Sep
16

Dan Johnson 4, Yankees 3 as Rays take over AL East lead

By

We all hoped that Tuesday’s thrilling win would be the start of better days, but all it did was delay yet another crushing defeat. Phil Hughes came out of the gate strong but lost the game on a pair of mistake pitches, and the offense failed to capitalize on many early opportunities before it was too little, too late. It’s like that win didn’t even happen, we’re all miserable again.

(AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Biggest Mistake: Dan Johnson? Again?!?!

For six-plus innings, Hughes pitched a pretty good game. He was perfect into the fifth, and even though Dan Johnson took him deep for a two-run go-ahead homer in that frame, that was pretty all the Rays managed against him until the seventh inning. I think we all would have signed up for that before the game without thinking twice.

(AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

The problem was that they let Johnson beat them again. Hughes started that seventh inning with a very manageable pitch count of 85, and he even retired Carl Crawford and Evan Longoria – two legitimate MVP candidates – without incident for two quick outs. Matt Joyce, who hit that three-run homer off Hughes in his last start at The Trop, singled with two outs to bring up that Johnson guy again. Plain and simple, it was a mistake pitch. Jorge Posada set up outside, the 2-1 cutter drifted back in over the plate and you know what happened next. Johnson had his second two-run go-ahead homer of the game, the deciding blow in the Yanks’ latest demoralizing defeat.

A game and situation like this is ripe for second guessing, but I have no idea what the right move is there. Do you bring in the recently called up Royce Ring – who hasn’t pitched in the big leagues in two years – to face the three lefties in the late innings of a one-run game? Do you go to Joba Chamberlain with Hughes approaching 100 pitches? What about another reliever entirely? All I know is that you can’t let Dan freaking Johnson beat you twice in a game, period. If Hughes gets the final out of the inning and preserves the lead, we’re all talking about how great he looked, but here we are wondering how it could get any worse.

Putting Those Ford Edge Commercials To Some Good Use

Derek Jeter has done more great things for the Yankees over the years than I care to count, but tonight’s might have been his Mona Lisa. Well, that’s a gross exaggeration, but it was rather hilariously awesome in it’s own strange way.

(AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Down by one following Johnson’s first homer, Jeter came to the plate with one out in the top of the seventh looking to do whatever he could to reach base. That’s exactly what he did, though he sort of bent the rules. Chad Qualls‘ first pitch sinker ran back in too far and hit Jeter square on the wrist/forearm, and the Yankee captain went down clutching his arm in immediate pain. At least that’s what everyone though. The replay showed that the ball instead hit the handle of his bat, and that it was all just one hell of an acting job. Jeter was awarded first base before Joe Maddon argued and got tossed, and one batter later Curtis Granderson hit a go-ahead homer that put the Yanks back on top.

I had a feeling that the baseball gods wouldn’t let this one stand up, and sure enough it didn’t. I was just hoping they’d bend the rules for Derek like they have so many times before. To his credit (I guess), Jeter was very honest about it after the game. When asked where the pitch hit him, he said flatly “the bat.” This entire situation would be a lot bigger and more controversial if the Yanks won, and I’m certain Derek would have been willing to face that criticism and controversy head-on in exchange for the W.

WTF Get Those Men In

The Yanks have now dropped five of their last six games and eight of ten, and one common theme seems to be squandered chances. They put 15 men on base and stranded 10 of them (three scored, one double play, and Austin Kearns got thrown out trying to stretch a single into a double) in this game. None were worse than Lance Berkman’s inning ending double play in the first, eliminating a bases loaded, one out situation that could have put Tampa to bed before Hughes even took the mound. Instead, just frustration.

During this ten game suckfest, they Yanks have stranded 85 of 106 total baserunners, or 80.2%. The MLB average is 72.1%, so this can’t last forever, right? Right?!? It really has been like Murphy’s Law on crack lately, anything that can go wrong does and then some.

Leftovers

(AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

I can’t wait for Nick Swisher and/or Brett Gardner to get healthy, because I’m not sure how much more of Austin Kearns I can take. He’s now six for his last 45 (.133) with 19 strikeouts, six of which came in the last two games. The man is a fine platoon player, but the wheels came completely off once he got pressed into everyday duty.

For the second straight game, Colin Curtis was left in to bat for himself in big spot. This time it was with men on first and second and two outs in the eighth after Marcus Thames curiously pinch hit for Berkman earlier in the inning. Given how awful the bottom of the order had looked for the last two or three games, isn’t Berkman hitting righthanded against Randy Choate with Thames available to pinch hit for either Kearns or Curtis a better option that what happened? I’m just amazed at how often the big spots found the holes in the 8-9 spots.

Four perfect outs from Joba, including two strikeouts. At least that’s good.

The loss puts Tampa up by half-a-game in the AL East, the Red Sox are now six games back of the Yanks for the Wild Card with 16 left to play for both clubs. For you worry warts out there, Boston would need to go 11-5 the rest of the way just to tie and force a Game 163 if the Yanks go 5-11. Yeah it could happen, but I wouldn’t worry about it. I’m definitely bummed out though, I don’t want you think we’re happy about the way things are going. Be pissed off, it’s normal.

WPA Graph & Box Score

It was so promising for a while. MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs a bunch of other cool stuff.

Up Next

Hooray for off days. The Yankees have been playing like absolute crap for the last week-and-a-half and will get torn to shreds in the media tomorrow, and for most part the deserve it. Hopefully they can regroup tomorrow and finish the season strong, because I’m not sure how much more of this crap I can take.

