Via Wally Matthews -
The Yankees did not pitch well, they did not hit well and they did not run the bases well in their 6-1 loss to the Minnesota Twins at the Stadium tonight.
But playing poorly was not the worst of their sins; even the best of teams can have a bad night now and then.
In this one, however, the Yankees weren’t just bad. They were boring, and that is a lot worse.
How boring were they? In the sixth inning, down by just three runs and with Ricky Nolasco, a pitcher with a 6.12 ERA still in the game, what was left of the announced crowd of 42,245 began doing the wave.
Not just once and not just twice. At least four times, the silly shouting and raising of hands circled the ballpark. Clearly, the crowd had no further interest in watching a game that on the scoreboard at least was not close to being out of reach.
On the field, however, it was a different story. The Yankees had nine hits, and three of them were timely — Jacoby Ellsbury’s RBI double in the third, Derek Jeter’s single in the fifth that looked like it would score a run but wound up turning into a soul-crushing, inning-ending rundown thanks to the arm of Twins right-fielder Oswaldo Arcia and a rare baserunning mistake by Jeter, and Yangervis Solarte’s single in the sixth, that looked as if it would score Roberts — until a rifle shot from Arcia nailed him at the plate for the final out.
But it seemed as if the crowd had come in with little faith in the Yankees’ ability to score runs tonight, and with good reason. Time and again, their big hitters failed in clutch situations. Three times, Brian McCann came up with runners on base, twice with a runner in scoring position. He made an out all three times, ending the inning twice. He did manage a two-out single in the eight, which went nowhere when Brian Roberts flied out. Roberts also got picked off first after leading off the second inning with a single.
The sad fact is that right now, every team but the Yankees is taking advantage of their homer-friendly ballpark. Arcia hit a long solo homer in the second. Josh Willingham hit a longer solo homer in the fourth. Two batters later, Trevor Plouffe hit the longest homer of all, into the mesh above Monument Park, to give the Twins a 4-1 lead. All of them came off Vidal Nuno, who took the loss.
Meanwhile, the Yankees — formerly known as the Bronx Bombers — rank eighth in the AL and 17th in baseball with just 47 home runs, and have no player in double digits. (The Toronto Blue Jays lead the pack with 80).
“This is not a lineup that’s filled with a ton of power, so we’re going to have to put hits together and hit doubles and steal some bases and do some things like that,” Joe Girardi said.
The manager then launched into a bizarre justification in which he ridiculed people who said the Yankees were too reliant on home runs in previous seasons. “Now we’re hitting singles and now we’re not hitting home runs and I’m being asked why we’re not hitting home runs,” Girardi said. “I was thinking back a couple of years, people were asking me, well, all you do is score runs with home runs. What are you going to do when you don’t hit home runs?”
Girardi’s team provided the answer tonight: Lose. And lose boringly.
On the bright side, Tanaka is pitching today.