Mo blows the save as Yankees fail to sweep

Jeter rehab ends with a Trenton loss
Fan Confidence Poll: July 4th, 2011

It started with an hour-and-a-half rain delay (exacerbated by Freddy Garcia’s slow trot from the bullpen to the dugout), and it ended with a disappointing walk-off loss. It’s tough to complain after seven straight wins, so I’ll try not too.

Tie game.

Rally To Tie

R.A. Dickey handcuffed the Yankees already once this year, and he carried that performance into Sunday. The first ten Yanks were retired in order and just one of them (Robinson Cano) managed to hit the ball out of the infield. Curtis Granderson gave them their first baserunner with a one out walk in the fourth, but the next two batters made outs (with a Grandy stole base mixed in), so Dickey’s no-hit bid was still alive.

Then something changed, and Dickey’s control started to betray him. Not that it’s easy to control a knuckleball, but he suddenly got a little more wild than usual.  Cano drove a hanging knuckler to the opposite field to lead off the fifth, then Nick Swisher jumped on a 3-1 fastball (84 mph) for a game-tying, RBI single. Russell Martin flew out and Ramiro Pena tried to end the inning with a ground ball double play, but Justin Turner over-shot Ruben Tejeda with the flip and everyone was safe. A four-pitch walk to Brett Gardner loaded the bases and brought Granderson to the dish.

At the time, Granderson’s at-bat was the biggest of the game, a ridiculously high Leverage Index of 3.99. He fouled off three pitches as part of an eight pitch at-bat before grounding to second, ending the inning and the threat. The Yankees had a chance to blow it open and didn’t, and we later learned that Dickey was battling a sore left glute. Apparently he originally hurt himself in batting practice a few days ago, then re-aggravated it when he slipped while delivering a pitch in the fourth inning. That would explain the sudden control issues, and gutting it out for another inning cost him the lead.

The Chief

Garcia was basically the opposite of Dickey in this game. He allowed four consecutive hard hit balls to open the game (the first two were caught by Granderson on the run), resulting in a quick one-zip lead for the Mets. That was it though. He retired seven of the next eight and 16 of the next 20 men he faced, and not a single Met advanced past first base against him the rest of the way.

It’s games like this that ensured Garcia remained in the rotation instead of the now demoted Ivan Nova. He allowed just the one run in seven innings, and only one of the 24 batters he faced saw a three-ball count. Daniel Murphy went 3-for-3 off Freddy but the rest of the Mets’ lineup went 3-for-21, making as many outs on the bases (three) as times on base. To say Garcia has exceeded expectations would be selling him short. He’s basically hit on the best case scenario, agreed?

The slide was for style points.

A Temporary Lead

The two New York teams played to a one-all tie until the top of the eighth inning, which started with a Gardner triple into the right field corner off Jason Isringhausen. Granderson drove in the run with a sacrifice fly after falling behind0-2 in the count, though the odds of the run coming in were pretty good since Grandy and Mark Teixeira are two extreme fly ball hitters (just 29.5% and 36.4% grounders, respectively). A fly ball seemed inevitable. The one run lead seemed like enough with David Robertson and Mariano Rivera ready to pitch the next two innings, so it wasn’t the end of the world when Tex’s double was wasted. Little did we know.

Blown Save

It doesn’t happen often, so it’s always a surprise when it does. Mariano Rivera didn’t just blow the save, he retired the first two batters then allowed the rally to happen with two outs. That’s rare. First he walked Jason Bay, almost pitching around him, then Lucas Duda singled into shallow right on a pitch in on his hands to put men on the corners. Mo got ahead of pinch-hitter Ronny Paulino 0-2, but the Mets righty backstop reached out and punched an outside cutter through the right side to drive in Bay from third, tying the game. The lead was gone, but that’s not even the crazy part.

