It is also such a loud stadium. I do think the fans really get to the yankee players. I know it would get to me if I were even a professional athlete.

  • http://forums.projectcovo.com/images/smilies/e6omir.gif Expired Milk

    This series reminded me of the 2004 ALCS. I almost threw up watching it.

  • Sean A

    How do the Yankees-Red Sox weekend series always get set up the same way late Saturday on Fox Then Sunday night on ESPN. The Yanks have played terrible on these national televised games the last few years and they are winless so far this year. Almost 5 hours of McCarver was nauseating its obvious he suffers from some form of dementia. i.e. Brooklyn winning the 1956 world series he was only a year off but 1955 was Brooklyns only title these facts should be fresh since Jackie Robinson Day was just last week. I personally loved how Angel Berroa edged Hideki Matsui out for Rookie of the Year in 1973. No wonder his knees are shot he’s fucking 65 years old. Now tonight its Miller and Morgan. on the Eternal.Sox.Propaganda.Network. A-rod and steroids will be a topic and so will Jeters limited range. We won’t hear about how Big Papi suddenly has only warning track power. or how ManRam really protected him in the line up.

    • http://actyankee.blogspot.com Matt ACTY

      so will Jeters limited range.

      Ironically enough, Jeter’s actually at 3.6 UZR/150 right now. If he could do that for a whole season (not holding my breath) I’d be beyond ecstatic.

    • A.D.

      The best is when McCarver said Damon was batting (instead of Melky) against Okajima because Okajima is tougher against righties.

      Now Melk batting for Damon would be crazy, and Okajima has better splits vs lefties.

  • Jake H

    AJ’s post game interview shows how good of a guy he is. He took the loss himself. He didn’t blame anyone.

  • nick blasioli

    joba to the pen and pedro in the starting rotation…much better look on pitching for the yanks…

  • LiveFromNewYork

    why doesn’t jose catch AJ? I know Girardi doesn’t want personal catchers but that’s just stupid. Jorge called way too many curve balls.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

      Small Sample Size caveat applies, but:

      Curve Ball Percentage Yesterday: 33 percent
      Curve Ball Percentage 4/19 vs. Cleveland: 31.5 percent

      That’s not a statistically significant difference to say that Jorge called “way too many curve balls.”

      • Whitey14

        I wouldn’t think people mind Burnett throwing his curve per se, as much as they seemed to mind the spots he threw it in Saturday night.

  • Whitey14

    I’ve read in multiple posts/comments now that Varitek “cheated” fastball. Just what exactly does that mean?

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Benjamin Kabak

      It doesn’t mean he was cheating in the “violating the rules” sense. It means he went up there sitting fastball, started his swing early and was basically banking on a dead-red, 0-0 fastball from Burnett. He got it. Had Burnett thrown something off-spead, Varitek would have swung and missed.

      Nothing wrong with cheating fastball; it was just bad luck for the Yanks.

      • Whitey14

        Makes sense when you add the “started his swing early”

        I was always under the impression that hitters prepared for the fastball and then adjusted to the offspeed pitch so I was confused. I do appreciate the clarity.

  • rsam

    The yankees just going through a bad spell they will be fine no need to panic

  • Gary

    Nobody in the world annoys me any more than Jason I’llfightARodwithmymaskon Varitek. Jason, we all know you’re the captain which vitually means nothing. Take the “C’ off the uniform you big choochareel…it’s gay.