Rockies shutout punchless Yanks in series opener

Heathcott & Ramirez help Thunder to a win
Wells' slump comes at worst possible time

Left-hander on the mound, NL lineup with no Travis Hafner … the Yankees didn’t have a prayer. The offense put up nothing in support of the pitching staff on a rainy Monday night, and the Rockies waltzed to a stress-free 2-0 win in the series opener. The Yankees have now lost three of their last four games.

(Justin Edmonds/Getty)
(Justin Edmonds/Getty)

Kuroda’s One Mistake
As the game progressed, I got the sense the only way the Yankees would win was if Hiroki Kuroda pulled a Clayton Kershaw by throwing a complete-game shutout and hitting a homer. Unfortunately, he did neither. The veteran right-hander had a splendid outing spoiled by one mistake, a middle-middle fastball to Carlos Gonzalez with a full count and two outs in the sixth. CarGo put the ball over the fence and into the bullpen for a two-run homer. Those were the only runs of the game and all Colorado would need.

Outside of that two-run homer, Kuroda was outstanding. He allowed six hits — four in the fifth inning — and one walk in seven innings of work, striking out three and getting 14 of his 21 outs on the infield. This was reminiscent of last year, when Kuroda would consistently pitch well but get little run support. Given the lineup around him, the lack of offense is a little more understandable this time around. Hiroki deserves better.

Now that Vernon Wells has crashed back to Earth, the lineup is basically Robinson Cano and a bunch of guys who might start for Triple-A Scranton. I guess we should cut Brett Gardner and Travis Hafner some slack, but neither started this game because matchups!!! and rules say the Yankees can’t use a DH against the Rockies, respectively. The offense put up very little fight on Monday.

The Bombers had four hits total — bloop singles by Jayson Nix, Ichiro Suzuki, and Chris Stewart plus an infield single from Nix — and their best chance to score came in the third, when Ichiro stole second and third bases with two outs. Nix struck out looking to end the inning and the threat. That was that. Just two of the final 14 hitters they sent to the plate reached base safely, and that was a walk and the infield single. Weak.

(Justin Edmonds/Getty)
“Yeah, I know. Four MVPs. But can you play short?” (Justin Edmonds/Getty)

About the only thing the Yankees did well on offense was steal. They ran wild on Jorge De La Rosa, stealing four bases in his six innings of work. Ichiro stole two in that one inning while Nix and Stewart stole one apiece. Of course, Gardner was anchored to first in the seventh, which led to a Chris Nelson inning-ending double play. So it goes.

I don’t know what else there is to add, really. Stewart made a nice snap-throw to pick a runner off first base in the second inning and Shawn Kelley allowed a single in an otherwise uneventful and scoreless inning. That’s basically it. I wouldn’t call this the most interesting game in the world.

Weird little fact: the Yankees have scored a total of five runs in their last four games at Coors Field, dating back to the series in 2007. That’s … surprising.

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

Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
The Yankees and Rockies will play game two of this three-game set on Wednesday night, when David Phelps gets the ball against Juan Nicasio. I’m guessing that one will feature a few more runs than this one.

Heathcott & Ramirez help Thunder to a win
Wells' slump comes at worst possible time
  • Kramerica Industries

    Well, somebody had this thing in the writings after the CarGo HR.

    Holy motherfucker was this fast.

  • forensic

    You had this basically finished within 5 minutes of the homerun, didn’t you?

  • Get Phelps Up

    “The Yankees have now lost three of their last four games.”

    Are you sure it’s not 13 out of 14? Because that’s sure as hell what people have been acting like.

    • WhittakerWalt

      You see a lot of reason to be so sarcastically Pollyanna-ish?

      • Get Phelps Up


        • WhittakerWalt

          You seem to be implying no one here has a right to be concerned, when all evidence would indicate there’s a lot to worry about.

          • Get Phelps Up

            That isn’t what I was trying to say. Of course there’s things that could improve and the offense against LHP has been frustrating, but on the other hand the Yankees have played really well in this stretch we thought they would be struggling to get through at .500 and here they are with Youk and Grandy supposedly coming back in a week and 2 weeks, there’s 2 massive upgrades right there.

