The Yankees lost to the Tigers, 6-3, on Thursday afternoon, and this was a disappointing game and series in many ways.
One obvious way that this series against Detroit was not a success was that they lost three out of four games to the previously struggling Tigers. They should have won the game against Brad Penny simply because the Yankees should have been able to score runs off a pitcher of his caliber and Thursday’s game was basically given away because of errors.
One issue which appears minor is Derek Jeter’s hip ailment. He was taken out of the game on Wednesday in the eighth inning because Joe Girardi said he had a “right hip issue”. Jeter got a day off on Thursday to get healthy and hopefully improve his swing, but his replacement ended up costing the team.
Eduardo Nunez made two costly errors in this game and has committed five so far this season. He is more known for his bat than his glove but that lack of reliability in the field is unacceptable. It would make more sense to have a fielder that can make all the routine plays, and even some web gems, like Ramiro Pena last season. He could not be counted on with his bat but at least he did not make silly throwing or fielding errors costing the Yankees runs in the process. Since the Yankees have so many other players in their lineup who can be relied upon to get on base and score runs it is almost more important that the backup middle infielder be able to make all the plays in the field like Pena.
The other piece of troubling news is that the first year Yankee, back up third baseman and first baseman, Eric Chavez, left the game in the fourth inning with a broken bone in his left food. He was having a solid season so far making all the plays in the field and hitting .303 with 5 RBI. Chavez injured himself in the process of driving in Curtis Granderson on a triple.
Chavez fractured the fifth metatarsal in his left foot will visit team doctors in his left foot. He currently has no timetable for his recovery. This injury hampers the depth because now they will be missing an established veteran with some power off the bench, which they did not have in some years. Signing Chavez was risky because while he has received six gold gloves with the Athletics has often found himself on the disabled list for an array of injuries. It is been confirmed that the Yankees have called up Pena, leaving Spring Training sensation, Jorge Vazquez in the minors. The Yankees have Pena on the team but they would be better off having Chavez healthy and Pena as the back-up middle infielder.
With Chavez on the injured list for an unidentified amount of time, the only power bat that the Yankees can insert into the game is Andruw Jones. They are currently in an offensive slump having scored three, zero and two runs the last three games. The bats, as well as the two errors, wasted another solid start by A.J. Burnett. Burnett actually pitched a no-hitter until the sixth inning but his throwing error led to the Tigers run in the first inning. It is difficult to comprehend, but the Yankees actually allowed the Tigers to score six runs on only four hits. It is somewhat shocking that the only game won by the “Bronx Bombers” was the game against the Tigers ace, Justin Verlander.
It is tough to win games when the team does not play fundamental baseball. The Yankees now have a three game set where they will play the Rangers in Texas. They are currently in second place in the AL West with a 17-15 record. Ivan Nova will pitch the opener against Matt Harrison, followed by Freddy Garcia and CC Sebathia. Luckily, Harrison comes into tonight’s game having lasted only 4 2-3 innings over his last two starts. He seems like the right pitcher for the bats to light up the scoreboard against.
Even after the Yankees’ struggles the past two weeks where they have gone 5-5 they are still in first place by one game over the surging Tampa Bay Rays. It seems realistic that the Yankees could win tonight’s game as well as Sebathia’s start against Derek Holland on Sunday.