Sori blows it as Lillibridge saves it, twice

Maxwell goes deep again in Scranton win
Laying last night's blame on a familiar figure

It wasn’t supposed to get any worse than Monday. I mean, six no-hit innings from Phil Humber? What’s worse than that? Turns out that watching your $35 million eighth inning guy blow a lead and having two potentially game-winning ninth-inning hits taken away on great defensive plays is much, much more infuriating.

Rafael says: "No win for you Ivan!" (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Ivan Nova‘s Big Day

"Please let Soriano preserve this lead." (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

This was a big start for Nova, who was essentially pitching for his spot in the rotation whether you agree with it or not. Juan Pierre gift wrapped the first out of the game, trying a drag bunt on Nova’s first pitch only to get thrown out. He needed just eleven pitches to navigate the first inning, then just eight to get through the second, setting the pace for the night. The Yankees’ right-hander pitched into the seventh inning for the first time in his career, giving up a run only when Alex Rios came around to score after he should have been out twice (once on the fly ball Curtis Granderson couldn’t reel on, and then again when Robinson Cano dropped the throw on the steal attempt).

The key for Nova in this game was clearly his curveball. He did an okay job of locating his fastball away to both lefties and righties, but his ability to get that curve over for a called strike or bury it in the dirt for a swing-and-miss (which he got three of) is what allowed him to be so successful. The impatient White Sox hitters put nine of 13 balls in play on the ground and worked just five three ball counts in 25 plate appearances against Nova. The final line was five singles, two walks, and the one run in six-and-a-third innings of work, but unfortunately it was just the latest in a line of strong pitching performances that went wasted.

"Lol whatevs." (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

The Eighth Inning Guy™

Rafael Soriano has now appeared in ten games with the Yankees, and only once has he managed to not allow a baserunner: his first outing of the season. The damage tonight was hitting Carlos Quentin with a pitch and surrendering a go-ahead two-run homerun to Paul Konerko on a meatball cutter over the plate, turning a 2-1 lead into a 3-2 deficit with five defensive outs to go. The two baserunners he allowed after that are just salt on the wound.

Joe Girardi said after the game that he has no plans to change that damned 7th-8th-9th inning formula, meaning Soriano will still be force fed high leverage work even though he’s done little to deserve it. The next time I see this guy on the mound, it’ll be too soon.

Where’s The Offense?

Three runs in two games, one of them coming on a solo homer by Brett Gardner of all people. Don’t get me wrong, the White Sox have a pretty good rotation and Gavin Floyd is no chump, but three runs in two games? This team has to do better than that, they can’t have the opposing starter open the seventh inning by throwing his 73rd pitch. Just an awful showing over the last two days, this lineup is better than this.

Oh, and the best part was that stupid sacrifice bunt in the ninth inning. Three outs left to play with and the man with the second most homeruns in the league (Granderson) just gives away an out. It was made even worse because not only has Matt Thornton struggled tremendously this season, but he also walked the next batter. Who knows what happens if they let Grandy actually try. I don’t know when the Yankees moved to the National League, but someone in the dugout needs to start using their brain once in a while. The bunt increased the team’s chances of winning by -6.1%, so it was a backwards move.

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Leftovers

Brent freaking Lillibridge man. You know what the worst part is? That guy isn’t even an outfielder, he came up as a middle infielder but learned other positions because he couldn’t hit enough to play everyday and needed to up his versatility. Tuesday was his 29th career game in the outfield and eighth (eighth!!!) in right field. Alex Rodriguez and Cano did everything right, hitting the ball hard and deep towards the short porch, but that kid made two unbelievable plays. Just tip your cap to him in the ninth, nothing you can do there.

It’s a good thing Mark Buehrle is pitching tomorrow, because the lefty hitting Nick Swisher sure does need a day off. He’s hitless in his last 15 at-bats now, might even be 16. I don’t really care to look right now. Granderson, Mark Teixeira, and A-Rod combined to go 0-for-9 with two walks and that brilliant sac bunt, and those three are pretty much carrying the offense right now. Eric Chavez had a great night in the field, but he went 0-for-3 with a strikeout and saw just seven pitches total. The two runs, as you probably know, came on solo homers by Cano and Gardner. Ironically enough, both guys showed bunt earlier in the at-bat. Le sigh.

Boone Logan is officially out of my doghouse now, he did a nice job on Sunday and then struck out Mark Teahen to lead off the ninth in this game. Yeah, Pierre singled after that, but it was a crummy little infield hit. It happens. So good job Boone, keep it up. David Robertson did some fine work wiggling out of trouble in the seventh inning. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say he’s been the best non-Mariano Rivera reliever on the team so far. Buddy Carlyle has appeared in three games thus far and has gotten zero swings and misses. It’ll blow up one of these days.

The Yankees grounded into at least one double play for the 12th consecutive game, with Granderson doing the honors on Tuesday. Just in case you’re wondering, the all-time record is 34 straight games by the 1949 Red Sox. No one is close to them, the second longest streak belongs to the 1961 Athletics at just 22 games. The Yankees have a long way to go.

WPA Graph & Box Score

For the first time all season, the Yankees lost two games in a row. They’re last club to do that, so … yay? MLB.com has the box score and video highlights. I recommend watching Lillibridge’s two catches if you haven’t seen them already, they really are spectacular. Too bad they robbed the good guys of game-winning (or at the very least, game-tying) hits. FanGraphs has some other stuff.

