"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice


Well. At least the starting pitching’s been good?

Ivan Nova was nearly as good as AJ Burnett was the night before — granted, this is the White Sox, who have not been tearing things up at the plate lately — and he ended up with no more to show for it.  Yep, tonight’s game has to be the leader for Most Frustrating Loss of the early season.

Given that Brian Cashman was (perhaps unwisely) honest about not wanting to sign Rafael Soriano at all, his leash with his new team is even shorter than the one most middle relievers get. And after his disappearing act on Monday night’s pop-up, a strong performance tonight would have been… nice. Instead, he gave up a two-run homer to Paul Konerko, and the lead along with it. A homer to Paul Konerko isn’t anything to be ashamed of in and of itself; the guy had 369 of them already. But it was preceded by a hit batter and followed by a walk, and while I don’t believe it’s wise to read too much into a player’s “body language” while sitting on my futon, Soriano’s general demeanor did not inspire confidence. There was much angry stomping around.

Meanwhile, the Yankees’ only offense came via a Robinson Cano homer in the 2nd, and a Brett Gardner (!) solo shot in the 5th. This against Gavin Floyd, who went eight innings and struck out 10. At least that’s less embarrassing than the previous evening’s stifling at the hands of Philip Humber.

There are plenty of questions to ask about Joe Girardi’s management last night (starting with: has anyone seen Joba Chamberlain anywhere? Someone want to check under the clubhouse sofa cushions?), including his choice to go to Soriano at the most crucial point of a one-run game (current ERA: 7.84), and, although it didn’t matter in the end, following him with Boone Logan and Buddy “Who?” Carlyle. Never trust anyone named Buddy, my mother didn’t used to tell me but probably should have.

Adding injury to injury, if you will: after Soriano plunked Carlos Quentin, just before the Konerko home run, he was taken out of the game and replaced with Brent Lillibridge… who went on to make not one but two game-saving catches in the bottom of the ninth inning. Derek Jeter led off the inning with a dribbler of a single, Granderson bunted (which I didn’t like, but can see the argument for in the ninth inning of a one-run game). The Sox pitcher was Matt Thornton, who leads the AL in blown saves with 4, and Ozzie Guillen wasn’t messing around this time – once Thornton walked Mark Teixeira he was out of there. Two on, one out, Alex Rodriguez and Robinson Cano coming up… enter Lillibridge, with an excellent catch against the right-field wall and another on a flat-out dive.

Via LoHud, here’s Ozzie Guillen after the game:

“When Alex hit the first one I said, here we go again. The last guy that I wanted to see in that situation was Cano. When you look at the lineup that’s going to be due up in the last inning, you know you have to bring your best bullets. The ball bounced our way tonight. That’s just the way the way the baseball is. Baseball is so crazy.”

This is definitely the kind of loss one might stew over if one were so inclined. Perhaps some sort of sacrifice to the Baseball Gods is in order, to make things right.

Fun fact: I was at Monday night’s game, which it turns out is tied for the lowest-scoring game ever at the New Yankee Stadium with one other… a 2009 15-inning Red Sox match which, as it happens, I also attended. Flee before me, runs!

Categories:  Baseball  Emma Span  Game Recap

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1 Jon DeRosa   ~  Apr 27, 2011 7:35 am

A Lillibridge Too Far...

2 Mattpat11   ~  Apr 27, 2011 8:06 am

Just win a damn game today

3 Shaun P.   ~  Apr 27, 2011 8:23 am

[0] For a sacrifice, I nominate Randy Levine. He doesn't have to be killed, just fired. Oh, and banished too. That's probably enough of a sacrifice.

I am also thrilled to see that NoMaas is thinking the same way I am.

4 The Hawk   ~  Apr 27, 2011 8:23 am

You can tell from Ozzie's quote that he's been on the losing end of games like this before, like anyone who's in the game for long enough. "Baseball is so crazy" - a healthy attitude.

