I may regret asking for “normal” yesterday if this is the answer. After taking the first two games of this four-game series in Arlington, and with some rather curious flair, the Yankees dropped the ball (terrible pun intended) in tonight’s game. Again, I blame the heat — 99° at first pitch. (When in doubt or in need of a scapegoat, the weather is always a great victim for blame-shifting.)
The Yankees actually struck first in the 2nd inning with Carlos Beltran’s solo home run over the right-center field fence, into the Texas bullpen. Two outs later, Gregorius singled and ended up at 3rd on Drew’s single (in combination with a fielding error). He then scored on Jacoby Ellsbury’s single to give the Yankees an early 2-0 lead. It didn’t last long, and the Yankees just weren’t hitting off the Rangers’ pitching staff much after that.
Masahiro Tanaka was on the mound tonight for the start and spent most of the hot and humid evening wondering why his pitches just weren’t nearly as sharp as they should have been or were in his last three stellar starts. He threw 103 pitches in 6 innings, giving up 9 hits, 4 runs, and 3 walks, and striking out just 3 Texas batters. Answering back to the Yankees’ offense, in the 2nd, with a lead-off single and a walk, two more singles scored those two runners to quickly tie up the game. Another single would push the Rangers into the lead before the inning was over. The Rangers gave it an interesting go in the 5th inning — a lead-off single ended up at 3rd on another single and then scored on a ball hit into a double play (no RBIs for that batter, but the run still counts).
Chasen Shreve took over in the 7th inning and struggled to get a strikeout before walking the second batter he faced. At 15 pitches with 1 runner on and just 1 out, Shreve’s night was over almost before it started. In his place, the Yankees called on newly called-up Caleb Cotham (more in a moment). Cotham’s first batter reached on a fielding error before the lead runner scored on a 2-out single (charged to Shreve as an unearned run). Cotham would pitch rather well for his debut with the Yankees, going 1.2 innings with his 36 pitches and 4 impressive strikeouts. It just wasn’t enough because the Rangers pitchers were just better tonight.
Seriously though, where were these Rangers pitchers earlier this week? And can they disappear before the game tomorrow night and reappear when the Rangers play any other team in the AL East? I may be asking for too much, but a girl can dream.
Final score: 5-2 Rangers.
Dun-dun-dun… roster moves: after last night’s disaster, Chris Capuano was designated for assignment. And I’ve already heard from “Cap fans” regarding this, expressing their disappointment; I wish I had a better answer than “it’s part of the business of baseball”. There are some issues in his contract which will be sorted out shortly, but he’s still a decent pitcher and should find a nice home somewhere. In his place, the Yankees called up Caleb Cotham (as mentioned above). Cotham immediately contributed to the Yankees’ pitching staff in a regrettable game.
With the ever-rotating door that is this section of this blog, it’s hard to estimate how long Cotham will be part of the regular bullpen, but it’s safe to say that every player (rookie or veteran) is well aware of the basic motivation — to win. And if you’re not helping the Yankees win, you could easily find yourself with a plane ticket to Scranton or San Diego or home.
And I still blame the heat…