Stick A Fork In ‘Em: Yankees all but eliminated from playoff race with 6-2 loss to Blue Jays

Game 153: End of the Trip
Mailbag: McCann, Rule 5 Draft, Ryan, Shortstops

So it turns out a miraculous four-run inning to squeeze out a one-run win against a last place team wasn’t a sign of good things to come. The Yankees followed up Wednesday’s dramatic come-from-behind win with a total dud on Thursday, a 6-2 loss that destroys the already small chance they had of making the postseason.

(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)
(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)

The Binder Fails
I guess it’s pretty fitting the Yankees playoff hopes were effectively killed by their biggest recent player development failure. With a two-run deficit in the seventh inning of the most important game of the season, Joe Girardi inexplicably allowed Joba Chamberlain to pitch to the middle of the Blue Jays lineup. Three batters later, it was a five-run deficit thanks to a mammoth three-run homer by Adam Lind that landed somewhere in Beaverton. The pitch might as well have been on a tee. It was a cookie.

I don’t know if Girardi is naive or oblivious to Joba’s performance or what, but it’s inexplicable he was on the mound in that situation. Not only did he have him start the inning against the heart of the order, but Girardi didn’t even go to a left-hander to face Lind and Colby Rasmus once the first two batters of the inning reached base. Naturally, Cesar Cabral replaced Joba after the homer and struck out the only two lefties he faced. Cabral has now whiffed five of the seven lefty batters he’s faced as a big leaguer. Too bad he didn’t get a chance to fact Lind earlier in the inning. Managers catch a lot of unnecessary grief, but Girardi absolutely failed to put his team in the best position to win the game. No doubt about it.

(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)
(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)

The Wall Is Unforgiving
All things considered, three runs in six innings is a pretty good outing for Hiroki Kuroda. If you watched the game though, you know he was damn lucky to finish the night with a pitching line that good. There were a ton of loud outs and lucky breaks — 1-2-5 double play in the first inning, anyone? — along the way that prevented things from getting out of hand, particularly early in the game. A better offensive team (or the Blue Jays with a healthy Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion) would have done much more damage than three runs in six innings on Thursday.

Kuroda allowed those three runs on eight hits and four walks, and nine of those 12 base-runners came in the first three innings. He’s been having serious trouble early in his starts before settling down in the middle innings lately, and that’s exactly what happened in this game. The wrap-around 9-1-2 portion of Toronto’s lineup did most of the damage against Kuroda, going a combined 6-for-8 with two doubles, one homer, and one walk. Hiroki has now allowed 33 runs (6.37 ERA) and 71 base-runners (1.68 WHIP) in his last seven starts.

Forty-Eight Innings
Remember when the Yankees hit ten homeruns in the four-game series against the Orioles last week? Things were going so well power-wise that Brendan Ryan even hit a homer in the series opener against the Red Sox. The power well dried up after that — the Yankees went 48 innings (!) between that Ryan homer and their next long ball, which Curtis Granderson hit in the sixth inning on Thursday’s game. The solo homer was their first run of the game and their eighth in the last five games. What can you do? Sometimes you just have to tip your cap to great pitchers like Todd Redmond.

(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)
(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty)

The Yankees did mount a spirited but ultimately futile rally in the ninth inning, loading the bases with one out before the dynamic duo of Vernon Wells and Lyle Overbay ended things with a pair of weak ground outs. Wells did drive in a run with his grounder, but who really cares. At least they went down with a fight, I guess. If they’re not going to make the postseason, at least be watchable. That’s all I ask at this point.

Prior to that ninth inning mini-rally, the Yankees had just four hits and one walk in the first eight innings of the game. Robinson Cano and Chris Stewart both doubled, Granderson homered, Alfonso Soriano singled, and Wells walked. That was it for eight innings. Cano singled while A-Rod and Soriano drew walks in the ninth.

The non-Joba portion of the bullpen allowed just one of the seven batters they faced to reach base. Cabral, true to his lefty specialist form, walked the right-handed Moises Sierra. He struck out the two lefties, Matt Daley got a routine fly ball from the only man he faced, and David Phelps got two ground outs and one fly ball in a perfect eighth inning. Too bad Joba screwed it all up.

