Yanks lose to Mariners as bats rest comfortably in Toronto

X-rays negative after Cano gets hit-by-pitch on foot
Repeating Mistakes: The Pedro Feliciano Story

Given the tough late-season schedule and the west coast night game, the Yankees went ahead and sent the offense to Toronto prior to Wednesday night’s game. It was the smart thing to do. The 12th inning walk-off loss to Mariners dropped the Yankees to 4-10 in extra inning games this season, the worst mark in the AL.

(Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Cy Vargas

The Yankees had no trouble with Jason Vargas the first two times they faced him this year (combined 14 runs in 7 IP), and early on it looked like the third time would be more of the same. Derek Jeter opened the game with a ten-pitch at-bat, and although the Yankees went down 1-2-3 in the first, they managed to see 23 pitches. After a 1-2-3 second inning, Vargas was at 38 pitches. By the end of the third, he was at 60. And that’s when the offensive nodded off.

After throwing 60 pitches to ten batters across the first three innings, the Seattle lefty needed just 26 pitches to face ten batters across the next three innings. Vargas sat down nine in a row at one point, and the Yankees’ only real rally wasn’t even much of a rally. Andruw Jones drew a one-out walk in the third, then got thrown out at home trying to score on Eduardo Nunez‘s double down the left field line. It was a terrible, horrible, no good send by third base coach Robbie Thomson; Andruw had slowed down at third, then had to rev the engine back up before getting thrown out by ten feet. Third inning, only one out, dude running has a tear in his knee, top of the order due up … pretty good time to throw up the stop sign, if you ask me.

Vargas continued his mastery of the Yankees lineup into the seventh, but Nick Swisher got a hold of an 0-1 pitch for a game-tying solo homer to left. Just like that, Vargas’ day was over. Eric Wedge came out of the dugout immediately to remove his starter from the game, after he’d allowed just the one run on three hits and a walk in 6.2 IP. Tough crowd.

Nova Battles

(Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

The story of this series was good enough starting pitching, but not great starting pitching. Phil Hughes was okay on Monday and A.J. Burnett was okay on Tuesday, so Ivan Nova was nice enough to stick with the theme on Wednesday. He put nine men on base in 7.1 IP of work (one of his four walks was intentional), again having trouble getting his fastball down in the zone in the early innings. The one run he allowed came on a wild pitch of all things, a fastball that got away with Mike Carp on third following a walk, fly out, caught stealing, walk (to Carp), single (Carp to third), wild pitch.

Nova was better than Hughes and Burnett, no doubt, but I didn’t think he was stellar by any means. One run in 7.1 IP against the Mariners is like, three runs in 5.2 IP against a real offense. Give the kid credit for battling though, he gave the team a chance to win just like he has all year.

The Bullpen

Overall, the Yankees relief corps did an okay job. David Robertson cleaned up Nova’s mess in the eighth, Rafael Soriano tossed a scoreless ninth, Boone Logan wiggled in and out of trouble in the tenth, then handed the ball off to Cory Wade for the escape job in the 11th. The game ended with Cory grooving a pitch to Luis Rodriguez, who hit the walk-off solo homer. That’s the same Luis Rodriguez that came into the game hitting .176/.286/.286. The same Luis Rodriguez that went 3-for-5 with two doubles and the walk-off homer. Go figure.

(Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

Leftovers

Do I really have to write about another dumb sacrifice bunt? What’s the point of pinch-running Brett Gardner for Jones after he gets hit by a pitch (in the eighth) if you’re not going to let him steal? And why wouldn’t you pinch-hit Eric Chavez for the uber-slumping Nunez (3-for-37 coming into the game)? To make things even better, Chavez pinch-hit for Nunez with two outs and no one on base in the tenth inning. Common sense is a lost art these days, I swear. Anyway, the Yankees did not score in the seventh inning (unsurprisingly), but at least they did it THE RIGHT WAY.

Aside from Swisher’s homer, the offense did absolutely nothing. Four hits, two walks, and two hit batsmen in a dozen offensive innings. It doesn’t help when you’re throwing away leadoff baserunners in the name of small ball, but I’m not sure the Yankees would have scored again if they played another 12 innings. Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira, and Jesus Montero went a combined 0-for-15, and the top three hitters in the lineup went a combined 1-for-15. Just one of the final eleven hitters they sent to the plate reached base, and that was Robinson Cano taking a fastball to the foot (x-rays were negative). The offense just wasn’t there, bad at-bats and weak hacks, especially after the third inning.

