Jul
15

Ninth inning rally falls short; Yankees unable to complete sweep of Angels

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Two out of three ain’t bad, but man it would have been nice to see the Yankees complete that five-run comeback in the ninth. Especially against the Angels, that would have been sweet.

(Al Bello/Getty Images)

Lift & Separate

That was the way David Cone described Mark Teixeira‘s homerun swing the ninth inning. Lift and separate, like a Wonderbra. Coney always seems to have a way with words.

Anyway, Teixeira’s dinger was the team’s fourth of the day and the first runs (it was a two-run shot) allowed by Ernesto Frieri since the Angels acquired him from the Padres, a span of 26.1 innings. Alex Rodriguez took Jered Weaver deep for a two-run shot in the first, Curtis Granderson got him for a solo shot in the sixth, and Eric Chavez tacked on another solo dinger in the seventh. Weaver still owns a shiny 0.58 ERA at home, but the Yankees raised his road mark to 3.63 on Sunday afternoon.

(Al Bello/Getty Images)

All The Runs Allowed

Eight runs and 17 baserunners is a pretty good way to win a game, but not when the Yankees received the kind of pitching they did out of Ivan Nova and Chad Qualls. Nova surrendered back-to-back homers to Erick Aybar (!) and Albert Pujols in the first plus a two-run shot to Maicer Izturis (!!) in the sixth. Izturis came into the game with a .266 SLG (!!!). The Halos tagged him for nine hits — four for extra bases — and six runs in six innings, bringing his season ERA back up over 4.00 (4.18 to be exact) after getting under for one start.

Qualls wasn’t much better, allowing three runs while getting four outs. That allowed the Angels to break things open and put the game to bed, ninth inning rally or not. Since coming over from the Phillies, the veteran right-handed reliever has faced 23 batters in pinstripes and has struck out exactly one. It’s good that he’s a sinker baller and all that, but it can be problematic with a below average defense on the left side of the infield. D.J. Mitchell gave up the obligatory homer to Mark Trumbo (a solo shot) and pitched out of a bases loaded situation in the ninth. Just an ugly day on the mound overall, no doubt.

Gift Outs

The Yankees kept the Angels in the game during the first five innings by just flat out giving away outs at times. Russell Martin bunted into three outs — one was popped up and Chavez was doubled off first — and three others came on the bases. Derek Jeter was caught making a wide turn around first on an RBI single in the second and then both Robinson Cano and A-Rod were picked off on the same play in the third. Cano got caught in a rundown between first and second before A-Rod was thrown out trying to sneak home. It was bad, very bad. Especially with Teixeira at the plate. At one point five of eight Yankees reached base against Weaver but four of those gift-wrapped outs killed rallies. Brutal.

Go go Granderson defense! (Al Bello/Getty Images)

Leftovers

The Yankees have now scored at least three runs in 39 straight games, a new franchise record. That’s kinda surprising, no? I would have guessed the record would have been like, 60 straight games by one of those Babe Ruth-Lou Gehrig teams or something. Neat little footnote in an otherwise forgettable game.

Every starter had a hit except for Martin and Nick Swisher, though at least Swish drew a pair of walks. Martin contributed nothing to the offense two days after providing the winning hit. Cano extended his hitting streak to 18 games, the second longest of his career. He’s three away from tying his career-long set back in 2010. Chavez went 3-for-3 with the homer to raise his season line to .290/.340/.522 in 153 plate appearances. He’s going to have to get regular DH at-bats when Brett Gardner comes back, right?

The ninth inning rally — three runs on two hits and four walks — fell short when A-Rod popped up to end the game, but at least they made it very interesting. Frieri and Scott Downs came into the weekend having allowing just one earned run between them, but the Yankees hung six on them in the series. I figured the game was over once Qualls did his thing, so the late-rally was enjoyable even if it fell short.

One last note: Granderson made two just insane catches in center to prevent the Angels from really breaking things open. That catch at the wall of Mike Trout’s fly ball in the third could have easily been an inside-the park homer if he didn’t reel it in. Between the homer, the monster eight-pitch at-bat to draw a walk (and force in a run) off Downs in the ninth, and the two catches, you can make a case that this was Grandy’s best game of the season.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings

MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs the nerd score, and ESPN the updated standings. The Orioles lost, so the Yankees still have a comfortable eight-game lead in the division. The Rays are nine back, the Red Sox and Blue Jays ten each. Pretty awesome.