Runners were now at first and second with two outs, and the usually punchless Tejeda grounded a pitch towards short. Ramiro Pena rushed to the spot and let it get through his legs, and right there it looked like the game was over. Duda was rounding third with a full head of steam, but Gardner charged the ball well and uncorked a one hop throw to the plate, beating Dude by a few steps and allowing Martin to apply the tag for the inning-ending out. It was very similar to that play in Chicago against the Cubs a few weeks ago, though the stakes were much higher this time. Pena goofed, big time, but the Yankees got away with it anyway.


And The Loss

With Robertson and Rivera gone from the game, it was time to the second tier relievers, and that’s usually a problem. Luis Ayala started the tenth inning off by walking Scott Hairston, a cardinal sin. Angel Pagan gave up an out with a bunt to move the runner to second, but Ayala went ahead and hit Turner with a pitch. He faced three batters and two reached without swinging the bat, which is straight up awful. Boone Logan came in to face the switch-hitting Carlos Beltran and the left-handed hitter Daniel Murphy.

For all this talk about Alex Rodriguez‘s conversation with Logan about having a plan on the mound, I don’t think a hanging slider was part of the discussion. Boone got away with the pitch as Beltran hacked at it for strike three, which was a total gift. That shouldn’t happen. Logan then jumped out ahead of Murphy with two quick strikes, and he tapped a ball to Pena at short. This one apparently jumped up and hit off the heel of his glove, so everyone was safe and the bases were loaded. Out came Logan, in came Hector Noesi.

What happened next was fairly predictable. Noesi had zero margin for error and Bay made him pay with an 0-1 single into center, plating the winning run. The kid was not put into a position to succeed, and he’s pretty much the last guy I blame for the loss. Ayala is the primary culprit in my eyes, just because he gift-wrapped the Mets the rally with the walk and hit-by-pitch. Make them earn their way on base, if they hit a walk-off homer, fine. At least they earned it. That was a free rally. Sigh.


Granderson’s stolen base was hit 15th, and I’m kinda hoping he can get to 20-20 before the All-Star break. He’s got the 22 homers already, and now he needs five steals in the next seven games. That won’t be easy, but I’d love to see him go for it. Cano had a double and a triple, his third triple in five games. I love me some homers, but it would be fun to see guys like Gardner and Granderson play 81 games in CitiField. Think of all the three-baggers.

Martin led off the seventh with a double but got caught in a run down between second and third one play later. Not his fault, Pena hit a bullet back up the middle that Pedro Beato unexpectedly fielded. He broke for third, as he should have. Just a bad break, that’s all. Too bad it likely cost them a run, and who knows what happens after that. Certainly a noteworthy play late in a tie game.

No record breaking attendance on Sunday, but the three game series drew 125,575 fans. That’s a three-game series record for CitiField. You’re welcome, Fred and Jeff. The loss was the Yankees first since the opening game of the Rockies’ series, when Jason Giambi hit that monster homerun. It was only their fourth loss in the last 22 days. I’ll take it.

WPA Graph & Box Score

Eventful, but for all the wrong reasons. has the box score and video score, FanGraphs the other stuff.

Up Next

Time to get back to the American League. The Yankees are off to Cleveland for a three game set starting Monday, when A.J. Burnett faces Josh Tomlin. If you’re in the area, RAB Tickets can get you into the game.

Jeter rehab ends with a Trenton loss
Fan Confidence Poll: July 4th, 2011
  • Freddy Garcia’s 86 mph Heat

    Who cares about the loss, we got to hear Coney drop FIP on Michael Kay!

    • Karl Krawfid

      loved it.

    • Carlosologist

      It was the first time I heard actual, you know, analysis since the west coast trip. YES needs to get Cone more games to do, easily the best color guy in baseball. Mixes both his experiences from playing the game and uses sabermetrics to actually enhance what we’re watching.

  • Carlosologist

    Meh, even the best teams lose. I think we’ll be fine during this trip to Cleveland. I’m kinda worried about the four gamer against the Rays. Would be big if we could split or take 3 out of 4.

    • nsalem

      3 out of 4 is great. splits are for the road. splitting at home to anyone sucks.

