Yanks lose game – and more – to ChiSox

Brackman returns as Adams & Romine keep mashing
In search of an outfielder

Less than 24 hours after Derek Jeter almost single-handedly led the Yankees to the victory, they returned to the park hoping, praying, begging for Javy Vazquez to give them some kind of good start. Not just for the purposes of winning on Saturday, but also for some peace of mind going forward. Instead, the Yanks’ starter responded with his worst outing the season, and somehow exited the game a bigger question mark than when he came into it.

Photo Credit: Bill Kostroun, AP

Biggest Mistake: A.J. Pierzynski’s double

After surviving Javy Vazquez’s latest meltdown (more on that later), the Yankees mounted a comeback with a four run 6th inning off former Padre Scott Linebrink. With nine outs to go and six of those presumably in the hands of Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera, all the Yanks had to do was neutralize Chicago’s 3-4-5 hitters in the 7th.

David Robertson retired the resurgent Andruw Jones before Paul Konerko dropped a double into right, but the second out of the inning came when Mark Teahen grounded out weakly to third. Carlos Quentin represented the third out of the inning but was intentionally put on base (more on that later) to set up the lefty-on-lefty matchup.

Damaso Marte trotted out of the bullpen to face Pierzynski, he of the .203 wOBA this year. The Yankees’ lefty setup man has made a habit out of entering a game and immediately making things interesting, and he promptly missed wide with a slider for ball one. Jorge Posada called for a fastball outside, and even though it was just a little off the mark, it was still a pretty good pitch. Pierzynski just went out and got it, sending it out to left-center and over the heads of Brett Gardner and Randy Winn, who were playing relatively shallow for the ChiSox’s powerless catcher. Both Konerko and Quentin chugged around the based to tie and give Chicago the lead, respectively.

He faced just two batters, and didn’t even made that bad of a pitch on the big blow, but Marte reduced the Yankees chances of winning in this game by 31.6% all by himself, almost the same as Vazquez believe it or not.

Honorable Mention: Intentionally walking Quentin

Like I said, Robertson was ordered to intentionally walk Quentin following Konerko’s double to create a force at (almost) any base and set up the Marte-Pierzynski duel. It actually wasn’t supposed to be a free pass from the start, but Robertson buried a curveball in the dirt for ball one and missed high with another curve for a 2-0 count. That’s when the order to put him on intentionally came. I can’t help but wonder if the whole “walk him … oh no wait … pitch to him” situation with Kendry Morales last weekend played a part here. Did Girardi not want to second guess himself and instead go with the conservative move?

Anyway, the reason this is a blunder is because Girardi intentionally put the go-ahead run on base, which is quite simply poor strategy. The advantage gained by bringing in Marte to face Pierzynski was minimal because Pierzynski has been terrible against literally everybody this year. And it’s not like Quentin has been tearing the cover off the ball either (.323 wOBA). There’s no reason to give a poor hitting team like the White Sox free baserunners, especially in the late innings of a one run game.

Photo Credit: Bill Kostroun, AP

Biggest Hit: Nick Swisher‘s homer

Despite the hole created by Vazquez, the Yankee offense continued to wear down John Danks, sending him to the showers after five innings and 118 pitches thrown. He faced 23 total batters, but 19 (!) of them saw at least four pitches in their plate appearances and 16 (!!!) saw at least five pitches. Yankee batters fouled off a ridiculous 26 pitches when Chicago’s starter was on the mound.

So after all that work, Linebrink found himself pitching with a three run lead to start the 6th. Marcus Thames, Curtis Granderson, and Brett Gardner slapped three consecutive singles with one out to trim the lead to two, and Derek Jeter plated another run with a ground out to third.

With the tying run on second, Swisher came to plate after breaking an 0-for-11 skid with a well-placed groundball single an inning earlier. After Linebrink missed well off the plate with a changeup, Swish jumped all over a 92 mph hitmeball left out over the plate and sent it into the Yankee bullpen. After being down 5-1 earlier in the contest, the Yanks’ rightfielder capped off a four run inning with a two run bomb that gave the Yankees their first lead of the game. The homer bumped the Yanks’ chances of winning from 37.9% to 69.3%, so yeah, it was a biggie.

