May
05

Comeback goes for naught; A’s take series finale

By

Well, a 7-3 homestand is pretty awesome, but the Yankees were damn close to making it 8-2 instead. They mounted a nice comeback in the middle innings against the Athletics on Sunday before things got away from them late. The final was 5-4.

(Presswire)

(Presswire)

Broken Andy
When Andy Pettitte struggled against the Astros last time out, a lot of blame fell on the shoulders of Austin Romine for his unfamiliarity with the pitching staff. This time around Andy had Chris Stewart, Miracle Catcher™ behind the plate, so there are no such excuses. Pettitte labored through five awful innings, walking four and giving up four hits, three of which went for extra bases (one double and two homers). He also hit a batter. Only 57 of his 100 total pitches were strikes and only nine of 24 batters faced saw a first pitch strike. Yuck. Five of the nine base-runners reached in two-strike counts. Double yuck.

After allowing two runs in 15 innings during his first two starts of the year, Pettitte has now allowed 17 runs in 22.2 innings across four starts since returning from his stiff back. Is the back still bothering him? Maybe. It was unrealistic to think he would pitch like an ace all year — remember, he was definitely ace-like in his 12 starts last season despite the leg injury — but the complete lack of control has me a tad worried. It could be a simple slump, it happens to every pitcher and the Athletics have mashed lefties this year, but the combination of age and the recent back trouble mean Pettitte’s recent struggles should set off some alarms.

(Presswire)

(Presswire)

Three-Run Rally
Despite the poor effort from the starting pitcher, the Yankees still managed to rally and tie the game in the sixth inning. Robinson Cano got them on the board with a run-scoring single in the third — he was thrown out by a mile at second trying advance on the throw home, but that’s besides the point — then he started the sixth inning rally with a leadoff single to shallow right. Ichiro Suzuki plated Cano with a double into the right field corner two batters later, then two batters after that Lyle Overbay knotted things up with a bloop single.

Outside of tying the game, the Overbay hit stands out because it was a tough eight-pitch at-bat against a really good lefty specialist in Jerry Blevins. He fell behind in the count 1-2 before evening things at 2-2 and fouling off three pitches. Blevins followed every sinker he threw in the inning with a breaking ball, and it looked like Overbay picked up on the pattern and waited on a breaking ball after fouling off a sinker. The ball blooped into center and both runs scored. Overbay’s been dreadful against lefties this year — came into the game hitting .074/.074/.111 (-67 wRC+) against southpaws — but he hung in real well and tied the game. Nice job.

(Presswire)

(Presswire)

Short Bullpen
The Yankees were finally bit by the David Robertson and Joba Chamberlain-less bullpen. With no real usable right-hander reliever to face the middle of the Oakland order in the eighth, the ball went to Boone Logan because he was simply the best option. Mariano Rivera would never enter the game in the eighth, so Joe Girardi‘s choices were Logan, Shawn Kelley, and Vidal Nuno. Boone it was.

Unfortunately, when your best late-inning option against a bunch of power-hitting righties is a LOOGY, bad things tend to happen. Logan surrendered a solo homer to the right-handed hitting Josh Donaldson, a second deck shot that stayed just fair down the left field line. An inning later he allowed a leadoff double to the left-handed Josh Reddick, which was Reddick’s first career hit in 36 plate appearances at the New Yankee Stadium. The eminently hittable Kelley pitched out of that jam. The solo homer, unfortunately, cost the Yankees the ball game.

(Presswire)

(Presswire)

Leftovers
Despite the loss, the Yankees got exactly what they wanted in the ninth inning of a one-run game — they got Cano to the plate. Brett Gardner singled with two outs to extend the game, but as soon as he advanced to second on a wild pitch, the bat was out of Cano’s hands. Oakland intentionally walked him and closer Grant Balfour struck out Vernon Wells to end the game. For shame. Maybe Brett shoulda stayed at first on the wild pitch. I’m kidding … maybe.