When they do resume play, it’ll be in Baltimore with A.J. Burnett on the mound against the imminently beatable Kevin Millwood on Friday. Two of three this weekend is like, the absolute bare minimum.

Categories : Game Stories
  • All Star Carl

    LOL @ Golson

  • Little Bill

    You are so right, Mike. Berkman hitting against Choate would have been much better than Curtis hitting period. Girardi screwed that one up.

    Jeter did not break the rules. There is not a player in baseball that would say yep, it hit the bat over getting on base. Although if A-Rod did it the story would be how he resorted to cheating in order to win, but since Jeter did it the only story will be how Jeter will do whatever it takes to win ballgames.

  • http://twitter.com/cephster Ross in Jersey

    I present to you, the top picture represented in smileys:

    :/ :D :| :( >:( oO

    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

      I wonder why Golson is reacting like that o_O

      • Andrew518

        He’s stoked that he didn’t leave anybody on base tonight.

      • http://law-school-journey.blogspot.com/ LawStudent

        Happy to be in the bigs?

        • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime-Jesus & Maquinito FTW

          Ben is that you?

          • http://law-school-journey.blogspot.com/ LawStudent

            No?

          • LawStudent

            Yes.

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

        He just farted.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          And his fart just threw out Carl Crawford at third.

    • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

      you win. you win so hard.

    • Betty Lizard

      This is awesome.

  • Ben

    Mike, in a situation where you just really need one run, with a subpar hitter at the plate, are you really opposed to a squeeze play?

    I didn’t mean to start all that in the game thread, I’m just a fan of the play if the situation calls for it. I’m almost never in favor of traditional sac bunts, but I don’t mind the squeeze play, because it results directly in a run, especially with a team that often struggles with a runner at third and less than two outs.

    If the bunter is decent, I believe that it’s a very high percentage play. Just looking for your opinion.

    • http://riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      I think it was way too early in the game (second, third, fourth inning? I forget) to play for just one run with men on the corners and one out. The Yanks are built around small ball, they’re built on power and getting on base. Going out of the comfort zone often leads to more bad than good.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        That.

        I could live with a suicide squeeze in the 9th down a run. In the 4th, that’s just silly.

      • Ben

        That’s fair. Thanks for responding.

        The situation was the fourth inning, with runners at the corners, and Kearns at the plate (and Curtis on deck). I know, typically, the fourth is too early to try anything like that, but if Kearns can bunt (if he can’t, this individual point is moot) I think it was the right play.

        With already one out, Kearns up, Curtis on deck, and Posada the runner at first, I think the chances for more than one run that inning aren’t very high. All year the Yankees have had trouble scoring runners from third with less than two outs, and Kearns has been striking out at a very high rate as of late. The way I look at it, getting one run out of that situation would be a success, and I don’t trust Kearns to hit a fly ball.

        But again, my initial comment was made in a more general sense. Maybe my frustration has jaded by objectivity at times, but it seems that, quite often, they fail to get in runners from third with less than two outs. At times, when you’d settle for a lone run, I think the squeeze would be a good play.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          But again, my initial comment was made in a more general sense… At times, when you’d settle for a lone run, I think the squeeze would be a good play.

          I’ll agree with that. Had that been your initial comment, you probably would have gotten more agreement as well, I’ll bet.

          And that situation is when there’s less game-time left and the value of the run v. the value of the out has swung more firmly in the favor of the run.

          • Ben

            Fair enough. Although the situation in the fourth inning sparked my comment, I was speaking in a more general sense, but I should have chosen my words more carefully to convey that message.

            Solid discussion – I enjoyed it. I probably would be in favor of the squeeze a bit more frequently than you would, but I’d say we found some common ground on the issue.

  • Will

    Positivity is key. Move on. It’s been a really bad stretch.

    The Yankees have just been giving up big hits and not getting them. That’s all. The pitching has sorta been better. The Texas series was just brutally unlucky. It could be worse. We could be 5 games back in AL East and 3 out of the wildcard or something.

    I have to wonder though. Sometimes I think someone was out to get the Yankees when they scheduled the last month of the season. Talk about a tough stretch; Tampa Bay, Red Sox, Toronto.

    There’s absolutely no reason why we can win 28 this year. Everything will click soon Yankee fans. Hang in there! I know how tough it’s been to watch lately. Hang in there.

  • FIPster Doofus

    You know, I’ve had a strange amount of confidence since that game ended. The Rays are a great team, no doubt, but they’re likely not going to face Austin Kearns and Colin Curtis in the upcoming four-game series or during the ALCS. Even with Kearns and Curtis playing, Tampa still only outscored the Yankees by one run during this three-game set. It really could have gone either way despite the Yanks being shorthanded and having to give a significant amount of ABs to those two.

    Swish and Gardner healthy change the complexion of the lineup, obviously, as they’ve been two of the best, most important Yankees this year; that’s not to mention Pettitte’s upcoming return to the rotation.

    Things have been awful for NYY lately, but I have a feeling they’re about to get a whole lot better starting Friday.

    • Will

      Well said my good man. Come on guys! We’re not Mets’ fans! We’re not doom and gloom. We’re “on to the next game” fans.

      Like I said before, we could be totally out of the pennant race but in reality we’re only 1/2 a game back. GO YANKEES!

    • http://twitter.com/cephster Ross in Jersey

      One run losses sting more than getting blown out, but it does mean something that they’ve played all these ridiculously close games. If literally one thing swings the Yankees way in each game, they probably win 3 more games. Better now than in the playoffs. Get it out of the way, get healthy, finish strong. The week from hell is over, moving on!

