Yanks give one away at the Trop

GCL Yanks make it 11 straight wins
Close games and a worn out bullpen

Make it eight straight losses at Tropicana Field dating back to last season. To make matters worse, the Yankees were beat by three players who are at least in the conversation for the worst hitter in the American League. Pretty awful.

(AP Photo/Brian Blanco)

Gift Wrapped

The Yankees carried a 3-2 lead into the seventh inning and while that isn’t the most comfortable of leads, it’s certainly better than being on the other end of the ledger. The eventual game-winning rally was setup by a one-out walk to pinch-hitter Sean Rodriguez, who has drawn five of his 15 (!) walks against the Yankees this season. I know Boone Logan is a lefty specialist and Rodriguez is a righty, but man he’s got to do better than walking that guy when he’s ahead in the count 1-2.

The big blow came when David Robertson fell behind in the count to the certifiably awful Brooks Conrad, who laced a 3-1 double off the right field wall to tie the game. The ball was maybe three or four feet from hitting the pole for a homer. Robertson has to be more aggressive there, you can’t fall behind in the count to a guy like Brooks freakin’ Conrad. Logan too, they have to stop showing respect to these trash hitters and put them away. Mark Teixeira‘s three-base error — on a play he makes 99 out of 100 times — to allow the game-winning run was just icing on the cake. The loss falls on the shoulders of Joe Girardi‘s top two setup relievers and their inability to put non-Major League caliber hitters away. Loved the move to go to Robertson in that spot, he just didn’t get the job done.

(AP Photo/Brian Blanco)

The Return of Sweaty Freddy

Injuries to CC Sabathia and Andy Pettitte forced Freddy Garcia back into the rotation, and he turned in a very solid outing against the Rays on Monday. He was definitely left in a batter — arguably two, but that’s not worth the effort — too long, but two runs in 5.1 innings is something I think we all would have signed up for coming into the game. I dunno why Girardi would have Clay Rapada up and warming if he wasn’t going to use him against Yankees killer Carlos Pena in the sixth, but whatever. Pena homered to tie the game.

Anyway, Freddy did it in typical Freddy fashion. He got away with several hard-hit balls that happened to find defenders, but he also got his fair share of weak pop-ups and funny, off-balance swings. Girardi said he was scheduled for 60-70 pitches but ended up throwing 74, though maybe playing indoors in the air conditioning helped keep him fresh. Either way, Garcia struck four, walked none, and gave the team a pretty big lift. Nice job, Fred.


(REUTERS/Steve Nesius)

The Yankees scored a pair of runs in the first thanks to a really bad misplay by former embedded Yankee Hideki Matsui, who lost a ball in the roof and turned a routine popup into a double. They really had a chance to pile on Matt Moore in that first inning but only managed to two runs. Their third run came in the seventh without the benefit of a hit — Chris Stewart walked, moved to second on a wild pitch, then came around to score on two sacrifice flies.

Annoyingly enough, on two occasions Moore followed up a visit from the pitching coach with an inning-ending double play on the very next pitch. It happened in the first, then it happened in the sixth. They say the first pitch after a visit from the pitching coach will always be a fastball, but when the guy is throwing 95-96 with ease, maybe it’s not the wisest idea to swing no matter what. Also, it was pretty funny how the two starting pitchers in the game could not have been any more different.

Every starter had a hit except for Curtis Granderson — he drove in the team’s third run with a sac fly — and Nick Swisher. The 3-4-5 hitters went a combined 5-for-10 with two walks but everyone else went a combined 4-for-22. Robinson Cano lined into a double play back to Moore with two men on in the third, just a frustratingly bad piece of luck. Moore three seven innings and did not set the side down in order a single time. He was in trouble all night.

Logan and Robertson effectively blew the game in the seventh, but the rest of the bullpen took care of business. Cody Eppley allowed an infield hit but otherwise got a double play and recorded three outs while facing three hitters. Rapada struck out Pena (two innings too late), the only man he faced. Chad Qualls made his Yankees debut by retiring the two right-handers he faced. That’s the one real problem with the bullpen right now, these three guys are all specialists and it limits flexibility.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings

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

Source: FanGraphs

Up Next

Same teams, different starters (Jamie Shields vs. Ivan Nova) in game two of this three game series on Tuesday night. Winning at Tropicana Field shouldn’t be this difficult.

GCL Yanks make it 11 straight wins
Close games and a worn out bullpen
  • Greg

    Well, luckily for us the Red Sox are currently getting thumped by the A’s, so they won’t cash in. Orioles still could, though they are currently down by a run.

