Yanks fall to Tampa after lengthy rain delay

Robertson out with back spasms after MRI
The importance of clinching this weekend

After two somewhat tense but otherwise gratifying wins in the first two games of the series, Wednesday’s game against the Rays was a complete let down in pretty much every way. Tampa jumped out to an early lead, then a two hour and 11 minute rain delay interrupted the bottom of the third inning. Once the game resumed the Yanks just couldn’t seem to dig themselves out of a hole the bullpen kept digging, and the end result was just their second loss in the last six games.

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Back-To-Back And There Goes The Ballgame

More than anything else, the most annoying part of this game was that every time the Yanks scored, the bullpen immediately gave back the runs if not more. Chad Gaudin came into the game for reasons unknown in the seventh inning after the Yanks closed the gap to 3-2, and he actually managed to get two quick ground outs from John Jaso and Ben Zobrist. Three pitches later, the Rays had two more runs thanks to back-to-back solo homers from Carl Crawford and Evan Longoria. Ho hum, as if we should have expected otherwise.

Crawford’s homer was the biggest WPA swing of the game for Tampa at +.139.

Fat Elvis Has Left The Building

About the only bright spot for the Yanks in this game was Lance Berkman getting his first homerun in pinstripes. Jeremy Hellickson left a 1-2 changeup up a bit, Berkman put a good swing on it and hit it out to right-center. It wasn’t a total cheapie, a few rows back, but it’s certainly not a ball that would have left all 30 parks. Anyway, I’m glad Lance got that out of the way. Hopefully a few more start to follow.

Garbage Pitchers In Non-Garbage Time

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

I understand that when the weather causes a delay, especially early in the game, it can be rather tough to navigate all those innings with the bullpen. That’s true even in September when there’s plenty of extra arms around. Joe Girardi turned to the southpaw Royce Ring after the delay because a bunch of lefties were due up, and he chipped in five rather uneventful outs before walking John Jaso. Not bad for a guy making his first big league appearance since August 1st, 2008.

Dustin Moseley relieved Ring and naturally got smacked around, his first action in ten days. Five of the first six men he faced picked up a hit (Ring’s inherited runner scored), and the only reason he escaped the sixth inning with just one run crossing the plate is because Mark Teixeira put on a nice little clinic at first. He threw a runner out at the plate on the groundout before turning a nifty 3-6-3 double play to end the inning.

Gaudin replaced Moseley, pitching for the sixth time in the last twelve games, and he of course gave up those two homers. His line in those six games: 5.2 IP, 9 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 4 BB, 4 K, 3 HR. He doesn’t deserve to be on the postseason roster, but I bet you he is anyway. Jon Albaladejo relieved Gaudin and immediately walked the first two men he faced, the second of which he forced in a run. He then allowed another run in the ninth. I’m guessing the ten days’ worth of rust was an issue.

It’s not so much that they pitched poorly as a group (aside from Ring, really), you have to expect that with these guys, it’s that this game was still very winnable. It was 1-0 coming out of the rain delay and still just a one run game when Gaudin entered in the seventh. It just makes Girardi seem hypocritical to go with the garbage time relievers in a close game after he said “Our goal is to win the division” that afternoon. I have no trouble with him resting guys before the postseason, none at all, but the walk and the talk don’t match right now.

Leftovers

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

A.J. Burnett was generally okay in his three innings of work before the rain. The first inning run scored on a ground ball single between Robbie Cano and Mark Teixeira, a walk to move the runner into scoring position, a ground out to move the runner to third, and then a sac fly. He allowed a single in the second (another grounder) and a walk in the third, but that’s pretty much it. A.J. threw 51 pitches total, 33 for strikes. It was his second rain shortened outing in his last three starts and at least his third this season.

Aside from Berkman’s homer, the offense did a whole bunch of nothing. Alex Rodriguez drove in the other run with a bloop single to left and Derek Jeter extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a 2-for-4 effort. Tex took yet another 0-fer and is now seven for his last 57 (.129) with 14 strikeouts. I get that he’s nursing a broken toe and bruised hand (and he got hit by pitch in the back of the leg in this game), but there’s been way, way too many cold streaks from him this year. Hopefully he finishes strong and mashes in the playoffs.

