The LoHud Yankees Blog

A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News

Postgame notes: “We’re making way too many mental errors”

Alex Rodriguez

Finding new ways to say that the Yankees aren’t playing well is becoming more difficult by the day, and the players are also at a loss for words.

The clubhouse was especially quiet after Sunday’s 5-2 loss to the Texas Rangers, which dropped the Yankees to .500 for the first time since April 21. It was their tenth loss in the last 11 games and the first time that Texas left the Bronx with a sweep since 2003.

“It’s easy to say, but play better, Mark Teixeira said. “We need to play better baseball. Teams are going to go through streaks where they’re not hitting or not pitching, but we’re making way too many mental errors. We’re playing way too sloppy out there, and that’s tough to see.”

The losses also appear to be weighing Joe Girardi, who saw his team go being one of the hotter teams in baseball to one of the coldest in a matter of a week or two.

“I just walked in here. What do you want me to do?” Girardi said when asked if he feels the need to address anything with his team. “These guys have to get it done, that’s the bottom line. These are our players and they have to get it done.”

The recent skid has been a cumulative result of shaky defense, inconsistent offense and a lack of length from the starting pitchers. Chris Capuano failed to get out of the fifth inning tonight, marking the fourth time in the last six games that the Yankees’ starter hasn’t made it through five.

“My No. 1 goal going out there was to get deep into this game — take a little pressure off of the bullpen and keep our team in the game,” Capuano said. “Going 4 1/3 innings, I’m not happy with that. I’ve got to be better.”

• Jose Pirela continues to be a bit of an adventure at second base, and he didn’t do Capuano any favors in the first inning. After nearly costing the Yankees an out on the first play of the game — a throw to first that had to be challenged due to a lack of urgency on his part — he made an error on the second play. Defense, which was supposed to be a strength for the Yanks, has been more of an issue than expected. “One mental error every now-and-then is O.K., but we seem to be having two or three a night, and that’s really tough to see,” Teixeira said. “Everyone needs to step it up mentally and figure out how to play the game again.”

Chris Capuano, Joe Girardi• With that being said, Capuano gave up eight hits in less than five innings, so it’s not exactly like he was lights out. If Masahiro Tanaka is able to return within the next week or so, Capuano’s spot in the rotation could be in jeopardy. Adam Warren would probably be the other candidate to be removed,  but he’s been the better pitcher of late. “Cap has to be really fine and I think (Adam) Rosales hit a changeup out, but we made an error in the first that led to the run and Prince (Fielder) got a fastball that he hit in the gap,” Girardi said. “Then he battled pretty good after that, but his pitch count got pretty high and I decided to make a change.”

• Capuano was at 84 pitches when Girardi pulled him, a move that came right after Capuano gave up singles to Fielder and Adrian Beltre. “I felt like it was a little quick, but I’m not going to second-guess Joe,” Capuano said. “He’s got to do what he thinks he needs to do to win the game. I just need to pitch better, bottom line.”

• Capuano was asked if the pitching staff is feeling pressure to go deeper into games because of how much the bullpen has been used lately. “We absolutely do,” he said. “When you have a tough inning, like Michael (Pineda) did the other night, he did a great job of bouncing back and putting up three quick zeros. We’ve been bitten by the big inning lately and we just need to continue to battle and try to avoid those big innings.”

• Girardi went to Chasen Shreve in the fifth, who stranded the runners that he inherited and recorded two outs in the sixth before being walking Rosales and being replaced by Justin Wilson. Wilson got out of the sixth, but then gave up two runs in the seventh to give Texas some cushion. “(Wilson) is really supposed to be the guy who pitches later in the game, and I like Willy in that situation,” Girardi said. “He got out of the sixth, which I wanted him to do, and then they hit him hard in the seventh. But Willy is supposed to get those outs.”

Mark Teixeira• The Yankees scored in the first inning on Brian McCann’s two-run single, but mustered only three hits in the final eight innings. “Again tonight we scored two runs in the first and we didn’t score anymore,” Girardi said. “They said (Yovani) Gallardo started locating his cutter, which is his big pitch. It seemed like he started getting in on our lefties. He threw some curveballs early in the count that kind of kept our guys off balance, but his location got a lot better.”