  • BigTimeBartolo

    Fucking ‘Miro.

    That’s all I have to say about that.

  • duzzi23

    It’s all cuz the immortal nunez didnt play!! Lol. This loss sucked but whatever least we took the season series. I feel bad for nova he was crying n had to be consoled before the game. He’s got alot of heart.

  • DSFC

    If Pena’s going to botch routine grounders, then get him the hell off the roster, because supposedly sharp defense is the only thing he brings to the table. If he’s not doing that, of what use is he?

  • jim p

    I’d guess Cashman is checking the market for a good utility backup, maybe with some on-base skills. Pena needs more work and down below, and Nunez, despite his flashes here, needs the same.

    • Thomas Cassidy

      Nunez is going to be a damn good SS. Pena is just your regular backup infielder at best. I like him a lot, but he will never amount to anything.

      • Avi Atkin

        Nunez is an above-average shortstop and an overall capable everyday player. A real solid bat offensively. With his athleticism, he should be committing way less errors.

        After some improvement of his fielding, he could turn into an asset on defense, but he has a ways to go.

        • Thomas Cassidy

          I’m not denying that. He is still young and will develop over time just like everybody else. Right now, I think he is playing great. He stepped it up when Jeter got hurt. I think his defense will be fine, that’s the hardest thing to fix. But I do think he will be a great player.

  • Pat D

    I’d just like to say that I’m an idiot. I’ve spent the last 2 hours arguing with people on

    • Avi Atkin

      People? You are too kind. The proper term is trolls.

    • Phife Dawg

      ESPN commenters are the WORST. Hopefully you didn’t go on the Yankee message board… that place makes Lohud look like a bastion of intelligent baseball discussion.

      • Pat D

        No, it was just on David Schoenfield’s article about All-Star snubs.

        I had to show people how Derek Jeter is in fact one of the 2 or 3 greatest shortstops ever.

  • Will

    Anyone else notice that EVERY SINGLE TIME Girardi pulls a starting pitcher who is cruising and has yet to throw 100 pitches, bad things happen? I know you can’t really blame him for going to RoMo in a 2-1 game, but Garcia was at 82 pitches, was cruising, and didn’t even need to be lifted for a PH. At the very least, it would have been nice to see him get the chance to go batter-to-batter in the 8th, because then you actually have a good reliever in reserve (Robertson) if the save is blown.

    • Monteroisdinero

      If it’s not in the binder, ain’t gonna happen. How many times have we been through this? Joe G. has an engineering degree from Northwestern. He does not manage by intuition but by a pre-conceived plan. I know he has been successful but he has alot of talent to work with. He has lost a few games for us for sure. That Bartolo gem of a game in Baltimore still hurts.

      • bexarama

        He has lost a few games for us for sure. That Bartolo gem of a game in Baltimore still hurts.

        We won that game

        • Monteroisdinero

          No thanks to joe.

    • nsalem

      So correct. Over the long term bringing in Robertson and Rivera over a junk baller facing a line up for the fourth time around is a terrible move that certainly spells doom. Especially Mariano that abysmal failure. The fact that he saves these games over 90% of the time is a pure aberration and should not sway Girardi’s decisions. Scintillating and intelligent ANALysis.

  • CMP

    “Ayala is the primary culprit in my eyes, just because he gift-wrapped the Mets the rally with the walk and hit-by-pitch.”

    I have to disagree with that statement. I would rank Ayala third behind Mariano (first) and Pena (second) for that loss. Mo blew a save with no one on and 2 outs in the 9th and Pena flubbed a routine grounder hit by a slow runner (Murphy) that would have gotten them to the 11th.

    • Thomas Cassidy

      Pena should be first. Mariano did his job. He induced the ground ball for the third out. It isn’t his fault that Pena can’t make an easy play. Not once, but twice Pena fucked up.

      • CMP

        Mariano blew the save before Pena’s error in the 9th.

