I really do wish I was one of those people who was comfortable blaming the weather for why their team played miserably. I mean, it was a very cold, damp, rainy, messy night in the Bronx. Not that there were many people that braved the elements for a baseball game tonight, and those that were in attendance warmed themselves under bulky coats, plastic ponchos, and the occasional umbrella, while most roamed the Stadium’s many covered areas.
And there was a lot of booing tonight, and none of that had to do with the weather. A good majority of that was for the former Yankee Robinson Cano, having defected to the Mariners in the off-season. (By the way, Cano made an appearance on Jimmy Fallon last night to prepare himself and fans for the booing, and it’s hysterical.) Every time, he made a play, stepped up to bat, struck out, singled, whatever, there they were — booing. But like I said, it was just some die-hard fans in attendance tonight, and they acted how die-hard fans usually act, responding to what they see as acts of loyalty or betrayal. If Cano hadn’t been a huge part of the Yankee roster for so long, I don’t think fans would feel as betrayed. After all, you only “get booed if you’re good”. Nobody’s going to boo those players who flitted through the organization and didn’t have much impact on the team or perhaps left on good terms with the team and the fans (Swisher and Ibanez leap to mind).
But it wasn’t really the kind of tight game one might have hoped for in the wake of the player drama and the weather.
The Yankees struck first offensively. With 2 outs in the 2nd inning, Mark Teixeira smacked a solo home run. And Brian Roberts led the 3rd inning off with a walk, moved to 2nd on Brett Gardner’s single, and ended up at 3rd on Beltran’s fly out. He would then score on a throwing error by the Mariner’s catcher trying to get Gardner at 2nd. And as a last-ditch effort at offense in the 9th inning, Ichiro Suzuki singled, moved to 3rd on Roberts’ double, and scored on Gardner’s single.
But that wasn’t enough. The Yankees totaled just 3 runs on 8 hits, while the Mariners seemed to accumulate 6 runs off their 15 hits.
So CC Sabathia took the mound, 98 pitches, 5 innings (plus 2 batters in the 6th), 9 hits, 4 runs, 2 hit-by-pitch, and 6 strikeouts. Actually, Sabathia was decently sharp through his first 4 innings. And then he seemed to collapse in the 5th inning. The lead-off batter hit a single; it was originally ruled and out, challenged by the Mariners, and overturned as the runner was awarded a single. It would pay off for Seattle. Two singles and no outs later, the Mariners had the bases loaded before Sabathia finally struck out a batter. A ground out scored the Mariners’ first run, before a double pushed in 2 more runs and a single drove in one more.
After Sabathia allowed two runners on base in the 6th, Dellin Betances came on in relief and got out of the jam for the inning. In the 7th, with 2 outs, another Seattle runner scored broadening the Mariners’ lead. Despite 4 strikeouts over his 1.2 inning, Preston Claiborne was brought in to relieve Betances, but he promptly allowed 2 singles, one would score another run. Chris Leroux’s 9th inning kept Seattle from adding to the score, but the damage was done. By the end of the game, the Mariners won 6-3.
And in other bad news, Michael Pineda, currently on suspension for the NeckTar incident last week, was throwing simulated games down in Tampa when he felt a strain in his back. An MRI revealed a grade 1 strain of teres major muscle (the upper back/shoulder area), and they shut him down for 3-4 weeks. So, in addition to the remainder of his suspension, the Yankees are further without Pineda until end of May at the earliest.
Jacoby Ellsbury was scratched from the game tonight with soreness in his right hand, but he’s considered day-to-day as there isn’t anything broken or sprained or strained, just sore.
And it doesn’t look so good for tomorrow’s game as far as weather goes. So, I’m starting to think this whole night’s really just testing my level of positivity. So what can I say that’s positive… so there’s still so many games left to play in the season. A cliché, perhaps, but when you’re not feeling very positive, you’ll grasp at whatever positive-looking straws you can find. That, and if I really think about it, very little about tonight felt like I was watching the Yankees play to their true capacity. And that alone makes me feel a whole lot better, because if any time won’t settle for less-than standards, it’s the Yankees. Okay, and they’re still in 1st place in the AL East.