So if I told you CC Sabathia would deliver seven shutout innings of two-hit, one-walk, six-strikeout ball — including retiring the last seventeen Twins he faced in a row –and the Yankees headed into the 8th with a 4-0 lead and Rafael Soriano taking the mound, you’d have to be feeling pretty good about their chances, right? Unfortunately it appears karma reads my series previews (“Between Sabathia being a beast, and the Yankees having lit Duensing up in his one career start against them, this seems like a pretty near-guaranteed Yankee win. I suppose it’s always possible Duensing does the typical soft-tossing-lefty-against-the-Yankees-thing and completely shuts them down, but given the way the Yankees are swinging the bat thus far, this seems unlikely”), because even though Brian Duensing did get touched up for four runs, he basically shut the Yankees down after Andruw Jones‘ solo home run in the second inning (that’s right, like Granderson the year before him, Jones homered in his first at-bat as a Yankee, but this got totally lost in the shuffle amid the whole blowing-the-game fracas), allowing only two singles and a walk from the beginning of the 3rd through the 7th inning. Credit has to go to Duensing here for not letting the game get any further out of hand (this one started out so promising too, as Mark Teixeira deposited another three-run home into the seats before Duensing recorded a single out! Bah), and to Matt Capps and Joe Nathan as they combined for three perfect innings en route to a 5-4 comeback win by Minnesota.
On the flip side, the Yankee bullpen performed about as poorly as possible, as Soriano walked three batters, including one to Joe Mauer with the bases loaded, and David Robertson came in and promptly gave up a game-tying bloop double to Delmon Young. Now, in Robertson’s defense, the double wasn’t exactly ripped, but simply put where the fielders weren’t. It was a nice piece of hitting by Young, and with the way the Yankee bats had been lulled into a collective coma the game essentially became the Twins’ to lose once they tied it up.
And the Twins followed through on their end of the bargain — after a perfect ninth from Mariano Rivera, Boone Logan couldn’t do the one thing he’s supposed to do — retire lefthanded batters — and gave up the game-winning single to Joe Mauer. Now, Mauer’s of course one of the best hitters in the game, and I’m not going to kill Logan for that, but I am going to kill him for letting Denard Span and Tsuyoshi Nishioka reach base ahead of Mauer. All in all, a deplorable outing for Logan. Many folks on Twitter were up in arms over Joe Girardi‘s bullpen deployment in this game, but I place the blame squarely on the pitchers — specifically Soriano — as they did not get the job done. We can argue all day about whether Soriano should have been brought out for a second night in a row and then subsequently left in for too long, but he’s being paid nearly $12 million a year, and if he can’t protect a four-run lead because he pitched the night before, that’s troublesome.
The offense — which busted out of the gate so prolifically — has hit something of a lull against the Twins, as each game has featured Yankee home runs in the first and second innings, and zero runs in the other 14 frames. I know it’s early, but Robinson Cano (0-4) in particular has looked really out of sorts at the plate to me; Derek Jeter picked up a hit and a walk, which isn’t a terrible day, but he’s still hitting below .200; and Curtis Granderson, hero of game one, hasn’t really done anything since.
Anyway, this one definitely stung, primarily due to the vulturing of an absolute beauty of a start from CC, and considering that he’s the one sure thing in the rotation, the team pretty much has to find ways to win nearly every time he takes the mound. However, it was only the fifth game of the season, and so there’s no use in dwelling on it too severely. Thankfully they go right back at it tonight.
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