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Missed It By That Much

Tough night for the Yankees. After an hour-long rain delay, Gavin Floyd and Andy Pettitte come out and start mowin’ ’em down. Home plate ump Ted Barrett’s generous strike zone helps. There’s just one walk in the game (by Floyd to Johnny Damon in the top of the first), and 23 strikeouts, ten of them looking. Forty-six percent of Floyd’s strikes are called as opposed to swinging.

The Chisox eke out a run first when Chris Getz singles to lead off the third and scores on a two-out double into the left field corner by hot-shot rookie Gordon Beckham. Floyd and Pettitte retire the next 12 batters until the Yankees answer in the sixth when Jose Molina leads off with a double and Damon gets him home with a well-placed single toward the line in right (well placed to allow Molina to score from second, that is, it was a well-struck hit).

Entering the bottom of the sixth there have been just seven hits–three by the Yanks, four by the Sox–and the game is tied 1-1. Jim Thome leads off and hits an accidental blooper up the first base line. Pettitte hustles over to grab the ball and tag Thome out, but as he gets into his crouch, his right foot slips on the wet turf, sending him onto his backside and putting Thome on first base. After Pettitte strikes out Paul Konerko, A.J. Pierzynski hits a skipper to Alex Rodriguez’s left that the Yankee third baseman flubs for an infield single putting men on first and second with one out.

Cano watches his pivot throw sail off-line as Pierzynski rolls over the bag (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)With Pettitte at 101 pitches and righty Carlos Quentin coming up, Joe Girardi pops out of the bullpen and calls on the dominant Phil Hughes. Hughes gets Quentin to hit a hard grounder to third, which Rodriguez fields and fires to Robinson Cano at second to start a would-be inning-ending double play, but Pierzynski comes with a hard, late slide at second and Cano jerks his throw up the line. Mark Teixeira comes of the bag and knocks it down, but it rolls just far enough away to allow Thome to score with the go-ahead run.

In the top of the eighth, Derek Jeter drives Floyd from the game with a single on his 103rd pitch of the night. Damon then greets lefty fireballer Matt Thornton with a single pushing the tying run into scoring position, but Thornton hits his stride from there striking out Mark Teixeira to end the inning and Alex Rodriguez and Hideki Matsui to start the top of the ninth on a combined ten pitches. Thornton’s first pitch to Nick Swisher is another called strike. His second is blasted into the left-field seats for a game-tying home run.

Swisher said after the game that he was trying to do too much against his former team in his first few at-bats, but with Thornton dominating he was just trying to get the bat on the ball. Mission accomplished.

Thornton then struck out Robinson Cano on three pitches.

Bottom of the ninth, Hughes still on having thrown just 24 pitches over the previous inning and a third. Hughes gets Jermaine Dye to foul out, but with Jim Thome up, Robinson Cano shifts into shallow right and Thome hits Hughes’ 0-1 pitch through Cano’s vacated position (why Jeter wasn’t pulled over for a full shift, I couldn’t tell you). With Scott Podsednik in to run, Konerko dumps Hughes’ next pitch into left to put the winning run on second base. Girardi then calls on Phil Coke to pitch to lefties Pierzynski and defensive replacement Dewayne Wise. Coke gets A.J. to fly out to shallow left center, holding the runners. He then works back from 2-0 to go even on Wise only to have Wise line the 2-2 back through the box. The ball ticks off Coke’s glove, but doesn’t change direction, heading straight into center for a game-winning single. Sox win, 3-2.

Missed it by that much.

Categories:  Cliff Corcoran  Game Recap

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1 Just Fair   ~  Jul 31, 2009 1:57 am

I'd say Alex "lollygagged" the throw to Cano, but that's just me. It could be one of the lone chinks in Alex's 3rd base defense. What an infuriating way to lose.

2 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Jul 31, 2009 2:07 am

Rodriguez's throw was a bit high, but that didn't seem to affect Cano. I credit Pierzynski entirely with breaking up that DP.

3 monkeypants   ~  Jul 31, 2009 2:12 am

The only solace I take--and it's not too comforting--is that Yankees never actually led. It would have killed me if they were ahead by a run and that damnable inning cost them the lead. This game had the feeling all along of one that was going to end up badly. Swish's homer gave me hope that they might steal it, but otherwise I kinda reconciled myself to a loss pretty early on.

Maybe Mitre can spin some more near 6.00 EAR magic tomorrow and they steal that game instead.

4 Just Fair   ~  Jul 31, 2009 2:19 am

[2] I for whatever reason keep coming back to Verducci's Torre book. I recall Bowa giving Alex Shit about his throws b/c he was going to get his 2nd baseman killed. I'd like to see AJ get drilled in the ass this series, but that's just me. : ) Cano SHOULD HAVE buried that throw in AJ's chest.

