Boy, that sweep against the Reds was a fun way to kick off the second half, wasn't it? Such thrilling times. Sadly, the positive energy generated from such excitement can be extinguished with just one dreadful game. That's what happened to the Yankees tonight in the Bronx against the last-place Rangers and rookie Miles Mikolas. The offense could only manage two runs against the 25-year-old who carried an unsightly 10.05 ERA and equally ugly mustache into action this evening. Yet the hapless offense wasn't even the star of the show, as the defense committed five errors, the most by the Yankees in a nine-inning game in 16 years, and the most at home since 1989. Atrocious.
The game seemed to be going decently at the outset. Yankees scratched out a run in the first when Derek Jeter worked a one-out walk, then moved to second when starter Mikolas flinched and balked. Jacoby Ellsbury beat out an infield single to move Jeter to third, and the Captain came home on a medium fly ball to center by Carlos Beltran to give the Yankees a 1-0 lead.
Shane Greene's defense got him into some trouble in the second. To be more specific, it was literally his own defense that got him into some trouble. With one out, he missed a flip from Kelly Johnson at first base, allowing Leonys Martin to reach, and a batter later, he handled a comebacker from Jim Adduci, then inexplicably underhanded the ball way over Johnson's head:
It was something, to say the least. Although Greene fanned Geovany Soto to end the inning and escape his own jam, defense would haunt him again in the third. A possibly catchable ball fell between Ellsbury and Ichiro Suzuki in right-center, and shortly thereafter, Brian Roberts couldn't get a handle on a possible double play ball flipped to him by Jeter. The tying run scored, and the Yankees had three errors on the board already. (Greene would later commit his third error of the night on another overthrow to first, though he worked out of trouble.)
Ellsbury picked up the defense in the bottom of the fourth when he jolted a pitch from Mikolas into the right field seats for a solo homer. It was his eighth dinger of the season and his sixth consecutive hit. Ellsbury has carried this offense over the past couple games, and it's been pretty terrific to watch. The Yankees threatened again in the fifth with the bases loaded and one out, but Jeter bounced into his patented 4-6-3 double play to end the threat.
The Yankees' missed opportunities came back to haunt them in the sixth. It looked like Greene would secure a quality start when he retired the first two Rangers, but Texas put those plans on hold with a single to center by Jake Smolinski and an Adduci walk. Soto lined a base hit to left to score Smolinski and all of the sudden, the game was tied. Matt Thornton relieved Greene was got Rougned Odor to hit a grounder toward short, but it went past a diving Jeter to give Texas the lead. (Jeter made the team's fifth error of the night the next inning, but Adam Warren bailed him out.) Shin-Soo Choo exacerbated matters with a single up the middle, and the score was 4-2. One legitimate hit against Thornton, one not so much. Such is baseball.
That was about it for the rest of the game. The bullpens both worked into and out of trouble, and the Yankees actually had a shot to tie it up against closer Joakim Soria with two outs in the ninth. Soria drilled pinch-hitter Brian McCann with a pitch, and that moved Johnson, who had singled, to second. Joe Girardi tried to get Yangervis Solarte going by pinch-hitting him for Francisco Cervelli, but it was to no avail. Solarte took a pitch down the middle, then popped up meekly to end the game.
The Yankees will try to wipe this ugly game out of their minds tomorrow night by sending Chase Whitley to pitch against Nick Martinez. Yes, this is a real Rangers/Yankees matchup in 2014, everyone. Head for the hills.