Another 3rd-inning disaster against Texas
The Yankees may want to petition commissioner Rob Manfred to see if they can play games against Texas without a third inning.
For the second straight game, the Rangers teed off against Yankees pitching in the third inning Saturday as Texas sent 14 batters to the plate and scored 10 runs. Friday night, the Rangers had 10 batters come up in the third inning and score seven runs. That made it 17 runs in the third inning over two days.
Despite being down 7-0 Friday night, the Yankees made it a game and lost by a 10-9 count with the potential tying run on first base in the ninth. No such comeback was in the making Saturday as Texas held fast for a 15-4 victory.
The runs against the Yanks were the most in a game since April 19 last year at St. Petersburg, Fla., in a 16-1 loss and their most in a home game since Sept. 22, 2011 against the Rays in a 15-8 loss.
What made Saturday’s game strange was that the Yankees had their specialist pitcher in charge of ending losing streaks of four games or more on the mound. The Elias Sport Bureau reported that CC Sabathia had made four previous starts with the Yankees on a losing streak of at least four games (one in 2009, two in 2013 and one this year). His record in those starts: 4-0 with a 1.15 ERA in 31 1/3 innings. Sabathia had pitched at least seven innings in each of those four starts (May 8, 2009 at Baltimore, May 31, 2013 against the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium, June 16, 2013 at Anaheim and May 16 this year at Kansas City) and combined for four walks and 29 strikeouts.
Saturday was a whole different story, however. CC got off to a strong start with three strikeouts in the first five batters, but he never made it through the third inning, which got off to a ominous start when he walked the 9-hole hitter, .140-batting Jake Smolinski. The next four batters reached on singles with an error in right field Carlos Beltran contributing to the rally. When a two-run single by Elvis Andrus made the score 5-0, Sabathia was taken out of the game.
Esmil Rogers could not put a tourniquet on the inning. He hit the first batter he faced with a pitch and allowed an inherited runner to score on an opposite-field double by Carlos Corporan. A sacrifice fly by Smolinski and a two-run home run by Shinn-Soo Choo put Texas up by 10-0.
It marked their most runs allowed in a single inning since April 18, 2009 at home against the Indians when Cleveland scored 14 runs in the second inning of a 22-4 Yankees loss. It was the first time the Yankees allowed seven runs in one inning in back-to-back games (or in the same game) since June 19 (seven runs in the fourth inning) and 20 (eight runs in the sixth), 2002 at Denver and the first time at home since June 11 (nine runs in the fifth) and 12 (nine runs in the second), 1907 against the Tigers when the team was still known as the Highlanders and played at old Hilltop Park in Manhattan.
Rogers was charged with three runs in the sixth before giving way to Brandon Pindar, who was victimized in the seventh on a two-run home run by Prince Fielder, who hit two home runs Friday night.
Meanwhile, the Yankees were getting nowhere offensively against Rangers starter Nick Martinez, who improved his record to 4-0. The Yankees did not have a hit until the fourth inning when Alex Rodriguez led off with an infield single and advanced to second base on a throwing error by Adam Rosales. A-Rod never got past that base.
Martinez gave up two runs on solo homers by Beltran and Didi Gregorius. Beltran’s third homer of the year extended his hitting streak to 13 games. Gregorius homered for the second straight game. He had a three-run shot Friday night. So after going 205 at-bats without a homer, Gregorius homered twice in four at-bats.
Slade Heathcott, the outfielder called up from Triple A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre while Jacoby Ellsbury (strained right knee) is on the disabled list, made his major-league debut Friday night and got his first two hits and first run as a major leaguer. Saturday he got his first big-league RBI with a run-scoring groundout followed an RBI triple by John Ryan Murphy.
The losing ways the Yankees experienced on the recent trip when they lost seven of nine games has followed them home. They have lost five straight games, their longest losing streak of the season, and nine of their past 10 games. Their overall record is barely over .500 at 22-21.
Among the more disturbing aspects of the game was another dismal showing by Sabathia at Yankee Stadium. He has not won in the Bronx since Sept. 20, 2013. Saturday was his sixth straight losing decision at the Stadium with a 9.42 ERA in those starts.
“When you don’t pitch well, you get booed,” he said.
It is never a good sign for a club when its mosst effective pitcher is its backup first baseman. Garrett Jones made his first major-league pitching appearance in the ninth inning and got the final two outs. He also walked one batter and hit one, yet his career ERA is 0.00.