Biggest Out: Swisher’s double play

Swisher giveth, and Swisher taketh away. Three innings before giving the Yankees the lead with the above-mentioned homer, Swish faced a two on, no out situation with a chance to get his team back into it while Vazquez was tossing up a nice picket fence (one run in the 1st, one run in the second, one run in the third). Of course he worked the count full, it’s what he does, but Danks pulled the string on a 3-2 changeup when Swish was looking fastball. The result was a tailor made 5-4-3 double play that killed the rally before it even had a chance to start.

Oy Vey Javy

A fourth-inning sight all too familiar to Yankee fans. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun

There’s no getting around it now. Vazquez isn’t just the weak link in the rotation, he’s the weak link on the 25-man roster. No one expected him to repeat last season’s ace-like performance, but we all figured that he would be a league average pitcher that gave the team bulk innings from the back of the rotation. After five abysmal starts in as many chances, all Vazquez has done is approximate what some Triple-A scrub could have accomplished. Not even a AAAA player, a AAAer.

Javy recorded just nine outs on Saturday, allowing eleven men to reach base (seven hits, four walks) and giving up three homers, two to Andruw Jones and one to Zombie Mark Kotsay. Just 46 of his 83 pitches found the strike zone, and only 29 of those pitches were fastballs. Vazquez threw just 18 fastballs for strikes all afternoon. Eighteen. That’s a completely unacceptable number, especially against a team as offensively challenged as the White Sox (.313 team wOBA).

I don’t know what the problem is, and I’m not going to pretend to make an educated guess. Vazquez’s next start lines up perfectly with Thursday’s off day, and at this point I can’t see how the Yanks wouldn’t skip his turn. Not only would it keep him away from the Red Sox next weekend, but it’ll also give him a chance to catch his breath and try to get back on track. The Yankees are 1-4 when Javy starts and 14-4 when anyone else does, so they’re no desperation yet. Progress would be nice, though.

Photo Credit: Bill Kostroun, AP

Down goes Granderson

The loss is a loss, one of about 65 the Yankees will suffer this season, but the big blow is the injury to centerfielder Curtis Granderson. While rounded second when going first to third on a single in the 6th inning, Grandy came up lame and limped into third. He was immediately removed from the game and eventually found his way into the Carl Pavano Memorial MRI tube (/GAKIII’d). The results are not good – he has a Grade II strain of his left groin, and has already been placed on the disabled list.

In the best case scenario, he’ll miss 2-4 weeks, but it could easily be longer. Like obliques, groin injuries can linger if not taken care of properly, and the last thing the Yankees need is to have this hampering Granderson all season. I’ll be stunned if we see him before June.

Annoying Moments

Too many to count, really. Granderson’s injury created some lineup havoc, which led to the Yankees losing their designated hitter late. Joe Girardi micromanaged the living daylights out of this game, which is annoying enough, but that decision to pinch run Ramiro Pena for Alex Rodriguez in the 9th is almost comical. You’re gaining about half a step total going from first to home on a sprint, and it left no one on the bench should the pitcher’s spot come up in a 9th inning rally (unless Girardi was willing to burn Frankie Cervelli with Posada’s recent knee issue). It struck me as a completely unnecessary move that was made only for the sake of making a move. “Hey look! See, I’m trying…”

It would also be nice if Joba wasn’t just relegated to the 8th inning. A few four or five out outings won’t kill him.

Also, what kind of crap was that with Ozzie Guillen making Javy change his glove? You know he only did it to get in his head. Eh, whatever. I guess Ozzie has to do whatever he can to get his team out of last place.

Happy Moments

As frustrating as this game was, it was good to see the team fight back after falling into that big early hole. Their M.O. last season was to battle right down to last at-bat, and so far this year’s club has shown that same resiliency. Vazquez was awful, but his teammates picked him up and got him off the hook.

Watching Jorge Posada start to walk back to dugout on what should have been strike three but was called ball three was good for a laugh, though he did end up striking out on the very next pitch. That about sums it up.

WPA Graph

So close … yet so far. You can find individual player breakdowns at FanGraphs’ box score.

Up Next

Tomorrow’s rubber game features Phil Hughes and Mark Buehrle in another matinee, 1:05pm ET.