• McCann was replaced in the ninth, which Girardi said was due to cramping in his foot and calf. He didn’t give much more information, but I’d be surprised if McCann plays on Monday. “He had a cramp in his foot to start out, and then it moved to his calf, and that concerns me more than the foot,” Girardi said.

• Teixeira was open about his frustration, but he also made the point that they still only trail Tampa by a game and a half. It’s true, but they’ll only continue to lose ground if they keep playing this way. “Considering where we were, yeah, you always want to be above .500,” Tex said. “But we’re still well within striking distance of first place. That’s the only thing we can take solace in, is that we haven’t dug ourselves into too big of a hole versus, if there was a really good team out there in the AL East that was lighting the standings on fire, we’d be in a big hole. So that’s the one thing we can take away from this is that if we keep fighting, we’ll be right back where we want to be.”

• Final word goes to Girardi: “Of course there is frustration in the room, but there better be frustration,” Girardi said. “We play this game to win, that’s the bottom line. But we’ve been frustrated before and guys have responded. And they need to respond.”

Associated Press photos


Posted by:vmercoglianoon Monday, May 25th, 2015 at 1:00 am. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Yanks swept by Texas on Bernie Williams night

Chris Capuano, Adam Rosales, Tony Beasley

On a night when the Yankees honored Bernie Williams and had several former players and coaches who were responsible for four championships in five years from 1996-2000 in attendance, the current Yankees reminded fans that those glory years are drifting further into the rearview mirror.

The Texas Rangers completed a sweep of the Yanks with a 5-2 win on Sunday, their first sweep of the Yankees in New York since May of 2003. It was the Yankees’ tenth loss in their last 11 games, dropping them to .500 for the first time since April 21.

The Yankee bullpen was taxed once again, with starter Chris Capuano unable to get through five innings. The left-hander gave up an RBI double to Prince Fielder in the first inning and a two-run homer to Adam Rosales in the second. He was pulled with one out in the fifth after giving up back-to-back singles to Fielder and Adrian Beltre.

Capuano allowed three runs (two earned) on eight hits and no walks while striking out four in his second start of the season.

He was replaced by Chasen Shreve, who escaped the fifth without allowing a run to score, but the Rangers (21-23) would tack on in the seventh with an RBI double from Shin-Soo Choo and RBI single from Fielder that hit off of the top of the wall in right field.

The Yankees’ only runs came in the first inning on a two-run single from Brian McCann, as the offense continued to sputter and mustered only six hits.

Associated Press photos


Posted by:vmercoglianoon Sunday, May 24th, 2015 at 11:36 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Game 44: Rangers at Yankees

Brett GardnerYANKEES (22-21)
Brett Gardner LF
Chase Headley 3B
Alex Rodriguez DH
Mark Teixeira 1B
Brian McCann C
Garrett Jones RF
Chris Young CF
Didi Gregorius SS
Jose Pirela 2B

LHP Chris Capuano (0-1, 12.00)
Capuano vs. Rangers

RANGERS (20-23)
Delino DeShields CF
Shin-Soo Choo RF
Prince Fielder DH
Adrian Beltre 3B
Mitch Moreland 1B
Elvis Andrus SS
Leonys Martin CF
Robinson Chirinos C
Adam Rosales 2B

RHP Yovani Gallardo (3-6, 4.26)
Gallardo vs. Yankees

TIME/TV: 8:05 p.m., ESPN

WEATHER: Lovely.

UMPIRES: HP Toby Basner, 1B Larry Vanover, 2B Ron Kulpa, 3B Brian Knight

BERN BABY BERN: Prior tonight’s game, the Yankees retired legendary center fielder Bernie Williams’ No. 51 and dedicated a plaque in Monument Park to the four-time World Series champion.

MORE MILESTONES FOR A-ROD: Alex Rodriguez recorded his 1,992nd RBI on Friday, tying Babe Ruth for fourth on MLB’s all-time list. He’s now one shy of Lou Gehrig’s AL record of 1,993.

