Saturday, May 3, 2014

New York Yankees: Extra-inning loss has it all

The New York Yankees are going through a rough stretch. The frustrations peaked Friday night, into Saturday morning as they lost a 14-inning, five-hour and 49-minute heartbreaker to the Tampa Bay Rays.

The game had all sorts of interesting and weird occurrences, as well as ramifications for Saturday’s matinee.

The Good
  • Jacoby Ellsbury continues to be a sparkplug going 4-for-6 with a walk and a stolen base.
  • Brian McCann, Mark Teixeira and Alfonso Soriano all homered.
  • Teixeira’s and Soriano’s homers were back-to-back and tied the game in the eighth inning.
  • Brian Roberts stroked three important hits from the ninth inning on.
  • The Yankees rapped out 18 hits.
  • The bullpen allowed just one run from the fifth inning (one out recorded) through the 13th inning.
  • The Yankees showed some never-say-die attitude tying the game in the eighth and ninth innings.
  • The Yankees turned five double-plays.
The Bad
  • Derek Jeter went 0-for-7 for the first time in this career, leaving six runners on base in the process.
  • Jeter’s average dropped from .271 to .250.
  • The Yankees went 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position.
  • Starting pitcher Vidal Nuno only lasted 4 2/3 innings.
  • David Robertson allowed his first run of the season.
  • Reliever Chris Leroux was completely ineffective allowing five runs on five hits and two walks.
The Wild and Wacky
  • The Yankees used every player at their disposal
  • There were two challenge calls overturning plays at first base.
  • Rays manager Joe Maddon was tossed after arguing a challenge call.
  • There were two run down plays.
  • The Rays turned a 4-3-3-6-3-4-3-4-5-2 double play.
  • Leroux struck out arguably the Rays two best players, Evan Longoria and Ben Zobrist while getting torched by everyone else.
The Ramifications

Yankees manager Joe Girardi was candid when asked about the bullpen situation.

“Our bullpen’s a mess, no doubt about it,” said Girardi via Chad Jennings of The LoHud Yankees Blog.

The Yankees will likely make at least one roster move for the day, getting rid of Leroux. I’d guess Alfredo Aceves is a top choice because he can go long and last pitched on April 28. Today is his start day for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. Chase Whitley, another SWB starter last pitched April 29, so he could be an choice as well. If the Yankees want to go the reliever route there are a multitude of options at their disposal.

The best case scenario is that Saturday’s starter Masahiro Tanaka will be lights out and efficient with his pitches allowing for a full day of rest for the bullpen. I’d guess that even if Tanaka is having a tough time, Girardi will have him out there for 110-120 pitches in a 'take one for the team' instance. If there is a starter to have on the mound in this situation, it is Tanaka.

Christopher Carelli is a freelance sports writer/editor and the Director of Content Strategy for Sportsideo.