Up Next

The best and worst part of baseball? They play every day. The Yankees will send Bartolo Colon to the mound against Buehrle tomorrow night, though it’ll be up to the offense to wake up. If you’re interested in going, there are plenty of dirt cheap tickets available on the secondary market, so check out RAB Tickets.

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Maxwell goes deep again in Scranton win
Laying last night's blame on a familiar figure
  • Freddy Garcia’s 86 mph Heat

    Tomorrow’s game thread opener:

    Last night was a miserable, ugly, grotesque showing of a baseball game that we should never speak of again. Thankfully, the Yankees play again today and we all have a chance to forget about … what were we talking about again?

  • bonestock94

    Soriano needs to unfuck himself. His peripherals are wacky though, I’m sure he’ll eventually start pitching more like his career line. Regardless, I’m getting impatient.

    • Esteban

      You read my mind.

    • jsbrendog

      i hated him before he even played a game because of his stupid awful contract, losing a draft pick in this draft, and the fact that levine/hank/hal bootlegged cash$$. and now he sucks so bad. my hatred for him festers and grows. kyle farnsworth 2.0.

      • bonestock94

        I hate his contract, but I always figured I’d end up enjoying them reap the benefits of an elite middle reliever. Still think it’ll happen when his numbers look normal again.

  • http://www.twitter.com/NJ_Andy NJ_Andy

    What is up with Soriano? Does he just not like pitching in non-save situations? Is he still secretly on Tampa’s payroll?

    • CBean

      Last night was a save. I mean, yes, he’s not our closer, but still a save situation.

  • http://www.twitter.com/jmhs Jake S

    Who was the last reliever with a good track record that the Yankees gave a multi-year deal to? Kyle something…

    • Esteban

      Farnsworth didn’t have nearly the track record (leaving injuries aside) that Soriano does. Though he did have a career year in ’05 before the Yankees signed, so I suppose your comparison is not without parallels.

  • mbonzo

    Yankees have flipped the switch to small ball. Jeter and Gardner are finally hitting and the pitchers are seriously dealing. Problem is nothing is clicking and Soriano seriously sucks. Its hard for me to be optimistic about Soriano, that contract is disgusting and he’s pitched like Farnsworth. He’s officially my most hated Yankee this year.

  • Guest

    How can you bunt someone who is swinging a hot bat AND could win the game with one swing of the bat? He’s second in the league in HR’s, and he’s bunting???? You know, I wish Girardi would just make A-Rod bunt just so I can officially go insane. You know, just rip the band-aid of quickly.

    And, if we hear anything about Grandy bunting on his own, then I blame Grandy and Girardi. Players who shouldn’t bunt on their own decide to bunt on their own when they know their coach thinks bunting is the most noble action a man can ever Schindler made his list. Joe instills a mindset. And for a Northwestern engineering graduate and a pretty good manager, Joe’s views on bunting or mind-bogglingly dumb.

    The guy who is second in the league in homers (and third in all of baseball over the last 60 or so games) bunted when he could have one the game with one swing of the bat.

    Sigh.

    • Guest

      Lots of typos for a post impugning someone else’s intelligence.

      Guest FAIL.

  • Esteban

    I have to say that the starting pitching the last two nights has me more optimistic. Yes, the White Sox offense is kinda crappy, but I still give credit to AJ and Nova

    #silverlining.

    • mbonzo

      I don’t think the White Sox offense is crappy at all. Konerko, Dunn, and Quentin are amazing power hitters. Gordon Beckham has been amazing. Rios and Ramirez are one of the best offensive players at their positions.

      • Esteban

        I should have said “has been crappy this season.” You’re right, there’s a lot of talent there.

      • http://www.mystiqueandaura.com/ JMK

        Dude, Beckham is on my fantasy team. He has not been amazing by any stretch. Your overall point, however, I agree with. They’re underperforming but should be much, much better than what they’ve shown.

      • Monteroisdinero

        As I said yesterday before the semantologists (word?) jumped all over me, these guys are due but they can wait till Friday.

  • bonestock94

    Jebus, the same people that preach about SSS are going nuts. Chill, its April 27th.

    • Esteban

      Oh, people love to point out SSS when it shows something they don’t agree with/expect/predict, but it ignore it when it’s not convenient.

      People loved to point out Joba’s numbers were better than they looked last year because they like him or want him to succeed.

      Soriano (using stats before tonight’s game) had a much higher walk rate, lower K rate, higher BABIP, lower strand rate, and a lower groundball rate than his career numbers, but there are lots of people who don’t like his contract so they will say he sucks. Yes his contract sucks, and he hasn’t pitched well so far, but Soriano doesn’t suck, or hasn’t until this year. Sure, maybe he’s become a terrible pitcher (his xFIP was 6.13 FIP 4.01), but I wouldn’t bet on it yet.

    • V

      SSS is used when talking about statistics. I don’t need a large sample size to say “Wow, Gardner looks awful at the plate” or “Wow, Hughes’ velocity and movement are nonexistent.”

      • bonestock94

        Not arguing that. Everyone calling the Soriano signing Farnsworth part 2 in April of his first year seems moronic though.

  • Guest

    Best pitcher in Yankee bullpen right now? David Robertson. Dirt-cheap.

