Despite a big night at the plate for both Alex Rodriguez (4 for 5 with two home runs and 3 RBI’s) and Jason Giambi (3 for 4 with a walk, a double, and an RBI) poor pitching doomed the Yankees yet again as they drop the first game of a two game series against Tampa Bay.
Some good came with the bad, however, as the two home runs hit in the game by Alex Rodriguez were historic.
The first home run that Alex hit was his 13th long ball of the season which tied him with Cincinnati Red‘s outfielder KenGriffey Junior for the American League record for home runs in April.
Then in the 9th inning, with one on and one out, he hit his second home run of the game that set a record for home runs hit by a player in the American League in the month of April with 14.
That 14th home run also put him at a tie with Albert Pujols for the most home runs hit in the month of April by a player in either league.
On the flip side of this — Kei Igawa surrendered 8 hits, 7 runs, 7 earned runs, 3 walks and 2 big home runs in four and one third innings of work and then then in the 6th inning Luis Vizcaino gave up a 3 run double that put the nail in the coffin for the loss.
The New York Yankees bullpen that had been so effective in the first dozen or so games of the season has looked utterly exhausted and utterly hittable in the last four games.
Joe Torre, Ron Guidry, and the New York Yankees bullpen desperately need for Chien Ming Wang to
go out and throw 7 or 8 innings tomorrow and for Andy Pettitte and to give them some length in his start coming up this Wednesday as well.
In other positive news from the game tonight in Tampa, Robinson Cano hit his first home run of the 2007 regular season and despite the lay off on the DL Hideki Matsui showed he did not lose any of his renowned plate disciple as he drew 2 walks in 4 at bats.
Matsui also drove in a run with a fourth-inning sacrifice fly.
In more positive news Mariano Rivera pitched in the game today and looked pretty good getting some work in.
However, in my opinion, if the Yankees continue to to depend on their bullpen to give them five (or sometimes even six) innings of work on a nightly basis there won’t be anything left for the Red Sox series this coming weekend.
(To say nothing for the coming month of May).
There is some light at the end of the tunnel though, as we get Wang back tomorrow and Moose back Tuesday in Texas.
A starting three of Wang, Pettitte, and Moose should eat up innings and give the bullpen some much needed rest.
But this was, yet again, another very winnable game that the Yankees let slip through their fingers despite a very strong outing by the offense.
It’s far too early in the season to start to panic yet, but we are a better ball club than our record reflects and we need to start reflecting it in the record and in the standings.
I don’t think that calling up Phil Hughes was necessarily a panic move since, as John Flaherty indicated in the YES broadcast, he would have probably been called up around the All Star Break anyway.
However, I do think that the Yankees need to keep the Hendricks brothers telephone number and fax number handy as May is just a week away
and that’s when Roger Clemens hypothesized that he might think about whether or not he’d make a return to the big leagues and what team he’d play for if he did.
Don’t get me wrong, I think we can win the pennant with or without Clemens and he’s not a necessity for us to get to the post season, I just think with the way our starting pitching has performed in the last week or week and a half — I would welcome reinforcements if I thought they may be forthcoming.
On the bright side, the Boston Red Sox lost their game Toronto today so the ‘Bombers did not fall any further behind the BoSox in the AL East than they were before the day started.
So, we just need to dig in and go out there tomorrow and get a great game from Chien Ming Wang and start to right the ship.
It’s still just April so there’s a lot of baseball left to be played !
LETS GO YANKEES !