The Yankees losing skid hits five games last night as the New York Yankees drop yet another close game to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
Alex Rodriguez went 0-3 with a walk and a strike out in the ballgame against Scott Kazmir and brings his career hitting numbers against Kazmir to one for nineteen.
Kazmir was pretty strong in his start against the Yankees as he went six and two thirds innings pitched with only one earned run and 5 strike outs against 2 walks.
And if not for the solo home run he surrendered to Hideki Matsui (Matsui‘s first long ball of the 2007 regular season) and the throwing error he committed in the 7th to first base that resulted in the Yankees scoring two runs in that frame he may have lasted into the 8th or even the 9th inning.
In addition to the home run that he hit in the second inning, Hideki Matsui also added a RBI single in the 8th inning.
Chien Ming Wang was also solid in his six and one third innings of pitching as he recorded three strike outs against no walks on nine hits and gave up four earned runs.
Two of the runs scored after he left the game, however, and although they are charged to his earned run average it was Mike Myers who allowed them to cross home plate when he gave up an 8th inning grand slam to the hot hitting Carl Crawford.
The 23 year old Houston, Texas native went 4 for 4 in the game last night with a home run and 2 runs scored to bring his season average up to .284.
In other action from last night’s game Derek Jeter was hit in thigh by a pitch from Kazmir early in the game and had to be removed from the game and was replaced at shortstop by Miguel Cario.
He is listed as day-to-day with a bruised thigh but is expected to be back in the line up tonight or to tomorrow.
New York Yankees manager Joe Torre spoke out in about the state of affairs on the YES Network post game show and offered the following comments:
"This is where you really test your mettle here; this is the tough part
about playing our game,
This is where you
earn your money. You have to turn this thing around and not get
wallowed up in self-pity. That’s something that’s not acceptable. It
won’t happen. It hasn’t happened."
So right now while things look depressing in the world of New York Yankees baseball I have a few positive thoughts to add to the subject.
Wang looked pretty sharp in his return to the rotation and made it into the seventh inning for the Yankees last night and Pettitte
looks to do the same tonight.
The bullpen has been overtaxed, overworked, and exhausted in the last 7 days of baseball games.
But with Wang already back and with Moose to return this week in Texas they guys in the bullpen will start to get more days off and more rest.
Just think about it, if you are overworked and tired at your job because you had to work a lot of extra hours that week then you would probably be more likely to make mistakes at work.
I mean lets say, for the sake of argument, that you normally work 35 to 40 hours a week with two days off each week but then one week the manager calls you into their office and tells you that a major project is about to get started and for two weeks you have to work 70 to 80 hours with no days off and 10 to 12 hour days.
That’s what it’s been like for the Yankees bullpen for the past week as the starters have only been going an 4 or 5 innings per game (and in some games less than that) and instead of working for 16 or 17 innings as a bullpen in the past 7 games they’ve been expected to work 28 to 30 innings in the last 7 games.
And to that end, think back to the overtime at your job analogy…..?
When the 75 hour work weeks are done and you are back to your regular rest (35-40 hour work weeks with 7 or 8 hour shifts with two days off), when will you start to feel more energetic and less burned out?
Will that happen the first day after the long weeks are over when just yesterday you worked 13 hours or will it be a few days into your regular routine when you’ve gotten a day off and had some rest?
Well, for Myers and Vizcaino last night was their first night of not being overworked.
I think for them they were still feeling the effects of working the last 5 days in a row.
At the beginning of the season when all the members of the bullpen were on regular rest the Yankees had the best bullpen ERA of any team in the American League and I have no reason to think that they can’t have that again once Pettitte, Wang, and
Moose all have a full turn through the starting rotation and all pitch between six and a third innings and 9 innings per game started in games that we play next week.
And Matsui came back and is showing no ill effects from his lay off (in his first game back from the DL) as on Monday as he had two walks and a run scoring sacrifice fly and last night he went 2 for 4 with RBI’s on a solo home run and a RBI single.
So, this team has had officially had 60 percent of it’s starting pitching on the DL and one it’s most productive RBI men on the DL last week.
And had their bullpen worked to the bone.
By the end of next week we will have 80% of our starting pitchers healthy again, we will have had back Hideki Matsui for full time play for a week, and will have a hopeful promising young starter in the form of Phil Hughes intergrated into to our rotation.
And just remember that you probably know what to expect from Mike Mussina and that he’s pretty dependable.
He will probably miss three or four starts and may have one or two 15 trips to the DL with his back or his groin.
But also remember that he has only once failed to start in less than 30 games in his tenure as a Yankee starting pitcher and that he is averaging 15 wins a season for us.
So he’s been pretty dependable.
And also remember, as crummy as Igawa’s last start was he was also very sharp in his last outing.
Also to add to that, Igawa is still learning the ropes here.
Every time he pitches in a ballpark, he’s pitching there for the first time.
And half the time he throws a pitch to a batter it’s the first time he’s ever thrown that particular batter a pitch before in his big league career.
He’s still a work in progress and he’s learning on the job.
And with Wang, Pettitte, Moose, and either Pavano or Hughes (and maybe Roger Clemens) coming ahead of him in the pecking order all that Igawa needs to be right now is a serviceable 5th starter.
And he’s been that for the most part.
Despite all of that we have lead in each of the games we lost and haven’t been blown out of any game in this losing streak.
Those were all winnable games that once the pitching gets more ironed out will actually be wins.
And also remember that nobody ever won or lost a pennant race in the first 18 or 19 games of a season.
Especially a team like this one.
Anyways, we have to play Toronto tonight in the first game of a short two game series.
Andy Pettitte (1-0, 1.78) gets the start for the Yankees tonight and he looks to right the Yankees ship and snap their losing skid.
Andy should be 3-0 this season instead of 1-0 and he would be if the bullpen would have held the leads that he left the game with.
The big Texas left hander has left three
straight starts with a lead but the bullpen has held just the one.
Opposing him will be former Florida Marlin A.J. Burnett (1-1, 5.57) who is coming off two consecutive no-decisions.
And like with is the case with Pettitte he could be coming into tonight’s action with a 1-1 record if not for a
struggling Blue Jays bullpen.
In his last outing this past Saturday against the Orioles, Burnett
allowed only three in seven innings (but he did walk five).
Even still, Baltimore was only able to score two runs and none of the five walks resulted in
runs for the Orioles.
Thus far in his career in the big leagues Burnett has posted two wins and two losses against the with an ERA of 4.81 in
With a questionable bullpen behind him Burnett has had to rely on the offense of the Blue Jays hitters to help him try and get the job done and pick up wins.
That’s it for today,
Hopefully I’ll have some good stuff to post tonight after we break the losing streak and win a game in our first home game back from our winless five game road trip.
GO YANKEES !