Yanks no match for Moore as Rays take opener

Flores continues to rake in Trenton win
Adam Warren and the unnecessity of two long relievers

Believe it or not, the Yankees have won just two of their last 14 games at Tropicana Field. That caught me by surprise, but it’s true They’ve positively sucked in that building dating back to late-2011 now. The latest loss was a 5-1 defeat in a game that felt over after the first inning.

(J. Meric/Getty)
(J. Meric/Getty)

One Bad Inning, Again
Much like his last start, CC Sabathia got hit around in the first inning before settling down and pitching deep into the game. The Rays tagged him for a single, a triple, two homers, and four runs in that first inning before the big left-hander found his command surrendered just two singles and solo homer over the next six innings. Sabathia struck out eight and threw 108 total pitches (68 for strikes), including first pitch strikes to 17 of 29 batters faced. He settled down and that’s great, but he has to stop surrendering those first inning runs in the future.

Since we’re in the middle of the Great Velocity Watch of 2013, it’s worth noting Sabathia averaged 91.1 mph and topped out at 93.2 mph with his fastball according to PitchFX. That was his best velocity on the young season, though I suppose that could have something to do with pitching in the climate-controlled dome rather than a chilly, beautiful, fan-friendly, wholesome, America-loving open-air ballpark. Velocity didn’t matter though, Sabathia got clobbered in that first inning because he caught way, way too much of the plate with breaking balls.

(J. Meric/Getty)
(J. Meric/Getty)

Shut Down By A Lefty, Again
The Yankees came into Monday’s game hitting a pathetic .210/.278/.318 (61 wRC+) against left-handers as a team, and that only went down after young Matt Moore got done carving them up for eight innings. He struck out nine, gave up just two hits (both to Robinson Cano), and threw only 37 of his 117 pitches from the stretch. They are woefully non-competitive right now against southpaws. It’s hard to believe a big league team can be this bad against lefties.

New York’s best chance to make this a game came in the seventh inning, when they had runners at first and third with one out thanks to Yunel Escobar’s throwing error. The rally came to crashing halt when Vernon Wells struck out — his third strikeout against Moore, all against a changeup down and away — and Frankie Cervelli flew out to center. The final eleven Yankees to bat made outs. So yeah, more of the same. With all due respect to Moore, who really was fantastic, this currently lineup couldn’t hit lefties if their lives depended on it.

(J. Meric/Getty)
(J. Meric/Getty)

As I mentioned, the Yankees had a whopping two hits on the night, a solo homer and an infield single by Cano. That’s it. Brett Gardner drew a pair of walks, but otherwise the other seven spots in the lineup went a combined 0-for-23 with one walk (Eduardo Nunez) and eight strikeouts. Like I said, non-competitive. They could have started every inning with a courtesy runner at second base and they still would have lost.

Adam Warren mopped things up in the bottom of the ninth, just his second pitching appearance in the last 19 days. Two long men kinda defeats the point if Joe Girardi buries one completely.

Minor note about Sabathia: he took over sole possession of 50th place on the all-time strikeout list in this game, passing former Yankee and elbow reconstruction guinea pig Tommy John. Sabathia has 2,246 career strikeouts.

I don’t know if it was a one-time thing or if they’ve rearranged things at Tropicana Field, but the YES camera angle for this game was just awful. Here, look at this mess. I felt like I was watching the game from one of the catwalks.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
MLB.com has the box score and video highlights, FanGraphs some additional stats, and ESPN the updated standings.

Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The Yankees will look to avoid another pathetic offensive showing against left-hander on Tuesday, when reigning AL Cy Young Award winner David Price gets the ball for the Rays. I wouldn’t hold my breath. Phil Hughes will be on the bump for the Bombers.

Flores continues to rake in Trenton win
Adam Warren and the unnecessity of two long relievers
  • http://www.twitter.com/mattpat11 Matt DiBari

    I’m about out of patience for Ben Francisco too. He seems to be on the team because he had a good year against lefties years ago and he happens to be right handed.

    • trr

      it’s that durn RH thing….

  • Kramerica Industries

    Yeah, I think since 7/21/2011 the Yankees have been on that skid. It’s like they lost the ability to play in St. Pete once they found the ability to play decently in Anaheim.

  • Winter

    IIRC, the Yankees have had some success against Price in the past. Maybe they can break out of their lefty funk tomorrow and build off that moving forward.

  • Deathstroke Heathcott

    Price vs Hughes? Seems like a good time for YCPB.

  • IvanS

    There have to be several players in the organization that can hit better than Francisco. It’s time to pull the plug.

    I didn’t mind that angle one bit. It’s better than their usual angle that is lower but way over to the side and you can never tell what’s a strike or how pitches move.

  • forensic

    Really wonder what might have been if they had an actual defender in RF to make that easy catch in the 1st inning and end it before 3 of the 4 runs score.

    Sure am glad Boesch played…

  • LK

    If Hughes has a good start they should have a chance tomorrow. They can’t possibly be this putrid against LHP, though Price might not be the best guy to try to break out against.