If you care about such silliness, the loss guarantees the Yankees will not win at least 90 games for only the second time since 2001. They won 89 games in 2008 and will certainly finish with less than that this year.

Box Score, WPA Graph & Standings is the place to go for the box score and video highlights. FanGraphs has some other stats while the updated standings are at ESPN. The Yankees will remain three games back of the second wildcard spot in the loss column, assuming the Rangers hold on to beat the Rays. Cool Standings gives New York a 3.1% chance to make the postseason, and remember, that’s the optimistic system.

Source: FanGraphs

Up Next
After ten games and eleven days on the road, the Yankees are finally coming back to the Bronx. The final homestand of the regular season — and Mariano Rivera‘s career — starts with three games against the defending World Champion Giants this weekend. Former Cy Young Award winners/current back-end starters CC Sabathia and Tim Lincecum kick things off Friday night. Check out RAB Tickets if you want to catch any of the team’s final six home games live.

Game 153: End of the Trip
Mailbag: McCann, Rule 5 Draft, Ryan, Shortstops
  • forensic

    Personally, I’m very glad that Girardi understands that there are still 9 whole games left in this season, and in his Yankee career, and that he can’t just bury Joba in the bullpen and destroy all of his confidence. Thankfully there aren’t any expanded rosters or extra people down there that he could try.

    After all, my fantasy team really needed that homerun.

    • trr

      we’re glad for you….

  • Eddard

    I want Cashman fired.

    I want Girardi fired.

    I want their wives fired from whatever jobs they work at.

    I want their kids kicked out of whatever school they’re going to.

    I want their family pets put to sleep.

    I want ownership to realize how much these two men have failed this season and start fresh in 2014.

    • Pat D

      Calm down, Mr. Capone.

    • Wheels

      performance art?

      • trr

        Performance? Yes
        Art? Hardly

    • Pasqua

      Perspective. You don’t have it.

    • FIPster Doofus

      “I will kill your wife. I will kill your son. I will kill your infant daughter.”-Gus Fring

    • forensic

      Why do people always have to blame the poor, innocent pets???

      • Pat D

        Because I dressed my pet up in a jersey and, dammit all, that’s why they lost!

        Oh, wait, that’s the Giants.

      • Tom

        Because if he didn’t have pets, Romine wouldn’t have run one of them over (which can be the only explanation why Stewart played so much in the 2nd half)

    • nickswishahisastahtingpitchah

      I agree except for the pets… to hell with their wives and children

  • Derbs

    I don’t understand why Betances isn’t pitching at all!

  • Pat D

    It’s all over via the shouting.

  • forensic

    In all seriousness though, I’m so glad we’ll likely have three more years of Girardi around. His actual reason for using Joba was that he has the experience, and has pitched close games in his career. Too bad that was years ago. But he was coming off of two whole scoreless innings in a row (of course he walked two in one of those innings). On the flip side though, that means he’s due to give up runs.

    IMO, his continued obsession with experience (and I think Cashman is in the same class) is really what’s going to hurt this team given everything going on around them. Lowering their payroll will likely limit them to two groups of players, young and unproven (thus inexperienced) or old and on their last legs (thus experienced). Not that it’s a surprise given what we’ve already seen from them, but it’s pretty clear which one they’ll put their preference in, putting the future of the team further on the back-burner and pushing off a potential rebuild or restocking of the organization.

    What a pitiful series. Guess that mid-80’s total of wins many of us expected around the halfway point in the season is looking pretty good right now. Boy are they lucky they outplayed their run differential so much earlier in the season. Just think of where their record would be now given their -20 run diff. They’re 25 runs behind the Angels, who are still 4 games under .500 even after playing a little better of late.


    • Tom

      And to strengthen your point on obsession with experience I think he said he didn’t bring in Cabral for Lind because he wasn’t sure what he would get.

      Which makes one wonder… why even have him warming up then? (I guess Girardi was anticipating a low leverage situation after Joba blew it open?)

  • Patrick

    Fuck Girardi.

    He gave away any chance the Yankee’s had when he brought Joba in.

    Any idiot could see that was a bad move.

    And then he brought Phelps in in the 8th after the damage was done?
    Phelps should have been in Joba’s slot.

