OAKLAND, CA - JULY 22: Jonny Gomes #31 of the Oakland Athletics (right) pours water on Coco Crisp #4 during an interview after the game against the New York Yankees at O.co Coliseum on July 22, 2012 in Oakland, California. Crisp hit the game winning RBI as the Oakland Athletics defeated the New York Yankees 5-4 in 12 innings. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
Apologies for the late recap; I've been playing a party game called "The West Coast Overreaction" in which you drink whenever the Yankees lose to the A's. Since they can only lose to the A's every 24 hours or so, you drink a Zombie the size of an Olympic swimming pool to make up for the long interval between draughts. I'm not much of a drinker, so after my fourth straight day of three kinds of rum and brandy in enough volume to refill the Caspian Sea, I'm afraid I passed out for awhile.
As you well know by now, the Yankees were swept in a four-game series by the A's for the first time since Richard Nixon was CREEP-ing his way towards reelection. After a good-not-great performance by CC Sabathia, one which normally would have been good enough to win, the game eventually found its way into the hands of Rafael Soriano, who had been as safe as houses to this point in the season, converting 24 of 25 save chances to this point. He didn't, and ultimately the Yankees didn't. No doubt some are gnashing their teeth and crying for Mariano Rivera right now, but that's not an appropriate response-in most seasons, Rivera's save conversion rate was below Soriano's current 92 percent.
Putting that aside, though, there isn't much reason to be too exercised about this sweep. Sure, it's a bit troubling, but there isn't a great deal of insight to be gleaned from it except that the Yankees would be well served to think about upgrading their bench at the trade deadline, if not their left field possibilities with Brett Gardner likely gone for the season: the on-base percentages of the fifth through ninth spots of the batting order on Sunday read .299 (Raul Ibanez), .331 (Eric Chavez), .286 (Jayson Nix), .and .267 (Chris Stewart). You're just not going to score a lot of runs with that lineup.
Fortunately, two of the four listed above are substitutes and aren't likely to see much action the rest of the way, but as we have seen repeatedly, and as recently as last season's collapses by the Red Sox and Braves, no team is so good as to be immune to a lack of depth. The point it isn't that these kinds of second-string players are going to punish the Yankees if they don't have to play, but what will happen if for some reason they do have to play.
Yet, even that may be stretching for meaning in what was four one-run losses. There is a lot of luck involved in every one-run decision, and the games of this series were no different. The best strategy here might be to consume one more amnesia-inducing rum-pool, mutter, "Forget it, Jake. It's just Oakland, and anticipate a rebound in Seattle.