Sep
06

Yankees find new and embarrassing way to lose, fall to O’s after big comeback

By

The Yankees have played the Orioles four times in the last week and all four times they were completely outclassed. It looks like the two teams have switched roles after the last 15 years; Baltimore is the team completely outplaying their division rival and deserves to be in first place.

(Rob Carr/Getty)

No Curve

I don’t think many people reasonably expected David Robertson to repeat his 2011 performance in 2012 just because it’s tough to be that good two years in a row, but I also don’t think many people expected him to morph into this pitch-to-contact cutter machine. Three pitches after his teammates rallied for five runs in the top of the eighth, Robertson surrendered a go-ahead solo homer to Adam Jones in the bottom half of the inning. Matt Wieters followed with a single to right and then Mark Reynolds unloaded on another cutter for a two-run homer. All three hits came with two strikes, exactly when Robertson should be putting guy away with the curve. No idea what happened but this is getting ridiculous.

To make matters worse, Boone Logan entered the game and surrendered a solo homer to the left-handed Chris Davis on his only pitch of the night. After working so hard to tie the game a half-inning earlier, two relievers gave 80% of the runs back in the span of 14 pitches. The bullpen has been a problem in the second half, but for the most part it was just the middle relief. Now Robertson is starting blow games in part because he forgot how to miss bats, and no team can survive with one effective reliever.

Tie Game

(AP Photo/Nick Wass)

The Yankees looked lifeless (as usual) for the first seven innings, with a Curtis Granderson single to plate Robinson Cano in the fourth representing their only run. It appeared as though they would go quietly into the night as they have so many times in recent weeks, but the offense strung together a lengthy two-out rally to tie the game in the eighth.

It all started with a Nick Swisher walk sandwiched between a Derek Jeter ground ball and a Cano fly out. Alex Rodriguez doubled in Swisher — his second straight game with a double, perhaps a good sign coming off the DL — and then Eric Chavez drew an unexpected walk off veteran lefty Randy Wolf. In came Pedro Strop, who blew a game at Yankee Stadium last week because he couldn’t find the strike zone. He surrendered a run scoring single to Granderson before walking both Russell Martin (to load the bases) and Chris Dickerson (to force in a run). Ichiro Suzuki tied the game at six with a two-run single through the right side, the sixth consecutive Yankee to reach base with two outs. That was exactly the kind of extended rally the team has been unable to put together lately.

David Plops

For the second time in as many starts, David Phelps looked like a nervous rookie in a big game. Last weekend he walked six Orioles in 4.2 innings before the Yankees rallied for the win, and on Thursday he allowed four runs to the first five hitters he faced. The last three came on a Matt Wieters opposite field homer. The only out he got in that span required a great diving stop by Cano. All told, the damage was five runs on six hits (two homers) and two walks in four innings. Phelps has surrendered a dozen runs in his last three starts (15 innings) while looking nothing like the guy he was earlier in the season.

Leftovers

(AP Photo/Nick Wass)

It amazes me that a bullpen over-manager extraordinaire like Girardi is completely unwilling to pinch-hit for his left-handed platoon bats when there’s a lefty on the mound. He used Clay Rapada to retire Nate McLouth (!) in the fifth but didn’t bother to send one of the many right-handers on his bench to plate for Chavez or Ichiro against Wolf. The first three lefties Wolf faced combined to make five outs thanks to two double plays. I know this sounds stupid given the roles Chavez and Ichiro played in the eighth inning rally, but it’s been going on all season and they keep getting burned. This was the exception.

Robertson and Logan gave the game away late, but Rapada (struck out the only man he faced), Joba Chamberlain (allowed a homer to Reynolds but otherwise got five outs), Justin Thomas (retired all three men he faced), and Derek Lowe (cleaned up that eighth inning) were pretty effective out of the bullpen. Reynolds has three two-homer games against the Yankees in the last week, which tends to happen when you don’t throw a guy with his propensity to swing-and-miss any breaking balls. Seriously, what’s the conversation during the pre-game scouting meeting? “We’re going to get Reynolds out with fastballs.” “Okay, sounds good!” That can’t be it.

The Yankees had ten hits as a team, the first time they’ve reached double-digits since the final game of the Indians series in Cleveland. They also scored six runs for the second straight game after scoring no more than five in their previous seven games and in 12 of the previous 13. Granderson chipped in two solid singles back up the middle, which I seriously hope is an indication that his bat will come back to life down the stretch. Ichiro (three singles), Cano (two singles), A-Rod (double and walk), Martin (single and walk), and Swisher (two walks) all reached base multiple times.

