Rockies 3, Yankees 8
I dislike it when the Rockies lose in front of my very face. It makes me mad. You've been warned.
Okay, I know that Jim Tracy lineup bashing is what all the cool kids are doing, but today there is nothing else to do. Tracy's strategy is starting to emerge quite clearly, though to my knowledge he's never admitted it out loud. He plays his best combination of hitters and fielders in two out of three games: the two in which he thinks the Rockies have the edge according to the pitching match-up. Then he gives all those guys a break in the third game and delivers the team to the wolves. I understand this strategy, and it's not necessarily a bad one. But it's often hugely disappointing for the fans, and appears to be utterly demoralizing for the players. How would you feel if your boss showed his lack of confidence in you by making you use a desktop running Windows 95 for your presentation when everybody else had brand new iPads?
Aaron Cook was charged with lugging that dinosaur desktop out to the mound today against more-often-than-not Cy Young candidate CC Sabathia. The lineup Tracy trotted out behind Cook left much to be desired: Ryan Spilborghs in left instead of Charlie Blackmon, Matt Pagnozzi catching instead of Chris Iannetta, and, most horribly, Seth Smith benched in favor of ... Eric Young Jr.?? We all know what happens when EY is chosen to guard right field. Bad things. Bad, bad things. He botched the very first play he had to make. Curtis Granderson singled with Brett Gardner on 2nd. Gardner likely would have scored no matter what, but EY bobbled the ball and then made a terrible throw to Troy Tulowitzki that allowed Granderson to reach 2nd without a problem. Smith does not screw up that play.
Young wouldn't stop there. The Yankees gave him a lot of work to do in right because they obviously knew what they were dealing with. He comes in to the ball like you might approach a bowling lane with a ball in your hand. He causes an enormous gap in left center because Cargo has to play further over to cover him. And his worst offense occurred in the 7th inning on an Alex Rodriguez pop-up that Chris Nelson clearly had control of. EY came charging in and collided with Nelson, causing the ball to drop. Fortunately that created a force play (if this had occurred on the dirt, the infield fly rule would have been called), and Mark Teixeira was out at 2nd. In another baseball rulebook FAIL, Young was credited with an outfield assist on the play when he should have been charged with an error. He just has no business in the outfield. I don't care what Jim Tracy has to do in terms of a lineup shuffle to keep him out of there, but it must be done. I have a lot of sentimental love for EY because of what his family means to the franchise, but I cannot abide him as a member of this team anymore. He doesn't fit anywhere defensively, and his offense was only helpful the first couple days he was here. I'm sorry, I know this is harsh, but you gotta go little EY.
Moving on. Beyond the poor defensive choices, Tracy may have been onto something, because Cook's pitching was poor enough that I don't think our best lineup could have made up for it. Now the good guys are all rested and ready to take on Ivan Nova. In 5 2/3 innings, Cook gave up 5 earned runs on 12 hits. The hits just wouldn't stop coming. He allowed multiple baserunners in all but the 5th inning. For the most part he kept the ball down, but the Yankees' hitters are good enough that his high-80s velocity allowed them to make quality contact. It felt like Cook was in one giant jam the entire game. We kept looking at the scoreboard in shock that more runs hadn't scored. I don't know what to say about Cook at this point. He's too far along in his career to be sent down to the minors for some tender loving care. The Rockies are looking to trade for a good arm, and if they find one, Cook will be on the chopping block.
Bullpen. Rex Brothers got the one out he was sent to the mound to get. Clay Mortensen loaded the bases in his inning but got out of it with no runs scored. Rafael Betancourt gave up a walk and then a two-run home run to Mark Teixeira. Obviously that was not ideal, but by then it didn't matter too much.
Offense. Nine strikeouts for Sabathia. He's a great pitcher, so I can't get too mad at anyone for that. Tulo is the only one who managed more than one hit. Carlos Gonzalez was 0-for-2 with a walk,
Todd Helton was 1-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts, Jason Giambi was 0-for-3 with a walk, Chris Nelson was 0-for-4. The Rockies just couldn't get anything going. Matt Pagnozzi scored the first run by singling, advancing to 3rd on a pair of groundouts, and scoring on Seth Smith's pinch-hit single (who's to say how much further along the offense would have been if Smith had started?). The other two runs scored on Ty Wigginton's home run. He made a couple of good defensive plays too, and the best news I can share from today is that I no longer believe we have the third-base woes we dealt with at the beginning of the season. Wiggy has improved with his glove, and his bat is strong. Yes, he must get the start from now on.
Well, obviously this was more of a rant than it usually is, and it usually is pretty rant-ish anyway. But like I said, I get pissed off when my team loses like this and I am sweaty and sunburned from my efforts to support them. That said, I am really looking forward to tomorrow. I see no reason why Tracy won't trot out his best lineup since everyone's well-rested after today, and Juan Nicasio could be awesome. I hope he will be.
Tweet of the Game: @fiyahpowah, in response to the theory that Tracy plays to win the series instead of the game: "Maybe he should be paid 2/3 his contract too."