    FUCK Girardi. Get him out of here!

  • HateMclouth (formerly I’mVernon)

    The beginning of the end…

    • Cuso

      The beginning?

    • miguel1955

      Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.

      Winston Churchill

      • HateMclouth (formerly I’mVernon)

        I love Churchill, but you can’t deny this is pretty much the end of our amazing run dating back to ’95. Unless Cash works has a miraculous offseason.

  • Kramerica Industries

    Depressing title, but can’t exactly blame Mike for it. They’ve done this to themselves.

    Losing record in Toronto this year despite the overall horrendousness of that team. What an enormous disappointment. Four straight years of losing records at the SkyDome.

  • Darren

    I actually respect Girardi’s decision to stick with Joba. No trolling. I think he was desperate for Joba to recapture his old form, and he was putting his trust in a player he’s managed for his entire career. It’s easy for everyone sitting at home to freak out that he didn’t put in Cabral, but remember Cabral literally has 1.2 innings of experience in his career.

    The trust was misplaced, but I understand the decision. This isn’t stratomatic

    • Rolling Doughnut

      No. Joba should not have started the inning and certainly had no business facing Lind. Trust is a piss-poor reason for using him.

    • WhittakerWalt

      It isn’t strat-o-matic,no, but nothing will make this a good decision. Joba has been flat AWFUL all year. He’s a bad baseball pitcher. Gut feelings aren’t going to change that.
      This is not a second guess. EVERYBODY knew it was a bad decision.

      • forensic

        EVERYBODY knew it was a bad decision.

        Even John Flaherty thought it was a bad decision with a struggling pitcher, and he’s never said a bad thing about any decision or player in history.

        That tells you all you need to know.

        • WhittakerWalt

          “Joba has struggled a little bit of late”

  • Matt DiBari

    I wanted Joba cut a month ago.

    Luckily, we kept him for the “depth” he provides. Not just anyone can be the third string long reliever, you see. And we got to see hi in four close games in a pennant race! Isn’t that exciting?

  • whitey

    Wasn’t the end here when Gardner went down? I’m not saying, but…..

  • Kenny

    Good thing there’s Mo to look forward to. 6 home games left. Get out to one if you can, because it will be even more emotional now that the end is officially near.

    • Matt DiBari

      I’m going to two. That’s fun.

  • ProjectNeo

    God I hate Joba “The White Flag” Chamberlain, how he stayed on this team all season I will never understand. Every time he came in you knew it was over, what does he have on Cashman? I mean that’s the only explanation I can think of, he must have seen him burying a body or something.

  • W.B. Mason Williams

    Well, let’s begin the rebuilding process. MLB rules have increasingly been modified to stack against big spenders like the Yankees, and it’s now starting to come to fruition. There will be more parity across the league as teams are forced to buttonhole their operations despite their various market advantages and weaknesses.

    And you know what? I’d take it. Fine. That’s all well and good, as long as you end revenue sharing at the same time.

    Let the franchises with pathetic fanbases die. The fewer the merrier.

    Fair’s fair.

  • Hank

    I like how the “dynamic duo of Vernon Wells and Lyle Overbay” are both former Blue Jays who were too crappy to play for the now last place team, but now that they are older and even crappier, they get to play for the supposedly world class New York Yankees.

    • ialien

      neither of them were supposed to be season long solutions. Tex & granderson’s injuries messed everything up.

  • The Real Greg

    I agree it was a dumb decision. I don’t know why he did it. He should be scolded for it.

    But he still should be commended for this season. He took a team with a AAA roster to a winning record. Which of course means all of you want him fired.

    • mustang(The Has Beens & Wannabes Bunch 2013)

      I totally understand what you’re saying and I agree with you, but this move was so stupid that I wouldn’t disagree if they let him go.

    • Need Pitching & Hitting & Defense & Baserunning

      How many games did Girardi win?

      • forensic

        95, unfortunately all those pesky AAA players took 15 of them away already.

    • mustang(The Has Beens & Wannabes Bunch 2013)

      I can argue that there was more justification for Grady Little to leave Pedro Martinez in game 7 of 2003 ALCS then there was to bring in Joba in that situation tonight.
      That’s how bad of a decision it was.

