A funny thing happened to the Yankees on their way to the All Star break. They were one-hit by former Met prospect Billy Traber in Cleveland last night, and lost the game 4-0. Meanwhile the Blue Jays wasted another brilliant effort from Roy Halladay, as the Red Sox knocked them off in extra innings, 2-1. The Yankees lead over Boston is now down to three games.
After the Yanks were no-hit by the Astros earlier this year, Rob Neyer noted that the Bombers have just the kind of team that is prone to be getting shut down:
...It's not really that surprising, what happened Wednesday night.
Why? Because if you're trying to predict which team's going to be no-hit, there's really only one thing worth looking at: team batting average.
If you want to know if they're going to be no-hit, you need to look at batting average ... and the Yankees don't have much of a batting average.
Heading into last night's action, the Yankees were 10th in the American League with a .265 team batting average. So while it's tempting to think that the Yankees just shouldn't be the victims of a no-hitter, the fact is that we shouldn't be all that surprised when a .265-hitting team gets no-hit, even if its ancestors have won 26 World Series.
Instead of Alfonso Soriano and Derek Jeter at the top of the line up, the Yanks fielded Enrique Wilson (.200) and Todd Zeile (.198) last night. Ouch.
But manager Joe Torre gave credit where credit was due:
"I'm glad the question was not asked: 'Was it his pitching, or lack of hitting?' Or, 'Did you guys have a letdown after the Red Sox?' " Yankees Manager Joe Torre said at the end of his session with reporters. "None of that stuff happened. It was all him, no question. He was terrific tonight."
Jeff Weaver got into a jam in the first inning, giving up two runs, but then pitched well after that. Weaver looked so pissed in the first that I thought he was going to implode. It looked as if he wasn't even breathing, just seething, like a kettle ready to boil. It's clear that he's talented, but his head is in the toilet. He is a model of self-loathing.
Weaver needs to turn that frown upside down. Perhaps a little patience would help. Speaking of which, Bernie Williams will make his return to the Yankees tonight. And not a moment too soon.