Yanks and Kuroda fall short, lose to Twins

Update: Yankees place Brett Gardner on DL
Bartolo Colon threw 38 consecutive strikes last night

The Twins came into this four-game set with just two wins on the season, and they’ve managed to double that total with one game to spare in the series. Yeah, this one isn’t going according to plan. To make matters worse, Brett Gardner was placed on the DL after the game with a bone bruise and a strain in his right elbow.

(REUTERS/Ray Stubblebine)

A Bad Start

I wrote this two days ago, but there’s nothing yuckier than giving up first inning runs at home. You’re playing catch-up before you even come to the plate and it’s just frustrating. The Yankees were down a run two batters into the game, two runs three batters into the game, and four runs five batters in the game. Justin Morneau capped the first inning rally off with a two-run homer to deep right, continuing his dominance of the Yankees. Like Carlos Pena, they’ll get around to developing a decent scouting report on him one of these days.

Hiroki Kuroda was simply catching too much of the plate, especially with his offspeed pitches. Morneau’s homer was a first pitch fastball, but most of the other hits came off breaking pitches that spun but didn’t break. He was fortunate to get out of that first inning down four, but Minnesota tacked on another run in the third when Sean freakin’ Burroughs grounded a 30-hopper through the left side. That one was frustrating, it wasn’t well hit at all. Hiroki retired the next six men he faced before Morneau took him deep again — on a hanging breaking ball — in the fifth, ending his night.

(Al Bello/Getty Images)

A Nice Recovery … But Not Enough

On the bright side, the Yankees fought right back and managed to plate three runs in the bottom of the first. Jason Marquis was making his first start of the season after spending time away from the team to be with his daughter after her bicycle accident, and the rust showed. Six of the first seven men the Yankees sent to the plate reached base, and the inning went single, walk, fly out, double (run scores), single (two runs score), single, then walk before Eric Chavez grounded into a double play to end the rally. He hit the ball harder than Nick Swisher and Raul Ibanez, who slapped ground ball singles through the infield. Chavez just hit it right at the second baseman. It happens.

The Yankees kept it close thanks to Robinson Cano‘s third inning solo homer, but they squandered rallies in the fourth and seventh innings. They’ve done that a few times this year — score runs early then fail to tack on any more — and it’s incredibly frustrating. The Yankees have scored the second most runs in the league, but it sure doesn’t feel that way. At some point the pitching has to hold up its end of the bargain.

Juuust missed a game-tying homer. (Al Bello/Getty Images)


I don’t get the whole pinch-hitting thing. Eduardo Nunez pinch-hit for Chavez down two runs with a man on base in the sixth … and then Alex Rodriguez pinch-hit for Russell Martin to lead off the ninth down two. Does not compute. I assume Joe Girardi didn’t want A-Rod to play the field on his day off, but good grief, it makes no sense. At least pinch-hit Alex for Chavez then use Nunez in the field or something.

Derek Jeter continues to be the Yankees’ best player, going 3-for-5 with a solo homer to raise his season batting line to .389/.404/.685. He’s hit four homers in a dozen games this year. It took him 79 games to hit four homers last season. Mark Teixeira (two singles), Ibanez (two singles), and Cano (double and homer) each had two hits as well. You’re never going to believe this, but the Yankees went 2-for-8 with runners in scoring position as a team. That’s better than 1-for-12 or 2-for-16 or some of the other ungodly rates they were putting up a few weeks ago, I guess.

Andruw Jones is arguably the greatest defensive outfielder in baseball history, but he totally lollygagged it on Alexi Casilla’s double in the top of the eighth. He was probably going to be safe at second anyway, but good grief man, show some effort. Physical errors are part of the game and are forgivable, but mental errors and laziness like that is inexcusable.

Not sure if you saw it or if I’m imagining things, but someone threw something — looked like a blue cup — at Clete Thomas as he caught Teixeira’s fly ball to end the game. Not cool people, not cool.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings

MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs the nerd score and no highlights, and ESPN has the updated standings.