    Again, why do teams pay millions of dollars and give long term deals to middle relievers (or closers not named Mariano Rivera, for that matter)?

    • mbonzo

      Soriano was signed to replace Cliff Lee.

    • radnom

      Er, because they have to?

      Obviously you prefer to develop young, good, dirt-cheap players but unless you have a magic formula to do so its not going to fill out a bullpen. But no, you figured it out. All those teams are just spending the money because they have NO idea what a risk it is. If only they had your knowledge.

      • Jim S

        Just because people in the majors do it doesn’t mean it’s right by definition.

      • toad

        But spending big bucks seems to be just as uncertain, and a lot more expensive.

        It may be worse strategy in general. How many young players with a decent chance to develop do you need in order to have a reasonable shot to get one solid ML reliever? And how much do those guys cost?

  • BigBlueAL

    If Im not mistaken Thornton is not a groundball pitcher and Grandy is the hardest Yankee to get to GIDP.

  • Steve Garrison’s Roster Spot

    Being the glass half full guy that I am I fully expect everyone to start clicking together. Lately its been either great offense and poor pitching or poor offense and great pitching. Hopefully Jeet will find his swing (ditto for Sado, Swish, and Gardner). Oh yeah and Soriano needs to get his shit together. If only he was this ineffective last year!

    P.S: Call up Montero too!

    • Alex C.

      No, Montero can stay in Scranton, no reason to bring him up and eat pine at the big league level.

  • jorge brosada

    Soriano is testing my patience. He better get his head out of his ass and soon.

    Girardi needs to quit the bunting shit, we aren’t the padres for fucks sake.

  • http://www.CarlsYankeeDugout.com Carl

    I don’t want to bring up Bobby V from April 17th, but this is probably what he meant. The offense may lead the league in homers, but they’re making the small things, such as base hits and walks, look problematic again. And whenever they do get hits and are threatening, they don’t get the job done. .227 BA with RISP, and that’s not what you want to see out of them. And with exception to tonight’s two homers from Cano and Gardner, almost every ball hit in the air was playable, including the two that Lillibridge had to dive out for. All of it is painful to watch, especially the Double Plays. They gotta get back to the base hits.

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

      but they’re making the small things, such as base hits and walks, look problematic again.

      Lillibridge stole not one but two potential game-winning hits. You can’t small ball your way around that. The only way to beat that is by hitting the ball over the fence.

      • radnom

        When Mike profiled the offense a couple days ago, weren’t the Yankees second to last in the league in hits? Don’t pretend that this increase in power is not occurring while another meaningful aspect of the offense isn’t doing so hot. Not being able to get hits is not the same as small ball.

        The epic homerun pace isn’t going to last. And neither is the abysmal pace in other areas of the offense. But there is nothing wrong with admitting that somethings hasn’t been quite right and the unusually high dependence on homeruns is a symptom of that.

        • Jim S

          “Something hasn’t been quite right”? You make it sound like a bad thing when you call hitting home runs a symptom. Hitting a lot of HRs is, in no way shape or form, remotely a bad thing and I honestly can’t believe people have made it sound that way.

          • John Foley

            Home runs are never a bad thing, but as Toronto showed us last year you need to couple homers with OBP. When home runs become the only thing your hitters are trying for, it can lead to offensive issues. Working the count has been a problem for many of these hitters so far this season. Cano is hitting .309 yet OBP-ing only .315. That’s not good enough. Guys like Swisher and Posada are pressing so bad to hit homers they overcommit and swing too early at junk in the dirt.

  • http://facebook.com Eric

    hate to correct you but its actually 2 runs in 2 games as depressing as that is

    • Steve Garrison’s Roster Spot

      I completely agree. No one works the count or foul off pitches anymore. They have become a little homer happy. I personally think that the lineup needs to be fooled around with a bit more.

      • http://www.CarlsYankeeDugout.com Carl

        Swisher back in the 2-hole, maybe? http://www.baseball-reference......;t=b#lineu

        • Freddy Garcia’s 86 mph Heat

          Grandy
          Swish
          Tex
          A-Rod
          Cano
          Chavez
          Jones
          Martin
          Jeter
          .

          • Josh S.

            Would love if Girardi had the balls to bat Jeter 9th, but I don’t think it’s gonna happen…

  • CP

    Soriano will still be force fed high leverage work even though he’s done little to deserve it.

    Well, he does have pretty good career numbers, but clearly let’s only worry about this last month.

    Ironically enough, both guys showed bunt earlier in the at-bat. Le sigh.

    There’s nothing wrong with Gardner showing bunt, or bunting.

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

      There’s nothing wrong with Gardner showing bunt, or bunting.

      Have you seen how not good he is at it?

      • Pat D

        Yea, I was on lunch listening to the game in my car at one point and Sterling and Waldman pointed out how terrible a bunter Gardner is.

        You know what they say when those two notice things, right?

        • Klemy

          That you can’t predict baseball? OH! You meant they as in people other than Sterling and Waldman. Sorry.

      • Esteban

        Ha by “it” do you mean hitting? Because he’s certainly hasn’t hit or bunted well this season. But yea,Gardner doesn’t look like bunting is one of his strong suits. You would think a guy like him would be a good bunter, but I guess i is a skill that not everyone can possess.

