Last night’s loss dropped the Yankees six games behind the Red Sox in the wild card chase. Here’s a quick roundup of what the New York media has to say about it:
If Alex Rodriguez had been in a Yankee Stadium seat last night, he would have booed the third baseman and cleanup hitter.
“Tonight I [stunk],” Rodriguez said. “Tonight put it on me.”
Watching Rodriguez during a devastating 7-3 loss to the Red Sox in front of a sold-out gathering of 55,058 that included Tiger Woods and Fred Couples, then listening to him, Rodriguez let himself off easy. He was that bad.
When the desperate Yankees New York Yankees needed their superstar to deliver he failed miserably. No hits in five at-bats. Two double play ground balls, one that came in the seventh with the bases loaded. A fielding error. And no hits in two at-bats with runners in scoring position.
No wonder the crowd started booing Rodriguez in the third and didn’t stop until Jonathan Papelbon fanned him to end the miserable evening.
“No one is more frustrated than me,” said Rodriguez, who admitted hearing the boos.
You snooze, you lose.
Or maybe Jason Giambi Jason Giambi really was awake and just afraid a throw home might produce an uglier result than holding the ball.
We will remember Rodriguez dallied with Boston, didn’t go there, came to the Yankees instead in 2004, and in his time here the nature of the Red Sox-Yankee rivalry has reversed to Red Sox champs, Yankees chumps. Rodriguez is the face of that historic flip-flop. He has bought into that role twice now, first when he forced his trade here, then last offseason when he accepted the largest financial package ever to return through the backdoor. He is all outsized. His greed. His lust for attention. His insecurities.
The big man on the big stage, and so when he comes up small as often as he has this year, he becomes most culpable.
So here he was in the bottom of the seventh. Late August. Red Sox in the opposing dugout. Bases loaded. The season teetering toward extinction. A loss meant a six-game wild-card deficit, a hole becoming an inescapable canyon.
However, on an 0-and-1 count, Rodriguez rolled a sinker to short to initiate a crushing double play. That dropped him to 1-for-10 this season with the bases loaded. Rodriguez was again Bronx Enemy No. 1, booed even in the next half inning when he fielded a grounder.
Rodriguez went 0 for 5 with two double plays, two strikeouts and a throwing error in the Yankees’ 7-3 loss to the Red Sox on Tuesday at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees fell to six games behind Boston for the American League wild card, and Rodriguez, their marquee player, was booed heavily by the crowd as he fanned to end the game.
“It was an awful night,” Rodriguez said. “I pretty much screwed it up every way you can screw it up.”
The Yankees are 11-12 in August, and Rodriguez has grounded into nine double plays in the month while hitting .238. If they cannot depend on Rodriguez in the clutch, the Yankees have little hope of a monumental comeback.
Chamberlain, who has been out since Aug. 4 with a rotator cuff problem, said he felt fine after Monday’s session and would not need to face hitters before returning to the team.
“I don’t think the hitters are going to be any different,” he said. “Just to see them? I don’t know. You’ve still got to attack them like nobody’s there.”
“If I’m putting my bet up there, I think Carlos Quentin or Josh Hamilton right now,” Youkilis said. “I don’t think I’m in there.”
But Youkilis is in there. He is definitely in the conversation about the M.V.P. Although Quentin, a Chicago White Sox outfielder, is probably the favorite and Hamilton, a Texas Rangers outfielder, is having an excellent season on a losing team, Youkilis has been superb, too. He may be gaining on them.
“It was an awful night,” Rodriguez said after making the final out by striking out against Jonathan Papelbon. “For me, personally, it was a long night. I pretty much screwed it up any way you can screw it up.”
Rodriguez’s inning-ending, bases-loaded double play in the seventh ended the Yankees’ last hope to get even with the Red Sox, although it shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise. For the year, Rodriguez is now 1-for-10 with the bases juiced, including an 0-for-7 mark with less than two outs.
“Terrible; there’s absolutely no excuse,” A-Rod said. “My team expects me to get big hits and make big plays. Tonight, I didn’t do that.”
The people who came to the Stadium Tuesday night hoping for big hits and big things could have booed them all, starting with Pettitte. Could have booed Giambi for looking like such a fathead on that play. They saved it for A-Rod on this night. Booed him like he was Boston.
And that’s painful for any Yankee fan to admit. Pettitte will always be a favorite here for the same reason that Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera are beloved, as homegrown Yankees who won those four championships – heck, he was hardly booed upon being knocked out in the fifth inning of a 7-3 loss to the Red Sox that could truly be the beginning of the end for this team.
In any case, let’s be honest, Pettitte is starting to look like just another Yankee who is a little too old, a little too past his prime to recapture the glory days.
And the coldest truth of all is if Pettitte has turned ordinary, no longer capable of the second-half dominance that has defined his career, then the Yankees don’t have even a prayer of pulling off a September comeback.
The difference between the Yankees and the Red Sox is obvious. Watching the Red Sox you get the feeling that their players will do anything to win.
For the Yankees to win, things have to fall their way. They don’t get down and dirty. All these warrior images flash on the big screen, but this Yankees team is not a warrior team.
Pettitte could not handle the bottom of the Red Sox order, players such as young Jed Lowrie, Coco Crisp, Jeff Bailey and Kevin Cash. The Manny-less Red Sox put up six runs against Pettitte.
The Red Sox did not hit rockets, but they found holes, they grinded it out. They did what the Yankees big names Alex Rodriguez and Jason Giambi Jason Giambi did not do.
They battled. They produced the Big Game.