5 Sliced Bread   ~  Apr 27, 2011 9:18 am

Mo's "body language" doesn't look so good when he's blowing a game either. Cut Soriano a break. Unless he's hurt, he'll be fine. Two weeks ago he was regarded as a strength.

4) exactly - but spoiled bedwetting fans like to assign blame after losses like these.

3) Shaun, I know you've been down on the Soriano signing since day 1, and that's fine. It may turn out to be a bad signing, but you're too smart and level headed to align yourself with the NoMaas brand of blaming, and gloating. When Soriano holds a lead, or gets a win will they be tallying Randy Levine victories? No, because they've positioned themselves as whining hypocrites. Oh, and also because it doesn't make a whole lot of baseball sense to blame an executive for a reliever's failure.

6 Diane Firstman   ~  Apr 27, 2011 9:57 am


well-played .... I was thinking "The Lillibridge is Out"

7 rbj   ~  Apr 27, 2011 10:06 am

[1] Perfect!

To be fair to Soriano, he was getting brutally squeezed at the plate. And then the ump decides to call a high strike a strike when the Yankees are at bat? It was one of those coulda shoulda been a vulture win for Soriano, with those screamers by Alex & Robbie.

6 hits in the last two games? I'm starting to worry about the Yankees offense.

8 Sliced Bread   ~  Apr 27, 2011 10:16 am

5) I'm not completely down on NoMaas, mind you. Some of their analysis is very solid, and helpful, and some of their snark is clever, and funny. I don't like the blaming, and gloating they do. The Torre losses, the Levine Losses - just nonsensical whining. I'm not saying Torre didn't contribute to losses with some of his decisions, but I think it's hypocritical scapegoating to tally those losses.
In Levine's case, it makes even less sense, unless you're telling me he used his unmitigated authority over all Yankees and executives, and ordered Soriano to blow the game.

9 Bronx Boy in NC   ~  Apr 27, 2011 12:07 pm

I grew up hearing all the time what awful homers the Yankee broadcast announcers were, and for most of my life I had to take it -- because without access to other teams' broadcasts, I had no basis for comparison.

Today's TV changes that, of course, and the end of last night's game reminded me of the point. Michael Kay was about as glowing toward Lillibridge as any Chicagoan might have been (and I shudder to think what was going on in Harrelson's booth). I didn't have the radio feed on, but experience tells me Sterling was likely just as fair.

So, a propos of almost nothing. I find it's commonplace for the NY air crews to behave magnanimously toward other teams, and it's just as commonplace to hear that NY voices are homers. Last night put me in mind of that again.

10 Shaun P.   ~  Apr 27, 2011 12:13 pm

[5] Thanks, Sliced. I admit I have become irrational when it comes to Randy Levine, and he is an easy scapegoat. Particularly when the Yanks lose one like they did last night.

The truth is, its been just 4 lousy innings. I'll be shocked if his numbers are this bad by the end of the year. I still would have liked that draft pick, but c'est la vie.

I suppose if one were really going to "blame" anyone, it should be Soriano first (for not performing, though it happens), and Girardi second (for consistently throwing him out there in the 8th when, in small samples, Joba and Robertson have far better numbers).

In the end, the blame game is lame - 4 innings isn't a hill of beans in a 162-game season.

11 Shaun P.   ~  Apr 27, 2011 12:14 pm

Meanwhile, for anyone else looking to forget last night's loss, I suggest today's Taster's Cherce post.

12 Andyroo   ~  Apr 27, 2011 12:18 pm

I noticed Soriano's velocity was better than it has been. Good to see. It's early, I think he'll be fine.

13 Crazy8Rick   ~  Apr 27, 2011 1:44 pm

This is no time to panic. Soriano will be fine. You know normally Alex and Robbie would have won that thing if anybody else had been out there other than Lillibridge, the new wunderkind for the night.

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