Yanks can’t finish sweep, end Mariners’ skid

Culver goes deep twice as SI wins big
The Sleeping Giant

Wednesday afternoon was the probably the closest the Mariners are going to get to feeling like they won the World Series for a while. Their 17-game losing streak is kaput thanks to ace Felix Hernandez and some late-inning lolpen action and defensive miscues on the Yankees’ part.

Coulda been worse.

More Of The Same From Hughes

The end result – two runs in six innings – is perfectly fine for Phil Hughes, but the process was unchanged. A better offense would have probably hit him pretty hard, and the only reason he escaped a bases loaded, no out situation by allowing just one run in the fifth was because Josh Bard is unfathomable slow and Brett Gardner has a fine outfield arm. Hughes came out of the gate throwing 92-93 in a quick 1-2-3 first inning, but his velocity soon tailed back off into the 90-91 range the rest of the game. Everyone harps on the velocity, but the bigger problem is his command. Phil’s missing his spot consistently, like every single pitch. Sometimes he gets away with it, sometimes the pitch is left over the plate and he doesn’t. That’s how you give up nine hits in six innings against the worst offense in baseball.

Joe Girardi wouldn’t come out and say it after the loss, but Ivan Nova is fully expected to start one of the games in Saturday’s doubleheader. Asked if there could be a chance for Nova to take his rotation spot back from Hughes, Girardi replied “there could be … we want guys to throw the ball well and earn their spots every time.” He did add the standard disclaimer, saying “as far as saying there’s a competition for Phil Hughes’ next start, I’m not saying that.” Hughes will make at least one more start just because of how the schedule shakes out, and if he doesn’t perform better the calls for Nova will only grow louder. That said, he’s allowed two or fewer runs in three of his four starts since coming off the disabled list, and the end results have a way of speaking more than they should at times.

Two Runs Ain’t Enough

Got only one run out of that situation.

It really doesn’t matter who’s pitching for you when you only score two runs like the Yankees did in this game. The first run was umpire-aided to a certain extent; first base ump Brian Knight said that Brendan Ryan‘s throw pulled Justin Smoak off the bag at first on Eduardo Nunez‘s ground ball, setting up a first and third situation with one out. Replay showed that no such thing happened and Nunez should have been called out. Derek Jeter got the run in two batters later with a sacrifice fly, but the Yankees left men on second and third when Curtis Granderson struck out.

Felix was good but not utterly dominant. He allowed five hits in seven innings but did walk four, so that’s nine baserunners the Yankees had to work with. They drew two of those walks in a 24-pitch first inning but couldn’t score, and they couldn’t build on that pitch count because they went down on seven pitches in the second and 13 pitches in the third. There wasn’t much pressure on Hernandez after that. I get the feeling that Felix would have thrown 150 pitches if that’s what it took to end that losing streak through.

The Yankees left two men on base in the first, one on  in the fourth, two in the fifth, one in the sixth, and one in the seventh. The leadoff man reached base in the first, second, fifth, and seventh innings, but only one came around to score. New York’s only other run can in garbage time, when Robinson Cano drove in Granderson with an RBI groundout after a leadoff double. The Yankees had just one hit in ten at-bats with men in scoring position, and they went down on just 20 total pitches in the eighth and ninth inning. The end of the game kinda had a “let’s get this over with and start the off day” feel to it.



It was a one-run game when Cory Wade relieved Hughes to open the seventh inning, but it didn’t stay that way for long. Ichiro doubled with one out and Ryan followed up with a single off Cano’s glove, setting up a first and third situation with one out. Boone Logan came on to pitch since three of the next four batters were left-handed (the one exception was a switch-hitter), and he got exactly one of them out. Dustin Ackley hit a ground ball to second that had double play potential, but Cano flubbed the flip to Derek Jeter at the bag and everyone was safe. It wasn’t routine but it looked like they had a chance to turn two. Hard to assume they would have gotten it anyway, Ackley’s not slow. That scored a run to stretch Seattle’s lead to two.

Logan then walked Smoak before striking out Adam Kennedy, so he had a chance to limit the damage with Mike Carp coming up. Carp has had a pretty pronounced platoon split in his career, but he drove Boone’s first pitch slider to dead center. Granderson had trouble with the ball, either he misread it or lost it in the sun or something, but it clanked off his glove for a bases-clearing triple. That was pretty much the game right there, the Mariners went up by five and then by six with Franklin Gutierrez followed with a double. The defense didn’t do the pitching staff any favors that inning, but then again the lefty specialist can’t be giving up balls to the warning track to a guy that was in Triple-A two weeks ago. Ugly inning all around, a classic meltdown.