Source: FanGraphs

Up Next

The finale of this four game set will be played Thursday night, when Phil Hughes gets the start against Nick Blackburn Anthony Swarzak. It would be nice if Hughes pitched not terribly. RAB Tickets can help get you in the door.

Update: Yankees place Brett Gardner on DL
Bartolo Colon threw 38 consecutive strikes last night
  • William Bonney

    We really only have one guy going for us right now and that’s Jeter. Gardner was hitting well when he actually got to play and now he’s gone. The 2-6 hitters are doing nothing. Can’t blame Ibanez when he’s come up with clutch hits this year. Russell Martin is a black hole. Let Stewart play more often, at least he can drive in some runs. They need to jump start the offense.

    • forensic

      If they weren’t going to Fenway I would start Nunez in LF for a few games and see if he can continue hitting as he has in his few appearances so far this season. He would also keep the speed element in the lineup.

      Unfortunately, I don’t think you can really just throw him out there with the green monster behind him, but you never know.

      Really, the rest of the lineup just needs to start picking up their end of the bargain. Entering tonight there were only two starters even hitting over .250, and now one of them is hurt, and only one guy with an OPS more than a touch over .800.

      I’m not falling in love with the runs per game so far as it’s mostly been a few walks combined with a few well-timed homers. Sure, that can win you some games, but I don’t believe it’ll give you much in the long run, especially because Jeter won’t keep this up all season.

      The starting pitching also needs to get their collective heads out of their ass and start pitching better, which unfortunately is easier said than done going to Fenway this weekend.

      • jsbrendog

        i feel you on the nunez/of. i think i just had a nam flashback thinking about nunez and the green monster. horror movie. but anywhere else it would be great to see how his bat plays and get him some more reps in the of to increase his versatility. if he keeps hitting decently and can add of to his repertoire he could be an extremely extremely useful player (not saying he isnt useful now, he just isnt extremely, extremely useful currently)

      • Bartolo’s Colon

        On the positive side, think of all the great gif’s that can be created should Nunez play in front of the green monster. I bet they would be better than the pena/nunez effort last year against the cubs. just thinking about that makes me laugh

        • Plank

          I always wish they used the green monster as a green screen and inserted a giant monster trying to eat the left fielder at all times.

          Am I the only one who has thought of this?

    • Midland TX

      To be fair, he’s not an all-the-way black hole.

    • jsbrendog

      russel martinleads the league in walks i believe.

  • Plank

    A lusty effort from a lusty veteran like Jeter…lusty.

    • JohnnyC

      Add proscribed to the list of words you haven’t a clue about.

      • JohnnyC


        • Plank


      • Plank

        Haven’t I?

  • Zach

    While the offense certainly hasn’t done their part,how about the starting staff not have it where we have to rally back every single game?

    • Havok9120

      This offensive fail narrative is really starting to get to me. I get it, they aren’t plating every run and cashing in every time we have two guys on base and the big bats in the middle are cold right now. Its frustrating.

      But we’ve got the 4th highest BA, 2nd highest OBP, and the 3rd highest wOBA and wRC+. We’ve also scored the 4th most runs in the league and, unlike most teams, we’ve done it by scoring a good deal of runs every single game instead of putting up mammoth numbers one night then being average or below for 2-4 nights after that (I’m looking at you AL East and Rangers).

      The pitching has failed miserably in the early going; there is NO REASON for us to expect 6-10 runs every single game, yet that’s exactly what our starting pitching has demanded of our lineup. That has nothing to do with the offense.

      P.S. Sorry to the OP, you just happened to hit an exposed nerve that people have been ripping the covering from for days now.

  • forensic

    Cliff Lee with 10 shutout innings tonight on only 102 pitches. I know it’s only the Giants, but damn that’s impressive. If not for stupid NL rules he probably could’ve gone 11 or 12 innings.

    • Freddy Garcia’s 86 mph Heat

      Same for Cain with his 9 scoreless. And then of course Melky won it with a walkoff.