The Red Sox managed to beat the Orioles, so the magic number to clinch the division remains at three. The division lead shrunk to one-and-a-half games with the loss.

WPA Graph & Box Score

Look at that thing, the game was so close until frickin’ Gaudin showed up. Sigh. Anyway, MLB.com has the box score, FanGraphs some other stuff.

Up Next

Series finale tomorrow night is a rematch of last week’s pitching duel. CC Sabathia takes on David Price at 7pm ET, except this time the Yanks’ bullpen is rested and ready to go. I think.

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Robertson out with back spasms after MRI
The importance of clinching this weekend
  • Big Stein

    So you’re saying this is Girardi’s fault for using Moseley?

    Heh – somehow it’s always Girardi’s fault.

    • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

      So my take:

      1. If he were managing to win the division and, by extension, this game, he wouldn’t have gone to Moseley to get out of the Royce Ring inning. He would have gone to a more dependable reliever for that one out. No big deal there though.

      2. The bigger problem was managing a one-run deficit as though it were an eight-run blowout. By the time the Yanks got to the 7th and still were within spitting distant, if you’re managing to win, you have to manage to hold the game at 3-2. Girardi had everyone except D-Rob and Joba available, and he went with the White Flag option. That’s not smart managing if, as Girardi says, the team is going to try to win the division.

      I guess they can still try to win the division but not go all out. That’s what we saw tonight.

      • Big Stein

        1. who would you have brought in to relieve Ring in the 5th?

        2. If you go with your best reliever in the 7th, who do you pitch in the 8th and 9th, assuming the game stayed at 3-2? You can use Logan for the 8th, but he was ineffective on Monday. And even you things go well, who comes out for the 9th when you’re down a run?

        • Big Stein

          What I’m saying is the middle relief is thin.

          They’ve only got 4 arms (wood, Joba, DRob, Logan) and the pen has been carrying the staff since Andy got hurt in July/Javy went belly up in July/AJ crapped the bed in August.

        • Big Stein

          How quickly people forget. Fans hated Torre for burning out the middle relief, using the arms day after day, until they had nothing left in October.

        • Brian in NH

          Andrew Brackman

      • zs190

        I don’t really think Mo was available last night. He’s 40, pitched 3 out of 4 nights and by rule he gets 2 days off afterwards. I have no objection to that. Joba and DRob were not available like you said.

        Wood and Logan pitched on 19/20 and got 1 day off, I think they could be available if we had taken the lead in a close game and needed to close it out, but I think he preferred to not use them when we were behind.

        This loss just doesn’t bother me all that much. I don’t think either team cares about winning the division, Tampa had the lead so they used their good relievers. We were behind so we used the “use when behind” group of relievers, that’s all. Switch the position and if we were ahead in the 6th/7th, we’ll be seeing Chad Qualls and Dan Wheeler instead of Balfour/Benoit and Wood/Logan instead of Gaudin/Albie.

        If Joe had used Wood/Logan/Mo tonight in a loss, everyone will be blasting him for using Chad Gaudin and Sergio Mitre to hold lead the next two games because that would make the good relievers all unavailable.

    • Andrew518

      Mosely = acceptable

      Ring+Mosely+Gaudin+Albaladejo = somewhat questionable.

    • Big Stein

      When the Yanks lose, Girardi usually gets some (if not all) of the blame.

      Okay, fair enough.

      But why is when they win, Girardi never receives any credit for he victory?

      • Hughesus Christo

        Because thy’re the fucking Yankees and have something like 15 current/former All-Stars on the roster?