      • Chris

        Tim McCarver said he was a great bunter. Are you telling me he was wrong?!?!?!?

        There is nothing wrong with showing bunt – Gardner wasn’t going to swing at the pitch anyway, and at least showing bunt has the benefit of causing the 3B to come in a bit.

        As for actually bunting, he won’t improve unless he tries, so I’m fine with him trying. If he can become an even average bunter he’ll be able to get a ton of hits that way. I might feel different in a playoff game, but it’s still April so there’s room to work on things for the future.

  • tom

    Almost worse than how few runs in two games is how few hits. What was it, 7 total? At least 2 gone in double plays.

    It’s still amazing how close all this year’s games have been. If the Yankees didn’t have excruciating losses, they’d have pretty much no losses at all.

  • Rookie

    The amazing “coincidences” continue:

    Joba pitches three days out of four and isn’t effective when he pitches five days later and hasn’t been called on since April 24th when gave up two hits, including a home run, and two earned runs in one inning.

    Soriano pitches four days out of five, can’t pitch with a sore back until five days later and has not been effective since — giving up two hits, a walk, and one earned run in one inning in his first game back, and, one day later (last night) giving up two hits, a walk, a home run, and two earned runs in his next.

    Even Mo… Mo pitches five days out of seven, is extremely ineffective in the last of those appearances (on April 19th) when he gives up four hits, a walk, and two earned runs in one inning, and then doesn’t pitch until five days later when he continues to be ineffective, giving up two hits, a walk, and an earned run in 1-1/3 innings (on April 24th), and hasn’t appeared since.

    Jose Contreras, filling in as closer for an injured Brad Lidge, pitches (very effectively) five days in seven (not giving up a run) and winds up with a strained right forearm and was scheduled for an MRI on Tuesday. Of course, just like the Yankees, Contreras’ injury had nothing whatsoever to do with him pitching too often. According to Phillies’ manager Charlie Manuel:

    “[T]here’s no way in hell we overused Contrereas…. There’s no way. What did he pitch? The most games was three. Then he had a day off. He [only] pitched five times in seven days.”

    Of course, overuse has had nothing to do with the ineffectiveness or issues with Joba, Soriano, or Mo either. But it’s a fascinating coincidence nonetheless.

    And it’s all the more fascinating (to me, at least) when you consider something absolutely unrelated to it that has no relevance to it whatsoever — which is the deterioration in Joba’s and Hughes’ effectiveness and stuff. I find it another fascinating coincidence that of five Yankee and Red Sox prospects, each of whom had 70-80 inning jumps in innings pitched from year to year during their age 19-23 seasons, the two who appear to have come out of it unscathed with very impressive success as starters in the majors for at least one full year (Hughes was only a monster as a starter for half of 2010) were the two who were never used as relievers.

    Again, I know it’s just a coincidence, and an unrelated one at that. But I find it to be a fascinating one nonetheless.

    • Rookie

      Postscript: Reportedly, the MRI of Contreras’ arm revealed a Grade 1 strain of his right forearm, Contreras wil be shut down for 7-10 days, and the Phillies hope to have him back within 3-4 weeks.

    • The BIG 3

      61% of the team’s total IP are in relief. That is third worst in baseball and the result of a group of starters who has no business wearing pinstripes. And the worst of it, I wouldn’t expect Colon, Garcia and Nova to continue to pitch as well as they have.

      I’m wondering what options you think Girardi has.

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

        61% of the team’s total IP are in relief.

        37.7%, actually.

        Of the total 182.2 IP thrown by Yankee pitchers this year, 69.0 of those innings were thrown by relievers. That’s according to the ESPN.com stats splits page. I have no earthly idea where you got that 61% number from, but it’s ridiculously high. It would imply that our average starting pitcher only lasts through the third inning.

        We’d all have already assassinated ourselves if our starters were averaging 3 IP a day.

      • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com bexarama

        I’m wondering what options you think Girardi has.

        This, basically. The Yankees have played two games decided by 5+ runs. Two! Fourteen of twenty have been decided by less than three runs. Nine out of their twenty games have been decided by less than three. In this case, the best relievers (or at least, the relievers they counted on to be the best, like Soriano) are gonna get used, especially early on. And people get annoyed when Logan and Carlyle come in with a small deficit. And what’s causing them to be ineffective, being used too much or not being used at all? For all the hand-wringing about David Robertson he’s been nothing short of excellent, SSS of course.

        (Also, I have no idea where you got that 61% of innings have been relief innings stat. That’d mean our starters were averaging over a little more than 3 IP per game. It’s not true, as tsjc pointed out. That said, we’ve still been using too many innings from the bullpen.)

      • The BIG 3

        I thought it odd too, initially, but my numbers came right from FG and on a second glance, 4.41 starter IP per game didn’t come across as that unreasonable, given the season to date.

        http://www.fangraphs.com/teams.....ason1=2011

        Whatever the case, my point stands. The bullpen has been called on far too much, leaving Girardi fewer options.

        • The BIG 3

          Heh, more like 3.51 IP/game. Yeah, that’s definitely wrong. I suspect FG included Colon’s, and to a lesser extent, Garcia’s and Nova’s starts as relief innings.