The six homers hit by the Orioles represents only the ninth time in franchise history that the Yankees have surrendered that many dingers in a single game. The Rays last did it toNew York back in May of 2009, the game immediately before A-Rod came off the DL.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings

MLB.com has the box score and video highlights while ESPN has the updated standings. The Rays were idle on Thursday but they still picked up a game in the loss column and now sit two back. The Orioles obviously pulled into a first place tie. Again.


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next

Same two teams on Friday night in what will be the (next) biggest game of the season. Phil Hughes will be opposite the left-handed Wei-Yin Chen in that one. If there was ever a time for Phil to throw the game of his life, this would be it.

Categories : Game Stories

65 Comments»

  1. Kramerica Industries says:

    Impressive.

  2. Ken says:

    George Steinbrenner had one thing right- make the players dress for success. Now the players come into the game unshaven, showing a lack of respect for themselves, the team, and the fans watching on HDTV. What’s wrong with presenting yourselves as other than bums? And pitching coach Larry Rothschild takes the cake. Make him shave and get a haircut. he looks like a bum. Present yourselves as winners! Show some discipline and care for your appearance.

    • JohnnyC says:

      I don’t care if Rothschild shaves or even bathes. I’d like him to suggest Yankees pitchers throw something other than belt-high fastballs and hanging curves to Mark Reynolds. Maybe even walk him. He’s hot. Let’s stop challenging him.

    • Derek says:

      You’re kidding right? Shaving and getting haircuts does not equals wins.

      • TomH says:

        Are you guys being deliberately thick, or what?

        It’s like the Marines! In the disorder of the landscape–and the Yankees’ landscape is one of catastrophic disorder right now–he’s saying that these are signs of demoralization. “Pull yourselves together! Remember your history and your tradition. Don’t slouch. Act like MEN!”

        It’s very old knowledge, and he isn’t saying it equals wins. READ. THINK.

    • DC says:

      Forget RISP! Forget finishing 0-2 counts! Focus on personal grooming!!

    • jesse says:

      Good fucking grief.

  3. Edmond says:

    Baseball is karma guys, Reynolds and Wieters will have their slump, what goes up comes down. It’s then that we will laugh! I saw a Yankee team that can comeback and today was the first step to dominance! I now believe we will win the division!

  4. Gonzo says:

    When do the Yankees start selling cyanide pills?

  5. The Laughing Troll says:

    “If there was ever a time for Phil to throw the game of his life, this would be it.”

    You heard it here first, folks. Mike Axisa just jinxed the Yankees into ANOTHER loss. Mike, if you haven’t caught onto the pattern of events here yet I’ll give you a clue . . . The Yankees have been folding like beach chairs under pressure. If it’s a big game they need, it’s a dud they deliver. Let us now prepare for a fabulous feast of trash and bash in Baltimore tomorrow night. I’ll bring the pessimism, tears, and cuss words.

  6. dkidd says:

    can’t win without a bullpen

    this is bad

  7. Bob Buttons the Cat says:

    Easily one of the most deflating losses of the season, if not the most.

    Watching the game helped me better understand mood swings.

  8. RetroRob says:

    That was nice. Let’s do this again tomorrow.

    Watching from a pub, which fortunately allowed me to be distracted by other things, but Phelps totally looked nervous. And isn’t this the second time against the Orioles he tripped on the mound for a balk? Once, okay, maybe an accident, but twice? I remember one of the Yankees mentioning one reason for Phelps’ success (prior) was he now had the confidence to succeed because he now knows he can get MLB hitters out. I didn’t like that quote since it implied the kid at times lacks confidence. Maybe I’m reading too much into it, but he certainly has looked tentative and unsure of himself all of a sudden.

    Hoping for better tomorrow.

  9. Chilango says:

    Flying Balls Phail at CY and we’re facing a rookie. We’re fucked. I hope I’m wrong.

  10. DT says:

    At least the Offense has been showing life these last two games…even is it’s late. The pitching however have left much to be desired. They are giving too much meats balls to bad hitters. Martin continually calling the fastball for D-Rob is annoying. It’s getting predictable, He’s basically been going away away then asking for a high inside fastball on 2 strike counts…call a breaking ball once in a while man.