Both the Red Sox and Rays lost on Wednesday, so the Yankees still lead the division by four games with an eight game cushion on the wildcard. They only have 14 games left to play, and any combination of seven wins and Rays losses will put New York in the postseason.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings

MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings.

Up Next

It’s time for the final scheduled off day of the season, but it’s not much of an off day because the Yankees won’t get to Toronto until like, 10-11am ET on Thursday. Sleep all day, then start a three-game series with the Blue Jays on Friday. CC Sabathia gets the ball against Brett Cecil.

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X-rays negative after Cano gets hit-by-pitch on foot
Repeating Mistakes: The Pedro Feliciano Story
  • yanks

    4 game lead not 5

  • Brian S.

    I thought Colon was scheduled to pitch the opening game of the Toronto series.

    • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

      Girardi flipped CC and Colon. He’s probably figuring out a way to get CC to start game 1 since he’s way off pace.

  • Brian S.

    Also, it’s only a three hour flight to Toronto so they will get there before 10 AM guaranteed. Probably check in the hotel around eight o’ clock and hopefully get some rooms with some dark curtains so they can sleep throughout the day.

    • Pat D

      This is where sleep masks are helpful.

      I very briefly worked a shift at my job from 7 PM – 3:30 AM, but could never go right to sleep when I got home. So I found myself trying to sleep around 5 or 6 when the sun starts to rise. I bought a sleep mask then and I can’t usually sleep without it now.

      Hopefully the Yankees have some.

    • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

      Only a 3 hour flight? Holy hell that’s fast.

  • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

    Yep, Axisa must have received the same word I got in that the offense landed safely in Toronto and was in bed by extra frames. I hope they sleep tight and don’t let the bed bugs bite.

  • Freddy Garcia’s 86 mph Heat

    Rays-Sox series:

    Hellickson vs Weiland
    Shields vs Beckett
    Neimann vs Lester
    Price vs Wakefield

    That’s gonna be one helluva series. I bet Rays take 3/4.

    • http://bleedingyankeeblue.com Jesse

      It’s a lock

      /Jesse’d

  • Montero’s Mojo

    Question for Mike, Joe, Ben, anyone: I believe I’ve thought this for most the season, but, not until recently, has it irritated me to the point of finding answers… The Yankees, this season, appear to be ABYSMAL against the opposing bullpen. Is this a figment of my overactive imagination or does NY indeed mail it in once the starting pitcher exits the game? I recall this team once pulverizing the weaker pitchers but this season, it’s like they’ve become our kryptonite. What gives?

    • Pat D

      Best place to look is here:
      http://www.baseball-reference......;year=2011

      Go to the section “Times Facing Opponent in Game.” You may be onto something.

      • Montero’s Mojo

        Wow. Appears I AM on to something:

        7th – .251 /.343/.408
        8th – .246 /.312/.434
        9th – .235 /.315/.360

        As for the relief pitcher(s) – .250/.332/.417

        I am a BIT baffled that a team like this, the team that is 1st/2nd in Runs scored, is so helpless against the opposing bullpens.

        Ugh.

        • http://twitter.com/JimIsBored JimIsBored (Jim S)

          I would want to research how other teams do against bullpens too, before jumping to any conclusions.

          But that does seem annoying, on the surface.

        • Tom

          The 9th innings is often a bit skewed as that is often a closer (when trailing) or a good pitcher when tied or if the game is close. That’s also when smart managers like Girardi are bunting with a 3 run lead to minimize the big inning and get that key 4th run.

          Anecdotally it seems like the Yankees are much more aggressive at the plate with relievers (and also the 2nd/3rd time through the lineup against a starter)

  • well you know

    Ten different Yankee pitchers have taken the L’s in the 10 extra innings losses in 2011. Nine are on the active roster. That’s not easy to do.

    Logan, Nova, Carlyle (ding), Rivera, Ayala, Soriano, Hughes, Noesi, Proctor, Wade.

    Onward.

  • Pat D

    The win tonight would have been nice, but let’s remember that it’s hard to make up 4 games with 14 left to play. Beating my broken record here, but if the Yankees go just 7-7 the rest of the way, the Red Sox have to go 11-3. Both are unlikely.

    I hope the Yankees win 3 of the next 4 (is there really any excuse to lose to Minnesota?) and Tampa Bay beats Boston at least 3 times. That means that their magic number would be no higher than 4 going into the Tampa Bay series and Boston will lose ground, too. My pipe dream is for that series against Boston to mean nothing.

    • sevrox

      Yank’s are playing Minnesota in Toronto? Damn divisional gerrymandering…

      • Pat D

        Not sure if serious.

