Tonight's loss to the D-Rays is the Yanks 5th straight, their 2nd consecutive swept-by series, and have sole ownership of last place in the A.L. East. Not the best start to a season for sure.
The good news is that a Yankee starting pitcher actually threw a pitch in the 7th inning. Of course, the bull pen could not hold.
That's the story that media will focus on right there: Bull pen this, pitching that. Yet, the real story is the one that has been developing since the '01 season and is the one that goes unreported because no one has the guts to. The real, untold story is that at least once, usually twice a game, a decision by Joe Torre happens to put his (our) team at a distinct disadvantage undermining the ability to win the game. Tonight he held his average:
Mistake #1 - his choice of bull pen relief:
1 - opting to go with a pitcher that cannot find the strike zone in his last several outings and when he does, it is up in the zone for a big plate of meat, in Vizcaino (the guy is tired). Tonight he took the count full, and was lucky when his mistake pitch that was up in the zone was lined to Cairo. Lucky break for the Yanks on that one - but should have never been put in that position to begin with.
2 - from there, Torre decided to go for a washed up over the hill reliever who gives up a grand slam in Myers.
When you have a tight lead and are in a jam, why not go to those who have been the most reliable (Bruney for example, was ready to go) over those that have been the least lately? Common sense right? - not to Torre. He falls in love with a player without regard to performance and makes his decision from there.
Mistake #2 - inappropriate substitution
3 - the famous Torre Pinch Run move strikes again! (and again, and again, and again) / Josh Phelps, who was given an opportunity to play, and again, produced when called upon going 1 for 3 with an RBI, and is now batting .304 on the season. Tonight, he was pinch ran for by the sub .200 hitting Melkey Cabrera in the 7th. Phelp's spot comes up in the 9th (of course), and Cabrera does what he's done all season and makes an out. But wait - it gets even better from there!!! Because of the Pinch Runner move, he had to pull a double switch to have a first baseman. What did that mean? It meant, that when down to their last out, what would have been the top of the order and Johnny Damon coming to bat to keep the inning alive, you had an even worse hitter than Cabrera come to the plate in the .163 hitting Doug Mientkiewicz. Dougey Fresh promptly struck out ending the game and completing the 2nd straight swept series.
Perhaps a strong showing by Pettitte and Hughes to start the series against the Jays can get this ship turning in the right direction.
Are we the 2003 Texas Rangers???