Thursday, June 5, 2014

Bullpen Gets an F vs. A's

I'll have a piece on the life and legacy of Don Zimmer tomorrow. As for tonight's game...

Let's keep in mind that the Oakland Athletics have the best record in the American League at the moment, and have won the last 2 AL Western Division titles. We're not talking about a bad team here.

The Yankees? Right now, they're at .500: 29-29.

This is a result of weak play for the last couple of weeks, knocking them from first place in the AL Eastern Division to, as they would say in English soccer, midtable mediocrity.

It started out so well. Ichiro Suzuki led off the bottom of the 3rd with a walk. After John Ryan Murphy struck out, Brett Gardner singled. Derek Jeter singled Ichiro home. And Jacoby Ellsbury socked a line-drive home run to right-center field.

A 4-0 Yankee lead. Even Vidal Nuno couldn't mess that up, could he?

First batter with that lead, in the top of the 4th, he served up a home run to Yoenis Cespedes. No shame in that, Cespedes is a great slugger, and it's only 1 run.

But in the 5th, Nuno allowed another run, and the A's were threatening for more. Joe Girardi looked in his Binders Full of Strategies, and sent Matt Daley out there. Daley put out the fire.

But in the 6th, again, Cespedes led off with a home run. Then came an error. Daley out, Matt Thornton in, and the next thing you know, we've got ourselves a tie ballgame.

In the 7th, Girardi brought on Jose Ramirez to make his major-league debut. A 24-year-old righthanded native of the Dominican Republic, wearing Number 63, he's been a starter until this season, having made 7 appearances for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees, all in relief, with a 2-0 record, a 0.84 ERA -- but a 1.688 WHIP. At least he hadn't allowed a home run so far this year.

He has now: The first batter he faced was Jed Lowrie, and he got Lowrie to fly to right; but he allowed a homer to Josh Donaldson. 5-4 A's.

That was the only run he allowed in his first 2 major league innings. Hopefully, this won't get him down, and he'll be a better bullpen option than we've been getting.

In the 9th, Girardi brought in Wade LeBlanc, whom the Yankees had picked up on waivers from the Whatever They're Calling Themselves This Season Angels of Anaheim. He wears Number 55, but he's no Hideki Matsui. The 29-year-old may be a lefty from Louisiana, but he ain't no Ron Guidry, either: He's a journeyman, and the Yankees are his 5th club in the last 3 years. He allowed 3 more runs to put the game out of reach.

A's 7, Yankees 4. WP: Chavez (5-3). SV: Doolittle (7). LP: Ramirez (0-1).

And now, the Yankees have to play the dreaded DGANG: Day Game After a Night Game.

Good news? Yes: To make room for Ramirez and LeBlanc on the roster, Preston Claiborne was sent down to Scranton, and Alfredo Aceves was designated for assignment. Praise God.

And Masahiro Tanaka pitches for the Pinstripes, with Drew Pomeranz going for the Green & Gold.

It's June. This is no time for the New York Yankees to be below .500. We need Tanaka to again be the Guidry-like pitcher we did not see tonight.

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