Words fail me.
What should have been a can of corn of a Friday night game ended up being a maddening train wreck, delineated by gratuitous errors and a generally enervated attitude. Losing never gets easier to watch, but tonight's 10-6 loss to the Angels proved that indeed, it most certainly can get harder. And Joba Chamberlain, the most question-generating pitcher since Turk Wendell, demonstrated if nothing else, that holding his outings to the same standards as his 2008 reliever caliber is flat out ridiculous.
J-08 and J-09. They're two different pitchers. "Bullpen or Starter" polarization notwithstanding, Joba is a monument to unreliability, as he gave up 5 runs on 9 hits in yet another abbreviated outing (4.1 IP). I'm not going to throw him under the bus altogether, but let's call a spade a spade. Basically, Joba and his pitching role are in an on-the rocks relationship and are too scared to re-evaluate their status.
The Yanks staked him to a 3-0 lead in the first, with Joe Saunders continuing to battle his strike zone allergies. The first 5 innings of the "rubber match" was like watching 2 drunk guys competing for the same girl, with each team's offense acting as the sober friends who try to do damage control all night.
Gary Matthews' 1000th career hit put the Angels on the board in the 4th, but Alex Rodriguez restored the 4-run margin by effortlessly sailing a solo bomb into left center. Bobby Abreu knocked in Chone Figgins in the 5th to chip the lead down to 5-2, and A-Rod threw his hat in the "blow the lead" ring with a throwing error that allowed Juan Rivera to get on base.
But it was ultimately Kendry Morales' 3-run longball that sealed New York's fate. A tied score is deceptive...if you blow an early 4-run lead with one pitch, the game isn't even. You're down. The crack of that damning homer was just as bellowing as the resonating sound of 55,000 fans all jumping off the Joba bandwagon at once.
Figgins' triple put the Angels up by 1, which was really secondary to the ungodly maelstrom that was the Yankees' defense. Afraid of being eclipsed by ARod's 5th-inning error, Derek Jeter did a spot-on Castillo impression, passing up a chance to get out of the inning in favor of putting Mike Napoli on base. The fragile one-run game was then obviously pawned off on Brian Bruney, who wasted no time sticking the Yanks' comeback chances into a vat of acid. At least he's economical with his time, if not his runs allowed.
Once the game was at 10-6 thanks to yet another 3-run ding, this time from Erick Aybar, I fully expected the Yankees to go straight into Yankee Default Mode, hitting 2 to 3 teasing solo shots only to eventually lose by a deflating one run. The requisite "and that __-run shot in the __ is really looming large" commentary just makes the inevitable loss that much tougher to accept.
Mercifully, the game ended as thickly lopsided as it started, with Posada striking out to end the game. (How many times has that phrase been uttered this year? "Posada struck out to end the game." It's becoming as familiar a phrase as "inside-out jeterian swing.")
All you need to know about this game is that the Angels scored 10 runs on 13 hits while the Yanks got 6 out of 14. Two errors, though, so we beat them in that cell of the box score.
The Yanks may have needed to lose one, though. In a "Gene-Hackman-not-playing-the-stars-at-the-beginning-of-Hoosiers" kind of way. They've been relying heavily on momentum, which is compelling but will never replace effort...something the Yanks gave little of today.
Well, barring Jorge Posada's remarkable barehanded catch in the 8th after Figgins went all Sean Avery on him. Based on the look Posada shot him afterwards, I wouldn't be surprised if the Angels' 3B is nowhere to be found at game time tomorrow.
And in another part of California, Jonathan Sanchez was pitching a no-hitter-no -walker/perfect game marred by an error. ARod, Jeter, and Joba all owe Juan Uribe a debt of gratitude. I have no contemptous frustration left over for them, since I've heaped it all on the degenerate who stole perfection away from a team who was actually within spitting distance of it.