  11. Zack says:

    Easily the worst loss of the year..but in the same breath..we tied the game..we didn’t go ahead.
    The O’s were still in the driver’s seat..and Robertson made sure they stayed there.

  12. Jimmy McNulty says:

    Phil Hughes is starting tomorrow? Yeah first was nice while it lasted.

  13. Matt DiBari says:

    Tomorrow is the most important game of Phil Hughes’ life.

    • Jimmy McNulty says:

      He’s pitched in the World Series. This team is going no where in the Playoffs and the only reason I want them to make October is so they don’t have to suffer the embarrassment that the Red Sox did last year.

  14. Tom says:

    I mentioned this in the game thread, but it’s not just abandoning the curve, he is also abandoning the 4 seam fastball too.

    David Robertson cutters:
    Last year – 26%
    1st half – 48%
    2nd half(so far)- 57%
    Since Aug 1 – 70% (kind of a small sample)
    Since Sept 1 – 75% (serious small sample size disclaimer)

    After his year last year, why is he changing his pitch mix so radically?

    Further compounding the issue, here are his whiff rates on the various pitches in 2012

    curve – 19.5%
    change – 20% (though this is a tiny sample of 10 pitches)
    four seam – 9.8%
    cutter – 6.1%

    In 2011 the whiff rates were similar, though the cutter whiff rate was higher at 8.5% (but still lower than the 4 seamer)

    So the pitch the hitters are making the most contact with is the one he is using more and more as time goes on? Sure the batted ball profile and damage done is important – but Robesrtson’s success is based on his ability to get K’s.

    Am I missing something here? Is Robertson doing the exact opposite of what he should be doing by throwing more and more cutters? At the very least he should be throwing more 4 seam fastballs (if he refuses to throw the curve)

    • Johnnyd says:

      WTF is going on with Robertson? I couldn’t believe my eyes tonight with cutter after cutter being thrown. There is only one player who could thrive on one pitch, and that Mariano Rivera. David Robertson doesn’t just have a “get me over” curveball. He has an OUTSTANDING curve. This is what makes him so tough to hit. It allows him to change speeds and eye-level. Now, without the threat of him throwing the curve (for reasons I cannot understand!) everything is the same speed. Hitters are sitting on his pitches and making him pay. There has to be something to this. This complete abandonment of one of his plus pitches indicates to me that something is wrong.

      • Chilango says:

        He’s thrown the curve 16.2% compared to 20.6% last year. He just has stopped throwing it after coming off the DL.

        • Mike Axisa says:

          Not even, he stopped using it in late-July for some reason. Was using it after the DL and was still using it about two weeks after the break. Then he just stopped.

          • Tom says:

            The spin rate on the curve, and both the horizontal and vertical movement are pretty much the same between 2011 and 2012. The swing and miss is nearly identical as well. And for whole year data his strike %, foul ball % and in play % are all similar (in fact a slightly lower % in play this year). So I don’t think it’s an effectiveness/amount of break issue.

            Maybe he thinks he has less feel for it (I’m guessing), but the #’s don’t support it, even looking at his #’s post all star break on that pitch they are mostly in line – slightly lower strike %, but the sample is way too small to call it significant. He did miss really badly tonight (the pitch behind Adam Jones) and then didn’t throw it again.

            The lack of a curve is clearly an issue of late, but the other issue over the whole year has been the declining use of the four seamer(from ~52% last year to 31% this year). Clearly he needs to start throwing the curve, but he also needs to stop with more and more of his fastballs being cutters. Barring pinpoint control over that pitch I think he still needs at least a 50/50 mix of 4 seamers (in my humble view preferabbly more than 50/50) so that hitter can’t just sit on a cutter when they don’t see the curveball spin.

            (by the way I’m looking at pitchfx.texasleaguers.com for a lot of this – pretty cool site if folks want to waste time like me looking at pitch split data!)

    • Chilango says:

      Agreed. Is he still not right after coming off the DL? His FB was 88-90 tonight.

    • Nice Scheister says:

      Is D-Rob hurt but not saying anything? His FB combo with his nasty curve is why he had success and the cutter and change (way) back in the hitters mind. Now it’s a steady diet of cutters and straight FBs in the zone or 90 MPH up asking to get hammered. The lack of throwing the curve makes me wonder if his elbow is 100%. Just a thought.

