Remember when the Yankees were the only team in baseball without a three-game losing streak? Like 36 hours ago? They’re now riding a four-game losing streak after getting embarrassed by the Mets on their home turf Wednesday night. The Amazin’s walked away with a 9-4 win to officially clinch the 2013 Subway Series.
Thanks For Coming, David
Apparently David Phelps felt bad for Phil Hughes following his seven-run, two-out disaster two weeks ago, so he decided to join him in the sub-one-inning start club on Wednesday. The Mets hung five runs on the utterly ineffective Phelps, who recorded just one out before being lifted. He allowed those five runs on four hits and two walks, including the two-strike, two-run single to the awful Ike Davis that ended his night. Jayson Nix deserves an assist booting a routine would-be inning-ending double play when there were just two runs on the boards.
Phelps is the first Yankees starter to record just one out in a game without being injured since … wait for it …. Alex Graman in July 2004. Jeff Karstens and Darrell Rasner left starts after one out in 2007, but they were both hurt. Maybe Phelps still had some lingering soreness in his right forearm after being hit by a line drive last time out, but he came through all his usual between starts workouts just fine. Starts like this are usually just a fluky off-night, which is what I’ll consider it for Phelps unless word gets out that he’s still hurting. Would have been nice if the game wasn’t over before the line got a chance to hit, however.
Four Runs? Wow, They Broke Out
You knew the Yankees had mentally checked out for the night when the top three hitters in the lineup were retired in order on five pitches by Jeremy Hefner in the third. Brett Gardner and Travis Hafner popped up on the first pitch while Robinson Cano struck out on three pitches, the last of which was an 89 mph fastball at his eyes for a whiff. That’s when it seemed like everyone was playing just hard enough to get the game over and not embarrass themselves.
Joe Girardi ran the white flag up the pole in the sixth, when he let Chris Stewart bat with men on first and second with two outs. The Yankees had already scored two runs in the inning and Hefner’s pitch count was up around the century mark, so that was their best chance to get back into the game. Rather than use David Adams or even the slumping Vernon Wells, Stewart was allowed to hit. He flew out weakly to left, ending the inning and the team’s best (only) chance to get back into the game.
Preston Claiborne cleaned up Phelps’ mess in the first and retired all five men he faced. Adam Warren (three runs in two innings) and Ivan Nova (one run in five innings) did the long relief duties to spare the rest of the eight-man bullpen. Nova struck out the side on nine pitches in the eighth and looked very sharp overall. He really locked himself into that backup long reliever role. Claiborne, by the way, is the first Yankees rookie since 1916 to start his career with ten walk-less appearances.
Brennan Boesch hit a solo homer for the Yankees’ first run, then he beat out an infield single in the sixth to plate their second run. Nix singled in another run two batters later and Cano blooped in a garbage time run in the ninth. The 5-6-7 hitters went a combined 7-for-12 while the other six hitters went 5-for-27. The Yankees have now scored just nine runs in their last four games, and miraculously they were a David Robertson inning and a Mariano Rivera inning away from winning two of them.
I think my favorite part of the game was the YES booth — specifically Michael Kay, I don’t want to put this on David Cone and Al Leiter — trying to spin all the recent losing as a good thing because the soon-to-be activated injured players won’t have to feel the pressure of trying to maintain the winning. That’s a real thing that was said on television, poisoning the youth of America.
Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings
MLB.com is the place to go for the box score and video highlights. FanGraphs and ESPN have some more stats and the standings, respectively. The Red Sox lost and the Orioles won, so the Yankees are tied with Boston in the loss column atop the AL East (the Sawx are technically in first by percentage point) while Baltimore climbed to just two back in the loss column.
The Yankees have already been embarrassed this series, but they’ll try to avoid the ultra-embarrassment of being swept (!) in a four-game series (!!) by the Mets (!!!) on Thursday night. Vidal Nuno and Dillon Gee is your pitching matchup. Check out RAB Tickets if you want to catch the carnage live.