Yanks wrap up homestand with disappointing loss

Noesi goes the distance in Charleston loss
Fan Confidence Poll: May 25th, 2009

Riding the heels of their dramatic, walk-off comeback win against Brad Lidge on Saturday, the Yanks handed the ball to their ace on Sunday feeling good about themselves. And why not? They had won 10 of their last 11 games and found themselves right back in the thick of things in the AL East race.

After two relatively uneventful innings, the Phillies took a 2-0 in the third when Jimmy Rollins looped a double pastadivingGardner and Shane Victorino singled to left. CC Sabathia had retired the first eight men he faced to that point, and he would go on to retire six of the next seven following the rally. The Yanks answered with a run of their own in the bottom of the third when Frankie Cervelli and Johnny Damon shot doubles down each line. Cole Hamels was pitching well, but the 2-1 lead didn’t feel insurmountable.

The game was again uneventful until the sixth inning, when Raul Ibanez doubled in Shane Victorino for a 3-1 lead. It was the first extra base hit Sabathia has allowed to a lefthanded hitter since last July, when AJ Pierzynski took CC deep in his final start for the Indians. That’s a helluva streak, covering 206.2 IP. The Yankees answered with a Mark Teixeira broken bat homerun to left field in the bottom of the inning, and the score stayed at 3-2 until Brad Lidge emerged from the bullpen in the bottom of the ninth.

Robinson Cano wasted no time kicking off the rally by sending Lidge’s first pitch back up the middle for a barely made it out of the infield single. Joe Girardi chose to pinch run Ramiro Pena for Cano, which is a bit odd considering it’s not much of an upgrade in terms of speed, plus Cano had just stolen second off Lidge the day before. Anywho, Pena swiped second and Melky Cabrera drove him in with a squibber back up the middle. After a steal of second put the winning run in scoring position with no outs, Hideki Matsui struck out, pinch hitter Nick Swisher grounded out to second, and Gardner grounded out to first. The Yanks had come back to tie, but the win was on hold.

Mariano Rivera worked a scoreless tenth inning to set up the top of lineup in the bottom half. Derek Jeter led off the inning with his second single to left (when’s the last time we saw the Cap’n pull the ball twice in a game?) and Johnny Damon followed up with a single to the right. The Yanks had runners on first and second with the thunder due up, and everyone was preparing themselves for what seemed like the inevitable walk-off win. Seven Clay Condrey pitches later, Teixeira grounded into a deflating 4-6-3 double play. Alex Rodriguez was intentionally walked to get to Pena – who had taken over for Cano an inning earlier – and it took all of one pitch for Pena to play out to center for the third out. Opportunity squandered.

Extra innings isn’t what the Yanks wanted on a getaway day, especially when the bullpen was very shorthanded. Let’s recap:

  • Jose Veras & Mariano Rivera had already pitching in the game.
  • Al Aceves & Chien-Ming Wang were still unavailable following extended long relief outings in the past few days.
  • Brian Bruney is out with a balky elbow.
  • Phil Coke had thrown 21 pitches the day before and 105 pitches in the last nine days. He was an emergency option only.

So because of this, Girardi turned to his only available reliever in the 11th inning, journeyman Brett Tomko. Sure, he could have left Mo in for another inning, but after 19 pitches I can understand pulling the plug on the 39 year old after one inning. Tomko quickly recorded the first two outs of the inning, but ended up surrendering the go-ahead run on a Carlos Ruiz double, the catcher’s fourth freaking hit of the day. The Yanks went down like wimps in the bottom of the inning, and just like that the Phillies had taken two of three to end the homestand on a sour note.

The Yanks are now off to Texas for a seven game road trip, but they leave with a slightly bitter taste in their mouths. Despite the loss, the bottom line is that the Yankees were 8-2 on the homestand and were very close to being 9-1. We’d all take that every single day of the week. Phil Hughes returns to Arlington tomorrow, surely looking to finish up the no-hitter this time.

Noesi goes the distance in Charleston loss
Fan Confidence Poll: May 25th, 2009
  • V

    To me, the key moments of the game –

    1) PastadivingGardner – bad dive, should keep it in front of you. May not have mattered, but it may have.

    2) Damon being thrown out at the plate. Normally I don’t mind that type of aggression, but it’s not like people don’t know Werth has a great arm.

    3) Man on 1st and 2nd, no out, an uber-shift on Teixeira, and the runners (Jeter and Damon) don’t run on a 3-2 count. That was a big mistake in retrospect, but even at the time, the 3rd baseman is playing shortstop – should be able to make it even if Teix strikes out, and you take away the shift when they have to cover 2nd.

    4) Pinch-hitting for Cervelli instead of Matsui. I’m sorry, yes, Matsui’s the veteran with a track record, but his bat speed seems really bad right now.

    • V

      And, confidence = 8 ;-)

      I’ll take 8-2 ANY day.

    • BigBlueAL

      You know I didnt think of that. Runners couldve been running on the 3-2 pitch. If so Pena wouldve been up with only 1 out and bases loaded and he did manage to hit a decent fly to CF so he theoretically wouldve won the game.

    • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

      Disagree with 1-3, strongly disagree with 4. Firstly, they never would have pinch hit for Matsui with Swisher- Swish is just as cold as Hideki. And I like Frankie as much as the next guy, but there is no way you let him bat there with Swish available. With a choice of two of Swisher, Matsui, and Cervelli, you have to take the two guys, who even though they are slumping, are established MLB hitters with good track records. Cervelli didnt hit much in the minors, to choose him over Hideki based on 3 good weeks is crazy. Put it this way- if Joe had pinch hit for Matsui and let Cervelli hit, the game thread would have gone nuts.

      • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

        I meant agree with 1-3.

    • JoeSit.(ragman)

      My thoughts on #3 are a double steal, if succesful viola, winning run at 3rd none out. If not winning run at 3rd 1 out, worst case scenario winning run still at 2nd with 1 out.

  • carl

    Great home stand. We need Posada back though.

  • Frank

    I hate road trips to Arlington.

    • ranger11

      They’ve got some pretty good hitters. Sheeit!

  • pat

    I”m not feeling Phil in Arlington. Hopefully confident badass agressive 93-94 mph fastball Phil is out there, not the nibbler.

  • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

    One correction- Melky stole after Matsui struck out. If he had been at second with no one out, you might have seen Hideki try to bunt for the first time in his career.

  • http://www.YouTube.com/kevyyankees Kevin G.

    I hope Hughes and Joba don’t get hurt in Texas again.

  • Babe’s Ghost

    I agree with V that they should have pulled a hit and run or even a double steal when Tex was at 3-2. But the larger concern I have is how is Tex adjusting to the shift? I haven’t looked at the numbers, but Sterling (and I know he’s not the greatest source) said that when Tex is batting lefty and they bust him inside, his swing makes it very difficult to avoid hitting into the shift.

    • http://theyankeeuniverse.com Moshe Mandel

      That’s pretty much true of most hitters- if they get bust inside and the pitcher gets the ball as far in as he wants, the hitter will hit into the shift.

    • Chris

      I have to say I loved the shift against Tex when Baltimore tried it. He hit it right to Roberts in RF, but beat it out because Roberts was playing so deep.

  • ledarthdavid

    Am I the only one who was a little upset with tex not taking that ball of the thigh?? bases juiced with no outs for alex??? cmon yall let it out

    • whozat

      You’re upset that Tex didn’t pull something bush-league like leaning into a pitch?

      • donttradecano

        thats part of the game

    • BigBlueAL

      Im more upset he swung at that 3-2 pitch that was clearly a ball which he fouled off right before hitting into the DP.

  • pollo

    Bring up Shelly Duncan.

    Angel Berroa has no use on the bench.

    • pat

      Shelly Duncan has proven he has no use at the MLB level.

      • http://bronxbaseballdaily.com Matt ACTY/BBD


        It’s not worth DFA’ing someone for Shelley’s sake…even Berroa, who can just be peaced out when a pitcher needs a spot or Jorge/Jose come back.

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  • Darth Stein

    We have seen some odd roster decision making this week that is keeping my confidence at 8. First was the now well documented pulling their Wang out of rehab. I agree that this looks like a panic move with no real reason to panic yet. Second is Angel Berroa. I have no idea why he is on the team. When I break it down here is what I see:

    – as far as I can tell, the guy has not appeared in a game in the past 21 days (o for 3 with 2 SO against Boston on 5/04)
    – He is not a good defensive replacement because he sucks
    – He is not a good pinch hitter because he sucks
    – If I had to choose a pinch runner between Berroa and Jose Molina I would really have to think about it
    – Bitch Tits seems to be doing fine so the team no longer needs Berroa as a second utility man/hip insurance
    – If Bitch Tits does go down after Berroa is released, would it really be that hard to find another utility infielder who cannot hit, play defense, or run the bases well?

    Overall these two roster decisions are only mildly depressing my confidence from a long term team building perspective, but they are both very strange.

  • steve (different one)

    the key play of the game was Gardner’s dive. he cost them at least 1 run.

    you’d prefer that mistakes be of this “trying too hard” variety, but it was a really, really dumb play considering the situation.

    2 outs, only a man on 1B, 3rd inning and Sabathia on the mound. pretty inexcusable for a guy who is supposed to be getting by on intangibles.

  • john e.v.

    Back to #4–right and wrong. Pinch-hitting for Cervelli was a massive mistake. All this ‘proven MLB hitter’ stuff is so Torre-like, and it’s just as bad today as it was then. Cervelli is hitting, Swisher is not, and pathetically so. That was a dumb move. As for Matsui, you just let him swing and hope for the best.

    The other bonehead, over-managing move by Girardi was having Melky try to bunt–twice!–and basically blow his at-bat. This is a kid who’s on a tremendous hot streak when it comes to late-inning clutch situations. And he’s not a great bunter on top of that. This was a pivotal at-bat, and was another turning point. Girardi’s in-game managing remains somewhat suspect, IMO.

    Gardner’s dive was in no way a dumb play. He was entirely correct in assuming that Melky would be backing him up. Where the heck was he? It was never shown on TV, which makes me think he was jogging over, thinking Gardner would either catch the ball or play it on a hop. That was the dumb play, not Gardner’s.

    If outfielders never try for plays like that, you have more hits and a highlight reel that only features infielders. In no way was Gardner’s effort a mistake. If anything, the mistake was in the hesitation that he showed in going for it. That one-and-a-half steps cost him the play.

    • steve (different one)

      no, it was dumb.

      there were 2 outs and a man on 1B. no need.

  • SoCalYankeeFan

    So who IS available in the BP today? Bruney’s hurting and hasn’t pitched in 4 days. He should be DL’ed and Robinson brought up.

    SoCalYankeeFan 8)

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