TEX MESSAGES: Mark Teixeira is third in the Majors with 13 homers and tied for third in the AL with 31 RBI.

Follow me on Twitter @vzmercogliano to join in the conversation during the game!

UPDATE, 9:08 p.m.: After a two-run single from McCann gave the Yankees a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the first, Rosales hit a two-run homer in the second to put the Rangers back up 3-2.

UPDATE, 9:52 p.m.: Capuano was pulled with one out in the fifth after giving up singles to Fielder and Beltre, but Chasen Shreve came in and prevent the Rangers from adding to their lead. Capuano’s final line: 4.1 IP, 8 H, 0 BB, 3 R, 2 ER, 4 K, 84 pitches (61 strikes). Yanks still trail, 3-2.



Posted by:vmercoglianoon Sunday, May 24th, 2015 at 8:09 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Pregame notes: “We’re always going to be held up to those standards”

Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams

Those of you who watched the Yankees during the dynasty years in the late ’90s and early 2000s are fully aware of what Bernie Williams meant to the club. But as instrumental as he was during that run of four championships in five years, he rarely seems to get mention when the best players from that generation are discussed.

He’ll probably never make the Hall of Fame, but tonight, he’ll be enshrined into Monument Park with the greatest ever to play for the Yankees.

“I think Bernie ranks among the great Yankee center fielders, the people that were before him,” Joe Girardi said. “Obviously, he was so important to our lineup, so important to our defense, great in the clubhouse. You know, Bernie was a very unassuming star. There was no entourage. There was just a quiet guy that liked to string his guitar and was a good teammate, and made people laugh around him and entertained us. But you would have never guessed that Bernie was a star, and that’s who he was.”

With the retirement of Derek Jeter last season, the final link to those great Yankee teams is gone. Jeter, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte, Mariano Rivera and crew will be in attendance tonight, as they will be for a handful of similar ceremonies in the coming months and years. But the closest that they’ll come to putting on the pinstripes will be if they’re wearing a pinstriped suit.

Williams’ No. 51 being retired will serve as yet another reminder of those past glory years, but can this Yankee team — or any Yankee teams in the near future — ever reclaim that magic?

“I think we’re always going to be held up to those standards. And I think it’s important that we are,” Girardi said.

“I think it kind of went to pasture when Derek left, in a sense, because now it’s a whole new group of guys in reality. The expectations are obviously still there. There are guys in that clubhouse who were part of the 2009 championship, but when the Yankees were talked about, they would talk about the late 90s and early 2000s. That group of players is gone, so this group needs to start something themselves.”

Bernie Williams• Part of what made Williams, Jeter, Pettitte, Rivera and Posada so beloved was the fact that they were homegrown. Fans saw them come up and develop into stars, but the Yankees haven’t had much success in that department in the last decade. There have been glimmers of hope this season, and the latest prospect who will be looking to make an impact is Jacob Lindgren. He said that he thought his Triple-A manager was joking with him when he was informed of the call-up, but he’s here and will have an opportunity to stick if his success from the minors translates. “Oh man, it’s been a crazy ride,” Lindgren said. “I met a lot of guys on the way up and learned a lot of things, just how to be a professional. From the college game to the professional game is a little different. It’s a different routine. They’re playing on the weekends and we’re playing every day. So you try to add on to your routine and learn different things.”

• Girardi spoke about the importance of players coming up from the minors and contributing. “I think it’s really essential going forward,” he said. “With the price of free agency and the length of years that free agent contracts are, I think it’s extremely important that you’re able to call on your minor leaguers and get production. You think about the long run that took place here, there was kids that came up from the minor leagues that could really be successful and filled in with other players – free agents that came over or trades – and it was a great mixture. I think you have to have that.”

• What are the keys to moving through the system as quickly as Lindgren did? “I think first of all, you have to have the stuff, first and foremost,” Girardi said. “You’re not going to advance unless you have the ability. But No. 2, usually those guys are pretty mentally strong to be able to move up and take on a new challenge. The big thing is, when they take on a new challenge and if there is some failure, they’re able to get right back up. That, to me, is the only way that you advance in a quick way, because you’re going to have some failure in the minor leagues. But you have to be able to say, ‘O.K., that’s just one day. Let it go.’ And it doesn’t become another appearance and another appearance, or another start. You have to be mentally strong.”

