"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

All Gone Wrong

“It’s my fault. That’s all it is.” —Mariano Rivera

Jason Bay rounds third after his game-tying home run off Mariano Rivera (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)The Yankees lost more than a ballgame last night. They also lost their replacement starting third baseman to a quad injury and may have lost their primary set-up man to an ailing elbow. It wasn’t a good night.

Until the bottom of the ninth, it looked as though the Yankees were going to steal a win. Joba Chamberlain wasn’t sharp. Jon Lester was. Nonetheless, Joba managed to keep his team in the game.

The Red Sox got the leadoff man on in each of the first five innings and got a man to third in all but one inning against Chamberlain, yet they scored just two runs off the Yankee starter. Chamberlain worked out of trouble with the help of double plays, most of them coming off two-seam fastballs, in the first, second, fourth, and fifth innings. In the third he had runners on the corners and one out, but struck out David Ortiz, pitched around Kevin Youkilis (ultimately throwing him an intentional ball four to load the bases), and got J.D. Drew to fly out to the warning track in left to end the threat.

The Red Sox scored in the first when Jacoby Ellsbury led off with a single, moved to second on a balk when Chamberlain failed to come to a discernible stop in his delivery, and scored when Jose Molina came out of his crouch too fast on Ellsbury’s attempted steal of third and let Chamberlain’s pitch sail between his legs.

Surprisingly it was the bottom third of the Yankee order that did the damage against Lester. Melky Cabrera delivered a one-out single in the fourth, Jose Molina followed with a walk, and Cody Ransom shot a game-tying double down the third base line scoring Melky and pushing Molina to third. Molina then scored on a groundout by Derek Jeter to put the Yankees up 2-1.

The Red Sox tied it up against Chamberlain in the sixth, ironically the only inning in which Joba didn’t allow the leadoff man to reach base. With one out, Mike Lowell doubled off the Green Monster, Jason Varitek singled him to third, and Nick Green singled him home, driving Chamberlain from the game.

Phil Coke and Jonathan Albaladejo locked things down from there while the Yankees scored a pair of runs off Hideki Okajima and Manny Delcarmen in the seventh. Okajima entered the seventh with a 5.40 career ERA against the Yankees and failed to get an out. Derek Jeter led off with a double just past the Pesky Pole and off the tip of J.D. Drew’s glove near the right-field wall. Johnny Damon then moved Jeter to third on a drag bunt base hit, and Mark Teixeira scored the captain with a single. After Jorge Posada singled to load the bases, Terry Francona called on Delcarmen, who got Nick Swisher to fly out to shallow left, holding the runners, but then gave up a sac fly to Robinson Cano that pushed the Yankee lead to 4-2.

Flash forward to the bottom of the ninth. The score is still 4-2 thanks to Coke, Albaladejo, and Mariano Rivera, the last of whom replaced Albaladejo with two outs and an 0-1 count on Ellsbury in the bottom of the eighth. The YES Network prematurely names the Yankee bullpen the “Players of the Game.” Cody Ransom came out of the game in the eighth inning following a walk and a stolen base with an apparent leg injury and has been replaced by Ramiro Peña. In the ninth, Joe Girardi moves Melky Cabrera to right field and inserts Brett Gardner in center, removing Nick Swisher from the game. The Yankees have their best defense in the game and their legendery closer on the mound. Rivera starts the inning by striking out the struggling Ortiz. Mo is then nearly beheaded by a Kevin Youkilis single up the middle, but recovers to get J.D. Drew to ground out for the second out. That brings Jason Bay to the plate.

Mo’s first pitch to Bay is a ball just off the plate. The second is right over the dish and clanks off the top of the furthest center-field part of the Green Monster for a game-tying two-run home run.

Rivera escapes with the game tied. The bottom of the Yankee order mounts a threat against Jonathan Papelbon in the top of the tenth following a leadoff single by Molina (who was 2-for-3 with two walks on the night), but Molina is ultimately stranded at third after Papelbon wins a seven-pitch battle with Teixeira by throwing a high heater past the Yankee first baseman.

Damaso Marte relieves Rivera with a dominant tenth inning. The Yankees then mount another threat in the eleventh following a leadoff walk to Jorge Posada. Brett Gardner botches a sac bunt, bunting too hard to a charging Youkilis at first base, who in turn guns down Posada at second, but Robinson Cano follows with a single, only to have Cabrera hit into an inning-ending double play.

Youkilis wins it (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)Marte returns to the hill in the bottom of the eleventh, opening the inning by striking out Ortiz, Ortiz’s fourth strikeout in six at-bats and Marte’s third strikeout in four batters. Marte then gets to a 2-2 count on Kevin Youkilis, but gets too much of the plate with his fifth pitch and Youkilis blasts it clean over the Monster Steats and onto Lansdowne Street for a game-winning home run. Red Sox win 5-4.

As if losing to the Red Sox wasn’t bad enough, as if losing in 11 innings wasn’t bad enough, as if Rivera blowing a save with a two-run lead and two outs in the ninth wasn’t bad enough, the Yankees also lost Ransom to the DL with a quadriceps strain. As if all that wasn’t bad enough, the reason Brian Bruney’s name doesn’t appear above is that he wasn’t in Boston last night; he was in New York having his sore elbow looked at.

