"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

I Can Hate This Game in Six Notes

The Yankees had won their first game coming out of the All-Star break nine years in a row, but that major-league-record streak came to an end in a stunningly bad loss to the Toronto Blue Jays on Thursday night. Both manager and players looked more rusted than rested after the three-day hiatus as Joe Girardi seemed to be employing his bullpen as if he were pulling names out of Billy Martin’s hat, and his players were equally guilty as they committed three errors and a balk, all of which led to a total of SEVEN unearned runs. How did I hate this game? Let me count the ways.

  1. The game was essentially over after the first inning, but that inning could have been dramatically different. With one out, Eric Thames hit a diving line drive to left field. Brett Gardner took a run at it, but clearly couldn’t decide whether to go for the catch or back off and play it for a single. His hesitation cost him dearly, as the ball skipped past him and Thames ended up on second base with a double. (Quick aside: isn’t it time for Gardner to get a Gold Glove? I’m just sayin’.) Bartolo Colón was on the mound, and he struggled. He walked José Bautista, but then followed that up with an Adam Lind groundout, and two were out with two on. Aaron Hill then rapped a solid single to center and it was 2-0 Jays, and Travis Snider followed with a ground ball single two batters later for a 3-0 lead, but those were really the only runs that should’ve scored in the inning. (Again, if Gardner had played Thames’s drive correctly, the game would’ve been scoreless.) But the inning continued. J.P. Arencibia hit pounded a grounder to Eduardo Núñez at third, but Núñez let it bounce off his thigh for an error, and the bases were loaded. Next Rajai Davis dribbled a meek little ground ball just to the left of the mound, but Colón had no play and a run scored. In case you missed that, Yunel Escobar came up next and dribbled a meek little ground ball just to the left of the  mound, but Colón had no play and another run scored. That Escobar ball was so eerily similar to the Davis ball that both Colón and Girardi were caught with wry smiles of disbelief. There were no smiles, however, after Thames came up with his second double of the inning, a ringing ground-rule version hit directly over Curtis Granderson’s head in center field. It was 7-0. The game certainly appeared over, and Colón’s night was definitely over.
  2. But why did Girardi pull Colón? The only hope for the Yankees was that a long-man might come in and hold the Jays down for the rest of the game so that the Score Truck could chip away at the lead over the next eight innings. That long-man would be Hector Noesi, but since he certainly wasn’t ready yet, Girardi chose Luís Ayala, even though Ayala has typically been used in higher leverage situations much later in the game. (Ayala, of course, added to the mockery of the opening inning by allowing the eighth run to score on a balk.) Unless there were injury concerns (Colón had had to race to first for a putout in addition to fielding those two dribblers), Colón should’ve finished the inning, and Noesi should’ve started the second.
  3. It really bothers me when the Yankees tease me into thinking that they’re going to make a comeback. This one started with an Andruw Jones solo home run in the third. 9-1. A few batters later Curtis Granderson rifled a backhand to the baseline that had so much top spin that it actually bounded over the head of Thames in right field for a triple that scored two. 9-3. Granderson would score almost immediately on a routine ground out from Mark Teixeira. 9-4.
  4. Meanwhile, young Noesi was cruising along, keeping the Jays complacent. In the top of the sixth, things got interesting. With two runners on, Jones launched his second home run of the game, and suddenly it was 9-7. Now, of course, two things became clear. One, if the first inning hadn’t been so atrocious, the Yankees would have been in the lead; and two, if Girardi hadn’t burned up Ayala, he could have come in for the sixth, Boone Logan the seventh, All-Star David Robertson the eighth, and Mariano Rivera in the ninth. The Yankees would score a few runs, and we’d all have been happy.
  5. But none of that happened. Girardi brought Logan in with one out and two on in the sixth. Logan would get one out, but then he’d yield a single which scored two, taking all the wind out of the sails. 11-7.
  6. This is when I lifted my flat screen above my head and fired it through the sliding glass door, so I’m not entirely sure that all this actually happened. Remember when Darko Milicic was known as the Human Victory Cigar? Well, Girardi has found his Human White Flag, and his name is Sergio Mitre. HWF would allow two runs in the seventh (one charged to Logan) and then cough up three more in the eighth (one courtesy of a Jeter error partially caused by Girardi’s shrewd decision to pull the infield in down by seven runs because an eight run deficit in the ninth would’ve seemed insurmountable.) Final score: Blue Jays 16, Yankees 7.
The only other thing of interest here (aside from José Bautista’s ankle injury) is that this is actually the second time in recent memory that a Yankee starter gave up eight or more runs in less than an inning of work. Surely you remember. Back on June 18, 2000, El Duque allowed nine runs (all earned) in two-thirds of an inning. The Yankees lost that day, 17-4.
But don’t worry, folks. Tomorrow’s another day.
[Photo Credit: Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press/Associated Press]