            If the Yankees didn’t have what would amount to the 15th highest payroll in baseball coming back off the DL, then yes, I would be very concerned. But they played very well in the stretch that was unanimously thought of to be the toughest stretch of the season, and now the reinforcements will gradually flow in, and each will represent a huge upgrade and will also mean that guys like Nelson, Francisco and Boesch will be back where they belong – AAA or the waiver wire.

            • WhittakerWalt

              My apologies.

            • Deathstroke Heathcott

              The upgrades we have coming soon are pretty much equal to the upgrades that the Blue Jays and Angels made this offseason that had everyone anointing them as preseason favorites. Right now with what’s on the field, we have no right to be .581 (94+-win pace), so I’m gonna choose to be optimistic or Pollyanna-ish rather than pessimistic or Chicken Little-ish.

  • Dalek Jeter

    Cashman and Co have to do something to help this team against LHP. And simply waiting for Tex, A-Rod and Jeter isn’t going to cut it, because something tells me that Tex isn’t going to be back till mid to late June and I don’t think we are going to see Jeter or A-Rod at all this season.I’ve been thinking this about Alex since I heard about the surgery, and Jeter since he got put on the 60 day DL. The Jeter situation reminds me a lot of the Gardner situation last season. Meanwhile, we were told that Tex would be back at the same time as Granderson. Now Granderson is rehabbing and we haven’t heard word one about Tex, so I have to figure if Granderson could be back in two weeks, Tex is going to be at least another month on top of that. I hate the way this team deals with injuries honestly…They sit guys on the bench for a week before putting them on the DL, causing the bench to be short, and then either rush guys back causing them to get hurt again (They did both with Youk) or seemingly baby them back or push of surgery till the last possible minute (like they did with Gardner last season).

    • Winter

      Sorry, but you can’t complain about players returning from injury too quickly and too slowly.

      • Dalek Jeter

        Why can’t I? We (at least I) said they should just DL Youk before they started him that one day and wound up losing him for possibly even longer, meanwhile no one is really sure when Tex is going to be ready. As far as any of us know there’s still a “30% chance he misses the entire season.” On top of that it could be Jeter’s fault for pushing it, but he winds up having a set back trying to get back by opening day. Now he’s got a broken bone in the same ankle that cost him the entire off season. A season after Gardner will miss “a month tops” but missed the entire season. It’s like we traded medical staffs with the 2010-2012 Mets.

        • Kosmo

          yes there is no telling if and when Jeter will return and IMO if he does return he´ll not play much if not at all in the field. From what I´ve read Tex will return in about 1 month granted if there are no setbacks. It seems Arod will return mid-July.

  • Elan

    This is getting ridiculous already. Losing three out of four to the A’s and Rockies with David Phelps starting tomorrow? Come on – these are winnable games!

    • Kramerica Industries

      That was a AAA lineup out there tonight against a not-so-terrible LHP.

      Really, the accomplishment was avoiding scoring negative runs tonight.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Every game is a winnable game. Doesn’t mean you’re going to win 162 of them. This isn’t the NFL.

  • forensic

    Girardi just pulled a ‘No comment’ when asked about Gardner not stealing in the 7th. Gardner said the footing was bad out there by then, and obviously that pitcher was much quicker to the plate than De La Rosa, but yikes, Girardi rarely puts out that much of an indictment on one of his players in his media sessions.

    • Jason

      Really? Interesting. I didn’t really have too much of a problem with it. They were down 2 after all and they weren’t gonna score tonight anyway no matter what happened

    • WhittakerWalt

      Gardner just needs to steal more in general, and with greater success. Joe’s probably tired of that.

      • forensic

        I won’t get into it again as I already stated it in the game thread, but the reactions to Gardner’s baserunning are vastly overrated and largely unrealistic.

        • WhittakerWalt

          I wish I knew what the thrust of your argument was (without poring over the game thread).
          I just remember Gardner as a guy who was a superlative base-stealer, a guy who almost never got caught. It’s not like he brings a ton of extra-base power to the team, and we need to get runners in scoring position whenever possible.
          Steals can be overrated- unless you’re the kind of guy who never gets caught. Gardy used to be that guy.

