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Yankees 5, Rangers 8: Joba struggles again in loss

Joba Chamberlain was bad again, Jayson Nix was Jayson Nix as the Yankees drop the second of three to the Rangers in the Bronx.

Mike Stobe

I'm not one to put blame on a manager very often. I'm not even going to do it today. It's a loss, it happens. It's baseball. But honestly Joe Girardi, it's time to stop putting Joba Chamberlain into close games.

Joba "pitched" again, allowing two runs on four hits in the seventh inning as the Rangers went on to take the second game of this series 8-5.

Andy Pettitte started tonight for the Yankees and threw the ball better than his line indicates. He got himself into and out of trouble in the first and only really struggled in the Rangers four run third inning. Leonys Martin bunted his way on base and then stole second before a walk to Ian Kinsler. Elvis Andrus then grounded one to third and baseball player Jayson Nix proceeded to do... Jayson Nix things. His throwing error loaded the bases for the Rangers. After Nelson Cruz struck out, back to back doubles from Adrian Beltre and A.J. Pierzynski capped off a four run inning for the Rangers.

Pettitte rebounded and managed to complete six innings, allowing four runs (three earned). He finished the night one strikeout shy of Whitey Ford's franchise record.

Lyle Overbay homered to right in the second before the Rangers four run inning, and that was the only offense the Yankees would get until the sixth. Brett Gardner led off the sixth with his second single of the night, and then moved to third on a double by Ichiro Suzuki. This was the end of the night for Justin Grimm, who by his recent standards actually pitched a good game. Left hander Robbie Ross came in with three consecutive lefties due up for the Yankees. It didn't work quite as planned for the Rangers, as Robinson Cano and Travis Hafner hit back to back singles to bring the game within one. The Yankees loaded the bases with one out later in the inning. Of course, naturally it was Jayson Nix up to bat, and to nobody's surprise but John Sterling he hit into an inning ending double play.

Still, the Yankees got the game to within one, we could be happy for a bit. And then, enter Joba Chamberlain. This move wound up potentially being a big difference in the game. Again, to nobody's surprise, Joba promptly gave up a single to Elvis Andrus and a two run home run to Nelson Cruz, effectively giving back the two runs they just got the inning before. He gave up a couple more hard hits before Girardi went to Preston Claiborne to finish the inning. Joba's ERA rose to 6.38 on the season. Great move, Joe. Don't really know what else to say about that at this point.

Vernon Wells pinch hit for Chris Stewart to lead off the eighth and singled to center, and later came around to score on a two run homer by Ichiro to make it 6-5. This made the two runs Joba gave back even more painful to endure. The Rangers then went to Neal Cotts (who has actually been ridiculously good for the Rangers this season) to get out of the inning.

Boone Logan struck out two lefties to start the eighth and Shawn Kelley relieved him to finish the inning. Kelley ran into trouble in the ninth as a single by Adrian Beltre and a rare dropped fly ball by Brett Gardner in center field led to another two runs. The Yankees offense went quietly in the final two innings against Tanner Scheppers and Joe Nathan as the Rangers came away with the win.

Game Notes:

  • Hard to blame the offense for this one. In a game where the Yankees get five runs and ten hits with Andy Pettitte on the mound, these are games the Yankees need to win in order to truly be competitive this year. Pitching and defense was not a strong point tonight.
  • I'm not one to place blame on the manager often, but this was not Joe Girardi's best game by any stretch. Joba Chamberlain pitched meaningful innings, thats number one. And if that never happens for the Yankees again I'd have no problem whatsoever with it. Another decision he made was taking Ichiro Suzuki out of the game for Vernon Wells in basically an AL double switch. Wells had pinch hit for Stewart, so Austin Romine was going to enter the game either way. It's confusing though why he'd take Ichiro out of the game in favor of a guy who has been one of the worst outfielders in the majors for the last month and a half. It was a questionable move to say the least.
  • Jayson Nix was 0-4 tonight, including a double play with the bases loaded. He's 4-28 in his last eight games (.143). He also made multiple defensive mistakes. David Adams, who did not play tonight, is hitting under .200 on the season and even worse than that in the month of June. I don't care what the situation is or what "off field drama" has come or is supposedly going to come. The Yankees need their regular third baseman back. Now.
Phil Hughes (I can't wait...) will get the ball tomorrow as the Yankees try to take the series. Derek Holland will start for the Rangers. First pitch 1:05 ET.