    • lenM

      Yes it Retartdi’s fault him and his butt butties Jon Ablablowjob, Sergio are you kidding me Mitre, and Waiting for Go-down to not throw a batting practice round. The offence is a joke who makes the world like Cy Young. They have won alright but are far from the elite team they have been. They are very beatable in a short series. The only pie in the face in on AJ who oh by the way can’t win a game and takes pride in his three innings pitched for his paltry salary of 82.5 million. Let’s not leave out Mr. 245 Granderson who is batting so much better thanks to Kevin Long. Better than what. Then there’s the slow starting, and miserable finsher Tex 7 for his last 57 my God that’s a 129 batting average. What do we have to look forward from him in the playoffs maybe 75 batting average at this rate, but lets leave him batting in the third spot hell somebody got to make the third out of the inning right. It has Retardi all over it and don’t you forget it.

      • V

        Clever. You’re not it.

      • Betty Lizard

        LEMON FOOL

        1 pt. whipping cream
        1 jar of lemon curd (English-sec import jams, jellies, etc. section of supermarket)
        Vanilla

        Chill bowl and rotary blades of beater. In chilled bowl, pour cream. Whip until soft peaks form. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla and beat until stiff. Fold in lemon curd. Taste for intensity desired. Pour into dessert cups and chill. Serve with cookies.
        Serves 6-8.

      • http://twitter.com/firstheart42 seimiya

        What.

  • http://www.secondavenuesagas.com Benjamin Kabak

    He doesn’t deserve to be on the postseason roster…

    Forget the postseason; he doesn’t deserve to be on the expanded regular season roster right now.

  • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

    Someday in the future, when I think about the glory days of my youth, I’ll dream about Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Mariano Rivera, Alex Rodriguez and Chad Gaudin.

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

      That #41 will look sweet hanging in Monument Park.

      • Klemy

        I wonder how much tickets to the game they unveil it will cost?

  • Andrew518

    Rays played this game to win, the Yankees (Girardi)…not as much.

    “Sometimes you have to lose a battle to win a war,” but sometimes you have to step on the other guy’s throat and win the freekin’ war.

    Yes the offense was not that great, but what kind of pitching decisions are we making here?

    Just feels like a lost opportunity here.

  • Cbean

    I was at this game and I stayed through the rain delay, but I couldn’t stay through the bad pitching. Everyone was terrible but they were and it was disheartening. This is the first time I’ve ever left a Yankee game early. I’m glad I at least got to see Puma’s first homerun as a Yankee.

    • http://kierstenschmidt.com Kiersten

      Was that really his first home run? I guess it was, but wow.

    • Carcillo

      Considering the only times I can bank on going to a Yankees game is when they are at the Trop, I’m very judicious in trying to stick through the end of games. As a matter of fact, I only left my seat prior to the ending of a game once, and that was on August 2nd, when the Yankees were one out away from getting shutout. I’m sure there’s a bit of justification in my decision due to the frustrating nature of that game.

      • CBean

        We stuck it out till the top of the ninth but then it seemed like blatant masochism.

  • BigBlueAL

    I got home during the rain delay. I essentially watched a late-March Spring Training game tonight.

    • Andrew518

      Sort of…

      Jeter seems to have a neck issue, Tex has a broken toe, Gardner/Swisher banged up, A-Rod feeling a bit of age…but they all stayed in the game.

      Brought the C team pitchers out though…

      Seems like Joe couldn’t make up his mind if he was playing to win or letting the game get away.

      Imagine the score if he *had* taken Tex out.
      He’s lost the bat but he sure is bringing the leather.

      • BigBlueAL

        Thats why I said a late-March Spring Training game. The starting position players all basically played the entire game while the pitching staff after Burnett were all scrubs.

        Of course the rain delay was the main reason but like I mentioned thats when I got home so I only saw the scrubs pitching.

        • Andrew518

          Burnett sometimes plays like a high paid scrub.

