Offense: They may have scored 5.67 runs per game, but I consider that a poor performance against a team that had allowed 6.4 runs per game over their previous 34 contests. What’s more, the Yankees lost two of the four games because they couldn’t scratch out an extra run, losing in extra innings in the opener, then falling 5-4 in the penultimate match.
Hideki Matsui 5 for 13, 2B, 3 RBI, 3 R, 4 BB
Bobby Abreu 4 for 12, 2 R, 3 BB, 4 SB
Derek Jeter 0 for 11, 2 R, 2 BB, 2 K
Jorge Posada 1 for 11, 2B, 2 RBI, R, BB, 2 K
Wilson Betemit 0 for 8, R, BB, 2 K
Robinson Cano 3 for 16, HR, 3 RBI, 2 R, K, 2 GIDP
Melky Cabrera 4 for 17, 3B, 3 RBI, R, SB, CS, GIDP
Andy Phillips 1 for 5, RBI, SacB, K
Shelley Duncan 1 for 4
Jose Molina 1 for 4
Rotation: If you want to find out how the Yankees could drop three of four to a team that was playing .324 ball over it’s last 34 games, look no further than the starting rotation. Outside of Chien-Ming Wang’s outstanding return to form in game two (8 IP, 1 ER, 6 K, 4.00 GB/FB), no starter allowed fewer than five runs or pitched more than six innings, both marks set by Phil Hughes. Mike Mussina was awful, of course, but so was Roger Clemens, who allowed six runs in five innings in the opener. Fittingly, the Yankees won Wang’s game, but lost the other two.
Bullpen: Taking Sean Henn out of the picture, the pen was outstanding, allowing just a solo homer off Edwar Ramirez in 10 1/3 innings. Henn, however, allowed 12 runs in 3 1/3 innings to push his total on the trip to 18 runs in 6 2/3 for a 21.60 ERA. Kyle Farnsworth dominated in his two innings, striking out three of the six batters he faced. Joba pitched just once, striking out one and retiring the side in order on ten pitches (seven strikes). In 2 1/3 innings, Brian Bruney allowed a single and a double, but no runs and no walks (though also no Ks, and that double did plate a runner he inherited from Henn). Mariano Rivera allowed a leadoff double to Magglio Ordoñez in the tenth inning of the opener and needed a spectacular stab of a line drive by Andy Phillips to keep the run from scoring, but he did escape, and Joe Torre deserves credit for twice using Rivera in a tie game on the road on this trip, even if they lost both games because the offense couldn’t score before Torre ran out of quality relievers. In addition to the solo homer by Placido Polanco, Ramirez walked two and struck out two in two innings, but allowed no other hits. Luiz Vizcaino allowed three baserunners in his two scoreless innings of work.
Conclusion: Henn should be on his way to Scranton before game time tonight, so that solves that problem, but the Yankees have had consistently disappointing performances from their starting rotation of late, with Andy Pettitte being the only consistent exception. Hopefully Wang’s performance on Saturday marks a permanent return to form for him, but even having both Pettitte and Wang pitching in top form won’t be enough to get this team into the playoffs. Clemens and Hughes need to step it up, and Torre and Guidry need to find a solution to the Mike Mussina problem. This is paramount as the offense is cooling off a bit, which was to be expected. This is a very talented team, and one that deserves a playoff spot, but it will only go as far as it’s starting rotation can take it.