(Not even close. Not even remotely close. Used courtesy of Jimmy Traina)
If you were going to say that things looked like they were starting to really turn around for the Yankees, you would have used last night's game as the perfect example. They were coming off a win that put them back into sole possession of first place in the division, they got that win thanks to a solid pitching effort from Phil Hughes and some power hitting by the recently returned Alex Rodriguez, and they came into the game last night knowing they were getting Mark Teixeira back from injury to continue to strengthen the lineup and knowing they had CC Sabathia on the mound. Things should have been adding up to a win for the Yanks, but some more team struggles and a horrendous 9th-inning call helped kill that.
- Teix's return paid immediate dividends in the top of the 1st when he hit a 1-out that moved Derek Jeter to third and allowed him to score on an A-Rod sac fly. An RBI double by Ichiro in the 2nd made it 2-0 Yanks after 2.
- The lead didn't last long at all. After a clean 1st, CC gave up back-to-back HRs to Mark Reynolds and Lew Ford in the 2nd to tie the game, one on a fastball and the other on a slider.
- Sabathia couldn't fix his problems in the 3rd, allowing another run on a J.J. Hardy double. He had a hard time locating down in the zone, and it resulted in a lot of balls in the air and solid contact by the Baltimore hitters.
- After the 2 runs in the first 2 innings, the Yankee offense cooled off against Saunders through the 5th. They forced him out of the game after a walk to Teix and single by Cano in the 6th, but Darren O'Day struck out Russell Martin and Curtis Granderson to kill the threat.
- Any chance CC's start had of ending up "good" ended in the 6th. He gave up his third HR of the night to Hardy, setting a new career high in the process, and then another RBI hit to Ford to make it 5-2 Baltimore.
- Alex Rodriguez continued his hot hitting and impressive power since his return with a homer in his 2nd straight game to bring the Yankees within 2 in the top of the 8th. He got a first-pitch fastball right in the middle of the zone and crushed it.
- The Yankees put the pressure on in the 9th, loading the bases with 0 outs and scoring a run on a Nick Swisher groundout to make it 5-4. With Teix coming up and 2 runners on, it looked like at least a tie game was in the cards...
- Teix, already bothered by a bad third strike call in the 8th, worked a 2-2 count before rolling a slow groundball to second. He slid headfirst into the first base bag to try to break up the double play, and was CLEARLY safe to even the oldest naked eye, but was called out by the first base ump to end the game. Just to add insult to injury, Teix tweaked his calf again running to first and is out today.
- A-Rod: 1-3, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 LOB. He's given the Yankee lineup everything it needed since coming back. That homer in the 8th was no joke; it went to dead center and got out in a hurry.
- Ichiro: 2-4, 1 2B, 1 R, 1 RBI. Drove in a run early, started the 9th inning rally late. That's 5 hits in his last 2 games.
- Sabathia: 6.1 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, L. A start like this isn't going to quiet the "not an ace" arguments coming for more and more people. 3 HR allowed is never good from CC, especially when one of them is Lew Ford. CC just isn't missing bats, isn't locating down in the zone, and isn't throwing his fastball with any kind of significant life. You have to think there are still problems with that elbow, and with the way the rest of the rotation is pitching right now this is a major issue for the Yankees if this is all they're going to get from CC.
- Swish: 0-5, 1 RBI, 4 LOB. It drove in a run, but Swish groundball with the bases loaded in the 9th was a crushing play to end another horrible night at the plate. It's hard to believe with how hot he had been, but Swish doesn't have a single hit on this current road trip.
Series finale today and the best the Yankees can hope for is a split, which would at least allow them to leave Baltimore as the only team in first place of the division. They go from their supposed ace to their no-doubt 5th starter today in Freddy Garcia to face off against Zach Britton, and I certainly hope Joe and Mike Harkey have Adam Warren ready at a moment's notice.