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next

Those Blue Jays are coming to town for a three-game set starting Monday night. Phil Hughes kicks that one off against Henderson Alvarez. Check out RAB Tickets for the latest and greatest deals if you want to attend the game.

Categories : Game Stories

64 Comments»

  1. mike says:

    The use of Qualls by Girardi over the past week reminds me of how Torre would continue to push out Proctor/Sturtze etc, and seems very unlike him.

    Its odd considering the Yanks have a ton of AAA guys who could likely pitch just as well, and have a slew of options returning to the bullpen in the next few weeks – i wonder if this is just an extended audition for him??

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      I’d say he’s trying to see if there’s a role for him. If not, back to the scrap heap you go.

      The Torre comparison after a few days, though? A bit far-fetched.

      • Ted Nelson says:

        He’s been used twice in three games since getting like 6 days off around the All-Star break. Don’t get the Torre reference at all. I didn’t think he should necessarily be out there multiple innings, so maybe that’s where it’s coming from.

        If he’d have let Martin take that first bunt (with his momentum allowing for a stronger throw) and if Gardner were in LF… Yanks might take that game.

    • JohnnyC says:

      Have you taken a close look at that AAA bullpen?

    • fuster says:

      might be that using Qualls meant that Girardi thought that he needed balls hit on the ground

    • OMG! Bagels! says:

      Scott Proctor could pitch. Torre ruined him. Girardi is trying to figure out what Qualls has, if anything. I think Girardi’s bullpen management is light years better than Torre and don’t see any comparison.

  2. Arya says:

    Girardi sent Nova out there with a 1 run deficit which he made larger and then sent Qualls out there with a 1 run deficit which he made larger. And this is 2 days after the bullpen just received 4 days off. It made no sense. Joe seemed to throw in the towel after winning the first two ballgames. With our lineup no game is over.

  3. eephus_pitch says:

    The thing I love about this team is that they really only lose when they beat themselves or when Girardi throws up the white flag and puts in a crap reliever. And they always put up a fight. Earlier in the season we couldn’t say that. They’d fall behind early and go down meekly. Not anymore. I didn’t think the Yanks would come back from 5 runs down in the 9th, but I knew they’d score a few and make things interesting. If only Joe G. would stop putting the games out of reach with the Quallses and Wades of the world.

    • Need Pitching (and maybe hitting too) says:

      The good pitchers can’t pitch all of the bullpen innings. There just isn’t enough quality non-OOGY depth in the bullpen right now.

      • eephus_pitch says:

        But there’s never a good time for Chad Qualls, and everyone just had a week off.

        • Need Pitching (and maybe hitting too) says:

          Qualls sucks. No argument there. But DRob and Soriano aren’t pitching in a game when the Yankees are behind unless it’s a crucial game or they haven’t worked in awhile. Both pitched Saturday. Eppley pitched 2 innings Saturday, so likely wasn’t available. That leaves 2 lefties against a lineup with no lefties, Qualls, and Mitchell. I can see an argument for using Logan sooner or maybe Mitchell sooner, but I don’t think either was a great option (though better than Qualls isn’t a high bar to clear).

          • eephus_pitch says:

            I guess Girardi would never use Logan against righties, even though he’s a better option than Qualls.

            • Need Pitching (and maybe hitting too) says:

              Shockingly, Qualls has been better than Logan against righties this year. I’d still trust Logan over Qualls, but I can see the argument for going the other way.

  4. Brian S. says:

    When Gardner gets back Chavez better be our DH against righties. Ibanez can ride the pine since he sucks.

  5. Dewayne is Wise says:

    Think three weeks same thing Nova is down by 1 with runners on and girardi bring in Joba instead of Qualls. He strikes out the side and we are down 1 and still in the game. qualls is just a body very soon girardi will have better quality arms in Joba and even Aardsma.

    • Need Pitching (and maybe hitting too) says:

      Hopefully when Joba is back, Joe will have the sense to just let Joba start that inning instead of waiting until runners are on.

  6. pistol pete says:

    Joe was stuck today, Nova was off and needed to be taken out. It was clearly too early for DRob and there were no lefty batters. Qualls was his only option and Qualls sucks. Cashman should get a righty at the deadline from a bad team looking to dump salary just in case Joba doesn’t make it back. Qualls cannot be pitching in games that mean anything.