  • forensic

    Kim asks in the postgame, “What was Moore doing tonight that was so tough?”

    I would just love if someone said, “Throwing with his left hand.”

    • forensic

      heh, Meredith, not Kim. Geez…

      Both so similarly bad.

      • Kramerica Industries

        Yeah, but Kim hasn’t been at YES since 2011, so, shame on you.

        Where is Kim Jones these days, anyway?

        • Barry

          Flying high, no lie, you know this.

        • Bob Buttons

          Doing well for herself at NFL network. Sometimes I see her in NFL.com videos.

  • forensic

    Their BA against lefties is now under .200 at .195. Wow!

  • BigLoving

    Does anyone know Musteliers slash line against lefties in the minors? I am hoping there is a place for him when he gets back to 100%

    • forensic

      In 2011 and 2012, Mustelier hit .317/.368/.515 vs. lefties.

  • Manny’s BanWagon

    What a lineup they ran out there today. Cano and 8 hitters likely to finish below league average. Against a pitcher like Matt Moore, CC pretty much had to be near perfect.

    • forensic

      And just wait until tomorrow when Gardner likely sits and Ichiro is back in there. Another bit of a step down in the lineup.

    • Anderson Silva

      Yankees’ lineup against LHP are pretty pathetic but it’s not like CC was going up against a murderers row of a lineup. To give up 3 HRs and 5 runs total against the Rays’ lineup was pretty terrible by him as well.

      • forensic

        Not to excuse CC because he obviously wasn’t good at all early on, but if he has a real rightfielder behind him, the first inning is over with just one run allowed and who knows what happens after that.

  • Gonzalo Hiram

    I have no idea why Ben Francisco is in our team.

    Casper Wells would have been a better bat against lefties and a better player in general. Even Juan Rivera or Matt Diaz could give better numbers than Francisco

  • Moniker Blueclinsky

    Really wish CC would throw me the high hard one.

  • DInnings

    ‘Still 9-4 since the 1-4 start despite this wretched loss.

    CC is suffering from firstinningitis. On a positive note Mike Axisa, ever the glass half-empty guy, didn’t mention at least CC and Warren gave the bullpen a rest (CC 7 IP, Warren 1 IP.) This was a total “lose the battle to win the war” game. Tip your cap to Matt Moore.

    After this series vs. Tampa Bay the Yanks play only NINE GAMES vs. teams who finished over .500 last year through June 10: As 5/3-5, Os 5/20-22, Rays 5/24-26.

    That’s 35 games vs. sub-.500 in 2012 teams out of 44 games 4/25-6/10 before 21 games with all above .500 in 2012 teams the rest of June.

    If the Yanks could split the next two with the Rays for 11-9, go 22-13 in the 35 games vs. sub-.500 in 2012 teams 4/25-6/10, 5-4 vs. the As, Os, and Rays in May, and 9-8 in the first 17 games 6/11-30, that’s a 47-34 first half – a 94-68 finish pace. DOABLE.

    Btw 11 of their first 14 games in July are against the Twins (7 games) and Royals (4.) The other three games are against the Os.

    • forensic

      It’s not quite as simple as writing them off because of what teams did last year though.

      The Red Sox and Rockies are both playing well and the Blue Jays could still be tough. That’s another 13 of your 35 games.

  • mt

    Just like the opening series against Red Sox I don’t care how ugly it is but I just want to win one game out of the three – of course , losing to Price tonight will make that more difficult – Youkilis now being out for a couple of days does not help – the depth behind the depth is not a pretty sight.

    As I mentioned in last night’s game thread ,they were making a big deal on ESPN about CC reflexively shaking and flexing his pitching hand and rubbing it in the dirt in the first inning – they were speculating cramp/injury but Schilling after the game said he might have had a hard time getting his hand sticky with the rosin in a dome.

    Also is it just me but I did not think the rightfield play by Boesch in first inning was that bad. It looked difficult with the way ball was angling.

    Also giving the identity of the players on this team saying we “should” beat teams below .500 from last year especially does not work (that “should beat” may only work over long stretches or the season overall) – Yanks are very vulnerable right now – bats have not been that great since start of Arizona series and Youkilis is now out.

    Also Napoli going crazy with RBIs for Red Sox especially bothers me – especially since they got him for only $5 million for one year – once Red Sox discovered his hip issue and then withdrew his original 3 year contract offer, I had hoped Yanks could steal him on a 1 year deal once he would talk to other teams but he seemed to just wait for Red Sox to reduce his contract down to one year and not try to do better – oh well!

  • LarryM Fl

    I went to the game last night which was woefully lacking in attendance. My usual observation at first pitch at this venue. Another observation the Yankee lineup was so inept. Poor Brendan Bosech is placed in the lineup against lefties and Ichiro is so useless is given a day off. Bosech needs more playing time or at least split it.See who deserves the playing time.