Congrats to Preston Claiborne for starting his Hall of Fame career. The right-hander made his big league debut in relief of Pettitte and retired all six men he faced. No hits, no walks, no strikeouts, no nothing. Six balls in play and six relatively easy outs. I mentioned this the other night, but I think Claiborne’s got a chance to take Kelley’s roster spot if he pitches well between now and Joba Chamberlain’s return from the DL.

The Yankees had nine total hits, and the top five hitters in the lineup went a combined 8-for-19 (.421) with four walks while the bottom four lineup spots went 1-for-16 with six strikeouts. The one hit was Overbay’s game-tying single. That sums up the state of the lineup very well right now, all the injuries have taken all the bite out of the bottom of the order.

Cano was one of three Yankees with two hits — Ichiro and Gardner were the others — but it’s worth noting that he’s now sitting on 1,499 career hits at the moment. Pretty crazy that he’ll turn 30 after the season and is just halfway to 3,000. That’s a mighty big number.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
That is an unfortunate graph. MLB.com has the box score and video highlights while FanGraphs has some other stats. ESPN has the updated standings.


Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The Yankees are off on Monday and will travel to Colorado. They open a three-game series against the Rockies on Tuesday night, with Hiroki Kuroda getting the ball against left-hander Jorge De La Rosa.

Categories : Game Stories
  • mustang

    “Well, a 7-3 homestand is pretty awesome”

    That’s it !!!!

    Lets not forget what cards the Yankees are playing with to ask or expect anything more of this team is ridiculous.

    • mustang

      Hopefully they can go 5-3 or 4-4 on this trip and get some much needed help when they come back to NY.

  • WhittakerWalt

    7-3 is absolutely an awesome homestand.
    Of course, starting it 4-0 you get greedy.

  • Wayne

    What is the scouting report on Preston Clairborne. I like his delivery.

  • Improbable Island’s Dirty Midget Whores (formerly RRR)

    Fuck. Boone. Logan.

    That is all.

    Okay, okay. I know he’s a LOOGY and a rightie got the hit off of him. But still. We were SO CLOSE.

  • Eddard

    Girardi screwed up and that’s all there is to it. But on we go to the road trip. I really do think they can go 4-4, maybe 5-3 if Andy and CC can regain their form.

    Their entire starting infield is out except Robbie Cano. Add in Granderson, Nova and now Joba and Drob. It really is remarkable what they’re doing. Play .500 on this road trip and then reinforcements will start to return and they’ll be right in the thick of the race.

  • Wil Nieves #1 Fan

    Jayson Nix: 0 for 4 with seven men left on base. Fuck him.

    • WhittakerWalt

      If we had a better option, he’d be out there.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        It’s beyond parody already with the Nix stuff. Journeyman put into an everyday role. It’s not like the guy who pulled his ribcage tonight was doing much better.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    The blame game seems to be in full force tonight. Girardi! Logan! Nix! Who cares.

    This was a mild letdown game after winning the last two series, especially that glorious Blue Jays sweep. The bullpen was depleted and Logan had to pitch in a spot where he wasn’t the ideal match. Shit happens.

    How about that Pantston, though?

    It seems like the injury gods won’t rest until Gil Velazquez gets his True Yankee moment.

    • Improbable Island’s Dirty Midget Whores (formerly RRR)

      Meh, I know it isn’t really Logan’s fault. He gave up a HR to a player he normally would never be pitching too.

      Still, this would have been fun to pull out after that awesome comeback.

      • Robinson Tilapia

        I’ve seen every good reliever on the Yankee roster blow a lead like that. Whatever reason it was, that’s going to happen.

        Kelley, Warren, and Nuno weren’t going to be out there in front of Boone, and Claiborne had already gone two innnings.

        Is what it is.

        • Improbable Island’s Dirty Midget Whores (formerly RRR)

          Yep. Pretty much what I said.

    • mustang

      Agree

  • Toad

    Brett Gardner singled with two outs to extend the game, but as soon as he advanced to second on a wild pitch, the bat was out of Cano’s hands. Oakland intentionally walked him and closer Grant Balfour struck out Vernon Wells to end the game. For shame. Maybe Brett shoulda stayed at first on the wild pitch. I’m kidding … maybe.

