NEW YORK -- There's really no point in rehashing what happened at Yankee Stadium on Saturday afternoon except to remind you that when a big-league team gives up 10 runs in an inning, as the New York Yankees did in the third inning of their game against the Texas Rangers, you kind of wish baseball was like boxing, where a merciful referee could step in, wrap the loser in a protective cocoon and send him home to play another day.
None of that happened Saturday, of course, and the game ground on to its own merciful end after three hours and three minutes, and five more runs for the visiting team. The true mark of how bad a game it was came in the top of the ninth, when the Yankees were forced to turn to Garrett Jones, backup first baseman/backup DH and now, backup mop-up man, to get the last two outs of the inning.
There was no sugar-coating the 15-4 loss, no excusing CC Sabathia -- who lasted just 2 1/3 innings and allowed six earned runs -- and no justifying the Yankees bats, which did not stir from their slumber until the game was well out of reach. Joe Girardi called it "a bad day," which is like saying the Titanic ran into a little ice.
Leave it to Brett Gardner, who is emerging as one of the most candid voices in the Yankees clubhouse, to call this game the way any objective observer saw it.
"We got embarrassed," he said.
It was bad enough that the Yankees have allowed 25 runs in two games to the Rangers, a sub-.500 team in the bottom half of the AL in nearly every offensive category. But to have scored nine runs on Friday in a game started by Michael Pineda and still lose?
More than embarrassing. More like inexcusable.
So now they face they unenviable situation of trying to avoid a sweep, at home, by a fourth-place team, with their fifth-best starter, Chris Capuano, on the mound before a national TV audience on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball. As Gardner pointed out, the Yankees wasted a beautiful baseball day, before an uncommonly large Yankee Stadium crowd -- announced as 42,067 -- to put on their most listless performance of the season.
"I feel bad for our fans," he said. "We've obviously looked pretty bad the last week or so."
In fact, Gardner went further than that. Asked to compare how the current stretch of futility -- five straight losses and nine of their last 10 -- compares with the start of the season, in which the Yankees were 3-6, Gardner said, "This seems worse. It seems about as bad as you can get."
Gardner went on to point out that the Yankees are still close to first place -- two games out pending the conclusion of this afternoon's game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Oakland Athletics -- and reminded us all that over the course of 162 games, even the best of baseball teams will go through periods when they look like absolute garbage.
"This won't continue forever," he said. "I think everybody knew it wasn't reasonable to sustain the pace we were on, winning 16 out of 20 or whatever it was. we got a lot of baseball left and I still think we got a real good group of guys and we're capable of doing some special things, we just haven't shown it the last week, week and a half or so. But that's the thing about this game. You gotta have a short-term memory. Hopefully tomorrow we can snap out of it."
Big negatives: The 15 runs allowed on Saturday were the most the Yankees have allowed since a 16-1 loss at Tampa Bay on April 19, 2014. The 10-run third inning was the biggest inning they have allowed since April 18, 2009, when they allowed 14 runs in the second inning against the Cleveland Indians. And with the seven runs they allowed in the third inning Friday night, it marked the first time they had allowed seven or more runs in one inning in back-to-back games since June 19-20, 2002, at Colorado. The last time they did such a thing at home? Try nearly 108 years ago: June 11-12, 1907 vs. Detroit, when they were known as the Highlanders and played at Hilltop Park in upper Manhattan.