Robert Altman never made a baseball movie, but it might have looked a little bit like the Yankees' day on Wednesday.
There were multiple plot lines going on, some of which seemed to have nothing to do with one another, and all of them came together to make for a long, hard and ultimately losing day for the Yankees in Chicago. Each part of the day could have wound up as the biggest story when all was said and done, so we'll give them all equal billing.
1. There's no better place to start when talking about baseball than winning and losing. The Yankees lost 2-1 to the White Sox to cap a three-game sweep at the hands of the AL Central leaders.
Chris Sale's breakout year continued with 13 strikeouts (the Yankees wound up with 15 of them when the night was through) and Phil Hughes' own fine work wasn't quite fine enough to overcome the gem that Sale put on the table. The Rays beat the Royals on Wednesday afternoon, which means that the Yankees now have a three-game lead as they get a long-awaited day off and then start a series with the Indians.
It's a series they'll need to win to put off any panicked reactions back in New York. A three-game lead can disappear in a weekend, after all.
2. After the game, Joe Girardi did his customary post-game media scrum in a hallway outside the Yankee clubhouse. Girardi looked as glum as you'd expect after such a frustrating game, but that soon gave way to anger.
Somehow a White Sox fan found his way into the hallway near Girardi and started heckling him as he spoke to reporters. As you can see in this video, the Yankee manager did not appreciate the intrusion.
Heckling is a right everyone has, although Girardi does not come across as a man worth messing with, unless you're into getting your teeth kicked in.
3. Ivan Nova came down with a case of shoulder tightness that would seem convenient if not for the fact that he's been pitching like a guy with issues in his shoulder. It's not known if he needs a trip to the disabled list, but the young pitcher facing his mortality all of a sudden is a character that Altman would have done well.
4. Here's the final and most ridiculous storyline of the day. Skip Bayless, the brainless ESPN commentator, suggested Wednesday that Derek Jeter's great season was the product of performance enhancing drugs. Given the Melky Cabrera and Bartolo Colon suspensions, we're not surprised to hear a renewed outcry from the chattering classes.
We are surprised that otherwise talented reporters felt the need to ask Jeter, who homered to account for the only Yankee run on Wednesday, about Bayless' indirect accusations. That's like asking President Obama about the homeless guy who tells you that the government is conspiring against him, but at least Jeter had a decent answer for those who feel the need to boost Bayless' credibility.
"Anytime you bring something like this to light with guys that are doing things, it’s like, now you have everybody questioning everything,” Jeter said. “That’s the unfortunate thing. Maybe Skip should be tested."
The test would come back negative, if only because Bayless fails every test you could possibly imagine.