  • pistol pete

    Losing 2 of 3 at home to the lowly Twins and having Hughes and his stellar 9 run ERA on deck tomorrow is a little scarry. I’m not to cancerned at all with Cano or Granderson but am worried about aging run producers like Tex and ARod. Arod looks slow and old and lacks pop, I hope Tex doesn’t lose his power because he has already lost his ability to hit for average and get on like he once did. I love Swish but really don’t like to see him up against good pitchers in crucial situations. Nunez needs to play everyday somewhere, maybe he gets to play outfield now that Gardy is down for a while. As for the pitching who would have thought our no 2 would be Andy again but he certainly is going to be there. Hughes to the pen until Pineda returns and then we’ll see who goes next.

    • Plank

      Tex is a year older than Granderson. How are you concerned about one due to age, but not the other?

      • mustang

        When they struggle it’s all about their age don’t you know that?

        It’s amazing how youth has become synonymous with talent.

  • mustang

    Same old same old! Pitching, pitching, pitching and to be more exact starting pitching.

    When they put up 5 runs they should be winning games lucky the pen has been good or it would be much worse.

    I hope Pineda and Andy comeback soon and hopefully they can bring some stability to the rotation.

    • Plank

      I’d love to see a poll of whether people think Andy will actually come back. I have very little faith that he will be able to do it. I hope to be proven wrong, though.

      • forensic

        Think he will actually come back or actually come back successfully?

        I think he’ll definitely be back because he has too much pride to give up on it if he’s not doing well against someone other than A-ballers who will swing at everything and I know the organization doesn’t have the guts to tell him no if he thinks he’s ready.

        But, I don’t think he will be very successful in the majors.

        • Plank

          I think if he can’t cut it in the high minors and is clearly outmatched by the Warren/Mitchell/Phelps crowd, he will either go down with an injury or decide he wants to spend more time with his family.

          • forensic

            Maybe, I just wonder how high he’ll actually go in the minors. Would they send him on the road with AAA? I’m not so sure about that. AA is better than this, but would that work out logistically in terms of lining up with his schedule and all. Guess we’ll see.

      • mustang

        I think you will be proven wrong, but I can see why you have doubts.
        To me 75% of Andy is better than Garcia 2012 and it may even be better then Hughes 2012.

        We will see.

      • radnom

        have very little faith that he will be able to do it.

        I’m sorry, but this just seems uninformed. Cashman offered him 10+ mil this offseason. His name is Andy Pettitte. Barring injury, he will get a shot in the MLB rotation. MiLB results will not be important….

        • Plank

          He’s a 40 year old who didn’t pitch last year. Again, I’d love to be wrong, but until I see him pitch in the Bronx, I won’t believe it.

          How am I uninformed?

          • Len S.

            Clemens didn’t do that badly and he was well past forty. Don’t remember how long he was gone though.

            • Plank

              Clemens never sat out a year. And Pettitte was never as good as Clemens.

          • TomH

            You are definitely NOT uninformed. Anyone who counts on Pettitte at this point is a pie-in-the-sky optimist. It may turn out that Andy is a big asset, but for the time being skepticism is the correct attitude.

  • Dino Velvet

    so frustrating.

  • Greg

    I blame Mike.

    He said to expect a sweep. At least 3 of 4. I knew we were in trouble when I read that.

    ( being sarcastic, but thought provoking)

    • Wil Nieves Number 1 Fan

      Don’t blame Axisa. He was just practicing your theory of momentum. These losses are on you, son.

  • Jesse

    “Not sure if you saw it or if I’m imagining things, but someone threw something — looked like a blue cup — at Clete Thomas as he caught Teixeira’s fly ball to end the game. Not cool people, not cool.”

    I saw it as well. No matter what fan throws it (Yankees fan, Red Sox fan, etc.) it’s definitely uncalled for.

  • http://fendersonandhampton.com Cuso

    Are we going to have a repeat of last year when the Yanks go to Boston just in time so they can right their ship?

    • FIPster Doofus

      Everyone thought Boston righted its ship against Tampa. Maybe they just suck.

