On a day when the Yankees were still dealing with the aftermath of losing two of their top starting pitchers to injuries, Ivan Nova gave them the type of performance that should have provided some comfort. That was, until Joe Girardi decided to treat the ninth inning as if it were an audition, resulting in a devastating 4-3 loss to the Chicago White in Thursday’s series opener.
The Yankees entered the ninth with a 3-1 lead. Regular closer Rafael Soriano wasn’t available after pitching in four of the last five games, but rather than have set-up man David Robertson pitch the ninth, Girardi decided to use Cody Eppley.
Eppley allowed a leadoff single to Alex Rios, and was promptly replaced by Clay Rapada. Rapada got A.J. Pierzynski to ground back to the pitcher for a tailor-made double play, but Rapada threw the ball into center field. With runners on the corners, Girardi finally went to Robertson, who surrendered a three-run homer to Dayan Viciedo for the decisive blow.