    I know you’re only kidding, but this sort of thing is one of my great peeves.

    Is there a rule against an IBB with a runner on first? No. There is not. So if the A’s would rather have Gardner on second, Cano on first, and Wells up than Gardner on first and Cano up they only have to walk Cano. That they didn’t means they didn’t want that.

    Idiots notwithstanding, nothing can happen in a game that helps both teams.

  • Get Phelps Up

    7-3 homestand.

    End of story.

    Kick ass in Colorado and KC.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Exactly.

    • mustang

      Yes Sir.

  • Improbable Island’s Dirty Midget Whores (formerly RRR)

    To all who care:

    1) Rehearsals have been underway since Wednesday for Godspell.

    2) As a producer, now that rehearsals have started my role has been reduced to advertising and fundraising. Given that I am no longer going to be as actively involved with the show and will have less work to do (not that I won’t be putting in a full effort), I’ve decided to audition today for a local production of Les Miserables. I honestly would be thrilled to be in the ensemble, so here’s hoping I make it in.

    Wish me luck, guys.

    • mustang

      Good luck.

    • Troll

      HAHAHAHAHA. And I thought you were pathetic before! A local production? Ew. Unless you’re Broadway, West End, or a major travelling production, you are nothing! God, you’re a loser. Good luck!

      • Improbable Island’s Dirty Midget Whores (formerly RRR)

        Thanks for the good luck! You are correct, this is totally unpaid and I’m doing it for fun. I’m a pretty good actor but as a singer the best that could be said about me is that I can hold a tune, so I’d be thrilled with being in the ensemble.

      • Pinkie Pie

        HAHAHAHAHAHA. It’s official! You’re an incorrigibly reprehensible troll that no one ever has to pay attention to ever again! God, you’re a loser. Good luck with whatever it is you do outside of trolling RiverAvenueBlues (which I’m sure is disappointing)!

  • dick m

    Loogy or not just a terrible pitch.

  • mt

    This road trip is not as attractive for Yanks as it might have looked at start of season – Rockies and Royals playing well and Indians have started scoring runs in bunches; the NL site will put a bigger emphasis on our very inflexible roster (if Nunez can’t play for a few days and Nix is at SS what happens if Nix gets hurt – Chris Nelson then goes to SS, I guess and ??? at 3B) – Boesch, Hafner, and Romine all limited or unavailable defensively (there are catchers who also can fake first base – Posada comes to mind, for example – but I don’t think Romine or Stewart can do so. Nix – there’s that same name again! – was taking grounders at 1B last week at the Stadium to provide some 1B back-up)

    Add in a double header at Cleveland where Warren, Nuno or a call-up (Nova??) starts – bottom line, nobody wants to hear this but 3-5 would actually be doing well given that is on the road (including a NL park where Hafner can only pinch hit), and our roster limitations due to injuries. Nix is the third string shortstop and Nelson is the fourth string 3B (after Arod, Youkilis, and Nix.

    We lost our first one run game of the year yesterday becoming last team in major leagues to lose their first one run game. We very easily could have a .500 or a 14-16 record with the same offensive and defensive pewrformance we have exhibited this year. We have been beating people with good starting pitching, rock-solid back-end relief pitching and timely hitting from often unexpected places but the margin of error is paper thin.

    It would be nice to have a 9-2 blow-out one of these days (Yankees winning, of course).

  • Nick

    Logan is a LOOGY? Over his 4 years here he has gotten both lefties and righties out at a respectable rate despite not dominating either (2010 was the clear outlier). I’m really not sure where the myth that he is a LOOGY came from. The fact that he failed to retire 4 righties in a row doesn’t make him a LOOGY. He’s not having a great year this year against either side. He needs to improve.

  • mike

    no reason to remove claiborne from the game when the bullpen is so short….Logan almost gave up three homers that inning, and although he has gotten righties out every now and then, its by luck.

    i would have thrown Warren…at that point its gravy if the Yanks get a win, and if they get a lead Mariano will be in the game.