    • mustang

      My issues are less with the lost but more with a faulty managerial strategy that keeps being use regardless of how may times its fails.

      • mustang

        many not may

  • mustang

    “Do I really have to write about another dumb sacrifice bunt? What’s the point of pinch-running Brett Gardner for Jones after he gets hit by a pitch (in the eighth) if you’re not going to let him steal? And why wouldn’t you pinch-hit Eric Chavez for the uber-slumping Nunez (3-for-37 coming into the game)? To make things even better, Chavez pinch-hit for Nunez with two outs and no one on base in the tenth inning. Common sense is a lost art these days”

    THIS!!!!!

    Or even pinch-hit Eric Chavez for Montero who has had a hot bat , but look lost his first 3 AB’s and still a 21 year-old rookie!!!!!

    • mustang

      This is all fun and games until they are sitting in the playoffs still doing this dumb ass shit!!!

  • Lance

    Bad bunt, bad send, and if Girardi pinch hits for Nunez Chavez ends up plYmig third and the runner doesn’t take third on that bunt Nova Fields. Nunezleft 3rd uncovered. Badly managed game. Stupid!

  • Zack

    Girardi will manage us to a loss in the post season, just watch?

    • mustang

      Said the same thing to a friend last night. Not but a few weeks ago he had Jeter 3 for 3 and batting like .450 for month bunt late in a close game. It’s like watching the same fucked up movie over and over again.

      • gc

        Jeter normally bunts on his own. But whatever. Resume your witch hunt.

        • Greg

          You’d think people on this board who follow the Yankees would realize this by now wouldn’t you?

        • http://twitter.com/JimIsBored JimIsBored (Jim S)

          “What also floats in water?”
          “Bread!”
          “Apples!”
          “Very small rocks!”

          • Pat D

            “Churches!”
            “Cider!”
            “Gravy!”

  • Stan the Man

    Out of curiousity is Axisa planning on managing a major league team in the near future?

    • rbizzler

      I think that he is.

    • toad

      This type of criticism is really tiresome. No, he’s not going to manage. Neither are any of us. So what? Does that mean we are not entitled to criticize or comment on strategic decisions?

      We’re fans, not cheerleaders. We are not required to just jump and down and proclaim the glory of whatever the team or manager does. Criticizing and analyzing are part of it. Telling Mike, or anyone else, “You couldn’t do better,” is not a rebuttal, or even a reasonable response.

      It would take me ten seconds, probably, to run from home plate to first base. Does that mean I can’t criticize a player who doesn’t run hard on a close play? Of course not.

      • Stan the Man

        When the criticism is the same over and over and over again then there is no reason to bring it up. We get it, Mike doesn’t like sac bunts, most people on this site don’t like it…really no reason to even mention, in particular when this game saw only 4 hits. The problem wasn’t the sac bunt it was the lack of hits, so mentioning it for an entire paragraph is tiresome, it also doesn’t change the outcome or future outcomes.

        As fans we will complain about everything, as intelligent fans which we try and claim to be, we should be above it.

      • Stan the Man

        You can’t run 90 feet in 10 seconds?

        • toad

          OK. Then just say you get the sac bunt criticism. But don’t go into the whole “What makes you a better manager than Girardi?” shtick.

          As for my speed, well, I don’t really know how long it would take me to run ninety feet, but I’m not young, and I’m a bit overweight, and I was a slow runner in my younger leaner days. Ten seconds for ninety feet is just over six mph. Maybe I could do a little better, but I’d certainly be thrown out, quite easily, by a high school shortstop, even from deep in the hole.

          • Stan the Man

            Just to clarify: Agree Gardner should steal 2nd instead of being bunted over

            Understood that any sac bunt will be crucified on this website since it has been written 1 million times, thus doesn’t need to be re-hased again.

            What is more annoying, the Yanks doing a sac bunt or players not being able to hit consistently w/RISP? I would think we would want more RISP in every game, as opposed to hoping for a Russell Martin or another player to hit a double, triple or HR everytime a guy gets to first base.

            I completely understand the criticism of the sac bunt, but myself I get annoyed by not getting guys across home when they are in scoring position.

            • Tom

              Look up the data on Yankees hitting in RISP. This RISP failure is negative reinforcement of folks remembering the failures because it fits the perception of the situation.

              Yankees team batting
              Overall .265/.344/.448
              RISP .278/.358.457

              American League average
              overall .257/.332/.406
              RISP .259/.338/.402

              Notice 2 things…. the Yankees #’s in comparison to league average and more importantly the delta between the overall #’s and the #’s with RISP in each split (the Yankees #’s actually go up with runner in scoring position relative to their overall average #’s…. the league’s splits are pretty much flat)

              You know what’s more tired then the “why bunt” meme?