Ransom doubled over his injured quad (AP)The Yankees will call up an infielder to replace Ransom, most likely Angel Berroa, who was the last cut in spring training. That means they’ll have to make room on the 40-man roster. My guess is they either put Humberto Sanchez on the 60-day DL or try to slip him through waivers. David Robertson is already on his way to Boston as the roster replacement for Chien-Ming Wang, who was finally placed on the DL with what the Yankees are saying are hip problems that will simply require some physical therapy (their possibly bogus explanation for his bad mechanics).

As for Bruney, his elbow has been bothering him since he woke up Wednesday morning. He threw 21 pitches in the eighth inning against the A’s the night before, giving up a run on a single, a wild pitch, and a double. After resting Wednesday and Thursday, it felt no better yesterday, so the Yankees sent him back to New York for tests. Those tests are being performed this morning. If they don’t find anything, he’ll rejoin the team in Boston for today’s game. If they do, expect another roster move. Also, expect Steven Jackson (or Bruney’s replacement) to be optioned out after Monday’s game in favor of Tuesday’s likely starter, Phil Hughes. I can’t say I’m not excited about Robertson and Hughes getting their chances, but I’d rather skip both the silver lining and the cloud.

Categories:  Cliff Corcoran  Game Recap

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1 tommyl   ~  Apr 25, 2009 2:12 am

I was out in a bar watching the game in the 9th. When Mo gave up the shot I heard a loud, "F---" only to realize a second later it was me who had yelled it. Ugh, that was a punch to the gut. Fortunately its baseball, and there's another game tomorrow. Just have to pick ourselves up off the mat.

As for the DL moves, the only really worrisome one is Bruney. He's been lights out so isn't easily replaceable. Ransom wasn't really doing all that much, so Berroa may be worse, but its not a body blow. Wang we all expected, so its not great but if Hughes can step in, it might be a silver lining for us.

Joba is still having some growing pains and I'm fine with that. The youngsters as a whole really seem to run up the pitch counts. My guess is the eye and approach of batters at the ML level, as well as their ability to foul off pitches accounts for that. Its something he'll just have to gain with experience. All that said, he kept the team in the game against a very good Sox lineup, in Boston. That's asking a lot, so I'm coming away pleased.

Meanwhile, what was up with Jeter dropping that pop up? That's what he's supposed to be good at! Did A-Rod yell, "Ha!" from Tampa?

2 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Apr 25, 2009 2:48 am

That was a very difficult play for Jeter. We've been spoiled by his ability to make like Randy Moss on pop-ups (remember the one he caught over top of Cano?). He's allowed to drop one now and again.

3 PJ   ~  Apr 25, 2009 2:51 am

[1] Tommy,

Can you please explain the who's, how's and why's of the 40 man with respect to players like Tomko and Berroa for us here who don't know? Is Hughes "out of options" should he be brought up again such that he cannot be sent back down? Or is all that moot if he's replacing a DL'd player?

I mean, isn't it true that if they aren't on that roster by a certain pernt in the season, it would be as though they were waived and they could be picked up by another team anyway?

With Ransom out, it seems they might have to go with Berroa for however long it takes to get A-Rod back.

4 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Apr 25, 2009 7:40 am

Just home, saw the result eariler from Yahoo Japan on my cell phone..Sayonara win for the Sox, damn Youklilis..sob sob sob sob....

5 Dimelo   ~  Apr 25, 2009 9:16 am

Wow, Cashman has to earn his money today with roster moves. This sucks!

6 Raf   ~  Apr 25, 2009 9:39 am

Can you please explain the who’s, how’s and why’s of the 40 man with respect to players like Tomko and Berroa for us here who don’t know?

The Yanks have 40 players in their system on their roster. 25 of them are with the major league club.

Tomko & Berroa aren't on either roster, the Yanks will have to make a move, removing one of the players on their roster to add Tomko or Berroa.

Is Hughes “out of options” should he be brought up again such that he cannot be sent back down?

No, "options" go by years, not the number of times a player is sent down

I mean, isn’t it true that if they aren’t on that roster by a certain pernt in the season, it would be as though they were waived and they could be picked up by another team anyway?

No, it isn't

7 rbj   ~  Apr 25, 2009 9:56 am

"Hip problems" I guess any old excuse will do, and the Commissioner's office won't look twice at it. I guess it beats a strained eyelid.

Tough loss for Marte. I blame the offense more than the pitching. 15 LOB was the reason the Yankees lost.

8 Rich   ~  Apr 25, 2009 10:59 am

I didn't think Rivera would be used for 4 out saves until at least mid-June.

9 randym77   ~  Apr 25, 2009 11:00 am

It's not really the commissioner's office they have to worry about. It's the players' union. It's the players' union that prevents teams from stashing players on the DL with phantom injuries. If the affected player doesn't object, though, the union doesn't, either.