A perfect strike as HOPE Week continues.


Granderson also misplayed a ball in the ninth inning, and he pretty clearly lost that one in the sun. He overran it by a few steps and was a little too far in. That resulted in one run directly (Ackley scored from second on the play) and another indirectly (Kennedy scored from second on Carp’s single when he shouldn’t have been on base in the first place). Rough day for Curtis in the field, but thankfully that’s not a regular occurrence.

Everyone but Jeter (sac fly) reached base in the game and everyone but Gardner (two walks and a stolen base) and Mark Teixeira (walk) had exactly one hit. Granderson and Jorge Posada had doubles, everyone else singles. Nunez also swiped a bag. The Yankees went down in order just twice, in the third and ninth innings. That’s one thing I’ve noticed and would like to look into a little deeper, the Yanks very rarely seem to have 1-2-3 innings on offense. Of course there’s always going to be one or two or three per game, but I’m willing to bet the percentage of offensive innings in which they have at least one baserunner is substantially higher than the league average.

Take a look at Hunter Wendelstedt’s strike zone, that thing is brutal. For both sides, I don’t want to sound like I’m saying the Yankees got jobbed or anything. No called strikes at the knees and apparently up and away to lefties was the way to go. That call at first was blown in the fifth, and we saw what, two other blown calls at first in this series? I think it’s four if you go back to the final game of the A’s series. I think the umpires’ union has secretly planted some moles to make some blatantly bad calls to help usher in the instant replay/roboumps era. I for one will embrace our new robot overlords.

The loss ends the Mariners’ 17-game losing streak, which must have felt like a huge relief to them. That’s just brutal, I can’t imagine what it’s like dealing with that as a fan. I don’t think RAB would make it past loss seven or eight, we might all have one foot off the ledge by then.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings

MLB.com has the box score and video, FanGraphs some other neat stuff, and ESPN the up to date standings.

Up Next

Off day on Thursday, then the Orioles come to town for four games in three days. A.J. Burnett gets the start in the series opener against Jeremy Guthrie, though I suppose it’s not out of the question that Baltimore could trade its ace before then. If you want to catch the game, RAB Tickets can help get you there on the cheap.

Culver goes deep twice as SI wins big
The Sleeping Giant
  • Hedley Lamarr

    “Wednesday afternoon was the probably the closest the Mariners are going to get to feeling like they won the World Series for a while.”

    Whenever they beat the Yankees the Ms act like they won the Series.

    Remember last year when the Yankees were beating the Felix 1-0 and then Joba gave up a grand slam in the 8th to Jose Lopez, freaking Felix acted like he won game 7 of the Series http://www3.pictures.zimbio.com/gi/New+York+Yankees+v+Seattle+Mariners+lEOhPJYcyMAl.jpg

    • Oscar Gamble’s Fro


      Joba strikes the same pose after every big strikeout.

    • JMK

      Agree with Oscar. Whatevs.

  • Jack Merridew

    If we acquire a Kuroda or Ubaldo somebody’s gotta go and that’ll be Hughes. CC, Freddy, and Bartolo have pitched too well to bump out of the rotation. AJ will get the nod over Hughes. The best thing would be to include Hughes in the Ubaldo deal. Even without an acquisition Hughes is in danger of losing his job to Nova.

    • Rich in NJ

      Trading assets when their value is at a low point is not a good strategy, unless you think that Hughes is going to get worse, which seems unlikely unless he is hurt(ing).

    • Oscar Gamble’s Fro

      Was saying the same thing to my buddys today. Put Hughes in a package for a legitimate pitcher. He blows.

      • Guest

        “Put Hughes in a package for a legitimate pitcher. He blows.”

        Even, if Phil does indeed “blow” (and I think its a bit too early to say he’s done and will never reach his potential) why would a team want him included in a package for a legitimate hitter?

        I just can’t understand the whole “This guys sucks, trade him as part of a package for someone good.” It makes no sense. If he sucks, he’s not a valuable asset and why would other teams want an invaluable asset.

        (Notable exception: Wilson Betemit for Nick Swisher. That was a Suge Knight on Vanilla Ice quality shakedown).

        • JMK

          Think he said “pitcher” and not “hitter.”

          Just the same, I’m not sure it’s fair yet to say Hughes is done and will never be of value–though my suspicions grow stronger every day–but packaging Phil Hughes, in my opinion, isn’t a bad move. Perhaps other clubs see his potential value, notice something missing they could fix, etc. (Or, conversely, maybe they too think he has no value if the Yankees are eager enough to part with him. I can’t be sure.)