Categories:  1: Featured  Game Recap  Hank Waddles  Yankees

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1 RIYank   ~  Jul 15, 2011 7:24 am

Hank, we now know why the Human White Flag is still on the team. He's not the closer, obviously, nor the Eighth Inning Guy. Not the Seventh Inning Guy, or the LOOGy. But he could be useful in certain situations.

2 rbj   ~  Jul 15, 2011 8:51 am

Glad I went to a movie premiere rather than staying home and watching a crapfest.

3 ms october   ~  Jul 15, 2011 9:22 am

[1] and yet he has never even been useful in those situations. perhaps it is just more bad luck for mitre but unless he plans to bean papi in his fat ass and then land a mean jab, enough!

two bad starts in a row by my second favorite pitcher this season. and as kenny noted at least 24 times, he didn't look right getting off the mound. and his command was putrid. i really hope tolo has not turned back into a pumpkin.

games like this happen - the bright spot is at least the offense didn't just falter, but my that was some shitty pitching and defense.

4 Alex Belth   ~  Jul 15, 2011 9:25 am

2) What did you see?

5 ms october   ~  Jul 15, 2011 9:29 am

hank to answer your question in note 2 per lohud girardi said he was worried about colon's pitch count in that inning because he has been so efficient that he wasn't used to throwing so many pitches.
i can understand that logic - whether ayala was the right choice is another issue.

6 Bama Yankee   ~  Jul 15, 2011 10:10 am

[2] So, how was the new Harry Potter movie? ;-)

7 rbj   ~  Jul 15, 2011 10:36 am

[4]. [6] it was a friend's movie, up in Ann Arbor about the outside artist Chris Roberts Antieau. http://chrisroberts-antieau.com/

A lot of outsider art I don't care for, but her's is well done, and her perspective is no less off than Picasso's. And with humor too.

Apparently Night Moves may have been based upon a time when she 7 Bob Seger got snuck into a drive in by both hiding in the trunk of a car. Details are left to the imagination. . .

8 Shaun P.   ~  Jul 15, 2011 10:45 am

[0][5] And also according to LoHud, Gardner lost the ball in the lights.

I was more frustrated that Girardi left Logan in to face any RHB. Yes, in 36 PA this year, Logan has been lights out against righties (.188/.278/.188), but his career numbers tell a VERY different tale: 423PA, .313/.391/.488. I know what numbers I trust more.

Bringing in Mitre was just the horrific icing on the cake.

9 a.O   ~  Jul 15, 2011 11:04 am

[1] That's the best Yankees article I've read all year. Thanks.

10 YankeeAbby   ~  Jul 15, 2011 11:22 am

What an utterly craptastic game!

11 cult of basebaal   ~  Jul 15, 2011 1:34 pm

As Ms. October noted, Girardi pulled Colon because of his pitch count, which I am in 100% agreement with. Asking Fat Bastard to throw 50+ pitches in an inning is remarkably short sighted and is almost asking for an arm injury.

I also have 0 problem using a short man in that situation, they're used to warming up quickly and getting into a game as soon as possible AND they're used to coming in with runners on base, all things that Hector Noesi is not.

Frankly, I'm most irritated with Colon. As he showed last night, his hamstring is NOT healed and he's not ready to start. He could have done his team a favor and admitted that before he came off the DL and would have saved the team 2 terrible starts, that Nova could have taken. Colon is far too fucking old to be pulling that bullshit. If I were the Yankees, I'd send his ass right back to the DL and recall Nova, luckily, they're on the exact same pitching schedule.

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