Make it five losses in a row, Sox finish off sweep

You know, Sunday night’s game started out so promising. The Yankees scored early, had a nice lead and a rested bullpen, but yet again they couldn’t get out of their own way. Freddy Garcia gave back every run his team scored the very next half inning, and more defensive gaffs cost them runs on the board. The end result was yet another Yankees loss, their fifth in a row.

At least Grandy shows up. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Early Runs …

Like I said, it started out so promising. Mark Teixeira singled in Derek Jeter for a quick first inning run, then Andruw Jones and Curtis Granderson went deep to give the Yankees their first three-run lead in what seems like forever. But, of course, it wouldn’t be a Yankees’ rally these days without an ill-timed bunt attempt. After Andruw led off the second with his dinger, Russell Martin drew a five-pitch walk. That’s when Gardner squared around to bunt, predictably popping it up on the infield and failing to advance the runner. Textbook example of the Yankees again shooting themselves in the foot.

Granderson hit the two-run homer a few batters later, and for all we know Gardner could have grounded into a double play and killed the rally even further. But good grief, I know the Yankees are struggling, but that early in the game you have to see if Jon Lester was willing to work himself into trouble. He sure looked like he was. If you try to force things when you’re struggling, it only gets worse. Stick to what your good at.

… But Freddy Gives Them Back

Oh Freddy. Freddy Freddy Freddy. You pitched so well last month, but lately you’ve shown that if you’re facing anything better than a hacktastic offense, no lead is safe. Tex’s first inning RBI single was answered with a strikeout/passed ball (on Martin, obviously), single, a walk, and a sacrifice fly. The two homers were met with a double, walk, and a three-run Kevin Youkilis homer. Seriously, look at this pitch…

Eighty-eight miles an hour. It gets no worse. That’s even worse than this 3-1, 89 mph meatball from last year. Garcia also served up a solo homerun to David Ortiz in the fifth inning, which effectively gave Boston the lead for good. Sweaty Freddy’s final line was five runs (four earned) in 5.1 IP, coming on six hits and two walks. It was obvious that he was in over his head right from the get-go, the Red Sox batters just weren’t chasing his junk off the plate.

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Late Inning Shenanigans

David Robertson created a little bit of a mess with a pair of walks (one intentional, one not) in the seventh inning, but he got his ground ball, the inning should have been over. But instead, Alex Rodriguez rushed towards third base, failing to first secure the routine ground ball. Through his legs it went, Bill Buckner-style, and Dustin Pedroia came around to score. That was the only run Boston would get the inning, but frankly they should have gotten none. There seemed to be plenty of time for Alex to step on third and first to first for the double play. Again, another defensive miscue cost them a run. We’ve seen plenty of that lately.

HowEVA, the Yankees got that run back a half-inning later when Carl Crawford make a defensive mistake of his own in left. A-Rod hooked a ball down the third base line and Crawford’s bobble give Granderson the extra time he needed to go from first-to-home rather than just first-to-third. But, of course, Joba Chamberlain gave that run right back when he surrendered a solo homer to Jarrod Saltalamacchia in the eighth. It was a total Yankee Stadium cheapie, but they all count the same. That was Boston’s first homerun from a catcher all season. Whenever the Yankees managed to draw close, they gave it right back up. What else is knew.

(AP Photo/Kathy Willens)

Leftovers

Brett Gardner: five steals, six caught stealings this year following the fourth inning pickoff. Like I said a few weeks ago after that baserunning episode in Detroit, just keep running when that happens. Force them to make the play, stopping and getting stuck in a run down is as close to an automatic out as it gets. He really couldn’t be any worse of a base stealer. It’s a shame he can’t use his best tool effectively.

Offensive star of the night was again Granderson, who homered and also drew a walk. Mark Teixeira chipped in two singles, but also popped out on the infield twice. For his sake, I hope the Yankees are paying him by the pop-out. Robinson Cano had a hit and walk, Martin three walks, and Jorge Posada a pinch-hit walk that was met with a standing ovation*. That’s pretty much it. The Yanks had a not terrible performance with men in scoring position (2-for-5), but they still left eight ducks on the pond.

So that’s five losses in the row and nine losses in the last 12 games. It’s ugly, real ugly, but you know what? They could be in first place 48 hours from now. It’s always darkest before the dawn, or something like that.

WPA Graph & Box Score

MLB.com has a box score and video highlights, FanGraphs the rest.

Up Next

Off to the second home in Tampa for a quick two-game set. A.J. Burnett gets the ball against David Price on Monday night. Fun fun fun.

* After pulling himself out of the lineup the night before. Oh to be a True Yankee™.

Soriano unavailable until (at least) Wednesday

Via Brian Costello, Rafael Soriano‘s balky elbow will keep him on the shelf until at least Wednesday. He was unavailable both tonight and last night, and he’ll test it out in a bullpen session tomorrow. The Yankees are already carrying a 13-man pitching staff, they’re probably better off just sticking him on the disabled list and making sure he’s fully healthy before coming back. The guy’s elbow has been cut open twice already, no need to push it.

Charleston hit too many homers again

Make sure you scroll down for tonight’s game thread.

