There was a slight hope that a pitcher, who at least had been a professional a little longer than Phil Hughes, or Ian Kennedy, may be able to bring a little stability to the five spot of the Yankees rotation. That hope took a step backwards Friday night in Detroit.
Igawa couldn't even get out of the first inning without a run, and was hit sharply throughout the inning, including a leadoff double by Ivan Rodriguez, who moved to third on a Placido Polanco line out, and then scored on a Carlos Guillen sacrifice fly. Igawa then gave up a double to Magglio Ordonez before getting Miguel Cabrera, lover of hot dogs, to fly out to right.
Fortunately for the Yankees, Jason Giambi continued to show he can still swing a big stick, by hitting a solo homer off Tigers' starter, and former Yankee gigantic disappointment, Kenny Rogers.
Unfortunately for the Yankees, they had to send Igawa back out to the mound again. For a fleeting moment, Yankees fans thought Igawa may settle down pitching a 1-2-3 2nd inning.
Igawa, however, returned to the form the Yankees have come to expect from Igawa, a bum. Ryan Raburn (who the hell is Ryan Raburn?) led off the bottom of the third with a single, followed immediately by another double by Pudge. The Tigers even bunted for a hit when Polanco dropped one down, and Betimet lost its handle. One would think at this point that the Yankee's Coaching Staff might have come out to calm the pitcher down. Maybe it was the language barrier that kept them in the dugout, none the less, Igawa remained alone.
Carlos Guillen popped out before Ordonez singled, scoring Pudge. Igawa did continue his two at bat dominance of Cabrera getting him to pop out to first. The next batter, Gary Sheffield, showed Igawa "who his daddy was" by belting a double, scoring Polanco. The inning ended mercifully when Renteria grounded out.
There may have been hope that Igawa may regain his composure when facing the bottom of the lineup in the 4th inning. Not to be intimidated Marcus Thames singled, leading off the inning. Ryan Raburn then singled again, driving Thames to third, and advancing to second on a Hideki Matsui error. Igawa looked at Matsui, and grunted, what translators believe to be, "Way to help a brother out."
Let's recap for a second: This is Igawa's first start of the 2008 season. The Yankees' veteran catcher, Jorge Posada, isn't there to calm him down, and his team is not playing its' best defensive game ever. By his fourth inning of work, Igawa had given up 9 hits, with 4 doubles, giving up 4 runs, and yet Girardi sent no one out to even visit with Igawa.
With runners on second, and third, Rodriguez notched his third hit in four innings (luckily for the Yankees this one wasn't a double) to score Thames.
Finally, after ten hits, and five runs there was a coaching visit to the mound! I guess nine hits, and four runs isn't worthy enough for a chat. The coaching visit didn't seem to help as the very next batter, Placido Polanco, singled scoring Raburn, and moving Pudge to second. Joe Girardi had seen enough, Igawa was replaced with Jonathon Albaladejo. The bull pen then shut down the Tigers' onslaught. Albaladejo left after two innings with an injury, still unknown.
Igawa's line: 3.0 IP 11 hits, 6 ER, 0 K, He didn't, however, issue a walk.
I'll give him a break since he was facing a very daunting lineup in his first start of the season. However, I will not give Girardi a break for taking so long to send someone in relief. Was he testing Igawa? Seeing how he would react? Maybe after Hughes, and Kennedy, he's just used to seeing 6 runs being put on the board before the 10th out is recorded, or he figures that for a 50 million dollar investment, Igawa should be able to calm himself down.
The Yankees did mount a comeback, scoring one in the 7th, on a Chad Moeller single, and another three in the ninth off the Tigers' heart attack closer, Todd Jones. Wilson Betemit doubled to lead off the ninth, and scored on a head's up base running play on a Robinson Cano groundout. Johnny Damon then singled before Melky Cabrera grounded out. Afterwards, Derek Jeter singled to plate Damon. Bobby Abreu doubled, scoring Jeter, bringing up Hideki Matsui, who was intentionally walked to bring up Shelley Duncan, with his intimidating .192 batting average.
Duncan flied out to center ending the Yankees' chances for a comeback, and giving further evidence that the Yankees are, in fact, afraid of climbing above .500.
Duncan, and Matsui batted 4th and 5th, going 1 for 9 with 6 LOB. That won't get it done. On the bright side, Giambi and Cano continued to be consistent, each going 2 for 4, with an RBI.