"I can't imagine much of anything being worse," Yankees manager Joe Girardi said.
Only a few thousand scattered fans stuck around to see this one through, but what they saw was something that became, by any measure, quite remarkable.
Consider this: No team in baseball had scored 14 runs in an inning since the Red Sox did it nearly six years ago against the Marlins. The Indians had achieved the feat before -- but not since 1950, when Harry Truman was in office and the Yankees were working on the second of five straight World Series titles. The 22 runs the Yanks served up tied the most they have ever allowed at a game in any version of Yankee Stadium.
Of course, the Yankees would have preferred not to have been the stewards of some unfortunate history. They wanted to win. And they wanted more than anything to believe that Wang could be better than he showed in each of his previous two outings, neither of them even approaching adequacy.
Yet whatever success Wang found in the first inning, when he retired three batters in order for just the second time this season, disintegrated in the 14-run second. Serving up a three-run home run to Shin-Soo Choo and a two-run double to Mark DeRosa, Wang faced eight Indians in the inning, retired just one of them and departed -- for the third straight outing -- with the Yankees all but out of the game.
Girardi lingered on the mound after summoning Anthony Claggett out of the bullpen, consoling Wang and encouraging him that, "We're going to get [you] right."
Convinced that Wang is fully healthy from the foot injury that caused him to miss the latter half of last season, Girardi and pitching coach Dave Eiland both said that Wang's stuff was better on Saturday than in his last outing, when he served up eight runs in an inning to the Rays. But that's hardly a consolation. Wang has now allowed 23 runs over his first three outings, throwing six innings in total.
Second to None
|The Indians' 14-run second inning against the Yankees, which took 38 minutes, set the Major League record for most runs in a second inning, surpassing a record held by the 2005 Yankees.|
|Hafner||Wang||Single to 3B||Scored (Choo)|
|Peralta||Wang||Single to LF||Scored (Choo)|
|Choo||Wang||Homer to LF||Scored (Choo)|
|Garko||Wang||Popout to C||First out|
|Francisco||Wang||Double to LF||Scored (Cabrera)|
|Cabrera||Wang||Single to CF||Scored (DeRosa)|
|Sizemore||Wang||Double to RF||Scored (DeRosa)|
|DeRosa||Wang||Double to RF||Scored (Martinez)|
|Martinez||Wang||Single to RF||Scored (Peralta)|
|Hafner||Claggett||Double to CF||Scored (Peralta)|
|Peralta||Claggett||Double to CF||Scored (Cabrera)|
|Garko||Claggett||Single to CF||Scored (Cabrera)|
|Cabrera||Claggett||Homer to RF||Scored (Cabrera)|
|Sizemore||Claggett||Homer to RF||Scored (Sizemore)|
"He's making it real tough on our bullpen right now," designated hitter Johnny Damon said. "We have to count on guys in our 'pen to go seven or eight innings. We have six losses on the year right now, and he's got three of them. In all three of those games, we've been blown out and we've had to go to our bullpen, so maybe our bullpen's not sharp the following days. I don't know what more to say, but hopefully he can figure it out, because it'd be tough to keep on going like this."
However convinced the Yankees remain that Wang will emerge from this funk -- and at least publicly, they swear that they are -- the team is now worried about its immediate future. Wang's next scheduled start comes Friday night at Fenway Park, a nasty place for even the hottest of big league pitchers to start. Wang, in his good years, has compiled a 5.11 ERA there. And so it's no surprise that the Yankees are at least discussing the possibility of skipping that start.
With an off-day Thursday, the Yankees could do so without forcing anyone to pitch on short rest. But they would also be eating roster space -- Wang is out of options, and cannot be sent to the Minor Leagues without the team exposing him to waivers -- and ignoring their own diagnosis. According to both Girardi and Eiland, Wang can't improve unless he pitches.
"He's going to pitch, he's going to get confidence and he's going to get better," Eiland said.
But the Yankees, at 6-6 and already nursing an extremely taxed bullpen, can't afford to wait and see with Wang.
Already, as Damon noted, Wang's ineffectiveness has spilled into other days. The Yankees were short with their bullpen even before CC Sabathia and Joba Chamberlain turned in abbreviated outings this week, forcing the team to call up David Robertson, send him back down to the Minors and then call up Claggett prior to Saturday's game.
Claggett pitched 1 2/3 innings, allowing eight runs of his own. His reward? The Yankees are likely to ship him right back to Scranton to infuse another fresh arm into the bullpen.
Every cause has an effect. And the nearly two dozen runs the Indians dropped on the Yankees on Saturday are likely to resurface throughout this week.
Wang knows it. His confidence has taken a hit, and it seems his pride has, too. He said he would understand if the Yankees decided to skip his next start in Boston.
Asked if he had any idea what happened in Saturday's game, Wang simply shook his head.
"No," he said.