              The folks who continuously whine about RISP failure given the info above….and yet somehow think bunting and getting more runners in scoring position at the cost of an out mitigates the ***PERCEIVED**** RISP failures.

              • Greg

                Although interestingly RISP with 2 outs would suggest the Yankees are avg to poor relative to the rest of the league….the dropoff is much more for Yanks…

                Yankees
                231/340/363
                AL
                234/331/366

                Rather than entire rest of league, probably more appropriate to compare Yanks to Boston, Tex and Detroit. Interestingly, Yanks much worse than these 3…

                Boston
                256/355/399
                Tex
                234/334/407
                Det
                271/361/386

                Even more interesting is that these 3 lead AL in runs scored with RISP and 2 outs. Yanks are 10th.

  • mike

    Sending Jones was likely the most idiotic thing i have seen in a long time.

    Guy is on a bum wheel, the game is meaningless in the overall scheme of things, history shows the Yanks would get to Vargas, short throw home from LF for the D with plenty of protection for an overthrow, top of the order coming up where a sac fly or grounder accomplishes the same thing……..

    i initially thought Jones missed the sign or he went on his own as the play is in front of him, but when looking at the replay seeing him slow down/ no angle into 3rd it made me boil

    • David, Jr.

      Figuring that they know much more than I do, I am generally not into all of the stuff where managers and coaches are termed dumb.

      However, that was incredibly dumb.

      Overall, it was exactly the type of game where a healthy ARod was badly missed. With the real ARod in the middle, they likely get to the guy and win easily. There have been about five games like that.

    • Kevin

      Totally agree. That dumb call by Thomson cost the Yanks the game and another save for Mo. Maybe you send Gardner or Nunez but anyone else on the team is never going to make it. With only one out the 3rd base coach really blew that one.

  • Paul Proteus

    If a team wanted to guarantee a playoff series win vs the Yanks they should just stack their rotation with soft tossing lefties cause we can’t him em. Never have.

    • mike

      missing Arod didnt help

      • Greg

        They haven’t really had ARod for like 2 and half months. I even forget he is on the team at times. I’m not hopeful they are going to get much out of him at this point. If we do, great, but I am not counting on much.

    • http://twitter.com/JimIsBored JimIsBored (Jim S)

      “The Yankees had no trouble with Jason Vargas the first two times they faced him this year (combined 14 runs in 7 IP)”

      Never have, except when we have.

    • Jorge

      I think they’ve hit a few since the Highlander days.

  • JobaWockeeZ

    Is the bunt anything new? Girardi isn’t a brilliant manager or anything, it should be expected at this point. He’s not terribad but not special either.

  • chris

    “Via Dan Barbarisi, Pedro Feliciano had shoulder on his rotator cuff”

    lol, is shoulder a new type of surgery?

  • Greg

    Probably no secret but if the Yanks don’t do a better job scoring runs by stringing together hits, rather than relying on the long ball, they won’t last very long in the playoffs. It’s not like they are going to be able to club 3 and 4 homers a game against the pitching they will be facing. Unfortunately they have relied on the HR all year and I am not sure things will change now.

    • Erica

      /ESPN’d?

    • Pat D

      This always seems to be an argument made, and I’m still waiting for someone to prove it.

  • Tim

    I actually had no problem with not pinch hitting Chavez for Nunez after the pinch run by Gardner. Nunez had smoked a double earlier in the game and was one of the only hitters on the team with an EBH at that point and I think Joe thought he would continue to be hot. I do and will always disagree with the bunt at that point, but again Martin had already struck out twice I think and hasn’t looked good at the plate since his thumb injury. But Gardner’s got to steal and get in scoring position and give the team 3 chances to knock him in instead of 2.

  • Greg

    Don’t look now but the Tigers are only 3.5 games behind the Yanks for best record in the AL….with series against the A’s, Royals, Orioles and Indians left….considering some tough games left against TB and Boston might be tough to hold onto best record and homefield throughout playoffs.

    • Stan the Man

      Detroit probably won’t win 20 games in a row, so the Yanks should still be fine if they play slightly better than .500 ball the rest of the way.

      • Greg

        True, but with 10 games out of 14 left against the Sox and Rays, .500 is not a walk in the park.

    • Pat D

      Detroit will crash.