  15. Anthony says:

    Why watch a sitcom when you can watch the Yankees every night? Guaranteed laughter. I had to watch this on the At Bat app on my phone because of stupid fashion night traffic horror in nyc… the only way you know a player got a hit on that app is when you see the OPS next to his name increase. Watched the 5-run inning with glee, nice to see the Yanks working the count and taking advantage of Strop. I told my friend, Girardi’s gotta send D-Rob in now, rely on his 2-3-4 hitters to get in a run next inning, and then have Sori close. But as soon as D-Rob gave up that first homerun I looked into my magic crystal ball and already knew what was coming. What a goddamn heart-wrencher this streak has been.

    For one game, I would just love to see the starting pitcher, the offense, and the bullpen on the same page. One day Kuroda pitches a gem and the Yanks get 2 hits. Tonight the offense wakes up and the bullpen shits the bed.

    Its amazing how the bullpen has become such a weakness when it was such a strength pre-ASB. I thought baseball was a game in which hot streaks don’t last and cold streaks don’t last. Why isn’t someone being held accountable for this (and the offense as well??) And I don’t exactly mean Girardi, despite the “Oh, we’re down a few runs in the 8th, lets use every pitcher in the bullpen so that everyone’s tired tomorrow!!” thing tonight. Where is K-long in this…Rothschild???

    Small sample size, I know, but Phelps looks a lot like Nova out there. What a shame, I really thought he’d excel.

    I’m cranky and running on 4 hour sleep because of class, but yea. Pathetic. Sorry for the blowup.

  16. Kosmo says:

    Phelps spots the Orioles 4 first inning runs is why NY lost. He is not handling pressure well. Garcia and Phelps have fallen short of expectations = 6 innings 3 runs minimally. Give a struggling offense a chance.
    NYs BP outside of Soriano looks gassed. A couple of solid 7-8 inning outings from the starters would help.

  17. genteme says:

    well, time to panic?

    The only thing encourage me this game was the 5 run inning, and unfortunately there was nothing to do with the HR, so face it, it just a good luck inning. Look at BAL, one inning two HRs, 4 runs, that was the most effective way to scoring, we would be punched out tomorrow with Chen and our sinking lineup.
    Oh, by the way, did I mention of that the last two games we won was because JJ Hardy’s Error and E. Johnson’s Error? We should lose these two games if without the errors based the state we were ..

    • DT says:

      People complain the Yanks only hit homeruns when they score. So they score without the homerun, it’s just good luck on their side? That’s BS. They played well they innign because they made good contact on pitches they should hit and laid off the pitches out of the zone which resulted in 3 walks. That’s not luck, that’s good hitting.

      • genteme says:

        That wasn’t good hitting for me, some slap singles won’t let me see the sign of the recovery. If they can show the power surge like what BAL did in the next inning, I will believe they may be back. Besides, those walks by Strop’s wildness. Oh, I was the guy who loves yanks hit homers, the reason why they didn’t score a lot is simple, they can’t really hit the ball well recently. Old players just couldn’t pick up their bats. And our minor leaguers just not good enough to make up the hole in the lineup.

  18. Knoxvillain says:

    What’s with all the hate on Phelps? God forbid a pitcher with less than have a season under his belt have a bad two games. Holy shit.

  19. Andrew says:

    The Orioles are in a perfect storm. They have a top manager in Buck, he almost appears to will his team to victory. The Yankees front line starters are second rate. Phelps looked like he was throwing batting practice, Garcia was over the hill five years ago. Hughes is a home run hitters dream. C.C. is a warrior but he’s getting up there and is his best behind him? Kuroda keeps you in the game and throws strikes. Isn’t there anyone on the farm worth a look? If they can put the Orioles down in the next two we’ll bring order back to the universe.

  20. Mick taylor says:

    Girardi is an idiot. He and cashman bury Nunez because in April he makes a few errors. But he then plays ibanez in the

  21. Mick taylor says:

    Girardi is an idiot. He and cashman buried Nunez because he made a few errors in April. But then he proceeds to play ibanez in the outfield where his atrocious fielding cost us several games. Last night a good outfielder would have caught weiter homerun. Dickerson should have been in left or suzuki

  22. Andy Pettitte's Fibula says:

    6 months ago, the Yankees had what seemed like a ridiculous abundance of starting pitching with CC, Pineda, Kuroda, Hughes, Pettitte, Nova and Garcia with great depth backing them up on the farm in Banuelos, Betances, Phelps, Warren and Mitchell not to mention 3 elite relievers in Mo, Soriano and Robertson with Joba on his way back and solid arms like Logan and Wade in the back of the pen.