10 Rich   ~  Apr 25, 2009 11:09 am

[9] It's not rn the MLBPA's interest for a pitcher with the potential to make big bucks in the future lose his value as he continues to pitch poorly as a result of a problem that can be remedied with a stint on the DL.

11 OsRavan   ~  Apr 25, 2009 11:32 am

I love mo. He is probably my favorite pitcher of all time. But the second I saw him come in the 8th I winced a bit. I have no hard evidence to back this up. But something ive noticed from watching a lot of games the past couple of years is imo Mo can't really *go* more then one inning anymore. In one he is always lights out. When forced to go for more then three outs he often starts to give up hits and leads. Am I the only one who has noticed this? He's still one of the best relievers in the game... but I think Girardi has to accept that at age..what? 39? you cant push him for more then one inning this side of like... october.

12 zack   ~  Apr 25, 2009 11:40 am

Brutal loss. I left after Mo got the last out in the 8th b/c I had to go to a stupid show. Dammit all.I don't worry about the Yankees rebounding or any of that, I think last night was just far more indicative of the underlying issues of the team right now. They wasted a TON of chances to score more runs, their starter didn't pitch great, Girardi made some very strange decisions, and Marte was left in too long. 3/5 starters have been, well, bad. The bullpen has been ok thus far, and the offense has been decidedly inconsistent. The Yanks depth is really going to be tested now, but I suppose its better to get it all out of the way now, if it really works that way.

I have faith that Hughes can replace Wang for a bit, there is enough minor league BP depth to cover Bruney for a bit, and A-Rod is coming back soon.

To me, the really big question is Joba (and to a lesser degree CC who will I am sure work it out). If Joba continues to pitch like he's either hurt or his mechanics are off (he has shown a consistent 3 MPH drop in all his pitches thus far this year according to pitch fx, which would suggest a mechanical issue I think?), then who knows...

Another year, another seemingly big loss in Fenway in April. It seems to happen every year, and often revolves around Mo. I can handle that. But I am really getting sick of these April injuries!

13 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Apr 25, 2009 12:15 pm

Pete Abe reports Berroa and Melancon are on their way to Boston, neither is on the 40-man, so it will be interesting to see how Cashman makes room for them. Meanwhile, Melancon almost certainly means Bruney's going on the DL.

14 zack   ~  Apr 25, 2009 12:21 pm

Woah, Melancon. He deserves it, but I am surprised.

15 Diane Firstman   ~  Apr 25, 2009 12:37 pm

The Sox have seen Mo often enough ... except for Bay ...

16 Raf   ~  Apr 25, 2009 12:49 pm

[13] I would suspect Jackson & Sanchez would be the ones moved off the roster. I wouldn't be surprised if a trade was announced.

17 OldYanksFan   ~  Apr 25, 2009 1:14 pm

I'm staying off the Net until Banter time. I accidentally went to ESPN, and felt sick to my stomach again. God. Just a brutal loss, and an even more brutal day, with Ransom/Bruney news.

Can it get ANY worse then:
Losing to the Sox, in extra innings, with Mo blowing the Save, in a hard fought game, where we blow a BASES LOADED, NO OUT chance in the top of the inning? Could it be worse????

18 Joseph   ~  Apr 25, 2009 1:49 pm

I was beside myself after last nights game, watching the Yanks battle all game and with the win seemingly in hand...well, I felt like someone walking down the street who has a pallet of bricks fall 4 stories on top of them. Bay, along with Youk is the scariest guy in that lineup right now, and as Mo isn't as dominate against righties, I could almost sense it coming. Why Cano, with the sacks juiced and no outs, against a guy (Lopez), who had no idea where the strike zone was, decides to take a hack with a 1-0 count at a pitch that was down and would have been ball 2 is beyond me. With the rally killing DP I was so angry I could have chewed nails.

Anyway, hope something happens good today to lift my spirits about the Yanks. As today's game is on Fox, I'm almost tempted to watch with the sound muted as the disparaging remarks liable to come out of Buck's and McCarver's mouth are sure to irritate big time.

19 randym77   ~  Apr 25, 2009 2:10 pm

Ransom was put on the 60-day DL.

They haven't decided on the other move yet.

20 rbj   ~  Apr 25, 2009 2:14 pm

Wow, 60 day for Cody. I guess it was in order to make a roster move without having to drop someone from the 40 man roster? Still, unusual to use the 60 day DL and expect the guy to come back that season. I feel bad for Cody. He may not be a good hitter, but he seems like a good guy.

21 The Hawk   ~  Apr 25, 2009 2:59 pm

I didn't see he game but followed the end on sportstap, a truly nightmarish way to experience such things. Anyway I don't like the idea of bringing Mo in early for an April game - it just adds to the "big game" feel which is just silly. Would Girardi do that vs the Rays? The Rivalry needs to save the capital "R" for later in the season, when hopefully the games are full of pennant fever.

Also it drives me nuts that the Sox have Mo's number, but when the Yanks had Pedro's I was okay with that!

22 The Hawk   ~  Apr 25, 2009 3:02 pm

Oh and I really can't care that Ransom is out. Am I missing something?

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"This ain't football. We do this every day."
--Earl Weaver