May
21

Rays offense dooms Yanks again

By

A bright spot | Photo credit: Kathy Willens/AP

The O’Neill Rule has failed. The Yankees bats were not, in fact, enlivened by the 9th inning rally on Wednesday. In fact, a number of the team’s hitters, including A-Rod, looked considerably worse at the plate than they did in Wednesday’s loss. They took advantage of Rays’ mistakes, but never conjured a rally of their own. The Rays, on the other hand, continued to pound Yankees’ pitching. The injury riddled lineup just couldn’t hang.

Defining moment: Yanks fail to capitalize in the third

The Yanks came into the game needing a win, so to see the Rays put across three in the first was pretty deflating. They came back for a couple in the second, and then appeared poised to assert themselves in the third. Randy Winn opened with a single, and you just can’t waste opportunities like that. And so the Yankees went to work.

Derek Jeter laid down a beauty of a bunt that easily advanced Winn to second. That, however, wasn’t the ultimate aim. With Evan Longoria playing back, Jeter’s intention, I’m sure, was to put himself on base, too. Once the ball got past James Shields that was assured. Brett Gardner followed with a bunt of his own, this one a bit more predictable. Shields fielded this one, but likely wouldn’t have gotten Gardner even if he made a good throw. He didn’t, though, and the ball rolled into foul territory in right, allowing Winn to score. All the sudden, a deflated feeling turned into joy. The Yankees had tied the game.

Not only did the Yanks get a new life, they also got an opportunity to break open the game. Runners stood on second and third with none out, and the Yankees had their 3-4-5 hitters coming to the plate. In the most painful fashion, Shields dispatched of them. Mark Teixeira tapped a weak one right back to the pitcher. Alex Rodriguez struck out on a pitch that Dioner Navarro had to block. Robinson Cano waved at strike three well outside the zone.

While they had tied the game, the failure to score even one run in that situation again brought the deflated feeling.

Andy Pettitte: Not sharp

Photo credit: Kathy Willens/AP

It was clear, right from the first batter, that Andy Pettitte was going to battle through this one. Four batters later he had a runner on first with none out and a 3-0 deficit. He threw 28 pitches in the inning, 13 of which were out of the zone. I’m pretty sure Cervelli had to move his glove on every pitch, though I might just be imagining that.

Overall Pettitte thew 103 pitches, 101 of which came before the sixth. In that inning he threw just two pitches, both cutters to Carlos Pena, who slammed the second one into the Yankees’ bullpen to give the Rays a 7-4 lead. Again, deflating. Two runs is one thing. Once they tack on that third run, though, well, I’m not sure if it’s just psychological, but it seems like a much tougher hole to dig out of.

It looked like Pettitte had settled down a bit after the first, but he slipped again in the fifth. Gabe Kapler singled with one out, and for some reason Pettitte payed a bit too much attention to him at first, throwing over four times during Jason Bartlett’s at-bat. That one ended with a seven-pitch walk, which set up Carl Crawford to knock home Kapler with a single and give the Rays the lead. A Ben Zobrist sac fly put them two ahead.

I thought that would be it for Pettitte, but apparently Girardi wanted Pettitte to face the lefty Pena. In his career Pena is a markedly worse hitter against lefties, though he’s been equally bad regardless of handedness this year. Anyway, it was a decent move that backfired.

Sheilds’s change perplexes Yanks hitters

Photo credit: Kathy Willens/AP

James Shields continued his high-strikeout ways by sitting down seven Yankees, six of them swinging. Five of those came on changeups. What’s strange is that, so far as I can tell, Shields did not generate any swings and misses except for a strikeout pitch. He threw it 24 times, his most utilized secondary pitch, and made only one mistake. That was Juan Miranda‘s second-inning homer.

In the past few years Shields has proven himself to be a very good pitcher who doesn’t appear dominant. He induced just six swinging strikes in his 7.1 innings, which matches his number of swinging strikeouts. That’s amazingly efficient. The Yanks did get to him in some ways — he did allow eight hits — but one of them came because B.J. Upton couldn’t find a fly ball. Four runs in 7.1 innings from Shields is not bad. But he still looked good.