      • Andrew518

        Problem is that notion assumes something is swinging against them now. I can’t think of many situations in which they have been unlucky, they just aren’t hitting with runners in scoring postion. End of the world…no, but troubling nonetheless.

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

          Winning and losing one-run games depends on a lot of luck (or lack thereof.)

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            As does hitting with RISP.

            Shit, the list of things not-luck related in baseball is like ten times smaller than the luck-related list. Maybe twenty.

        • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

          How many balls have JUST gone foul with men in scoring position? How many times has a pitched JUST missed with 2 strikes on an opposing batter? It is a little about luck.

    • Jon in CUO

      I feel the same way. Looking forward to crushing Tampa even more.

      If this diminished, injured, poor-RISP-hitting version of the Yankees can hang right there for 9+ innings with Texas and Tampa now, I am PSYCHED about the postseason.

      • Will

        Amen brothers. All these good vibes are pleasing the baseball gods!

    • Coach6423

      All sorts of this. The Yankees were just outscored by 1 run in a series in which Joe Maddon managed like it was the world series and Joe Girardi kind of managed.

      They played without Swisher and Gardner, they played one game with half the bullpen unavailable, and we started our preseason #5 and #8 starters.

      With Pettite coming back, Swisher, and Garnder getting healthy, a rested bullpen, and less at bats for Austin Kearns and Collin Curtis, I like our chances in the upcoming 4 game series and in the playoffs. It might not look like it, but we are getting set up.

      Jeter is hitting, Grandy is hitting, Teix is hitting, Arod is hitting, and Cano is hitting. CC was amazing, and our main bullpen pieces were really really good. Ebbs and Flows, Ebbs and Flows.

      Zen Baseball…

      • Jon in CUO

        There will be revenge, and it will be glorious. I was at the Mo blown save game in Texas this past weekend, and I made a pledge on the spot.

        If the Yankees wind up playing the Rangers during the postseason, I will fly to Arlington and attend every away game, merely for the chance to rub it in to the fans in case the Yankees clinch there.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          Spoken like a man who got some ass the other night.

          Rock on, brother.

        • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

          I was at the Mo blown save game in Texas this past weekend

          Oh my God you poor thing

          At least you got laid after. /sorry for being gross’d

          • Jon in CUO

            Would you believe, I actually had peanuts thrown at me by Rangers fans after the A-Rod double.

            This happened, while I was wearing a 2001 World Series Paul O’Neill home jersey….with the flag patch on the back….on 9/11.

            Fans of other teams are godless barbarians. They deserve no mercy.

            • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

              Throwing peanuts at a Paul O’Neill jersey should be a sin.

    • ZZ

      The Yankees win at least 2/3 with Gardner and Swisher healthy and in the lineup. They make up that 1 run difference compared to their replacements no problem.

    • rek4gehrig

      Ditto and same for Texas.

  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime-Jesus & Maquinito FTW
  • Little Bill

    And Jeter had a good response for what he did getting on base by the HBP. It’s part of the game. The umps missed the call so he took advantage. If a player is clearly caught stealing 2nd base but is called safe by the ump should the player step off the bag and let the opposing team tag him out? It’s the same concept, the umps blew it. Just like the home plate ump blew those two strikes Hughes threw to Johnson before he hit his 2nd HR.

    • Andrew518

      Strangley enough I got stuck watching the TB feed at a sports bar last night, they had a public service commercial on sportsmanship that suggested he should.

  • Betty Lizard

    Called the Psychic Hotline. Strangely enough, trained clairvoyants were standing by! Here’s what I got:

    Andy Pettitte is the keystone. When Andy is back in the rotation the Cosmic Order will be Restored. Everything–EVERYTHING–will be better. Jeter’s Magical Powers will be unleashed. Unleashed! Tex’s toe will be Healed, the Invisible Wall of Crushed Hopes will cause opponents’ fly balls to drop precipitously, into waiting gloves, well before the wall. And all shall witness, revealed, the full extent of Centaur Power.

    • Will

      Did you really call them man? I’m really gullible but that would be awesome if psychics really said that.

      • Betty Lizard

        There was more . . .

        • Will

          Tell me more, tell me more! But only if you really called up psychics!

          • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

            like does he have a car?

        • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

          It was the part involving that stuff Andy and I were doing, right? Maybe not the best to post that in public.

          (Oh God I’m sorry.)

  • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

    This seems bad because it’s the third series loss in a row (right, that is bad), but we we’re on the road against the other best team in baseball and lost 2 of 3. If this were the ALCS, all we’d have to do is split at home. Obviously, this is a bad stretch, but there’s no reason to think the Yanks can’t at least take 2 of 3 in their remaining series.

    • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

      I’s also like to add:

      How many freaking one run games have they lost during this stretch? This has to even out over the next two weeks.

      • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime-Jesus & Maquinito FTW

        on a six game road trip (so far), they played five one run games

    • Little Bill

      It’s certainly been a frustrating stretch considering how many of the games we could have won. We very well could have swept Tampa in their building without Gardner, Swish, and Pettitte so there is a reason to be optimistic. Hopefully we can pick up a game on the Rays this weekend and take 3/4 from them in NY. We have the best lineup in baseball if Swish and Gardner are healthy.

      • Andrew518

        “IF”

  • Alex C

    I am getting really tired of Girardi over managing and making head scratching decisions that don’t work. What is his deal with Berkman?? He has been our most consistent hitter since coming back from the DL and he lets Curtis bat with two men on. It is getting old fast.

    • Andrew518

      He’s practicing ways to screw up the Cubs.

