“No lead is safe at Fenway Park.” I have been told that my whole life and my whole life I have believed that theory because I have seen insurmountable deficits erased and mind-blowing, late-inning events unravel. But the same way I wrote that “The two-goal lead is the worst lead in hockey unless that two-goal lead is against the Rangers,” well, “No lead is safe at Fenway Park unless that lead is against the 2013 Yankees.”
This weekend at Fenway Park, the Yankees trailed on Friday and Sunday and lost on Friday and Sunday. In the middle game of the series, they were able to hold on to a 4-0 lead because CC Sabathia didn’t pitch. The Yankees failed to hit a home run in three games and 29 innings and the “second half” of the season started off the way the “first half” of the season ended last week in the Bronx. And instead of chipping away at the Red Sox’ six-game lead over the Yankees, the Yankees extended the lead to seven games with 64 games left.
I decided to go to the diary format that I used for the Yankees-Red Sox series over the final weekend in July last season. So once again, just pretend like you’re reading this in one of those black-and-white Mead composition notebooks.
I’m not sure how much longer I can take lineups like this one in the first game of the series:
Brett Gardner, CF
Ichiro Suzuki, RF
Robinson Cano, 2B
Vernon Wells, DH
Zoilo Almonte, LF
Lyle Overbay, 1B
Brent Lillibridge, 3B
Eduardo Nunez, SS
Chris Stewart, C
That lineup is an advertisement for two runs and that’s what the Yankees scored against the marginally-successful Felix Doubront because Doubront uses his left arm to pitch.
But Friday night went the way most games have gone for the Makeshift Yankees. They fall into an early hole, scratch together a few runs to keep you watching before giving up a late run to put the game out of reach and leave you stranded with Yankee blue balls.
Where would the Yankees be without Hiroki Kuroda right now? The answer is a very dark place.
Kuroda has been the team’s MVP through 98 games, going 9-6 with a 2.65 ERA. But the sad thing is Kuroda should have at least five more wins. Here are Kuroda’s lines for his five no-decisions:
April 20 at TOR: 7.1 IP, 3 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB 7 K
May 28 at NYM: 7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 7 K
June 13 at OAK: 8 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 3 K
June 25 vs. TEX: 6.2 IP, 5 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K
July 7 vs. BAL: 7 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K
In those five games, the Yankees scored 13 runs combined and went 2-3.
Yes, I did give Kuroda the nickname of “Coin Flip” last season because you didn’t know which Kuroda would show up from start to start. (I apologized for that.) But now Kuroda is the only non-coin flip on the team and has taken over the role of “ace” from CC Sabathia.
Seven innings of two runs or less from the starter then David Robertson then Mariano Rivera. That’s how the Yankees have to win. That’s the only way they can win.
It’s nice that Red Sox fans think John Lackey is worth $16.5 million because he’s 7-7 with a 2.95 ERA, but when you’re giving up 10 hits in 6 1/3 innings against the Makeshift Yankees it’s never a good thing.
Yes, it’s the best Lackey has looked since he signed with Boston, but his first half numbers are somewhat misleading. Let’s not forget that his wins have come against the Astros, Twins, Indians, Orioles, Rockies, Padres and A’s. And his losses have come against the Blue Jays, Rangers, Twins, Rays, Phillies, Angels and Yankees.
So no, I’m still not scared of John Lackey just like I wasn’t when he was an Angel.
I thought the Chris Stewart dive into the stands, which turned into a double play, might be the play that turned the Yankees season around if they were able to hold on (which they did) and then win on Sunday and go on some sort of run. But then this happened…
That’s what the Yankees’ “ace” said after his Sunday night performance.
“It’s embarrassing. I’ll just try to get through it. Figure something out and try to stop hurting this team and (start) helping.”
It is embarrassing and it’s reassuring that the $676,000-per-start “ace” is going to “try to get through it.” That’s nice of you, CC. I appreciate you trying to be better at your job.
Some people will say how refreshing it is to see Sabathia hold himself accountable for his loss by taking the blame for every Yankee fan who struggled to get through work on Monday because of a lack of sleep. But anyone (beat writers, cough, cough) that praises Sabathia for his actions should be embarrassed because who else would take the blame for blowing a 3-0 lead in three minutes and giving up home runs on fastballs to pure fastball hitters in Mike Napoli and Johnny Gomes? Lyle Overbay? Luis Cruz? Brent Lillibridge?
CC is the only person to blame for Sunday night’s loss. He’s supposed to be the best Yankees’ best pitcher and if Phil Hughes, early-season Ivan Nova and 2008 Andy Pettitte Part II weren’t on this team, he would easily be their worst as of now. He’s won once in the last month (July 3 at Minnesota) and only 10 of his 21 starts this year have been quality starts. His start last Sunday before the All-Star break was part of the biggest Yankees home embarrassment since Opening Day 2009 (which he also started) and his start on Sunday night was an atrocity. He can’t hold a lead and he can’t keep the ball in the park and right now he can’t be trusted when the Yankees need him the most.
That’s why while Lyle Overbay’s two double plays and Joe Girardi’s decision to leave Number 42 in the bullpen because of a stat were all as painful to watch as Five-Year Engagement, all of the blame falls on CC Sabathia, who failed to do his job again and failed to do it in Boston again.
Forget “No lead is safe at Fenway Park.” No lead is safe with CC Sabathia.