Another rally falls short

For the second straight night the Yanks posted a rally in the ninth that fell short. Derek Jeter drove in two with a picturesque double into the gap, but that just wasn’t enough. lt’s encouraging that they were able to bring the tying run to the plate, but it just wasn’t enough.

WPA Graph and box score

The peak at the beginning makes this one even more depressing.

More at FanGraphs. Here’s the box score.

Up Next

It’s back on the road, but not really, for three games at Citi Field this weekend. Javy Vazquez vs. the lefty Hisanori Takahashi.

Categories : Game Stories
  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime (Optimovelist Primus)

    It could be worse. I’m looking at you, Arizona bullpen.

    But really, the Mets could be the perfect tonic. Especially if it involves Luis Castillo and dropped pop ups

    • ShuutoHeat (Igawa > Logan)

      Its time to return the stupid injury bug back to it’s rightful owner, the Mets.

    • Brian in NH

      i’m glad we’re heading to queens this weekend…we could certainly use a patsy or two to get back on our feet…

  • Tea

    What did you make of Robertson tonight?

    • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime (Optimovelist Primus)

      Best outing of the year

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

        Agreed.

  • forensicnucchem

    Speaking of the injuries, anyone see the article from the Tampa writer comparing losing Matt Joyce to Granderson, Kelly Shoppach to Posada, Pat Burrell to Johnson, and JP Howell to Aceves (not such a bad one) saying that the Rays have lost as much as the Yanks. Very entertaining.

    • Mosha

      The Shoppach to Posada comparison is going too far, assuming age doesn’t catch up to Posada this year, but the others don’t seem unreasonable. As a 23 yr old Matt Joyce hit 12 hrs in 242 ABs, and while he hit 30 hrs last year, Granderson’s OPS+ was 100, which is to say an average offensive output. Johnson has impressive OBPs over the years, but Burrell has put up some huge years too.

      • http://twitter.com/rebexarama bexarama

        It’s not like they lost Burrell to injury, though. They flat-out released him. If they needed him so badly, I doubt they would have done that.

      • forensicnucchem

        Burrell and Joyce both did those things over 2 years ago. Last year Burrell was terrible again and they knew it (which is why he was finally released) and Joyce was so bad he couldn’t even keep a major league roster spot.

  • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ pete

    but….butt….butttt…why did paulie liee???

    • yankees=warriors

      It’s not his fault, but I am totally surprised, too.
      As far as I can remember, this is the first time his theory has failed.

  • I Collect Brett Gardner Cards

    listen
    YANKS: Second Best record in baseball

    YANKS: Have 3 starters out: Still second best record in baseball

    YANKS: Have Randy Winn playing every day for what seems like a month: Still second best record in baseball

    YANKS: Have had Javier Vasquez turn into a mental midget and put forth ONE good start: Still second best record in baseall

    YANKS: Survived tex playing like April Tex through half of may: Sti…ok you get the point

    25-16!

    24-17 last year at this time!

    • Tampa Yankee

      Also, let’s not forget the Yanks were 5 games back on June 24th last year and still ran away with the division. It’s all about patience.

    • lux

      That will End by Weds. Hello 3rd place than 4th place. You can keep your head in the clouds if you like.

  • Mike HC

    We all knew that AJ, Pettitte and Hughes were not going to pitch to an under 2.00 era all season. We have now watched the correction. Hopefully things return to normal next time around.

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

    So is everyone on board with at least giving Miranda some more at-bats yet? I know there were some people out there who wanted him banished to the deepest depths of the minors just because he was unproven.

    • Shaun

      I liked him, he had good ABs last night and he was prob the best Yankee hitter tonight. At very least platoon him in the DH spot against RHP

    • BigBlueAL

      Have no problem whatsoever with a Miranda-Thames DH platoon for the immediate future. Just need Granderson back to get Winn out of the lineup.

    • Brian in NH

      he definitely deserves a shot at this point. a more consistent DH is more preferable to the aging veteran merry-go-round that we often see.

  • Cecala

    Watch Javy be the stopper for the Yanks, I have faith in that man, especially since he owned the Mets last season =)!

    • Shaun

      I’m really hoping he turns his season around tomorrow. Hitting may be tough, Yanks haven’t faced Takahashi and we know how that usually ends up..