  • Evan3457

    Well, at least Gustavo Molina maintained his perfect batting line for the season.
    ==============================================
    You just KNOW he’s got to be a great handler of pitchers and throws bullets down to second. And I’ll bet he’s a great guy to boot. I mean, just watch the way he hits. Career triple slash .109/.140/.130.
    ==============================================
    Shows you how torqued off I am at this loss; I’m picking on a guy who’s trying his best, and all he wants to do is stay in the majors and make some per diems. But Cervelli is looking like Mickey Cochrane at this point.

  • Mocha Joe

    Who should be pitching the 8th in high leverage situations?

    Pitcher 1 – 9.1 IP , 8.68 ERA , 12 H , 9 ER , 8 BB , 6 SO

    Pitcher 2 – 8.1 IP , 0.00 ERA , 8 H , 0 ER , 2 BB , 10 SO

    Per Joe Girardi it’s pitcher 1. Just ridiculous how he makes no changes and leaves these failures in to cost us ballgames. We destroyed poor Hughes’s arm and cost us 3 games in the process, Soriano has cost us 2, and Jeter and Gardner have cost us many men on base. Nothing ever happens to these guys.

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

      There’s absolutely no doubt Robertson should get some higher leverage situations. Trotting Soriano out there into these situations I guess is what they have to do because he’s getting paid to set up, but results- and stuff-wise, Robertson has been as good as he ever is so far this month.

      • Pat D

        The question becomes how many more Soriano blowups does Girardi actually allow to happen before he makes a change.

        • CBean

          Is this purely Girardi’s decision at this point? Does he get to bench his 35MM reliever?

          • Klemy

            Somehow, I think Cashman would be okay with it. Maybe not people above him…

      • Esteban

        Well he was paid that contract because he has a history of being a pretty good pitcher (though not always healthy). They go hand in hand, so while Girardi’s strict bullpens rules are ridiculous, I don’t think it’s completely unreasonable to use Soriano in high leverage situations as of now. If he keeps pitching like this, then he should be put in in less important situations, but I think it’s worthwhile for the Yankees to be patient with their bullpen, at least for now.

      • ZZ

        Doesn’t Robertson usually pitch in really high leverage situations?

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

          Per B-Ref’s Win Probability stats, David Robertson had been, prior to yesterday, in four high leverage situations and five medium or low leverage situations. Soriano was at 4 and six respectively, but he had an aLI of 1.62 vs. Robertson’s 1.35.

          So basically, Robertson is pitching in high leverage situations but Soriano is pitching in even higher leverage situations.

          • ZZ

            Interesting. Thanks for the numbers.

        • Esteban

          http://www.baseball-reference......;year=2011

          Going into tonight, Robertson has come in:
          Ahead by 6 in the 6th aLI of 0.55
          Ahead by 3 in the 8th aLI of 3.01
          Down by 3 in the 8th aLI of 0.11
          Ahead by 3 in the 5th aLI of 1.19
          Ahead by 3 in the 7th aLI of 0.47
          Down by 3 in the 5th aLI of 0.90
          Ahead by 1 in the 6th aLI of 4.60
          Ahead by 4 in the 7th aLI of 1.07
          Ahead by 1 in the 8th aLI of 2.55

          Average aLI= 1.35

          So it looks like Robertson has been in used in some pretty high leverage situations and low leverage situations. Also, note that before tonight, his highest leverage situation was when he entered a game in the 6th inning. Maybe people, while mocking TEH EIGHTH inning, have started to believe in the importance of the eight inning and forgotten that high leverage situations can happen every inning. It might be a good thing that David Robertson’s use has been so varied his year.

          • ZZ

            That’s what I was thinking. It seems that Joe is using Robertson a lot in the role that so many people, myself included, wish Mo or other closers would be used in.

            I guess Robertson is being used in these “abnormal” high leverage situations, but he is being passed over for the “standard” high leverage situations if you get what I mean.

            • toad

              The tendency seems to be to use Robertson in mid-inning, when runners are on. His great ability to strike batters out is really valuable there.

              Of course, it’s also valuable at other times. I’ve long felt that he is an underrated player who will go on to be a successful closer, somewhere.

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

            The other thing to consider is that the Yanks have played a high number of close games. All of their good relievers have appeared in what are considered to be “high” leverage situations.

      • Mike

        I agree, but with Girardi’s penchant for marrying relievers to specific innings, I don’t think it will happen. Joe is dead set on every guy having a role, it’s very frustrating.

  • David N

    The only reason I’m not seething after this one is that we should be talking about the offense picking up Soriano, except for some really horrible luck in the bottom of the 9th. One great catch to prevent the tying run from scoring is one thing – two of them is just ridiculous. The BABIP gods tooketh away tonight – they’d better giveth somewhere down the road.

  • Rey22

    Just wasn’t meant to be today.

    …Also, screw you Lillibridge.

  • Pat D

    Mike, what’s with the “good guys” remark in the last paragraph? Were you intentionally alluding to a man whom if I read died in a plane crash or an attack by a runaway zoo lion my first reaction would be to laugh hysterically?

    Also, I didn’t see any of this game, so can we use the Herm Edwards “We Can Build On This!” mantra for Nova’s performance?

  • Pat D

    Oh, before I forget, does anyone know if Soriano stuck around to face the media like he promised he would?

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

      He did. The beatwriters have some perfunctory “I’m not pitching well right now” quotes in their various game stories.

