The New York Yankees snapped their three-game losing streak on Friday night, but it’s safe to say that won’t be enough to satisfy their latest unhappy executive.
After co-chairman Hank Steinbrenner publicly expressed his displeasure with his team’s play, the Yankees will try to return to .500 when they continue their series with the visiting Seattle Mariners on Saturday.
Friday’s 5-1 win came with ace Chien-Ming Wang on the mound for the Yankees, but New York (15-16) has won all seven of Wang’s starts this season. The problems have come in the rest of their games, when they have gone just 8-16.
After the Yankees’ third losing April in the last four years, Steinbrenner wasn’t shy about calling his team out - something his father, George, could also claim when he ran the team.
Hank Steinbrenner acknowledged injuries to Alex Rodriguez and Jorge Posada - who will be out at least five weeks with a shoulder problem - but still said he was “very disappointed with the way the season has gone, period.”
“We just can’t win one out of five games, every time Wang pitches,” Steinbrenner said. “It’s not going to work. It’s not a good win percentage. Starting pitching is where it’s at, especially in the postseason. At this point, we’ll see if we even make the postseason.”
The last two times around the rotation, the Yankees have won only when Wang and Mike Mussina have pitched.
Mussina (3-3, 4.73 ERA) will try to win his third straight start on Saturday. He’s allowed just two earned runs in each of his last two outings, but he only lasted five innings on Monday, giving up seven hits in a 5-2 win at Cleveland.
The 39-year-old right-hander has won his last six decisions against the Mariners, but he hasn’t made a start against them since 2005. In a relief appearance versus the Mariners in the Bronx last September, Mussina allowed seven hits and two runs in 3 2-3 innings.
Mariners right-hander Felix Hernandez (2-1, 2.22) started and won that game for Seattle, pitching seven innings and allowing one run and five hits in his first appearance at Yankee Stadium.
Hernandez, who will also start Saturday, suffered his first loss of 2008 on Sunday against Oakland, despite starting the game with seven shutout innings. He allowed four hits without recording an out in the eighth, and all four runners ended up scoring.
Hernandez has still permitted only 11 earned runs in 44 2-3 innings in 2008, and leads the AL with 41 strikeouts, making him a bright spot for the struggling Mariners.
Seattle (13-17) has dropped three straight and seven of nine, and is trying to avoid matching its longest losing streak of the season. Manager John McLaren declined to speak with reporters after Friday’s loss.
Seattle has only managed six runs in its last three games. Third baseman Adrian Beltre has just one hit in his last 12 at-bats and second baseman Jose Lopez’s 11-game hitting streak ended Friday, when the Mariners committed four errors.
“It’s just one of those times right now where we’ve got to get through it and forget about what happened and go on to the next day,” catcher Jamie Burke said.
The Mariners haven’t won a series at Yankee Stadium since 2003.