  • Salty Buggah

    The ump was annoying tonight. He called some bad pitches strikes, and it had a noticeable affect on the Yanks later in their ABs. For example, the Gardy groundout to end the game came on a ball, a pitch Gardy probably would not chase. However, the ump called a previous pitch at the same spot a strike, forcing Gardy to swing at it and hit it weakly with 2 strikes. I can’t help but think the ump played a decently significant role in the loss.

    http://www.brooksbaseball.net/.....type=7.gif

    He was obviously bad for both teams though, maybe slightly worse for the Yanks.

    • Salty Buggah

      Also, IIRC, he didn’t make THAT many of those calls until Robertson came in because that’s when I started to notice his wide zone. Otherwise, Andy could have been better. Could be wrong, of course.

      • http://twitter.com/rebexarama bexarama

        I was gonna say, Andy just didn’t have it tonight. Yeah, the umpires weren’t very good, but Andy was missing by a lot. When it’s a closer game like that Red Sox game where Mo had struck out Darnell McDonald, the umpires get REALLY irritating.

        That said, they really need goddamn robot umps. Even in blowouts (which this wasn’t, by the end).

    • Lou S

      Agreed.

  • Shaun

    First base ump was in no position to call Cano out on that diving play by Pena. I guess he ended up giving him an A for effort.

  • http://www.conservationvaluenotes.com Jon G

    FYI the official term for James Shields’ beard is a “Chin Curtain” – http://www.beards.org/styles.php

  • Harold Moskowitz

    Agreed…and while they’re at it, make all the stadiums domed, all the surfaces artificial, all the ballpark dimensions the same. Eradicate all those annoying variables (weather, playing surfaces, humans) that have plagued this game for 100+ years

  • A.D.

    Just shows, we can complain about the offense being hurt…but the past 3 games have shown, it’s all about the pitching.

  • Rose

    Starting Pitchers last start numbers:

    AJ Burnett: 6.2 IP, 6 earned runs, 9 hits, 4 BB Yankees Lost
    Phil Hughes: 5.0 IP, 5 earned runs, 6 hits, 1 BB Yankees Won
    Andy Pettitte: 5.0 IP, 6 earned runs, 9 hits, 2 BB Yankees Lost
    Javier Vazquez: 7.0 IP, 2 earned runs, 5 hits, 2 BB (YAY!) Yankees Lost
    CC Sabathia: 7.0 IP, 1 earned run, 4 hits, 3 BB (YAY!) Yankees Lost

    The Yankees are (lately) struggling with their starting pitching…but even when they get good outings now…the bullpen is almost making sure they lose regardless.

    Since May 9th, the Yankees are 4-8. Everyday somebody else seems to get injured…so much that even the back up players are getting injured now.

    Looks real ugly for the Yankees…if they can at least float at .500 until the majority of the team gets healthy they can keep themselves out of the toilet…but at a 4-8 tick they’ll just be waiting for somebody to hit the flusher.

    On a good note: Juan Miranda is fitting in nicely thus far and Jeter went 3 for 5.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Joseph Pawlikowski

      I’m convinced you’re just copying and pasting comments from last year.

      • Rose

        LOL. I mean Joe, cmon. You can’t honestly say that you’re not worried about the team this year.

        The good news is they were dominant when everyone was healthy. More good news is that it’s not diminished talent…it’s just diminished health. But…the bad news is that everybody is getting hurt and the pitching is coming back down to earth all at once. One guy goes into a slump immediately as the next guy gets hot. It’s just all over the place.

        It will get better…but it probably couldn’t get much worse than right now haha.

  • Lou S

    Was Larry Vanovers strike zone a tad irregular? I would be interested to see some analysis of the strike zone in last nights game. It seemed as if both teams could not get anything called on the corners meanwhile the strike zone stretched down to the ankles. This really worked against the Yankees’ usual gameplan. While the team is struggling immensely both offensively and pitching-wise in the past week, it is not helping anyone’s cause when A-Rod has to swing at a shoe-string slider because it has a legitimate shot at being called a strike. Thank you Mr. Vanover.

  • NC Yankee Fan

    The Yankees, when Granderson comes back, need to have him hit 2nd so as there is power in that spot. With a power hitter up in the 9th with two outs, Yankees may have tied it. Gardner is better hitting 9th.