  • http://www.twitter.com/tomzig Tom Zig

    Player A:

    7.84 ERA, 1.94 WHIP, 8 BBs, 7Ks, 11 Games, 10.1 IP

    Player B:

    7.36 ERA, 1.91 WHIP, 5 BBs, 9Ks, 9 Games, 7.1 IP

    Only one of these two cost a draft pick.

  • Now Batting

    I’m ok with the bunt but I understand why others wouldn’t be. Although hes bern hot Granderson has a career .638 OPS against lefties. Putting the tying run in scoring position with the heart of the lineup up doesn’t seem like a bad proposition. It would of worked if not for some amazing defense.

    As for the WPA graph, that doesn’t take into account the caliber of the proceeding batters, right?

  • wow

    ironically, we have the meanest bull pen in baseball and our rotation is spotty at best…

  • Mike HC

    Great opening paragraph, haha.

    I was basically so in shock after those two great defense plays that I couldn’t even get that frustrated about this loss. What a crazy way to end a game.

  • http://www.CarlsYankeeDugout.com Carl

    Real hard to believe this would happen after a 3-1 road trip. Now they gotta win the next two in what looks like a trap series right now. I hate these openings to a homestand.

    • Epy0n

      Also being down 2-0 in the series makes the the next two games more intense and frustrating. I hope Bartolo comes out snapping body’s today.

  • Rookie

    I know it doesn’t feel like it. But according to ESPN, Jeter’s OPS is all the way up .606.

    And he doesn’t have the lowest OPS among Yankee starters — not even the second lowest — even if it is no doubt the lowest OPS per dollar of compensation. The honor of lowest OPS goes to Gardner with a .503 OPS and Swisher comes in second at .576.

    And what’s funny is that he’s actually ahead of Hanley Ramirez — who amazingly has an OPS so far this year of only .585, a far cry from his OPS of recent years (although it did decline a lot last year from its 2007-2009 .940-.953 plateau).

    • http://youcantpredictbaseball.wordpress.com bexarama

      I feel like Jeter’s been hitting .300ish for a week or two now, it’s just the emptiest .300 like ever.

    • toad

      It’s interesting to adjust OPS for DP’s, I think. Subtract one time on base from OBP and one base from SLG for each DP. Do that for Jeter and he goes down to .503.

  • Snake Plissken

    What kind of trade value does Soriano have?

    • Pat D

      Somewhere between less than zero and negative infinity, I’d imagine.

  • A-Rod’s Wingman

    As far as Granderson, I can see the bunt because they want to stay out of the DP…but come on. I know Granderson’s history against lefties, but the dude deserved a chance to hit.

    • BigBlueAL

      Granderson has hit into 0 dp’s ths year and 7 combined in the last 2 seasons. A GIDP was probably the least likeliest outcome.

      • Mike

        Grandy has hit into 14 double plays his entire career, it was a highly unlikely scenario. I know he struggles against LHP historically, but this season he’s fared quite well. The bunt play was a real head scratcher considering how Grandy has been swinging the bat. I didn’t like that move at all.

  • A-Rod’s Wingman

    And I hope Soriano’s door man doesn’t let him in.

  • Tackaberry

    I hate it when Joe goes for the sacrifice bunt. That rage is only increased when he it is someone like Granderson, who is currently hitting very well and has the speed to beat a GIDP.

    What really got me was the walk that came right after the bunt. So, they got Jeter to scoring position one at bat earlier, but it was for naught because Tex walked. It set up for an easier double play opportunity (one that didn’t come to fruition) and we will never know what Grandy could have done with an actual at bat.

    Girardi is a decent manager, but the sacrifice bunting drives me crazy. This team’s offense is too good, and clearly the data shows that. Aren’t sacrifice bunts supposed to INCREASE the chances of winning? Not decrease it by 6.1%? Ah, just have to hope for tomorrow.

  • bill

    Side note, anybody else notice that Dustin Moseley is having a great year?

    • It’sATarp

      i think i can pitch 6 strong innings in petco

    • Snake Plissken

      national league = AAAA league

      • Mike

        The NL West is very good this year with Colorado, SF, & the Dodgers all being competitive teams. I’d be shocked if the NL wild card doesn’t come out of that division. What a stupid comment.

        • Snake Plissken

          oh please. if they were in the AL East they be battling Toronto for 4th.

  • It’sATarp

    Soriano pisses me off so much. The fact that Cashman didn’t want him AT ALL and the FO went behind his back and signed him makes me even madder.

    • mac1

      Doesn’t bother me at all. Yanks just decided to use their one clear advantage to try and improve the team as much as possible.

      Joe G, didn’t have to use him.

      I’m reserving judgement until end of the year – I liked the signing eventhough it was a ridiculous contract and Sori makes me miss Kyle Farnsworth.

  • FIPster Doofus

    Randy Levine is a supergenius. He should overrule the four-time championship-winning general manager more often. Typical know-it-all POS.

    • mac1

      Cashman has made his share of bad deals – lets not make him Branch Rickey – he also avoided blame for not getting the Cliff Lee deal done – enter Soriano.

      Not saying Lee comes to NY under any circumstances, but maybe if Cashman started upfront with CC’s deal, 7/$161, he’s here instead of Sori – at the very least, we would know that Lee wasn’t coming here under ANY circumstances.

