Letting a winnable game slip through the cracks always hurts, especially when something that was supposed to be a strength (the bullpen) let things get out of hand in the middle and late innings. The Yankees held two different leads on Monday night, and the score was tied as late as two outs in the bottom of the seventh.
Off The Hook
ChiSox right-hander Gavin Floyd faced 16 batters on Monday, and he only retired six of them. One of the six required a great defensive play as well. The only reason he was able to complete two innings of work was because Robinson Cano got thrown out at the plate on Curtis Granderson‘s base-loaded single to end the second, so things could have been a whole lot worse for Floyd. They also could have been a lot better for the Yankees, who turned those ten baserunners (in 2.1 IP) into just three runs. Floyd was asking for it, he was behind everyone.
Freddy Sweats It Out
Freddy Garcia has been pretty solid of late, but things completely unraveled for him in a hurry on Monday night. It all kinda started when Alexei Ramirez lined a double down the left field line … that the umpires overturned and ruled a foul ball to leadoff the fifth. Freddy rebounded to whiff Ramirez, but he didn’t retire another batter all night. First Gordon Beckham singled, then former Yankee Dewayne Wise launched a two-run homer to cut the lead to 3-2. Kevin Youkilis singled, Adam Dunn walked, Paul Konerko walked. The bases were loaded and that was that for Freddy. Not his best outing.
Bullpen In Flames
I’m going to write about this more on Tuesday at some point, but the Yankees have had an obvious need for another quality reliever since about May, when both Mariano Rivera and David Robertson hit the DL. They instead decided to wait for Joba Chamberlain, who is positively useless at the moment following his two injuries. You can’t count on Tommy John surgery guys to be effective the second they come back, but that’s exactly what the Yankees did here and it’s cost them already.
So, anyway, after Garcia’s short start Joe Girardi had to go bullpen by parade. Cody Eppley allowed the tying run to score on an Alex Rios fielder’s choice, Clay Rapada allowed the go-ahead run to score on an A.J. Pierzynski single, and Chamberlain allowed an insurance run to score on a Dayan Viciedo single. Four pitchers, five runs, three outs in the fifth. Just like the drew it up, I’m sure. Joba then proceeded to let the ChiSox retake the lead on an opposite field solo homer by Beckham (of all people) to leadoff the sixth after the Yankees knotted things up the half-inning earlier. One inning after that, Boone Logan allowed a two-run homer to a batter he shouldn’t have even have been facing (Ramirez) that again gave Chicago the lead after the Bombers tied it. For good measure, Derek Lowe allowed an insurance run homer by Dunn in the eighth. Just an abysmal job by a bullpen that gets exposed in a hurry if the starter doesn’t complete six.
I’m really glad Girardi didn’t pinch-hit Andruw Jones for Raul Ibanez against the left-handed reliever with two men on-base and a one-run lead in the sixth, otherwise Ibanez couldn’t have hit with the bases empty and one out with a three-run deficit in the ninth. Joe’s been leaving Ibanez in against lefties in the late-innings of close games all season long and it’s burned them too many times to count.
Anyway, as for the good news. The molten hot Derek Jeter went 4-for-5 with two doubles and a homer, continuing the hot streak that has raised his season line to .326/.367/.442. The Cap’n is going to wind up getting some MVP votes, which sorta blows my mind considering the track record of 38-year-old shortstops (it stinks).
Mark Teixeira singled twice in his return from left wrist soreness, and Nick Swisher singled and drew three walks from the two-hole. He, like Jeter, as been on fire. Nice to have the two hottest hitters on the team getting the most plate appearances. Curtis Granderson singled and walked as he continues to climb out of his recent slump, and Casey McGehee had a huge pinch-hit, go-ahead single in the fifth — see? pinch-hitting! it can work! — until Joba blew it in the span of like, three pitches.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some other stats, and ESPN the updated standings. The Rays won and the Orioles lost, so they’re now four and six games back, respectively. The magic number to clinch the AL East crown remains 37.
Same two teams on Tuesday night, when Ivan Nova gets the ball against Francisco Liriano. That one has 25+ total runs scored potential, which is bad news for the Yankees after running through the majority of their bullpen in the series opener.