The Yankees and Rangers decided to play some baseball amidst the sweltering Texas heat and more steroid talk than you could shake a syringe at. Ivan Nova looked to continue the exciting end to his first half against Yu Darvish, who returned for his first start since being relegated to the disabled list and missing the All-Star Game.
The Rangers got a run across first as a leadoff walk to Ian Kinsler scored on a sharp single to center from Adrian Beltre in the bottom of the first inning. Also noteworthy was the questionable safe call that allowed Kinsler to be on second at all after a stolen base attempt. The run still gets tallied, though. But Nova would regain his form and work four scoreless innings thereafter.
The sixth was where he began to run out of steam, however. After a walk to Elvis Andrus and a steal of second, Geovany Soto would double the run home, making the score 2-0. Nova would get out of the inning thanks to the noted laser-arm of Chris Stewart, who caught Leonys Martin trying to swipe second himself. And in continuing with the theme of the day, noted Biogenesis guy-on-a-list-somewhere Nelson Cruz deposited a Nova fastball into the seats for a solo homer that grew the lead to three.
The Yankees were as hapless as you would expect against a premier pitcher in Darvish. They did absolutely nothing as Darvish pitched four perfect frames to start the game. Lyle Overbay blooped a single to assuage fears that a perfect game was incoming, but naturally the Yankees made nothing come of it.
Darvish made it all the way into the seventh when the Yankees chased him with another Overbay single and a Vernon Wells walk. Overbay was to be the only Yankee with a hit off of Darvish. Ron Washington countered the upcoming Travis Hafner with lefty Robbie Ross, while Joe Girardi countered by napping (presumably) and Hafner grounded into a routine double play to end the threat. Greg Kirkland posted this educational tweet in the game thread:
RT @ktsharp: Since May 1, Travis Hafner is hitting .172 (including 0-2 tonight). That's lowest BA in the majors (min. 200 PA) in that span.
— Bryan Hoch (@BryanHoch) July 23, 2013
After the Yankees went quietly in their half of the eighth, Joba Chamberlain relieved Nova after a solid seven innings of work and did not throw fuel on the fire, thanks in part to an excellent running catch made in the right-center field by Ichiro Suzuki on a Soto liner. Joe Nathan came in to close out the Rangers' win and send everyone home at a much more seasonable hour than on Sunday. So there's that.
This game could've gone a long way to making Yankees fans feel better about their team and its future, but it's just another night concluded with an empty feeling in the pit of their stomachs. The coming days and weeks may not be pleasant, so hopefully the team can turn around their fortunes tomorrow. And I sympathize with those of you who had the displeasure of watching the ESPN broadcast of this game. The mute button will be your best friend for the forseeable future.
The Yankees and Rangers face off again tomorrow at 8:05. Phil Hughes and Alexi Ogando are your probables.
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- On the 2013 Yankees and moral victories
- Alex Rodriguez "all but assured" suspension for Biogenesis connection, per Heyman