Two days ago, the Yankees offense was finally hitting its stride. Alex Rodriguez was a on his way back to the lineup, Jorge Posada was healthy enough to play and after back-to-back nine-run games against the lowly Astros, the Yankees had scored six runs against the unhittable Roy Halladay. Next up, the soft-tossing Jamie Moyer and the 25-year-old sinkerballer Kyle Kendrick.
No problem, right?
“That’s why you play the games,” Derek Jeter said. “We swung the bats well the first day, and then they shut us down the next two. Sometimes pitchers are going to get the best of you, and we really couldn’t get much going.”
Did anyone expect Jeter to say anything different?
“Moyer, he was kind of like Kendrick today,” Robinson Cano said. “He was locating pitches. Throwing the ball where he wants to. They don’t miss pitches over the plate.”
From Halladay to Moyer to Kendrick, the Yankees faced three very different pitchers, but for a major league lineup like this one, that’s hardly an excuse. Teams have to make adjustments.
“And we weren’t able to make adjustments,” Jeter said.
Andy Pettitte was verbally kicking himself after the game.
That fifth inning home run to Shane Victorino was a cutter and Pettitte tried to get a little fancy with it.
“I wasn’t whole-heartedly behind the pitch that I threw to Victorino,” he said. “I tried to run a cutter. Usually I want to go down and in with that ball, but tried to slide step and just kind of throw one inner half and run it up on his hands, and he somehow kept it fair. Really, pretty much that was the ball game right there.”
Pettitte couldn’t quite explain why he decided to throw that pitch. He said he didn’t want to go into detail about how he was trying to pitch to different hitters, but clearly he went away from his comfort zone and the home run changed the game. Don’t get me wrong, Pettitte was still very good tonight, but that one pitch cost him.
“For me it was a stupid pitch,” he said. “Just a poor decision on me to throw that pitch right there and where I threw it. A little bit of a mental lapse and it cost me the game.”
• Jeter was asked how he would have reacted had the umpires called the Yankees back on the field after that ground ball hit Ibanez in the leg. “I wasn’t going back on the field,” he said.
• Joba Chamberlain’s seven outings before this one: 6.2 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K. That’s a 1.35 ERA with a .250 opponents batting average.
• Joe Girardi on what happens when Chamberlain has nights like this one: “I think he gets too much of the middle of the plate. He gives up a lead-off double, and they execute a play well, and then he walks Victorino… I think any time a pitcher doesn’t throw the ball where he wants to you could say it’s a mechanical issue. I think every time he does it (you could say that). They want to say down and away, and in on the hands, but it’s always a fine line.”
• Girardi said he went to check on Damaso Marte only because that fourth ball to Chase Utley was so far off line. He wanted to make sure Marte was OK, and Girardi was convinced there was no physical problem. “The ball came out of his hand OK after that,” he said.
• The latest on Alex Rodriguez is pretty much the same as before the game. “I thought he moved around better today than he did yesterday,” Girardi said. Still no sure thing about what Rodriguez’s role will be tomorrow.
• Dave Robertson has not allowed a run in his past five outings
• Marte threw 29 pitches, his highest total since August 10, 2008. He had an outing of 1.2 innings earlier this year, but he did that on only 26 pitches.
• Cano has a 10-game hitting streak. He’s also hit safely in 27 of his past 29. This is his third hitting streak of at least 10 games.
• In case you were wondering, Girardi said he never considered using Mariano Rivera to keep it a two-run game in the ninth: “I’m not going to bring him in in that situation when we’re down by two runs. I’m just not going to do it, but of course he was available. Tie ball game, he was coming in.”