  • Jimmy McNulty

    It’s tough to complain after seven straight wins, so I’ll try not too.

    Not really…they could have and should have won. Thus, complaints are warranted.

  • Karl Krawfid

    Nothing wrong with getting heated after a tough loss.

    Good thing they get to play tomorrow.

    • first time lawng time

      And the best part is we get to see AJ pitch!

  • first time lawng time

    The funny thins is that I completely forgot about this gsm in general last night. About half an hour after the fame I was pissed, but then at like 11.00ish, I saw the time and was like, cool the recap will be up soon. And then I realized they had lost. Me forgetting the game just goes to show that the entire loss was a non-story.

    Although this loss bums me out for the following reasons:
    – Boston won
    – they could have set a record with their record in day games
    – dealing with Mets fans (yes, there are Mets fans actually bragging)

  • Andy in Sunny Daytona

    No worries Mo, even God made the Duck-billed Platypus…deities mess up some time.

    • Wil Nieves Number 1 Fan

      As a bio major, IETC

  • Wil Nieves Number 1 Fan

    But Axisa, you didn’t tell us where this ranks amongst the worst Yankee losses this year…

  • Little Bill

    The loss is unacceptable and just because we won 7 in a row doesn’t mean the loss wasn’t abysmal. Mariano’s an all star, there’s no excuse for walking a guy like Bay and then giving up two hits to two nobodies. He had the 2nd guy 0-2 and then gave him a fat meatball out over the plate, begging up to punch it out to RF.

    They demoted Nova, should have demoted Pena. He’s just as bad as Nunez in the field and doesn’t make up for it with the bat like Nunez. It’s games like today that make us realize how much we need the captain. We’re 0-1 in our past 1 games without Derek Jeter.

    • Esteban

      Poor attempt this time. D-

  • bpdelia

    RE Martin “broke for third as he should have”

    Eh, no Mike he shouldn’t have. From little league on up we are taught that the ball MUST clear the pitcher before you go and that if the ball is NOT BEHIND you make sure it clears the fielder. THat wasn’t bad luck it was a brain fart baserunning move. IT happens to everyone and Martin is a fairly good baserunner but lets not act like it wasn’t an error.

    • The Fallen Phoenix

      On the other hand Martin was arguably safe – he was called out of the Vaseline when he pretty clearly wasn’t, and otherwise managed to dodge the tag.

      • Accent Shallow

        he was called out of the Vaseline

        You know how I know you’re posting from a smartphone?

  • Little Bill

    But on the bright side, with Phil now back we have the 2nd best rotation in baseball behind only the Phillies. CC-Bartolo the best 1-2 punch in the AL, AJ, Phil, and Garcia is a damn good rotation. And we have Nova waiting in the wings if anyone should get hurt.

  • Maris61

    IMHO the pivotal out was the Grandy ground out with the bags full. A base hit and we’re up by 4 and the Mutts, with their Punch and Judy offense, are done. I’m not blaming Grandy, just making an observation.

    Although we were on a winning streak and had to lose sometime this one hurt to lose.

  • Greg

    In the end I think that the way we lost the game was the main cause of my ire, not the fact that we lost. Let’s just make sure this doenst start a statistical correction period (if there is one).

  • goMO

    I feel bad for Pena. He’s a good kid and usually has a good glove. He’s very cheap defensive insurance. I hope he turns it around quick because there really isn’t any room for error here (pun intended).

    I’m really liking Nunez. I do think his defense will improve as the mistakes he’s making aren’t beccause he has bad hands or poor range. He’s very athletic and there’s something about him that makes me think he’s going to be a special player. I hope I’m right..

  • Bavarian Yankee

    what? Garcia allowed 1 run in 7 against the crappy Mets? What a bust!!! What? He has an ERA of 3.13? Even David Robertson has an ERA under 2. Garcia is such a loser, let’s DFA him and call up Nova :D

    • Thomas Cassidy

      ERA under 2? Try almost an ERA under 1. He’s been great this year.