Thursday, June 18, 2009

Joba Nibbles Way to Loss

Nationals are Wet Blankets

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
1 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0
3 8 0
NY Yankees
0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
0 7 0

WP - Stammen (1-2) SV - MacDougal (2) LP - Chamberlain (3-2)

Imagine waiting through a 5 hour rain delay to then come out and completely fall flat on your face. That’s what the Yankees did tonight in a lackluster 3-0 loss to the lowly Washington Nationals. The least of the NL East came into the series with only 16 wins, but took 2 of 3 from the Yankees, who have suddenly lost 6 of 9.

For the second straight night, the Yankees struggled against a pitcher they had never seen before. Wednesday night John Lannan limited the Yankees to 2 runs in 8 1-3 innings. Tonight rookie Craig Stammen picked up his first major league win with 6 1-3 scoreless innings. On the losing side of the ledger, Joba Chamberlain’s 6 innings will look pretty good on paper, but he again nibbled his way to a loss.

Chamberlain has a lively fastball, but continues to throw off speed pitches when he’s ahead in the count. The result more often than not is a full count and a quickly escalating pitch count. Down 1-0 in the 4th, he loaded the bases with a hit and a pair of walks, then walked light hitting Wil Nieves to force in a run.

His teammates didn’t help him any either. Nick Swisher started the 5th with a line drive off the base of the wall in right, and despite being down three runs, tried to stretch it into a double. Austin Kearns‘ throw arrived well ahead of Swisher for an easy out. The mistake became even more significant when Hideki Matsui followed with a base hit of his own.

The Yankees had their best chance to score in the 7th inning when Robinson Cano reached on a one out single and Swisher followed with a double. Ron Villone came on and struck out Matsui on a 3-2 pitch, that would have been ball four, for the second out before walking pinch-hitter Jorge Posada to load the bases. Nats manager Manny Acta sent for right-hander Julian Tavarez when Derek Jeter was announced as a pinch-hitter for Ramiro Pena. Jeter, who probably would have started had the grounds not been in such bad shape, bounced into a force out to end the threat.

The Yankees had the lead off man on in each of the final two innings, but came away with nothing. Mike McDougal picked up the save, for the second straight game, with the help of a double play ball in the 9th.

Game Notes

Alex Rodriguez has not missed a game since returning from hip surgery. Perhaps Joe Girardi would like to rethink that status. A-Rod has gone into a 4-37 slide.

Brett Gardner made a fine running catch in the 8th inning, but crashed hard into the wall and had to leave the game. He had a headache afterwards, but otherwise felt fine.

The smattering of fans who remained for the game were all allowed to sit down in the lower deck. Those who had tickets will also be able to get tickets to another non-premium game.

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