Well, there’s really not much you can say after a game like that. For a team that’s looked as good as the Yankees have of late, they played a rather lethargic brand of baseball tonight. It was their ugliest game of the second half, without question. There were bad throws, bad bounces, bad baserunning, bad at-bats, bad everything really. About the only positive you can take from this game is that Mark Melancon got some work in, needing only 20 pitches to cruise through 2.1 uneventful frames. Other than that, eek.
Anytime CC Sabathia takes the mound the Yankees have a chance to win, but he just didn’t do the job tonight. He was behind hitters all night (the strikezone was rather tight, but both teams were victimized, so it’s not an excuse) and when he did throw strikes, they weren’t quality strikes. Bad defense on the left side of the infield and out in right field obviously contributed to the CC subpar outing. Sabathia made six starts in the month of July, allowing 57 baserunners and 21 runs in 39 IP. The big guy’s June swoon appears to have gotten pushed back a month this year. Oh, and here’s a stat you probably don’t want to hear: Sabathia is 1-8 against teams over .500 this year. Yikes.
Offensively, about the only guys worth mentioning are the four-five hitters. Alex Rodriguez went 2 for 4 with a stolen base and a run scored, also having a likely extra base hit taken away by the great Carl Crawford in the 4th inning. Hideki Matsui drove in both Yankee runs on the night, but was caught venturing too far off first following his fourth inning single. Otherwise, I only remember two other hard hit balls: Jorge Posada‘s double, and that line drive to center that Bossman Junior snagged over his shoulder. Who hit it? I honestly can’t remember.
But give props, Scott Kazmir was tremendous tonight. Not known for his ability to pitch deep into games, Kaz pounded the zone (113 pitches, 72 strikes) and pitched into the eighth inning for the first time since June 6th of last season. He did a helluva job tonight.
At the end of the day, the Yankees are still two and a half games up in the division because the A’s are awesome with the faster tempo’d Joba Chamberlain taking the mound with a chance at a series win against a division rival on the road tomorrow. He’ll be opposed by Matt Garza, so we’ve got ourselves a nice little matchup of young fireballers.
Chien-Ming Wang Update: As you’ve probably heard by now, Wang is going to have season ending shoulder surgery tomorrow. You can read more about it and discuss it in this thread. Oh, and Al Aceves’ shoulder is giving him trouble too. When it rains, it pours, huh?