Lindgren• Really, the reason that Lindgren is here is because he’s been mowing guys down in the minors. Through 22 innings at Triple-A this season, he has a 1.23 ERA with a 1.18 WHIP and 29 strikeouts. He has the potential to become a late-inning option, and Girardi sounds open to using him in multiple roles. “In a perfect world where you have a rested bullpen, you might use him a little bit different than you would today – use him early in a game against left-handers, that sort of thing I could see doing,” Girardi said. “Today, you kind of have to watch how you use your bullpen, because you’re not going to have a (Esmil) Rogers and some of the guys that worked a lot lately. But this is a guy that I’m not going to be afraid to pitch at any time. I’m going to try and let him get his feet wet and not put him in too overwhelming of a situation the first time, but we liked what we saw in Spring Training and he’s done well at Triple-A and he’s moved quickly and he’s going to get in.”

• What stood out about Lindgren in Spring Training? “The amount of groundballs that he gets,” Girardi said. “When you see it from my perspective, you don’t really see a heavy sinker that you see with some of the other guys that sometimes you can see. But there’s late movement, and you hear the catchers talk about how if you’re not used to him, it’s kind of uncomfortable because the ball moves so late. You saw a ton of groundballs and you didn’t see guys square the ball up on him. It was pretty impressive.”

• Pretty funny story about Lindgren’s first day as a Yankee. He’s never been to New York, let alone Yankee Stadium, and he had a bit of an adventure getting into the ballpark. “I didn’t know how to get in, so I was waiting outside of the clubhouse knocking,” Lindgren said. “The guy who let me in said, ‘Who are you?’ ” The SEC tournament was on in the clubhouse, and Lindgren also mentioned that’s right where he was at this time a year ago. Pretty crazy.

• Normal day off for Stephen Drew, says Girardi, but Carlos Beltran is sick with “flu-like symptoms.” He could miss a few days.

Associated Press photos


Posted by:vmercoglianoon Sunday, May 24th, 2015 at 6:07 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Yankees lineup: Beltran out; Pirela at 2B

Good afternoon all! Vin Mercogliano checking in from the clubhouse. I’m here for Chad today, which could be good news if you’re superstitious. The Yanks are 6-0 when I’m in the house this season.

Here is tonight’s lineup:

Brett Gardner LF

Chase Headley 3B

Alex Rodriguez DH

Mark Teixeira 1B

Brian McCann C

Garrett Jones RF

Chris Young CF

Didi Gregorius SS

Jose Pirela 2B

LHP Chris Capuano


Posted by:vmercoglianoon Sunday, May 24th, 2015 at 4:51 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Postgame notes: “We got embarrassed”

Garrett Jones

In a game that featured Didi Gregorius hitting his second home run in as many days, CC Sabathia not making it out of the third inning, and infielder Garrett Jones coming in to pitch, Saturday’s 15-4 loss looked like an episode out of The Twilight Zone.

Texas pounced early, bombarding Sabathia for six runs and Esmil Rogers for four runs in the third inning. Coming off a game in which the Yankees allowed seven runs in the third inning to the Rangers, the Yanks dug themselves an insurmountable hole.

“It’s tough,” Brett Gardner said. “It’s tough when you get a big deficit like that. Yesterday we almost came back and we fought hard, but today it was just too much to overcome and we got embarrassed.”

The Yankees, who started the season on a 3-6 stretch, have now lost nine of their last 10 games and a season-high fifth consecutive game. Gardner was asked to compare the two slumps.

“It seems worse,” he said. “It seems about as bad as it can get.

“It won’t continue forever. Hopefully tomorrow we can snap out of it, but we just got to keep our heads up. … I think everybody knew that it wasn’t reasonable to sustain the pace we were on, winning 16 out of 20 or whatever it was, but we’ve obviously looked pretty bad the last week or so.”

Sabathia attributed the debacle to inaccuracy.

Rangers Yankees Baseball

“Balls were up. Everything — two-seamers, the cutter was still good, the changeup wasn’t there,” he said. “I just think the fastballs were up and they played pepper.”

