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Yankees: Sloppy Baseball Giveth and Taketh Away

by Elizabeth DiPietro | Posted on Tuesday, July 22nd, 2014
 Kathy Willens/AP

Kathy Willens/AP

Yankee broadcaster John Sterling is forever lamenting to booth-mate Suzyn Waldman that “you can’t predict baseball.” This isn’t news to the team that has lost 80% of its opening day starting rotation to injury. But there’s truly no better cliche to characterize the Yankees’ four games since the All-Star break.

On Sunday, the Yankees completed a sweep of the Reds–a team that had won seven of their last ten games going into the break–thanks to some sloppy Cincinnati defense in the bottom of the ninth. With the score tied 2-2 and Jacoby Ellsbury on second, closer Aroldis Chapman threw a wild pitch with Brian McCann at the plate. Ellsbury advanced to third. McCann then hit what looked like an easy pop fly, but it dropped between three Reds fielders and Ellsbury scored the winning run.

The Yankees must have felt pretty good going into Monday night’s game: undefeated in the second half and playing the Rangers, the worst team in baseball record-wise and 4-24 in their last 28. But the positive aura soon dissipated as the Yankees apparently caught the ugly baseball bug left behind by the Reds.

No less than five errors were committed by the Yankees in the opening clunker against Texas. Even more amazing and pathetic was the fact that three of them belonged to starter Shane Greene (two throwing, one catching). The rookie pitcher appeared to be on his way to his third victory, but the wheels fell off with two outs in the bottom of the sixth. Though harboring a 2-1 lead, Greene simply couldn’t get the final out, and neither could reliever Matt Thornton. Adam Warren managed to end the inning, but by that time the Yanks found themselves down 4-2, which turned out to be the final score.

When all was said and done, Greene (5.2 innings, 5 hits, 4 runs) had actually pitched an okay game, though he certainly didn’t help his case with the errors. He looked extremely sharp through the first five, getting lots of ground ball outs and jumping ahead of batters quickly.

A loss to the worst team in baseball inevitably evokes Monday-morning-quarterback syndrome. Joe Girardi made questionable pitching moves on Sunday and then again on Monday night. One person who had been anything but sloppy was Hiroki Kuroda on Sunday, yet Girardi lifted him with two outs in the seventh and no one on base. Kuroda was cruising through the whole game and was just shy of 100 pitches. The notoriously offense-challenged pitcher was clinging to a 2-1 lead. Girardi brought in Dellin Betances, who was not his usual self: He surrendered the lead on a home run by Todd Fraizer in the eighth, and generally looked very shaky on the mound.

Conversely, in Monday’s game, Greene had visibly run out of gas in the sixth and was up to nearly 120 pitches before Girardi made the switch to Thornton. If Greene had gotten the hook a couple of batters earlier, things may have been different.

Of course, one could argue that Betances gave up the homer in the eighth, the inning he would have pitched regardless if Kuroda had finished the seventh or not. And Thornton wasn’t sharp either, so Monday’s outcome could have been the same even if he or another reliever had been called on earlier.

But that’s what happens when we try to predict baseball. We’re obviously much better second-guessing after the fact.

It would behoove the Yankees to take the next three games from Ron Washington’s beleaguered team. It would also behoove them to not make five errors in a single game from now on.

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Elizabeth DiPietro

New York Yankees
Elizabeth is a teacher by day, sports fan by night. In her spare time, she can usually be found watching her favorite teams, the Yankees, Knicks, and Jets, with her husband Dave. She has a master’s of arts in creative writing from CUNY Queens College, and enjoys various kinds of exercise like yoga, Zumba, and spinning. Elizabeth has been covering the New York Yankees for Double G Sports since May of 2011.
About the Author

Elizabeth is a teacher by day, sports fan by night. In her spare time, she can usually be found watching her favorite teams, the Yankees, Knicks, and Jets, with her husband Dave. She has a master’s of arts in creative writing from CUNY Queens College, and enjoys various kinds of exercise like yoga, Zumba, and spinning. Elizabeth has been covering the New York Yankees for Double G Sports since May of 2011.

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