I mentioned last weekend that the Yankees hadn't lost game that they were leading in the 8th inning or later since July 10th... before the All Star Break.
Well now you can change July 10 to September 10 as the Yankees coughed up an early 4-1 lead, an 8th inning lead and an extra inning loss.
While the result was surprising, you can hardly say the culprits were.
The Yankees took a 4-1 lead after 3 innings. They handed that lead to starter Javier Vazquez... one of my reader's favorite pitchers.
Now I admit, he is more talented than me. But he is also making $11 million more than me a year to pitch. He's not pitching 11 million times better than me.
This big game horse couldn't get an out in the 6th inning and turned it over to the bullpen for at least 4 innings. (Remember... he EATS UP innings!)
FYI, if your average start is 4 runs in 5 innings, you would have a 7.20 ERA.
Vazquez's season ERA is only 5.09... which is still inexcusable.
Now the middle relief did a solid job keeping Texas off the board and keeping the lead for the Yankees.
Guess which reliever coughed it up.
YUP! Joba... the guy who the Yankees turned from a stud into a basket case lets up a game tying shot, once again showing that they can not use him in a big moment in an important game.
Now I give Joe Girardi some credit. He used struggling Phil Hughes out of the pen in the 9th, knowing that if he got them into the 10th the Yankees would have the heart of their order up and Rivera able to preserve the lead.
A sneaky way to get Hughes a confidence boosting win #17 and put him back on track to join the 20 win club.
It didn't work out, but it was clever.
Finally Chad Gaudin, who offers nothing and will only pitch in a mop up scenario, ended the game.
Now the Yankees remain the best team in baseball and they are still the champs and the team to beat.
But going into the playoffs they can rely on Sabathia, Rivera and remind me who else?
Burnett goes tomorrow. You either get an ace or a disaster from him.
Vazquez is a bust even though he's better than me.
Hughes needs confidence boosts as he has been a dumpster fire since the All Star break.
And Pettitte is having his pitches counted in Trenton.
And the middle relief is up and down and they don't have an 8th inning guy... and on nights Sabathia doesn't pitch, they need a 6th, 7th AND 8th inning guy.
The Yankees could very well repeat this year and they will be as tough a team as there is in the AL. But their feet are made of clay... and I am not talking KEN Clay.