Spotted a three-run lead in the first inning, Sergio Mitre turned that lead into a deficit with one out in the second and was gone after the third, leaving a bullpen that is starting to show some signs of wear to fill six innings in a 10-5 loss to the White Sox in Chicago Friday.
It was the Yankees' second straight loss, dropping them to 2-3 on this nine-game trip and slicing their lead in the AL East to 1-1/2 games over the Red Sox.
Mitre was so bad, he had Yankee fans pining for the previous guy to wear No. 45 -- Carl Pavano. That's bad. He allowed five runs on seven hits and two walks in three innings.
“Terrible,” Mitre said. “I just wasn’t making good pitches. When I do give up hits, I usually throw a good sinker and get them to roll over. Today I just wasn’t able to make good pitches at all.”
Mitre just didn't have it. He struggled to put batters away, going to full counts on six of the 18 batters he faced. His pitches were up and he was hit hard with White Sox hitters getting his pitches in the air, a troublesome sign for a groundball pitcher such as Mitre, who got just three groundball outs.
And what's more troublesome is that he should have been able to relax in this game after the Yankees jumped all over spot starter D.J. Carrasco in the first inning.
Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon led off with singles before Mark Teixeira's double plated Jeter to make it 1-0. A groundout by Alex Rodriguez brought in Damon and Hideki Matsui made it 3-0 with a single.
Anytime this team jumps out to a 3-0 lead, that game should be a victory. But not when Mitre is on the mound. When Mitre pitches, instead of expecting at least six solid innings, the Yankees are hoping Mitre gives them five innings allowing no more than three runs. So much for having confidence in your starter.
Mitre got the first two outs in the bottom half, but facing the Sox's tough middle of the order, he came undone. Jim Thome and Paul Konerko singled before A.J Pierzynski's double made it 3-1.
The second inning was beyond awful. Jayson Nix led off with a walk, went to second on Chris Getz's single and then to third on Scott Podsednik's bunt single. Gordon Beckham brought in one run with a sacrifice fly to center and Thome made it 4-3 with a single.
Carlos Quentin homered to lead off the third, but even though Mitre managed to get through the rest of the inning with out another run scoring, Joe Girardi has seen enough and turned the game over to the bullpen.
The Yankees did tie it at 5 on Eric Hinske's two-run homer in the fifth, but six innings was just too much to ask for from a bullpen that didn't have Phil Hughes available.
David Robertson, who pitched a scoreless fourth gave up an RBI double to Quentin in the fifth. Jose Aceves, who last Saturday said he had a tired shoulder, pitched a perfect sixth but couldn't give Girardi another solid inning, allowing five runs in the seventh to snuff the Yankees' hopes of pulling out the win.
The thing is Girardi didn't have many choices there. We just don't know what we're going to get from Brian Bruney and Mark Melancon is an unproven rookie. I guess Girardi could have started testing Melancon, but that's not a guarantee things would have turned out differently or better.
But really, the Yankees' chances took their big hit with Mitre's start, which was so bad, they might as well have had Kei Igawa out there. Don't laugh. That just might happen.
“I’m not sure that we have a lot of options at this point,” Girardi said. “[Mitre's] got to get it done for us.”
Certainly they don't have any options presently within the organization. Prospect George Kontos is hurt and Ivan prospect hasn't taken Triple A by storm since his promotion.
That means once players clear waivers sometime today or Sunday, Cashman has to get on the phone to swing a deal. This team doesn't need another No. 1-type starter. It just needs someone solid, someone who won't force Cashman to give up the farm. Bronson Arroyo, Jon Garland, Brian Bannister. Someone of that ilk will fit the bill.
Get it done Cash, and get it done before the Yankees next need a fifth starter on Aug. 10 vs. the Blue Jays (I'm sure that with a day off Monday, the Yankees will skip Mitre on what would be his next start Thursday vs. the Red Sox).
Runners In Scoring Position
Since A-Rod's Return May 8
Vs. Red Sox
Saturday at White Sox, 4:05, Fox
A.J. Burnett (10-4, 3.53 ERA) vs. John Danks (8-7, 3.89)
Burnett has been the Yankees' best pitcher since early June. He needs to come up with a big start and get the Yankees back on track.