Well, that was a mess.
“That was probably one of the uglier games seen in this stadium, for sure,” Vernon Wells said. “… Everything we did wrong came back to bite us. We gave them opportunities, extra outs, they took advantage. That’s what you’re supposed to do as a team, but we have to do a better job of not giving them extra outs. And we have been, we just didn’t do it today.”
Was it a momentary low for a team susceptible to peaks and valleys, or an into-the-break indication of things to come? Optimism or pessimism probably depends on whether you think reinforcements are on the way, whether there’s any chance of April repeating itself, and whether you believe this pitching staff can carry this offense for an extended period of time.
“It’s not what you want,” Joe Girardi said. “You want to play well going into the break. Yesterday we didn’t score any runs. Today we didn’t play good defense behind our ace, and that’s disappointing. But you’re going to have those games and you’ve got to move on. You can’t let it affect you on Friday is the bottom line.”
For the next four days, this will be the lasting memory of the Yankees underwhelming first half. Just last weekend the Yankees were playing well again. They’d swept a four-game series in Minnesota, won two in a row against Baltimore, and had climbed back into second place in the division.
Now they’ve lost five of eight — with most of those games against teams they should beat — and they’ve just played particularly poorly in their final game before the break.
“Horrible,” Eduardo Nunez said. “Very bad. Very very bad. We have to play better than that. We’re better than that.”
The Yankees will have to wait four days to prove they’re not as bad as they were today, or not as bad as they’ve been for the past eight days. The Yankees have played well in spurts, and in a lot of ways they’ve overachieved considering all of the injuries, but today was a reminder of just how bad it could get.
“Losing’s disappointing, no matter how you do it,” Wells said. “The way this game played out, with just how ugly it was, it’ll be good to quickly forget about. Enjoy these few days, recharge. We’ve got a pretty big series coming up right after we get back, so we can look forward to playing better baseball than we did today.”
• The Yankees defense didn’t help him, but CC Sabathia failed to pitch beyond the fourth inning. Although only three of his runs were earned, he still allowed eight, which matches the second-most runs he’s allowed in a start since joining the Yankees. “I struggled with pretty much everything,” he said. “I threw my fastball and they were jumping on it early, so my secondary pitches were terrible.”
• Sabathia has a 4.07 ERA and his eight losses tie his career-high for his most losses before the All-Star break. “It’s terrible,” he said. “I’m not pitching very well. I look forward to the break but pitching better in the second half. … I feel like I did some good things but I’ve definitely got some stuff to work on.”
• Sabathia said he could tell his arm slot was low, but he apparently had a hard time adjusting it. “It’s something I felt during the game,” he said. “Larry confirmed that coming in during the game.”
• Five unearned runs were the most for the Yankees since allowing seven exactly two years ago on July 14, 2011 in Toronto. That was a 16-7 loss.
• Nunez’s throwing has been much better this year, but today’s throw was a throwback. “I (didn’t) have the ball very well, and I know he’s fast, and I tried to rush,” Nunez said. “That’s part to fixing my throwing, to not rush, and today I did it. … I feel sad for my teammate, for CC. He did everything he could do today. To make an error, it’s bad. It has to be out. It’s a routine ball. It has to be out.”
• Robinson Cano went 2-for-4 and extended his hitting streak to nine game, his longest of the season. He tied Kevin Youkilis for the Yankees longest hitting streak of the year. Youkilis had a hit in the Yankees first nine games. … Cano has also had an RBI in eight straight games against the Twins.
• Ichiro Suzuki had the Yankees only extra-base hit, a solo homer.
• This was Ichiro’s 2,000th Major League game and he has 2,696 hits. According to Elias, the only players who had debuted since 1900 and had more hits through 2,000 games are Ty Cobb (2,796), George Sisler (2,753), Al Simmons (2,743), Rogers Hornsby (2,715) and Paul Waner (2,707).
• Lyle Overbay reached base in all four of his plate appearances. That’s the second time he’s done that this season.
• Austin Romine pinch hit for Chris Stewart in the ninth. “He was worn out from the heat, the long innings, so I just said, I’m going to get him out,” Girardi said.
• Alex Rodriguez had an RBI double, a walk and a strikeout today in Tampa. He’ll be with Double-A Trenton tomorrow.
• Final word goes to Sabathia: “I’m proud of this team. No matter what, we’ve dealt with a lot of adversity and to still be right there in the middle of this thing, I think is an accomplishment in itself. You’re just never satisfied. We need to be better and play better. We look forward to getting the guys back hurt and hopefully looking to take off in the second half.”
Associated Press photos