The Yankees really had a chance to do some damage this week. Coming off of a promising two-game sweep of the then-first place Tampa Bay Rays, the Yanks had four games against two fifth place teams. The future seemed bright and promising.
Well, here we are four days later, and the Yanks managed to go an utterly unimpressive 1-3 against the Pittsburgh Pirates and Toronto Blue Jays. The now-second place Rays haven’t won in seven games, and the Yanks find themselves 5.5 games behind Tampa in the Wild Card race and six behind Boston for the division. The Yanks have managed to gain just two measly games on Tampa and lose two to Boston over their last 10 days. That, folks, is dropping the ball.
Today, Andy Pettitte drew the short straw. Number 46 threw a decent enough game. He ran into one spot of trouble in the second when Marco Scutaro delivered his 34th career home run. The Blue Jays wouldn’t need anymore offense, and the Yanks lost 4-1, their lone run coming on Jason Giambi‘s 19th home run, tying him with A-Rod for the team lead at the break.
After the game, no one was too happy about the outcome, and with the extra off-day on Thursday, the team will have four days to stew this one over. “We stink right now, for the most part. As a team, we’ve kind of stunk it up here lately and we’ve got to play better,” Pettitte said to reporters after the game.
As PeteAbe noted, Pettitte’s comments were right on the money. Per the Journal-News’ beatwriter, 25 of the Yanks’ 32 plate appearances were three pitchers or fewer. The Yanks didn’t even bother to try to work the count facing a pitcher throwing on three day’s rest.
Now, the Yanks head into the break facing a lot of questions and with no answers. They still don’t know if they’re buyers or sellers; they still don’t know if they’re legitimate playoff contenders or a just a collection of overpaid and underperforming aging baseball players. We’re heading some alarming trade rumors that would address a need — middle relief — that has been one of the team’s lone bright spots these days.
The Yanks are directionless, and they collectively have a few days to forget about baseball. Other than Derek Jeter, A-Rod and Mariano Rivera, the Bombers will scatter home for the next four days. When they come back, the team could look different or they could go through the motions for the rest of the month and sell off whatever spare parts other teams want on July 31st. We’ve still got a long way to go before the season ends, but that +24 run differential suggests a team not bound for October baseball quite yet.
I had to write that title out just to see how completely ridiculous it was.
Triple-A Scranton (8-4 win over Columbus in 11 innings)
Alberto Gonzalez & Ben Broussard: both 0 for 5 – The Former Attorney General drew a walk, scored a run & K’ed thrice … Broussard K’ed once
Eric Duncan: 2 for 5, 2 R, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, 1 SB - you tease
Matt Carson & Chris Stewart: both 0 for 4, 1 BB – Carson K’ed thrice … Stewart scored a run & K’ed
Juan Miranda: 2 for 5, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K
Jason Lane: 1 for 4, 1 R, 1 2B, 1 BB, 1 K
JD Closser: 1 for 3, 2 R, 2 BB
Nick Green: 1 for 5, 1 R, 1 HR, 4 RBI, 2 K – I wasn’t joking, he won the game with a salami in the 11th
IPK: 5 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 3 BB, 6 K, 2 HB, 6-3 GB/FB – 61 of 92 pitches were strikes (66.3%) … meh
Steven Jackson: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K – 20 of 32 pitches were strikes (62.5%)
Al Aceves: 1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 2 K – The Mexican Gangster came out of the pen on his throw day because Scranton’s pen was short, and they ended up going to extras anyway
Heath Phillips: 2 IP, zeroes, 2 K
Scott Strickland: 1 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 0 K – gave up back-to-back solo homers with 2 outs in the bottom of the 11th … he’d given up 2 hits total in his previous 11 IP
They both steal every chance they get! I couldn’t resist.
Last year at the break, the Yanks were 43-43, 9.5 GB of the division lead and 8 back of the Wildcard. This year heading into the break, they’ll be no worse than 50-45, 6.5 GB in the division and 6 back for the Wildcard. The season is a long ways from over folks.
1. Jeter, SS
2. Abreu, RF
3. A-Rod, 3B
4. Giambi, DH
5. Posada, C
6. Cano, 2B
7. Melky, CF
8. Betemit, 1B
9. Gardner, CF
On the mound, the undisputed staff ace, Andy Pettitte.
Note: The rotation after the break wil be Moose, Joba, Pettitte, Ponson Rasner … the team will wear black arm bands the rest of the season in memory of Bobby Murcer … the Futures Game is on ESPN2 right now, so grab a grab a glimpse of Jesus Montero …
Michael Ashmore sat down with Bruney Bruney during the righty’s rehab stint in Trenton, and while player interviews generally don’t yield much other than stock quotes, Ashmore teased some interesting info out of Bruney. The Lisfranc injury sufferer talks about his mentality coming back from an injury, his trek through the minors and his time meeting the kids. Check it out. Bruney sounds like one of the good guys. · (20) ·
Not a whole lot to talk about in the pregame. Commenter E-ROC brought up an interesting point about Richie Sexson: He has far better numbers on the road than at home. That’s a .875 OPS on the road, and a 1.045 OPS against lefties. His strikeout rate against lefties is also far better, about once ever 5.5 plate appearances, while he’s striking out once ever 3.5 plate appearances against righties. Given all this, and further given our horribly misaligned roster, I think we should give him a shot.
Oh, forgot to mention this. We have a few tickets up for sale for the Futures game tomorrow. There’s a single seat, and then either two sets of two or one set of four. If anyone is serious about this, hit me with an email and I’ll get you in contact with the proper person.
Other than that, there’s not much to say. Score runs. That’s it.
And on the mound, number forty-three, Darrel Rasner.
You knew this one was coming: The Yanks are having internal discussion on whether or not to pursue Richie Sexson, reports Tyler Kepner. Sexson was recently released by the Mariners because of his .218/.315/.381 season line, but on the Yankees, that would make him a number six hitter. (And, yes, I know he’s hit lefties well this season, but we’re talking 61 ABs. That’s hardly an appropriate sample size.) · (29) ·
Let’s wrap this one up, bullet-point style:
- The Yankees hit .071 with a .161 OBP and a .107 slugging percentage tonight. That won’t win ballgames. Or lead to runs.
- Roy Halladay is a very good pitcher.
- Joba Chamberlain is also a very good pitcher.
- Wilson Betemit is not particularly good at fielding. Or hitting right now. But then again, no one on the Yankees is.
- Billy Traber is not a very good pitcher by any stretch of the imagination.
- When Roy Halladay and Joba Chamberlain combine for 15.2 innings and 17 strike outs, baseball games will not last very long.
- The Yankees should really win on nights when the Rays and Red Sox lose. That’s two in a row now that the Rays have lost, and two in a row that the Yanks have lost. That 6.5-game deficit won’t lower itself.
The Yankees should really score some runs. Runs would be good. How about some runs?