Robinson Cano has been magnificent of late. Spectacular in the field and prodigious at the plate. But with bases loaded in the ninth trailing by two runs, his willingness to hack helped Joakim Soria escape a terrible jam. Mark Teixeira walked on four pitches in front of Cano to load the bases with one out. Soria threw five straight balls to Cano, but Robbie ripped at two of them. Soria won the battle as Cano flew out to left.
That was the big out of the inning, but the Yankees still had life. Swisher walked (on four pitches, Robbie) after a passed ball and the bases were loaded again. Birthday boy Jorge Posada followed. I hope his cake is extra sweet, because he struck out without taking the bat off his shoulders. Two of the pitches looked outside, but the last one was too close to take. Maybe ripping ain’t such a bad idea when the umps can’t find the strike zone. Or the outfield fence.
When Mariano Rivera needs to be restrained in the dugout, that’s probably a blown call. In the third, the umpiring crew saw a ball that clearly bounced off the fence as a home run. But the fence is segmented, so that a small chain link fence sits above a green padded wall. More green padding edges the top of the chain link section. Common sense dictates that the entire structure represents the “fence” but this is Kansas City, so apparently nobody knows for sure.
Billy Butler, reaching for his helmet to return to second base, could not contain a smirk when he saw the signal. “He’s looking like the cat who ate the canary,” said David Cone. Kim Jones talked with Royals personnel, including the great Frank White, and reported that no, it was not a home run.
After the game, Joe Girardi explained that crew chief Dana DeMuth understood the ground rules differently. He didn’t think it needed to clear the entire fence to be a home run. Girardi assumed the umpire knew the ground rules and didn’t protest. He plans to check on the ground rules tomorrow by calling the League Office. What is this, 1954? Everybody in KC is out celebrating the victory? Gimme a break, we should have that information before this post is finished.
Since he didn’t protest at the time, it’s likely the Yankees have lost the chance to protest the game – though they should at least make the attempt. Maybe they can send a message to the League Office by carrier pigeon.
With better pitching from Bartolo Colon or more timely hitting from the Yankees, that run would not have mattered. Though the Yankees pounded Bruce Chen’s offerings early and often, they only managed to charge three runs to his account. In the first two spots of the lineup, Derek Jeter and Curtis Granderson combined to go seven for nine with a walk, two doubles and a homer, but somehow only contributed three runs. The Yankees went one for ten with runners in scoring position.
Jeter singled to lead off the game and was caught stealing by Chen’s pick off move just before Granderson homered. When Granderson doubled off the wall, Jeter wasn’t on base. And second baseman Johnny Giavotella robbed Granderson of a base hit and RBI after Jeter’s long double. When they finally joined forces to lead off the seventh with a single and a walk, Teixeira, Cano and Swisher struck out in succession. (Both the umpire and the three Yankees lost track of the strike zone during those at bats – the first slider to Swisher was the only sure strike for me.) Russell Martin stranded five in his first two times up and then hit a lonely homer in the sixth. Before you knew it, Bruce Chen was racking up a victory, 5-4.
The Royals smashed Yankee starters all series long, so it should be no surprise that Bartolo Colon got lit up. The Yanks offense didn’t support him the way they did Burnett and Nova and the bullpen was spent, so perhaps he would have pulled when he was in trouble in the fifth. Kauffman Stadium played like a bouncy castle this series, so Yankee starters will be glad to see Minnesota.
The Yanks are now done with KC, so we bid farewell to Melky Cabrera. He’s among the top twenty hitters in the American League and hit the ball hard all series long. The Yankees traded him, stud prospect Arodys Vizcaino, who’s already in the Major Leagues for Atlanta, and Michael Dunn for a batting practice machine with Javy Vazquez’s name on the back. I think this is going to leap past the Marte-Nady deal as the worst of Cashman’s tenure.
Tabata’s where Melky was at 22; Melky’s finally taken a few steps forward. And while Karstens is having a nice year, Vizcaino has oodles more talent. Of the Dunn-Logan-Marte loogy triumverate, Marte’s spotless Postseason in 2009 rates over what the other guys have done, though if Logan does something special this year, he’d shoot to the top.
The Red Sox lost earlier in the day so the Yankees squandered a chance to increase their lead in the standings. Bummer.
Top Photo via Zack Hample