Brackman returns as Adams & Romine keep mashing
In search of an outfielder
  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime (Optimovelist Primus)


    • JobaTheHeat62

      yea that really was a dumbass move. I usually don’t get too upset about moves Girardi makes, after all he did the world series, but that was very stupid. There really is a handful of players you put on for free there, and the White Sox do not have one of these players at all. Not even Konerko and his steroid-like induced career resurrection.

  • pat

    Supposedly the umps talked about Javy’s glove during the preseason, and it wasn’t instigated by Ozzie.

  • Salty Buggah

    For some reason, I can’t help but think Andruw Jones’ first HR hurt Javy. He looked good against the 1st two batters (yea, yea, I know), touching 93 once, but then the cheapie, carrying HR (unless Gardner completely misread it) hurt him.

    I’m probably wrong here but whatever, it’s a moot point. Let’s just hope Javy gets it going soon. Time for Eiland to work some magic. At least the fans weren’t that bad when booing today.

    Also, Girardi, even though I hate to micro-analyze his micromanaging, is really annoying me with some moves lately but once the pen gets it going, it won’t matter.

    It was nice to see Logan throw 95, 95, 95, and finish the batter off with 97. I didn’t know he could throw so hard. It was the 1st time all year he’s touched 95.

    • pat

      At least the fans weren’t that bad when booing today.

      Probably because he was out of the game before most even got to their seats :(

      • http://www.thechuckknoblog.com/ JobaWockeeZ

        Lol yeah this. And the booing as pretty bad, The people around my section booed like crazy.

        It was so bad that there were ovations for Sergio Mitre coming in.

  • pat

    Oh, and I figured out what’s wrong with Vazquez.

    He just forgot how to pitch. Plain and simple. Can’t remember his mechanics, can’t remember how to throw off speed pitches or spot a fastball. Dude has a nasty case of CRS.

    • Salty Buggah

      We need Kate Hudson. NOW. So A-Rod can hit HRs again and Javy can regain his memory.

  • http://twitter.com/dpatrickg Dirty Pena

    Zombie Mark Kotsay seems to be giving a little too much credit to what Kotsay’s career has been like previously.

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a The Mayor of the Draft

    Like obliques, groin injuries can linger if not taken care of properly, and the last thing the Yankees need is to have this hampering Granderson all season. I’ll be stunned if we see him before June.

    As pimpshit as our team is, perhaps we should just 60-day DL him. Everyday OF is Thames/Winn-Gardner-Swisher; the other half of the Winn/Thames platoon and a Scranton outfielder are the backups. With Gardner playing well and Thames white hot offensively, and with Winn probably improving with the additional playing time to be found in Granderson’s absence, I think we’ll actually be okay.

    And that 5th outfielder doesn’t have to be Golson or Huffman; if Grandy is 60-day’d that will open a spot for whomever is the hottest man in Scranton. And if Ramiro Peña can handle occasional OF play, maybe we could even promote an infielder instead (like Miranda or Russo) who would probably outhit Golson/Huffman/Weber/Winfree/Curtis.

    (Plus, we still have the Chris Garcia DL in our pocket for extra flexibility if we don’t want to do a full 60 for Grandy. Whatevs.)

    • poster

      No reason to 60 day DL him if he doesn’t need it. When he’s healthy, he’s healthy; if he doesn’t need the 60 day DL, then great. Only 60 day DL him if a setback occurs.

      BTW, out of curiosity, what’s your prediction for this team? I’ve heard a lot of fans, in particular Nostra-Artist who I had a conversation about this topic with before, but definitely plenty of others as well, who think we’re going to be comparable to the 98′ team, as in, 105 wins+, which is in the ultra-uber-extremely rare-mega-elite category (110+ is mythic category, so I suppose I’m actually putting them a bit below 98′, but whatever).

      The gist of that mishmosh of a paragraph: How many wins do you honestly predict? My guess is somewhere between 96 and 103, which should be enough for the division and will certainly be enough for the wild card.

      • poster

        …If you want an exact number, I’ll go 103 again. I think we’re a bit better than we were last year but that 103 is a metric fuckton of wins.

    • http://twitter.com/dpatrickg Dirty Pena

      Ehhh, no need to force him out for 2 months for a marginal upgrade at 5th OF. Maybe if he’s not progressing well after a couple of weeks, but I think this seems a little drastic.