Sabathia said he was a little surprised to be pulled that early in the game, but wasn’t surprised when exiting to a stadium full of boos.

“I didn’t know how many pitches I had or anything like that, but Joe’s trying to stop the bleeding,” he said. “You don’t pitch well, you get booed. That’s just kind of part of it.”

The Yankees have one more game against Texas (20-23) before the defending league-champion Royals come into town on Monday. Girardi said the team has no choice but to bounce back out of its current funk.

“They happen during the season, that’s all I can tell you,” he said. “It’s no fun when you go through it, you don’t expect to go through it for this long of a period. We need to change it. We need to turn it around.”

“We need to come out and pitch well tomorrow, we need to play good defense and we need to have timely hitting. That’s what winning is all about, and that’s what you have to do.”

• Despite the rout, Garrett Jones had a difficult time holding back a smile in front of his locker after the game. Jones said that Girardi told him to “be ready” in the bottom of the eighth inning.

The advanced preparation still wasn’t enough to relax the lefty, who said he wasn’t comfortable “at all” on the mound.

“I was a little scared, nervous,” he said. “I tried to just relax and throw it over the plate and try not to get a linedrive hit right back at me.”

While Jones joked at that having a 0.00 ERA in the majors would be a nice accomplishment, “any time they need to pitch, I’ll be ready.” The former high school pitcher threw in the upper-70s for the majority of his appearance, but said he wasn’t throwing at full speed.

“I actually threw a couple of curveballs and that actually felt pretty good coming out of the hand,” he said. “ I threw a couple of those and mostly fastballs, and tried a two-seam a little bit, but it turned into, ‘just throw it over the plate.’”

• Not surprisingly, Sabathia appeared dejected as he spoke about letting the team down. “It’s frustrating, especially when we haven’t been playing well,” he said. “You kind of want to put an end to that and be the guy to try and help us and I couldn’t do that today.”

Didi Gregorius• Gregorius is experiencing a small power surge this weekend, homering for the second consecutive game. The shortstop, known primarily for his defensive work, is now 5-for-11 with four RBI in his last three games, so maybe this is the start of a nice stretch of games for him at the dish.

Like he said last night, the homers are nice, but wins would be better. “It’s better if we get the W,” he said. “It’s way better than that.”

• Carlos Beltran extended his season-high hitting streak to 13 games with a solo home run in the sixth inning. The 18-year veteran said the only way the team will get out of its slump is to play through it.

“There’s no magic solution, so you have to basically grind and battle,” he said.

• Slade Heathcott had another solid outing in his second consecutive start, driving in his first big-league run in the ninth inning.

• Final word goes to Sabathia, who said that another hot streak can be right around the corner: “It’s a long season. It’s a grind, we know, and there’s some ups and downs. Obviously this is one of the down parts of our season, but hopefully we can look on this a month from now and say, ‘This is where we turned our season around.’”

Associated Press photos



Posted by:Mike Zacchioon Saturday, May 23rd, 2015 at 6:22 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Rangers boot-stomp Yankees, 15-4

Rangers Yankees Baseball

Less than one day after Yankees manager Joe Girardi said that Didi Gregorius was trying to “do too much” on defense, the 25-year-old shortstop tried to flip a ground ball behind his back to second base with his glove.

Less than three hours after Girardi preached how CC Sabathia has pitched “better than the numbers indicate” and that the defense needed to “clean it up” in the field, the Yankees allowed 10 runs in a disastrous third inning of a 15-4 loss to the Texas Rangers at Yankee Stadium.

For the second consecutive game, the Yankees (22-21) buried themselves in a deep hole early. The Rangers scored seven runs in the third inning Friday night, a rally that also started with a Gregorius blunder in the field.

In the Yankees’ season-high fifth consecutive loss, the team also allowed the most runs in a game this season.

Sabathia lasted just 2.1 innings, giving up six earned runs en route to his sixth loss of the year. Esmil Rogers provided little relief, allowing seven earned runs in three innings. The Yankees eventually reverted to putting infielder Garrett Jones on the hill. The lefty threw 0.2 innings of scoreless ball.

