Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Screw It, Call Up Mark Montgomery

(Used courtesy of Josh Norris)

These are perilous times in Yankeeland, friends.  Injuries have the lineup disintegrating into one giant platoon (or more accurately, TWO giant platoons), the rotation is still operating at just 60% of its ideal capacity, the bullpen is essentially Rafael Soriano, David Robertson, and pray for 7 strong from the starter and no extra innings, and there's still over a month of regular season baseball to play.  The division lead that felt safe and sound 2 months ago (opening myself up to some ridicule there) has shrunk to a competitive level and the Yankees are limping to the finish line.

There isn't much that can be done to address the holes in the lineup or rotation.  They will take care of themselves as guys come back from injury or continue to operate as they are if it turns out those guys can't make it back.  But the bullpen can be helped, and when rosters expand in a few days the Yankees will have a chance to really help themselves if they call up a certain pitcher.  And I'm not talking about Justin Thomas or Pedro Feliciano here, I'm talking Mark Montgomery.  More than any other roster expansion addition, he can offer exactly what the bullpen needs right now.

Teix's Calf Injury Is A Real Problem

(Everybody remember this?  It could happen again.  Courtesy of the Daily News)

This injury stuff is starting to get downright ridiculous.  It's like the injuries are Pumpkin and Honey Bunny from "Pulp Fiction," sticking their guns in my face, interrupting my attempted calm and rational take on the Yankees' situation, and stealing my Bad Motherfucker wallet.  And I'm Jules Winnfield, just sitting there, staring back at the injuries and telling them that I'm trying, I'm trying real hard to be the Shepard.  I don't want to fly off the handle about this, but holy balls!  It's really becoming an issue.  The offense is already sputtering, the pitching staff as a whole is iffy at best, and the division lead continues to be just close enough for discomfort.  And now Teix is going to be out at least 1-2 weeks with a Grad I calf strain.  Fan-effing-tastic.

Game 128 Wrap-Up: TOR 8 NYY 7

(Not the play where Teix strained his calf.  Courtesy of The AP)

The Yankees are 20 games over .500 right now, and if you really stop and think about it, that's a pretty damn good record considering how many winnable games they have lost this season.  Too many times there are games where they score early and then ever again and lose, or they do nothing early but score a few runs late but fall short and lose.  Last night it was the bullpen's turn to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, as the Yankee relief corps combined to give up 4 runs (5 if you want to count Eppley's inherited runner) to help the Yanks lose another game they should have won and get off to a bad start in this home series against Toronto.

Game Notes:

- Both teams traded solo shots in the early innings, Robinson Cano in the 1st and Adam Lind in the 2nd.  Cano's wasn't quite enough to say he's officially out of his slump, but it put him right on the edge.

- And he officially went from out of his slump to "on a hot streak" when he led off the 4th inning with his 2nd consecutive HR.  The Yankees followed that up with 2 more runs in the inning on an RBI single by Russell Martin and an RBI groundout by Raul Ibanez to make it 4-1 New York.

- The biggest news of this inning was Mark Teixeira hobbling around the bases to score a run and then leaving the game after the inning.  The eventual diagnosis was a calf strain and Teix is already expected to miss at least 1-2 weeks.  Great.

- For his part, David Phelps did a very good job outside of the homer to Lind through the first 4 innings.  He was throwing all his pitches for strikes, locating his fastball well, and allowed only 1 other hit.

- All of that good work went out the window in the 5th when Phelps gave up another HR, this one a 2-run job, to Yorvit Torrealba to make it 4-3.  No matter how well you're pitching, 2 HR in a start just isn't good.

- Nick Swisher continued his hot hitting and boosted the advantage right back up to 3 with a 2-run HR of his own in the top of the 6th.  Derek Jeter was on first after a leadoff walk, and he and Swish continue to carry the offense.

- Phelps pitched into the 7th, getting another run tacked onto his ledger when Cody Eppley couldn't bail him out, but the game turned in the 9th when Rafael Soriano came in for the save.  For some reason, he went away from his fastball after giving up a hit, but couldn't locate his slider and he threw a hanger that Colby Rasmus crushed for a 7-6 Toronto lead.

- But The Captain wasn't going down that easily.  Jeter came right back in the bottom of the 9th and hit a trademark HR to right field to lead off the inning and tie the game back up at 7.

- Unfortunately, the offense could do no more after that or in extras, and Derek Lowe's awful 2-base throwing error led to the eventual winning run on a groundout in the 11th.  Shitty way to lose.