    Somehow, almost amazingly it has now all turned to shit.

    If this death spiral continues, I can’t wait to see what Cashman’s offseason strategy is gonna be especially if they’re really gonna stick to a budget in ’14 and ’15.

  23. sevrox says:

    Big Picture (still) – Yanks are in first place. Most teams are not. Today’s a new day.

    Maintaining Optimistic Buoyancy.

  24. Cashman's Third Mistress says:

    Where the hell is their scouting department? Why do we constantly see guys batting in the low .220s constantly crush this team (see: Pena, Branyan and now Reynolds)

  25. LarryM.,Fl. says:

    The problem from my view on the couch with the Yankee starters is plan and simple location. Last night in the first inning Pelps pitching to Hardy. The Yanks employ a shift toward the left side of the infield. Phelps throws an outside fastball about belt high or higher. Hardy punches it out to RF, single. Hughes has given up 31 home runs. Its all about location. CC has been wild in the zone when he gets hurt. Garcia doesn’t belong pitching. Super Nova has been high in the zone all year. There is a reason. Why he leads the league in EXTRA base hits.

    Martin is predictable with his calling of pitches? I don’t know or the Yankee pitchers are just unable to locate with their lack luster secondary pitches. The rotation is is in trouble. Bullpen is broken with guys like Rapada, Eppley and Lowe. Logan is gased.

    Giradi has lost confidence in most of his players.

    • Peter says:

      With the boss in charge someone would be in trouble now. I’m guessing both Kevin Long and Rothschild would soon be looking for work. Those guys got to correct a lot of thing especially Roth. Man I miss the boss.

  26. Assapopulus says:

    Two closed door team meetings and they’re still playing like shit. They should be in desperation mode. Not saying they aren’t trying their best, but if this is truly the best they can do than why even bother?

  27. Bavarian Yankee says:

    lookout 2011 Red Sox, here come the 2012 New York Yankees. Let’s just lose all the remaining games so we can say it was worth it.

  28. DJ4K&Monterowasdinero says:

    Adam Jones is a helluva player. I’ve told this story before but a few years ago I was at Camden and had great seats-first row behind O’s on deck circle. Jones was talking to the fans. Brian Roberts on 3rd, 2 outs and Pettitte in his comeback start. I dared Jones to lay down a bunt. He did and ARod had no play. Roberts scored. Not a bad skill set. He asked me what I thought of it his next ab and I said I wish he would sign with the Yanks next go round. Too bad.

  29. Mr. December says:

    Why throw that flat, belt high, 91mph cutter that doesn’t cut in a 1-2 count? Its like they forgot how to call the game. Sad part is you could just sense it was coming. Big comeback to tie the game and Robertson lets them right back in.

  30. not that mike says:

    The offense isnt putting any pressure on the opposing team, and instead of nibbling and letting the Yanks work the count to death it seems their pitchers are challanging the Yanks hitters to beat them– and we see now how the offense is incapable of being the juggernaut all the stats say it should be.

    I believe the last month other teams have wizened up to the Yanks offense, much like teams do in the playoffs – challange the Yanks, and dont let them work the count to death. It used to be the top pitchers could get away with that strategy, but now it seems that no one is afrwaid of the Yanks offense anymore ( with good reason).

    The pitchers are attacking Swisher, Granderson and Cano, nevermind the bottom 1/2 of the lineup, and those hitters can’t respond to the challenge.

  31. Syrio Forel says:

    Someone has to tell Dave Robertson that he’s not Mariano Rivera. One pitch ain’t gonna cut it for you, buddy. Tonight is a must win and Boone Logan/Cody Eppley should assume 8th inning duties. Robertson threw one curve ball and it went over the batters head. He lost us a game in Tampa, too. So we could be up 2 right now but instead are left relying on Phil Hughes and Freddy Garcia in must win ballgames.

  32. Peter says:

    This was a good sign for the offense. This is the first time in months they fought back and that is a good sign. Robertson is obviously overtaxed and I think Phelps might have thrown too much this year at the big league level. I would start Lowe with Phelps in the BP until Pettitte comes back. Robertson please give him a few days off and please teach these guys a breaking ball.

  33. ClayDavis says:

    Phil first pitch to Reynolds better be very up and in. They need to give this guy some GD chin music.

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