Carlos Beltran homered in the sixth, extending his season-high hitting streak to 13 games. Gregorius homered in the seventh for the second time in as many games after hitting none in his previous 35 games with the Yankees. Slade Heathcott drove in his first career run in the ninth inning.

Associated Press photos


Posted by:Mike Zacchioon Saturday, May 23rd, 2015 at 4:11 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Game 43: Yankees vs. Rangers

CC SabathiaYANKEES (22-20)
Brett Gardner LF
Carlos Beltran RF
Alex Rodriguez DH
Mark Teixeira 1B
Chase Headley 3B
Stephen Drew 2B
Didi Gregorius SS
John Ryan Murphy C
Slade Heathcott CF
CC Sabathia SP

LHP CC Sabathia (2-5, 4.67)
Sabathia vs. Rangers

RANGERS (19-24)
Delino DeShields CF
Shin-Soo Choo RF
Prince Fielder DH
Adrian Beltre 3B
Mitch Moreland 1B
Elvis Andrus SS
Adam Rosales 2B
Carlos Corporan C
Jake Smolinski LF
Nick Martinez SP

RHP Nick Martinez (3-0, 1.88)
Martinez vs. Yankees

TIME/TV: 1:05 p.m., WPIX, MLB Network

WEATHER: Starting to get a chilly, but the sun is shining. Can’t really complain too much.

UMPIRES: HP Brian Knight, 1B Toby Basner, 2B Larry Vanover, 3B Ron Kulpa

A-ROD IN COMPANY WITH YANKEE GREATS: Alex Rodriguez tied Babe Ruth for fourth place on the MLB all-time RBI list (1,992) last night and will look to pass him tonight. A-Rod is also one RBI shy of tying Lou Gehrig’s American League record.

BELTRAN STAYS IN LINEUP: Carlos Beltran extended his hitting streak to 12 games last night and gets another start in right field tonight. Yankees manager Joe Girardi said earlier this year that he would consider resting the 38-year-old on some day games following night games, but with Jacoby Ellsbury (knee) out and the streak on the line, the switch-hitter is back in there. Beltran’s .318 career average against Texas is his second-best against any team.

FAMILIAR SURROUNDINGS: Texas starter Nick Martinez played college ball at Fordham University, a mere five miles away from The Stadium. The right-hander tossed over five innings of shutout ball here last year. Texas has fared well with him on the bump, winning in seven of his eight starts.

UPDATE, 1:52 p.m.: Gregorius makes a nice sliding play behind second base, but throws it away trying a behind-the-back glove flip. Choo gets an RBI single the next at-bat, then Fielder plates two with the help of a blunder in right by Beltran. Texas now leads 3-0 in the third with no outs.

UPDATE, 2:00 p.m.: Two-run single by Andrus will do it for Sabathia. The lefty lasts just 2.1 IP as Esmil Rogers comes on in relief. Yankees trail 5-0. This game looks eerily similar to last night’s early trainwreck.

UPDATE, 2:17 p.m.: Rangers put up 10 runs in the third inning, one day after they scored seven in the third.

UPDATE, 2:30 p.m.: A-Rod with an infield single up the middle, the first Yankees hit of the game.

UPDATE, 2:58 p.m.: Branden Pinder relieves Rogers, allows a sacrifice fly to Andrus. Rangers now lead 12-0, tying the most runs New York has allowed all season. We’re still in the top of the sixth.

UPDATE, 3:01 p.m.: We have a new high. Yankees trail 13-0 entering the bottom half of the sixth thanks to an RBI single by Adam Rosales.

UPDATE, 3:06 p.m.: Beltran puts one into the stands in right field, extending his season-high hitting streak to 13 games and ending the shutout.

UPDATE, 3:20 p.m.: Fielder blasts a two-run shot to right, his third of the series. Yankees now trail 15-1. It just keeps getting worse.

UPDATE, 3:25 p.m.: Gregorius hits his second homer in as many games. He had none in his previous 35 games with New York. The solo shot pulls the Yankees a (very, very, very) little bit closer.