    • Will

      Yeah I’ve been tired of Girardi since 2008. I can forgive him because we won #27 last year but the guy has absolutely no strategy in tightball games.

      Example:

      Letting Hughsies pitch to DJ when he has lefty Royce Ring in the BP.

      Ridiculous.

      It’s moves like that that’ve cost us at least a dozen wins.

      I’m telling you right now. If Girardi leaves he won’t be missed. He has brought nothing to the table this year. The Yankees have won simply because we have good players/coaches not because the managing, which has been atrocious.

      • Jon in CUO

        Joe Girardi is to the 2010 Yankees, as Barry Bonds is to the 2004 Giants.

        O:S

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          We’re currently 88-58.

          Can you prove to me that all 58 of those losses weren’t the direct fault of numerous Girardi fuckups that couldn’t be overcome and losing because of our idiot manager, and all 88 of those wins weren’t us slightly outhitting/outpitching the numerous Girardi fuckups and winning in spite of our idiot manager? No, you can’t.

          Therefore, Girardi is a moron and should be unceremoniously dismissed.

          Q.E.D.

      • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

        Is this serious?

        If so: First Name Male Handle Rule.
        And honestly, the yelling about not bringing in Royce Ring to handle Dan Johnson screams of complaining about a move just to complain about it, to me. It’s Dan Johnson and it’s Royce Ring. Dan Johnson isn’t a terrifying hitter and Royce Ring isn’t some ace reliever. It’s very easy to second-guess that move because it didn’t work out, but it’s not atrocious to keep Hughes in. He made the same bad pitch he did the first time around, though. Unfortunately.

        If it’s not serious, carry on then. lols

        • Jon in CUO

          I just like the concept of Girardi having a -12.0 WAR on the year.

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

            Well Girardi’s actually been like a -48.5 WAR, it’s the players’ positive contributions that have overcome his crappiness to make up the difference.

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

          If so: First Name Male Handle Rule.

          Enlighten me, please.

          • http://www.twitter.com/jordan_smed JGS

            Almost without exception, posters whose handle is just a male first name without any other adornment are crazy.

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

              Exhibit A: “stuart” down below.

              • http://www.twitter.com/deanezag Zack

                (Looks at Handle) Hey…

                • jonathan

                  ya not cool at all. i’m pretty sure tommie listed like a dozen of us in the game thread that break the rule.

                  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

                    Perhaps you gentlemen should add some witty appellations to your first names to distinguish yourselves from the unwashed riff-raff.

                    • jonathan

                      definitely open to suggestions

        • Pete

          “First Name Male Handle Rule”

          hey.

      • ZZ

        Hughes was throwing a great game and you want a AAAA player to be brought in? The only thing Ring has going for him is that he is lefthanded and that would have been negated when Maddon pinch hit for Johnson.

        I have hated the way Girardi has managed the past week, but hell are you talking about?

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          After the game, Joe Girardi and Austin Kearns came to my house and killed my puppy. And I don’t even own a puppy.

      • http://www.yankeenumbers.com Mr. Sparkle

        You probably didn’t even need a lefty to face Johnson. He’s a below average MLB player who should easily be retired by any of the experienced arms in the Yankee bullpen, righty or lefty.

        Given the relatively low pitch count, I can understand why Girardi might have thought it was a good idea to stick with Hughes, but his history suggests otherwise. The last few months, Hughes’ bug-a-boo has been his penchant for surrendering untimely home runs. That’s the one strong argument I could find for why he should have been lifted. Joe has to know his pitchers better than that. Very Torre-esque there.

        As crappy as Johnson is, he already got to Hughes once and after the single, I think a lot of people sensed something bad coming. Especially lately, when two-out rallies seem to happen against the Yankees at a regular clip. No, I don’t have the stats to back that up…just seems that a lot of bad things happen to the Yankees with two outs lately.

        With that said, though, again I’m going to go easy on Joe. After all, at one point (I think it was the 4th or 5th) I was on the phone with my Dad and noted the Yankees had seven hits and one run. Question all the pitching moves you want, but one clutch hit tonight and Monday and the Yankees go home with a sweep. Good thing they GOT that clutch hit Tuesday (thank goodness for small favors) or we’d be sitting on losing 10 of 11 and only a five game lead in the Wild Card. Not like six is that much better with a brutal schedule ahead.

        I’m going to take a breath now.

        • ZZ

          Hughes is starting game 3 in the playoffs. He has to be tested now and has to learn how to get out of those type of innings.

          He was throwing the ball great and had a very, very good game. His mistakes tonight will make him better in October when the real season begins.

          • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

            (nods)

          • jonathan

            I would argue in the playoffs that our bullpen is so good that you don’t trust Hughes after 100 pitches. Maybe he learns something from it but if the same situation comes up in the playoffs, Boone Logan is coming in to face the lefties and Wood/Drob/Joba finish until the 9th. The best part about our team this year is even if our starters go 5 or 6, if they don’t totally Nova on us the bullpen can shorten the games considerably.

            • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

              And in the playoffs, you’d see Girardi go to the pen more quickly in that situation because
              A.) the game means more
              B.) he has fewer future games (and thus future fatigue) to worry about burning out the bullpen and less of a need to get length from his starters
              C.) he’ll have more of the games started by CC and Andy, thus lessening the probable number of future potential 4-5 inning starts by an AJ/Javy/Hughes/Nova/Moseley/etc.

              September baseball just isn’t October baseball. Not for a team with 88 wins and only 58 losses, who’s only a half-game out of the division lead and best overall record and who still has a strangelhold on a playoff spot. You try to win, because winning is better than losing, but the nightly in-game calculus is just vastly different.

