May
20

Late rally can’t overcome Burnett, bullpen blow-up

By

In the box score, a 10-6 loss doesn’t look nearly as lopsided as last night’s Yankees/Rays affair was. Just one day after a heartbreaking loss to the Red Sox, the Yanks had to contend with a very hot first-place Tampa team. Jason Barlett homered to start the game, and the Yanks never caught up. Joaquin Benoit had to get the save after Andy Sonnanstine gave up four runs with two outs in what was a 10-2, but it just wasn’t close.

Towering Hits: A home run for the bad guys, a home run for the good guys

Jason Barlett rounds third after homering to lead off the game. Credit: AP Photo, Kathy Willens

When the visiting team leads off with a home run, it sets a certain pace for the game. With that one swing, Tampa dropped the Yanks’ win expectancy from a neutral 50 percent to 40.9 percent, and Bartlett’s shot was the biggest one-AB swing in the game. For the Rays’ short stop, it was his first home run since he led off against Joba Chamberlain Sept. 9 with a blast into left field at Yankee Stadium.

Still, despite the WE swing, it wasn’t what I would consider to be the biggest hit of the game. That honor belongs to John Jason’s ground rule double. As the fourth inning rolled around, we could clearly see A.J. Burnett struggling with his stuff. Two walks and a hit batter doomed Burnett in the third, and this time around, a pair of infield singles and a double steal had the Rays set up with two runners in scoring position and no one out. John Jaso laced a ground-rule double into left field, plating two. The Rays would add two more runs — both with two outs — as A.J. Burnett couldn’t stifle the potent heart of the Tampa lineup.

Burnett just flat-out did not have command tonight. He toughed it out through 6.2 mostly to give the bullpen a rest, but he faltered in the big spots when he needed a third out in the fourth inning. His 67 strikes and 49 balls are telling.

For the Yankees, they’re big hit belonged to Alex Rodriguez. While his booming shot off the restaurant in straightaway center field did little to alter the game, I opted to highlight his shot because he’s flashing the power again. After ending April with a .250/.337/.440 triple-slash line and just two home runs, A-Rod has powered four over the fence this month. He now finds himself with a .295/.379/.503 line for the season. Small victories.

Biggest Out: A double play, a bases-loaded threat

For the Yanks, two at-bats loom large. Down 6-2 following A-Rod’s home run, the Yanks seemed on the verge of mounting a rally. Robinson Cano singled, but then Francisco Cervelli tapped into a double play. Despite his dash down the line, the relay throw beat the Yanks’ catcher by half a step, and the team seemed ready to roll over with the bottom of the order up.

Yet, the Bombers had something in them. On the next play, Marcus Thames hit a single to left, and instead of tossing his bat behind him, he threw it in front of him. It rolled down the line, and in an effort to avoid slipping, Thames twisted his ankle. He is day-to-day with a strained ankle, but the Yanks do not anticipate a DL stint.

Following Thames’ freak injury, Juan Miranda walked, and Randy Winn — now just 1 for his last 12 and 3 for his last 24 — reached on an error. Derek Jeter came up as the tying run with two outs and grounded out to short. Jeter ended the game with his OPS below .700, and nearly 70 percent of his batted balls have been grounders. Hopefully, Jeter’s bad play at the plate is just a slump, and as a A-Rod has this month, so too will Jeter snap out of it soon. That out effectively sealed the deal for Tampa as the Yanks’ win expectancy dropped to 6.7 percent.

Death by Bullpen

Go away, Boone Logan Where would this game have been though without another disastrous night from the bullpen? Hoping to keep the score close without burning through his top relievers, Joe Girardi gave Boone Logan the ball. He retired Gabe Kapler in the 7th, and that’s the only nice thing I can say about this outing.

To start the 8th, Logan walked the left-handed Jaso on eight pitches and then gave up an RBI double to Sean Rodriguez. For Logan, it was another night where he faced three batters, retired one of them and saw another two runs added to his ERA.

With Logan out, Girardi went to Mark Melancon, and Melancon disappointed. He allowed the run he inherited from Logan to score and two others in eighth. Gabe Kapler struck out, but the damage had been done. Tampa Bay had a 10-2 lead and even a two-out, four-run rally by the Yanks could put the tying run only in the on-deck circle.

For the Yanks’ bullpen, tonight marked the fourth straight day of pain. Since the Joba/Mariano meltdown against the Twins, Yanks’ relievers have now allowed 19 runs — but only 16 earned — over their previous 10.1 innings spanning four games. Tonight, the only complaining I can do is over the fact that Boone Logan is still with the team; he shouldn’t be. Otherwise, the Yanks aren’t going to go to their overworked relievers in a four-run game, but the bullpen has to get outs to keep the team in the game. It’s been downright ugly.