          • forensic

            The point it that it’s unrealistic to expect him to steal every single time he gets on base, and especially that people want him to do it on the first pitch every time.

            No base stealer, even the best in the game (of which Gardner is one), can steal that often. It’s unrealistic to expect him to have 100 steals because he’ll get 100 singles.

            He is still a superlative base stealer, though he hasn’t quite gotten really going yet this season. But, I put some of that blame on Girardi and him constantly batting Cano second, meaning Gardner gets a little more conservative not wanting to potentially take a runner off the bases with him up or opening up a base to they can pitch around him even more than they already are.

            • Robinson Tilapia

              Interesting POV. I don’t disagree.

              I don’t think Brett Gardner being more aggressive than he is now is some magic cure-all either, not when you’ve got at least three “stash in AAA” guys in your starting lineup.

        • trr

          and yet, others were stealing easily…the footing didn’t seem to bother them…Gardner should be more agressive on the basepaths, period.

    • steves

      Was anyone commenting watching the game? Gardner ran 5 or 6 times during Overbay’s at bat. Bad footing (probably because he chewed it up running during Overbay’s at bat) and thin air complications was probably why he didn’t try to run during Nelson’s at bat.

      • trr

        “Thin Air”
        C’mon man! I’m a runner, and yes, I’ve run in Denver.
        The air has nothing to do with it.

        • steves

          Not to diminish your own anecdotal experiences but what you claim is precisely the opposite of what has been said about the effects of playing in Denver across multiple sports. The Yes announcers even said that Kuroda’s half-sprint to first in the top of the 6th probably led to his getting hit around in the bottom of the 6th. Now that sounds pretty ridiculous but Gardner doing a half-dozen sprints in a very short period of time and being a little more winded than usual seems pretty plausible.

    • Evan3457

      Gardner, in fact, was nearly picked off with Nelson batting.

      I agree with him not running with Overbay up. In that park, Overbay is a legit threat to hit one out. And if he felt he couldn’t get a good jump, then he shouldn’t run.

  • your mom

    “I’m guessing that one will feature a few more runs than this one.”

    Probably more runs for the home team. The good guys, not so much.

  • Mark

    I love that Austin Romine is never allowed to start since he got blamed for that awful Andy start vs Houston. Give the guy a chance, he can’t be any worse than the hitters in the lineup tonight.

    I’m sure he will be given the start tomorrow since Phelps isn’t a veteran. If he wasn’t going to play him, they should have just let him stay in SWB, and called up Bobby Wilson instead.

    • forensic

      I have no expectation of him becoming much of a major league hitter, though maybe he’ll be an ok defensive catcher.

      That being said, he certainly should be playing more than he is right now. Especially considering he’s much more of the future of the organization than Stewart is and he’s out of options after this season.

      • WhittakerWalt

        He couldn’t really be worse than Ben Francisco, right?

        • forensic

          At this point I’m not even sure if any of us could be worse than Ben Francisco.

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

    I think we’re just about reaching that inevitable point, and we all knew it would come, when the team would start slumping.

    The good news is that we had a great April which is what everybody said we needed.

    The bad news is that none of our major injured players are back yet.

    Let’s see if we can still hover near the top of the division by the time they return.

  • LK

    At some point even RHP are going to start throwing lefty against them.

  • GreenArm

    OT a bit, but i will say it was refreshing to come back and check here after getting home from watching a fantastic Knicks win (sorry, had to throw it in), and see that there weren’t awful/unfunny/etc jokes about Happ. that video is horrific and i hope dude is ok, especially as a person, before even thinking of baseball again.
    *and you all know the type of folks i mean. don’t even remotely mean this as an attack on any of the regulars or not so regulars. they all know better. (i was shocked that even deadspin made a more lowkey post, and those comments, at least when i last looked, were good in the ways you’d hope.

    am i wrong to wish that colorado had zero professional sports teams.? i get the obvious reasons of why they have them, but every major american sport has to play a weird modified game, or deal with players that physically can’t play up there. some of my least fun games to watch, in any sport. (yeah i’m including you broncos) *ducks *hope no one is behind me to stab in back
    this game: i didn’t get to watch a ton. but kuroda looked great. not fantastic, but pretty damm great. and a mistake to a fantastic hitter such as cargo is honestly, fine. dare i even say, bound to happen? he could have a field day im the next game. bit hopefully so will we!

    and i’ve completely lost my train of thought. still so excited from that basketball win! i’m sure i had many more VERY smart things to say, or at least a good joke but alas. my bed is calling.

