The Yankees are like a misbehaving child: I’m not angry, I’m disappointed. Frustrated too. After playing horribly for seven and two thirds innings the Yankees actually caught a break, but they couldn’t finish the job. In three straight innings they had the go-ahead, winning, or tying run in scoring position and failed to plate him. That gave Tampa Bay a few extra chances, and Carlos Pena took advantage in the 10th and gave the Rays the game, 4-3.
A.J. Burnett’s start was indicative of his season to date. At six innings, three earned runs it was technically a quality start, but it was yet another stat where Burnett hasn’t dominated. Six innings, three runs is fine if it’s mixed with a few eight innings, one run performances. Those we have not seem from A.J. yet. They’ll come eventually, but the Yanks could sure use a few right about now, with Jorge Posada out and the offense struggling to string together hits.
That’s not to say that he pitched badly. Through five he was going just fine. Maybe a tick high with the pitch count, but he’d allowed just one run, a forgivable one. A B.J. Upton infield single, a steal, a sac, and an Evan Longoria double are just parts of baseball. As long as it happens just once, no biggie. But then the sixth happened. It started with what looked like a strikeout of Pat Burrell, but was actually a walk. Single, sac, sac fly, single puts the Rays up 3-0. With the Yanks offense, the prospects weren’t promising.
The Yankees haven’t hit well with runners in scoring position lately. That was not as big a problem last night, because they didn’t have many runners to not drive in. Through seven innings Andy Sonnanstine retired the side in order five times. He did it quite economically, too, tossing just 84 pitches through the first seven. Little did he know that the eighth, with the bottom of the order due up, would be his undoing.
With one out Ramiro Pena found himself in an 0-2 hole. The rookie managed to foul off three and take two balls before getting a pitch he liked. That went to right for a single. Then Jose “Double or Nothing” Molina went the other way and put runners on second and third with one out. That was the night for Sonnanstine. After a Johnny Damon walk Mark Teixeira, 0 for 3 on the night to this point, stepped in. How the umps didn’t call a delay right there I don’t know, but they refrained and Tex took advantage, smacking a bases-clearing double to tie the game. Then, of course, the umps called for the tarp. But the Yankees were back. It was one of the best feelings from the past five days. It wouldn’t last.
After Mo quelled injury worries by striking out the side, the Yanks put runners on first and second with one out, but Pena and Molina could not deliver this time. Then disaster struck in the form of the AL home run leader. It was Coke’s only mistake, but it came at a terrible time. That was the difference, as the Yanks couldn’t plate Johnny Damon after he doubled with one out in the bottom of the 10th. Rays 4, Yanks suck. That’s exactly what it felt like.
On the upside, both Edwar and Albaladejo got the job done in signature fashion. Edwar induced two grounders and struck out two, while Albaladejo made ’em put the ball on the ground. It’s only one appearance, but we’ll take that from the bullpen right now. They kept the Yanks in it, something they’ve had trouble doing all year. Other than that, though, there’s not much to be happy about. We can complain about the umps all we want, but that wasn’t the difference here. (Okay, maybe the Pena blown call turns into something, but it’s just as likely that Molina bounces into a twin killing right there.)
We’ll have to wait one more day for a win. Hopefully this forsaken rain won’t be an issue, but looking at the forecast it probably will be. Andy Pettitte will try to revive his old role as stopper. And think, just two more sleeps until A-Rod.