Somehow old man Jamie Moyer completely stifled the Yankee offense with his “devastating” array of slow-pitch garbage, limiting the Bombers to two runs (both on solo home runs from Robinson Cano and Jorge Posada) on a measly three hits over eight innings, as the Phillies won 6-3.
Both Mike and I were at the game, and so we thought we’d try to do a tag-team recap. Here goes:
Larry: So how about A.J. Burnett? I’m starting to feel pretty embarrassed about that gushing piece I wrote about A.J. back in May. Burnett has been highly ineffective since May 4, with only two quality starts over his last eight outings, and last night was just terrible. Six runs in only 3 1/3 innings with four walks, which raised his ERA nearly half a run from 3.86 to 4.33. He loaded the bases in the bottom of the 2nd and allowed the 7-8-9 hitters in Philly’s lineup to all reach base before yielding a bases-clearing triple to Shane Victorino. Burnett was at 50 pitches through 2 innings, which, vomit. The Yanks got one back with Cano’s solo shot — and man, was it an absolute bomb — in the bottom half of the inning, but Burnett gave it away and more in the top of the 3rd. It’s hard to overstate how bad A.J. Burnett was in this game.
Mike: It’s late, so I’m not about to get the numbers, but this has to be one of A.J.’s three or four worst starts since he joined the team. He was miserable. I got my first whiff of bad A.J. when he hit Chase Utley in the 1st. I just had a sense Yankee fans were in for a long night. The 2nd was certainly his worst inning, but the team was still in it after Cano’s honest-to-god no-doubter. Let’s also not forget that Burnett gave up back-to-back homers to Ryan Howard and Jayson Werth in the 3rd. That sucked.
Larry: Speaking of Burnett and bad, this was only the third time all season where a Yankee starter failed to make it through the 4th inning — the first two instances belong to Javier Vazquez, who also turned in 3 2/3 sad innings on April 25 and a mere three abhorrent innings on May 1. But it hadn’t happened in a month and a half, which gives you a pretty good idea of just how good the Yankees’ starting pitching has been on the whole.
Mike: The pitching has been fantastic. Right now A.J. seems not to be working, but it’s safe to say that the Yankees have 5 legitimate starters for the first time I can recall. Even the ’98 team threw Hideki Irabu out there every five days. Beyond that, the Yankee rotation, particularly over the last month, is just proof that you can’t predict baseball. CC Sabathia and A.J. Burnett have been our worst pitchers.
Larry: Other stray observations include my continuing concern for Alex Rodriguez‘s power. It was hard to tell from where I was sitting, but it seemed like his deep flyout in the bottom of the second was the kind of shot he usually puts in the seats. And he had a fairly deep flyout again in the 4th — I don’t know if he’s just missing, or not getting fully around on some of these pitches, but it’d really help put me at ease to see some of these long fly balls start leaving the park. Alex did pick up an RBI double in the 9th, but at that point the game was a lost cause.
Mike: There’s actually a lot I disagree with here.
Regarding A-Rod’s power, it is an obvious problem this season, but I’m hesitant to say much about those two shots. Every hitter on the team not named Cano was getting underneath Moyer’s pitches. Nick Swisher, Curtis Granderson and Brett Gardner had a lot of pop ups as well, some of them deep. Moyer isn’t going to give a hitter a lot to work with power-wise. Jorge’s homer just curved inside the foul pole.
The RBI in the 9th wasn’t meaningless, also. I found it encouraging that he hit that hard, if not high, and it kept the train rolling. When Posada came up he represented the tying run. From where I was sitting it looked like Derek Jeter (who had an awful night) was called out on ball four. If that out never happens then the Yankees would have had two chances to do some damage with the tying run at the plate.
Larry: I figured the Yanks would get to Moyer for sure, especially after he gave up a season-high nine runs to Boston in his last start. Of course the Yanks ended up picking up six of Roy Halladay for the first time in 10 years and then can’t even string two straight hits together against Jamie Moyer in eight innings. You know what they say about baseball, Suzyn.
Mike: Whoa, do NOT ever call me Suzyn. I’m almost too irate to comment. Lucky for you I like the sound of my own voice in cyberspace. We’ll just pretend that never happened.
Moyer is the kind of pitcher I could imagine the Yankees struggling against, throwing all that junk. I also wondered if the Red Sox didn’t use Tim Wakefield to prepare for Moyer somehow. That said, my attitude is always the same. The Yankees need to put five runs on the board every game.
Larry: Fortunately Tampa Bay lost, and so the Yankees remain tied for first place, but the Red Sox of course won because we’re apparently at that wonderful time of year that happens every season where Boston wins every day, also known as Interleague Play.
Mike: I’m relieved Tampa lost, but the Bombers missed an opportunity. It’d be nice to have some space between the two teams. I’m a bit concerned that Boston is beginning to play well, but no one said this would be easy. We’re three games up on the Red Sox, which is a meaningful lead.
Larry: There were only two good things to come out of this game besides Cano’s booming no-doubter: (1) They showed my buddy Andy Bailyn’s dad Steve on the Flexcam, which was awesomely hilarious; and (2) At one point the Stadium camera panned to Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, who received a warm cheer from the crowd, which then led to Simon jokingly punching Garfunkel in the face! Comedy gold, I tell ya.
Mike: I thought Garfunkel was dead. That was really him?
I would only want to add that there were three Philly fans sitting right next to me. I felt they were representative of all the Philly fans, who were out in force. These guys were serious baseball fans, who knew when to cheer, and danced around the line of what would be too far, but never actually crossed it. I enjoyed our banter, and will happily add Philadelphia to the list of cities whose fans are less obnoxious than Boston fans, bringing the list to every city in America.
Hopefully the Yankees bounce back tomorrow in the rubber game.
Larry: I see no reason why they don’t, considering that Philly starter Kyle Kendrick has apparently allowed a .289/.341/.510 line to the non-pitchers he’s faced this year, according to RAB’s Mike Axisa. Of course, with the way this series has gone thus far it probably means Kendrick ends up no-hitting the Yanks tonight.
Oh, and for the record, I’m not even sure Philly fans would consider themselves less obnoxious than Boston fans. I know Yankee fans tend to get into it with BoSox fans more than anyone else due to the rivalry, but between the Eagles, intentionally puking on little girls and other disgusting bits of anecdotal evidence, it sounds like a lot of New Yorkers at this point would consider Philly fans to be way worse than Boston fans.
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