That was not the way a pitchers’ duel is supposed to unfold. It looked good for a few innings, but by the sixth it had come undone. CC suddenly lost it, paving the way for a seven-run inning. Joba Chamberlain couldn’t bail him out, and that was essentially the game. It led to a split and a season series loss to the Rays.
Biggest Hit: The entire sixth inning
It’s one thing to get beat by a team like the Rays. It’s quite another to get beat by the bottom of their lineup. The top guys set the table, but after striking out Ben Zobrist Sabathia should have had an easy time retiring Rocco Baldelli and Willy Aybar — especially considering how well he had pitched to that point.
It started with a dribbler by Rocco Baldelli. The Yanks got bitten by the poorest of poor luck, an infield single and an RBI. That brought the game to within one, but the game didn’t feel in jeopardy. That ball barely traveled 60 feet. But then Willy Aybar followed it up with a single to tie it.
The next two at-bats were positively inexcusable. Walking the eight and nine hitters, and particularly walking the ninth hitter to bring in a run, is — I’m going to use the word — unacceptable. That’s not something that the ace of a staff does unless something is wrong. I’m not sure if CC was just tired by that point or what, but he was not the same guy who threw the first five innings.
Joba then came in to face B.J. Upton and gave up the biggest WPA swing in the Rays’ favor. He doubled over Granderson’s head, leading to two runs and extending the lead to three. Two batters later Carl Crawford cleared the bases with a single and put this one all but out of reach.
When a team scores just three runs on 13 base runners it suggests missed opportunities. That was exactly the case for the Yankees last night. Entering the bottom of the fifth Marcus Thames‘s homer still represented the game’s only runs. The Yanks added one when Greg Golson doubled and Nick Swisher drove him in, and it looked like they were ready to tack on more.
With just one out in the inning A-Rod walked to load the bases. That gave the Yankees two chances to score, but they couldn’t come through on either. Robinson Cano went 2 for 5 in the game, but that wasn’t one of them. Thames then fell behind 0-2 and ended up striking out on a curveball in the dirt. The Rays would rally the next half inning.
By the bottom of the six the score was 8-3, giving the Yanks little chance of coming back. But they did manage to load the bases with two outs. Mark Teixeira jumped on a first-pitch fastball, and while Michael Kay got a bit excited it only amounted to a long fly out.
Javier Vazquez provided comic relief with his seventh-inning performance with three consecutive plunked batters. Somehow he managed to retire six of the next seven he faced.
That’s all I’ve got.
Box and graph
Yeah, yeah, yeah, we get it.
Boston comes to town for the final three home games of the season. Andy Pettitte and Josh Beckett will go tomorrow night.