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October 6, 2005

by SG

Chien-Ming Wang pitched well tonight, but his defense failed him.

The Yankee offense could only muster two runs off John Lackey, but aside from a fifth inning HR by Juan Rivera, Wang looked like he would make it stand up. Throwing 95-96 mph sinkers and pounding the strike zone, Wang had thrown only 58 pitches through five innings, 41 of them strikes.

Unfortunately, Alex Rodriguez completely misplayed a chopper from Orlando Cabrera to lead off the sixth. A ground out moved Cabrera into scoring position, and a two-out single tied the game at 2.

Rodriguez had a chance at redemption in the top of the seventh. After drawing a leadoff walk, he consumed a lot of attention from Angels reliever Kelvin Escobar, who kept throwing to first. On 1-2, Rodriguez decided to steal, the Angels called for a pitchout and nailed him. Any momentum in the inning from the leadoff walk was snuffed out, and the Yankees failed to do anything else.

The wheels came off in the bottom of the seventh. A high Baltimore chop by Rivera and a dive into first got the leadoff man on. Wang's throw to first on a Steve Finley bunt pulled Robinson Cano off the bag. Another bunt moved the runners to second and third. Wang then got a very shallow fly to centerfield, and was one out away from pitching out of it. Unfortunately, he got a pitch up and Orlando Cabrera rifled a single to left centerfield, and the go-ahead runs scored. Al Leiter came on to relieve Wang, and got Garret Anderson, but it was too little too late. Torre strangely left Leiter in to face Vlad Guerrero in the 8th, and Leiter shockingly got him out. Bengie Molina followed with a HR, and then Erstad fouled out to Rodriguez. Torre then went to Scott Proctor, since it's apparently ok to have Leiter face Guerrero, but not Robb Quinlan.

In the top of the ninth, Jorge Posada led off with a HR to cut the deficit to 5-3. However, Tino Martinez struck out pretty meekly, Derek Jeter grounded out to short, and Alex Rodriguez capped off a lousy game for himself by grounding out to third to end the game.

It was an annoying loss, mainly because I had to stay up to watch it, but I still think that a split against a good team on the road is a decent situation. I am concerned about the defense that was on display tonight. The Yankees defense is a known weakness, but they had been playing pretty well in the last month. With people like Wang and Chacon who are not strikeout pitchers, they can't afford any defensive miscues.

Let's just hope for better on Friday.