Oh. That hurts.
I met up with Jay Jaffe (of Futility Infielder and Baseball Prospectus fame), Ben Kabak (of River Avenue Blues and Second Avenue Sagas) and Emma Span (contributor to Bronx Banter and acclaimed author of 90% of the Game is Half Mental) over at the Dram Shop in Brooklyn to watch tonight’s game. The Yankees led 2-0 by the time I arrived, and shortly after I got my first scotch, Juan Miranda went yard with a solo shot. At that point, I remarked “Who’d have thought that in May, in a Red Sox game, we’d have Cervelli, Thames, Miranda and Winn in the lineup, and it wouldn’t be panic time.”
I blame the scotch. I spoke too damn soon.
Of course, the lower half of the lineup wasn’t to blame. They’d driven in three runs, and contributed two hits and two walks coming into the top of the eighth. CC Sabathia passed a 5-1 lead to Joba Chamberlain, which should have been enough. Sadly, keyed by a poor Alex Rodriguez throw that dragged Mark Teixeira off the bag, Joba coughed up the lead in the eighth. Another big error--this time by Marcus Thames, playing right field--doomed Mariano Rivera in the ninth, although the Sandman contributed by being less-than-dominant for a second straight appearance. And then it was back to that lower half of the lineup, with a shot to tie the game, in the bottom of the ninth against Papeldouche (hat tip to Mr. Jaffe).
That didn’t work out so well. With the score 7-6 and the tying run on second, Cervelli bunted, Thames walked, Miranda hit a hard grounder back to the freakishly small-mouthed Papelbon, and Randy WInn--really? there’s no pinch hitter for Randy Winn?--whiffed. Game over.
On the surface, this loss was about how the Yanks suffered immediately from the decision to send Greg Golson down. You can’t hide Marcus Thames on the field, which is pretty much what you have to do to have Tex and Miranda and Thames in the lineup all at the same time. Maybe if Girardi had had Golson on the roster, someone whose glove is not decorative is playing right field, and the gork that handcuffed Thames gets caught. But the real problem right now is a bullpen with no reliable parts, from the best closer ever on down. Still, it’s just a split, and it’s only three games behind the Rays, and it’s only May. Just an opportunity lost.
Still, with Curtis Granderson and Nick Johnson on the DL, and Javy Vazquez sporting an ERA north of eight, this isn’t a good moment for Brian Cashman’s offseason machinations.