    I said at the beginning that the Yankees need to win at least 4 games this week to be in good position and to feel good about themselves, going into the break. Now they can come in any combination so they can win 1 in this series as long as they get 3 in Fenway which is not easy.

    That park just has something going for it. A certain atmosphere that spells doom for the Yankees, for some reason.

    • Kramerica Industries

      Which makes no sense.

      I went to 13 assorted games from 2008-2010, otherwise known as the beginning of the “Rays era”, or when they became a good team. The Yankees were 8-5 in those games. In fact, in this purported “Rays era” until this skid, the Yankees were 17-15 at the Trop.

      So this isn’t like Angel Stadium where they have solidly sucked since the beginning of the Torre era. This has just “happened”, and continues to manifest itself in newer and newer ways.

      And I’m glad Mike echoed my sentiments right from the start of this entry. Always good to be on the same wavelength, both from a factual and opinionated POV.

      • Greg

        I agree with you. When they were the Devil Rays we were happy in the park.

        But how else can it be explained?

        • Kramerica Industries

          Not sure. It’s not even a case of two legitimately great mashers like Longo or Joyce doing the damage.

          In their lineup tonight, they had only one batter who is playable against both lefties and righties, and good, and that’s Ben Zobrist. Be it through underachieving or lack of talent, the rest of their lineup was AAA quality, at best. This is probably the worst lineup the Yankees have faced at Tropicana Field in a decade.

          And when it was all said and done, three awful hitters did them in. The fact that they couldn’t even get ONE of those hitters out is sickening in every possible way.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          It can’t be explained, and it’ll be quickly forgotten soon when we either go on a winning streak or someone puts that stadium out of its misery.

          I don’t hate the Rays, but I agree that stadium may be the worst I’ve ever encountered.

    • MannyGeee

      unfortunately this is a curse that will not be lifted… UNTIL a savior is risen. Someone with ‘proven’ mashing skills at the Trop.

      (my narrative would really appreciate it if you’d fast forward to about 2 minutes into the video, thanks…)


    • http://fendersonandhampton.com Cuso

      Perhaps the reason why is because the shitty building is now lulling them to sleep and resulting in shitty play.

      A-Rod used to crush at this park, and that isn’t happening either. This is also the deepest park in all of the AL East as well. Not home-run-offense-only friendly.

  • Kevin

    3 Dp’s isn’t going to win you a lot of games. We had Moore on the ropes several times and let him off the hook each time.

    This is one of those losses that shouldn’t have happened,period.

    • Greg

      You really cant blame the offense for this one. They had a lead going into the seventh inning. That’s all you can ask for.

      • Kevin

        True Robertson cost us another game..the second one in less than a week.

        • Get Phelps Up (formerly Freddy Garcia’s 86 mph Heat)

          Well, that first one is like, 90% on Rapada for not turning that DP.

          • Kevin

            I will say this..at the end of the day,it won’t matter. The Yanks are still going to take the AL East IMO. The Rays still suck against everyone else,the Red Sox have bigger rotation issues then we do and the Blue Jays are done.

            • Get Phelps Up (formerly Freddy Garcia’s 86 mph Heat)

              I definitely agree with this. After all, they still have a 6 game lead in the best division in baseball.

              And it’s not like the Rays have owned the Yankees this year, they’re just 4-6 against them and could even that up by the end of this series.

            • Robinson Tilapia


      • Tom

        Ummmm, you can ask for more than 3 runs, as last I checked 3 runs is below average…

        The only way the Yankees win this is if the pitching gives up 2 runs or less; I guess this could be a set expectation but if it is the Yankees will lose more games than they will win.

        For some reason you are fixated on the timing of the scoring… if the Yankees had given up the runs in the 4th inning and still lost 4-3 your story I suspect would change. Does it really matter whether the pitching gave up the runs early or late? (Late = blame pitching, Early = blame offense?)

  • Kramerica Industries

    Well, hey, at least Boston got it on the chin again tonight, eh?

    Jarrod Parker continues to over-perform based on his peripherals. Of course, I would expect Oakland pitchers to generally overachieve, given their home ballpark. Wouldn’t mind seeing Oakland pull out another W or two this week.

  • Christopher

    Trop has to be the ugliest park in the majors. At least it looks that way on TV. The carpet looks worn, tattered, the whole atmosphere dowdy, pale, fluorescent, dull. That has to figure in some way to this streak.