          + for attention to detail

  • Mickey Scheister

    I can’t stand seeing Joe continually going to Gaudin. What more does he need to see from him, he’s garbage. The other guys I’m not even upset, Albie and Moseley 10 days between any work, what do you expect when guys used to pitching on the regular see almost no playing time, 10 days is a long time. Did I mention I loathe Gaudin? I’m glad I fell asleep during this one, Joey G has terribly mis-managed his pen since early Sept. I pray Gaudin does not enter anymore close games and is NOT on the postseason roster. It’s just one game so whatever, but I really don’t understand Joes thought process with the bullpen as of late. CC, tomorrow, will make it a series win, for sure, as long as Joe doesn’t suffer from cranium-rectal inversion again.

    • Andrew518

      I’ll admit it…I thought signing Gaudin was a great move at the beginig of the year.

      I’m afraid I was wrong.

      Did any one watching ESPN feed here Sutcliff say that every team needs a guy like Gaudin? Yeah, I just wish he was on the Rays tonight.

      • Mickey Scheister

        Gaudin gives up an average of 1 homerun per 4.5 innings pitched in 2010. That’s god awful for his role. There’s a reason the Rays, A’s and Cubs released him, he sucks. However, his girlfriend is hot, way to go Chad at least you have SOME game in your bones!

      • Chris

        He was technically right in what he said. Basically his argument was that every team needs a long reliever/spot starter. Which they do.

  • Jonathan

    This whole situation was just terrible luck. Of all the teams to have a long rain delay vs, the Rays were probably the worst. We would usually have the bullpen advantage vs most teams but when the long reliever is their 2nd best starter, we’re already at a huge disadvantage. Especially with the bullpen taxed. I still just can’t understand how Girardi can just kill some guys while giving up in some areas. This is twice he’s basically thrown in the towel vs Tampa, the other being the Mitre massacre. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be Tex, playing with two injuries, Jeter never getting a rest, Gardner/Swish being beat up and Arod with the continuing hip problem, putting it all on the line, and then seeing Gaudin/Mitre come out in a big spot vs the Rays.

  • Stevis

    thatS Girardi for you managing SCARED!

  • SteveD

    Good morning,
    fell asleep when it was 2-1 rays. Checked box score first thing this morning. What the hell is with Gaudin and Girardi. Does gaudin have naked pictures of Girardis wife ? Why does he keep using him in tight situations. Is he not a mop up guy? Girardi has used him way too many times when the game is on the line. really starting to piss me off.

  • Jerome S

    Gaudin’s ERA is 5.54 I mean COME ON JOE!

    But to be serious, if you will; If Girardi was really just mailing it in at this point, then wouldn’t we be seeing the S/W-B Yankees out there almost every night? Wouldn’t he be trying to give A-Rod, Jeter and Posada constant rest? Tex shouldn’t even playing at all now but it looks like Girardi left him in there because he wants to win.

    Well here’s a secret: it’s not helping.

    Make up you’re mind: Do you want to win the division or do you want to rest your guys? Because you really, really can’t have it both ways. As much as we all appreciate your efforts to rest A-Rod, for some reason you never can BECAUSE IN EVERY GAME HE’S HAD TO PINCH HIT ANYWAY. Why? Because they’re all close games. And A-Rod generally helps the Yankees win, like a lot. And you want to win.

    So it’s your choice: Do you want the division, or a rested team? Because either way, you must be committed. No more half-and-half bullshit.

    • Chris

      So it’s your choice: Do you want the division, or a rested team? Because either way, you must be committed. No more half-and-half bullshit.

      People keep saying this and it still doesn’t make sense. Why are the only two options to go all out or to rest everyone? Wouldn’t the more prudent move be to balance the two goals? You rest some guys and play some guys and go all out to win some games (when you have a good chance to win), but pack it in when the chances of winning the game are relatively low. It may be confusing/frustrating to watch from afar, but it seems to me to be a better strategy than all or nothing.

      • STEVIS

        its not half and half bullshit its 100% Super Bullshit!

      • Jerome S

        We’re down 3-2 to the Rays, a team who’s defeat provides a very good advantage to us. It’s winnable.

  • larryf

    Joe is playing to win. He just thinks more of some of his pitchers than we do. He left Swisher out there in RF the whole game! Knee injury/wet field. Dumb.

