Yanks Miss Opportunities, Not Damon, In Monday's Loss

Comeback falls short in reunion with former Yankees

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Getty Images

    It's a sign of how well things have gone for the Yankees thus far in 2010 that none of the tabloids could muster up much of a takedown on Brian Cashman for Tuesday's editions. What better fodder for raising unholy hell than a loss to a team featuring Johnny Damon and Austin Jackson in the outfield while the Yankees are missing Curtis Granderson and Nick Johnson?

    Alas, wiser heads prevailed. Damon's homer landed him on the cover of the Post and the News and there were a couple of columns that showed us where things would head if the Yankees had five or six fewer wins, but even the most avid rabble rouser couldn't actually sell out in a rip of the Yankees offseason on a night when Damon and Jackson combined to go 1-for-7 and drive in as many runs as Brett Gardner and Marcus Thames in a 5-4 Tigers win.  

    That said, there was a worthy rip of Cashman waiting for those who wanted to take out the knives. Phil Coke, tossed into the trade for Granderson, entered the game with the bases loaded and the Yankees down two runs in the top of the eighth to face Gardner. He induced a fielders choice and then got Randy Winn to pop up before leaving the game in the hands of Ryan Perry. That's what lefty specialists are supposed to do, something that current Yankee pet Boone Logan never learned.

    Logan walked Damon, a lefty, and then gave up a triple to Brennan Bosch, another lefty, in the seventh to allow the Tigers to extend their lead to three runs entering the eighth. Logan has now allowed half of the lefties he's faced this season to reach base, making him about as useful to a bullpen as a bicycle is to a fish. Lefties have a .306 on-base percentage against Coke, by way of comparison. We'll grant that there are sexier stories than this one, but it's a much clearer loss for the Yanks.

    Neither Coke nor Damon was really responsible for the loss on Monday. The Yankees mustering just one hit in 10 at-bats with runners in scoring position was the real culprit, especially on a night when the Tigers were forced to use a bullpen sampler in place of a sick Dontrelle Willis. The Yankees kept getting chances and kept letting them slip through their fingers, something that will cost you no matter who is on the other side of the field. Baseball fans and writers know that's the case and know that these things will happen to even the best of teams.

    All bets are off if Damon picks up where he left off against Javier Vazquez on Tuesday night, however.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.