There was an unavoidable reality about tonight’s game. The Yankees lineup didn’t look good when it was posted in the clubhouse, and this time it perfectly met those expectations. The Yankees have been weathering the storm, but even after a very good home stand, there was something very bleak about tonight’s game.
“It’s hard to win games when you get four hits and don’t put any runs on the board,” Vernon Wells said. “Kuroda threw well, we just couldn’t do anything to support him.”
Those are undeniable facts.
The Yankees put six runners on base tonight — four singles, two walks — and they stole four bases. They were clearly trying to be aggressive, trying to make something happen on a night when their lineup was weaker than it’s been all season. They were 4-for-4 stealing bases and they got three runners to third base in the first five innings, but all of those runners got to third with two outs and the Yankees never got the hit they needed.
“We thought we could run a little bit tonight, and we did it,” Girardi said. “Whenever we can do it, we’re going to try to do it. Unfortunately it didn’t work out where we got any runs.”
The Yankees have grown used to injury depleted lineups, but tonight’s lineup — and the complete lack of offense that it generated — felt somehow more deflating. Maybe it didn’t to the players, but from the outside there seemed to an overwhelming sense of just how short-handed this team has become. In that way, tonight’s result was perfectly predictable.
“You don’t want to lose any more guys, but we have to play with what we have,” Robinson Cano. “It’s part of the game. You don’t want anyone to get hurt, but the last thing you can do is start thinking, ‘We don’t have this guy or that guy.’ We just have to go out there and keep ourselves in the race until we get the rest of the guys.”
• Hiroki Kuroda was terrific. He made a mistake on a 3-2 fastball to Carlos Gonzalez, and that was the game. “It wasn’t down, it was just down enough where he could get a good swing on it,” Chris Stewart said. “Such a fine line with (Gonzalez), where you can miss and where you can’t. (Kuroda) found out where he can’t. Unfortunately, that was pretty much the only bad pitch he made all night. That was a difference maker.”
• Kuroda seemed equally upset by the two-out single immediately before the home run. He said he was aiming pitches that at-bat. “In a 0-0 situation, it was a stretch where I was trying to avoid a home run,” Kuroda said. “But at the same time, I didn’t want to give them a big inning (by letting more runners) get on base, so it was a tough situation.”
• In his career, Kuroda is now 5-10 in interleague play, but he has a pretty solid 3.86 ERA in those starts. According to the Rockies, the Gonzalez home run was only the second Kuroda allowed against a left-handed batter this season.
• Jayson Nix had half of the Yankees hits. He also had one of their four stolen bases. This was the first time he’d ever faced the Rockies, who originally drafted him 44th overall in 2001.
• Ichiro Suzuki stole two bases, his first multi-steal game of the season. He now has 456 stolen bases in his career, moving him ahead of Ed Delahanty and Ron Leflore for 48th place on the all-time stolen bases list. … As a team, the Yankees have 11 straight steals without being caught.
• One guy who didn’t steal was Brett Gardner, who drew a pinch hit walk in the seventh and was running on at least one pitch that was fouled off, but ultimately he didn’t take a bag. Without coming out and saying it, Girardi gave a “no comment” that suggested he thought Gardner should have done more to steal in that situation. “He said the footing was tough over there,” Girardi said. “I think it got kind of sloppy. … We’re not going to get mad at him if he gets thrown out. Good base stealers are going to get thrown out. If you’re getting thrown out all the time, then you change it. I think he’s a good base stealer and he’s going to get thrown out at times.”
• Knowing he was going to get just one at-bat out of Travis Hafner, Girardi wound up using him to pinch hit with the bases empty against a lefty in the eighth. Hafner grounded to short. “There wasn’t really a good spot,” Girardi said. “You look for it, but I felt pretty good about him going up in that situation and getting on base. You need a base runner there.”
• Really not much to be said about this game. Final word might as well go to Cano: “We had our chances, but we got beat. We didn’t do our job with men on base. We’ll forget about this game. We have two more left. … It’s just one of those games that you lose. We have two more games here, so we’ll forget about this game and be ready for tomorrow.”
Associated Press photos