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!