    • Betty Lizard

      The Tropicana is an abomination unto all gods and humanist principles. I’m working on a Grand Unified Theory which includes Maddon, the devil, spinning straw into gold, errors which defy Newtonian physics and Tropicana park as the source of a malevolent energy.

      Makes for “interesting” games though. :-)

    • rogue

      The locals tell me that the Trop is very difficult to get to. The location sucks.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        Yes, it’s called “Central Florida.”


    • http://fendersonandhampton.com Cuso

      It’s the ugliest park in person as well as on TV.

  • Tom Q

    So…dispiriting loss. 3 of their losses to Tampa this year have been of the “shouldn’t have happened” variety (Opening Day, the Robertson 9th inning homer, and tonight).

    On the bright side, Tampa’s the only team that gained any ground tonight. And, given that it was the game Freddy started, we should have half-expected a loss, anyway.

    So…fuggedaboudit. On to tomorrow.

  • Kevin

    Also..maybe it wouldn’t be a bad thing to have the second best record in the AL this year. Considering the grand prize is to open the ALDS at the wild card winner’s ballpark,ace or not..that is still a big risk in the postseason.

    • Brian S.

      Yeah I’d rather play the White Sox than I would Los Angeles, Tampa, or Boston.

      • forensic

        Last year people were happy to be playing Detroit in the first round. That didn’t go so well.

        There’s no point in hoping they finish lower to play someone else. Where they finish and who they play doesn’t matter nearly as much as if/how many of their hitters choose to show up. If most show up, they’ll beat anyone (as long as they get moderate pitching). Unfortunately, who shows up is a huge question given many of the career and recent performances by hitters on this team.

        • Kramerica Industries

          I can’t speak for others, but Detroit’s pitching scared me shitless last year. The Yankees stellar record against Texas in the regular season (7-2) might very well have forboded a better matchup in the playoffs than Detroit (who they were 3-4 against).

          Hell, Verlander and Detroit scared me in 2009, as well. I was glad when they couldn’t hold onto their extra innings lead at the Metrodome. Fernando Rodney actually was helpful back then…

          • forensic

            That’s similar to how I felt too. Verlander was going to be tough and they seemingly had no idea what to do against Cabrera, and they really struggled for a bit of time in Comerica. That park isn’t quite at Angels Stadium level yet, but there’s something about it that makes me feel uneasy when the Yankees have to go there to win a game. Sadly, they’re making the Trop look like that now too.

            • Get Phelps Up (formerly Freddy Garcia’s 86 mph Heat)

              They did get 5 runs in 9 innings against Verlander and held Cabrera to 3 hits in 15 ABs.

              • forensic

                That’s nice, but I’m talking about how I felt going into that series. The results mean nothing before the series happens.

              • forensic

                Though, if you want to judge by results anyway, you can also look at my first comment. They did take 1 in Comerica thanks to an unlikely start by AJ and a blowup by Albuquerque. But, I said it’s based on hitters and moderately good pitching. CC was bad and 5 of the 9 offensive starters didn’t show up.

                I preferred the other matchup better, but it always comes down to if their own guys show up, which they didn’t, in many cases, again.

                • eephus_pitch

                  CC as the number one guy in the playoffs is a shaky proposition. He’s an ace in the regular season, for sure, but pretty unreliable in the playoffs.

                • Get Phelps Up (formerly Freddy Garcia’s 86 mph Heat)

                  Some of their hitters didn’t show up, but they still managed to outscore the Tigers by 11 runs.

                  The Yankees were the better team, but as we know, the playoffs – particularly 5 game series – are a crapshoot. If only Jeter’s ball in Game 5 went just a few feet farther.

                  • Kramerica Industries

                    Part of the reason why I desire all rounds be best-of-seven.

                    Crazy things can happen in best-of-seven’s, too, but it, theoretically, should still be more of an advantage for the higher seeded team. An advantage they have earned with their play in the regular season.

      • MannyGeee

        meh, Boston please. that is a team that cannot get out of their own way. David Ortiz and Jarrod Saltalamaccia are carring them offensively.

        Repeated for emphasis… JARROD SALTALAMACCIA is carring them offensively.

  • forensic

    In a vacuum, you take 5.1 innings and 2 ER from Garcia, but you have to judge on the game situation.

    He had a near miracle pitching them to a 2-1 lead after 5 innings despite giving up rockets all around being saved by his defense. After 5 innings he had 69 pitches after starting the game with a 65-70 pitch count.

    Girardi can’t leave him in to face the top of the order for the 3rd time while also going over his pitch count. Now, the bullpen blew the game against minor leaguers anyway, so they may have done the same thing even if he’s taken out, but that’s just a bad decision. Him blowing the lead in that inning was extremely predictable.