            • ZZ

              Boone Logan would not be coming in that situation. They would have pinch hit right away for Johnson if you brought Logan in.

          • http://www.yankeenumbers.com Mr. Sparkle

            Hey…I’ve been saying all along Hughes should be pitching game three if they make the playoffs (superstitious.)

            I’m the one who thought he’d also be more effective off a skipped start, which it’s hard to argue with.

            I’m 50/50 on this one. I agree he has to be tested, but with dropping 9 of 11 on the line and Boston coming on thanks to a soft schedule, I’d just like to get a few wins under the old belt. He just made a bad pitch though. Better location and they’re walking out with a series win.

            • ZZ

              Boston coming on?

              Are there Yankee fans out there who still think they can make the playoffs?

        • Big Stein

          those home runs come at Yankee stadium not on the road. Phill has given up 19 HRs at home, but only 3 on the road.

          sometimes shit happens

          • http://www.yankeenumbers.com Mr. Sparkle

            I don’t think that split means much. It’s not like he’s given up a bunch of park-aided homers, i.e. just made it over the right field fence. He’s given up plenty that would have been gone in any ballpark. Sure, a few cheapies, but quite a few bombs as well.

      • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

        I will take Philip Hughes 10 times out of 10 over Royce (who?) Ring.

      • Tim

        Come on, man. First of all, do you REALLY want to bring in a guy who hasn’t pitched in the majors in 2 years in a key spot in a game in September? And second of all, do you really think he would have faced Johnson? If Ring comes in, TB counters by pinch hitting with Willy Aybar. How do you feel about Royce Ring vs. Willy Aybar? Not too good.

        If a move was to be made there, it certainly wasn’t Ring. It was Chamberlain vs. Johnson or Hughes vs. Johnson. NOT Ring vs. Aybar.

      • rek4gehrig

        Letting Hughsies pitch to DJ when he has lefty Royce Ring in the BP </b/

        Not so. Hughsies (as u call him) simply missed his spot. Badly

  • stuart

    kearns is a hack. no clue about any offspeed pitch. he is the prototypical guy who plays his whole career on losing teams and has zero baseball IQ.

    he killed them in this series.

    terrible hitting with RISP.

    hughes made 2 mistakes.. why do these guys love to throw inside fastballs to lefties……………….

    • http://www.twitter.com/deanezag Zack

      Because you have to pitch insider to be successful.
      You can question the execution, but don’t question the strategy.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        But Zack, if I don’t question the strategy, how the fuck can I blame this on Girardi, hmmm? Answer me that shit, tough guy!

    • http://www.yankeenumbers.com Mr. Sparkle

      I can’t disagree that Kearns killed them…but injuries are killing them more. Golson made a nice throw the other night, but do you think he’s going to hit much better (maybe a little actually?) How about that Colin Curtis? The depth is pretty thin right now with Gardner and Swisher banged up. Hopefully, they’ll have a miraculous recovery during the day off.

      I would question not playing Thames though…especially over Kearns. I know he’s a defensive liability, but that’s why Golson and Curtis are here…late inning replacements. I know Thames isn’t going to set the world on fire, but he’s a much better option than Kearns at this point.

  • Avi

    I still can’t understand Girardi going with thames vs balfour over berkman vs choate. Just saying that Berkman is batting .174 right handed and can’t hit lefties doesn’t show the whole picture. Here’s why:
    1) Right handed hitters are batting a WHOPPING .421 against Choate. That takes a .174 hitter to about a .325 hitter.
    2) Balfour is holding right handed hitters to a .194 average. although thames is hitting for a better BA than the average hitter, the adjustment would only take him to about .230

    I realize this equation isn’t perfect but the point is that the difference between choate and Balfour (as effective pitchers to right-handed batters) is greater than the difference between Berkman and thames!
    This combined with the fact that you had kearns and curtis coming up in either the 8th or the 9th in a one run game makes this move truly exacerbating! You had to save thames for one of those two hitters (like Mike mentioned).
    Also for what it’s worth, Berkman is 1-1 vs Choate with a double.
    I still think balfour comes in even if Berkman is the hitter. There’s NO WAY Joe maddon goes down in one of the biggest games of the year with randy choate pitching to a righty!

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      After seeing the whole picture… I still wouldn’t put in Berkman to face Choate. Because Berkman’s just toast against lefties. If he could still hit lefties, he probably wouldn’t have been available to us, Houston would have dealt him to some other contender who needed a legit 1B/DH bat who could hit all pitchers without a platoon split.

      Oh, and while your single career plate appearance for Berkman v. Choate (which was a ground-rule double SIX FULL YEARS AGO, mind you) doesn’t matter, here’s a stat that also doesn’t really matter but matters a bit more than yours does:

      Thames is .250/.250/.500 against Balfour with a walk and two Ks in 4 plate appearances. That lone hit came in 2003 (also a double) and then he K’d/groundout/K’d against him in the next three appearances in ’04 and ’08. Both K’s were swinging.

      In the alternate universe where Girardi uses Berkman instead, he also would have failed and you’d probably be complaining about why Girardi didn’t pick the hot bat of Thames v. a RHP instead of Lance Berkman against a lefty (because ZOMG he only hits .174 hitting right handed!!!)

      • http://www.yankeenumbers.com Mr. Sparkle

        I wouldn’t even hang the game on that one single at-bat. They had plenty of opportunities early and didn’t really capitalize. The same old script it’s been during this latest offensive drought. I get the feeling no matter who hit in that spot, the result would have been the same.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          Pretty much.

