Price is Not Right as Yankees Make Offensive Statement in Detroit
Throughout most of July and August, the Yankees have struggled to score more than three or four runs a game. On Wednesday night, they crammed double that into one inning.
They were facing David Price in Detroit, but the former Cy Young winner was not himself on Wednesday. Talk about a party where everyone’s invited: Price surrendered an astonishing nine hits in a row, beginning with leadoff batter Jacoby Ellsbury and ending with the number nine hitter, Francisco Cervelli. Ellsbury and Derek Jeter then added sacrifice flies before Martin Prado grounded out. The Yankees batted .900 in the inning (9-for-10) and eight men crossed the plate.
Shane Greene was the lucky beneficiary of the hit barrage. The rookie pitcher was as impressive as the offense, going seven innings and giving up only two runs. He also struck out eight batters.
Last week the Yankees enjoyed a much-needed winning streak. They took the final game against Houston after losing the first two in lethargic fashion, swept the White Sox, and snatched a makeup game in Kansas City. At the conclusion of the five-game streak the Yankees found themselves right back in the thick of the wild card race, and, at six games behind the Orioles, perhaps even the pennant race.
Then, as it has so much this season for the Yankees, the pendulum seemed to swing the other way as quickly as it had swung in their favor. On Tuesday Rick Porcello baffled pretty much every Yankee hitter except Ellsbury, who had two solo home runs. Throw in Brandon McCarthy’s first poor outing as a Yankee (6 1/3 innings, 9 hits, 5 runs) and it added up to a 5-2 snoozer of a loss that seemed to holler “same old Yankee hitters.”
That’s why, if the Yankees do wind up making the playoffs, Wednesday’s eventual 8-4 victory will be looked back on as nothing short of essential. You can live with losing 5-2 to Porcello, if it’s just a blip on the radar in a stretch of twelve games or so. In the past the Yankees have let games like their loss to Porcello become the start of a losing streak. They keep hitting their high water mark of seven games over .500 but losing before they can break it.
But on Wednesday they bounced back, though not immediately; in both the first and second innings they had two men on and failed to score, and it appeared that their offensive woes were bleeding through from the night before. So knocking Price out in the third was a huge statement, not just for the game, but also for their entire season.
Wednesday also provided the Yankees with something else they haven’t had much lately: a relatively squirm-free win. Their lack of offensive production has put so much pressure on their pitchers, both the starters and the bullpen. It was nice to see them put up a crooked number early on so that Greene could relax and go after batters instead of having to make the perfect pitch every time.
The Yankees can truly make a statement on Thursday: By winning, they can go to eight games over .500 for the first time all season. Only then will it be time to take this wild card thing seriously.
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