Monday, June 1, 2015

I Have Catching Up to Do, and So Did the Yankees


I have never been so behind on this blog since I started it in September 2007. I'm 15 games behind -- more than the Yankees were behind the Red Sox on July 20, 1978.

Well, they came back, so maybe I can, too. Let's get to it:

On Friday, May 15, the Yankees flew from Tampa Bay to Kansas City, to start a 3-game series against the Royals, defending Pennant winners. For 5 innings, Michael Pineda of the Yankees and Chris Young of the Royals were both fine, and it was 2-1 Royals.

Then the Royals struck in the bottom of the 6th. Pineda allowed leadoff double, groundout, RBI single, RBI triple. 4-1 Royals.

Okay, trailing by 3 with 1 out in the bottom of the 6th, man on 1st. Not good, but it can be overcome, as long as the manager doesn't panic.

Joe Girardi panicked. He took Pineda out, and replaced him with David Carpenter. Carpenter got a fielder's choice. Except 2nd baseman Stephen Drew (who, as you may have noticed, couldn't hit the ground if he fell off a ladder) dropped the ball. Men on 1st & 2nd, 1 out. Okay, that was bad, but it certainly wasn't the pitcher's fault. So leave Carpenter in.

Then Girardi really panicked. He immediately replaced the guy who just got a possibly key out with Justin Wilson. Groundout, RBI single, walk, RBI single, RBI single. The Royals scored 6 runs in the inning. And 4 in the next.

Royals 12, Yankees 1. WP: Young (3-0). No save. LP: Pineda (5-1), although he deserved a better fate. The Yankees only got 5 hits: Doubles by Alex Rodriguez and Carlos Beltran, a triple by Brett Gardner, and 2 singles by Mark Teixeira. Brian McCann got the Yankee run home with a sacrifice fly.

It was Girardi who lost the game, when he panicked in the 6th.

*

What the Yankees needed in the Saturday game was run support for, and then a solid start from, CC Sabathia. The Big Fella delivered: 7 innings, 1 run, 6 hits, no walks, 5 strikeouts.

It was 1-1 going into the top of the 5th, when the Yankees staged a good-old-fashioned 2-out rally. Teix singled to left. So did Beltran. And then Chase Headley also hit it to left field -- or, rather, over left field. It was his 5th home run of the season. A-Rod added a homer in the 9th, his 10th.

Yankees 5, Royals 1. WP: Sabathia (2-5). No save. LP: Danny Duffy (2-3).

*

The Sunday game, Girardi started Chris Capuano. In the immortal words of the greatest late-night talk-show host since the retirement of Johnny Carson, Jay Leno, "What the hell were you thinking?"

It was only 1-0 Royals in the bottom of the 4th, but then the Rednecks scored 3 runs, and that was all she needed to write. The Yankees didn't get so much as a baserunner until A-Rod's double in the 4th, and loaded the bases with 1 out in the 8th, but got nothing.

Royals 6, Yankees 0. WP: Edinson Volquez (3-3). No save. LP: Capuano (0-1). The Yankees lost 2 out of 3 in K.C.

*

So the Yankees continued their roadtrip, with 2 Interleague games in the Nation's Capital, against the Washington Nationals, defending Champions of the National League Eastern Division.

After a day off, the brief series began on Tuesday night. The Yankees trailed 2-0 going into the 4th, but scored 6 runs in the next 2 innings to knock Gio Gonzalez out of the box. This included an RBI single by Chris Young, an RBI double by Headley, an RBI single by the much-maligned Drew, and a home run by Teixeira, the 12th "Teix Message" of the year.

But Nathan Eovaldi, having already given up homers to Ian Desmond and the white-hot-hitting Bryce Harper, couldn't hang on. He allowed 3 runs in the bottom of the 5th, and was replaced. Carpenter gave up a dinger to Wilson Ramos in the 6th, tying the game at 6-6.

It went to extra innings. In 2006, when the Nats were still playing at Robert F. Kennedy Stadium, Ryan Zimmerman turned a 1-0 Yankee lead into a 2-1 Nats win with a walkoff homer against Chien-Ming Wang, whom then-manager Joe Torre had done what he so rarely did: Let his starting pitcher try to complete the game. This time, 9 years later, Zimmerman struck again, taking new closer Andrew Miller deep to win it in the 10th.

Nationals 8, Yankees 6. WP: Matt Grace (2-0). No save. LP: Miller (0-1).

*

So the Yankees needed a win badly on Wednesday, away to a defending Playoff team. And they started off well enough, leading off the game with a Gardner single, a Beltran RBI double, a Teix groundout that moved Beltran to 3rd with less than 2 outs, and a McCann sac fly. 2-0 Yankees.

But for the rest of the game, 25 outs, the Yankees didn't score and got just 4 hits. The Nats pulled a run back off Adam Warren in the bottom of the 1st, and they scored again in the 4th and the 7th.

Nats 3, Yanks 2. WP: Jordan Zimmerman (no relation to Ryan, 4-2). SV: Drew Storen (12). LP: Warren (2-3).

The Yankees were reeling. They needed to get their act together, and fast.

As did I. Now, I'm "only" 10 games behind.

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