    And no, Nick won’t hit .300

  • Carcillo

    They win tonight, all is forgiven. Any realistic expectation coming in to this series was 3 of 4. The Rays are too good a team to get swept in a four game series, assuming normal circumstances.

    I have no doubt C.C. will pitch well tonight. Alas, will the Yankees be able to conquer David Price for anything themselves?

    2/4 favours the Rays. It especially favours them if it comes in the form of them winning the last two games. Talk about what a missed chance that would’ve been for the Yankees to gain some key breathing room in the division.

    Tonight was the classic annoying game, as was alluded to in the recap. Twice the Yankees responded to the Rays scoring to pull the score back within one, but never could hold it at that for the next time they came to bat. Also, while I like Gaudin more than most, Girardi’s usage of him in this is, um, “curious” to say the least. Luckily, there’s no chance in hell we see this kind of management come October.

    The winner of tonight’s game will win the AL East. 2.5 with 9 left favors the Yankees strongly. .5 back with 10 left favours the Rays strongly, with their schedule.

  • Brian in NH

    This game was kind of painful to watch. I fell asleep during the rain delay (ESPN was showing the braves game and a cubs game during the delay, that tends to knock me out), then i woke up late and saw how the game went. I was definitely disappointed.

    Also,i think it was Rick Sutcliffe who was the color guy on ESPN last night, he is truly terrible. He thinks the Rays are the greatest team to grace the planet and the yankees are a bunch of old overpaid overacheiving losers. When he recapped Burnett’s first K he was saying how he’s not afraid to just throw the fastball down the middle, meanwhile the replay is clearly showing it never even made it to the middle and stayed on the outside edge. that pissed me off. but i digress

  • Frank

    The disturbing trend of allowing the opposition to score with none on and 2 outs continued last night as TB scored 4 or their 7 runs that way. To me, that’s more frustrating than anything else.

  • theyankeewarrior

    The disappointing thing about using the worst relievers in the pen vs. the Rays is that at the same time, we’re running our war-wounded first baseman (who hasn’t had an extra base hit in about 2 months) into the ground.

    If resting our best !!1!1!!!!!middle relievers!!!1!1!! is so important, then why isn’t resting our MVP-caliber #3 hitter?

  • http://ballcraft.blogspot.com Zanath

    I have absolutely no problem with using Gaudin in that situation. Who was he going to go with instead? We know now Robertson has back spasms so he wasn’t available. Wood? Yeah, he would have been better but what if we needed him in the eighth, or tomorrow? Joba certainly wasn’t going to be used so he’s out. Mitre? Would he really have been better than Gaudin? Romulo? Can anyone say with any confidence that would have worked out better? The only person I can think of who might have been better is Javy, and I have a feeling they wanted to stay away from him as well.

    I could go on and on but there really wasn’t anybody else we could have used who would have been better besides Wood, and I feel we were better off saving him. What if we need him tonight? I know it’s more likely than not that CC will go very deep into the game, but I don’t think you can manage on assumptions. Just my two cents.

  • Ted Nelson

    I love this site for the insightful and intelligent analysis, but second guessing every move Girardi makes is getting old. I don’t enjoy reading these posts, and there’s about one a day when they’re losing. Without some inside knowledge of his motivations and rationale for decision making it amounts to speculation… why not leave that to the mainstream media?

    • Jerome S

      Because the MSM is idiotic, mostly.

      • Ted Nelson

        Yeah, that’s my point: lead the speculation to them… This site is above criticizing Girardi based on speculation as to his motives.

        • Ted Nelson

          *leave not lead…

  • JJP

    We should all go to church and pray many Novenas that the Chicago Cubs will demand to have Girardi join the Cubs NOW. Maybe if we say an extra Novena, then maybe they will demand GAUDIN TOO.

    • Al

      Ryne Sandberg

  • Kiko Jones

    Incredibly stupid question of the day: Why did AJ get the loss if he did not pitch the requisite 5 innings?

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

      That stupid five inning rule only applies to wins. You can pitch zero innings and get a loss, there’s no limits on those.