    If you’re judging in a vacuum, would you take 5 IP with 1 ER or 5.1 IP with 2 ER? I clearly take 5 and 1.

    • Bubba

      Then you ask a taxed bullpen to get 4 innings. Compound that with no off days until the ASB (with a DH thrown in to boot). Girardi has his faults like every manager but he isn’t just managing a game, he’s managing a season.

  • Bavarian Yankee

    I only saw the condensed game on mlb.com so I don’t know if I got this right: did Girardi bring in Logan to face 2 righties and then Robertson to face a lefty? How much sense does that make?

    • MannyGeee

      well, Conrad is a switch hitter & Sterling made it a point to emphasize that he was 3-16 batting left,so Girardi was ‘Choosing to make him bat Left Handed… This, in turn, pretty much guaranteed Brooks Conrad would do something in this at bat.

      Try as you might, Suzyn…

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      They were all pinch-hitters. Logan was in for Luke Scott and someone else, Maddon replaced them crappy right-handed hitters.

  • Jonathan

    I agree with most of what’s been said about Freddy coming out after finishing 5 and being at his pitch limit. He was already given the chance for the victory and I’m not sure he thought he was coming back out. I mean do you guys remember his reaction in the bottom of the 5th when Will Rhymes got that 2 out single? He put his hands on top of his head and looked momentarily distraught. I think he thought he was coming out right there and wouldn’t have the chance to finish 5 and get the win. But he got Johnson to K and that should have been it for him. He got through the lineup twice and did everything we asked him to. I can’t blame a guy who must have been very tired, and who throws slop at his best, giving up a home run to Pena. I thought for sure that was a Rapada moment and Logan would face him the next time through if the game was still close. I understand Joe wanting to buy a few more outs out of his starter but it was the top of the lineup and despite only giving up one run he had gotten lucky numerous times.

    Regardless, like Mike said there’s no reason or excuse for Logan/Robertson to not attack those guys and the Tex error was one in a million. Even having a chance to win with Freddy vs Moore is all we could have asked for at the start of the game but we really should have won this game. I understand we can’t win all 162 but it’s tough to lose a single one in this manner. Joe takes Freddy out after 5. Two BEASTS in Logan/Robertson make short work of AAA fodder and one of the best defensive first basemen I’ve ever seen makes a routine play and it’s such a different story. That’s without going into the double plays. Oh well. Thank God for another chance tomorrow.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      I would have taken him out after five, but whatever. You’re on the mound holding the ball. Make the pitches. Blaming the manager is always the easiest scapegoat.

      Great performance by Freddy, regardless.

      • Jonathan

        Blaming the manager when he left a guy in who was clearly gassed and was already above his aggressive pitch count after getting more than expected out of him with a lefty in warming in the pen and a guy at the plate who is pathetic against same side pitchers isn’t using the manager as the scapegoat. It’s pointing out the clear facts of his mistake and hindsight wasn’t necessary. There’s hardly a reason to carry a second lefty in the pen if not to face guys like Carlos Pena in the middle innings when your starter is over his pitch count and gassed. And of course the players win and lose the game but the managers job is to put his players in the best chance to succeed. He didn’t do that last night. You quite clearly have never been on the pitchers mound when you’re gassed, except maybe little league.

  • ChrisS

    Robertson wasnt pitching any differently than any other time. His command was off and he couldn’t find the plate against Conrad. Until he grooved that fastball down the middle.

  • JohnC

    Too many pitching changes. Girardi is way too much with this lefty-righty BS. Been burned more than a few times this year with that.

  • Jensen

    Mike, why the angst? You get a good performance out of Freddy (probably the most important indicator for the Yanks going forward) and you only lose because one of your best pitchers makes a bad pitch, and one of your best fielders makes a bad play. If we’re gonna lose, I’d rather it be this way. We know Mark’s gonna be solid going forward, and we have to make that assumption about Robertson too. I feel good going into tonight!

  • Rocky Road Redemption

    Late to the party, I know, but I was shocked Freddy cam out in the 6th. Very uncharacteristic of Girardi, and it really bit him in the ass. I was completely against it, and although Freddy did they were hitting rockets off of him all night.

    In my opinion Girardi has had a big hand in managing his way into our last two losses. Disappointing.

  • Cashman’s Third Mistress

    Can Yankee scouts please find a way to get Pena out like the rest of the league has? The same with Rodriguez. Those 2 continue to be a constant thorns in the Yankees side.