The Yanks came back twice to force extras, then wasted chances in extras in losing to the Rays 10-5. It’s the Yanks’ third straight loss and dropped them to 15-13 and out of first place.
Vidal Nuno started and struggled, giving up 4 runs in 4 2/3 (6.87) After that, the Yankees’ bullpen gave up 1 run in 8 1/3 innings, the only run being given up by Robertson (1 IP, 1.29) in the top of the 9th. After Nuno it was Betances (1 1/3, 1.84), Claiborne (1 1/3, 1.35) and Thornton (2/3, 1.50) before D-Rob. After D-Rob, Shawn Kelley (2, 1.88) and Adam Warren (2, 1.53) shut down the Rays before Chris LeRoux (LeWHO?) coughed up the game by giving up 5 in the 14th (0-1, 22.50).
The Yankees’ bullpen has been good so far this year, except when Girardi is forced to go to the last guy in the bullpen—usually the guy just called up from the minors. Those marginal big leaguers have really stunk. LeRoux (22.50), Daley (27.00), Cabral (27.00), SS Dean Anna in an emergency situation (and you can’t blame Anna) (18.00), Bruce Billings (9.00) and rookie Shane Greene (0.00, but 3 unearned runs in 1/3 IP) were terrible in their short outings. The regular guys—great so far. That 12th or 13th man? Terrible.
Down 4-2 (Yanks earlier got a 2-run HR by McCann (4))) in the bottom of the 8th, the Yanks tied it on back-to-back HR by Teixiera (4, 345 career) and Soriano (5, #411 career). After Robertson gave up a run in the top of the 9th, Ellsbury’s 2-out rbi single in the bottom half forced extras.
But here, and in extras, I have to question Girardi’s managing. I like Girardi, but….
In the 9th, Roberts led off with a single and was advanced to second, here, Girardi (perhaps going for the game-winning HR?) put up Kelly Johnson, who does have pop at the expense of a low batting average, up to PH instead of a guy with over 4000 hits between Japan and the U.S. in Ichiro. Roberts stole third while Johnson was up, but Johnson couldn’t get the ball out of a drawn-in infield. I questioned the move but Ellsbury’s two-out single saved the day for a while.
In extras, Girardi (who I like) once again proved that he can’t even SPELL the word squeeze. He never does it. Not even when a guy with speed is on third and a guy with speed is at the plate. It’s not in his playbook, his encyclopedia, his vocabulary, whatever. It’s almost as if, to him, it’s unmanly to win that way. It’s sad to see fundamental, old-fashioned baseball, like the squeeze play, disappear.
Mickey Mantle squeezed runs home on occasion. One of the most famous plays in Yankees’ history was a squeeze by Rizzuto (driving home DiMaggio) late in the 1951 season.
Not only that, but how many times do you see pitchers and fielders who can’t handle bunts? Remember the Tiger pitchers throwing the ball around in the 2006 World Series?
In the bottom of the 11th, with Roberts (a good baserunner) on third after he and Solarte singled, Ichiro did PH. Granted there were two outs. But two good, intelligent and fast runners in Roberts at third and Ichiro at bat. Ichiro took two called strikes before grounding out to third on a full-count pitch. NO attempt to bunt. NO element of surprise. Really?
The Yanks had first and second, no out in the 12th and couldn’t score. In the 13th, they had second and third, one out and Gardner up. Granted that the guy on third was McCann, a catcher. Not quick. Gardner, who has speed, never showed bunt, grounding out on a 2-1 pitch. Once again, no element of surprise. No squeeze play. Ellsbury was walked to load the bases for Jeter, who grounded out. Jeter went 0 for 7 last night.
One friend asked, if there was a squeeze, and the catcher came out to field the ball (obviously not too far because of a potential play at the plate), then realized that it wasn’t his play but then stayed at home—in the path of the runner—if, with the new rules, he would be called for obstructing the runner? Good question.
Anyway, a questionable choice of PH in the 9th, two opportunities to squeeze a run home in the 11th and 13th with guys who are fast and who should be able to bunt (Ichiro is a great bunter) and they don’t even SHOW it. Even if shown but done executed, it could force the infielders up a bit to where you can then slap the next pitch by them. Not even shown. No element of surprise. It’s like the opponent KNOWS you won’t show it or try it.
Why? Billy Martin, John McGraw and other aggressive managers must be spinning in their graves or, (the ones still alive), spitting up their beer.
Anyway, after having been given chances, the Rays made short work of LeWho in the 14th.
The Yanks had 18 hits and scored just 5 runs. They were 1 for 13 w/RISP.
This is the second game this year where the failure to be able to squeeze a run home may have cost the Yanks a run. You have good runners and bunters in Ellsbury, Jeter, Roberts, Gardner and Ichiro and if one, or both, are on third or at the plate, you don’t even show squeeze bunt? Especially in a tie game in the bottom of the ninth or in extras? Fundamental baseball. You are taking away and not using a weapon. It’s like taking the bayonet off the rifle of a U.S. Marine. You use ALL your weapons!
Tanaka today to try and stop the three-game losing streak.