Imperfect Yankees O < nearly perfect Sale

CHICAGO -- Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale was nearly perfect. The New York Yankees' offense was decidedly not.

After another anemic performance, these are the big-time starters who deserve a pass for producing right now: Yangervis Solarte, Brett Gardner, Mark Teixeira and Ichiro Suzuki.

And these are the ones who don't and are on the watch list: Jacoby Ellsbury, Brian McCann (who rested Thursday), Derek Jeter and Alfonso Soriano.

But let's not be fully myopic and only look at the road clubhouses in Chicago as the reason the Yankees have scored only seven runs in three days on the South and North sides. The Yankees faced three of the best pitchers in the Windy City. Sale, Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel have made a lot of teams look like they are swinging wet paper towels this season.

So, before everyone gets crazy, let's see how the Yankees fare Friday night, when they face Hector Noesi. The former Yankee, who was in the Michael Pineda trade, has four losses, which is only one less than the number of teams he has been on in 2014.

After being let go by the Seattle Mariners and Texas Rangers, he enters Friday with a 7.71 ERA. If the Yankees don't hit Noesi, then this might be more than a fire drill.

Thursday, the Yankees scored two in the ninth, thanks mostly to Ichiro (single) and Teixeira (two-run single). But all that did was set them up to gripe a little about Ronald Belisario's final pitch -- a 93-mph 3-2 sinker -- that free-swinging Soriano watched, leaving the tying run on base.

"It was up and in," Soriano said a few minutes after taking the called strike by ump Tim Woodring even as catcher Tyler Flowers dropped the ball. "It is a tough job. It is not easy to be an umpire, but that ball was up and in. I never say nothing to the umpire, but that pitch is a ball."

Yankees manager Joe Girardi said something similar, but that is not why the Yankees lost. It just finished things off. The Yankees' inability to hit -- three hits all night after Sale was perfect through the initial 17 batters -- was why they suffered another loss. It is not supposed be working like this with the Yankees' starters hurting.

The pitching should be in shambles with CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova and Pineda hurt, but instead starter David Phelps pitched tremendously, just not perfectly, allowing two runs in seven innings. He gave up his runs after two outs in the second.

"It is annoying, you have to do a better job of getting guys out with two outs," Phelps said.

Girardi turned to Alfredo Aceves in the eighth, and he gave up a costly insurance run, but that should not have been unexpected. In five of Aceves' seven outings, he has allowed at least a run.

After, the Yankees could shield themselves from too much self-incrimination by pointing to Sale at the start and the umps at the end, but on Friday against Noesi, there will be nowhere to hide.

The guys on the watch list -- who went 0-for-11 on Thursday -- need to rev up their bats, or the Yankees are going to continue to look bad. The vaccine for their slump could be Noesi.

If not, you can panic a little.