Approximately 3,000 miles separate New York and Seattle off the field. On the field, it is a vastly different story.
The biggest proof of that disparity was on display last night as the Yankees capitalized on shoddy defense, poor pitching and no offense from their opponent while waltzing to a 10-3 victory over the Mariners.
The Mariners have now lost 16 in a row, becoming the first team since the 2005 Royals lost 19 straight and 17th team to lose that many in a row. Though some of their games have been close, the Yankees made them look like a team that would be relegated in the English Premier League.
“That’s a tough situation that they’re in,” manager Joe Girardi said. “I know Eric (Seattle manager Eric Wedge); actually Eric and I were in the expansion draft a long time ago in Colorado. So it’s a tough situation that they’re going through but the bottom line is we’re trying to win games.”
The most blatant example of why the Mariners have gone winless since July 5 occurred during a five-run fourth inning that turned a reasonable, 3-1, game into an 8-1 laugher. They left no doubt they were avoiding the dreaded trap game.
“I didn’t hear anybody say a word about it,” Girardi said. “We were inside a long time today and I didn’t hear anyone talk about it.”
“For us we want to continue to play well, no matter what,” Derek Jeter said.
The Yankees stuck to their bottom line by scoring their first three runs on home runs, a long two-run bomb by Mark Teixeira in the first and then Jeter’s opposite field home run in the third.
Then the fun began when the Mariners made too awful errors, leading to four unearned runs.
Russell Martin’s grounder went under third baseman Adam Kennedy’s glove and into left field. Following three straight base hits, Jeter came up and hit a ground ball to second baseman Dustin Ackley, who could have easily gotten the sure out at first. Ackley elected to throw home and the ball sailed wide of catcher Miguel Olivo.
The sloppiness of the Mariners made things even easier for Freddy Garcia, who had little problems “neutralizing” a lineup with a .226 batting average in 15 games. Garcia, the one-time Mariner ace, allowed three runs and eight hits in 7 2/3 innings turning in a second straight strong outing before Sunday’s non-waiver trading deadline with his usual assortment of off-speed pitches.
“You’ve got to pitch well because you don’t know what they’re going to do,” Garcia said. “But I don’t really think about it because I’ve got to perform the best I can.
The ease of victory still does not prove anything other than the Yankees are doing exactly what they are supposed to do in beating a team that is on pace for around 100 losses. It does not prove that the Yankees are ready to get through an October playoff series with their current rotation but that they are capable enough to get there and take their chances.
“Pitching is pitching to me, whether it’s in the postseason or the regular season,” Girardi said. “There have been a lot of guys that have won a lot of games without lighting up the radar gun.”
Garcia rarely had any problems against a lineup featuring a cleanup hitter — Miguel Olivo — batting .223 and nobody over .297. He retired the side in four innings and allowed two of his runs well after the Yankees turned the game into a rout and Garcia avoided becoming the guy to lose to a team with 15 straight losses.
“I wasn’t thinking about it,” Garcia said. “But when it happens – you don’t want to be the guy.”
The Yankees began their third edition of their community outreach endeavor known as HOPE Week yesterday afternoon by hosting “Daniel’s Music Foundation” at a one-hour concert performance at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre.
Bernie Williams accompanied the group and the event was attended by Swisher, Russell Martin, Francisco Cervelli and Chris Dickerson. The group then sang the national anthem and 27-year-old Daniel Tush, who suffered a brain aneurysm in 1997 and recovered through music, threw out the first pitch.
“I love that our players go through this because you could be going through a good time as a player or a bad time as a player and you realize that some of the obstacles that others have to overcome are so much greater than what we’re trying to overcome,” Girardi said. “Whether you’re in a 0-for-10 slump or you haven’t won a start in a couple of times or you gave up a few runs and we lost a game, you realize that there’s so much more to life than what we do.”
» Reliever Rafael Soriano pitched a scoreless inning for Scranton Wilkes Barre last night. Soriano threw eight of 11 pitches for strikes and said to reporters he expects to rejoin the Yankees sometime this week.
» Two weeks removed from knee surgery, Alex Rodriguez is progressing with the recovery and could be back by the middle of next month. Girardi said he is kept aware of Rodriguez’s progression through text messaging.
“He’s feeling pretty good,” Girardi said. “He’s moving along. I can’t tell you when we’ll see him; I don’t have that date. I think our doctors are discussing that. He’s progressing fine and he’s on schedule.”