Triple-A Scranton (9-3 loss to Pawtucket)
Chris Dickerson, CF: 0 for 2, 1 R, 2 BB, 1 K – threw a runner out at second
Kevin Russo, 2B & Jesus Montero, DH: both 1 for 3, 1 2B, 1 K – Russo drove in two, Montero walked
Jorge Vazquez, 3B, Brandon Laird, 1B & Jordan Parraz, RF: all 0 for 4 – JoVa and Parraz struck out once, Laird twice
Justin Maxwell, LF: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 HR, 1 RBI, 2 K – threw a runner out at the plate … that’s homer number 13
Gus Molina, C: 1 for 4, 1 R, 2 K
Ramiro Pena, SS: 1 for 3, 1 K, 1 E (fielding)
Andrew Brackman, RHP: 4 IP, 8 H, 7 R, 6 ER, 5 BB, 2 K, 4-5 GB/FB, 1 E (fielding) – 52 of 92 pitches were strikes (56.5%) … 24 BB, 24 K in 35 IP … not good, no not good at all
Eric Wordekemper, RHP: 2 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 2-1 GB/FB – 24 of 32 pitches were strikes (75%)
Andy Sisco, LHP: 1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 2-0 GB/FB – 11 of 14 pitches were strikes (78.6%)
Buddy Carlyle, RHP: 1 IP, zeroes, 1-1 GB/FB – nine of his 11 pitches were strikes

[Read more…]

Posada apologizes for Saturday

Update (8:25pm): The Yankees announced that they’ve accepted Posada’s apology and consider the matter closed. Jorge will not be disciplined. Good to hear, let’s all move on to the important stuff.

Original Post (6:00pm): Jorge Posada apologized to Joe Girardi today, telling reporters that he just “had a bad day.” Posada indicated that he will also speak and apologize to Brian Cashman at some point as well. I’m sure they’ll be accepted. “I think I’ve learned from this,” said Jorge. “It’s not about Jorge Posada, it’s about the team. I let some people down. Everything happens for a reason. You live with your mistakes, you move on.” He also spoke to some teammates before apologizing today, namely Derek Jeter.

Posada, by the way, is not in the lineup tonight. That probably has to do more with Jon Lester (Posada is 4-for-21 off him and hitless in 24 at-bats vs. LHP this year) than all this nonsense though. We might not see him against David Price tomorrow either.

Game 38: Dear Yankees

(AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Cut the crap and win a game. Love, Mike.

Derek Jeter, SS
Curtis Granderson, CF
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Alex Rodriguez, 3B
Robinson Cano, 2B
Nick Swisher, RF
Andruw Jones, DH
Russell Martin, C
Brett Gardner, LF

Freddy Garcia, SP

Boo for another ESPN Sunday Night Game. This one starts a little after 8pm ET, so please try to enjoy. Oh by the way, Rafael Soriano probably isn’t available tonight because his elbow is barking. Again.

Fans Divided

Nope. (AP/Matt Strasen)

This morning, I was talking with the wonderful and amazing Joe Pawlikowski (also known as my boss), and he brought up a very valid point to me: there are only really two fan-related sides to the Jorge Posada story, and they are not at all exclusive to Jorge Posada.

The Yankees (and Yankees fans) have been blessed by players who are consistently great all the time, and have the money to retain these players for, theoretically, as long as they want. The upside is that the team builds a core of players that they can reliably depend on to provide a potent offence. When you’ve got guys who come in every year and tear the snot out of the ball, it’s something you never have to worry about. It’s stress off everyone in the organization’s shoulders. The additional great thing is that you have fans that grow up with these players, building both the team and the player as a brand. As a result, you have a great player who contributes to the team, an easy answer to the question of who plays every year, and a person who the fans adore.

But.

Time is not kind to athletes. Players who perform at extraordinary levels for extended periods of time are expected to, day in and day out, perform at that level. They are expected to be immune to absolutely everything: situations off the field (“Everything sucks in my life right now.”) or the very fact that everyone – yes, even Albert Pujols – slumps. There’s nothing the players or the coaches or anyone can do about that.

A struggling franchise player puts teams into two individual camps, and depending on how long and how public and how dramatic that struggle gets, those camps get more and more divided. Now, correct me if I’m wrong on these two camps:

Camp 1: A franchise player should get special treatment due to how well they’ve performed thus far. This includes (but is not limited to), an extended period of time to work themselves out, a fat contract, and the ability to, effectively, do what they want (within reason).
Camp 2: All players should be treated the same when they struggle, regardless of who they are.

Like I said, these two camps aren’t exclusive to Posada. These are the same groups that have been rallying for (or against) a drop in the lineup to the great and mighty Derek Jeter. These are the same groups that wanted one or five years on Derek’s new contract, five or twenty million dollars. I wonder if these people who fall into either camp took similar stances in regards to Bernie, who ended his career batting 6th, not cleanup. Granted, 6th isn’t the nine-hole, but it was probably still a demotion to him.

I don’t think going either way makes you more or less of a fan (and what a ‘good fan’ and a ‘bad fan’ is might be a post for another day), but I think it’s interesting to see where people fall.  People in camp one look over at people in camp two and say that they can’t stick by the guys who’ve done great and, statistically speaking, are better than their numbers and are ticketed for improvement. People in camp two say that those in camp one are too emotionally attached to these players to do what they think the team needs to do regarding them to improve the team.

Personally, I’m torn up on the matter. On one hand, no one can deny how poorly Posada is doing, even though I think it’s a terrible slump and he’ll figure himself out soon, and moving someone batting an absolute pitiful .165/.272/.349 to the ninth spot isn’t an unreasonable thing to do. MLB 9-hole hitters average .209/.262/.295 (including pitchers!) and have wracked up a thousand strikeouts already (AL only: .246/.310/.360). On the other hand, Jorge Posada is a quintessential New York Yankee, and it doesn’t take a giant leap of faith to see how being moved to ninth could be perceived as an insult, even given the circular lineup that the Yankees use day-in and day-out.

Which side do you fall on? For Jeter? For Posada? And if you fall on different sides for two different players, why?

(Side note: This absolutely terrible team that includes both Posada and Jeter and can’t hit with RISP still leads the AL in runs/game, OBP, and SLG, and is second in walks and OPS+.)