    • Robinson Tilapia says:

      Name one. Go ahead. I’ll go to bed now and await your reply in the morning. Name me one “right at the deadline from a bad team looking to dump salary” that you think would make a difference on a team already eight games in first place.

      I reserve the right to forget I ever wrote this in the morning.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      Qualls had given up 1 R in 4 IP since joining the Yankees. He had gone 9 appearances without a run before getting shelled and released by the Phils. He’s not great, but he’s a totally normal middle reliever. The Yankees should look to upgrade, but when injuries strike Qualls is a damn good fall back option.

      • Robinson Tilapia says:

        Qualls was a quality reliever for several years who many on here argued the Yankees should have traded for when he was doing well. His luck hasn’t been as good in recent years, but it’s completely reasonable to see whether he’s able to bounce back. The numbers you cited? Probably will be ignored by most here.

        LaTroy Hawkins still has an actual paying job as a meaningful bullpen piece on a good team.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          Even for as hittable as he was yesterday… he was still close to a much better outing. If he lets Martin field that first bunt they might get an out there (Qualls lollipoped it to 1st, whereas maybe Martin’s momentum allows him to get Bourjos). Then there was a ball to LF that I don’t think Gardner even dives for that Ibanez had to play off a hop. Those two outs happen and I think only one run scores there.

  7. forensic says:

    Cano didn’t have a longer hitting streak in 2010. The 21 game streak was reaching base, not hitting. His current 18 gamer ties a career high he set in 2009.

    And just for the heck of it, in 1950-1951, the Yankees did have a longer streak of 3 runs, but obviously that spanned 2 seasons.

  8. Robinson Tilapia says:

    Didn’t watch the game. Actually only listened to the bottom of the 9th on the radio. It all sounds like a case of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” which should really ultimately be forgotten. It’s a loss. Two out of three from a somewhat-underachieving good team. Eight games in first. When Nova/Qualls/whoever was in there is nothing to lose sleep over.

    • JohnnyC says:

      Somewhat underachieving? They have the second best record in the majors since mid-May (second to the Yankees). Taking 2 of 3 from LAA is more impressive than taking 3 of 4 from the Sox last weekend.

  9. dalelama says:

    Old Purple Lip’s baserunning fopahs are becoming Posada like in their frequency this season.

  10. Joel says:

    Mike, re: “lift and separate”. Players have been saying this for years. It was Jason Giambi (naturally) who first adopted it as a baseball term (with a mischievous glint in his eye), in the early 2000′s, and others caught on soon after. No surprise that Coney did too, as he’s a similar sort of cat. Just letting you know, in case this was somehow the first time you heard it used as a description for hitting a home run. Thank the Giambino.

  11. Paul VuvuZuvella says:

    Damn. Us poor Yankee fans. We have so much to complain about.

  12. Eddard says:

    I’ve been saying we need to get ready for the playoffs and this game was a good test for us. The battle for #4 starter has begun and Nova is currently a step behind Phil Hughes. We’ll see how Philly does tonight.

    I like that Joe didn’t burn through our best relievers in a July game in which we were trailing. He’s playing the long game. Right now we have 3 relievers we’d trust in the postseason- Logan, Robertson, Soriano and it’s best not to burn those guys up before October. Joba’s arrival will hopefully give us another RH 6th-7th inning guy. Joe’s doing a great job.

    • Ted Nelson says:

      Pitching your rotation and not burning out relievers is as much about today, tomorrow, and the rest of the regular season as the postseason. I still am mystified by your continuous comments on this.

      • OMG! Bagels! says:

        It does not take a lot to mystify you.

        • Ted Nelson says:

          Eddard keeps insisting that the Yankees are already in the playoffs so everything they do now is all about the playoffs. Normal things every team does, like starting their starters or giving a reliever a day off.

  13. leftylarry says:

    AROD batted .190 with 2 outs nad RISP last season and is batitng .190 again this season in tohse situations.
    No surprise when he makes the last out of an inning or game with men on base.

  14. leftylarry says:

    AROD batted .190 with 2 outs and RISP last season and is batting .190 again this season in those situations.
    No surprise when he makes the last out of an inning or game with men on base.

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