5 Cliff Corcoran   ~  Jul 31, 2009 2:49 am

[4] He might yet, but Girardi said he had no problem with the slide calling it "good hard baseball" and saying that's what he wants his players to do in the same situation (Tex and Gardner are two off the top of my head who I've seen do it this year). I didn't think it was dirty, but yes, Cano could have buzzed him with the throw, that's also part of the game.

6 Mattpat11   ~  Jul 31, 2009 3:11 am

I knew the night wasn't going to end well when Andy Pettitte fell down.

7 The Mick536   ~  Jul 31, 2009 9:16 am

How about them strikeouts to end the game?

8 Horace Clarke Era   ~  Jul 31, 2009 9:24 am

I'm surprised anyone is actually complaining about the Pierzynski slide. It was exactly what he was supposed to do and we'd applaud any Yankee who did (or has done) that. I didn't think Alex messed up the throw, either, second baseman are always at some risk on a play around the horn and Cano didn't quite nail that one. Happens, aggravating.

Tough loss, but a reliever throwing 97 from the left side to an ump with a huge zone is gonna be tough. Both starters got the benefit of the same zone all night.

This reminds me of something: with all the stats we have available, does any site actually track umpire strike zones online? It would be a really interesting thing to know, going in to a game, if we could anticipate a pitcher's or hitter's ump behind the plate.

9 Joel   ~  Jul 31, 2009 9:30 am

[1] It wasn't an awful play by A-Rod, but it was one of those split-second plays that shows the difference between A-Rod and a very good 3B who has played the position his whole life. A Brosius, a Rolen, etc...attacks that ball like a 3B to glove it cleanly instead of letting it ride up his chest to make the play. A-Rod fielded that ball like an SS. Becuase he is so talented, he is usually able to get away with it. Not that time unfortunately.

Also, although Cano's throw was an awful one, if Tex was able to get that much of his glove on it, he needs to catch it. He's a great 1B, but that ball should not have gotten that far away from him. That's what allowed the run to score from second.

10 Mr. OK Jazz TOKYO   ~  Jul 31, 2009 9:48 am

Trade deadline day! Hope I wake up from a fog of Guinness to read about some exciting deals..unfortunately it's Smoltz vs Guthrie on tv here tomorrow morning, blechhhh....

11 OldYanksFan   ~  Jul 31, 2009 9:54 am

It looked to me that ARod took an extra second to make sure he made a good throw. You could almost see him thinking 'don't fuck this up'. It was a tough loss as we weren't hit hard, and as PeteAbe documents, a lot of little things went blooie that were a bit lucky for Chicago.

My beef is a mile wide Strike Zone. I think with patient hitters with good eyes like we have, a humongous strike zone hurts us more. Raise the mound or widen the plate if MLB wants lower scoring/faster games, but for Christ's sake, call balls and strikes correctly.

14 Ks for us. Yeah... right. The Ump should get credit for more then half of them.

12 Horace Clarke Era   ~  Jul 31, 2009 10:15 am

[11] OYF that's why I'm interested in the ump's tendencies, if there's a site that shows their zones. It would be a great addition to Cliff's pre-series reports. (Cliff has LOTS of time on his hands, right?)

I agree that a patient team is hurt more by a wide zone, you start losing confidence in your own eye and it throws you badly off. 14 Ks tells its own story. I WILL say the zone looked consistent, Andy got the calls, too.

13 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Jul 31, 2009 11:07 am

[11] I'm all for raising the mound back.

14 OldYanksFan   ~  Jul 31, 2009 11:09 am

Does another one bite the dust?
From ESPN:

Bronson Arroyo, a former Boston Red Sox (2003-2005) teammate of Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz, said he would not be surprised to find his name on a list of 104 ballplayers who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003, as he had heard a then-legal supplement he was using was tainted with steroids, the Boston Herald reported.

Arroyo said he started taking taking andro after 1998, after a season with the Pirates' Double-A affiliate. "Andro made me feel great, I felt like a monster. I felt like I could jump and hit my head on the basketball rim," he said, according to the report.

15 OldYanksFan   ~  Jul 31, 2009 11:11 am

From MLB TYrade Rumors:
"SI's Jon Heyman says the Ms asked for catcher Jesus Montero from the Yankees for Washburn and were rebuffed"

Jeez... why not ask for Joba AND Montero?

16 OldYanksFan   ~  Jul 31, 2009 11:16 am

Also from MLBTR:
THURSDAY, 7:58pm: Jayson Stark and Buster Olney of ESPN.com report that the Yankees inquired about Bannister, but talks didn't develop because the Yankees asked the Royals to pay the $650k that remains on Bannister's 2009 contract. Since when does $650k stop the Yanks from making a deal?

Brian Bannister (28) Career: 4.57 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, .267 BAA.

That would be very solid if we dont have to give up any prime meat.

17 Rich   ~  Jul 31, 2009 11:23 am

[0] why Jeter wasn’t pulled over for a full shift, I couldn’t tell you

This is the reason they lost.

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