Associated Press photos


Posted by:Mike Zacchioon Saturday, May 23rd, 2015 at 1:00 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Pregame notes: “We need to clean it up.”

Didi Gregorius

If defense wins championships, then the Yankees have a long way to go.

Owners of 31 fielding errors and a .980 fielding percentage, both tied for fifth-worst in the bigs, the Yankees’ defensive struggles continue to be a cause for concern during their recent slump.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi was asked before Saturday’s game against Texas if he was surprised that the defense — what was supposed to be the team’s strong suit this season — has been spotty.

“Yes, I am,” he said. “I think in the streak’s first of the nine games, we didn’t play good defense and it’s one of the reasons we lost. And recently we haven’t played good defense and the errors have cost us and it’s something that obviously our guys work at every day, but we need to clean it up.”

Last night it was Michael Pineda botching a simple bunt by Thomas Field that led to a two-run error by shortstop Didi Gregorius during Texas’ seven-run third inning. The Yanks have now dropped eight of their last nine, including each of their last four.

Another loss today will set a new season-high losing streak, which was only set last Friday.

Left-hander CC Sabathia has had success winning against Texas throughout his career, posting an 11-3 record, but the Rangers have historically hit him relatively hard (4.45 ERA in 18 starts).

Girardi said he’s been “really encouraged” by Sabathia’s recent performances after an 0-5 start to the season. Even in those losses, Girardi admitted that it wasn’t all on Sabathia.

“He’s had eight starts, and the first six we didn’t score any runs for him,” he said. We could’ve won easily two of those games.

“His last start, he was outstanding; the first innings against Tampa, he was outstanding. I’ve been really encouraged and I think he’s pitched better than the numbers indicate.”

The Yankees bats have been waking up since their trip in Kansas City, scoring 17 runs in three games, but obviously none yielded a win.

One key to Sabathia’s recent success has been his ability to work the plate better now that his velocity has diminished from years past.

“I think he’s just really worked at it,” Girardi said. “He’s pitched righties inside a lot, he’s pitched lefties inside, and whenever you’re able to do that, it opens up the outer half.”

Now that Sabathia isn’t blowing away hitters, Girardi said the only way pitchers will usually be successful with not-as-overpowering stuff is to work both sides of the dish.

“When guys can hang out over the plate and not worry about one half of the plate, it’s usually a recipe for disaster,” he said. “To me, unless you’re throwing really, really hard and you have a wipeout breaking ball, you better use both sides of the plate.”

• Chase Whitley showed up in the clubhouse sporting an arm sling after undergoing Tommy John surgery. Whitley said he hopes to have the sling off in a couple of days and that he’s been talking with Ivan Nova, who underwent the surgery last year.

• Speaking of injured pitchers, Girardi said that Chris Martin has already thrown a bullpen session and is expected to throw another tonight. Girardi said the aim is to get Martin in a game next week.

• Girardi is still pretty quiet on the status of Jacoby Ellsbury (knee), but said the outfielder will not need surgery.

Because the location of Ellsbury’s injury is so vital to who he is as a player, Girardi said that it’s essentially a wait-and-see situation. “Will it be 15 days? I think it’s hard to say. I think it might be a little bit more, but the reason I say that is because of the type of player he is,” he said. “This is not a guy that can just go swing and DH and not have to worry about running, so it’s really going to depend on treatment.

“Every injury depends on treatment and how they respond. Some are more predictable than others, but because of the type of player he is, it’s a little harder to predict.”

Associated Press photos



Posted by:Mike Zacchioon Saturday, May 23rd, 2015 at 12:39 pm. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

McCann rests, Heathcott starts again

Good morning Yankees faithful, Mike Zacchio checking back in from the Bronx. Yankees are going with a lefty-heavy lineup again today against Texas:

Brett Gardner LF

Carlos Beltran RF

Alex Rodriguez DH

Mark Teixeira 1B

Chase Headley 3B

Stephen Drew 2B

Didi Gregorius SS

John Ryan Murphy C

Slade Heathcott CF

CC Sabathia LHP


Posted by:Mike Zacchioon Saturday, May 23rd, 2015 at 10:15 am. InMisc with Comments Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

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