      • Avi

        Tommy, you really wanted to see thames against balfour in that spot? as good as balfour has been, you wanted that matchup over a sidewinding 84 MPH slurve throwing lefty to berkman? also how about the fact you had kearns and curtis coming up.
        i’d love to hear someone ask maddon what he would have done if berkman was left in to hit. i know if i was a Rays fan i’d want balfour pitching and not choke, i mean choate.

        • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

          If I was a Rays fan, I’d pick the pitching matchup that gives me Berkman’s 2010 line of .179/.273/.269 against lefties instead of the pitching matchup that gives me Thames’s 2010 line of .280/.364/.587 against righties.

          • Avi

            If you’d do that you would totally be ignoring WHO the lefties and the righties are!

            • Avi

              and let’s not get SO caught up on Berkman’s .179 – it’s 74 frigin ABs! while his ’09 average against lefties, .230 is still poor it’s still a lot closer to thames’ .280

              also:
              “If he could still hit lefties, he probably wouldn’t have been available to us, Houston would have dealt him to some other contender who needed a legit 1B/DH bat who could hit all pitchers without a platoon split.”

              i don’t think there were may teams able to take on $3 mil of his remaining contract AND give a mark melancon. im sure many teams would like to have his bat the Rays def being one of them

  • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

    It took Andrew Marchand a full 25 words into his latest ESPNNewYork article to mention “playoff preview series”, and use the fact that we lost two such series to the Rays and Rangers to portend doom and pain and imminent death.

    Frankly, I’m proud of him. I thought “playoff preview” would make it inside the first ten words.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/new-.....id=5577795

    • http://www.twitter.com/deanezag Zack

      Should have just titled it: “Playoff Previews are Failures for Yankees”

      Get right to the point, not BSing

    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

      I went to WasWatching today for the first time in two months. I did not even have to get past the first page before I saw a “they are worse against over .500 teams” article. Oh, and his latest article is about how the Red Sox are zomgbackinit2007MetsDOOOOOMED.

    • Big Stein

      Fat Jon Kruk was going nuts tonight on ESPN over Jeter’s acting. Funny how they didn’t go nutz when Ian Kinsler got that sweetheart stolen base call when he was out by three feet, Friday, in Texas.

      • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

        He basically said “I’ve been against instant replay all my life, but now that instant replay could have kept the Yankees from taking the lead in this game, I’m changing my mind.”

        I guess baseball isn’t like the 2009 Red Sox: it has a weakness. The lack of proper use of technology to keep the Yankees from taking advantage of idiot umpires.

      • http://www.yankeenumbers.com Mr. Sparkle

        Thanks for giving me a laugh tonight…the thought that ESPN would EVER criticize something that went against the Yankees! That’s rich!

  • Big Stein

    THIS IS ALL GIRARDI’S FAULT!!!!!

    ARUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUh!

    /loony yankee commentator-caller to radio talk show

  • stuart

    i did not blame girardi tonight.
    we lost because we ware forced to use kearns and curtis. 2 guys who played terrible for the series and were basically easy outs every time.

    i blame girardi when he makes bonehead moves which he has done more then once lately……….

    hopefully friday at least gardner will be back. btw garder still does not steal early enough in the count……………

  • jonathan

    The scariest thing to me is, think about if Nick and Jorge don’t hit those monster home runs. We’re talking a 10!!!! game losing streak. Thank God they hit those timely jacks.

    The thing that sucks is from February on we knew our bench was weak and our OF depth was pathetic. I truly believe that their plan was to trade for Jerry Hairston Jr again when the Padres sucked and then, they didn’t. Think about Hairston taking all the AB’s of Pena and he could play the OF too. He isn’t some world beater but at least he’s a legit MLB player unlike Pena and Curtis.

    I think Girardi has had some trouble this year of riding the hot hand. While Gardner was on a tear he was sitting in the 9 hole. When Granderson got hot and went nuts, he sat at 7 or 8. Swisher was also hot but hitting 6th or so instead of 2nd. He did a great job of riding Thames though, but I really like Berkman and his approach at the plate and we should try and maximize his hot streak as best we can. I understand keeping guys in the same lineup spot for ego reasons but early on it really should have been Gardner/Jeter/Cano and maybe Swisher. Random thought, does anyone see a problem with hitting Tex lower in the lineup at the start of the year when he’s in his slump and then putting him back in the 3 hole once he turns it on? It’s a pretty established pattern and hey, if he hits well to start with then it’s easy to put him back there.

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      Meh, lineup order doesn’t matter much. In this offense, every player will come up in big spots all game long.

      Whatevs.

    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

      The scariest thing to me is, think about if Nick and Jorge don’t hit those monster home runs. We’re talking a 10!!!! game losing streak. Thank God they hit those timely jacks.
      It’s true, but then again, if Mo doesn’t completely implode – honestly, how often does that happen? – and if there’s not a stupid call at 2B in the first game at Texas that ends up screwing over the Yankees, things look at least a little better.

      The Yankees actually tried to resign JHJ IIRC, he just took more money to play full time at SD. They signed Winn, who was awful, and Thames, who’s been fantastic. They couldn’t trade for him at the deadline, so they got Kearns, who’s also a perfectly fine backup (and was really good when he first came here), even if he looked God-awful tonight. Do I wish they had a better backup IF? Yeah. But who’s available?

      • http://www.yankeenumbers.com Mr. Sparkle

        It’s true, but then again, if Mo doesn’t completely implode – honestly, how often does that happen? – and if there’s not a stupid call at 2B in the first game at Texas that ends up screwing over the Yankees, things look at least a little better.