    • GreenArm

      oof and to make my clusterF of a post, i didn’t even space it well, so it just looks like 2 big blobs of text, with a mini one below. eh, next time, next time.

    • Dalek Jeter

      I get what you mean about the JA Happ thing and the lack of jokes. Especially with what I’ve come to expect from the internet as a whole, I’m happy that that not even a troll dropped in with something horrible to say. I just happen to be watching MLBn waiting for the game to start when it happened. I’ve never seen a play like that happen live before, and it was terrifying.

      • GreenArm

        yep figured i’d see at least a few nasty troll posts. unless i missed it, zero.

        and yeah man. really scary. i’m curious to see what the medical reports say when info comes out tmrw.

      • Get Phelps Up

        Yeah, I turned it on right when he was being lifted into the cart. It was really scary. Just not something you expect to see when you turn on a baseball game.

  • Bronx Bombers

    what we need to do is let some of these kids so what they’re made of. the time has come, we made it through april with the senior citizens and now it’s time for some youth. wells is so done. i cant sit here and watch a team full of has beens play every day. i mean francisco……smh man

    • Robinson Tilapia

      Like who?

    • LarryM Fl

      I do not believe Wells is done. He is just resting or regressing for the time being.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    When you’re penciling in Chris Nelson, Jayson Nix, Chris Stewart, and Ben Francisco in to your lineup, something is wrong with the way your roster is composed at that moment.

    • trr

      Yes, of course….we knew this was going to be a bumpy ride in the first half, and that we’d have games like this. Guess what? probably gonna have a few more, too….

  • placetotoplace

    Now that Vernon Wells has crashed back to Earth, the lineup is basically Robinson Cano and a bunch of guys who might start for Triple-A Scranton. I guess we should cut Brett Gardner and Travis Hafner some slack, but neither started this game because matchups!!! and rules say the Yankees can’t use a DH against the Rockies, respectively. The offense put up very little fight on Monday.

  • placetotoplace

    Now that Vernon Wells has crashed back to Earth, the lineup is basically Robinson Cano and a bunch of guys who might start for Triple-A Scranton. I guess we should cut Brett Gardner and Travis Hafner some slack, but neither started this game because matchups!!! and rules say the Yankees can’t use a DH against the Rockies, respectively. The offense put up very little fight on Monday.

  • LarryM Fl

    Gardner did not play because of match-ups. Now this is a funny comment. The team was improved by him sitting, really. I can remember Yankee teams putting out the same starting nine against lefties and righties. We know Hafner can not play the field. But if you are waiting for Ben Francisco to pick up the club against lefties and sitting Gardner, forget about it. The lineup needs a blood transfusion which is not on its way.
    I got a kick out of the Colorado TV announcers describe the Yankee lineup. I thought the ghosts of Yankee stars would assist the present day lineup just by the mere fact of a human body wearing the Yankee uniform. Unfortunately the Mick and the Babe missed this game.
    As far as Romine is concerned. No player can improve or learn by sitting on the bench. Eventually Girardi will have to eat his pencil, toss the binder and allow Romine to play. I know the objective is to win as many as possible so a race is feasible when the big boys come back. Oh well, I’ll park my a$$ in front of the TV in man cave as my wife calls it and hope for the lefty lineup. Maybe Boesch will play instead of Wells because of the righty pitcher for Colorado and I can see one handed pop ups from the slick fielding Boesch.

  • Bad Idea Jeans

    “Francisco’s on the roster, so I figured I might as well bat him fifth.”

