I’m not going to spend a whole lot of time with tonight’s recap. Frankly, there isn’t a much to say at this point. The Yanks enjoyed another fine pitching performance but still managed to lose thanks to some very timely non-hits. The lone run came in the bottom of third on a Mark Teixeira solo shot which was definitely assisted by the short porch in right field (and almost snagged by a leaping Carlos Beltran).
That’s not to say that there weren’t an abundance of opportunities though. In the bottom of the second, the Bombers had bases loaded but couldn’t capitalize. In fact, by the end of the game, the Yankees ultimately went 1-10 with runners in scoring position (exasperated by the team’s 11 strikeouts). R.A. Dickey (1-5, 5.08) allowed one run on four hits. His wholesale knuckleball (which has a -10.1 pitch value according to Fangraphs) was good enough to warrant six strikeouts. I don’t care who’s pitching; that’s entirely too many fruitless at bats. I think TYA’s very own Larry Koestler provided perspective best when he noted on Twitter that the Yankees have already accumulated seven one-run losses this season. Let those numbers resonate on your tongue for just a moment – especially as you consider the members of the rotation who have been contributing mostly solid outings.
Some credit certainly has to go to Jose Reyes who single handedly destroyed any hope of a rally in the bottom of the fifth. Thanks to an error (actually credited to Reyes) and another infield single for The Captain, Gardner and Jeter managed to reach base with no outs respectively. Granderson helped the wrong NY team’s cause as he promptly popped out. Teixeira struck out on three consecutive knuckleballs. Then Reyes made a spectacular diving catch on a sharp line drive from Alex Rodriguez for the third out. Inning over (might as well been the game though!). Worse yet, after that inning, the Yankees would only manage one hit for the remainder of the game (a sixth inning double compliments of Russell Martin).
While I’m griping about the offense, I’d like to just take a few seconds to point out how painful it was watching Gardner on the bases during that fifth inning. EVERYONE on the planet knew he was going to try and steal off Dickey Knuckleballer. That didn’t stop Brett from taking an enormous lead in-between each pitch sequence, which consequently, almost resulted in several very close (albeit unsuccessful) pick offs attempts. When he finally did go for the steal, he was also very close to being thrown out. Gardners basestealing struggles continue to be quite the enigma – queue the “You know what the say about baseball…” line please, Mr. Sterling.
The silver lining definitely came from the pitching. Freddy Garcia was everything one could hope for tonight and then some. His 88 mile per hour “fastball” hit the corners for the most part. The Chief (that’s Freddy’s nickname apparently) allowed two runs on five hits and two walks over seven innings. Other than a Fernando Martinez double (bottom of the fourth) and a Daniel Murphy homerun in the sixth, there really wasn’t a whole lot of threat from the Mets camp all night.
The relief core was also solid. Joba entered the game in the eighth and simply overpowered Jason Bay for his second out. Of the five pitches to Bay, four were fastballs averaging 95 miles per hour. After striking out Bay, he went on to throw an 80 mph curveball, a 96 mph four seam fastball, and an 86 mph slider to Fernando Martinez. It really wasn’t fair from the start. David Robertson took over in the ninth in what felt like his 100th appearance of the season and largely dominated the inning; although, he did give up the obligatory single to Jason Pridie. But nothing came of it.
In the words of the great Porky Pig, “That’s all folks.” Join us tomorrow for the second game of the Subway Series. Game starts at 7:10PM EST on YES. AJ Burnett (4-3, 3.99) is expected to take the mound for the good guys against Chris Capuano (3-4, 4.78). Let’s hope the offense can muster some support this next go around.
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