Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Loss That Almost Wasn't

What a loss for the Yankees last night. Could you believe that game, fanatics? Talk about a nail-biter. By the time the 6th inning was over, I had convinced myself that a loss would be okay, as it would still keep us in first place in the AL East. But then the boys gave me reason to believe that last night would have been a good night for pie. It was too good to be true.

A. Causi / NY Post
So let's examine the loss. First, Bartolo Colon pitched another not-so-great game. I wouldn't call it a bad game, because he actually pitched pretty well; the fastball was on and he threw a decent slider, although he got tagged twice for homers on that pitch. He did manage to strike out five batters without any walks, but he also gave up five runs in his 6.1 innings (two of which had been left on base until Boone Logan gave up a costly double in relief in the 7th inning).

Watching Colon's past few starts, I'm beginning to wonder if my original fear is beginning to become a reality. As most of you already know, I was not a fan of the Yankees signing Colon during the offseason, and what's happening now is the reason why. Longevity. He is without a doubt a great pitcher, and I have completely conceded to his wizardry on the mound, but, having gone such a long time not pitching in the majors before this season, how long can he stay as fresh as he had been in the first half? Last night's game marked the most innings he's pitched in a season since his Cy Young year in 2005. That was six years ago, people!! It's no wonder that he is slowly winding down. We could point to the difference in his appearances after the calf strain and use the "he hasn't been the same since his injury" excuse, but I suspect something more obvious; Colon is tired. It's time to go back to a 5-man rotation for now, and give the big guy some more rest.

And let's face it, the offense had nothing clicking last night for the first seven innings. Oakland's RHP Brandon McCarthy, completely shut the lineup down with the exception of The Captain.

But that 8th inning, boy was that an exciting inning. The Captain gets his 3rd hit of the night. Curtis Granderson walks on a full count. Mark Teixeira and Robinson Cano fly out and line out, respectively, but Nick Swisher slugs a first-pitch, 3-run homer to center. It's a 6-3 game now.

Then in the 9th, Jorge Posada homers and it's a 6-4 game. Russell Martin doubles. Brett Gardner reaches on an error. At this point, everything in me is calling for pie. Then something crazy happened.

Getty Images
Derek Jeter bunted over Martin and Gardner, putting them on 2nd and 3rd. He bunted! Normally I would have no problem with this, especially because there was no one out. But Jeter was 3-for-3 on the night; why bunt now? I can't understand at all why Joe Girardi would opt to give up an out there when, as hot as The Captain has been lately, probably could have driven in at least Martin who was in scoring position. Was I the only one who felt that the inning's momentum just died on that bunt? That out changed the whole dynamic of the Yankees chances to even tie the game, and it's another example of Girardi's tendency to over-manage in big-game situations. 

But it wasn't over yet. Again, Grandy walked on a full count, loading the bases. Tex would pop-out. Cano would walk and score Martin. With the game then at 5-6 with two outs, the hero of the 8th inning, Swisher, would step into the box and drill another deep drive to center. But that time it wouldn't carry, and Coco Crisp would secure the win for the A's. Oh, how I so wanted pie!

Speaking of Tex, what's with all the pop-ups? It just needs to stop along with his poor hitting. I said a few days ago that I might be able to overlook the lack of hitting because he's on target with his power. But last night, going 0-for-5 and leaving men on base in four of his five at-bats, was beyond disappointing to say the least, and that final pop-up magnified the poor judgment of the Jeter bunt by a thousand.

Tonight, CC Sabathia goes for his 18th win against Oakland's Trevor Cahill. CC has been shaky himself as of late; hopefully he'll be back to business as usual.


Corey Sipkin / Daily News
Alex Rodriguez is expected to be back in tonight's lineup. X-rays on the jammed thumb that kept him out of last night's game, came up negative. He commented that putting on a glove gave him the most pain, so I would expect him to be the DH if he does play tonight.

Follow Rasheeda Cooper on twitter: @ra_cooper

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