  • mt

    Saw a stat that even though our batting performance against LHP has been atrocious so far we actually we 8-3 or so against lefty pitchers before yesterday’s loss – we have been eking out close wins. Alternatively against rigthies we have hit well but were 10-9 against righty starters – go figure!

    I am happy that we are 18-13 at this point but the danger zone is next two to three weeks – tough road trip against Colorado (where we can’t use DH) and then two teams playing well recently; then Seattle at home(Hernandez always a challenge and Iwakuma has been pitching lights outs); then division games againt Jays, O’s, Rays and Sox and the Mets who I am sure can feel they have a better line-up than we do right now and (“unhittable”) Matt Harvey will pitch one of the games. Of those teams Jays might be best opportunity for us; I hope Jays are still struggling when we play them although they have gutted out 2 pretty good come-from behind wins the last 2 nights and who knows whether that shakes them out of their funk.

    The other headline is that players coming back to ML roster will still be going through a process even after they return – I guess for offense the first reinforcements are Youkilis and Grandy (I don’t count Nunez and so far Robertson/Chamberlain loss on pitching side has not been as much of an issue especially since Robertson supposedly OK now) – so question is what will Youkilis , Grandy and Tex be like when they come back – Grandy and Tex have has not faced good, live game major league pitching yet this year (Tex’s brief spring training doesn’t count; pitchers should be much better than they were when he last faced them in March). Also Youkilis (back) and Tex (wrist) are great candidates for nagging injuries that linger.

    If we had a relatively full team with a couple of key injuries, then we could feel more optimistic about an 18-13 start; with this curent depleted line-up would it be that surprising if we went on a 3-13 run or something like that at any moment?

    • trr

      It’s not outside of the realm of possibility…personally, I’m hoping Cano can carry the team a bit, and we get just enough from some of the fill ins to get by. I think Hafner should get more AB’s against lefty pitchers. If we can get to the A/S break at .500 we’ll be in it, given the lack of a dominant team in the AL East.

  • Eddard

    I do think people overreact after a loss like this. Every time we’ve thought this club would fade away they’ve went on a good streak. I thought they’d only take 1/3 in Colorado anyway. 2/3 in KC and 1/2 in Cleveland would get us to 4-4 and then the reinforcements start trickling in. Better matchup tonight for out hitters, Phelps needs to limit the damage.

  • Mike HC

    When I first saw what last nights lineup was going to be, I laughed, and then I cried.

  • CS Yankee

    FWIW, I was at the game last night in the club level (just a few rows from the weather)…

    1) It rained a good clip from the third on…Upper deck seating was told to leave their seats due to lightning in the area…mass amounts of diamond dry were used…Grit couldn’t get a lead once the SP left (crazy he didn’t start)…much harder to run in the muck with a pitcher that wants to hold you close.

    2) Jorge is a solid pitcher despite what was written up in the Upcoming series Preview and the RAB comments. His last outing against the LAD blew his ERA up, but he was real solid the previous three outings.

    3) Losing 3-of-4 isn’t the end all, but they beyond suck against a lefties…Overbay shouldn’t be allowed out of the dugout with a LHP, Fransisco playing over Grit is beyond stupid, having to use Pronk in the 8th when the Rox 8th inning guy is a lefty with a wicked slider is poor planing by binder boy.

    4) Every Rox fan around was glad to see Nelson go, he is a poor fielder (Musty like) and will only hit an occansional liner to RF. Their last three 3B have sucked (Nelson, Mesa & Ian Stewart), they are really psyched about the new kid. Nix gets respect as he can field anywhere but he seemed cautious at SS last night.

    5) Cargo dinger was no surprise as he was on Kuroda the whole at-bat, four two out hits was his weakness of the night.

    6) Thought Joe folded the tent bringing Kelly out in the eight, but it worked.

    7) Couldn’t believe that Betancourt went after Cano in the ninth…thought he would pitch around the tying run.

    Francis, whose heater maxes at like 84 is in thursday afternoon game, might be his last shot to win a game this year (hope not).

  • Giuseppe

    Thanks for the new name Mike. Brett “the anchor” Gardner!