    The lineup had 4 lefties and Francisco enough said. As far as CC his inability to perform in the first couple of innings needs some attention by himself and the pitching coach.

  • Long-Past-His-Day-Rod

    Ugh, I hate shitting on players this early in the season, but Ben Francisco? Just why? That guy should be nowhere near the 2 spot in the lineup, and seeing “DH” next to his name is just a bad joke.

    Rivera had a decent spring, they must’ve really seen something they didn’t like (and I guess all other teams did too since he still doesn’t have a job). Idk what the answer is. Zoilo, Mel(K)y 2.0, FHOFRM when he gets healthy? There has to be someone better, or at least someone just as bad that they have the option of sending down.

    I know there would probably be 40 man moves that would need to occur but really, DFA’ing Francisco is no loss at all. He’s a garbage piece and the Yanks have borderline guys in AAA that could plug the gap if we really need another OF that badly.

    • Long-Past-His-Day-Rod

      Self reply.

      In all honesty, I know the team has issues apart from ol’ Benny boy and if he was being used as an occasional backup OF and batting 7th or 8th I wouldn’t be bitching. But I just can’t stomach this guy as the starting DH against lefties with a top-4 batting order slot (didn’t he bad cleanup in one game earlier in the year, or am I just dumb?). I’d rather have Pronk DH against lefties too, even if his splits are bad, there’s always the chance he runs into one.

      • Dan

        I agree with you that he is being used poorly and that Francisco has not done anything to warrant being in the lineup against tough LH pitchers let alone batting second. However, I disagree with your first comment that the Yankees should just DFA him right now and call up a kid because my guess is the Yankees will simply DFA Francisco when Granderson comes off the DL and with him not being that far off, is it really worth it killing one of the minor league options on the kids that are on the 40 if it is just going to be another two weeks at most. Also, some of the borderline guys in AAA like Neal would require clearing a 40-man spot for him (probably by DFA’ing Francisco) and then they would likely have to DFA Neal when Granderson comes back, and it doesn’t seem like they should be killing the little outfield depth that they have.

        • Long-Past-His-Day-Rod

          I agree that with Granderson’s impending return Francisco’s days are numbered, so you’re probably right to just wait it out. I still just can’t believe there’s no better option for a DH against lefties than Ben Francisco. Just bat Pronk.

          I disagree with the “little outfield depth they have” statement though. Right now they have Gardner, Wells, Ichiro, Boesch, and Francisco. 5 OF, 2 of which (Wells/Gardy) start regularly and two of which platoon occasionally (Ichiro/Boesch, although Ichiro starts most of the time no matter how awful he’s been so far). Once Granderson returns, Francisco is probably gone and the Major League team still has 5 OF, with at least Melky 2.0.1 (now with more strikeouts!) in AAA with a touch of MLB experience. So I would argue that, although it might not be quality depth, the Yankees have sufficient OF depth with or without Benny F.

          • FEED.ME.MORE!

            Plus, are we really worried about burning Melky Mesa’s options? He’s not a prospect, and he’s obviously not good enough (in Yankee brass eyes) to replace Ben Francisco, so why should we even care about his options at this point?

            He’s either going to be the 25 man on the roster or DFA fodder. No sense saving him. But he HAS to be better than Ben Francisco. Even if the hitting is bad, at least we could use him in the OF and avoid Brennan Boesch playing (trying to play?) defense.

    • PFOJ

      “Rivera had a decent spring, they must’ve really seen something they didn’t like (and I guess all other teams did too since he still doesn’t have a job).”

      He probably stole Jeter’s glove again.

  • Mouse

    Ben Francisco will be back in there tonight and every time they face a lefty. It doesn’t matter that he sucks, just that he bats right handed.

    Also, Brendon Boesch must have seen a total of five pitches all night and made four outs. Unbelievable.

    Nix, Francisco, Boesch and Nunez. You can’t expect to do much with those four auto outs in the lineup.

    • Long-Past-His-Day-Rod

      I don’t really like Boesch either but I wouldn’t classify him or Nunez as auto-outs. I think if he played a little more regularly he might produce better, but I could be wrong. I think Nunez will eventually return to around his career numbers at the plate, not great but serviceable.

  • shittyshittybangbang

    Agree with the Ben Francisco sentiment. He’s there for his bat. So, his days are probably numbered. Another “bat” first player who’s pressing is Nunez. He’s definitely not glove first. He really seems over-matched. Might want to use a lighter bat, instead of the Willie Stargell model that he currently uses. I mean that thing looks like a redwood on his shoulders. Lose the macho Nunez. What’s Marco Scutaro doing nowadays ?

  • Slu

    Ugh. Hughes tomorrow against Price. I may save myself the aggravation and not even watch.

    • John C

      Theres a true fan for you. “I may watch if I see they are winning”

      • Slu

        Enough with true fan bullshit. Hughes starts are not fun to watch.

        • Cervelli is the Man

          Come on, of course you will watch, you can’t avert your eyes. It is the price of being a diehard fan.