Phil Hughes faced 11 batters in the second inning last night. He got ahead of six of them and got two-strike counts on five. He retired just one of them, and on that play a run scored. It was clear from the first inning that Hughes was having some issues, but I never thought it would be that bad. So instead of putting the Yanks in a position to assemble a win streak, he basically precluded it himself. He left the game with the score 7-0 Orioles, and one batter later Edwar Ramirez had let an inherited runner score.
Edwar’s damage was considerable. He did retire 10 of the 14 batters he faced, but three of them came around to score — including a home run by a guy who was hitting .167/.235/.267 coming into the day. Not that it made a difference in the outcome. Hughes’s runs were all the Orioles needed, even though they trotted out one of the worst starters in the game, who was backed up by one of the worst bullpens.
While the pitching was pretty horrible, the offense still managed to screw up in every way imaginable — except, of course, for Johnny Damon, who apparently isn’t in on the game fixing deal. Adam Eaton, who has never recorded an ERA below 4.08 in his major league career, and who hasn’t gotten his ERA below 5.12 since 2005, held the Yankees in check early on. Through three innings he had to face just 11 batters. How in the world can an offense which makes a collective $111 million (and that doesn’t even count Jorge) go down so easily against one of the worst pitchers in the AL? It makes no sense, yet it seems to happen regularly against the absolute worst pitchers the Yankees face.
(Remember, too, that the Phillies are paying Eaton to pitch for the Orioles. The same Phillies who have no starters with an ERA under 5.00. Just sayin’.)
There’s no reason for a lengthy recap tonight. It was a painful, horrible game right from the beginning, and even the Yankees mini rallies didn’t do much to alleviate the pain. In fact, the one in the fourth inning only added to the pain. Again, one of the worst starters in baseball walks the bases loaded with no outs, and the manager leaves him in there. So what do the Yakees do? Sac fly and a double play. That’s seriously all they could muster. I’d say it doesn’t get more frustrating than that, but this whole game made me bash my hat against the bar.
goodnot so bad news is that the Yankees aren’t taking this one as hard as the fans. Girardi was downright Torre-esque in his postgame talk, answering questions pretty directly and remaining as calm as a manager can be after a blowout. He joked a little, was serious for most of it, and in the end said that it’s one bad game and you can’t let it affect you too much. Hughes was just as composed in talking about his arm slot and how it affected his performance. The results sucked, obviously, but Hughes took all the blame. Watch him the next time he wins; he’ll give the credit to everyone else on the team. You can learn all that and more at the Crash Davis School of Baseball Public Relations.
They’ll have a chance to pick up the series win tomorrow heading into an off-day. Either Joba Chamberlain or Al Aceves against Koji Uehara. We can only pray that the offense strings together some hits…though that hasn’t happened for quite a while now.