Sunday, June 24, 2012
Notebook: Rauch, decisions and RISP
By Matt Ehalt
The last time Jon Rauch gave up a game-winning home run to the Yankees, the reliever was agitated, cursing himself out on his overall performance on the year.
Saturday night was a different story, as Rauch was much calmer after being tagged with the loss for the solo shot he yielded to Eric Chavez that put the Yankees ahead by the eventual final score of 4-3.
"He hit a good pitch," Rauch said. "He takes a panic swing and somehow he barreled it. ... I think everybody in this clubhouse is amazed what he was able to do with that pitch. Take it as it is."
Rauch pitched 1 1/3 innings, giving up just that one hit, but it proved to the deciding play in the game. After falling behind 0-2, Chavez drove a high fastball just inside the foul pole in left field. It's the second time the Yankees have beaten him, with Russell Martin hitting a walk-off homer against Rauch on June 10.
Rauch is now 3-7 on the year, which ties him for the most losses by a reliever in Major League Baseball.
"I thought he threw the ball OK," manager Terry Collins said about Rauch. "Ball down the left-field line out of the ballpark, I don't think you can even classify it as a mistake."
KEEPING THEM IN: In the seventh inning, Collins kept lefty Daniel Murphy in to face lefty reliever Boone Logan, with the Mets trailing 4-3 and a runner on third with two outs.
Collins had right-handed options on the bench, like Vinny Rottino and Justin Turner, but he stuck with the second baseman, who eventually struck out to end the threat. Prior to Murphy's strikeout, another lefty, Lucas Duda, also fanned against Logan.
"Those guys hit lefties," Collins said of Murphy and Duda. "They weren't really particularly good at-bats, but those two guys hit lefties. If we don't tie the game up, I know they're getting up in the ninth and I know who is going to be standing up there in the ninth inning and I wanted those guys up there."
In the ninth, Duda struck out and Murphy flew out to end the game against Rafael Soriano.
NO BYRDAK IN THAT SPOT: When Raul Ibanez came to the plate with two on and no outs in the seventh, Collins left in starter Chris Young. Ibanez followed with a three-run homer to right that tied the game at 3.
The manager said he was not considering bringing in lefty specialist Tim Byrdak in that spot, as he wanted him to face Robinson Cano and Mark Teixeira later in the game. And not having Frank Francisco available meant he would have had to burn three pitchers in that one inning.
RISP WOES: The Mets were 1-for-14 with runners in scoring position, leaving 11 men on base. Over their last eight games, the Mets are just 12-for-63 in such situations.
"We couldn't really string anything together tonight," Duda said.