      Haren also could have been here as well at the deadline last year – maybe that negates the panic move for Sori.

      • Merijn

        If Cash made that offer out-of-the-box, we’d all be happy to have Lee. However, he’d receive a blow of criticism saying he massively overpaid for Lee.

        There just no way to get it right for a GM.

        • mac1

          Definitely, Cash is in a tough position – if he wins, he’s supposed to with that payroll, if he doesn’t he messed up.

          Could be a blessing in disguise in a few years with Lee as well.

          My point really is – one – a bit too early to tell on Sori, and two – its not black or white – there’s a bunch of gray here since we don’t know all the details of the Lee/Haren/other pitching deals and I think we really need to see what Sori contributes.

          It pisses me off when people write stuff as if Cashman is infallable or a super baseball genius. I do give him big props for the bench\role players this year AND stockpiling aging pitchers – so far its worked magnificently.

          Yanks definitely overpaid for Sori – but, in this case, I think the FO got it right – its only money (and its not Lackey\Burnett $) – they took a chance with the resource that is the most expendable for them.

          Cash also gets a bunch more chances this year when we see the moves he makes (if any) in re the rotation.

          • jsbrendog

            you realize cashman had absolutely nothing on this earth to do with the soriano signing right?

  • Snake Plissken

    Alternative Headlines:

    Who’s Sori Now?

    What a Sori Job!

    Steinbrenner to Fans: “I’m Sori!”

    Sori Doesn’t Cut It In New York.

    Sori, Man!

    • jsbrendog

      cashman: “who’s sori now? way to make me look awesome”

    • I am not the droids you’re looking for…

      Put your Sori’s in a sack.

  • BavarianYankee

    Great, we signed 2 relievers to big contracts in the offseason, 1 is out with an injury for quite some time and the other guy just forgot how to pitch. I hope we finally learned the lesson to NOT sign relievers to big contracts over several years (unless they’re named Mo).

    Soriano already pisses me off. I hated the guy when he was with ATL and TB and I even hate him more now. God, that signing already has “Epic Fail” written all over it and everybody knew it before. Soriano HAS to turn it around quickly.

    Cashman to Levine/Steinbrenners: “In yo face!!!”

  • Wil Nieves Number 1 Fan

    If this was 2009, Lillibridge wouldn’t have made those plays!

    /livinginthepast’d

  • JohnC

    Atention Idiots, doomsayers and bridgejumpers! IT’s APRIL FREAKIN 27th!!! Some guys take a little time to adjust to new roles and new teams, especially here in NY where every game means life or death. Take a chill pill!

    • bakekrukow412

      Nah he’s screwed for the season.

  • Camilo Gerardo

    i shall knock on wood for your double play comments at the end!

  • bakekrukow412

    I miss Kerry Wood.

  • LEOLUCCA RANDISI

    I will not put this loss on Soriano most nights we score way more then 3 runs and if that is the case we easily win the game last night. Where is the offence the last two nights? The offence has been anemic the last two nights. I no Soriano’s ERA has been high to start the year but it is such a small sample size we haven’t even played a full month yet, despite the fact that he looked bad the last two nights when we have a lead and go to Joba in the 7th,Soriano in the 8th, and Mariano in the 9th they look down right filthy! Don’t forget that on the 7th pitch of Soriano’s night last night he got squeezed royally. so all I’m asking from the reasonable classy Yankee fans who post hear is to give Soriano some time, at least till mid season to judge him more fairly.

    • BavarianYankee

      Soriano isn’t the problem, you almost expect big money relievers to blow up sometimes. The thing is that they never should have signed him and everybody knows that!
      It’s hard to lose because your setup guy blows the lead. It’s even harder, when your ~35 million (!) setup guy, a known flyball pitcher, gives up the 2 run homer to blow the lead. Again. I think that’s what makes this even harder for some people (like me). It’s not only about Soriano, it’s about the circumstances.

  • LarryM.,Fl.

    The Yankees have played 20 games and won 12 for .600 winning %. I’ll take that for 96 wins at the end of the year. Soriano has blown two wins for us. I’m not OK about that but his stuff is quite good and he’ll improve the location. Result happy Yankee fans.

    And to adopt a saying which is so appropriate”its freakin April 27th.” We have 142 games to play. I guarantee you Jeter will get number 3000. I hope its a line drive over some infielders head. Swisher will get a HR from both the left and right side. I’m not so sure about Jorge breaking .250. He seems baffled by the mind set of hitting DH. He appears not to be in the game, the flow. IMHO

    • jsbrendog

      soriano has blown a lot more leads than 2 and the offense has bailed him out.

  • Monteroisdinero

    When will teams employ the 5 infielder Jeter shift? 3B plays for a swinging bunt, one guy up the middle, 1B plays on the line and the other 2 guys on the right side of 2B. Jeter would never see 3,000! Lol

    As for Girardi, is it just me or is it painful to watch him during games? He looks miserable and when he comes out to change pitchers the guy just seems to be physically fading away-looks ill.

    Finally, don’t understand when Rothschild comes to the mound and the pitcher has his glove over his mouth, the catcher has his mask and glove over his mouth but Rothschild does most of the talking with nothing covering his mouth.

  • Monteroisdinero

    Brett.Gardner’s. wrist.is.fine.

