(Courtesy of Getty Images)
Lineup shakeup on Tuesday night, bullpen shakeup on Wednesday afternoon. If anybody thought Joe and Cash hadn't noticed how horrible the Yankees have been playing, there were your answers. Joe stuck with Murphy behind the plate again last night while McCann DH'd and Ichiro got the start in right field against the righty Jesse Chavez. In the 'pen, he wasn't sure if he was going to have Betances and Warren available after Tuesday night, so newbies Jose Ramirez and Wade LeBlanc were both good bets to get called upon if Vidal Nuno had another rough start in The Stadium. It wasn't rough, but the collective pitching effort wasn't enough to hold onto a lead provided by another "one and done" offensive output.
- Nuno's first 3 innings were typical Nuno. Lot of deep counts, lot of pitches fouled off, and the inability on his part to puts guys away with 2 strikes. They were also scoreless and sometimes that's all that matters.
- He got a bigger margin for error in the bottom of the 3rd thanks a nice little 4-run inning. Ichiro started it off with a leadoff walk, Derek Jeter singled him in with an infield hit (as only Jeter can), and Jacoby Ellsbury cranked a 3-run home run to right-center for the big blow.
- Good thing Nuno had the margin too, because Yoenis Cespedes hit a home run off him on the second pitch he saw to start the top of the 4th. Nuno escaped further damage with a double play ball and then limited the damage to 1 run when he worked into trouble again in the 5th before exiting with 2 outs.
- Matt Daley took the first crack at bridging the middle inning gap and got burned on a classic Yankee Stadium cheapie home run by Cespedes in the 6th. A Jeter error extended the inning and came around to score on a sac fly to tie the game at 4.
- As they always seem to do, the Yankee bats went stone cold after the 3rd inning. They stranded 2 in the 4th and 7th innings and the A's kept hammering away at the Yankee 'pen. Ramirez gave up a solo HR in the 2 innings of work and LeBlanc got tagged for 2 in the 9th to put the game out of reach.
- Ellsbury: 3-5, 1 HR, 3 RBI. Please be the start of a big month. Please be the start of a big month...
- Brett Gardner: 2-5, 1 R, 1 SB. On base multiple times at the top. Again.
- Brian McCann: 0-4, 1 K. 3 LOB. Awful night at the plate. Hit with Gardner and/or Ellsbury on seemingly every at-bat and didn't do a damn thing with them.
- Bullpen: 4.1 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 3 K, 2 HR. So yeah, I'm thinking Ramirez and LeBlanc ain't the answer Joe's looking for. At least not against good Major League hitting.
Series finale is this afternoon, weather permitting, and the Yankees will try to avoid getting swept and dropping under .500. They send their ace Masahiro Tanaka to the mound to make that happen against Drew Pomeranz.