        Good point…that’s baseball. Usually things start swinging the other way. I’m just hoping it starts swinging pretty soon. Between Mariano’s implosion, blown calls, nagging injuries, two fat pitches to the worst hitter in the Rays lineup, what more can the baseball gods throw at them? Do we have to sacrifice a chicken to Jobu?

        • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com/ bexarama

          Like Mike said, this stretch has been Murphy’s Law on crack. It’s getting ridiculous. Just gotta weather through it I guess. :/

      • jonathan

        nobody is available. that was my point. who can blame jerry for going to play with his brother in southern cali for more money and a full time job? everyone expected the Padres to suck and therefor they’d be willing to trade people like hairston for a little salary relief and a C prospect. He was the plan and NOBODY saw the Padres doing this, especially those in the market for Adrian Gonzalez.

        I agree that we could have easily won almost every single game with a tiny thing here or there going our way. I’m just saying how grateful i am for Nick/Jorge hitting those HR’s. They account for about 99% of my Yankee happiness in the last 10 games. That and Golson.

        And Tommie I do agree with you in general that in a lineup like ours it doesn’t matter, but he switches guys around all the time, particularly Swish/Grandy/Gardner but seemed to always put them in the higher slots when they weren’t hot and leave them in the bottom third or so when hot. Of course in this game we wish Kearns/Curtis were anywhere but hitting when those rallies were killed. O well, like i said early, in the playoffs Hughes would be out and the bullpen would take over, plus a lineup with Gardner/Swish/Arod/Jorge/Berkman is a lot better than the Kearns/Curtis/Pena/Cervelli/Thames alternative.

  • Aaron – Long Island

    I really don’t understand the ire for Girardi lately. I know he has made some head scratching moves in the past couple of weeks that haven’t worked out, but I’m betting every manager does the same thing over a set time period; they just get luckier and have some of the ‘dumb’ moves work out with regards to winning games.

    To me, it just feels like a bit of a logical fallacy to categorically state that the outcome of so many of these games would be different if he had used the bullpen or bench differently.

    The Yankees are losing games because of the inconsistencies of otherwise reliable players (maybe due to injuries, fatigue, whatever). Is it naive of me to not lay much or any of that at the feet of the manager?

    • http://www.yankeenumbers.com Mr. Sparkle

      I’m no Girardi fan, but you can’t hang a streak like this on the manager. The players have to get it done and the lineup has to produce, which it isn’t.

  • Ray Plus More to Avoid Handle Rule

    Despite the result of the 7th inning, I really enjoyed that AB against Longo, at least following on Gameday. Inside fastballs (that looked pretty darn inside on Gameday, but I’m sure the plan was to pitch inside, so as long as it didn’t hit him, whatever) and a 3-2 curve for a called third strike on the inside corner. Beautiful.

  • It’sATarp

    The thing i’m annoyed with hughes about is that he let Dan fucking Johnson beat him on the same goddamn pitch in the same goddamn location. I mean seriously? other wise a good pitching performance but jeez learn from your mistake and make a friggin adjustment.

  • ShuutoHeat (No Douche Beards Here)

    How much buzz is there going on Jeter’s HBP incident? Who knows? But we can expect at least a sliver of attention because its the Yankees.

    Two people I knew actually messaged me about it and whined. So I ask EVERYONE…has there EVER been a MLB player that tried to overturn a call that was in their favor? Actually let me rephrase that, has there ever been an athlete that tried to overturn the call that was in their favor? If there is, it is far and few.

    IMO, this isn’t really about Jeter “cheating”. This actually has more to do with the UMPs botching calls. Remember Matt Joyce screwing over Galaraga? Yeah, who was the hitter? Did he try to overturn the call that was in his favor? So if anyone wants to whine and cry about Jeter trying to “sell” his HBP, they should call out their own players when they get botched calls in their favor. This is just the same story about the crappy UMPs with different people and different circumstances.

    • Little Bill

      It’s a ridiculous argument. It’d be like if a player steals second and gets tagged out but the ump doesn’t see the tag so he calls the runner safe. The runner knows he was tagged but stays on second anyway. That’s just part of the game. If they want to blast anyone it should be the umps and I think even Joe Maddon would agree.

      • rbizzler

        What about every OFer who traps a ball and instinctively raises their glove in an attempt to sell the ump that they made the catch? Cheaters, all of ‘em.

        • Adrian

          Exactly! Do you think Jerry, Wade, and Tony wish Alex Barron had just let Orakpo beat him on the last play of the Sunday night game, or do you think they would’ve been fine with a hold there had Barron been able to disguise it a little better?

          Bluffing officials is the most basic thing in sports, whether it’s an OL hiding his grabbing, a hitter glaring at an ump after a strike (the same with pitchers after throwing a ball), a catcher screwing around with his mitt positioning each at bat, or histrionics and yelling from a manager or coach. There are countless cases of direct efforts to mislead officials as to what actually happened, and this is no different, which is why anyone singling out Jeter needs to realize stuff like this goes on from everyone, often several times a game.

  • Jerome S

    I’m going to ask a legitimate question: Is Tampa a better team?

    • larryf

      after these games I can honestly say no. We were not healthy-they were. We have lots of walkoff pie that has yet to come out of the frig. These one run losses have been very draining and I am hoping we get all of this out of our system and start to play better this weekend.

      It seems lately when we have 2 men on and less than 2 outs, our strikeouts go way up and our station to station approach seems to hurt us the most. More contact hitters and a different 2 strike approach is needed when there is a man on 3rd and less than 2 outs.

