Saturday, April 25, 2009

That Was Ugh-Lee

To borrow a line from a friend: I want to cry, but there just aren't any tears left.

That was one of the most bizarre, ugliest and excruciating baseball games I've ever watched, and that the Yankees lost 16-11 to the Red Sox at Fenway Saturday after being up 6-0 through 3-1/2 made it pure torture. I'm not sure the CIA, even at its lowest points, would show that to prisoners at Gitmo. Watching hour upon hour upon hour of mindless over-analysis during the NFL draft was more enjoyable. It was that bad.

I'm not going bother getting into the pitching too much. It was miserable ... for both teams. Even the most effective pitchers -- Ramon Ramirez (0 runs on 19 pitches in two-thirds of an inning) and Jonathan Papelbon (0 runs 30 pitches in 1 inning) -- labored. Everyone had trouble getting outs. It was just one of those days for pitchers that happen every so often at Fenway.

Here's what you need to know about this game: on a day where the offense ruled, the Yankees' offense failed miserably.

That's right. FAILED.

How can that be when they scored 11 runs? That's because they should have score a ton more. For the second game in a row they stunk with runners in scoring position, going 3-for-17 and stranding 12. Friday they went 4-for-19 with runners in scoring position. That's 5-for-36 (.139) in the two games. They also had a three game stretch last week when they went 3-for-28 (.107).

Offensively that is the big difference between the Yankees and Red Sox right now. Both teams grind out at-bats. Both teams get runners on base, but when the Red Sox need the big, clutch hit, they get it. The Yankees don't. And all you have to do is look at the last two games to see that.

Leading by two in the ninth Friday, the Yankees loaded the bases with no outs and failed to push across an insurance run and finish off the Red Sox. But the Red Sox, they took a one-run lead into the bottom of the eighth Saturday and pushed across four more runs, all but ending the Yankees' hopes of somehow pulling this one out.

Normally, 11 runs are more than enough to get a win, but this was not an ordinary day and the Yankees needed their offense to be extraordinary. Too bad it wasn't.

What We Learned
We knew Friday night the bullpen was in trouble with Bruney's injury, but we found out just how much. Veras' strong performance Wednesday is just a memory and it's clear Joe Girardi does not have complete faith in him. I thought he'd replace Brian Bruney in the eighth-inning role, but Giradi brought in Veras in the sixth, leaving the seventh and eighth to Phil Coke and Jonathan Albaladejo. It's scary, but it's quite possible that the Yankees fate for the next month or so while Bruney recovers could rest in the hands of prospect Mark Melancon (who did not arrive in time for Saturday's game). And if that's not reason for concern, I'm not sure what is.

Hey Dave...
The pitching on both sides has been absolutely taxed. In Saturday's game, there were 391 pitches thrown, 215 by the Sox, and in the two games, the side has been retired in order a grand total of ... get this ... three times. Regardless of what happens today, it's going to take both teams at least three or four games to recover. When is MLB going to start give these teams a day off after their series?

Runners On Third With Less Than Two Outs
2 Opportunities
0-for-2, K
33 Opportunities
7-for-28, 3B, BB, 4 SF, 18 R, 15 RBI, 3 K, 3 GIDP

Up Next
Sunday at Boston, 8:05 p.m., ESPN
Andy Pettitte (2-0, 2.53 ERA) vs. Justin Masterson (1-0, 3.18)

If ever the Yankees needed a complete game, it's right now. And Pettitte's just the guy to deliver.

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