Game 4: Debacle 1

Well, at least we can say we got that first big loss out of the way early. The Yanks got spanked by the Rays in the series opener in Tampa on Friday, 9-3.

The first three innings were swift, with a couple hits and walks from both teams. In the fourth, Nick Johnson got his first hit of the season, coming against Rays lefty David Price. Alex Rodriguez drove himself and Johnson in on a triple off the wall in center. The throw from catcher Dioner Navarro attempting to throw Rodriguez out at third sailed into the outfield, allowing A-Rod to score on the RBI Triple and Error. The Rays would sting Javier Vazquez, making his Yankee debut in his second stint, in the bottom of the inning. A leadoff walk to Ben Zobrist led to a bomb home run from Carlos Peña. After a BJ Upton single and steal, Dioner Navarro broke the tie with an RBI single. After another single, Jason Bartlett drove in two runs with a double. (Score after 4: Rays 5, Yankees 2).

The game was scoreless until the bottom of the sixth, when Tampa unleashed on Vazquez again. A leadoff double by BJ Upton was followed by a Willy Aybar home run, making it 7-2. Jason Bartlett was then issued a two-out walk, and so ended the night for Javy Vazquez. Sergio Mitre was brought on in relief for his season debut, and actually looked pretty solid. Bartlett stole second, leading to a Carl Crawford RBI single, followed by a Ben Zobrist RBI Double. (Score after 6: Rays 9, Yanks 2).

Nick Johnson finally started hitting the ball, and drove in Derek Jeter with an RBI double in the eighth. The Yanks went down quietly for the rest of the game.

Game MVP: David Price

Notes:

  • For some reason, Joe Girardi insisted on starting Marcus Thames yet again, after his stellar performance in Boston against the lefty Jon Lester. This time, it was against the lefty David Price, and he barely showed improvement, going 1-3 with no run production. Why bench Brett Gardner, clearly an outfielder of the future, where he could clearly use work hitting both righties and lefties? Instead, Joe starts the older, (much) slower, better power and average contact hitting righty Thames, and in the eighth spot? I thought the purpose of signing Thames was a spark against lefties off the bench, and an occassional sub in the outfield. My hope is that this better not become a routine.
  • Every hitter in the Rays lineup had at least one hit
  • Mark Teixiera is still HITLESS (0/16), tying the longest hitless streak in his career to start a season.
  • Upton: 2/4  2 R  2 SB
  • N. Johnson: 2/5 1 RBI  1 R
  • Price: 7.2 IP  7 H  3 ER  3 BB  7 K
  • Vazquez: 5.2 IP  8 H  8 ER  3 BB  5 K  2 HR
  • Mitre: 2.1 IP  2 H  1 ER  1 K
  • W: Price (1-0)  L: Vazquez (0-1)

Around the AL East:

-Kansas City: 4, Boston: 3

-Toronto: 7, Baltimore: 6

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12 Responses to Game 4: Debacle 1

  1. smurfy says:

    My query to Joe would be along the lines of his decision to leave Javy in through the third, when all the hitters were lighting him up. I thought he was gassed, and it took him over 30 pitches to get out of the inning, totalling over 70.

    He managed to hit some switch to pitch a clean 5th, everything in the lower half of the zone, but then right back to punching bag in the 6th. I'm thinking that Joe had Javy pictured as innings-eater, the starter who didn't stress thru the playoffs.

    Maybe the big picture wasn't feasible this time, but he was trying to conserve the bullpen.

  2. smurfy says:

    Dan, Brett sure would not have had a prayer against Price. He treated everybody rough, especially the lefties. Don't remember how Nick Johnson got two hits, but I saw him dominated one strikeout.

  3. Mike S. says:

    You wonder if the faster Gardner would have gotten to the ball Thames had to dive for (and save two runs). Who knows what might have occurred. Give Price credit. He was tough tonight. Hopefully the O for the season Teixeira wakes up soon.

    Not a prayer vs. Price, Smurfy? Maybe not, but Gardner might have done something the other lefties wouldn't or couldn't do. Maybe…just maybe…he beats out a drag bunt. Not saying he would, but who else has the capability to do so? Never underestimate that aspect of Gardner's game…. and if he CAN beat out a drag bunt, then maybe he steals 2nd. … don't assume. You just don't know…

    • smurfy says:

      Good points, both, Mike. Some commenter said Brett couldn't bunt a lick, and this was after spring training. I'd love to see a good drag bunt.

  4. theboogiedown says:

    I thought Paul O'Neill's "aw-shucks" wisdom was dead on, Vazquez' ball had NO movement on it from the 4th inning on, "flat" was an understatement. It was like watching BP there for a while. For all the "second-coming" hype that has been spun for JV, I am extremely concerned. Realizing it's his first time out this year, but he was really just up there serving it up—not so much a command thing as it appears to have been a quality thing which is a more serious problem. How can pitching in the NL not make anyone a little bit lazier?

    • smurfy says:

      You're right, boogiedown, about the movement in the 4th and 6th. But in the 5th, somehow he had got his curve breaking, at least. It was weird, that he couldn't, he could, he couldn't. After the game, Jorgie and Javy said Javy had been "rushing" to hold the runners.

      • Mike S. says:

        Good point about the rushing. One thing that worries me about Tampa is that over the past couple of years, they (along with the Angels) have had the capability to make the Yanks look old and slow.

  5. theboogiedown says:

    In addition to JV not blowing anyone away, and I HATE to say this, but Jorge looked like Varitek did early last season, VERY exploitable, which Tampa obviously took full advantage of. They got great jumps when the pitchers weren't paying close attention and were not intimidated by our catcher much at all. Maybe that goes to your point smurfy, JV is rushing because it was a carousel on the basepads there for awhile.

    • Mike S. says:

      Jorge is my biggest concern for 2010. 38 (39 in August) year old catchers aren't supposed to hit 20 HR and drive in 80 runs. Most of them are retired or are backup catchers. Probably the only catcher ever who put up the kind of power numbers Posada put up in 2007 and 2009—when that catcher was over 35—was Fisk.

    • Dan Reiner says:

      I wanted to make a comment about how weak Jorge looks behind the plate, but I forgot to do so. Thats a huge scare for me, especially since the East has some of the fastest teams in the AL.

  6. Mike S. says:

    Jorge is my biggest concern for 2010. 38 (39 in August) year old catchers aren't supposed to hit 20 HR and drive in 80 runs. Most of them are retired or are backup catchers. Probably the only catcher ever who put up the kind of power numbers Posada put up in 2007 and 2009—when that catcher was over 35—was Fisk. … and that is just his offense, not the defense.