The first game of this series may have been the worst loss of the year, but this one wasn't too far behind. It had the triumvirate of suck, as the Yanks 1) fell behind early, 2) squandered a great chance to take the lead in the third inning and 3) captured our attention just long enough to let us down in the ninth.
Let's start with the good stuff.
- David Robertson pitched a fantastic two innings, striking out four without allowing a baserunner.
- Derek Jeter had three hits and drove in two runs.
- Juan Miranda had a homer and a triple in his first two at bats, but the triple was on a high fly ball that B.J. Upton lost in the lights would have been easily caught otherwise.
- I didn't see the first inning because I was doing yardwork. (Does that count?)
- Seriously, that's it.
And now for the bad:
- Just like last night, the Yankees gave up a run before recording an out. This time it was actually three runs, plunging their WPA to 24.8% before the offense had a chance to take a hack.
- The Yanks tied this game twice - at 3-3 and 4-4 - only to give the lead back to the Rays in the next half inning.
- Entering the third inning, the Yanks were trailing 3-2. Randy Winn led of with a base hit and Derek Jeter dropped one down for a bunt single. Brett Gardner followed with a bunt that he probably would have beat out but James Sheilds did the Yanks a favor by throwing it over Carlos Pena's head at first base, allowing Winn to score and the runners to advance to second and third with the heart of the lineup coming up. However, Mark Teixeira bounced one back to the pitcher and A-Rod and Cano both struck out swinging, leaving the runners stranded and the game tied.
- The Rays hit four home runs, two by Pena, who was six for his last sixty with two extra base hits heading into this game, and one by Ben Zobrist - his first of the year.
- Despite the fact that Andy Pettitte had thrown 101 pitches and allowed six runs through 5 innings, Joe Girardi let him come out for the sixth, apparently to match up with lefty Pena. And of course, Pettite promptly gave up Pena's first homer in 78 plate appearances.
- Chan Ho Park entered this game with a 30.8% HR/FB rate actually increased it in his first inning of work. After allowing two deep fly balls to Zobrist and Evan Longoria that necessitated pretty good defensive plays to stop them, Park grooved a changeup to Pena, who smacked his second longball of the evening.
- The Yanks showed some life in the 9th inning, but it was only a tease. Derek Jeter knocked in two runs with a double, bringing the tying run to the plate, but Brett Gardner grounded out to end the game. On a night like this, if you knew they weren't going to win, you might just wish they had went down in order and got it over with instead of getting our collective hopes up again, only to crush them for the third straight game.
The Yanks have now lost three in a row (all to divisional rivals) and four of their last five (all at home). They travel crosstown to face the Mets at Citi Field tomorrow night, but not before everyone in the New York media proceeds to jump to conclusions and start writing stories about how these two games prove how much better the Rays are than the Yankees. Can't wait.