You have to feel a little bad for Amaury Sanit.
That's not the way you're supposed to feel for a guy who makes his long-awaited big league debut at 31 as a member of the Yankees in a game at Yankee Stadium. It's a nice little story and it is one that should be greeted with nothing but smiles and warm feelings.
Unfortunately his big night will mostly be remembered for providing all of us with a new shorthand for a game gone terribly, terribly wrong. From now on, an Amaury Sanit job will be what we call noble work done in a lost cause.
Sanit threw 81 pitches from the fourth inning to the eighth inning to save wear and tear on the bullpen after the Royals posted eight quick runs on Ivan Nova. When the best thing you can say about a team's effort is that a previously unknown long reliever allowed better pitchers to rest, you know things have gone off the rails.
There's no other way to explain what happened to the Yankees during their 11-5 loss on Thursday. It marked their second straight loss to the Royals, their first series loss at home to K.C. in 12 years and the end of their run in first place.
The Rays now sit atop the American League East, something that doesn't feel particularly good but it does feel pretty right. The Yankees have been reeling for quite some time now and nothing spells nadir like Thursday's ugly loss.
There were two errors in a six-run second inning that put the game firmly in the control of the visitors. Those misplays made life more difficult for Nova, but, truth be told, it seemed like Nova was well on his way to making a mess of things all by himself.
The offense couldn't find a way to get on base until the fifth inning against Sean O'Sullivan, which might as well be the Irish equivalent of Amaury Sanit. Alex Rodriguez did wind up connecting for his first homer in ages in the bottom of the eighth, which is either a sign of things to come or a sign that anyone can be a hero when the other team is simply trying to end the game.
Let's hope that it was the former. The Red Sox roll into town on Friday and the last thing these Yankees need is a rough weekend against their rivals.
People can stomach rough patches like this one, even when they include series losses to the Tigers and Royals. They can even stomach dropping out of first place in mid-May.
They won't be so calm if the bumbling continues against Boston, however. Then we'll have ourselves a full-fledged crisis in the Bronx and Monday will be a day best spent with the covers pulled tightly over your head.
Should that come to pass, it will take a lot more than Amaury Sanit to rescue us.