For the third time in the last five games, the Yankees jumped out to an immediate two-run lead on a first inning home run. What should be a recipe for success, however, has each time turned out to be a blueprint for disaster, as the Yankees are now 0-3 in those games.
After Mark Teixeira launched a Ricky Romero fastball deep into the right field seats, it once again looked as if the Yankees were on their way to a big night. Instead, after that at bat, it was pretty much time to call it a night. Following Teixeira’s long ball, the only other Yankee to reach base was Marcus Thames, who led off the fifth inning with an infield single on a dribbler to third base. Otherwise, the Yankees’ at bats gave new meaning to the word futile. With the exception of a few hard hit balls by Nick Swisher, just about every other hitter in the lineup seemed mesmerized by Romero’s change of speeds.
While Romero was dazzling the Yankees, Dustin Moseley was efficient and effective for most of the game. In the fourth inning, however, he allowed a two-out HBP against Aaron Hill to be his undoing when John Buck followed with his second RBI hit of the game ahead of Travis Snider’s home run to centerfield. In fairness to Moseley, had Derek Jeter not mishandled Austin Kearns relay throw from the left field corner on Buck’s double, Hill would have likely been nailed at the plate and the entire inning extinguished. Unfortunately, however, the beleaguered Yankees short stop double clutched the throw before firing the ball straight into the ground.
By the time he left the game with one out in the eighth inning, Moseley had surrendered five runs on nine hits, including a solo homerun to Vernon Wells in that inning. All things considered, Moseley’s outing was competent, and on a night when the bats had some life, it might have been enough to earn him a victory. Having said that, tonight’s game exposes the problem of having a pitcher like Moseley in the rotation. Even on nights when he “pitches well”, his margin for error is so small that the chances of a mistake being costly are pretty high. With the Rays sporting a rotation that is six deep with talented arms, the Yankees may not be able to survive if Andy Pettitte misses much more time.
At the end of the game, the Stadium crowd was treated to two more Blue Jays’ long balls courtesy of Kerry Wood, who was making his Bronx debut, and Sergio Mitre, but the one homerun they wanted to see never came. After hitting home run #599, Arod has now gone homerless in 12 games and 50 plate appearances. Even worse, he is now 0 for his last 15 and has seemed to create a drain on the middle of the lineup. With key games ahead, and several others in the lineup struggling, the Yankees desperately need Alex Rodriguez to not only hit 600, but finally take off on a hot streak capable of carrying the team.
- With Tampa Bay’s 6-4 victory over the Twins, the Yankees relinquished their hold on first place for the first time since June 20.
- The Yankees are now only 11-11 in their last 22 games at home.
- By only recording two hits, the Yankees tied their lowest output of the season (June 30 versus Felix Hernandez).
- The last time the Yankees only had three base runners in a nine inning game was on September 4, 2004 against Sidney Ponson of Baltimore.