The Score Truck’s lights … are shining bright … *clap* *clap* *clap* *clap* … Deep in the Heart of Texas.
The Score Truck indeed bypassed Detroit and showed up in Texas. The good: In the first two games of the Yankees’ series in Arlington, they nearly doubled their output of the entire four-game set against the Tigers (9-5). The bad: On Saturday night, the Rangers’ Score Truck showed up too.
Rangers light up Bartolo Colón to take a 5-0 lead, Yankees rally to tie, Boone Logan doesn’t do the job against lefties Mitch Moreland and Chris Davis; Texas scores go-ahead run on a suicide squeeze and tacks on another, and the relief combination of Arthur Rhodes and Darren Oliver, who have the combined age of Yoda, kill any hope of another Yankee comeback.
That’s the quick and dirty. Diving into the game a bit more, some observations:
* Colón isn’t the power pitcher he once was. He can still throw 90-plus, but relies more now on movement and changing speeds — on his fastball. Greg Maddux and Mike Mussina were masters at fastball variation. But some nights are better than others. When Mussina had nights like this, Joe him as being “wild in the strike zone.” David Cone hinted as much with Colón, when after David Murphy’s solo home run, he noted that the home run pitch had “too much movement” and ended up too far out over the plate. This allowed Murphy to get his arms extended and pull it into the seats.
* Derek Jeter can hit the ball out of the infield, and hit the ball hard. Small sample size, yes, but nice to know it can still happen.
* The Yankees had another efficient night in terms of run / hit differential. Five runs on six hits, compared to seven runs on 13 hits for the Rangers. For the season, Yankees opponents have outscored their opponents 158-127, but have been out out-hit 265-249.
* If Boone Logan can’t serve the LOOGY function, and Lance Pendleton isn’t an option, then something has to give. His performance in the 10-inning loss to Minnesota at Yankee Stadium on April 6, led ESPN New York’s Rob Parker to include him among the “Bad Yankees.” Left-handed relief was also an issue two years ago, when the Yankees won the World Series, with Phil Coke was a combination LOOGY/Mike Stanton type. Coke yielded 10 home runs, six of them to lefties.
The Logan piece is significant because he couldn’t do what Colón did effectively in the third inning: put up a zero after the offense did him a solid. David Robertson and Joba Chamberlain cleaned up the mess Logan left, but the damage had already been done.
* Courtesy of Wally Matthews: Russell Martin made six outs in his four at-bats.
* Jorge Posada is now hitless in his last 13 at-bats, with 5 strikeouts. Overall, the 7-8-9 hitters were 0-for-9 Saturday with two walks and three strikeouts. The issue: there isn’t a better DH option. Andruw Jones is hitting .226, Jeter isn’t hitting for any power to merit his placement as a DH, even periodically. The Yankees will likely ride this out for as long as it takes and hope their big bats can come out of their funk.
As starting pitching goes, so goes the Yankees. Mr. Ace Man goes tomorrow. A 3-4 record on this road trip looks better than 2-5. It’d be nice to come back home still in first place. No better guy to have on the mound to give it a go.