Paul O’Neill Rule

Because this entire game could be filed under “annoyances” — after all, the Rays scored a run from second on a fly ball to deep center — let’s instead hope that the Paul O’Neill Rule will be in effect later tonight. That rule stipulates that a team which scores late in the game has momentum coming into their next contest. The Yankees will send Andy Pettitte (5-0, 1.79) to the mound at 7:05 p.m. with, well, someone in right field to staunch the bleeding. The Rays will counter with James Shields (4-1, 3.00), and hopefully, that late offensive burst will carry over into the final game of this two-game set.

WPA Graph

That ninth inning rally was mere smoke and mirrors. The Yanks’ WE peaked at 2.3 percent after Ramiro Peña’s RBI single.

Categories : Game Stories

63 Comments»

  1. Rose says:

    “Shambles” isn’t even the word for this team right now…

  2. Mark says:

    Hoping to keep the game close without burning out his top relievers, Joe Torre gave Boone Logan the ball.

    I see what you did there :)

  3. Cecala says:

    I am really looking forward to tomorrows game.

  4. A.D. says:

    Positives: Logan didn’t do anything to keep having a job at the ML level

  5. Mike Axisa says:

    One of these days Derek Jeter will start hitting, right?

    FWIW, his OPS bottomed out at .686 on May 31st 2008, and he hit .316-.383-.429 the rest of the way. He’s at .699 after tonight.

  6. pat says:

    Calling up the Jesus would be so wrong, but feels so right.

  7. Derek Jeter, month of May: .189 .268 .230 .498

    • Captain Jack says:

      At least the isolateds are where they need to be.

    • Rose says:

      Then you add Randy Winn, Ramiro Pena, Marcus Thames, Greg Golson, and Juan Miranda and subtract Curtis Granderson, Nick Johnson, Nick Swisher, and Jorge Posada along with a 4.22 ERA in May (5.66 ERA since May 13th) you have a shitload of problems…

      I don’t know how this team can stay afloat…

  8. Granderslam says:

    I would really like to see Romine, but I know it’s not going to happen.

  9. Captain Jack says:

    Is it just me or would a bullpen help this team out quite a bit? How many “death by bullpens” have we had to bear witness too? This is two games where a decent bullpen would at least keep them with in reach.

    If only the B-Jobbers were right!!!!!

    • Granderslam says:

      They seriously need to send Logan down. He’s horrendous. I would to see Sanchez again.

      • Sanchez started tonight. He won’t be back up for a while. They can send down Logan, however, and still have 7 relievers with the club. That’s more than enough.

    • Salty Buggah says:

      Although I agree a better bullpen (or maybe I should say a better performing bullpen because this pen, outside of Boone Logan, is pretty good) wouldve helped in the past 4 or so days, I doubt it would have helped tonight. If the game was 6-2, I can assure you Joe Maddon wouldn’t have put in Sonnanstine. He’d have his better relievers in there and we would have a smaller chance to get closer.

      • /fallacy of the predetermined outcome’d

        Seriously though, the problem is that a “better” pen would have saved the game last night, but last night, the Yanks lost with their top two relievers on the mound.

  10. Granderslam says:

    I know people tell me I’m crazy, but my biggest concern is the DH position for the long-term. At least Swish, Granderson, Posada will be back soon. But rotating the DH spot until Johnson’s return is too long and there is no guarantee he will be productive in his return. I’m excited to what Miranda can do, but worried at the same time because he’s not proven in the ML yet.

  11. The Yankees makes me wanna smash my television lately.

  12. BigBlueAL says:

    Ian O’Connor with a decent for him article tonight after the game about the Rays and an interesting thing about what Brian Cashman said about the Rays at the end of the 2007 season: “It’s not going to be a situation where they add 10 wins next year and 10 more the year after that,” the GM said in the Sept. 28, 2007 edition of the Tampa Tribune. “It’s not going to be slow. When it happens, it will happen quick. Now. That growing stuff is behind them now. It’s going to come fast.” Unfortunately Cashman was spot on with that prediction.

    Of course being an Ian O’Connor ESPNNY.com article he threw in this idiotic observation of his own: “The millions of New Yorkers who lost sight of the Rays after their 2009 nosedive forgot one thing: The ’96 Yanks followed up their World Series with a hangover season of their own.” Of course everyone here Im sure knows that the 1997 Yankees won 96 games (4 more than the champions the year before) which was the 2nd most in the AL and won the WC by 12 games only to lose to the Indians in the ALDS in a pretty famous 5 game series.

  13. Chris says:

    Tonight, the only complaining I can do is over the fact that Boone Logan is still with the team; he shouldn’t be.

    This Logan-hate is getting a little ridiculous. He hasn’t been very good, but he hasn’t been the worst reliever in the pen, and he’s been better than his most likely replacement from AAA. I understand complaining about the pen in general because pretty much all of the relievers have sucked recently. What I don’t understand is why everyone seems to hate Logan, while giving guys like Robertson and Park a pass.

    • Spaceman.Spiff says:

      As a LOOGY, Logan completely fails at his one “purpose”. Lefties are OPS’ing 1.026 against Logan including an OBP of .526! Robertson and Park have prior histories of success so we’ll be a little more patient with them but Girardi keeps trotting out this so called LOOGY that is getting battered by lefties.