    • Esteban

      Maybe they were going to right their ship regardless of the team they played. And they didn’t make the playoffs, so….

  • Plank

    Even if the Yankees get swept, there is still plenty of time to right the ship.

    It the baseball season was a football season, the 4th quarter of the first game would have just started and the Yankees would be down by less than one.

    • Plank

      Oops, that was a reply to Cuso.

  • Bartolo

    Why did we resign Sweaty Freddy when we could of signed Colon instead??

    He was awesome last year and still got overlooked.

    I miss Bartolo </3

    • Len S.

      Bartolo misses you as well!

  • dannyc

    I hope this is our last year with martin as catcher

    • Don’tcha Know?

      Agreed. But . . . Montero couldn’t catch AIDS with his knob in a monkey! I still maintain that this was the dumbest trade (ever) and we’ll regret soon enough if not already. I don’t care if he lets up 5 passed balls a game and launches ’em into the outfield . . . He was a catcher. We need/ed a catcher. Now we have Black Hole Martin eating up space and light on the roster. Love the guy, he seems like a standup individual, but Jesus is the better player. BIG MISTAKE. Can’t stress that enough. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to take all my clothes off and cry in my neighbor’s bathtub.

      • Rainbow Pinstripes

        That is an absolutely disgusting statement. Really, really offensive.

  • baravelli

    I submit John Sterling’s call of the last play of the game as the Worst Play-By-Play Call of the Century:


  • Dino Velvet

    Not sure if you saw it or if I’m imagining things, but someone threw something — looked like a blue cup — at Clete Thomas as he caught Teixeira’s fly ball to end the game.
    in the old days, they used to throw batteries.

    then there was the time when someone threw a knife at Wally Joyner.

    • Len S.

      I threw batteries. Hey, it was the 80’s! I was young!

  • Bavarian Yankee

    our starters are really killing us early on in the season. The amount of bad starts is alarming, every starter is pitching up and/or right down the middle way too often. Let’s hope they solve this soon, at least the other AL East teams aren’t racking up wins too.

    btw: Andruw Jones’ adventures in the outfield are not for the faint of heart.

    • Zach

      Not just AL teams..the Angels starting rotation has also been awful and so have several of the NL teams.

      • TomH

        But who cares about these other teams? That the Angels or some NL team is struggling in its pitching doesn’t somehow account for the struggles of the Yankees’ staff or suggest these may be short-term. They have their struggles, over there; and over here, the Yanks have theirs.

    • Manny’s BanWagon

      Girardi could have put a JUGS machine on the mound and it wouldn’t have been worse than Kuroda. It looked like he was throwing batting practice out there, just pathetic especially against a weak ass team like the Twins.

      I think Girardi needs to send a memo to the starting pitchers that spring training is over and these games count.

  • jsbrendog

    everyone relax, it is april, the orioles are in first place, the red sox in last and the yankees are a game behind the juggernaut that is buck showalter.

  • Alex S

    Our pitching staff is awful right now. We need Andy and Pineda in a hurry. I prefer to see DJ Mitchel and David Phelps starting games for us instead of Freddy or Hughes. Cashman get rid of these 2 please, trade this 2 because they sucks. We cant trade Kuroda because he earns 10million per year unfortunately.

    • JohnnyC

      I agree. They certainly sucks. Which is why it will be a cinch to trade them. Wish I had Cashman’s job. It’s so simple. Duh.

  • Midland TX

    I thought the game-ending fly ball from Teix, while sucky, put the perfect explanation point on Mike’s post about the uppercut being problematic as well as the shift.

    It’s been fun watching the classic Jeterian swing, power to right-center. I’ll enjoy while it lasts.

    • JohnnyC

      Yes but in that situation, 1 run down, two outs, no one on, the proper play is to try to jerk it out. What did you want? A bunt?

    • Bubba

      I actually thought his swing looked less uppercuty than I’d seen in the past.

  • rogue

    I thought AJ Burnett wasn’t with the Yankees anymore?