The Yanks had everything set up yesterday: despite stinking at the plate (Bobby Abreu slugging % = less than .320; Robby Cano BA = less than .270) against a struggling pitcher, they held a 2-1 lead through 7 thanks to a shockingly good performance from rookie Matt DeSalvo who made his major league debut. Then the bullpen took over, and the umps did too.
First, a blown call that, if it had happened in the playoffs, would be legendary. With two outs, pinchrunner Willie Bloomquist tried to steal second off Kyle Farnsworth and Jorge Posada. He was dead meat -- Robinson Cano tagged Bloomquist on the arse with the runner's hands more than THREE FEET FROM SECOND BASE. Ump called him safe. This call was horrid -- as a call outside of a playoff context it was worse than the Dom Denkinger call that honked game 6 of the '85 Series for the Cards, worse than the Rich Garcia call that changed game 1 of the 1996 ALCS, worse than the ball three call to Tino Martinez with the bases loaded in game 1 of the '98 Series (which was close and Tino never flinched -- he bought a lot of calls that way), and only on par with Tim Tschida's woeful honk on the Chuck Knoblauch phantom tag in game 2 of the '99 ALCS (remember that RedSawx fans?).
Next batter blooped a single to right and Farnsworth gets tagged with a blown save off the blown call.
Second, the big honk. The Monk has discussed his disgust with some of Jorge Posada's pitch-calling and yesterday is about as bad as it gets: righty who keeps bailing out and flailing at outside pitches in deep slump, Posada calls for an inside fastball from Rivera. Result = homer. That's two bombs Rivera's coughed up of his usual season-long alottement of three. Worse yet (and to prove that Rivera's just not right), the Adrian Beltre dinger went to left center, more than 400 feet away. Rivera rarely gives up a bomb, even more rare is the 400+ foot blow -- most homers off Rivera are to the short porch in right at the Stadium or down a foul line in other stadiums.
Just not good.