          But I think you did hit the nail on the head. His value is certainly not high right now, and for that reason clubs may not see him being a viable trade chip. But the Yankees may also believe he will continue to regress and selling him now while there may be some value to get something greater (a Ubaldo, perhaps?) could be a wise move. Maybe we’ll see.

          (Note: I may pine to get Ubaldo, but I don’t believe it will happen.)

        • toad


          The whole “sell high” notion is unrealistic. Sure, GM’s make dumb trades sometimes, but in general they have all the information about players we have and more. The idea that you can magically inflate some guy’s value is wrong.

          Trades happen when there is mutual benefit. Teams have different problems and different objectives. Their positional strengths and weaknesses vary. Some are in “win this year” mode, others are building. Some have payroll problems, etc. When those things match up you have the makings of a sensible trade.

          • Evan3457

            Carlos Beltran and Sandy Alderson say “hi”.
            And also thanks for Zack Wheeler.

            • toad

              Maybe you could make your point clearer.

    • Pasqua

      As an English teacher, I am very appreciative of your handle.

  • Gonzo

    Hughes can be sent to the minors without issue, right?

  • CG

    Re: umpire’s strike zone link…

    What the heck is up with the green triangle pretty much right over the middle of the plate, at the groin height level? Does the ump just fall asleep on that one and call something random?

  • duzzi23

    It’s amazing how the yankees have to pay double in every trade but the blue jays can get a potential super star young centerfielder for edwin jackson 2 average relievers and COREY PATTERSON. What a joke.

    • Oscar Gamble’s Fro

      It really is a miscarriage of justice that the Yankees are forced to compete on such an unlevel playing field. Just a complete travesty.

      I’m crying my eyes out over here and getting ready to play this mini-violin I got when I was two.

    • Gonzo

      Well, there is the whole Nick Swisher trade.

      • Sousepaw

        And Bobby Abreu.

    • YankeesJunkie

      To be fair the Cardinal were going to get rid of Rasmus at any price and AA was just smart enough to get the right price.

    • Brian S.

      It was a good trade for Toronto but Stewart was a pretty good prospect that they traded to Chicago.

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

      Why you capitalized “COREY PATTERSON” and not “edwin jackson” is beyond me.

      Edwin Jackson is a very good starting pitcher. If we had an extra Edwin Jackson lying around, maybe we could have traded for Colby Rasmus, but we’re not the “Who cares whether or not we are good this year” Toronto Blue Jays, so we tend not to have extra 3.92/3.20/3.42 E/F/x, 3.0 WAR pitchers just lying around that we have no pressing immediate need for.

      The reason we have to pay double in every trade is because we never want to trade away players who are good right now, just players who might be good sometime in the future if things go well.

      Increased risk = increased cost

      • Jonathan

        They didn’t have an extra Edwin Jackson laying around. The White Sox did. They Jays just traded for him and flipped him which we could have done as well. Is this Kenny Williams being a total idiot or did he not know that Jackson was going to be flipped for Rasmus? They traded Hudson for Jackson presumably to try and get Dunn and then the Nationals backed out of the deal. Now they trade Jackson for Frasor and a good prospect when they could have had Rasmus in CF over Rios or Pierre. Ouch. The guy did give us Swish though.

        • Sayid J.

          And then what? Where does Rasmus play? Why waste a top prospect (Betances possibly for Edwin Jackson) to trade for more offense when pitching is the greater concern?

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

          They didn’t have an extra Edwin Jackson laying around. The White Sox did. They Jays just traded for him and flipped him which we could have done as well.

          And in order for the Jays to “just trade for him and then flip him”, they Jays gave the White Sox a useful MLB reliever (Frasor) and a top SP prospect (Stewart). And in the return deal to get Rasmus, they included ANOTHER MLB reliever (Dotel) and an MLB swingman (Rzepcynski) with the Jackson flip.

          So, in order to get Colby Rasmus from STL, the Jays traded the equivalent of David Robertson (Frasor), a SECOND David Robertson (Dotel), Hector Noesi or Ivan Nova (Rzepcynski), and Dellin Betances (Stewart) to get enough ammunition to convince the Cards to part with Colby Rasmus.

          Why would we trade two David Robertsons, a Hector Noesi, and a Dellin Betances to get Colby Rasmus… when we already have TWO elite centerfielders and an all-star RF, all under contract for the foreseeable future?

          What sense does that make?