  • mustang(The Has Beens & Wannabes Bunch 2013)

    It’s disheartening as a fan to watch this man make a decision that is totally and completely wrong. I’m just a fan and I will never have the ability or knowledge to be a MLB manager, but I dare anyone to justify the Joba move with the information at hand.
    I can deal with losing, but losing on pure stupidity is something I could never deal with.

    • The Real Greg

      As you know I am a staunch Girardi defender because he has a family, he’s won a ring with the Yankees and he’s a good guy.

      But you can’t defend that decision. It was dumb. I hope he got grilled for it.

      • WhittakerWalt

        Oh, of course. He has a family.

      • FIPster Doofus

        I like him, but what does his family have to do with anything?

  • ialien

    shoulda sold at the deadline. once the 189m cap became dogma, the team shoulda been rebuilding not chasing playoffs.

    now what? pay 150 million to a guy that can’t spell hustle?

    • The Real Greg

      But to be honest, if they sold at the deadline, who would they have sold? Kuroda had a no-trade clause, and I don’t think they would have gotten much for Cano.

      • ialien

        shoulda sold arod, tex, CC, hughes & Joba to the mets for harvey.

        but you make a good point. there isnt much value left when the biggest contracts on the team are all hurt. my point is more that the team has been putting off rebuilding too long, & buying at the deadline didn’t help except to make august exciting.

        the problem started in the offseason when home run hitters were allowed to leave & the 189m cap resulted in the yanks going after has-beens to fill in slots.

        • forensic

          shoulda sold arod, tex, CC, hughes & Joba to the mets for harvey.

          Even with the injury, why would the Mets have done anything except laugh their asses off at that offer?

          • ialien

            good illustration how out-of-their-prime the yanks biggest contracts are. think of that trade when those players were ballin…

          • trr


      • nickswishahisastahtingpitchah

        Cano is a middle of the order middle infield bat who plays gg defense. I know he has only months left on his contract but I’m sure a contender could use a hall of fame talent for a playoff run. Also, Kuroda doesn’t have a ntc… the REAL Greg would know that

        • BFDeal

          No NTC? Where the hell have you been?

        • YankeeTX

          Cano would not be available for post-season rosters.

  • The Real Greg

    Its just a crappy organization led by a crappy front office and yes I mean both owner and GM.

    • forensic

      Girardi should buy the team and be Owner/GM/Manager/Player.

      After all, he has a family, obviously he’d be great at it and we’d have to support him.

      • WhittakerWalt


  • Kenny

    Rivera Avenue Blues, anyone?

  • 461deep

    Girardi can burn that binder now and break out a illuminatinf crystal ball for the last 9 games. Aside from yesterday’s nice 8th inning rally allowed by Gibbons placing trust in his chopped meat non closing relievers, the Yankees big hitters have gone mostly cold save a hit or two. Alex may be hurting badly since he has stopped hitting but did give Sterling a Senior moment on his it is far but but oh sorry gaffe.
    Team still pantinng but the air is being hogged by 5 stronger pups in front of them.

  • OldYanksFan

    h/t WasWatching

    Jeff Quagliata @yestoresearch
    Kuroda now 1-7, 6.18 ERA in 9 starts vs. AL East on the road this season.
    about 2 hours ago

    • Pat D

      I question the validity of anything that site posts.

  • mustang(The Has Beens & Wannabes Bunch 2013)

    “[kisses Girardi ] I know it was you Girardi . You broke my heart. You broke my heart!”

    Now who is taking Joe fishing?

  • ialien

    IM mot sure what to say about girardi. he won manager of the year with the marlins. Then this season, he kept a crap team motivated through the tough stretches & positioned them for a shot at the playoffs. Both of those facts are fairly outstanding.

    I dont like his binder obsession & his slick spin during pressers. But they guy deserves credit for keeping this team in the race all the way up to here.

  • FMB2345

    The comment from the close is a little off base calling Sabathia and Lincecum back of the end starters. Sabathia has lived up to that with a 6.10 ERA 1.60 WHIP and 7.11 K/9 his last ten starts (4-5 record, 4-6 team record). However Lincecum has rebounded and been decent in his last ten with a 3.09 ERA 1.22 WHIP 7.59 K/9 with a 5-3 record (6-4 Team record).