      In other words, I have seen enough of Austin Kearns….

  • http://riveraveblues bill

    red sox are done i think we will sweep o.s

    • steve s

      What the Yanks shit play over the last 10 games has done is to let the Red Sox have an actual shot at controlling their own destiny (they have 6 games with the Yanks and are now only 6 behind in the loss column). Giving the Red Sox even that modicum of a chance makes the Yanks “save it for the playoffs approach” a serious mistake in judgment. The “unthinkable” collapse is getting more real than it ever should have been and Girardi is just getting tighter and looking more like a guy in the middle of a nervous breakdown each day.

      • Zooboy

        Even with the shit of the last 10 games, the Yanks are still WAY more likely to win the division (.5 game out) than lose a playoff spot (6 games up). Fear not: objects in the mirror are further than they appear.

        Oh, and I really can’t take much more Austin Kearns.

  • Carcillo

    There was but one thing that annoyed me. We’ve mentioned time and time again about Hughes “not making adjustments” with his pitches. The fastball isn’t working, call the fastball.

    Well, tonight, I remember him doing an excellent job of mixing in the curve and even a few changes. The Rays only had 3 hits through 6.2 innings, and Hughes had just navigated through the 3-4. However, in the 5th, he gave up a homer to Dan Johnson. Pitch location? Down and in.

    One on, two out, 7th inning, Dan Johnson at the plate. The untimely pitch? Fastball down and in.

    THAT non-adjustment was the difference. And for cripes sake, it was ugly. That simply can’t happen when you’ve just gotten the lead back, and your 4 outs from Mo and NOT facing the tough part of the order.

    • Ray the Anti-Handle

      But was he aiming for the inside part of the plate? From what I got from the comments in the game thread, he just missed. There’s a difference between a non-adjustment and a botched execution. Sure, they’re both bad, but at least the thinking was right.

      (Yes, yes, the pitch selection might have been questionable, but this is about location.)

  • Fair Weather Freddy

    Kearns has been absolutely killing us lately. Seems every time there are men on base he seems to be up, and he does nothing but strike out. I had more faith in Curtis up with 2 outs then Kearns up with one out. I know he’s a better outfielder than Thames but please, I’d rather have Thames bat in the lineup than this guy.

  • theyankeewarrior

    Thank god Hughes learned from the first fastball mistake to Johnson and came back with the changeup in the second at bat to strike him out.

    Now we’re up 1.5 games, we have a day off to rest the pen and our hobbled OF, and we’re gonna sweep the O’s!!!

  • theyankeewarrior

    In case anyone is wondering, the Rays are skipping Santana vs. the Angels and skipping King Felix vs. the Mariners. The Yankees will get 0 help from here on out.

    • larryf

      Agreed. We just have to get healthy, get hot and win our own games!

  • Joe

    If I have to see Kearns and Curtis up there looking like low A ball hitters I am going to T bone the two of them with a city bus while they are making their way to Yankee Stadium next week. CAN SOMEONE MAKE F****ING CONTACT!?!?!?!?!

  • http://ballcraft.blogspot.com Zanath

    Oh, it’s Millwood tomorrow? I thought it was Guthrie. That makes me feel a whole lot better about the game tomorrow (as Guthrie has been pitching great of late). We have to come through against Millwood tomorrow…right? Please?

    • Fair Weather Freddy

      Guthrie is pitching Saturday

      • http://ballcraft.blogspot.com Zanath

        Yeah I found that out now. Last night Yankees.com had Guthrie pitching tomorrow, so I guess they got it wrong.

  • STEVIS

    I think that Mr. Girardi is managing very scared.
    Kearns??? what a stiff.. long swing , just horrible and the kid Curtis… wow doesn’t belong in the bigs

  • YANKS1FAN

    I don’t know why Jorge Vazquez does not get a call up, at least to prove himself going in to spring training, where with his age and experience(superstar in Mex lg, WBC), and what he has done in the last two seasons, he could help the Yanks during the stretch run. I know he is not on the 40, but there is plenty to chose from to DFA. He led the Yankee system in SLG(2nd in the whole organization with only Cano ahead of him), ISO, and AB/HR. And was 4th in HR(18 in only 76games in AAA. The top three all had more than 120 games….and throw in 25doubles), 4th in wOBA, and 6th in AVG(.284). And he is an rbi machine. He was second in Scranton in RBI’s(62) when only playing half the season. He will get his strikeouts, but he always gets the timely hit. And usually it is a home run! Girardi has said that he loves him…. Especially with Swish and Gardner hurting, ARod and Tex needing days off(he plays 1b & 3b), and Kearns, Curtis, Russo, Golson(only good for pinch running), and Miranda(teams know he’s all pull)are all not producing. They actually need him up there right now. Give him a shot!!!!

    • http://twitter.com/tsjc68 tommiesmithjohncarlos a/k/a Ridiculous Upside the Elder

      Jorge Vazquez is a worse version of Juan Miranda.

      • larryf

        agreed. I have seen him several times in Scranton. We do not need him. We have enough RISP failure right now. Contact hitters fast enough to stay out of a double play and hitters who change their approach with 2 strikes and RISP would be more helpful.

  • rek4gehrig

    I must not , I cannot, I will not, I shall not, be upset at the fact that Kearns (and Curtis) left a gazillion men on base last night. Because the simply truth is that they will NOT be in the lineup in October.

    • larryf

      One less thing to be curious about if (God forbid) Swish is as awful in the postseason this year as last.