          • Crime Dog

            I can’t see comparing Dotel to Robertson. Contract situations are so different, as are their levels of effectiveness as well as ceilings.

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

              Yes, Dotel isn’t as good as Robertson, but he’s better than all the non-Robertson or Mo relievers on the staff. And that’s why I said the deal takes TWO Robertsons; because you’re not doing this deal with just one Robertson and a Luis Ayala or something. The Cardinals make a rash decision in selling low on Rasmus, but they did it because they were getting one legit mid-rotation starter and two legit bullpen upgrades.

              I’ll let Ben Nicholson-Smith from MLBTR make my point for me:

              I agree with Tim and many of the others above- it’s a win for the Blue Jays. Let’s not forget how much has to be in place for this kind of deal to happen: a creative GM who reads the market well, payroll flexibility (for Teahen’s contract), willingness from ownership to take on salary, enough appealing prospects to be able to part with Stewart and enough bullpen depth to send three quality relievers packing on the same day. This trade doesn’t seem simple and in some ways it may actually be more complicated than it appears.


              • Crime Dog

                So what you’re saying is AA is a genius and we’re DOOOOOMED?

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

                  I’m impressed by what he’s done, yes. He’s made several shrewd moves.

                  Like Friedman in TBR, he’s taken advantage of the fact that the Jays don’t really need to be competitive immediately to build up a great collection of young talent via trade and the draft; now all he has to do is spend the Rogers money wisely to get the final pieces.

                  • Crime Dog

                    Yeah, I mean its a bit scary that there’s another competent GM in the east, but I’m not completley sold on the Jays being competitive next year. A lot needs to come together for them (or any franchise for that matter) to be an 85-90 win team

    • Pasqua

      Please cite an instance in which the Yanks had to “pay double” in a trade. If anything, I think Cashman has been stealth in his acquisitions. Just because a trade may not work out in the end only means that a team payed too much in hindsight. At face value, Cash’s trades usually look very, very prudent and fair.

      • Jobu The Voodoo Troll

        There was nothing fair about the Nick Swisher trade. Of course that was less of a trade than it was some kind of baseball scam.

  • nick

    am I the only one who thinks Jeter is more to blame on Cano’s flip at 2nd base?? I know it wasn’t a perfect toss, but it was very catchable. I was surprised they gave the error to Cano, I thought it should of been on Jeter when I saw it. Oh well, just a thought.

  • http://johnsterling.blogspot.com/ Xstar7

    I still think the Cardinals are insane for trading Rasmus. Edwin Jackson, Octavio Dotel, and Marc Rzepcyznski isn’t a bad haul but they definitely sold low on him. “Attitude problems” and “not agreeing with our coaches” is a terrible basis to trade away a young CF with such high potential.

    That sounds like a you problem, Cardinals.

    • http://johnsterling.blogspot.com/ Xstar7

      Not to mention that Jackson and Rzepczynski are going to be free agents after this season! (Dotel has an option for 2012, but there’s a buyout for his option)

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

        They’re going all-in to try and convince Poo-Holes that they’ll have an organizational mandate to compete for a title for the entirety of the next decade.

        • Sayid J.

          A good way to show Pujols they are going to do whatever it takes to compete would have been to fire LaRussa and start Rasmus in CF every game.

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

            You: preaching
            Me: the choir

    • Freddy Garcia’s 86 mph Heat

      Sounds like the Cardinals committed a Cardinal Sin.


  • Jason

    Oh well, 2 out of 3 is good. Its not like we can win 162 games, as nice as that would be..

  • Sousepaw

    The bad call on Nunez’s hit was pretty much Justin Smoak’s fault. He does lift his heel after he caught the ball, but then he goes back to the bag with it instead of continuing forward. He sold that he missed it.

  • Brian S.

    So it looks to me like the Yankees are going to make a move for a pitcher. I have no idea which one but I just hope that they don’t give away too much.

  • A-ROD fan

    Hughes. romine and a class A prospect for ubaldo- deal

    • YankeesJunkie

      Deal, then when hell freezes over we can go skating.

    • David, Jr.

      Maybe for John Danks.

  • mac1

    Great recap of Hughes’s performance. I’ve never been a Hughes Fan, but he’s shown in the past if he can command his Fastball on the corners, he can be very good. Maybe he really just needs until next year to recover from throwing so many innings in 2010.

