Thursday, June 24, 2010

Game 72 LOLcap

[WE data via FanGraphs]

Right out of the gate, last night's game had the feeling of one that would turn into an utter shitshow. It was exceedingly clear that Dontrelle Willis wasn't able to throw strikes when he walked Derek Jeter on four pitches and then allowed him to advance to second on a wild pitch in the process of going 3-1 on Nick Swisher. Swish singled to bring home the run and but when Willis ran the count full against Mark Teixeira, he left first too early and was picked off without even really trying to steal.

Teixeira walked on the next pitch and Alex Rodriguez watched four more balls fly by, the last of which went behind his ankles. That put runners on first and second for Robinson Cano who Willis proceeded to throw three straight balls to.

Just to review, at this point, Dontrelle had thrown 23 pitches and 18 of them were taken out of the strike zone. Not many of them were especially close. Cano was content to watch two fastballs slip in for strikes but swung at missed at the 3-2 pitch that was probably out of the zone. That's excusable, but Mark Teixeira got caught stealing third base to end the inning, which totally wasn't. The Yankees let a guy who threw more than twice as many balls as strikes in an inning escape with only one run allowed because they handed him two outs on the bases.

After that blown chance, Javy Vazquez started off the second by going walk-single-walk-single but was saved from allowing a run when the D-Backs third base coach attempted to make a late hold and left Kelly Johnson stranded on the way to home. Vazquez, who only had a little more control than Willis, then walked Miguel Montero to load the bases and after running the count full, gave up a two out, two run single to Adam LaRoche to put Arizona ahead 2-1.

Unfortunately, the horrible play didn't end there. Here's just a sampling of some of the other garbage that went down.
  • Despite the fact that Willis obviously couldn't throw strikes, Francisco Cervelli bunted to lead off the second. MAKE HIM THROW THE BALL OVER THE PLATE FOR FUCK'S SAKE.

  • Willis' seventh walk came with the bases loaded with one out in the third inning. However, the Yankees only scored one run that frame because Willis' replacement, Blaine Boyer, got Robinson Cano (the first batter he faced) to hit into an inning-ending double play.

  • That was one of five DPs for the Yankees.

  • Even with all of those twin killings, there were a total of 19 men left on base - 11 for the Yanks and 8 for the D-Backs - and the Bombers were 3/14 with runners in scoring position.

  • The Yankees worked 13 walks, two of which were by Javy Vazquez.

  • Javy eventually found the strikezone, but was done after five innings having given up four runs and with no chance to win the game.

  • With two men on and one out in the fifth, Robinson Cano ripped a line drive to left but it Gerardo Parra made an incredible diving snag and got up in time to throw A-Rod out at first, ending the inning. Two of them weren't entirely his fault, but he was a part of three different inning-ending DPs.

  • Damaso Marte was called for a balk in the sixth and then uncorked a wild pitch that put the go-ahead run on third with one out, and allowed him to score in the next at bat.
Despite the Snakes' best efforts to give it away, the Yanks were behind in this one until the ninth inning when Aaron Heilman began the frame with two walks. Teix moved the runners over with a grounder and A-Rod lofted the game-tying sac fly. With the opposing bullpen depleted and the game within striking distance, Joe Girardi went to Mariano Rivera, who worked a scoreless bottom half of the ninth.

Curtis Granderson led off the top of the 10th with a homer to right, so when Rivera's spot came up four batter's later, he made the plate appearance so that he could come back for his first two inning save this year.

Mo grounded out to first in his AB and immediately got into trouble in the bottom of the 10th. Clinging to a one run lead, he gave up a looping single to Stephen Drew and double down the left field line to Justin Upton. He then intentionally walked Montero to put a force at every base and the D-Backs looked to be in position to steal this one back. However, Rivera got Chris Young to pop out to the catcher, jammed Adam LaRoche in on his hands so that he skied it to third and struck out Mark Reynolds swinging to end the game.

After the game Mo really hit the nail on the head, saying:
We pulled this game [out] but we played horrible. It's unacceptable, the way that we played. We can't be playing games like that, you know? We are better than that, we are supposed to do what's right in baseball.
Oddly, it was a bit like the US Soccer Team's game in the World Cup. They blew an ungodly amount of opportunities but came back just in the nick of time and escaped by the skin of their teeth.

It was four hours and seven minutes long and uglier than Don Mossi, but at least the Yankees won. And not only did they win, but for the second night in a row, everyone else in the division lost, so they lead the Rays and Sawx by 2.5 games each.

Today is an off day before the team heads out to L.A. to meet up with old friends Joe Torre, Don Mattingly, Larry Bowa, Manny Ramirez and the rest of the Dodgers. Stay tuned for some posts about the history between the two teams today and tomorrow.


  1. One of the ugliest wins in a long time. I was in and out of sleep during the game. Feel asleep tied at 5, woke up for that nail biting performance by Mo. Bases loaded with no outs I thought for sure at worse the D-backs would tie at 6-6.

    Also, Papelbon's performance in Colorado last night was epic.

    btw, great work on the WPA graph.

  2. Any good Papelbon crotch grabs after the HR's? Haven's seen the videos yet...