The Yankees have not won a game that they have trailed in the eighth inning (or later) all year long. This wouldn’t matter so much except that they’re behind in the eighth and ninth almost every night these days. Tonight they trailed 6-1 with two outs in the top of the eighth and looked deader than disco. Alex Rodriguez stroked a double. Eric Chavez and Russell Martin worked gutsy walks around an RBI single from Curtis Granderson. Pinch hitter Chris Dickerson faced the erratic Pedro Strop with the bases loaded and took four straight balls to push the tying run to second. Ichiro Suzuki bounced a game-tying single to right.
The Yankees had just completed their most important comeback of the season and sent out the best of their bullpen in the bottom of the eighth. David Robertson quickly got ahead of Adam Jones 0-2 and went for the kill with his great curveball. But that pitch is gone. When he attempted to throw it to Jones, it slipped out of his hand and he nearly plunked him in the noggin. I thought he needed to go right back to curve because a) no way Jones is looking for a curve when he just gagged one so badly, and b) might as well see if he’s got any feel for it whatsoever for the rest of the outing. Instead Martin called for a fastball up out of the strike zone. Robertson put it on a fucking tee. I threw batting practice for fifty kids today, mostly underhand, and I didn’t throw a pitch that hittable.
After Adam Jones homered, Robertson kept sucking. He let up a single and another homer before he spun dizzily into the showers. In a show of solidarity, Boone Logan let up another homer as soon as he got in there. Robertson’s stats aren’t as good as last year, but I don’t think we had any business expecting that kind of year again. He’s still been pretty good. It’s his timing that has been so shitty. Robertson’s 4-0 record last year has turned into a 1-6 tally this year. That swing in the standings has been crippling for the Yankees.
In the fourth inning of this game, when I finally tuned in, David Phelps allowed the first three batters of the inning to hit the ball a combined 1200 feet. It was just dumb luck that two of them ended up as outs. The third was a homer by Robert Andino which made the score 5-1 and officially designated Phelps outing as “dogshit.”
The Yankees have played the Orioles four times recently, with the division title clearly on the line, and the Orioles would have swept all four if Pedro Strop could throw a few strikes. Even with Strop screwing things up for them, the Orioles have kicked the Yankees asses in three of the four games. They crushed three homers tonight on their way to an easy win. Strop made things complicated, so they smacked three more to win comfortably, 10-6.
The Orioles have looked the bully in the eye and found out he’s not so tough. The Orioles are playing great baseball and I can’t think of any reason why they would stop. I’m usually ok with the phrase “may the best team win.” But the best team is usually the Yankees.