Yanks can’t finish off Tigers, lose on a walk-offBy
Sometimes, teams just find a way to lose. The Yankees did just that on Saturday night, failing to capitalize on the numerous chances they were given by the Tigers’ bullpen. I mean … Detroit’s relievers did everything but put a bow on it. It was right there for the taking. Anyway, let’s recap…
- No Help: Did you know that Hiroki Kuroda came into this game 116th out of 120 qualified starters in run support? They Yankees have now scored two runs or less while Kuroda was on mound is seven of his last eight starts, which is just hard to believe. He pitched very well on Saturday, allowing just two runs — one on a monster homer by Miguel Cabrera, which I wouldn’t hold against any pitcher — in seven innings while throwing just 86 pitches. The 39-minute rain delay in the first inning likely contributed to his early exit.
- Rally To Tie: Raul Ibanez plated the Yankees’ first round with a ground out, but the (first) tying run crossed the plate when Nick Swisher singled in Mark Teixeira with two outs in the eighth. Jim Leyland did New York a favor by putting Octavio Dotel in the game with five straight left-handed batters due up. It was a pretty big hit by Swisher.
- Give It Back: Cory Wade served up a walk-off homer in Anaheim and a potential game winning homer on Saturday in Detroit. Cabrera hit it with two outs and the bases empty, and I wonder why he was thrown anything remotely close to the plate. Can’t let him beat you in that spot, take your chances with Boone Logan against Fielder.
- Rally To Tie (Part II): Jose Valverde wanted the Yankees to win. I don’t have any other explanation. He hit Russell Martin, walked Derek Jeter, hit Alex Rodriguez, and then walked Teixeira to force in the tying run. Curtis Granderson and Robinson Cano frustratingly popped up in between, but Tex took what was given to him, and that was four balls. The double steal with one out and A-Rod at the plate was just brilliant, well-timed with a slow pitcher on the mound and a right-handed batter in the box. Pinch-runner Dewayne Wise said after the game he went on his own, so major props to him.
- Game Over: Once the game goes into the bottom of the ninth tied, I have a hard time expected the road team to win regardless of who it is. The Yankees didn’t disappoint, as David Phelps created a mess Logan couldn’t escape. I question the decision to take Wade out after just 13 pitches, but what can you do. I know he has a shiny ERA, but the Yankees need a little more out of Phelps with the bullpen short due to injury. Brennan Boesch and Jhonny Peralta are hugging the Mendoza Line, you gotta get ahead on those guys and keep them off base. Anyway, former Yankees farmhand Omir Santos’ bases loaded sacrifice fly ended it with one out in the ninth. The game was over as soon as Logan was ordered to intentionally load the bases as far as I’m concerned.
- Leftovers: Joe Girardi and Kevin Long were ejected in the seventh for apparently complaining about the strike zone, but it didn’t happen until home plate ump Bob Davidson wandered over to the dugout … the Yankees stole five total bases (including two on that great double steal), a new season-high by a mile (previous high was two, done five times) … the Yanks were 1-for-12 with runners in scoring position and the at-bats by Granderson and Cano in the ninth were by far the worst … the DH spot had three hits (two by Eric Chavez, one by Andruw Jones) but everyone else in the lineup had no more than one … Don Kelly robbed Mark Teixeira of an opposite field solo homer in the fourth … give Leyland some credit, he used his best reliever (Joaquin Benoit) with the top of the order due up in the seventh, and he pitched them out of the jam without giving up a run. Hooray leveraging.
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs the nerd score, and ESPN the updated standings. The Yankees remain one game back of first place in the loss column (and two up on last place) in the ultra-competitive AL East. Five wins on a nine-game road trip is a success, but they’re going to have to go through Justin Verlander on Sunday afternoon to make it a six-win trip. Phil Hughes will be on the bump for the good guys.