If you were giving a character a stereotypical name that indicated they were from Boston, Sully or Murph would be at the top of the list. The Yankees ran into one of those characters this weekend, although he went by the more formal name of Murphy. As in Murphy's law, as in everything that could have possibly gone wrong for the Yankees this weekend did go wrong.
Jacoby Ellsbury's steal of home on Sunday night was the final indignity, but it was far from the only one. Friday night's game was lost thanks to another round of curious bullpen management from Joe Girardi and the team's failure to drive in one of seven runners they got on base in the ninth, 10th and 11th innings. They didn't get a very good start from Joba Chamberlain that night either, but A.J. Burnett made it look like a perfect game on Saturday.
Burnett blew a 6-0 lead, the Yankees relievers couldn't get enough outs and, for the second straight game, the Yankees lost a game they should have won. All of which set the table for a pathetic Sunday night performance that saw the Yankees roll over and die against Boston's fifth starter and C-list relievers.
And that's just the on-field losses. On Friday night they lost Cody Ransom to injury, a few hours after Brian Bruney returned to New York to get his ailing elbow examined by doctors. Both players are on the disabled list now, forcing the Yankees to scramble bullpen jobs and use the loathsome Angel Berroa at third base until Alex Rodriguez returns.
A .500 record after 18 games played without your best player is hardly reason to panic, but panic isn't far off. The Yankees have been dealt several embarassing losses already this season, their rotation hasn't lived up to the hype and they really miss Rodriguez's bat in the middle of the lineup. And, lest we forget, those weren't the Angels or White Sox that beat up on the Yankees this weekend. The Red Sox have won 10 straight, a fact that's not going to be far from anyone's minds coming off a playoff-less season.
It won't take much for panic buttons to start getting pushed, which will make Girardi's seat toasty. Two guys can do a lot to stop the bleeding. A CC Sabathia win in Detroit on Monday would be huge and A-Rod can't get back soon enough.
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.