Yankees-Blue Jays: Joe Girardi Manages New York To Frustrating Loss
Yankees manager Joe Girardi wasted no time pulling starter A.J. Burnett after 6 2/3 scoreless innings once Burnett surrendered a two-out single. But the skipper was nowhere to be found as reliever Joba Chamberlain struggled through the eighth inning, eventually yielding the tying run.
Such is baseball in the 21st century.
So is this: With runners on first and second and no one out in the bottom of the sixth, Francisco Cervelli stepped to the plate with a chance to help the Yankees add to their slim 1-0 lead.
So with New York struggling offensively all week, and entering the at-bat hitless in their last 17 tries with runners in scoring position, did Girardi have the catcher bunt?
Of course not. Cervelli swung away and grounded into a rally-killing double play.
Facing the same situation in the top of the 11th, Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston had Jarrett Hoffpauir lay down a successful sacrifice, which led to a game-winning five-run rally.
But Girardi wasn't entirely to blame for the 6-1 loss. The Yankees' lineup, which has now mustered just five runs in the past three games, collected only five hits on Friday and stranded eight baserunners, including three with nobody out in the third.
Here are the grades from the Bombers' defeat in the series opener.
Joe Girardi, Manager: (D-) I'll give Girardi credit for the double steal he put on in the third, but that's about the only thing he did right in this game.
A.J. Burnett, SP: (A-) With pitching coach Dave Eiland back in the Yankees' dugout, Burnett rebounded from a horrific June to toss 6 2/3 scoreless innings in his first start of July. The right-hander gave up only four hits with six strikeouts, but he was wild at times, walking three, delivering two wild pitches, and hitting his league-leading 10th batter.
Derek Jeter, SS: (B) The captain was 1-for-4 with a walk, run scored, and stolen base.
Nick Swisher, RF: (A-) Swisher was 1-for-3 with two walks and a steal, but he struck out twice.
Mark Teixeira, 1B: (C) Teixeira walked twice, but his 12-game hitting streak came to an end with an 0-for-3 performance. However, he did do his job by advancing runners to second and third with less than two outs via a grounder to first in the first, which led to the team's only run.
Alex Rodriguez, 3B: (D) A-Rod had a productive plate appearance in the first, driving in the Yanks' only run with a sacrifice fly, but he was retired in his following four at-bats, including a strikeout with the bases loaded and nobody out in the third.
Robinson Cano, 2B: (D-) Cano had a rare bad day, going 0-for-5 at the plate and striking out with the bases loaded and one out in the third. He also should've been charged with an error on Lyle Overbay's rally-starting single in the 11th. I'll give the second baseman a little bit of credit, though, for his nice snare earlier in the game.
Jorge Posada, DH: (D) Posada was 1-for-5 with two strikeouts.
Curtis Granderson, CF: (C-) After making a poor read on Overbay's deep drive to center in the fourth, Granderson recovered in time to make an outstanding catch near the warning track. But at the plate, the outfielder was once again useless versus left-handed pitching. He walked once, but he went 0-for-3 to fall to .232 on the season and 14-for-73 (.192) against lefties. In unrelated news, Austin Jackson is hitting .308.
Franciso Cervelli, C: (B) To use Cervelli's two hits in his first two at-bats as a reason why Girardi didn't bunt with him in the sixth is ridiculous because the catcher also entered the game hitless in his last 13 tries and 14 for his last 79 (.177). Cervelli also had a passed ball on Friday and should've been charged with a second that was ruled a wild pitch.
Brett Gardner, LF: (D+) Gardner went 0-for-4 with a strikeout, but he made an incredible leaping grab against the left-field wall to rob Alex Gonzalez of an extra-base hit.
Damaso Marte, RP: (B) Marte went to a full count before retiring the only batter he faced in the seventh inning.
Joba Chamberlain, RP: (F)
Mariano Rivera, RP: (A-) The "greatest reliever ever" is too fragile to pitch more than one inning on a consistent basis anymore.
David Robertson, RP: (F) The right-hander has worked just three perfect outings in his 28 appearances this season. That's good for a guy who throws only one inning at a time, right?
Chan Ho Park, RP: (F) Garbage.
Yankees Overall: (D) It's nice to see Burnett back on track, but the offense and bullpen were once again miserable, and Girardi didn't give his team the best chance to win.
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Jordan Schwartz is one of Bleacher Report's New York Yankees and College Basketball Featured Columnists. His book Memoirs of the Unaccomplished Man is available at amazon.com, barnesandnoble.com, and authorhouse.com.
Jordan can be reached at email@example.com
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