On Wednesday afternoon, the Yankees got away with playing a lineup that was short several starting players thanks to Freddy Garcia and a well-timed homer from Jorge Posada.
In the second game of the twinbill with the Reds, Joe Girardi pushed his luck once again. Historical tragedies aside, the Reds are apparently big fans of The Who because they refused to get fooled again.
The story of Brian Gordon's rise to the Yankee rotation remains one that makes you feel good, but he showed just how unlikely a tale it is during a 10-2 loss. Chris Heisey led off the game with a home run, added another one in the fifth and Jonny Gomes also went deep against a pitcher who, good story or not, isn't meant to be starting games for a team with serious playoff machinations.
It was only 4-1 at that point, however, and the Yankees would get a golden opportunity to climb back into the game against Johnny Cueto. Cueto, whose sore neck pushed him back from Monday and (conspiracy alert!) might have caused Tuesday's rainout, pitched very well before running into trouble in the seventh.
Alex Rodriguez, Nick Swisher and Robinson Cano, pinch hitting for Eduardo Nunez, loaded the bases with one out to give Ramiro Pena a shot at chipping away at the lead. He grounded into a fielder's choice on the first pitch, however, and Jorge Posada, hitting for the pitcher, also saw just one pitch before grounding out and ending the threat.
Hector Noesi would blow up in relief after that, including a third homer off Heisey's bat, and the result was academic at that point. The loss cost the Yankees a chance to move back into a tie for first place in the AL East, but given the players used on Wednesday it should be enough that they got a split in the two games with the Reds.
They started Gordon, gave Nunez and Pena 13 at-bats and saw the likes of Noesi, Francisco Cervelli and Chris Dickerson as well. No reasonable person could expect two wins with those players in starring roles and even unreasonable Yankee fans could probably make their peace with what went down in the nightcap.
They're still 10-3 in their last 13 and things look pretty good when they use a lineup of actual big leaguers against the opposition. Mother Nature willing, they'll be doing that a lot more than they'll be playing spring training in the summertime.