    • JobaTheHeat62

      I think the best move for now is to just 15 DL Grandy and bring up Golson..They keep talking about all the tools this guy has, and talent, and he is actually hitting in Scranton…so give him the shot. At least with Gardner and Golson playing the OF we still have plus defense…I am assuming here that one of Golson’s “tools” is defense. Also ya never know, maybe he turns into the next Brandon Phillips. Crazier things have happened!

      Get well soon Grandy, we will miss you regardless of what happens.

      Kind of a bummer that all the new Yankees have really flopped thus far for the team. Nick Johnson can’t buy a hit, Javy Vazquez has been destroyed, CHOP is shelved, and now Grandy joins him. Its not optimal that Marcus Thames has been far and above the best of the new Yankees in 2010.

      • http://twitter.com/dpatrickg Dirty Pena

        Yes, one of Golson’s tools is very much defense. Unfortunately, none of his tools relate to hitting in any way.

  • Joseph M

    What the Yanks need to do is force feed Winn. See if he can play anymore, put him out there and leave him out there. If he can’t play anymore then get rid of him. They should also consider shopping Nick Johnson for an outfielder. I think Thames can be the right handed DH and Granderson may have to fill the left handed DH role when he comes back. Granderson’s injury could be a problem all year, he may not be be back to full time status for months. This injury is serious business.

    • pat

      They should also consider shopping Nick Johnson for an outfielder.

      Because a team is going to give up a useful outfielder for Nick Johnson? Sorry, but real baseball doesn’t work like that.

      • Joseph M

        Read the statement you referenced, I said shop him, I didn’t say go out and pick up BJ Upton or Carl Crawford. We had people on this site who had tears in their eyes they were so happy we were picking up the on base machine, Nick Johnson. Now, all of a sudden we can’t get a decent outfield sub for Johnson. Don’t give up so easy.

    • JobaTheHeat62

      Nick Johnson’s value is about as low as it can ever be

      • scoopemup

        Maybe Josh Willingham is available.

  • BigBlueAL

    Didnt see the game at all but reading this recap I just found out the batter they IBB’ed was freakin Carlos Quentin who this season is hitting .182/.326/.403. Granted AJ is hitting worse but not worth the risk of putting the go ahead run on base.

    I said before the season started once Joba went to the bullpen I had no problem with it at all but hoped they would use him like they used to use Mo in 1996 but of course he has now become slotted just for the 8th inning with the occasional appearance in the 7th inning with 2 outs which of course he couldve done now but they had to go with the LHP since a LH hitter was up.

    Joba hasnt been the Joba of 2007 but he still is clearly the 2nd best reliever behind Mo and since he is a SP he is capable of going more than a freakin inning and that facet should be taken advantage of. Ace, Park and of course Mitre are all allowed to go multiple innings so why cant Joba be used the same when you have a 1 run lead in the 7th inning????

  • pat

    No manager in baseball brings the lulz like Ozzie Guillen


    Oz on Swish HR celeb: “That’s the way he is. Good for him, enjoy it. I wish he could do it for me, he was a very horseshit player for me.”

    You can’t make this shit up.

    • poster


      (That comment by Ozzie was Awesome)

    • Trish

      Even though he treated Swish like aforementioned horseshit during Swish’s brief tenure as a White Sock I find it impossible to hate Ozzie Guillen. Never have I been so entertained by someone so completely batshit crazy.

  • Salty Buggah

    This game also emphasized one thing: The Yanks miss Chan Ho Park

    • BigBlueAL

      Not sure that speaks too well of the Yankee bullpen.

      • Salty Buggah

        Well, I’m used to the fact that they normally start slow but are lights out once they get going. What I’m saying is that CHoP would have been a good candidate to pitch today. Not only is he a good reliever but Girardi might leave him for full 1 or 2 inning stints, like Ace. Otherwise, with Marte & D-Rob, he gets too much into matchups.

        I hope he doesn’t treat Melancon the same way (but he will). Also, I hope Melancon will pitch well, should he get a chance, so he’ll earn some trust from Girardi for the future.