      • Chris says:

        Logan has 19 PA against LHH this year. In those 19 PA, they are hitting .357/.526/.500/1.026 with a .455 BABIP. In his career he has 308 PA against lefties, and they are hitting .270/.345/.404/.749 with a .335 BABIP. If you want to point out Park and Robertson’s track records, then you can’t ignore Logan’s. He’s not a great LOOGY, but his track record suggests that he will be serviceable as a second LOOGY in the pen.

        • JobaWockeeZ says:

          Except he’s not just a LOOGY. He pitched the same amount of innings against righties and lefties in hs career. You’re cherry picking half of hs stats. He’s never been at least servicable in his career and there’s really nothing to suggest he’ll be anything above replacement level. He’s produced 0.2 WAR since 2006…

          His FIP has been 5.37 and his xFIP is at 5.44 which isn’t too far from career norms. His BABIP is exactly like his career BABIP and he’s even faced more righties this year. Robertson and Park have a track record of success as relievers. Logan doesn’t.

          • Chris says:

            His FIP and xFIP are influenced by his elevated walk rate. You can’t assume that Park and Robertson will rebound to their career norms, but Logan won’t. If his walk rate drops, then his FIP will drop and he’ll be a serviceable reliever. I have no problem with him being sent down when Aceves is back, but I also wouldn’t have a problem with Robertson being sent down. As for sending him down now, you’re saying that you’d rather have Melancon in the pen than Logan? Melancon hasn’t done anything more than Logan to prove that he can be a good reliever.

            Also, people seem to forget that he’s 25. He’s 8 months older than Robertson and 7 months older than Melancon. Everyone seems to treat Logan as a finished product, but is willing to give Robertson and Melancon a shot and let them prove they belong in the majors. I just don’t understand this visceral reaction to Logan.

            As far as I see the bullpen, here’s how I break it down:

            Reliable relievers: Mariano, Joba, Aceves, Marte
            Longman: Mitre
            Interchangeable Parts: Park, Robertson, Logan, Melancon, Albaladejo

            I don’t particularly care about which of those interchangeable parts are in the majors. I don’t think one (or more) of them have proven that they deserve it more than the others.

          • Accent Shallow says:

            Except he’s not just a LOOGY. He pitched the same amount of innings against righties and lefties in hs career.

            Very rare is the lefty reliever who has more than 50% of his PAs against LHP. Even the late career Mike Myers types face a fair amount of righties.

  14. larryf says:

    Would it be crazy to lead off Gardner and bat Granderson second when he comes back. Tougher to throw out Grit with a lefty batting and MAKE Grandy take a strike so Bret has a better chance to swipe. Almost no chance for a DP with those two. Drop the Captain down to someplace where his first pitch grounders to short don’t kill us as much…..

    Ah-pride can suck-it’ll never happen

  15. Rose says:

    Here’s some simple math everybody can understand:

    Derek Jeter’s May line of .189 .268 .230 .498 + Randy Winn, Ramiro Pena, Marcus Thames, Greg Golson, and Juan Miranda - Curtis Granderson, Nick Johnson, Nick Swisher, and Jorge Posada + 4.22 ERA in May (5.66 ERA since May 13th) = shitload of problems.

    I don’t know how any team can stay afloat with this…

    • By still having Robinson Cano, Mark Teixeira, and CC Sabathia. Swisher is slated to return tonight, I believe, and Granderson is on his way back. Miranda should be an okay DH option against right handed pitchers and Thames, as long as he’s not in the field, is okay against lefties (assuming health). If they can wait out Posada’s injury, like they did last season, they should be fine.

    • Spaceman.Spiff says:

      That was pretty complicated to follow actually…

  16. Steve H says:

    I thought AJ only pitched poorly when Posada was catching?

  17. Rose says:

    Derek Jeter Career Avg: 2.42 GB/FB, 20.5 LD%, 56.2 GB%, 22.7 FB%

    Derek Jeter 2010: 3.88 GB/FB, 14.8 LD%, 67.8 GB%, 17.4 FB%

    I mean it’s pretty awful…

    He started off pretty hot too batting .330/.354/.521/.875 with 4 HR and close to (if not actually) leading the team in RBI’s as the lead off hitter in April.

    It was kind of concerning that his OBP was lower than usual…but I figured that would change…ironically it did change…just for the worse.

  18. Erika says:

    I’ve been a longtime (OK, one-year) reader-but-not-poster, but a question has been nagging at me and it’s convinced me to finally crawl out from beneath my rock. If this is the most idiotic question you’ve ever heard, humor me please!

    Why exactly did A.J. get the loss? He gave up 6 runs; the Yankees ended up scoring 6 runs. We lost because of the runs that our friend Boone Logan allowed – otherwise it would have been tied and we’d have gone into extra innings. I was stumped after Game 5 of the World Series, too…

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