- Kieran Darcy, ESPNNewYork.com
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NEW YORK -- The New York Yankees put on a great show Sunday night ... before the game began.
But the game itself? Yet another reminder that this team is a shadow of its former self.
"It's been a lot of different things during this stretch," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said. "It's been defense at times, it's been pitching at times. We need to play better."
The evening began with a touching pregame ceremony honoring Bernie Williams, one of the pillars of the Yankees' championship-winning teams in 1996, '98, '99 and 2000. Several of his former teammates were on hand, including future Hall of Famer Derek Jeter, who was making his first appearance at Yankee Stadium since he retired.
The House The Boss Built was nearly full and in full voice, for one of the few times in recent memory. But once starting pitcher Chris Capuano threw the first pitch, it got ugly quickly.
The Yanks did score two runs themselves in the bottom of the first, thanks to Brian McCann's two-RBI single. But an Adam Rosales two-run homer in the top of the second gave the lead back to Texas for good.
Capuano went just 4 1/3 innings, a day after CC Sabathia lasted just 2 1/3.
"My No. 1 goal going out there was to get deep into this game, take a little pressure off the bullpen," Capuano said. "Going 4 1/3 innings, I'm not happy with that. I've got to do better."
But there was plenty of blame to go around. The Yankees mustered just six hits in the game off Rangers starter Yovani Gallardo and four relievers. And just three of those hits came after the first inning -- Garrett Jones' singles in the fourth and seventh, and Chase Headley's single in the eighth.
"We need to play better baseball," first baseman Mark Teixeira said. "Teams are gonna go through streaks where they're not hitting, they're not pitching. But we're making way too many mental errors. We're playing way too sloppy out there. That's what's tough to see."
Admittedly, the Yankees were a pleasant surprise when they opened up the season 21-12 -- not many people expected that. Perhaps this is what they really are -- a .500 team.
Regardless, this loss has to sting a little more than the others, given what transpired before the game.
Seeing the Yankees’ latest crop of legends on the field was like jumping in a time machine. Williams, Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte, Paul O’Neill, Tino Martinez, David Cone -- what an impressive group.
But what was even more impressive was the crowd's reaction to them. Overwhelming cheers, the likes of which we rarely hear anymore.
It's hard to imagine any of the current Yankees getting the same kind of reception after they've retired. And they certainly didn't deserve any cheers after their latest poor performance.
"These guys have to get it done, that's the bottom line," Girardi said, when asked about possible changes. "These are our players, and they have to get it done."
But can they? Yes, they're the ones currently wearing the pinstripes. But the best team on the field Sunday night was Bernie and his buddies, and it's not even close.
The Yankees' sixth loss in a row was another reminder that this team is a shadow of its former self.