So this wasn’t quite “Yankees get shut down by rookie they’ve never faced before,” but it was pretty close, given that the Yankees managed to muster up one measly run against the Orioles across the first fourteen innings of this game.
Thankfully, the Yankees finally prevailed in the 15th — their first 15-plus inning game since Alex Rodriguez‘s glorious, glorious walk-off bomb against the BoSox in August 2009 – going on to win a game they led for the first eight inning 4-1 in extras.
Before going any further, however, I’d be remiss if I didn’t chronicle the events of the 15th inning, which was quite possible the strangest inning of baseball I’ve ever witnessed.
To paraphrase Bill Hader’s Weekend Update correspondent Stefon, this game had everything:
- After the first two Yankees reached base in the 15th on back-to-back hits, Robinson Cano incredibly managed to get a hit with RISP, ripping a bases-clearing first-pitch double off Mike Gonzalez to give the Yankees the lead back.
- Three pitches later Gonzalez brained Chris Dickerson, prompting the home plate ump to toss him despite the fact that it was very clearly not intentional.
- With no one left in the O’s bullpen, Buck Showalter went to tonight’s starter, Jeremy Guthrie. Guthrie three a whopping seven pitches to retire the side and is now unavailable to start tonight. Brad Bergesen– who the Yanks torched for six runs last time they saw him, though who also pitched a complete-game shutout against the Rays in his last outing — will go in Guthrie’s place tonight.
- While Dickerson valiantly attempted to stay in the game, Joe Girardi did the right thing and removed him from the game. I can’t imagine how scary it is to get beaned; I always lived in fear of getting hit by the pitch when I was a little leaguer. With a compromised Yankee bench, Joe was forced to insert A.J. Burnett as a pinch-runner. Despite being forced to watch many an Interleague game over the years, I still find it hilarious when a Yankee pitcher is on the basepaths.
- In the bottom half of the inning, the second out was recorded when a Matt Wieters grounder hit Chris Snyder, who was running from first to second. How often do you see that?
- And Hector Noesi managed to pick up his big league win in his MLB debut in about as unorthodox a situation as you could envision for a kid’s first appearance in the show. Noesi threw four shutout innings, and though it wasn’t always pretty — though he struck four men out, he also gave up four hits and walked four — he got the job done.
Bartolo Colon was brilliant, tossing eight shutout innings (seven strikeouts and only one walk) on only 87 pitches, which had many clamoring for him to pitch the ninth and complete the game. Joe Girardi, however, went with Mariano Rivera with the Yankees clinging to a 1-0. Second guess all you want, but I don’t see how you can fault Girardi for going to his best pitcher with a one-run lead and three outs to victory.
Unfortunately Mo couldn’t get the job done, as the O’s hit back-to-back singles and plated the tying run on a Vladimir Guerrero sac fly. Of course, the Yankees wouldn’t have been in this situation in the first place had the offense bothered to score more than one run. That being said, I suppose scoring even one run against Zach Britton — considering they’d never seen him before — and heading into the ninth with a lead has to be considered some sort of moral victory.
Still, shame on the Yankees for not taking more advantage of Baltimore’s shoddy bullpen (5.03 collective ERA heading into this game). As RAB recently pointed out, the Yankees’ usual MO of wearing a team’s starter out only to feast on the bullpen has not come to fruition this season, with the Yankees une posting their best OPS+ in the first three innings of games, and a meager 106 OPS+ in the final three innings of games (sure to be lower after another nonexistent late-game showing). Still, it’s inexcusable that the Yankees couldn’t even muster up a single run off the combination of Clay Rapada, Jason Berken, Kevin Gregg, Koji Uehara, Jim Johnson and Jeremy Accardo across eight innings before breaking out in the 15th. Seriously, Baltimore’s bullpen nearly tossed a nine-inning shutout!
The story of the Yankees these last few painful weeks has been one of either absent bats or poor pitching. In the past we’ve seen a lot of Yankee teams overcome mediocre pitching, but this year’s edition — despite a very strong April — doesn’t appear to have quite the same firepower.
In any event, this was very nearly another loss due in part to the Yankees’ compromised bullpen. With David Robertson and Joba Chamberlain pitching seemingly every day, and Rafael Soriano rotting on the disabled list, Girardi was forced to turn to the likes of Luis Ayala, Boone Logan and Hector Noesi to try to keep the O’s off the board. To their credit, Ayala and Logan got the job done, but it was tough to shake the feeling that the Yankees were playing on borrowed time, especially since Noesi has barely pitched this season and was making his MLB debut in rather unfortunate circumstances, i.e., the bottom of the 11th in a tie game.
To Noesi’s credit, he persevered, and the Yankees were able to pull out a victory in a game that featured the best starting performance by a Yankee this season. Who knew Bartolo Colon would end up being the most pleasant pitcher on the Yankee staff to watch work nearly each and every time out?
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TagsA.J. Burnett Alex Rodriguez Andy Pettitte Austin Romine Baltimore Orioles Bartolo Colon Boston Red Sox Brett Gardner Brian Cashman Bullpen CC Sabathia Chien-Ming Wang Cliff Lee Curtis Granderson David Robertson Dellin Betances Derek Jeter Francisco Cervelli Freddy Garcia Game Recap Hiroki Kuroda Ivan Nova Javier Vazquez Jesus Montero Joba Chamberlain Joe Girardi Johnny Damon Jorge Posada Manny Banuelos Mariano Rivera Mark Teixeira Melky Cabrera Michael Pineda New York New York Yankees Nick Johnson Nick Swisher Phil Hughes Prospects Rafael Soriano Red Sox Robinson Cano Russell Martin Tampa Bay Rays Yankees