In Sunday’s series finale, in which the Yankees had to win in order to win the series, the Yankees lost 7-2 as Phil Hughes limited them to only two runs and three hits while striking out six in his eight innings pitched. Hughes, who played for the Yankees for his first seven seasons of his career and had a horrible 5.19 ERA in 2013, allowed all of his runs in the fourth inning.
The Yankees were in position to win the game in the ninth inning, but the usually reliable David Robertson blew his second save of the season. Joe Girardi had him attempt to get the save after throwing 27 pitches in the ninth in Saturday’s win, when he could have left Adam Warren in the game. However, it’s not like he hasn’t been able to pitch on consecutive days this season since on the two previous times he threw for a second consecutive day he did not allow any runs.
If it was because of pitching on consecutive days or not, he had by far his worst appearance since taking over for Mariano Rivera. His ERA rose from 2.08 to 4.50 after allowing a lead off homer to Josh Willingham with the Yankees winning 2-1, a walk to Kurt Suzuki, a walk to Aaron Hicks to put runners on first and second and then Brian Dozier’s double scored Suzuki. Joe Mauer was then intentionally walked to load the bases. He was then taken out of the game for Matt Daley, but all of those runners would score and be charged to him.
Hughes found a lot of success in 2009 out of the bullpen in helping them win the World Series, and was an All-Star in 2010 when he picked up 18 wins after a dominating first half of the season, but he was much better on the road in his last few seasons and it was obvious that he would not be back after the 2013 campaign.
Hughes was emotional upon pitching at Yankee Stadium for the first time as a visitor, but he knew that making his pitches would help. “A little bit more nerves than usual, but thankfully I was throwing strikes early and was able to make some pitches,” Hughes explained.
The only Yankees who drove in runs were Derek Jeter and Ichiro Suzuki. They would have scored more runs in the fourth inning but they were not able to record any extra base hits after Brett Gardner led off the inning with a triple. Jeter’s single drove Gardner home for their first run and then Jacoby Ellsbury’s single advanced him to second.
Then, Brian McCann walked to load the bases, Yangervis Solarte popped out to the shortstop, Ichiro Suzuki hit a sac fly to center that scored Jeter for the second run and Brian Roberts struck out with runners on first and second. The Yankees could have had a big inning if Ichiro and/or Roberts would have had extra base hits.
The Yankees, who are 3.5 games behind the Toronto Blue Jays in the AL East with a 29-26 record, have a negative 15 run differential and are 5-5 in their last 10 games. In a stadium that is built for runs and power hitting, the Yankees are struggling to win at home. They are 12-13 at home, which is mostly due to a struggling offense. The Yankees have scored more than four runs in only two of their past seven home games.
The Yankees are also without Carlos Beltran and Mark Teixeira right now, which is hurting their chances of hitting home runs. The Yankees are currently in “wait and see” mode with Teixeira after he received a cortisone shot for inflammation on his right wrist. They have some promising news regarding Beltran as he went to Florida on Sunday for extended spring training games, and could return to the team by the end of the week if he doesn’t have a setback.
The Yankees face the Seattle Mariners and their ace, Felix Hernandez, at home Monday night in a make-up game, and then continue their home-stand with a three-game series against the first-place Oakland Athletics. The Yankees bats will not to rebound from not producing against the two worst starters in the AL on Friday and Saturday and find a way to drive in runs against the quality pitching that they will face this week.