Chien-Ming Wang had a rough first inning. His pitches were up, his control was off and the Angels scored three runs. He was terrific over the next seven innings. The Angels didn’t score again, but wouldn’t ya know it, they already had more than enough to beat the Yanks, 3-1. Kelvim Escobar, and then the dynamic duo of Shields and Rodriguez were in fine form, the Yankee offense left 758 runners on base, and New York finished the day 11.5 behind Boston, who won again.
The Bombers staged a two-out rally in the ninth but Bobby Abreu struck out looking to end the game. The final pitch was not close to a strike, but the Yankees can’t complain about a poor call spoiling the game, although they did anyway. According to Anthony McCarron in the News:
“The sad part about it is that you stand there at home plate and take strike three and it’s in the other batter’s box,” Torre said of home plate umpire Jeff Nelson’s call. “We’d like to at least be able to determine our own fate. There’s no excuse for it and then (Nelson) has the nerve to argue back at Abreu.”
…”I’m not saying (Nelson) cost us the game,” Torre said. “The next pitch, he may have popped up. I’m saying I’d like to have that 27th out. That’s why the game is what it is. I just don’t think it was there for us because he never had a chance to swing at the pitch.
“And I’m not saying we don’t swing at pitches over our heads or in the dirt, okay? I’m not one to go harp on umpires, that’s part of the game, but this just got me because it was the end of the ballgame with two men on base and at least you want to give your hitter a chance to swing at a pitch.”
As frustrating as the ending was–and I came close to throwing and breaking something—the fact of the matter is the Yankees simply did not hit. No excuses, they did not hit. And the Angels did what they do best: beat the Yankees.