  • Delbert Grady

    Personally, I hope Girardi gets that Cubs offer that his media friends always talk about and Cashman gets that Seattle/Philly offer he’s always supposedly debating taking after the season.

    If Girardi goes to Chicago and they ever start winning Theo will get all the credit for it and Girardi will be seen as his puppet.

    As for Cashman, I don’t think there’s a team in the league who would hire him other than the Yankees. Steve Phillips couldn’t get another front office job and neither will Cashman.

    If Hal wants the easiest path, it’s to go hire the best GM in the game, pay him boatloads of money and let him work on this roster over the next years. Keeping the current group in place means he’s going to have to do a lot of explaining when they struggle while trying to reset the tax.

    They need a clean sweep. Cashman and Girardi need to go and they can take Joba, Hughes, Pineda and the killer b’s with them.

    • WhittakerWalt

      Steve Phillips has nothing in common with Cashman. One presided over 4 WS teams. The other drafted Jason Tyner.

      • Delbert Grady

        Steve Phillips has more in common with Cashman than you’ll ever know.

        As for Cashman’s 4 titles, they weren’t built on his moves. They were built on what Watson and Stick set up here before the beleaguered sad sack got the GM nod because George knew he could talk down to him and he’d take it.

        Cashman who was given “autonomy” in 2005 is one of the worst GM’s out there when it comes to development/drafting. They won a title in 2009 because they went against Cashman’s better “judgment” and opened the checkbook.

        All he’s done is poo poo the free agent signings and talk about the potential of his system that yields nothing.

        The Yankees need a new voice/mind as GM and in the dugout. Bringing this group back because the owner is buying the “injury” excuse is wrong.

        • WhittakerWalt

          That must suck to be the GM for 4 WS teams and have had literally nothing to do with any of it. To have had all that success but only be responsible for the time we didn’t make the playoffs.

          You know more than me, though. So I won’t argue.

          • BFDeal


  • YankeeTX

    I don’t have a major problem with Girardi. Injuries decimated the roster and he had to manage with one hand tied behind his back some times. We complain that he continued to play the “over-the-hill” gang, but he did try to play younger players and they …… a.) got injured b.) under performed. c.)got re-injured.

    I don’t like the fact that he didn’t take advantage of expanded rosters. (Betances ?) We didn’t bring everyone up that we could, but the organization certainly wasn’t going to plunder AA talent when they were the only affiliate in the entire organization that was competing for a title.

    A little bit like Torre he will play veterans if he has them available. Some of theses players on the roster were in the league when Girardi was still playing so he probably feels a little bit of some weird type of allegiance to them.

    When you are a boss and you are concerned about having too many employee hours you don’t change their out-times because you can’t always control that. Instead you change their in-times because you CAN control that.

    If we get rid of some of his old broken down toys, and don’t get him (m)any more, then he can’t play with them. I know some will be on the roster next year regardless, but we can hope some will be repaired, and others will be suspended.

    Play the kids and get under for all the savings so we can raid the FA market in 2015, with the kids being closer to ready to contribute. Just don’t do some in between strategy that delays the inevitable. I can live with not making the playoffs again if we can be truly competitive later.

  • YankeeTX

    For those of you hell bent on replacing Cashman or Girardi or both ….. Who do you propose to replace them with exactly ?????

    • Vegas

      Bean and Giambi

  • Adam

    Good for Girardi. At least he has the common sense to put this team out of its misery.

  • vicki

    going gentle after all.

    • Kosmo

      Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

  • Pasquale Sabatini

    Luis Sojo!

  • LarryM Fl

    “Dead team walking,” there is much work to be done in the off season which officially started after last night’s game unofficially.

  • OldYanksFan

    People are pissing and moaning waaaaaaaaaaaay too much.
    Take Detroit, Boston, Oakland, TB or any team you like.

    Now, take their #2 hitter out of the lineup for the entire year.
    Now, take their #4 hitter out of the lineup for 2/3rds of the season.
    Now, take their #5 hitter out of the lineup for the entire year.
    Now, take their #6 hitter out of the lineup for 2/3rds of the season.
    Now, take their Catcher out of the lineup for most of the year.
    Now, take 1/2 their DH platoon out of the lineup for 1/2 the year.
    Now, take their 3Bman/1Bman/DH out of the lineup for most of the year.
    That’s Jeter, ARod, Teix, Grandy, Kazoo, Hafner and Youk.