        • BigBlueAL

          Yup I like Park and agree with you I just meant that everybody thought signing him was a waste and wasnt necessary because the bullpen was fine without him but signing him in the end I think will prove to be a very good thing assuming he comes back fully healthy.

          • Salty Buggah

            Really? Most people at RAB liked the move I though. The casual fans did probably dislike the move, just like with Vazquez, Johnson, Thames, and Winn.

            • BigBlueAL

              Oh yeah I didnt mean the RAB writers I meant many of the comments obviously talked about what was the point and that the bullpen didnt need him. Even though even they mentioned that it wasnt necessary but it never hurts to add a quality arm to the bullpen for cheap but it looks like it may have been a necessary move in the end.

              Of course like you mentioned this is typical stuff for the Yankee bullpen this early in the season and with the way the non-Vazquez starters have been pitching hell Mo might be the only reliever necessary to pitch most of the time anyway.

  • Anthony

    If we move Vazquez to the bullpen do we start Aceves or bring some one up to start.Vazquez is shot for the year,he can not pitch here,Ed Whitson syndrome.Let’s trade him back to Atlanta for Melky.Nick Johnson another bum,at least we know two guys who won’t be back here next year.Next years radar will be on Cliff Lee and Crawford.

    • poster

      [Golf clap]

    • http://twitter.com/dpatrickg Dirty Pena

      As bad as the save statistic is, David Robertson got a hold for his efforts today.

      • http://twitter.com/dpatrickg Dirty Pena

        Didn’t mean to reply.

        • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ pete

          heh i like the reply there. somehow, it adds to the original comment

  • dkidd

    i love joe girardi and believe he’s the right manager for this team, but today’s game bugged me more than any other i can remember in his 2+ years here

    the bullpen is rusty so i understand the eagerness to get people work, but pinch running a-rod was just ridiculous

    get ’em tomorrow. despite it all, have only lost one series the whole year

    • Sweet Dick Willie

      but pinch running a-rod was just ridiculous

      But not nearly as ridiculous as intentionally walking the potential (and eventual) go-ahead run in the 7th inning.

      I didn’t see the post-game show, but I hope he was asked WTF was up with that move.

      For a manager who loves to go by the book, that move was definitely “un-bookish”.

  • dkidd

    pinch running FOR a-rod

  • dalelama

    Look at the bright side, so far every off season move made other than Thames has been a disaster, Tex and Arod have a combined average OPS of .682, and other than Mo our bullpen has been mediocre yet we are playing .652 baseball and would be the wild card if the season ended last night. I would sure feel better if two guys named Damon and Matsui were still on the roster though.

    • Hangoverologist

      Look at the bright side, so far every off season move made other than Thames has been a disaster

      Yes, because one month is such a large sample by which to the acquisitions of Granderson, Johnson, and Vazquez. Thames will eventually cool down.

      • dalelama

        Hence the use of the term “so far”.

    • Sweet Dick Willie

      I would sure feel better if two guys named Damon and Matsui were still on the roster though.

      Guess you never heard of the baseball aphorism “It’s better to let a player go a year too early than a year too late.”

      You’re like the guy who makes a killing in the market and then bitches because he left a few dollars on the table.

      • dalelama

        Not when they both have one year contracts like Matsui and Johnson (how is that one working out so far?) for sure nor when the other is Johnny Damon. And as of right now I wouldn’t call what we reaped in the off season a killing, other than it may kill us…LOL

    • http://twitter.com/rebexarama bexarama

      dalelama has minor perspective!!!!! It’s a miracle!!!!!

      I guess you’re not betting your wife’s life that Boston will win the World Series, though.

  • wilcymoore27

    Not a good managing day for Joe Girardi. Intentionally walking the go-ahead run wasn’t that great, but at least they threw two balls to the batter before Girardi made that decision.

    The nutty idea of pinch-running Ramiro Pena for Alex Rodriguez bothers me more. Girardi has done similar things in the past. The chance that the difference in speed between those two will decide whether or not the game is tied is laughably small. And if all the Yankees do is tie the game, not win it, you’re going to extra innings with Ramiro Pena in the lineup instead of Alex Rodriguez. Totally illogical.

    • dalelama

      I could be wrong but if my memory serves me correctly Girardi pulled the same move last year in the post season and your exact scenario surfaced. I can’t remember exactly but I think it did come back to bite us.

      • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

        It was in a losing game against the Angels. He ran Guzman in place of A-Rod.

      • http://twitter.com/rebexarama bexarama

        Game 5 of the ALCS. It didn’t come back to bite us because the game didn’t go extras, but I didn’t get it.

  • Mike Nitabach

    Excellent re-cap. I was jumping up and down and shouting at the teevee when they put in Pena to pinch-run for A-Rod.

    • larryf

      That is either a very long walk or you want to be the first through the gate.

  • Mike Nitabach

    BTW, leaving my house to walk to the Stadium for today’s game right now!

    • larryf

      oops-my replies got mixed up. Anyway, to complete my error, I was still amazed (cringed) when Kay said “I wonder if Girardi will have him (Pena) steal”

      • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

        Michael Kay always thinks it’s a good time for a steal, bunt, or hit and run.

        • larryf

          With Cano batting! If Pena gets thrown out, Girardi would be toast.

          Anyway, now is the time for Tex and Arod to step up.

  • Frank

    Nice recap other than the fact no mention was made of Mitre for the excellent job he did holding the WS in check. This guy continues to get bashed/overlooked by alot of fans; perhaps he should swap spots in the rotation with Vasquez.

  • V

    I’d like nothing more than to go up 12-0 on the Sox in the 4th, and hit AJ Pierzinski every single time thereafter.

    • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ pete

      yeah, he’s one of the few players in baseball who I genuinely dislike

      • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ pete


        • http://theyankeeu.com Matt Imbrogno

          You’re so awesome.

  • http://mystiqueandaura.com/ JMK the Overshare’s Mystique and Aura

    Did I pick a good game to miss or what? This sounds like the worst game in…jeez, I don’t even know how long.

  • scoopemup

    No mention of Cano going back to swinging at bad pitches and leaving men in scoring position.

    • poster

      Probably because we realize that he’s been doing so batshit fucking insane that we realize he’s not going to be great EVERY FUCKING GAME.

    • http://twitter.com/rebexarama bexarama

      Yes we should really dump on the guy who’s been absolutely nuts for weeks while there were a number of other really crappy things about the game.

      • Tank the Frank

        No I think that’s a valid point, albeit not well made. Cano had terrible ABs yesterday. Yes he walked, but none of those pitches were even close to Cano’s strikezone. He wasn’t going to hit .400 all season, so it was only a matter of time before he went through some sort of a mini-slump. His ABs yesterday suggest that’s about to happen.

        I’m not going to expect much from Cano over the next few games. The calendar has flipped. But I’m not going to kill him for it either. Just as he’ll go through a slump…he’ll get hot again soon enough. But Robbie did have some bad swings yesterday.

        • Tank the Frank

          BTW this is just what I feel and I’ll happily be wrong if he goes 3-4 today.

        • http://twitter.com/rebexarama bexarama

          Okay, this is fair. There were many more things about that game that annoyed me, however.

  • Tonymo

    Let’s see, Robertson 10 appearances, 3 blown games, an e.r.a. north of 10, and Girardi says he’s not worried about him. If so, I’m worried about Girardi!

    Why is anyone, except Cashman of course, NOT surprised by Vasquez’s putrid perfromances thus far? He’s simply picking up where he left off his first time flop in NY.

    Wouldn’t you just once, like to see Girardi be just half as honest as Ozzie Guillen about his floundering players, rather then making excuses for them!

  • Tank the Frank

    Yeah. Joe Girardi is reeeeeaaally starting to grind my gears. The IBB to Quentin was indefensible. The micro-managing of the bullpen has lead to some very inconsistant performances from some very underused relievers…not to mention it’s cost the Yankees a game or two.

    • http://twitter.com/rebexarama bexarama

      I don’t think Girardi’s bullpen management led to Robertson or Marte’s poor performances.

      • JobaTheHeat62

        I agree…Robertson has been dreadful, and if he had come in and got the job done we are not talking about this. Now I do think the walk was stupid, but DROB has been serving up extra base hits like its going out of style so its his own fault for pitching poorly. It doesn’t matter if you face 1 or 7 hitters, your job is to get batters out, obviously when you fail at that you are gona get the hook alot faster.