Well that was … interesting. Wednesday night’s 5-1 loss to the Red Sox featured a starting pitcher ejection, sloppy defense, and a disappearing offense. The trifecta of bad.
WTF Big Mike?!
Yeah, so Michael Pineda made a really dumb decision. Less than two weeks after getting caught with pine tar on his hand — caught by television and the internet and everyone but the umpires and Red Sox — he was caught with pine tar on his neck in the second inning of this game. Unlike the last time, the Red Sox brought it to the ump’s attention, they went out and looked at Pineda, and he was immediately ejected as per the rules. He’s also facing a suspension. He deserves whatever he gets for being dumb enough to use it so blatantly a second time. Spoiler: More on this coming Thursday morning.
Defense? We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Defense
Holy moly what a bad game in the field. Derek Jeter committed two errors — he was only charged with one, the other was ruled a hit for reasons unbeknownst to me — and they led to three runs total. The first went right through his legs and the other was a poor throw that short-hopped Mark Teixeira at first. Brett Gardner looked awkward in his first game in right field, most notably failing to catch a blooper near the wall. I thought it was clear he was uncomfortable running towards the wall from that direction.
Later on, Kelly Johnson threw away a barehander that led to an insurance run in the eighth. Adam Warren chucked a potential 1-6-3 double play ball into the dirt and it short-hopped Jeter, so no outs were recorded. The Yankees were charged with three errors but it could have been about five or six. This was as bad as they’ve looked in the field in a while. The shaky defense contributed to four of Boston’s five runs.
Runs Are Overrated Anyway
Despite the rough start, this game was very winnable. The bullpen did a fine job of keeping it close but the offense never managed to scratch anything together. The Yankees actually had a runner on base in every inning but the second and eighth, yet their only run came when Carlos Beltran (double) and Alfonso Soriano (sac fly) teamed up in the sixth. Otherwise the Yankees stranded runners at second and third in the fifth and a runner at first in the first, third, fourth, seventh, and ninth.
Beltran and Brian Roberts both went 2-for-4 while Brian McCann, Soriano, Gardner, and Johnson had one hit apiece. The Yankees didn’t draw a walk and they struck out a season-high 14 times. Teixeira took a big fat 0-for-4 with four strikeouts and Jeter saw his 11-game hitting streak come to end. This was also the first time he failed to reach base in a game this season. Worst game for the Cap’n this year by far. This looked nothing like the team that scored nine runs and pounded the ball all night on Tuesday.
Parade of Relievers
Because Pineda was ejected so early, Joe Girardi had to run through his bullpen thoroughly. David Phelps threw two innings and 57 pitches (!), Matt Thornton threw 1.1 innings and 25 pitches, Preston Claiborne threw two innings and 32 pitches, and Warren got three outs on ten pitches. They combined to allow three runs (one earned) on six hits and four walks. Phelps was easily the worst of the bunch, walking three and having a hard time putting guys away in general. He has Phil Hughes Disease. Get ahead of everyone 0-2 but struggle to put them away. Shawn Kelley, David Robertson, Dellin Betances, Warren, and probably Thornton are in good shape for tomorrow’s game. Phelps and Claiborne … probably not.
Pineda wasn’t very good before the ejection and he looked very uncomfortable on the mound. He was taking lots of time between pitches and making lots of throws to first. Very fidgety. His body language made it clear he wasn’t comfortable. Pineda allowed two runs on one well-struck ball and a bunch of bloops and bleeders (and a Jeter error) in the first before getting two quick outs in the second. Then he was ejected. Because he was cheating. With pine tar. On his neck.
I was watching on YES, but apparently the ESPN camera caught some members of the coaching staff talking to Pineda in the tunnel at some point. I don’t know if it was before the ejection or after. Either way, Girardi pushed the camera so it couldn’t see down the tunnel. Not a big deal but he’ll probably catch a fine for that. Can’t mess with the networks.
I know it was a weird game because of the ejection and all that, but I thought the YES booth was pretty terrible in this game. Lots of nonsense talk that had nothing to do with the game and more jibber jabber about infield shifts. They were treating it like a blowout even though it was only a four (and temporarily three) run game. Not a good night for the broadcasters.
The Yankees and Red Sox will play the rubber game of this three-game series on Thursday night, when lefties Felix Doubront and CC Sabathia square off. Win that game and tonight will be forgiven.