  • nsalem

    People panic for know good reason.. Our last 5 SP have turned in excellent performances and that is the most compelling issue (or it was a week ago). We will win many games if this continues. Soriano bashing is ignorant. D-ob was in the same place exactly a year ago today. It means nothing.

    • JobaWockeeZ

      In that case let’s never discuss anyhting and just say the Yankees will never lose ever again.

      • nsalem

        Discussing it is one thing. There are plenty of things to discuss about the game last night. I think we lost the game last night because their right fielder mad two great plays at the end of the game. Questioning Girardi’s decision to bunt in the ninth is an intelligent discussion. However if someone chooses to judge the Soriano transaction to be a big mistake on April 27 after four poor appearances, I find that pov to be ignorant and short sighted. Everyone is entitled to their opinion.

    • Jim S

      How is bashing Soriano ignorant? You can be pissed off at what he’s done this year without freaking out that he’ll be this awful the rest of the way.

    • jsbrendog

      so if you know the good reason tell us then…..

      and panic and hatred are different. i can say im not panicking about the team but i do def hate soriano and bunting.

    • whataguy

      hey you mother f’er!! HOW DARE YOU !!

  • Billion$Bullpen

    The Grandy bunt may have been the dumbest move since Girardi became manager.

    Why give away that out?

  • theyankeewarrior

    Most frustrating back-to-back losses in recent memory. Maybe ever.

    • BavarianYankee

      I know a back-to-back-to-back-to-back loss that was waaaaaay more frustrating (Red Sox,’04 ALCS)

      • a mummy with only his crotch exposed

        too soon……. or is it?

  • jsbrendog

    i said to my buddy in the grandstand last night if granderson buints im leaving. he bunted. i left. i went back because i didnt want to levave but i am starting to get fed up with this small ball bullshit. i wouldnt doubt that girardi would have had teixeira bunt.

  • Mickey Scheister

    I’m taking a couple nights off from watching Yankee baseball. Sori has given me a bout with Hypertension, I’m gonna end up angry at my kids for no good reason if I waste another 3 hours of my life.

    /HelloWaldman&Sterling

    • Yank the Frank

      By 7:05 tonight you’ll be back, oh, you’ll be back.

    • Telstar

      Have fun in the closet all day

    • Klemy

      I definitely feel your pain there.

      When I start yelling at the television, my wife tries to calm me down by telling me I’m stupid for being angry about a game. What kind of consoling is that?!? I just get angry at everyone then. lol

      • Fairweather Freddy

        Same here

  • Telstar

    I said to my buddy, if jsbrendog is here I’m leaving. I heard groaning and screaming, I left. Sure enough, the sky fell when I left.

  • Fairweather Freddy

    The grandy bunt was the only thing I had a problem with. White Sox bullpen has been shaky all year. Grandy has been one of our best hitters so far, especially against lefties. Why take the bat out of his hands there and giver away an out? I know he hit in a DP earlier but he is very tough to double up. Arod and Cano did everything right. Credit Lillibridge for making 2 spectacular catches there.

  • Fairweather Freddy

    Hawk Harrelson must have been wetting himself announcing those last 2 catches. “Way to go Lilli boy!!!!!!!!!!!” On Konerko’s homer. “You can put it on the boarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrddddddddddddddd YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS! ATTA BOY PAULIE!!”

    • Billy Mumphrey

      I was listening and he first yelled, “STRETCH!” So annoying.

      • Pat D

        He yells that on every defensive play for the White Sox, even simple plays like the pitcher covering first base on a groundball to first.

    • Klemy

      There is easily no announcer I hate more than that guy. I hope for White Sox losses every night, just so that guy is miserable. It’s irrational, but it’s hurting nobody but me.

  • Alfredo

    it was a good game both ways. the yankees SP have been doing great and dont worry the offense will pick it up today against buerhle and we will start winning. i will be surprise if the White soxs win one of the next 2 games because they are not hitting. GO OUT AND GET TODAY GUYS!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Tank the Frank

    The Yankees are a really good team. They’re going through their first real “slump” of the season right now. It happens. I didn’t watch Humber, but Floyd’s curveball was absolutely disgusting last night. He hardly had to throw any other pitch. And you just have to tip your cap to Lillibridge. Again, it happens. The Yankees win this game if not for two brilliant, clutch defensive plays.

    Soriano has been a hell of a reliever for a long time now. He knows what he’s doing. He won’t produce last season’s results, and we shouldn’t have expected him to, but it’s a long season and I have a feeling he’s going to be a big part of an awesome Yankees bullpen.

    On a side note; sometimes it’s the littlest things that really change the game. Last night’s umpire was a joke. It was very frustrating, in a tight game, for me to watch obvious strikes called for balls. The 0-1 pitch to Konerko was a perfect strike at the knees but it was called for a ball. The next pitch went over the fence. I’m not trying to make excuses for Soriano, but that’s a perfect example of how an umpire’s inability to do his job can completely change the outcome of the game. In a 0-2 count, I doubt Soriano throws anything near the meatball he ended up throwing, and he probably goes to his slider in that count.

    I understand Soriano still has to make his pitches, and the fallacy of the predetermined outcome and yada, yada, yada. Whatever. That was a huge call and it changed the game.

    • http://danielslifka.wordpress.com Jerome S.

      Don’t blame the umps, blame the fact that MLB can’t stop this stupid “human variable” crap.