It’s one thing to have your pitching staff surrender seven runs in two consecutive games. It’s an altogether different issue when those 14 runs come off the bats of the league’s worst offense. At 3.45 runs per game entering last night, the Mariners sit with the Orioles as the only AL teams under four runs per game. Yes. They’re more than a half-run back from the No. 12 offense in the league. Yet they’ve managed to score 14 runs to the Yankees’ three.
You can’t predict baseball, but sometimes that fucking sucks.
Biggest Hit: Ha ha, very funny
At 5.43 runs per game the Yankees rank second in the American League. Yet they have averaged 1.5 runs per game in the past two. It’s not much of a sample, and teams do slump. They were also facing two of the best pitchers in the league, Cliff Lee and Felix Hernandez. No, the Yanks didn’t get any big hits off Felix Hernandez. They threatened with a couple of doubles, but they never amounted to anything. Felix was too good. Most of the lineup was too bad. Either way, it amounted to two hits and no runs.
They had runners on the corner and two outs in the first, but Robinson Cano just missed a double. In the fourth Mark Teixeira led off with a double, but the Yankees couldn’t so much as move him to third. The next inning Colin Curtis hit a double with one out, but again the Yankees couldn’t do anything with it. Derek Jeter did hit one hard back up the middle, but it was right at Hernandez, who fell down fielding it but still made the play to first easily. That was it. Two walks in the first, one in the ninth, a double in the fourth, and another in the fifth.
It seems like the Yanks have done the “tip your hat to the pitcher” thing a few too many times this season, but in the past two games they can say it without embarrassment. Cliff Lee and Felix Hernandez are all-world pitchers. On a team with a bit more offensive prowess they would be the talk of the league. Hell, Lee is even without the aid of run support. Felix had one of those games where even a top offense will have fits. Mix in a few slumping players and it’s a two-hitter.
Biggest pitch: Didn’t matter
When the opposing pitcher allows no runs it doesn’t matter what your own pitching does. What was bigger, the hit produced the only run they’d need, or the hit that gave them the level of comfort to think, “okay, three-run lead, this is over”? Milton Bradley got the job done with his second-inning homer, and Jose Lopez delivered the third run. Maybe you can even chalk it up to Russ Branyan, whose seventh-inning jack erased any remote comeback chances.
Not that Javy Vazquez pitched all that well. He did hold the Mariners scoreless for his final three innings, working out of a bases loaded jam in the fifth before retiring the side in order in the sixth. Also, given the nature of Bradley’s hit that set up Lopez’s RBI single, maybe those three earned runs are deceptive. After all, it’s not like Javy gave up a well-hit ball. But he did hit Branyan the batter before, which is no one’s fault but his own.
Furthermore, Vazquez ran up his pitch count early, which forced him from the game after six innings. That left the game in the hands of the Yanks bullpen, and we know how that unit has performed this year. Damaso Marte, who I wanted to see pitch more innings, basically ended the game when he hung a slider and Branyan did what any self-respecting lefty would have done. Hell, any self-respecting righty would have done the same. The pitch was just that fat.
Also, I hope everyone enjoyed Chad Gaudin’s final appearance in pinstripes. The only question left is of whether they announce his release when the reporters show up at 3, or if they wait until closer to game time to announce that he’s been replaced by Dustin Moseley?
Teixeira has two doubles in the past two days. Unfortunately, those are the only two times he’s reached base.
That’s all I’ve got.
Graph and box
Avert your eyes, children. This graph may take on other forms.
The Yanks draw the weakest pitcher on the Mariners staff, Ryan Rowland-Smith. That’ll be a nice break from Felix and Lee. He goes against CC Sabathia in the first of four games with 1 p.m. starts.