OAKLAND, Calif. -- There were a lot of reasons why the Yankees lost to the A's 5-2 Wednesday night, the two most important being the ineffectiveness of starter Phil Hughes and the ineptitude of the heart of their batting order as the 3-through-6 hitters went 0-for-13.
But the game certainly got out of hand in the eighth inning. With the Yankees trying to keep the game close, manager Joe Girardi stuck with Joba Chamberlain, who got two outs in the seventh but imploded in the eighth, allowing a colossal home run by Brandon Moss and an RBI single by John Jaso.
Which led to a natural postgame question: Where was David Robertson, the Yankees' designated "Eighth-Inning Guy," in the crucial eighth inning? Especially since D-Rob had not pitched since Sunday in Seattle?
Here's what Girardi had to say: "He was available, but we’re down 3-2 and I like what Joba did in the bottom of the seventh, so I'm not going to use him there."
Afterward, I went up to Girardi privately and told him what I had seen before the game, which was Robertson lying on the trainer's table having a laser treatment applied to his right elbow by head trainer Steve Donohue. "Oh, he's fine," Girardi said. "Guys get treatment all the time."
I asked Robertson about it, too, and he also said he's fine, and that the treatment was to relieve some muscle soreness caused by an intense weightlifting workout on the day off. He did admit, however, that he was surprised not to get the call after Joba gave up the HR to Moss, his second of the game, which made the score 4-2.
Maybe he is fine and this was just another unique decision by the manager. But it is certainly a situation that bears watching.
• The heart of the Yankees' order -- Mark Teixeira, Travis Hafner, Vernon Wells and Kevin Youkilis -- went hitless, although Teixeira drove in a run with a sacrifice fly and Youkilis got on base twice via a walk and a hit-by-pitch. And this was the fifth straight game in which the Yankees have failed to hit a home run, which had not happened since 2000.
Said hitting coach Kevin Long: "We need more guys on base. The old walks and home runs are not really coming. You hate to say it again, but we don’t have home runs right now. It’s tough to string together a whole lot of hits against good pitching. Sometimes you need to pop a couple home runs off those guys, and we haven’t been able to do that."
• Girardi's decision to play gamesmanship with A's manager Bob Melvin in the seventh inning -- sending Lyle Overbay up to hit for Austin Romine after Jayson Nix stole second on Dan Straily's first pitch, and then pulling Overbay for Chris Stewart when Melvin brought in lefty Sean Doolittle -- backfired twice. Stewart struck out and Overbay was not available to hit for Nix against closer Grant Balfour, a righty, in the ninth inning.
But Girardi said the ultimate matchup of Stewart versus Doolittle was the one he really wanted.
"I thought Stew had a pretty good at-bat against Doolittle [Tuesday] night," Girardi said. "He swung the bat pretty good and I made the move."
Stewart, who also struck out against Doolittle on Tuesday, is now 0-for-3 lifetime against the reliever with two strikeouts.