Thursday, June 4, 2009

Bad Backs and Boos in the Bronx

Pettitte Can’t Get His Back Into It

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4 9 2
NY Yankees
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WP - Feldman (5-0) SV - Francisco (12) LP - Pettitte (5-2)

Andy Pettitte told anyone who would listen that his back was good. Anyone who watched him pitch last night thought otherwise. Pettitte’s back pain-induced performance, and some big time failures in the clutch by Alex Rodriguez, contributed to the Yankees 4-2 loss to the Texas Rangers on a soggy Wednesday night in the Bronx.

Pettitte’s physical issues became apparent any time he had to run to cover first base and when he issued six walks in just four innings pitched. He was charged with all four Rangers runs and lost for just the second time this season. A-Rod’s night started well with an RBI single in the 1st inning, but went downhill from there. He hit into an inning ending double play with the bases loaded in the 3rd, struck out with a man on third and less than two outs in the 6th, and after the Yankees cut the Rangers lead in half, struck out swinging in the 8th with a man aboard. It led to the first real boos A-Rod has heard at the Stadium this season.

Pettitte’s problems started from the get-go. He walked Ian Kinsler to lead off the ball game and gave up back to back 1-out singles to Andruw Jones and Nelson Cruz to put Texas on top 1-0. Another walk to David Murphy loaded the bases and the Rangers brought in two more runs on Marlon Byrd’s RBI ground and a single by Chris Davis. The Yankees got a huge break when Byrd tried to go from first to third on Davis’ single and was gunned down by right fielder Melky Cabrera to end the inning.

A-Rod wasn’t the only Yankee with an off night at the plate. Rangers starter Scott Feldman improved to 5-0 by limiting the Yankees to 5 hits in 6.1 innings pitched. He countered 3 walks with 5 strikeouts and made the big pitches when he needed too.

It also helped Feldman that the Yankees were without Mark Teixeira, who was scratched from the original lineup. The Yankees’ first baseman bruised his right ankle on the, now famous, take out slide of Elvis Andrus on Tuesday night. Nick Swisher played first base and hit second in the lineup, and scored the Yankees first run on A-Rod’s single after he reached on a 1-out double in the 1st inning.

The Rangers aggressive base running led to another run in the 2nd. Andrus singled and went to second on Pettitte’s errant pick-off throw (new streak - 2 straight games with an error). He then stole 3rd base and came home on Kinsler’s single to right for a 4-1 Rangers lead.

Jorge Posada hit a laser into the right field seats in the 7th for his 8th home run of the year, but that would be all the scoring for the Yankees on the night.

Game Notes

Derek Jeter went 0-4, including a pair of strikeouts, to end his 16-game hitting streak.

Mark Teixeira hopes to be back in the lineup for today’s finale of the 3-game series. The 1:05 p.m. ET start will see Chien-Ming Wang (0-3, 16.47) make his first start since April 18. He’ll be opposed by Brandon McCarthy (5-2, 4.35), who is 2-1, 2.21 in his last four starts.

Yankees infield prospect Reegie Corona has been demoted to Double-A Trenton after hitting .147 average in 17 games with Scranton.

Jorge Posada took quite a shot in the rib cage and back when he was hit on the backswing by Nelson Cruz. The Rangers were attempting a double steal at the time and Posada started to come up from his crouch to make a throw. Both runners were sent back, but no out was recorded since it was ruled unintentional interference. Posada was in a lot of discomfort, but stayed in the game.

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