  • Jorge

    Too bad Nova couldn’t pick up another W and nail down ROY for good. Otherwise, really, nothing to see here. Time to nail down the cliniched spot, finish the season off, and get ready for the playoffs.

  • Jonathan

    Not meaning to nitpick but i’m about 99% sure the wild pitch was an overthrown curveball that just spun and backed up. Coming as a former catcher I’ve seen that many times and the reason the ball isn’t caught is you’re expecting the ball to break down and away to a righty but it just keeps going the other way. When it’s that overthrown it’s almost impossible to catch and the angle of the glove on that pitch makes it so even if you get a glove on it it kind of ejects the ball. Especially when you have to stab at it so late because you’re expecting the break. Still an awful pitch.

    And Mike is right about the sac bunt. I’m not totally against a sac bunts and I believe they serve a purpose when you’re playing for just one run but if you have to bunt Martin just send Gardner early and then in the likely event of him making it you can bunt him to 3rd so all you need is a routine out to score. Or you can give the sign to hit the ball the other way and hope to move him up while still having a chance at getting a hit. Or hell, maybe have Gardner try and steal 3rd too with a righty hitting. Especially since Jamey Wright is tall with a big leg kick. Does anyone know how to find out the stats of SB allowed by a pitcher?

    I also agree on the whole pinch hitting for Nunez thing. Just because the guy had a ground ball double against a soft lefty earlier on doesn’t erase an awful stretch. Plus his defense is fucking atrocious. Leiter kept on trying to defend Nunez saying the bunt play is a “read play”, but the only time a 3B is supposed to try and field that bunt is if it’s hard and past the pitcher. Other than that he gets his ass back to the bag and the pitcher has to the 3B line. You could easily tell Nunez broke immediately and hard and didn’t make a read at all and was left in no man’s land. You would think a guy in the majors would know the bunt plays. This isn’t the NFL with a giant playbook. Team’s don’t have their own special bunt plays. They’re the same as any high school team’s and there are just a few. At first when I saw Nova field it and then throw to first I was pissed because I thought Nova had him and looked at him and then just threw it to first. That play is simple. 1B has anything on the right side and chargers while the 2B covers 1st. As I said the P has the left side to the 3B line except a hard bunt right to the 3B. The 3B reads if it’s a hard enough bunt that it will get past the P and breaks back to the bag if it isn’t. The SS covers 2nd. I’m sure anybody that played competitive baseball past basically little league knows this play. The only way the 3B charges immediately is the wheel play where the SS breaks to cover 3rd. O well. I’m sure I’m not alone in being frustrated when major league coaches, players and managers all make inexcusable mental mistakes that are avoidable and obvious to even a semi casual fan. Girardi with the bunt and PH errors, Thomson sending a guy who was trying to stop, who has little speed to begin with, with one out and the top of the order coming up and Nunez not knowing wtf to do on the simplest bunt play there is….I can’t imagine how frustrating this would have been if this was a playoff game or we had a 1/2 game lead or something.

  • Kevin

    Did anyone else think that third base coach Rob Thomson made a poor decision by trying to score Jones on Nunez’s double? With only one out I think RT was way too agressive. That mistake cost us the game. The only ones I would even think about sending there would be Gardener or Nunez. Jones looked like he needed oxygen in the dugout after running the bases. I’d would have rather seen DJ up with one out and runners on second and third. Jeter hit a deep ground ball to third which might haven’t gotten by if the infield was in or might have been deep enough to get Jones home. That second run would have won the game and got Mo one more save. Every win is crucial for not only winning the east but holding off the surging Tigers for the best record in the AL.

  • SE

    Whatever you do, don’t say a word about advanced scouting and it’s inability to give the lineup adequate places to attack yet another mediocre performing pitcher that the lineup makes look like Cy Young…

  • SE

    Whatever you do, don’t say a word about advanced scouting and its inability to give the lineup adequate places to attack yet another mediocre performing pitcher that the lineup makes look like Cy Young…

  • Sell

    Whatever you do, don’t say a word about advanced scouting and its inability to give the lineup adequate places to attack yet another mediocre performing pitcher that the lineup makes look like Cy Young…

  • Guns of the Navarone

    Do I really have to write about another dumb sacrifice bunt? What’s the point of pinch-running Brett Gardner for Jones after he gets hit by a pitch (in the eighth) if you’re not going to let him steal? And why wouldn’t you pinch-hit Eric Chavez for the uber-slumping Nunez (3-for-37 coming into the game)?

    Because Joe Girardi is not a good manager? Yeah, that’s what I’d go with.

    The evidence just keeps piling up.

    • Guns of the Navarone

      Italics!!!!