Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Playoff Dreams Slippin' Away for Yanks

Playoff Dreams Slippin' Away for Yanks

#Yankees Lose to Rays, 4-3; Playoff Opportunity Diminishes

By Howard Goldin

BRONX, NEW YORK, SEPTEMBER 10-For the Yankees to qualify for the 2014 playoffs, it is necessary that they win almost every game. Unfortunately for them, they are losing nearly every day. The 4-3 defeat on Tuesday night was their third loss in the last four games and their sixth in the last nine.

After the game ended, Yankee skipper Joe Girardi spoke clearly of the meaning of the game’s result, “It leaves us in a pretty big hole. We have to win every day.” The loss put the Yankees 5.5 games behind two teams tied for the second Wild Card spot.

That Chris Archer was the winning pitcher should not come as a great surprise to anyone who has looked at the sophomore major leaguer’s record against the New Yorkers. The 25 year-old has become known as a “Yankee killer” based on his rare degree of success against them.

The game began with the North Carolina native being one of only 13 pitchers whose team won each of his first five starts against the Yankees. The game concluded with him being one of only six pitchers whose team won its first six starts against the Yankees. The most recent to accomplish that feat was Greg Hibbard of the White Sox during 1988-91.
Archer retired the first nine Yankee batters before giving up a home run to Jacoby Ellsbury on his first pitch in the fourth frame. A home run is a rarity for Archer to surrender. It was only his 10th in the 173.2 innings he has pitched this season. He ranks third in the American League in fewest homers given up per 9 innings.

His most difficult inning followed next as the first five Yankees reached base, two of them scoring. After hitting Chase Headley, the lead-off batter in the fifth, with a pitch, the next four Yankee batters (Ichiro Suzuki, Stephen Drew, Chris Young and Ellsbury) singled. The inning ended with a controversial out at the plate and a quick double play.

While many observers in the park believed catcher Ryan Hanigan illegally blocked the plate, Yankee third base coach Rob Thomson accepted the responsibility for sending the runner (Drew) home with no outs and two other runners on base, “It wasn’t a good decision. I should have stopped him.”

While many Yankee fans focus on that one play as the reason for the loss, it should also be known that starter Hiroki Kuroda, in his shortest stint of the year, 3.1 innings, gave up four runs and nine hits. The Yankees also failed to rebound late in the game as 12 of the last 13 Yankee batters were retired.

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