Friday, April 7, 2006

Yankees Look To Bounce Back vs. Halos

Pitching, Defense Failed Team In Oakland Loss

Shawn Chacon takes the ball for the Yankees tonight as they open up a three game series with the Los Angeles of Anaheim. Kelvim Escobar will make his first start of the season for the Halos. The last time the Yankees met the Angels, Bubba Crosby and Gary Sheffield were playing smashmouth baseball and the Yankees pitching got knocked around. Though there was no bone jarring collision Wednesday night in Oakland, the Yankees defense and pitching let them down again.

A critical error by Derek Jeter and an out of character meltdown by Chien-Ming Wang led to the Yankees blowing a 4-0 lead. The bullpen and Robinson Cano did no better when the A's scored five times in the bottom of the eighth en route to a 9-4 victory. Jaret Wright breezed through 2 innings of relief before Milton Bradley led off the A's half of the eighth with a triple over the head of a backtracking Johnny Damon in center field. The Yankees brought the infield in and Wright got just what he needed, a ball hit right to an infielder. But Jay Payton's ball skipped under the glove of second baseman Robinson Cano for an error, allowing Bradley to score the go ahead run. Jason Kendall and Marco Scutaro followed with singles for a 6-4 Oakland lead.

Mike Myers did his job, striking out lefty hitting Mark Kotsay, before turning things over to Kyle Farnsworth. Farnsworth promptly threw a wild pitch and then walked Mark Ellis to load the bases. Eric Chavez popped out, but then Frank Thomas hit a gapper to left-center to clear the bases and ice the ball game.

The Yankees got on the board first when Hideki Matsui hit a long home run over the 400-ft sign in center field in the second. Gary Sheffield lined a 3-run homer over the left field fence in the third to give the Yankees a 4-0 lead and things seemed to be on their way.

With one out and a man on in the fourth, Wang induced Thomas to hit into a would-be inning ending double play, but the ball rolled up Derek Jeter's arm and ricocheted off his head. Wang always seemed cool in tough situations last season, but he immediately walked Dan Johnson to load the bases. Milton Bradley ripped a 2-run single to left to halve the lead and Payton followed with a single to load the bases again. Jason Kendall hit in a fielder's choice to cut the lead to 4-3 before Wang temporarily escaped further trouble.

Mark Kotsay and Eric Chavez sandwiched singles around a Mark Ellis force out to start the fifth. Wang struck out Thomas with a change up, but walked Johnson to load the bases. Wang appeared to have Bradley struck out on a 2-2 backup slider, but much to Joe Torre's dismay, home plate umpire Gary Cederstrom thought otherwise. Wang's next pitch missed by a wide margin, for an RBI walk for Bradley.

Starter Danny Haren and relievers, Justin Duchscherer and Joe Kennedy shutout the Yankees over the final six innings proving that on night's the Yankees offense doesn't explode, the pitching and defense are going to have to step it up. They certainly didn't on Wednesday night.


Carl Pavano played catch for the second straight day as he continues his rehab from shoulder and "rear" problems.

The Yankees claimed catcherKoyie Hill off of waivers from the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Yankees expect to lose catcher Wil Nieves, who is out of options, once one of the Yankees disabled pitchers returns. Hill, 27, caught 23 games for the Diamondbacks last season, hitting .224 with six RBI.

Minor League News

The Trenton Thunder opened their Double-A season with a 4-3 loss to the Altoona Curve. Kevin Howard and Gabe Lopez homered for the Thunder. Starter Steven White went five innings, allowing 3 runs, 7 hits, walked 2 and struck out 3. Francisco Butto took the loss when he allowed the go-ahead run to score in the eighth.

The Columbus Clippers pounded the Scranton-Wilkes Barre Phillies 13-1 in Triple-A play. Kevin Thompson paced an 18-hit attack with 4 hits and an RBI. Sean Henn limited Scranton to 1 run, 1 hit and 1 walk in 5 1-3 innings for the win. Russ Johnson hit his first home run of the year.

MLB News

Jimmy Rollins hitting streak came to an end at 38 games when he went 0-4 against the Cardinals.

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