Commentary

Never a good time for Bad Yankees

It's just Week 1, but wasting a CC gem and losing -- to the Twins! -- is just plain awful

Updated: April 6, 2011, 9:47 AM ET
By Rob Parker | ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- On the way to putting the baseball world on notice with what would have been a fourth win in their first five games, the New York Yankees showed why some had doubts about them coming into the season.

The Bad Yankees showed up on Tuesday night.

Most knew they existed -- hence, the Yankees were considered underdogs in the American League East -- but they hadn't been seen this season until they turned an easy-as-pie victory into an ugly loss to the Minnesota Twins.

The Yankees' 5-4, 10-inning loss at the Stadium was a bad sign, a glimpse into what can happen when they don't finish the job.

[+] EnlargeBoone Logan
John Munson/The Star-Ledger/US PresswireBoone Logan couldn't bear to look after the Twins took the lead in the 10th inning.

There was just no killer instinct, no sense of urgency. Yes, it's April. But you should win games you should win. This was one of them. Instead, it was almost like they got bored and figured they had the game in the bag.

It doesn't get much worse than giving up a 4-0 lead after your ace, CC Sabathia, has retired 17 straight batters en route to a stellar two-hit, seven-inning outing against a team you have owned since the beginning of time.

Did we mention that four of the Twins' five runs got on base by walks? That's just terrible.

You never want to make a big deal out of a single baseball game in the first week of the season. Still, if the Yankees lost the division by one game, you will be able to point back to this one as the reason why.

"Obviously, CC pitched a hell of a game for us today," right fielder Nick Swisher said. "It's a situation we didn't get him the win, give ourselves a 2-0 lead in the series. We didn't get it done. It definitely hurts."

There were meltdowns all over the place in the final three innings. Rafael Soriano, who hadn't given up a run this season, allowed four runs on just one hit. He walked three in just two-thirds of an inning. In the 10th, Boone Logan walked the leadoff man and then gave up back-to-back hits. The Twins were finally ahead.

"The bullpen is really a strength of our team," Sabathia said. "Nine times out of 10, they are going to come in and shut the door. It's baseball and part of the game."

Swisher should have played Delmon Young's two-out, bloop double to right differently. Swisher made a dive for it and came up way short. "All you want to do is keep that ball in front of you," Swisher admitted afterward. "For me, I made a mistake and we paid for it."

Yeah, we know the Twins were due, overdue to win a game in Da Bronx. It's been their personal hell. Minnesota has now won here just three times in the past 15 regular-season games. And this gift-wrapped victory was just the Twins' seventh victory here since 2002, including the postseason.

But the Yankees opened the season with so much firepower with the long ball (13 homers in the first five games). Plus, the three-headed monster out of the bullpen -- Joba Chamberlain, Soriano and Mariano Rivera -- had opponents trying to figure out how they were going to beat this team late in games.

Clearly, the Yankees looked like the first-place team in the division -- even though they weren't in first place since the Baltimore Orioles are unbeaten so far. That's how impressive the first four games were.

But New York looked mortal, very beatable on this cold night.

It's the second straight night the Yankees stormed out of the gate with four runs in the first two innings and nothing else. The Yankees should have knocked Twins starter Brian Duensing out of the game early. He was on the ropes. The Yankees let him escape to pitch seven innings, five straight scoreless after his rocky start.

"Seemed like Duensing kind of settled in and had us in front, and we weren't able to tack on to that lead," manager Joe Girardi said.

The only saving grace is that the Red Sox lost again. Boston is now winless at 0-4. Still, it was a missed opportunity to put distance between the team everyone expects to win the division.

"You're playing a great team over there in the Yankees," Twins manager Rob Gardenhire said. "It's never easy to play them; those guys know how to win."

Unless, of course, the Bad Yankees show up.

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