    And if you like, you can take their best SP and turn him into shit.
    Now add assosrted 2 and 3 week injuries to their CF, #3 SP, and various others.

    How do they do?
    Do they go 69-93 like the 2011 Red Sox?
    Do ANY of them finish over .500?

    Yeah… I know the team is old. They should have DFA’ed Mariano, Andy and ARod after the 1st game. Older players ALWAYS suck. And then they add a shitty 37 year old at the deadline. Players OVER 36 ALWAYS suck! Just look how old man Ortiz has killed the Sox this year.

    Stop the Girardi and Cashman hate.
    Every season, shit happens to some teams.
    One team always get decimated by injuries.
    Maybe even as badly as the 2013 Yankees.

    Given the circumstances, this Yankee team has well outperformed anyone’s expectations. I only wish the 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012 teams did as much with their on-the-field talent.

    Stop complaining girls… as give these guys, especially Girardi, the credit they deserve.

    And lastly, for SEVENTEEN years, the Yankees have averaged the WORST Draft picks in MLB. Now throw in additional lost picks for signing FAs. They should easily have the worst farm in Baseball, right?
    And yet, their Farm is in the top half, sometimes bordering in the top third.

    Is that really THAT bad?

    • Rolling Doughnut

      I am not a Girardi hater but he has mismanaged the pen somewhat. Then there’s the occasional weird inexplicable PH (or lack thereof) moves. There was really no excuse for last night’s boner though. Why expand the roster at all if you’re not going to use any of the added players?

      But even if the regs had not been injured, the Yanks would not have been stellar. They would have been better obviously, but no great shakes either.

      Jeter is old and with limited range regardless of injury and it would have been unlikely his repeating the 2d half 2012 offensive burst. ARod and his PED induced crumbling body are in serious decline. Teix has been declining for several years now, ever since he joined the Yankees. Grandy has pop but strikes out way too much.Kazoo, Hafner and Youk? You must be kidding. They are done. And Gazoo? With his lifetime .319 wOBA and 93 wrc+ ain’t rockin the Casbh. He has had only one year above 100 wrc+ (aside from this year’s SSS).

      They need fresh eyes on the problem, either that or start throwing money around.

    • Bubba

      No, but it’s much more fun to whine like little girls who didn’t get a pony for their birthday.

      The Yankees do need to make some changes to their organization, but I don’t think they involve the GM or the manager.

  • fred robbins

    was the game fixed? It’s hard to think that a 4th place team vs a last place team would have the bookies going for such a game, but what other reason could there be for putting in Joba. It reminds me in some ways of that game 7 Vs Arizona– I still have no idea why the infield was so far in because that little pop up barely hit the outfield grass behind shortstop. Even on the countless reruns, you watch that game end and it’s still maddening– at least to me..
    have a nice hot stove league everyone

  • Bobby Two Knives

    Fri – pitiful
    Sat – pitiful
    Sun – pitiful
    Mon – day of rest
    Tues – “maybe tired from long season” – even more pitiful
    Wed – so close to pitiful
    Thu – no pity left; embarrased; sad; angry; How else can they lose?
    Fri – we will see new ways to be pitiful

  • Michael

    Excellent piece. Worst managerial decision by Girardi in memory, kind of like baseball S and M, almost as if he wanted all Yankee fans to suffer. Excellent manager, but Joba Chamberlain should not pitch anymore for the Yankees at all and everyone, including Joe Girardi, knows that.

    • Kosmo

      This season Girardi has made his fair share of bonehead decisions and headscratching moves.

    • Vern Sneaker

      I guess every manager has his “worst move in history” moment. That [non]-move’s got to Girardi’s. Incomprehensible.

  • Captain

    the decline of the posts and comments on this site will not be pretty.

    • Pat D

      What do you mean “will be?”

      • trr

        The final death knells of a season are never pretty.

        I’m OK with everybody venting. As for me, I’ll spare you all…

        I’m not sure this can even be called a disappointing season given everything that’s happened. We just didn’t have the horses this year.