(Rough day, huh? Courtesy of Getty Images)
The first 2 games of this series represented opposite sides of the starting pitching spectrum. On Friday night, CC Sabathia threw 8 shutout innings that were about as dominant as one could pitch, against any lineup. On Saturday afternoon, Ivan Nova couldn't even make it out of the 3rd before getting the hook, putting a tremendous amount of stress on an already overworked bullpen, stress that was only increased when the game went 14 innings. The Yankees were hoping for length from their starter yesterday, and that's exactly what Hiroki Kuroda has provided many times this season when the team has needed him to step up. He didn't do that yesterday, and the Yankees couldn't hold onto a lead that would have given them the series sweep.
- Kuroda got burned early when he gave up a double, a walk, and a wild pitch to allow a run to score with 2 outs in the top of the 1st. He was having trouble controlling his splitter, both in and out of the strike zone.
- That control problem spread to his other pitches in the 2nd. After giving up a cheap single to Josh Donaldson to lead off the inning, Kuroda left a slider up to the immortal Cliff Pennington and watched it soar over the fence for a 3-0 Oakland lead.
- After failing to capitalize on putting the leadoff runner on in 2 of the first 3 innings, the offense struck in the bottom of the 4th. Nick Swisher hit a 2-run home run to plate Robinson Cano, and a pair of follow-up singles came around to score on a Raul Ibanez double and an Eduardo Nunez groundout to make it 4-3 Yanks.
- Kuroda seemed to calm down through the 3rd and 4th, but got into trouble again in the 5th after giving up a single and a walk. Yoenis Cespedes lined a 1-1 sinker that didn't sink enough to right for a game-tying single and the shutdown inning was blown.
- Eduardo Nunez won the game on Saturday by putting a ball in play that turned into an error, something he's usually on the opposite end of. He got back on the right (wrong?) side yesterday, committing a throwing error in the 6th that led to an unearned go-ahead run and the end of Kuroda's day.
- The offense had plenty of chances after the 4th, but never scored another run. They left 2 runners on in the 5th, 2 in the 6th, and 1 each in the 7th and 8th to cap off a 2-9 day with RISP and another series chock full of RISP Fail.
- The bullpen pitched 3.1 solid scoreless innings in relief of Kuroda, highlighted by some strong work from David Phelps and Boone Logan, but with the offense sputtering it ended up being for naught.
- Swish: 2-3, 1 HR, 1 R, 2 RBI, 1 BB, 1 K, 2 LOB. Got the scoring started in the lone big inning for the lineup, and reached base 3 times in all. With Teix still out, Swish is one of the guys the Yankees need to start heating up down the stretch.
- Ibanez: 2-4, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 K, 1 LOB. The hero from Saturday came back yesterday with another solid offensive outing. Ibanez has been invisible since the ASB, so anything the Yankees get from him now is a bonus.
- Alex Rodriguez: 0-5, 3 K, 2 LOB. It seems like the Yankees get one of these types of games from the middle of their batting order every single game. One day it's Cano, the next it's A-Rod. It really needs to stop.
- Kuroda: 5.2 IP, 7 H, 5 R (4 ER), 3 BB, 5 K, L. Kuroda wasn't sharp with his command at all, a theme that's played out over his last handful of starts, and the A's took advantage. His offense and defense certainly let him down on a day where he could have gotten a W, but he definitely didn't deserve to win with the way he pitched.
Series starts in Minnesota tonight with grizzled veteran Andy Pettitte making his second start off the DL against bright-eyed, bushy-tailed rookie Liam Hendriks. I have no clue who Liam Hendriks is, so I bet the Yankees don't either. Some runs off of him, a lot of runs actually, would be appreciated.