When you have a lineup like the Yankees do, as a fan I always feel like they’re still in the game no matter what the deficit. We saw proof of that on an April night in Boston, and falling behind 5-0 in the first inning facing Mets starter Jon Niese with the worst bullpen in the NL behind him, I still had confidence the Yanks would get back in the game and be one swing away from a big comeback win. Fangraphs Win Probability doesn’t agree, but that’s OK. I’ve more of a match ups guy, and WPA is the big picture view. Both have their place, and last night WPA held sway in predicting the outcome.
So what went wrong for Andy in that decisive 1st inning? According to his manager, he didn’t have his slider working and his FB command was a bit off. Girardi always says that whenever a pitcher gets hit, and it appeared to me in the first inning that both pitchers had some trouble adjusting to Home Plate Umpire Marvin Hudson’s strike zone. According to Andy, he was just missing on some pitches as he walked two and gave up a ground ball single. Andy will give up his share of hits, but whenever he gets the ball on the ground I’m not overly concerned. He then gave up a 2-out line drive single to Jacob Turner, then compounded the matter with what he described as an “inexcusable” cutter to Ike Davis that was deposited into the RF seats, just past the glove of a leaping Nick Swisher. To his credit Andy settled down after the 5 hits 5 run first, giving up just 2 more hits the rest of the way as he got the Yanks to the 7th inning before signaling to the bullpen. But the damage was done.
As always, the Yanks had their share of chances. As usual thus far this year, they didn’t convert on most of them. Also in keeping with their 2012 season thus far, they scored most (last night all) of their runs via the long ball. A-Rod hit a massive 425 foot blast to dead center in the 6th, Andruw Jones followed that up with a solo shot in the 7th. Then Robbie Cano, who looked uncharacteristically bad at the plate for most of the night, deposited a mighty 2 run blast in the 7th off Mets reliever Miguel Batista. On to RISP fail. They put two men on in both the first and second innings with 2 outs but came away empty with Cano and Jeter at the plate. What might have been their best chance to put a rally together came in the 9th inning. After a Russel Martin fly ball out to lead off the inning, Raul Ibanez walked and Derek Jeter singled off closer Frank Francisco. Now the Yanks are set up. 2 runs down, 1 man out and the heart of the lineup due up next. But Curtis Granderson stuck out looking and Tex lobbed a weak pop fly to end the game. Ballgame over, Yankees lose.
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