    • Will

      Good points, but I think Hughes has proven at this point that he can only be successful in small doses, whether that is in a full season as a reliever (2009, although not in the playoffs) or in a 1-2 month sample as a starter (April-May 2010). Other than those two examples, all he’s shown is mediocre stuff and horrendous command over a nearly 4 year big league career. Any intelligent team would have already cut bait with him, especially considering the negligible financial commitment, but the Yankees clearly feel they have some vague point to prove with Hughes regarding player development. And unless changes are made to the rotation in the next week or two, they will also prove that they are clearly willing to punt on having a winning team just to prove that point, whatever it is.

      • Jonathan

        are you trolling or an idiot?

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

          Here, lemme try:

          Good points, but I think Jose Bautista has proven at this point that he can only be successful in small doses, whether that is in a full season as a bench player or in a 1-2 month sample as an injury replacement starter. Other than a few examples, all he’s shown is mediocre power and horrendous plate control over a nearly 4 year big league career. Any intelligent team would have already cut bait with him, especially considering the negligible financial commitment, but GM Neal Huntington clearly feels he has some vague point to prove with Bautista regarding player development.

          Pirates fans, 2008

  • Monteroisdinero

    With the stuff Phil has shown the last year he must learn to throw a changeup and throw it in hitter’s counts. His fb sucks and his curve is average. This has been the case since July 2010. He is healthy and has had plenty of time for arm recovery/arm strength.

    How much longer?

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

      How much longer?

      This year? If he continues to miss his spots and not look sharp, about another month or so.

      Until we give up on him altogether? 2013, maybe.

      • Crime Dog

        Let’s say a month goes and he still looks the same. What happens? It’ll have to be the pen because the minors’ll be winding down by then. Say he’s successful in the pen, then what?

        I’m as big a Hughes apologist as you’ll find, but maybe starting in 2012 (if Hughes doesn’t turn it around and find some damn command), I think you’ll see Hughes in the bullpen, or on another team’s rotation

    • David, Jr.

      You are exactly right. A change in hitters counts is the only thing that would make the mediocre fastball play up. He could easily end up in the bullpen, because then he gets up to 94-95, and he can survive with that.

    • Rick in Boston

      He did throw the changeup – five times total according to Fangraphs’ PitchFx data. Four of them were to lefties, one a swinging strike, the others high and away. So he’s willing to throw it, but just doesn’t seem to be comfortable with it. That sort of makes sense when you think that the big concern for Hughes this year has been command and control of his fastball.

      As for how much longer? The Yankees have the ability to keep throwing him out there, provided the results are more like today and the other two starts and not the A’s game. As for overall? I agree with TSJC – 2013. The Yankees and Hughes both need to be on the same page this off-season when it comes to his training plan. It is pretty clear that he did not recover from the 100+ IP jump he had from 2009 to 2010.

      • David, Jr.

        Good points. To me, the change that he occasionally throws is kind of a “waste” or “chase” pitch. He needs a quality change that will generate bad swings, meaning something that looks like a strike coming up and then with late movement. I haven’t seen any semblance of that. He knows it, and that is why he won’t consistently throw it. Without that, his fastball will eventually get pounded. His curve is all over the map. I have seen it excellent, very sharp, and also a very loopy mediocrity.

  • first time lawng time

    Well, Hughes gave up only 2 runs. He pitched a quality start. I’ll take that any day.

    I’m already over this loss. In fact, I had completely forgotten about it last night until I saw it was 12:00 and I’m like “Oh cool, the recap is up.”

    • David, Jr.

      That would be a very weak definition of a quality start. Nine hits and a walk in six innings against a terrible lineup. Two runs only because Gardner threw out a runner at home.

  • first time lawng time


    Wow. Wally Watthews is a bit melodramatic.

    despite the fact that, according to the record, the Yankees are among the three best teams in baseball, they haven’t got a prayer of getting to the World Series — let alone winning it — with their current pitching rotation

    What? I know they’re pitching isn’t the best (although aren’t they among the best in ERA and FIP?), but to say they “haven’t got a prayer) even though they are “among the three best teams”, doesn’t that seem like a bit of an exaggeration or a bit dramatic? It does to me, at least.

    You know, I have NEVER read a posiive article about the Yankees from Matthews, or anyone from ESPNNY, but if you go to ESPN Boston, all the articles written love the Red Sox.

    • David, Jr.

      Agree with you. It is a definite exaggeration. The Yankees would love another quality starter, but if they get hot at the right time they can beat anybody.

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

      Seriously, FTLT, just stop reading WallyMatt. Just stop. He’s never worth your time.

      • first time lawng time

        Yeah, you’re probably right.

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

          The next good article WallyMatt writes will be the first one.

          • Monteroisdinero

            Bulletin board material? Nah-we don’t need no motivation!